All tagged Laini Taylor

Episode #31: Chatting Books & Libraries with Molly Wetta

Awesome librarian, Tumblr rockstar, YALSA's The Hub editor and all around awesome human being Molly Wetta was on our "hit list" of dream podcast guests and we're so, so, so thrilled she was finally about to join us for a chat!

This is a pretty freewheeling discussion, with topics ranging from what it's like to work with books professionally (buying books with someone else's money seems like a dream job, but it's also really hard!), library school, how to make book recommendations and some of the more interesting questions she's gotten on Find Your Next Book. It was a whole lot of fun!

Recommendation Roundup: June 2014

I don't know about you, but reading has been weird for me lately. Between summer and a stressful couple of work projects, I'm finding myself in a bit of a funk. 

I keep starting books and then they lose my attention. However, Nafiza's wonderful graphic novel recommendation list came to my rescue and it's been just what the doctor ordered. I've gone way down the Saga rabbit hole and am official obsessed. 

I also picked up a couple of fabulous middle grade verse novels I'd been meaning to read and that was a pretty solid life decision. I got Kwame Alexander's beautiful and moving The Crossover from the library and I'll definitely be buying a copy for my own shelves. It's one of my favorite reads of 2014 for sure. I want everyone to read it so that I can nerd out about it with other people!

Onward to the recommendations!

I've Been Listening... Quick Thoughts on 7 Audiobooks

I've been enjoying the hell out of my Audible subscription (seriously, it's so great) and have been using it, and Multnomah Country Library's rad digital downloads system, to check out books that I've heard mixed things about seem polarizing in some way. It's a fun way to explore books I'd maybe otherwise pass up. 

It's hard for me to write lengthy reviews of audiobooks because I don't retain details quite as well when I'm listening. But I thought I'd share some brief reflections on some books I listened to recently. 

Recommendation Roundup: May 2014

Holla, people! 

Try not to be too stunned, but I think this is the first time ever I've managed to post our monthly roundup of recommendations on the actual first of the month. I know, right? Stunning!

I have to say, I read some pretty great YA this month, which was a real treat, since I've had a whole slew of not-finished YAs recently. Have you checked out the last book in Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke & Bone series yet? Woo boy, is that good. I listened to the audiobook because one of my favorite narrators does that series and it was loooooong, but so worth it. I also enjoyed Jenny Han's new book, Liz Fichera's seemingly under-the-radar sweet YA romance, Jennifer Echols new book and a couple of other goodies as well. 

Clock through for 14 recommendations we read this month! 

Blogging is a funny thing.

I never imagined that “my thing” as a blogger would be defending genres that I don’t really read. But, it’s something I feel very strongly about. I really do believe that the frequent diminishing of any number of genres is really a disappointing approach to book criticism.

Within every single genre, there’s a spectrum of quality, and that perception varies greatly depending on each individual reader or reviewer’s personal taste, so the dismissal an entire genre out-of-hand really bothers me.

With that said, it’s probably no surprise I was pretty disappointed to read a piece recently that was extremely harsh toward paranormal YA. Admittedly, this is not one of my favorite genres, as I tend to prefer my paranormal in adult fiction (it generally makes more sense to me in a more grown up setting). 

However, there are a few paranormal YAs that I sincerely enjoy and often recommend. 

Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore

Alert! Alert! This is a standalone paranormal YA! Try not to pass out from the shock of it all. I loved this book so much, it’s a really fun ghost story and mystery with a whole lot of humor and a light, charming romance. And if you grew up on Nancy Drew, you’ll love the little shout-outs to Nancy’s adventures. (Sandra also recommends the Maggie Quinn books by the same author.)

Dreamdark: Blackbringer by Laini Taylor

Laini Taylor creates a world that sparkles like a lake on a summer afternoon in her 2007 novel for middle grade/early YA readers,  Blackbringer (Faeries of Dreamdark #1).

It’s a diverse world of faeries, a band of crows, imps, Djinns and tattooed warriors beguiling while plunging me into into a fanciful world where legends are,

…meeting life. [Where] every choice casts a shadow, and sometimes those shadows stalk your dreams.

Beautiful, delicate and fierce faerie Magpie Windwitch is the granddaughter of the West Wind who travels with her band of crows across the landscape of their world, Dreamdark,  the forest filled with all creatures bright, fanciful, dangerous and dark.. Cacophonous, her boisterous and funny crow buddies, entertain and protect, love and fight and carry the dreams of all of the creatures in their Dreamdark Forest in their hearts. Magpie comes from dreams, made from their fabric and woven into the tapestry of Dreamdark.

Dark forces gather to eradicate all that is beautiful and free in Dreamdark. Because the setting is fanciful and beautiful, the darkness encroaching upon it folds itself across the pages smothering all that shines with laughter and joy. The Blackbringer lives in a netherworld where the stars are ripped out. And, he’s been set loose to wreak his revenge upon all that is good. She holds her destiny to save her world and those she cherishes as the fuel that powers her actions.

Well, this is a tough one! Jillian from Pure Fictional Intent filled out our very scientific book matchmaker questionaire looking for some genre reads she hasn’t yet discovered.

Since she’s a blogger and Goodreader, Jillian has her finger what’s happening in the book world, so we were challenged with this one. 

Adult or YA: Surprise Me

Genres: Dystopia, Fantasy, Paranormal, Steampunk

Narrator/POV: First Person, Third Person, Multiple POV, Present Tense, Past Tense, Female POV, Main Character or Narrator

Swoon Factor: 4

Gross Out Factor: 4

Smut Factor: 3

Fluff Factor: 3

Favorite Books/Themes: Ella Enchanted, Finnikin of the Rock, Froi of the Exiles, Keturah and Lord Death. Why? I love that they take “old” ideas (fairy tales, fantasy world with conspiracies and intrigues, and folk lore, respectively) and bring fresh, engaging spins to them.

Turn Offs: Love triangles, instant love between heroine/hero and love interest, faulty and unengaging world-building

The Results

The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis

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.”