My Google Diary for Dreams of Gods & Monsters

My Google Diary for Dreams of Gods & Monsters

My Google Diary for Dreams of Gods & MonstersDreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor


When I read, I ask a LOT of questions. Here’s some stuff I searched or wondered about while reading Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor.

From my Review:

Dreams of Gods & Monsters was an epic and beautiful finale to one of my new favorite fantasy series.  The romance made my heart melt.  There was a Star Wars joke about using a Tauntaun to keep warm which I loved.  There was more of the blunt, honest humor that I laugh out loud at. Read more…


The Plaza of St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome (pg 66)

They were over the plaza, Michelangelo’s colonnades curving beneath them like outstretched arms.

– Laini Taylor,  Dreams of Gods & Monsters (pg 475)

Image Credit: "Vatican StPeter Square" by François Malan - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

Image Credit: “Vatican StPeter Square” by François Malan – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons



By the time the plane’s wheels touched down on a desolate stretch of desert runway, the sun had cleared a ridge of mountains and revealed a land the color of dust. The single building that served as a terminal was squat and fashioned seemingly of the same dust.

The Middle East? Eliza wondered. Tattooine? A sign, hand-painted, was illegible in exotic, curling letters. Arabic, at a guess. That probably eliminated Tattooine.

-Laini Taylor, Dreams of Gods & Monsters  (p. 238).


Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not on Tattooine any more.

Is it Gollum??

Razgut crooning over his pain like a baby just makes this image of Gollum pop in my head.  And once it did, it never went away every time he showed up in the book.

He could kick him, oh yes, and Razgut would croon to the pain all night long and comfort it like an armful of babies, and in the morning he would count his bruises, and number his spites and miseries, and go on smiling, and go on knowing all the things that no one remembered, the things that should never have been forgotten, and the reason— oh godstars, the most excellent and terrible reason— that Jael should leave the Stelians alone.

-Laini Taylor,  Dreams of Gods & Monsters  (pg 259).



World Religions

A big theme in this book was religion.  I really liked this quote because even though it is fiction I think it highlights really well the dynamic of world religions.

“Are you beginning to understand what this means?” Dr. Amhali asked, very intense. “Do you see how the world will interpret it? The angels flew to Rome; it’s all very nice for Christians, yes? Angels in Rome, warning of beasts and wars, while here, in a Muslim country, we unearth… demons. What do you think the response will be?”

– Laini Taylor, Dreams of Gods & Monsters (pg 248).


Even though I wasn’t a fan of all the back story, I did like the references to the Nephilim. And since Hieronymus Bosch was mentioned in Daughter of Smoke & Bone, I had to include one of his painting here that was based on one of the biblical references to Nephilim (Genesis 6:1-4).

Hieronymus Bosch - The Fall of the Rebel Angels

Hieronymus Bosch – The Fall of the Rebel Angels

It was the term, in ancient texts, for the offspring of the better-known “Nephilim,” who were the first fruit of angels’ congress with humans.

– Laini Taylor, Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone) (pg 352).

Nephilim scripture, both biblical and apocryphal, all the angels were male. The Book of Enoch— a text that was canon to no group except the Ethiopian Jews— tells of the leader of the fallen angels, Samyaza, ordering his hundred and ninety-nine fallen brethren to, essentially, get busy.

– Laini Taylor, Dreams of Gods & Monsters  (pg 352).



About Laini Taylor

Laini Taylor

Hi there! I'm a writer of fantasy books for young people, but my books can be enjoyed by adults as well. My 'Dreamdark' books, Blackbringer (2007) and Silksinger (2009) are about faeries -- not dainty little flowery things, but warrior-faeries who battle devils. My first young adult book, Lips Touch, is a finalist for the 2009 National Book Award! It's creepy, sensual supernatural romance. . . about kissing. I am also an artist with a licensed gift product line called "Laini's Ladies."

How Do You Deal with Racism in Classic Novels?

How Do You Deal with Racism in Classic Novels?

I like to read classic novels.  Anything that’s 100 years old that is still being read is a classic in my mind but I know not everyone labels books that way.  I was reading The Scarlet Pimpernel a few months ago and I came across some blatant racism against Jews that made me very uncomfortable.  A better description would be disturbed and deeply sad.  I know this is me reading it from a modern perspective since I know how history has treated Jews and many other minorities.  It’s still kind of shocking to come across any racism or discrimination and have it be presented as normal.  I almost wanted to put the book down.  Here’s my dilemma and I wanted to know what you thought.

