Book Blogger Appreciation Week 2010: Unexpected Treasure

As the fun with Book Blogger Appreciation Week continues, today’s suggested blogging theme is:

Unexpected Treasure
We invite you to share with us a book or genre you tried due to the influence of another blogger. What made you cave in to try something new and what was the experience like?

Thea’s Picks:

Well, to be fair, I haven’t truly been pushed out of my comfort zone this year, although I have picked up a number of books thanks to other bloggers. Here are a few notable reads, and the bloggers that helped push me over the edge to finally salvage these books from TBR purgatory!

The Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer by Laini Taylor

Thanks to Kristen, the mastermind behind Fantasy Cafe, Ana and I HAD to get this one read. And even though I was more than a little burned out on YA Faeries, wouldn’t you know it? I loved it. Laini Taylor was a new to me author that is now on the must-buy list, thanks to Kristen.

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

It’s no secret that I love dystopian lit – I’ve been reviewing it since we started The Book Smugglers back in the day, and have been reading it long before that. I had a copy of Mr. Fforde’s new novel, Shades of Grey, but kept pushing it back on the calendar. Then, I read an interview at Presenting Lenore with the author, and immediately bumped the book up on my list – and to this date, Shades is absolutely on the shortlist for Best Book of 2010 for me.

Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon, A Wish After Midnight by Zetta Eliott, The Agency books by Y.S. Lee, and more

Thanks to bloggers like Ari of Reading In Color, there are a number of PoC books of all subgenres that I have read and loved this year. Something good to come out of Bloomsbury-Covergate 2009/2010 is the fact that my eyes (and Ana’s too) have been opened to the problem of racism in the publishing industry.

The Girl with the Mermaid Hair by Delia Ephron, Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves and Other Assorted Subgenres (Contemporary YA, Romantic YA, etc)

Finally, how can I put together a list like this without mentioning my dear Ana Banana? I have basically zero interest in Contemporary YA (or YA Paranormal Romance, or Romance in general) – but because of Ana, I have given these genres a try…and I have LOVED some of my finds. Case in point, Delia Ephron’s stunning and heartbreaking The Girl with the Mermaid Hair (which is still in the running for one of my top 10 books of 2010) and the excellent Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves (which, to be honest, has Thea written all over it’s gorgeous cover). Without The Banana, I would never have read these books, and my life would have been that much less rich. All hail The Banana!

Ana’s Picks:

Just like Thea I haven’t been exactly pushed out of my comfort zone but I definitely tried new authors and genres after reading about them in other blogs. Some of my favourite are:

John Green’s books

Rather than following one particular blogger’s recommendation, I decided to give John Green a go based on the collective appreciation for his books all over YA blogland. I mean, I knew that Angieville’s Angie LOVES his books and that would be recommendation enough but the fact that a lot of other good people also love his book was just too much for me and I caved. I read An Abundance of Katherines and after that I was a goner.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

I’ve had this book on my radar for about a year but it wasn’t until two events that combined to make me finally read it: first, I read a review at Things Mean A Lot and then I met Carla from The Crooked Shelf (at a John Green event, by the way) who said it was an absurdly good book and one of her favourites. I read the book soon after that and wouldn’t you know – I loved it. Had it been published this year it would definitely make my top ten of 2010.

LGBQT books

Thanks to bloggers like Renay and Aja of Bookshop, I decided to read more YA books with LGBQT characters and themes in a conscious attempt to diversify my reading. Thanks to that, I found a whole new bunch of Contemporary authors that I have come to love.

YA! YA! and The Dark Side

Those who have been following the blog since we started will probably have noticed the new direction I have taken with my reading for the past year or so. I started out exclusively as the Romance Reader of the duo until I realised, mostly due to Thea’s all encompassing tastes that it was ok to start seeing other genres too. It was Thea who introduced me to darker reads (UF, Horror) but above all it was Thea who introduced me to the joys of YA reading (which she read and reviewed since day 1). YA account for the majority of the books I read now (I have SO much to catch up!) and if this blog is as eclectic as it is, it is all down to my Thea Bear. Thanks dude, you rule.

