Smugglers Ponderings

BBAW Day 4: Blogs Discovered, Books Found

Today’s suggested BBAW topic is:

Today we encourage you to blog about a book you read only because you discovered it on another book blog. Preferably, this will be a book you loved! You might also write a bit about the blog you discovered it on!

For this fourth day of the glorious celebration of all things Book Blogger, we give you our list of favorite book discoveries we’ve made through other bloggers!


Thea: I’m cheating and not just picking one book or one blogger, because there are so many wonderful bloggers out there who have recommended many gems. My favorite discovers are as follows:

The Miles Vorkosigan Books from Li, Me and My Books

Li’s blog is one of the first I discovered when Ana and I started The Book Smugglers, and her taste in fantasy/speculative fiction was a perfect match for my own. And she was always going on and on about this Miles Vorkosigan character, from Lois McMaster Bujold. Now, I had read some of Ms. Bujold’s fantasy work (her Sharing Knife books most recently), and with Li’s emphatic recommendations, I decided to give her science fiction a try with The Warrior’s Apprentice…and of course, I absolutely loved it! I’m slowly working my way through the Vorkosigan backlist and loving every single book and novella.

Life as we Knew it from Meljean, Meljean Brook

Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life as we Knew it was my favorite read of 2008 – and since my first read, I’ve gone on to reread it at least twice this year. This is easily one of my favorite apocalypse novels, PERIOD (never mind the YA label, this thing is deep and soul-searching)…and it’s all thanks to author Meljean Brook. She posted a short review about this book that immediately caught my interest (I believe she called it “THE ROAD-lite” – which it is, kind of, only I actually preferred it to Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel), and the rest as they say is history. I love this book. And Meljean totally rules.

The Amelia Peabody Books from Li, Me and My Books

Li strikes again! After I read and loved Vor Lord Miles so much, I decided I just HAD to discover this Amelia Peabody character too that Li is always saying something about. So, I made an executive decision, flexed my intimidation muscles and got Ana to agree to do Crocodile on the Sandbank for a joint review. And OH DEAR LORD was it awesome. Amelia Peabody is a veritable force of nature. She’s sensible, ever-ready with her steel-tipped parasol and utility belt, but also prone to flights of romantic sensibility (though she would never, EVER admit that in her sparkling narratives). Elizabeth Peters has created one of my all time favorite heroines in this Victorian Egyptologist – I cannot express enough my pure, unfiltered love for this series.

Richelle Mead from Li, Me and My Books

Li, again! Same story – though I had seen Richelle Mead’s Georgina Kincaid series and Vampire Academy books in my local store, I probably would not have picked either up if it wasn’t for Li’s honest reviews. And go figure, Richelle Mead’s ongoing series’ are amongst my most highly anticipated books each year!

The Works of Linnea Sinclair from Katiebabs, Babbling About Books and More!

When we first started blogging, the friendly, delightful Katiebabs was around to help us out with suggestions for other blogs and authors. Linnea Sinclair was a totally unknown author to me (and to Ana) at the time, but at KB’s insistence, we gave Gabriel’s Ghost a try – and we both instantly fell in love with Linnea Sinclair’s Science Fiction Romances. A truly great voice in this niche genre, Linnea Sinclair has since been a Book Smuggler staple. Plus, Linnea is just a sweetheart all around.

The Raine Benares Books from Tia, Fantasy Debut

Tia’s many posts about the wonderful world of Elvish seeker in a whole lot of trouble, Raine Benares, caught my eye. And after reading her wonderful interviews with author Lisa Shearin, I decided to give Magic Lost, Trouble Found a go. And, yep, it was awesome. Raine’s books are narrated in a first person Urban Fantasy style even though the stories are of the high fantasy variety…and well, the combination is pretty cool. I’ve been hooked on the series since, having loved both Armed and Magical and this year’s The Trouble With Demons.

