2/7/14

Seven author discoveries from seven years of blogging

My blog is now seven years old!  I have written 2240 posts, and reviewed around 1300 books (by the time the blog turns eight, I might have finished indexing and actually know for sure...).  My introductory post is here; I had no clue what I was doing, and little thought for the future...this has changed only somewhat!

It has been wonderful to make new friends through blogging, and especially at this point in my life I am grateful to my Candy Crush friends, most of whom I know from blogging (thanks for the lives!).  

It has also been wonderful to make the acquaintance of  books that I would not have known about if it hadn't been for blogging.  Lots of authors I love lots and lots I would probably have found in bookstores or in the library even if I hadn't blogged, but some I really don't think I would have, because of their books not being on the shelves in those places, or because of me not knowing how much I would love their books.

So, here are seven favorite authors for seven years of blogging!  (Presented in no particular order, with quotes from some of my reviews, and with no pictures because I just realized it was my blog birthday and I don't have time to fool with pictures....)

1.  Rachel Neumeier

City in the Lake-- I got a review copy of this the first year I read sci fi/fantasy for the Cybils.  I am so glad it got nominated!  "...one of the things that I personally really liked about the book is that the main characters are all people I would enjoy knowing in real life. This could be a sign of my own mental weakness, but I so much prefer to read about people I can care deeply about. So in a nutshell, here you have lovely world-making, people I like, and a satisfying plot."

The Floating Islands -- "For those who enjoyed Neumeier's first book, The City in the Lake, rest assured that the same beautiful writing is here; for those who were uncertain about that one, be assured that here the story swings along much more swingingly, following a much more straightforward arc of adventure and self-discovery."
House of Shadows -- "Books like this almost make me regret that I have a blog--back in the day before my tbr pile/list became so extreme, I would have had the leisure to start House of Shadows right from the beginning again."

And there's also Black Dog, which I reviewed yesterday, and so won't quote from my review.

2.  Sherwood Smith

Another author I found via Cybils review copies--the same year City in the Lake was nominated (2009), two of Smith's books were as well--A Posse of Princesses, and Stranger to Command.

About Posse I said "... this is a truly fun book about girls from very different backgrounds coming together to form friendships, learning to take the responsibilities of their lives seriously, and learning a bit about luv as well." Stranger to Command I never reviewed with the detailed love I felt about it; if you are looking for an utterly character-driven magical military school/growing up story look no further.

And then I went on to sink a lot of birthday present requests and money of my own into acquiring, and enjoying, lots more of her books. 

Including Once a Princess, which  "has everything I love about Sherwood Smith--smart, strong, kickass girls, and intelligent people who obviously know things that I, and the narrator, don't know, and a beautiful balance between drowning the reader in too much information about it all and creating a very nicely detailed world, and fictional characters who are really hot." (Hot? shakes head at past self for bad writing).

3.  Caro King

Another Cybils discovery!  I love  Seven Sorcerers -- "...the only thing I didn't like about the book was that it stopped too abruptly" and its sequel, Shadow Spell -- "I really truly recommend these two books to grown-ups who read middle grade fantasy for their own reading pleasure."  (and when I say "really truly" I am being as sincere as I am capable of being).

I also liked Kill Fish Jones very much indeed- "... this fascinating tension in Grimshaw's character makes this an even more gripping, memorable book than the ordinary grippingness of Fish's danger would alone.   The reader is challenged to empathise with a demon who has killed innocent people...and King makes it possible to do so.  Grimshaw is now my second favorite demon."  (Though "hot" is not a word I want to use again unless no other word would do, "grippingness" is a fine word.)

4.  Terry Pratchett

I had, of course, heard of Discworld, but didn't think it would be to my taste.  But because of my blog, I was invited to organize a panel for last summer's North American Discworld convention, and read the whole series, and wow!!!!!   Night Watch, in particular, is a book that I love with my whole heart --"oh my gosh, I love books so much where the hero is a truly decent, good person, who knows that things are hopeless, but does the best he or she can because that is the only thing do to.   And I love books where that hero not only clings to a dogged, hard-won refusal to give up, but also is smart enough to see chances where none exist."   Is teary just remembering it.