  • Is it fair to judge this old novel by my modern standards?
  • If I just let it slide because it’s old, is there a point where the discrimination in classic novels has passed the point of teaching me something and is just disturbing to me and therefore not worth reading?
  • Is reading about racism in older books a teaching tool for me or my kids to not think that way about people?  Or am I just justifying reading something I don’t agree with?

I posted this discussion mostly because I don’t know for sure how I feel about all those questions yet.  I don’t know that it’s fair to judge a classic by my modern standards but I am concerned about reading classics that are discriminatory, especially if it’s not blatant like in The Scarlet Pimpernel.  I think reading affects who we are and how we think.  Maybe I’m being paranoid, but I think reading enough books that had racism in it would eventually desensitize me to it.  But maybe I could learn something from these old novels about how not to be racist.  I don’t know!!

How do you react when you come across discrimination, sexism, racissm etc in classic or old novels? Have you ever read a classic novel that was so racist/sexist/discriminatory that you couldn’t finish it?


Book vs. Movie: Flipped

Book vs. Movie: Flipped

flipped-movie-posterOn April 18, my friend Karena from Discovery Writer wanted to watch Flipped and I hadn’t read the book yet.  I had it sitting on my kindle waiting to be read – I just hadn’t gotten around to it.  So I was faced with the dilemma that all book lovers have – book or movie first??  I still had about 4 hours before we would get together…and the book was only 200 pages long…so I told Karena that I would read it before coming to her house that night.  She didn’t quite believe that I could start and finish a book in that time (and make dinner for my kids, too).  And I was all: Is that a challenge?

I finished Flipped right before going to her house.  You can read my book review of Flipped here.  I really liked the themes in the book of valuing what’s on the inside instead of on the outside.  We had a lot of fun chatting about the movie while we watched it and here’s what we thought.

flipped movieFlipped was such a cute movie.  Like most adorable romantic comedies,  I thought the music in the movie was very cheesy.  Karena didn’t notice the music much, but it bugged me.  Melodramatic is a good word for the score.  The setting, characters, and dialogue were very similar to the book.  There were small inconsistencies in the plot but overall it was extremely close to the book.  It was so close to the book and had so much voiceover that Karena said, “That’s the greatest movie I’ve ever seen on audiobook.”  Haha that totally made me laugh.  It really was like watching an audiobook version of the book since they were almost exactly the same.  I noticed the very small differences only because I literally had just barely read the book. If I had read the book even a week earlier I don’t think I would have noticed hardly any differences.

flipped movie 1That being said there is one major difference between the book and the movie.  The book has a contemporary, early 2000s setting while the movie has a 1950s setting.  The movie also highlighted some things that I didn’t get from the book.  It wasn’t so gross just reading about snakes eating eggs, but watching it? Definitely gross.  I also got the feeling from the movie that when Bryce’s dad accuses Juli’s brothers of doing drugs that it was because he had done drugs as a teen.  It’s just a theory, but the way he looked ashamed in the movie and then how in the book it talked about him getting very quiet after that made me think that he probably did.

The ending was much better in the book. View Spoiler »

Overall, despite the fact that the plot of the movie and book are virtually the same (as well as a lot of the dialogue and characters even), I would still pick the book over the movie because the book just went into more detail and made me more emotionally invested in the characters than the movie was able to.

3 Stars

Movie Trailer

Book vs. Movie: The Count of Monte Cristo

Book vs. Movie: The Count of Monte Cristo

Count of Monte Cristo Movie Poster 2002When I asked my husband if he wanted to watch The Count of Monte Cristo with me, he groaned and said something about English assignments and high school and “all over again.”  When I told him it was a recent adaption (2002), he stopped acting like he was being tortured but didn’t seem convinced that he would like it.  Guess what.  Here’s what he said when the movie was over:  “That was actually really good. You have good taste.”  I mean, I think I have good taste but it’s always nice to get validation. :)  I love that he said “actually” as if he were surprised.

I agree with my husband.  I thought this was a great and entertaining adaption of The Count of Monte Cristo.  There were, of course, differences from the book (Read my book review of The Count of Monte Cristo).  Since I love to over analyze things I’ll give you a short and long version about which was better.  The long version might be kind of spoilery of either the book or the movie but I’ll keep the short version spoiler free.