Generation Dead/Forest of Hands and Teeth from Karen, Karen Mahoney

Kaz, as we’ve mentioned numerous times before, is not only a new author but a bonafide book pimp. It is because of her that I’ve bought many, many books and these two zombie-themed YA titles are amongst my favorite reads of 2009. I must confess that if it was not for Karen, there’s no way in hell I’d have picked up Daniel Waters’s Generation Dead – the cover looks, to be blunt, stupid. But pick it up I did, and I really, *really* loved it – it’s surprisingly dark and thought-provoking. Book 2, Kiss of Life (similarly cheesy cover that has nothing to do with the story) is even better. And then of course, there’s Carrie Ryan’s beautiful debut novel The Forest of Hands and Teeth which is in the running for best book I’ve read in 2009. I knew about the book before Karen teased us with the fact that she’d read it and loved it, but because of her we were able to score an early copy. I bow down at the unparalleled awesomeness that is Kaz!

Diana Peterfreund from Li & Angie, Me and My Books/Angieville

Both Li and Angie read and reviewed Diana Peterfreund’s Secret Society books around the same time, and as two of my favorite blogs, I took these recommendations to heart! I honestly would not have picked up Secret Society Girl had it not been for these two prolific bloggers and their awesome reviews for the series. Again, I found myself loving protagonist Amy Haskell and the delectable (and completely alien) world of secret societies. More than that, Li and Angie’s recommendation led me to discover a completely new author in Diana Peterfreund, who now is one of my daily favorites for blog entries, recommendations, and writing in general. Her debut YA novel, Rampant, about killer unicorns and the girls who are responsible for the safety of our world, totally rocked. Speaking of Diana…

Assorted YA Goodness from Diana, Diana Peterfreund

Diana’s posts about M.T. Anderson, Scott Westerfeld, Sarah Cross, and many more finally got me to get off my ass and give them a read for our YA Appreciation Month. Holy crow, I absolutely loved Feed, the Uglies trilogy, and Dull Boy. Not to mention, I’ve got a list of other post-apocalyptic dystopian type novels to read from Diana’s suggestion!

The Orphan’s Tales/Feast of Souls from Kristen, Fantasy Cafe

Kristen is one of my favorite book reviewers, by a long shot. In addition to being informative and in-depth, her taste in books is pretty awesome. Just recently, I picked up Catherynne Valente’s The Orphan’s Tales: In the Night Garden because of her review and praise for the novel, and I loved it (another one in the running for favorite reads of 2009). She’s also introduced me to authors like C.S. Friedman, Sarah Monette, and Lynne Robbins.

Tomorrow Series/Obernewtyn from Rhiannon, Rhiannon Hart

Ok, so I had read these books before discovering Rhiannon online, but her wicked Dystopian Challenge totally got me in the mood for rereads. Not only did I love Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden and Obernewtyn from Isobelle Carmody, but reading along with many of my own favorites and new reads with Rhiannon was awesome.

Clockwork Heart, A Curse Dark as Gold, Lady Julia Gray, Shannon Hale, etc etc etc from Angie, Angieville

I’ve probably received the most recommendations from the incredible Angie of Angieville over the year and some that I’ve been blogging. Everything from the YA works of seasoned authors such as Juliet Marillier and Shannon Hale to the debut efforts of Elizabeth C. Bunce, to the dangerous and mysterious world of Lady Julia Grey, or even to a realm of steampunk future where Icarii take messages by flying on metal wings…well, you get the picture. Angie’s recommendations are the best.

Books I Don’t Want to Read but End up Loving from the one and only Ana Grilo

Seriously, if it wasn’t for Ana, I wouldn’t be here in the first place. I most certainly never would have read a single romance novel in my life – and even though I’m immature and probably will never really be a romance reader, I’ve discovered some lovely, unexpected gems in the mix. If not for Ana, I’d never have read Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase, or discovered the beauty of the Wallflowers books or Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas. I’d never have known the wonderful world of Meljean Brook’s nuanced Demon Angel, or Nalini Singh’s Angels’ Blood. Heck, I’d probably be without classics like Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White, or modern gems like Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind and Patrick Suskind’s Perfume if not for dear Ana. For this and for so many other things, I owe my largest reading debt to my wonderful partner in crime, the unparalleled Ana Grilo!