What about you? Any books or authors you tried this year upon a blogger’s recommendation?

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  • jessica
    September 15, 2010 at 2:17 am

    I started out purely historical romance but I’m a very fast reader and had almost out-red the genre. I stumbled into Anita Blake (not really, thankfully, that would have required a chemical wash) and found urban fantasy. I have now almost outread UF so I have moved into YA and cozy mysteries (I can read those at a particularly fast clip).

    I LOVE JASPER FFORDE. It was so exciting to see him speak and I treasure my postcard from the talk . But I haven’t finished Shade of Gray yet–I need to do that. An Abundance of Katherines is on my TBR list.

  • Stephanie
    September 15, 2010 at 3:12 am

    I began my love affair with cozy mysteries thanks to some of the fabulous book blogs out there. They’re so much fun to read on a rainy day!

  • Trish
    September 15, 2010 at 6:12 am

    What a great list of books!! I have recently started discovering John Green’s books thanks to blogging and Jasper Fforde is another one I’ve added to my shelf because of bloggers. Love the influence!

  • Ceilidh
    September 15, 2010 at 6:15 am

    It was a passing blog post (the blog I can no longer remember) mentioning Going Bovine that got me to pick it up. That book was amazing, more people should read it!

    It was an entry on Oh No They Didn’t discussing the next paranormal YA trends that got me interested in looking at the genre so go LJ for that one!

  • April (Books&Wine)
    September 15, 2010 at 6:52 am

    You guys have some great taste in books, even when it is outside of the box.

  • Meredith
    September 15, 2010 at 7:02 am

    Funnily enough, you ladies here at The Book Smugglers are why I put John Green and The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks on MY to-read list. It’s the circle of book life!

  • KMont
    September 15, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Well, you two totally awesome book pimps have certainly influenced my reading! Thank to Thea I read Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and discovered I TOO can has a good time with lit fic! And today is the movie release day! Can’t wait to see it, I’ve heard good things already,

    And Ana, oh Ana, you were so right about The Name of the Wind. I genuflect in your general direction, m’dear. You know, towards the UK. 😀

    I actually want to read ALL of the books yall review. Well, except the horror ones.

  • KMont
    September 15, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Wait! I has messed up! Maybe? Why did I think Never Let Me go released today??? The movie’s IMDB page says January 20, 2011. Oh the confusion!

  • Pam
    September 15, 2010 at 10:13 am

    I haven’t read any of those. Great list.

  • Amanda
    September 15, 2010 at 11:27 am

    So many good books listed here! I really need to get my hands on the Zetta Elliot book but I can’t seem to find it anywhere, grr.

  • Angie
    September 15, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Still so jealous you got to meet him! 🙂

  • Miz Tipsy
    September 15, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Good list. My reading list is definitely filling up quickly. 😯

  • Kristen
    September 15, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    I am so glad to see Blackbringer on your list, Thea! Have you read Silksinger yet? It’s even better than the first book, and Lips Touch is darker and even more awesome. I love Laini Taylor.

    It’s so much fun to see both of you branch out based on the other’s recommendations and find great books you never would have tried otherwise.

    Great books I’ve discovered this year due to other bloggers include The Queen of Attolia (thanks Ana – and Angie helped get me to read them too!) and the Kate Daniels series (thanks to Angie, Orannia and Thea). Also, I devoured the first two Naamah books, and I have you to thank for convincing me to read Jacqueline Carey sooner rather than later, Thea. I’ve loved every one of Carey’s books so far.

  • Lenore
    September 15, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    Shades of Grey is absolutely on my shortlist for best books of 2010 too! So glad my interview could sway you 🙂

  • Michelle
    September 18, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Even though you’ve already read Paper Towns I would encourage you to give the audio version a go. It was awesome! It singlehandedly encourages me to read everything else in the John Green Catalog.

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