5.  Sarah Reese Brennan

I am not at all sure I would ever have read SRB's demon trilogy if it had not been for fellow bloggers--they don't Look, exactly, like they are books for me,  and my reading life would have been a lot poorer for the loss of them.  Alan! Nick!  Mae! Jamie!  I love you guys.  I will not even bother to quote from my review of the third book, The Demon's Surrender.  It embarrasses me.

6.  Leah Cypess

I blush to remember my reaction to the ARC of Mistwood I was offered the very first BEA I ever went to (which of course I wouldn't have been at had I not started blogging)--the title and blurb made me think "Celtic twilight" done-to-death-ness, and if the publishing rep. hadn't raved about it, I would have said no, and missed out on an lovely story and great feelings of fanishness toward all the books Leah Cypess has yet to write!  My review of Mistwood was not my finest blogging hour (food metaphors should probably be avoided), but I did a better job, I think, with Nightspell (especially since I just now edited out an infelicity)--  "This is one for fans of twisty, political fantasy.... this is one also for fans of books in which the relationship between sisters is front and center .... this is one for those who like complex magics, tangling past and present, that dictate the shape of a whole society!"

7.  Laini Taylor

With Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Laini Taylor made it onto the bookshelves, and I would have seen it, but probably not been compelled to read it.  But long before that book was written, I was a fan-- happily for me, I read this review at Fuse #8 for Blackbringer, and then this review from Jen Robinson, and this one from Liz, and was sold.  I love it, and it's sequel, Silksinger, and am so glad my fantasy reading boy does too!  From my review of Silksinger: "I enjoyed Blackbringer very much, and happily cheered Magpie on, confident that she would prevail... Silksinger, with its underdog characters, and its message that even the small and seemingly helpless can save the world, I enjoyed even more. "

These are all authors whose books get to live on my bedroom shelves because I love them, except for Terry Pratchett because I don't have room for him (and not because he is the only guy...eeks.  Now am anxious about gender bias).

And just as a postscript--the books my boys have loved most that we wouldn't have gotten if it hadn't been for blogging are  Escape From Hat, by Adam Kline and Brian Taylor, which they both loved, and  Psychiatric Tales, by Darryl Cunningham, which is just about my 13 year old's favorite book.  When I wrote my review of Escape From Hat, I did not realize how much kid appeal it had (both boys have read it multiple times and can rave about it at great length), or I would have been more positive about it.  Sorry, Adam and Brian; I will try to make it up to you by including a picture of your book:




13 comments:

  1. Happy Blogoversary!! You just reminded me that I have read Rachel Neumeier before. I read City in the Lake. I totally forgot about it. I guess that means I should not only read her new stuff, but reread that one so I remember what it was about...

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  2. Congrats on blogging for 7 years. What an amazing accomplishment! Loved seeing your list of favorite authors.

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  3. Happy Blog Birthday! My very favorite part of blogging (now I mostly read blogs, but it still applies) is finding new wonderful authors. I love Sherwood Smith. I probably would never have picked her up without blogger encouragement because the covers of her books are usually so awful (terrible, but true!).

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  4. Love this list. And Happy Blog Birthday!

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  5. Thanks, all of you! And yes, KT, the cover to Stranger to Command, by S. Smith, is one of the worst covers ever....

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  6. Congrats on 7 years! And so glad you discovered Pratchett. Night Watch is my favorite too.

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  7. Happy blogiversary! (And I totally my steal this for my upcoming anniversary.)

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  8. Chiming in late to say congratulations on seven years! I've loved sharing some of those discoveries with you--and look forward to many more!

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  9. A belated happy blog birthday, Charlotte! I get such a kick out of thinking that my Blackbringer review helped bring Laini's books to your attention. She gave me a copy of that first book at the first KidLitCon, so it has a special kidlitosphere history for me ;-)

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  10. Congratulations on 7 years!!! You just added 7 authors(that I haven't read yet)to my reading list. :D You especially have me curious about Black Dog! It may be my next "holiday"(mother's day maybe) gift request. Your review of Sorrow's Knot is what got me that book for Christmas. ;)

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    1. Oh goodness! That's the thing with blogging--it means you never run short of books! I hope you enjoy Black Dog!

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  11. Oh I missed this post when it first went up (I've just come to it now after reading Liviania's 6th year blogiversary post!), but I lovvvvvvvve it! You write so sensibly about books and make me pick up new authors all the time (see: Rachel Neumeier & Leah Cypess, who you totally convinced me to read!).

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