Ana:There is no way I can go with only one either so I will cheat as well. Some of my favourite are as follows:

Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas and Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase from Kristie J, Ramblings on Romance

When I first started reading Romance novels in August 2007, Ramblings on Romance was one of the first blogs I found and my go–to place for romantic recommendations. It was Kristie’s love for Derek Craven, the hero of Dreaming of You that led me to discover the wonders of Lisa Kleypas’ novels and it was the fact that Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase is listed as one of her favourite books of all time that made me pick it up. The result is that Lord of Scoundrels is MY all-time favourite romance novel and Loretta Chase and Lisa Kleypas along with Julia Quinn, are my Holy Trinity of Romance Writers. Not to mention that it was Kristie’s blog that made me want to start my own!

Books by Linnea Sinclair, Meljean Brook, CL Wilson and Nalini Singh from Katiebabs, Babbling about Books and more

Now, this woman is really a force to be reckoned with. At first, I only read Historical romance but because of the Adorable KB, aka the Great Book Pimp, I decided to try out Fantasy/Romance, Scifi/Romance, and PNR and OH MY GOD. That was a whole new world in front of me. She was the one who sent me Gabriel’s Ghost in the post (my first ever gift from a fellow blogger) and dared me to read it. I loved it. I went on to read ALL of Linnea Sinclair’s books and as with Thea, became an instant fan. It was because of her love for Lord of the Fading Lands which made her top 10 list of 2007 that made me pick it up. I LOVED it.. The third book in this series, King of Sword and Sky was my favourite read of 2008.

But the main genre that KB introduced me to, was Paranormal Romance via the amazing, extraordinary Psy/Changeling books by Nalini Singh and the Guardian books by Meljean Brook. Seriously, these books are amongst my favourite series. If you never read or dared to read (I know, the covers don’t help do they?) Paranormal Romance, these are a good place to start. The worlds that these two created are FANTASTIC. It also helps that all of them: Linnea, Meljean, Nalini and CL Wilson are Very Cool People and I can only be thankful to KB for introducing me to their words.

Julie James’s novels from Stacy, Stacy’s Place on Earth

If Kristie J introduced me to the wonders of Historical romance and KB to the wonders of PNR, Stacy was the responsible for yet another discovery: Contemporary Romance, the last frontier. I had vowed I would not pick up contemporary novels (because, really did I need yet another genre to add to my TBR mountain?) but her love for Julie James’ books made me pick up Just the Sexiest Man Alive and again HOLY CRAPOLES, love at first sight. Julie James’ books are so cool, her heroines are so strong, her dialogue perfect and funny. Plus, her books are love letters to old time Screwball Comedies that I so adore.

The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran from Ann Aguirre

Yet another awesome discovery in the world of Romance Novels. In the beginning of 2008 author Ann Aguirre read and loved a book by a newbie called Meredith Duran and proceeded to promote the book every change she’s got. The book was called The Duke of Shadows and I bought it, even though I loathe the cover. I cannot begin to stress how well Meredith Duran writes, I was completely captivated by her prose. This is Romance at its best and she went on to write another two excellent books: Bound by Your Touch and Written on Your Skin.

(And now this list? It’s reminding me of how much I love Romance)

Numerous YA books from the Fantastic Four: The Story Siren, Presenting Lenore, Bookshelves of Doom and YA Fabulous

I check these blogs for YA recommendations. My TBR pile is nearly eating me alive because I have bought a LOT of books based on these guys’ recommendations. I am also suffering from Cart Overload – my Amazon cart is right now, over 12 pages long because I keep adding and adding books I found on their blogs. Visit them as soon as you can but proceed at your own risk.

The Laurentine Spy from Liviu, Fantasy Book Critic

I love Liviu’s reviews and Fantasy Book Critic is one of ours favourite Fantasy Blogs. When I read their review of The Laurentine Spy, I kid you not, I was overcome with Book Lust, I just HAD to read it. I got, I read it, I loved it.

The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan from Karen, Karen Mahoney

Karen Mahoney, Official Honorary Book Smuggler and someone who has become a true, dear friend of mine, told me about Sarah Rees Brennan’s The Demon Lexicon as soon as she read it. Her pimpage worked: I got the book and I devoured it. I am now a huge fan of Sarah Rees Brennan – not only her book rocked my world this year but I also love her livejournal.

