You may have noticed a new page on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves: Book Matchmaker.
This will be an irregular series in which we try to help you find your next favorite read! It’s pretty simple. You fill out a very thorough, scientific survey, and we apply proven analysis techniques to determine books that will be a good match.
Our first victim lucky participant is Shelly, who is the owner of a very cool sewing pattern business and author of a nifty book called Sewing for Boys. She’s also the inspiration for this series. I met Shelly on an airplane about a year ago and we started talking books. One thing led to another and I ended up making her an extensive list of books she’d enjoy.
Well, she’s read all those and is back for more!
Shelly’s Responses to Our Questionnaire
YA or Adult: Surprise me!
Genre: Contemporary, Action/Adventure, Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery
POV & Narrative Style: First Person, Third Person, Present Tense, Male POV, Female POV
Swoon Factor: 3
Gross Out Factor: 3
Smut Factor: 3
Fluff Factor: 3
Favorite Books and/or Themes: “Hunger games…fun simple read with a unexpected storyline. Patricia Cornwell books—I like a good crime novel. All the books you have recommended to me to far :)!! [Mercy Thompson, etc] I love a good twist or a “NO WAY” moment. Bring on the drama”
Hated Tropes/Themes: “I can’t deal with a book that take 780 pages to get to the point. Historical novels. I can’t deal with a book that takes 780 pages to get to the point.”
[Note: Each of these novels has been read by one or more members of the CEFS team. There may be books we’ve missed—because we haven’t read them. Why is it so hard to read every book ever written?!]
This first thing Laura suggested for Shelly is Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking series. There are loads of “NO WAY!!!” moments and it’s got the action/adventure elements Shelly loves. It’s a YA series—and we know Shelly lurvs the young adult fiction as much as we do.
Now, my mind went in a completely different direction. I was thinking Shelly would really have fun with the first book in Rachel Caine’s new Revivalist series, Working Stiff (adult). This has an entertaining mix of mystery, corporate espionage, some intriguing twists and turns—and, of course, chemically-induced zombies!
Blood Bound by Rachel Vincent may be another good candidate. There were so many “No way!” moments in this (adult) book and the mob elements made it even more intriguing. I love that it’s an urban fantasy that’s truly urban and the series is focused on a group of childhood friends—so there’s great history behind all of the characters. Think The Sopranos with magic powers. Yeah, it’s that awesome.
Laini Taylor’s breathtaking Daughter of Smoke & Bone (YA) ticks a lot of Shelly’s boxes as well: plot twists galore, mystery, unexpected storylines and drama! An added bonus: Laini’s a Portlander too! The sequel’s coming out this fall, so you won’t have to wait too long to see what else Karou’s adventures bring.
If it’s epic fantasy you want with engrossing adventure and wonderful characterization, give Australian author Melina Marchetta’s Finnikin of the Rock (YA) a read. And, there are two more books (one’s already out) in this planned trilogy, so Shelly’ll have plenty to keep you busy. And, unlike a lot of fantasy, this one doesn’t devote an entire book to the world-building—stuff actually happens in this first novel! Whoohoo!
Another recommendation from Laura is Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind, which she describes as a “twisted fantasy.” She says it’s one of her favorite fantasy novels ever and guarantees there will be loads of those plot twists Shelly loves.
Mindi Scott’s Freefall (YA) is a CEFS “must read,” and we’re sure Shelly will love it. It’s got that drama Shelly loves, and while it doesn’t have the plot twists of our other recommendations, the characterization and character development of both the main character and secondary characters take turns that are unexpected, yet realistic.
If it’s drama you want, you absolutely must read Gayle Forman’s luminous pair of novels, If I Stay and Where She Went. These are dramatic contemporary YA novels at the subgenre’s very best. Even the blurb for Where She Went (which is told from a different character’s perspective than If I Stay) is spoilery, so don’t even look on Goodreads or Amazon until you’ve finished the first novel. I actually prefer the second novel, but they are both excellent reads with beautiful characterization and storytelling. The definitional of unputdownable.
If it’s some top-notch fluff you’re looking for—tinged with a bit of mystery, ignore the ass-grabbery on the cover of Julie James’ A Lot Like Love and dive into this excellent cracktastic adult romantic suspense. This book (and all of Julie’s novels) reads like a movie, and while the mystery isn’t anything heavy, this one is just flat-out fun. (And, there’s a sequel already out and another on the way in just a few days!)
Do you have recommendations that tick many of Shelly’s boxes?
What did we miss?