MV5BMjEwNjE1NzQ3N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNjE1MDM3._V1__SX1208_SY572_In the movie, some of the motives and some of the relationships changed, but the theme of revenge stayed the same.  Some of the relationship changes were so drastic that it might bug you if you’re a purist to the book.  They did bug me a little since I knew what they were supposed to be, but having these new relationships really amped up the drama which is always good for a movie.  There’s also a few scenes added to amp up the action – like a really cool sword fight – but I think overall, the changes that were made to the movie added to the entertainment even if it wasn’t a very faithful adaption.  I also think the changes made it so you could enjoy the movie on it’s own without having read the book.  If my husband who hadn’t read the book really enjoyed it, I think that’s a sign of a good movie regardless of how faithful to the book it was.  I wish it had stuck a little more to the book, but a lot of the overall story lines stayed the same and I think it was a great, fun movie worth watching.  I felt like the book had much more depth and the revenge was better.  I think I would pick the book over the movie on this one.

The relationship changes are quite drastic from what they are in the book.  Here’s the first example of a change.  Mondego is Dantes’ friend and not Mercedes’ cousin.  This added some interesting drama because it made the betrayal by him even more awful and they probably took away the cousin thing because ew.  But I missed the story line of Mondego in the book becoming a Count (he already is one in the movie) by questionable means and then having it come back to haunt him.

MV5BMTQ5NDQ2MzIzNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNjA1MDM3._V1__SX1208_SY572_The motive behind Dantes carrying the letter that dooms him to prison was to save his life and not as a favor to a dying captain.  This makes him look more like a victim and less like an idiot that would carry a letter from Napoleon when he’s been exiled.  I’m just realizing as I’m writing this that Dantes was kind of dumb in the book.  He’s definitely not dumb after he gets out of prison, but he was to start with.  Poor Book Dantes was a victim of his own idiocy.

Dantes gets unjustly arrested.  In the movie he’s much more active in fighting against his arrest because he’s smarter apparently than he was in the book.  He even gets away and goes to his “friend” Mondego’s house for help! Oops he’s the one that sent him there.  Dantes doesn’t find out in the book who betrayed him before he went to prison because, as I’ve said before, he was dumb as a rock.


Chateau D’if

Chateau D’if was a real place. How cool is that?! I don’t know if the movie was filmed here, but I think it’s awesome that this prison is still around so I googled it, of course.  As one does.

The prison stay at Chateau D’if and escape was pretty accurate with the book, though they added whipping so that SOMETHING at least is happening.  They also notice Dantes is missing when he escapes a lot sooner than they did in the book.  And the Warden falling in after Dantes was strange.  That wasn’t in the book.  I’m not sure what the point of that was.

I loved how the movie added a fight to the death to join the smugglers.  It showed Dantes cleverness.  In the book he just gets to join when they see how good he is at sailing.

After that, we go straight to Paris and then they go to Italy later which is reverse from the book.  Danglars has a career change in the movie – he’s a shipper instead of a banker.

After how long it took in the book, the revenges seem to come one right after the other in the movie.  Villefort’s story line was sadly shortened.  Villefort kills his father by conspiracy in the movie, but the book was much better because he used his father to play political games to stay on top.  It made Villefort a much more shady character.  And the whole poisoning story line was left out.  Even though it was slow getting around to all the people being poisoned, that was part of the drama of it all.  Sadly, Danglars revenge was much better in the book.

Then the end goes out with more drama! And an exciting sword fight!  Which, honestly, was an exciting way to end the movie.  The end of the book was good as well but it was more of a tying everything up ending.

Overall, I really enjoyed this entertaining adaption but it’s not a very faithful adaption and I enjoyed the depth of the novel much more. So book wins for me!

4 Stars

Movie Trailer

Come See My Library at Books, Tea, & Me!

Come See My Library at Books, Tea, & Me!


Lauren at Books, Tea, & Me asked me to do a guest post about my library on her blog.  It was so much fun to write!  You should go see my library and some of it’s quirks and then check out Lauren’s blog because it’s awesome.  Here’s one of the questions in her interview:

Me: In your library, what would you say is your most prized possession? It can be anything bookish-related.

Jessica: Easily the books from my Grandpa before he died. One is a 1901 edition of Gulliver’s Travels and another is a 1905 edition of The Other Wise Man.

Me: Awe, that’s really sweet. I treasure my Berenstain Bears books because my grandparents started my collection of them. There’s just something so special about the books we’re given from loved ones, particularly those we’ve lost. And I absolutely love old editions of books. I find them so magical, like I’m so surprised they lasted so long.

To read the rest, head on over to Lauren’s blog.