The Queen’s Thief books from Angie, Angieville

Ah, Angie. Angie, Angie, Angie. Confession time: I have a crush on Angieville. Thea already said how many books she got recommended from Angie. So have I: from Scarlet Johnson’s books to ALL the books she recommends on her Retro Fridays feature, I recently got a pad and pen and went through every single page of her blog writing down everything that took my fancy (ie most of them). What prompted my love for Angieville? Her amazing, heartfelt review of books she deeply, truly loves. Her love for the act of reading itself leaps from the pages and her adoration for Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief books made me read them and I can only say this: she was right. These books are incredibly good and I am SO thankful for her for making me want read them. They are my top reads of 2009 (along with The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss) .

Far too many books to count from Thea James, The Book Smugglers

Have you got any idea what is like to share a blog with Thea? I will tell you what it’s like: it’s the best thing in the world. She not only shares this immense love for reading and for books but also the sheer obsession that blogging has become to both of us. She is the sole responsible for making me go outside my comfort zone in more ways that I can count. She is the one that made me start reading YA (the genre I love the most at the moment) and to go through my Fantasy revival. I read Thea’s reviews and I want to read the book – it doesn’t matter that it’s from a genre I don’t usually read: she reviews it ergo I want it. She made me discover Juliet Marillier, Alex Bell, Elizabeth Peters; Graphic Novels such the amazing Fables and The Dark Knight Returns; One of her favourites books of all time is Mara, Daughter of the Nile , a book I would never have picked up if it wasn’t for her: now, it’s one of my own favourites. Hell, Thea introduced me to Melissa Marr and we all know how that turned out. She even made me into a Zombie lover.

Yes, she did that. For that and so much more, I love my Thea-Bear and I am immensely grateful that she said “yes” when I invited her to blog with me.

Phew. Now it’s back at you: which books have you found via a blog?

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  • katiebabs
    September 17, 2009 at 4:33 am

    What a great, great post!! I love being an evil book pimp 😀

    You ladies have expanded my reading list tenfold.

  • Jill
    September 17, 2009 at 4:49 am

    You showed some awesome books. A few of which I found because of other blogs! I’ll be coming back to this post to add some more to my TBR pile.

  • Ana
    September 17, 2009 at 5:18 am

    Thanks for the comments, ladies.

    Thea, it’s like, we are physically incapable of writing short posts. 😯 :mrgreen:

  • Jacqueline C.
    September 17, 2009 at 5:36 am

    Great post guys! So many for my wish list and a few new blogs too!

  • Lisa Shearin
    September 17, 2009 at 5:39 am

    I’m so glad that you love my books!

    You ladies have always recommended such fun books! And once again, I’ve found some in today’s post to add to my towering & teetering TBR stack.

    Take care!

  • Kati
    September 17, 2009 at 6:50 am

    Ana, if you had a pound for everytime I’ve written the phrase “Damn it, Ana!”, you’d be a rich woman. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Ana is my reviewing idol. When I grow up, I want to write reviews like her.

    I also get many suggestions from Kate at Babbling About Books. And Stacy and I have remarkably similar reading tastes so if Stace likes it, I probably will too.

    You know who else pimps a lot of books to me? Kmont from Lurv a la Mode. While she only reads a bit of romance, when she finds one she likes, if I haven’t read it, I’ll almost always pick it up. Heck, she got me to give Sherry Thomas another chance, when I’d resolved that her writing style just didn’t work for me. And Not Quite a Husband is one of my favorite historicals of the year. So yeah, Kmont? Good pimp.

  • Karen Mahoney
    September 17, 2009 at 7:23 am

    This is one of the best blog posts you two have EVER posted. And no, that’s NOT because I’m mentioned twice in it. 😉

    Seriously, you actually made me get all teary-eyed over how much you love and respect each other. And! Over how much you love books and you are driven to share that love with the world. You’re such an amazing team – long may it continue!

    The Book Smuggler’s rule!!! Next stop: World Domination. *ninja*

    <3 <3 <3


  • The Book Smugglers » Blog Archive » BBAW Day 4: Blogs Discovered … - Obernewtyn Isobelle Carmody books - Obernewtyn
    September 17, 2009 at 7:35 am

    […] See the rest here: The Book Smugglers » Blog Archive » BBAW Day 4: Blogs Discovered … […]

  • Harry Markov
    September 17, 2009 at 7:39 am

    You will make my post look like a very lame excuse for a blog post. Damn it you and your highway length lists. GAH!

