Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
This week’s topic is Debut Books I’m Excited About. I have a few ARCs from debut authors that I’m pretty excited to read, and there are several others that I’m eager to get my hands on. Let’s check them out!
1. Fake Dates and Mooncakes by Sher Lee
Synopsis: Heartstopper meets Crazy Rich Asians in this heartfelt, joyful paperback original rom-com that follows an aspiring chef who discovers the recipe for love is more complicated than it seems when he starts fake-dating a handsome new customer.
Dylan Tang wants to win a Mid-Autumn Festival mooncake-making competition for teen chefs—in memory of his mom, and to bring much-needed publicity to his aunt’s struggling Chinese takeout in Brooklyn.
Enter Theo Somers: charming, wealthy, with a smile that makes Dylan’s stomach do backflips. AKA a distraction. Their worlds are sun-and-moon apart, but Theo keeps showing up. He even convinces Dylan to be his fake date at a family wedding in the Hamptons.
In Theo’s glittering world of pomp, privilege, and crazy rich drama, their romance is supposed to be just pretend . . . but Dylan finds himself falling for Theo. For real. Then Theo’s relatives reveal their true colors—but with the mooncake contest looming, Dylan can’t risk being sidetracked by rich-people problems.
Can Dylan save his family’s business and follow his heart—or will he fail to do both?
2. Clytemnestra by Costanza Casati
As for queens, they are either hated or forgotten. She already knows which option suits her best…
You were born to a king, but you marry a tyrant. You stand by helplessly as he sacrifices your child to placate the gods. You watch him wage war on a foreign shore, and you comfort yourself with violent thoughts of your own. Because this was not the first offence against you. This was not the life you ever deserved. And this will not be your undoing. Slowly, you plot.
But when your husband returns in triumph, you become a woman with a choice.
Acceptance or vengeance, infamy follows both. So, you bide your time and force the gods’ hands in the game of retribution. For you understood something long ago that the others never did.
If power isn’t given to you, you have to take it for yourself.
A blazing novel set in the world of Ancient Greece for fans of Jennifer Saint and Natalie Haynes, this is a thrilling tale of power and prophecies, of hatred, love, and of an unforgettable Queen who fiercely dealt out death to those who wronged her.
3. The Fraud Squad by Kyla Zhao
Synopsis: A working-class woman who infiltrates Singapore’s high society to fulfill her dreams risks losing everything in the process—including herself—in this propulsive novel by debut author Kyla Zhao.
For as long as she can remember, Samantha Song has dreamed of writing for a high-society magazine—and she’d do anything to get there. But the constant struggle to help her mom make ends meet and her low social status cause her dream to feel like a distant fantasy.
Now Samantha finds herself working at a drab PR firm. Living vicariously through her wealthy coworker and friend, Anya Chen, is the closest she’ll get to her ideal life. Until she meets Timothy Kingston: the disillusioned son of one of Singapore’s elite families—and Samantha’s one chance at infiltrating the high-society world to which she desperately wants to belong.
To Samantha’s surprise, Timothy and Anya both agree to help her make a name for herself on Singapore’s socialite scene. But the borrowed designer clothes and plus-ones to every glamorous event can only get her so far. The rest is on Samantha, and she’s determined to impress the editor in chief of Singapore’s poshest magazine. But the deeper Samantha wades into this fraud, the more she fears being exposed—especially with a mysterious gossip columnist on the prowl for dirt—forcing her to reconcile her pretense with who she really is before she loses it all.
4. The Nanny by Lana Ferguson
Synopsis: After losing her job and being on the brink of eviction, Cassie Evans finds herself with two choices: get a new job (and fast) or fire up her long-untouched OnlyFans account. But there are no jobs to be found, and as for OnlyFans. . . . Well, there are reasons she can’t go back. Just when all hope seems lost, an ad for a live-in nanny position seems the solution to all her problems. It’s almost too perfect—until she meets her would-be employer.
Aiden Reid, executive chef and DILF extraordinaire is far from the stuffy single dad Cassie was imagining. She is shocked when he tells her she’s the most qualified applicant he’s met in weeks, practically begging her to take the job. With hands that make her hindbrain howl and eyes that scream sex, the idea of living under the same roof as Aiden feels dangerous, but with no other option, she decides to stay with him and his adorably tenacious daughter, Sophie.
Cassie soon discovers that Aiden is not a stranger at all, but instead someone who is very familiar with her—or at least, her body. She finds herself at a loss for what to do, given that he doesn’t remember her. As their relationship heats to temperatures hotter than any kitchen Aiden has ever worked in, Cassie struggles with telling Aiden the truth, and the more terrifying possibility—losing the best chance at happiness she’s ever had.
5. The Davenports by Krystal Marquis
Synopsis: The Davenports are one of the few Black families of immense wealth and status in a changing United States, their fortune made through the entrepreneurship of William Davenport, a formerly enslaved man who founded the Davenport Carriage Company years ago. Now it’s 1910, and the Davenports live surrounded by servants, crystal chandeliers, and endless parties, finding their way and finding love—even where they’re not supposed to.
There is Olivia, the beautiful elder Davenport daughter, ready to do her duty by getting married . . . until she meets the charismatic civil rights leader Washington DeWight and sparks fly. The younger daughter, Helen, is more interested in fixing cars than falling in love—unless it’s with her sister’s suitor. Amy-Rose, the childhood friend turned maid to the Davenport sisters, dreams of opening her own business—and marrying the one man she could never be with, Olivia and Helen’s brother, John. But Olivia’s best friend, Ruby, also has her sights set on John Davenport, though she can’t seem to keep his interest . . . until family pressure has her scheming to win his heart, just as someone else wins hers.
Inspired by the real-life story of the Patterson family, The Davenports is the tale of four determined and passionate young Black women discovering the courage to steer their own path in life—and love.
6. Sing Me to Sleep by Gabi Burton
Synopsis: Saoirse Sorkova survives on lies. As a soldier-in-training at the most prestigious barracks in the kingdom, she lies about being a siren to avoid execution. At night, working as an assassin for a dangerous group of mercenaries, Saoirse lies about her true identity. And to her family, Saoirse tells the biggest lie of all: that she can control her siren powers and doesn’t struggle constantly against an impulse to kill.
As the top trainee in her class, Saoirse would be headed for a bright future if it weren’t for the need to keep her secrets out of the spotlight. But when a mysterious blackmailer threatens her sister, Saoirse takes a dangerous job that will help her investigate: she becomes personal bodyguard to the crown prince.
Saoirse should hate Prince Hayes. After all, his father is the one who enforces the kingdom’s brutal creature segregation laws. But when Hayes turns out to be kind, thoughtful, and charming, Saoirse finds herself increasingly drawn to him-especially when they’re forced to work together to stop a deadly killer who’s plaguing the city. There’s only one problem: Saoirse is that deadly killer.
Featuring an all Black and Brown cast, a forbidden romance, and a compulsively dark plot full of twists, this thrilling YA fantasy is perfect for fans of A Song Below Water and To Kill a Kingdom.
7. The Song of Us by Kate Fussner
Synopsis: This stunning debut and wholly original queer middle grade novel-in-verse retelling of “Orpheus and Eurydice” adds a new chorus to the songs of great love, perfect for fans of Other Words for Home and Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World.
Love at first sight isn’t a myth. For seventh graders Olivia and Eden, it’s fate. Olivia is a capital-P Poet, and Eden thinks she wants to be a musician one day, but for now she’s just the new girl. And then Eden shows up to Poetry Club and everything changes.
Eden isn’t out, and she has rules for dating Olivia: don’t call. Don’t tell her friends. And don’t let anyone know they’re together.
But when jealousy creeps in, it’s Olivia’s words that push Eden away. While Eden sets out to find herself, Olivia begins a journey to bring Eden back—using poetry. Both Olivia and Eden will learn just how powerful their words can be to bring them together . . . or tear them apart forever.
8. Flowerheart by Catherine Bakewell
Synopsis: Clara’s magic has always been wild. But it’s never been dangerous. Then a simple touch causes poisonous flowers to bloom in her father’s chest.
The only way to heal him is to cast an extremely difficult spell that requires perfect control. And the only person willing to help is her former best friend, Xavier, who’s grown from a sweet, shy child into a mysterious and distant young man.
Xavier names a terrible price in return, knowing Clara will give anything to save her father. As she struggles to reconcile the new Xavier with the boy she once loved, she discovers their bargain is only one of the heavy secrets he’s hiding. And as she hunts for the truth, she instead finds the root of a terrible darkness that’s taken hold in the queendom—a darkness only Clara’s magic is powerful enough to stop.
9. Text Appeal by Amber Roberts
Synopsis: As the only woman programmer at her firm, Lark is thrilled to land the lead role managing an account for a huge client. But her dream job quickly becomes a nightmare when she accidentally projects a scandalous (and completely unsolicited) picture from her phone onto the screen during a presentation. Before she can recover, her coworkers jump in to steal the account, leaving Lark jobless and broke.
When a friend suggests text message-based sex work as a stopgap between jobs, Lark is dubious. She’s all about sex-positivity, but carrying out sexual fantasies—even digitally and anonymously—with complete strangers is more than a little daunting. How will she explain how she’s earning a living—especially to Toby, her good friend and longtime hopeless crush?
Still, she needs the money, and after a few (embarrassing and hilarious) false starts, sexting turns out to be not so bad. She might even like it, especially with one particularly charming and nerdy client who keeps popping up in her DMs. But when Toby confesses feelings for Lark, she finds herself with a decision to make: tell Toby that she’s a sex worker—and try to forget the anonymous client whose conversation skills have her struggling to separate work from real feelings—or keep the secrets that are piling up in her inbox.
10. Playing For Keeps by Tristen Crone
Synopsis: Farren puts on a good front, feigning confidence despite literally not fitting into society’s narrow ideas of beauty and success. Inside, she’s stuck, afraid to put herself and her ideas out there, especially the board game design she’s kept a secret. She keeps things light and temporary—both at work as a substitute teacher and in her relationships.
Overworked Sebastian abhors anything that gets in the way of his goals, including procuring the perfect pastry. The two meet when Sebastian accuses her of stealing his pastry in an amusing and awkward café incident. When Farren gets in the way of his coffee order with her huge personality she turns out to be even more than he bargained for.
Instead of shrinking beneath his usually intimidating stare, Farren issues a challenge back: take a second away from his phone calendar with its down-to-the-minute scheduling and play her for it—live a little. If Sebastian wins the board game battle he gets to keep his precious croissant, if she wins he has to join their game night next week.
Just who will be the victor in this game of love?
Are you excited for any of these? What other debuts are on your radar? Comment below!