  • gautami tripathy
    September 17, 2009 at 7:57 am

    One great list. I will check out a few of those!

    BBAW: Which book blogger is responsible for this?

  • Li
    September 17, 2009 at 9:40 am

    I’ve such a big smile on my face now – there is nothing like having people fall in love with the books you love too! Gosh, I hope that sentence made sense.

    And Ana – LOL, I can’t believe you went through the whole of Angie’s blog… err, any chance of borrowing that list? 😉

  • Maya M.
    September 17, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Impressive list.
    I gave you two a shout-out on my blog today!

  • KMont
    September 17, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    Well, the list of ones I found via this place would likely stretch into next year.

    Gad, don’t think I could do a list like this. My memory’s too full of holes! I can’t remember all the places I’ve found good books at. Yall did such a great job. 🙂

  • Jessica
    September 17, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    What Katiebabs said!

  • Rhiannon Hart
    September 17, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    You guys put me on to Pfeffer which I’m so grateful for! And now I have Genesis in my pile too, and Angie’s raves about Whalen Turner made me go out and buy The Thief. (I even read half a Loretta Chase novel and really liked it before I got distracted by The Death of Grass or something but I WILL finish it!)

    Oh you two … *tear*. Great post!

  • Kris
    September 17, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    I can’t even count the number of books that you two have made me buy. *Dammit!* Susan Beth Pfeffer, Melissa Marr, C J Wilson, Sarah Rees Brennan, Sarah Monette; the list is endless!

    So thank you Ana and Thea for enabling my reading addiction. I thank you even if my bank account doesn’t. :mrgreen:

  • Diana Peterfreund
    September 17, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    Thanks, guys! Thanks for reading and thanks for reading the books i’ve been pimping. I really appreciate it!

    I’ve seen a few other blog posts this week from folks who picked up the secret society girl series because you liked the first one, so thanks for that, too!

  • Kristen
    September 17, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    Aw, thank you Thea! 🙂

    I owe reading Kushiel’s Dart, Santa Olivia, the Mercy Thompson books (one of my very favorite finds of the year!) and Dead Witch Walking to you guys. And there are so many books still on the pile that you’ve suggested that I’m looking forward to – Ill Wind, Jasmyn, The Thief, Orphans of Chaos

  • Tia
    September 17, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    Thanks for mentioning Fantasy Debut! There are a lot of great blogs out there, including your own! I wish I had half the energy of even one of you . . .

  • Angie
    September 17, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    You guys are teh bomb. And I love the nod to Lisa Shearin’s books in your post title as well. 🙂

    Seriously, if it weren’t for you guys my reading life wouldn’t even remotely resemble the rich variety is has now. And, Ana, believe me–the crush is mutual. I can’t believe you made a comprehensive list!? *blushes*

    It’s been a rough couple of days and so I didn’t get my post up today. But it’s on its way shortly and the Smugglers will definitely be making an appearance on my list. Thanks for everything, guys!

  • Christine
    September 18, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Oh my gosh. I loved this post…. especially that awesome zombie picture at the end.

    I would have to say that I consider both you and Thea as my personal book pimps. Most books I’ve picked up in the last year or so were because of you two. And Angie. 8)

    September 18, 2009 at 4:09 pm


  • Veronica F
    September 19, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    I most recently came across a YA book called “Hush, Hush” by Becca Fitzpatrick…I haven’t read it yet because it doesnt release till October 13, 2009 but I’ve heard nothing but good things bout it on blogs and the cover loooks absolutely beautiful!!!!
    I know they say never judge a book by its cover, but when it looks this cool, I won’t pass it up!

  • Debbie
    September 19, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    You came across some great books! I just finished Life As We Knew It last night and really liked it. I also found it on a blog (YABookNerds).

  • Gerd Duerner
    November 7, 2009 at 5:17 am

    Just wanted to let you know that I picked up “Lord of Scoundrels” on your recommendation, and say thank you.
    I love that book, I love Loretta’s writing, she’s one of the author’s you just can’t put down once you started reading.
    Great book!

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