Welcome to Smugglivus 2011! Throughout this month, we will have daily guests – authors and bloggers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2011, and looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2012.
Who: Chachic of Chachic’s Book Nook . Based in the Philippines, Chachic is a cool blogger who reviews mostly YA and Fantasy.
Please give it up for Chachic!
Maligayang Pasko! Merry Christmas, everyone. It’s only a few days before Christmas and I’m so excited to be back on the Smuggliest event of the year – the 2011 Smugglivus! I was thrilled when I got the email from Ana and Thea inviting me to share my favorites for this year. It’s such an honor because Ana and Thea are two of my blogging idols. I think they’re awesome and I love the recommendations that I get from their blog. I also love Smugglivus because I get so many recommendations from authors and bloggers. I think it’s always fun to know other people’s best reads for the year. I started thinking about what to include in my list as soon as I saw the invite. It’s so hard to narrow down my choices but here they are, in no particular order:
The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta
I’ve been waiting for The Piper’s Son to be released in the U.S. since last year (it was released in Australia years ago) and I can definitely say that it lived up to my expectations. There’s a lot of heartbreak in this novel but oh, so much love as well. Melina Marchetta has a way of making her characters come alive that makes you want to be included in their world. I loved this one just as much as my first Marchetta experience, which is Jellicoe Road.
Saving June by Hannah Harrington
I fell in love with this lovely contemporary YA debut novel about grief and loss because I could really relate to Harper. And Hannah Harrington sure knows how to write a swoon-worthy male character – Jake Tolan has been added to my list of fictional crushes. Can’t wait to see what she writes next!
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Ahh this book! It’s such an emotional read. I wanted to go inside the book and hug Connor, the poor boy dealing with his mother’s cancer. A Monster Calls is heart-wrenching and achingly beautiful and I was happy to discover that I wasn’t immune to Patrick Ness’ powerful writing.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Lips Touch by Laini Taylor
Laini Taylor is one of my favorite discoveries this year. I picked up Lips Touch and loved the lyrical writing in it – it’s modern day fantasy but reads like a fairy tale. I felt the same way when Daughter of Smoke and Bone came out – I was swept away by the beautiful words – and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel next year.
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
This novel is all about people who are brave (or foolish) enough to participate in a race riding killer horses that try to eat them. How can you not be the least bit curious about that? I loved both Puck and Sean’s voices and how the story is about the island and the horses but also still about them. And the romance? The best kind of slow burn, filled with intense glances and lines that will make you sigh with their perfection.
Silver Shark by Ilona Andrews
I will read everything that power couple Ilona and Gordon will write. They had a couple of releases this year: Magic Slays, Fate’s Edge and Silver Shark. I enjoyed reading all of them but was surprised by how much I loved Silver Shark, considering that I’m not a big sci-fi fan. I read it in one sitting and immediately wanted MORE.
Unsticky by Sarra Manning
I wouldn’t have picked this up if book pusher Angie didn’t give it such a glowing review. Grace and Vaughn are flawed characters but their issues make them more believable. Unsticky is actually the book that made me want to read contemporary romance that has more depth that the usual fare.
Those are some of my favorites this year, I tried to narrow it down to just five titles but I couldn’t do it. I think that’s a good thing because it means I had a pretty good reading year, right? ? I’ll probably post a more comprehensive list on my blog before the year is out. As of now, these are the titles that I won’t hesitate to recommend to readers who share my taste in books. I promise, there’s a whole lot of goodness waiting for you readers inside these novels. Moving on to some of my anticipated 2012 titles:
About That Night by Julie James
I’ve read and loved Julie James’ entire backlist. She’s one of my favorite chick lit authors and I keep recommending her books to my girlfriends. Looking forward to reading her latest, I have a feeling I’ll be in for a treat.
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
Both Graceling and Fire are in my list of all-time favorite epic fantasy novels so of course, I’m going to buy a copy of Bitterblue as soon as it comes out. I’ve been waiting for this ever since I finished reading Graceling! I can’t wait to see Bitterblue all grown up and I’m REALLY curious about Katsa and Po as well.
Nine Uses for an Ex-Boyfriend by Sarra Manning
Yay, another adult title from the queen of chick lit with depth. I think Sarra Manning has been pretty lucky with the covers of her adult books, they’re all so pretty, including this one. Love the title too!
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
I keep recommending Elizabeth Wein’s Lion Hunters books to fans of Megan Whalen Turner but I don’t think I’ve been that successful. I dubbed one of her characters, Telemakos, as Gen-in-Africa because he reminds me of my favorite thief. Elizabeth Wein is an amazing under-the-radar author and I’m ecstatic that she has a new novel coming out next year even if it’s not a Lion Hunters book.
Something Like Normal by Trish Doller
A YA debut novel about a Marine’s return home from Afghanistan. I read the excerpt posted on Trish’s website and it looks promising. I’m also following Trish on Twitter and she’s so nice and friendly – I keep telling her I can’t wait to read her book.
It doesn’t have a cover yet but I’m looking forward to Andrea’s book, Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews. I think the fourth (and last) Edge book will also come out next year so I’m definitely excited for that. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they’ll release another romantic sci-fi novella.
Still no title or cover for the sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone but I’ve heard that it will be released next year so that’s another title that’s on my radar. I’ve finished reading Laini Taylor’s backlist and I need to read more of her writing.
That’s it from me, sorry if it’s a lengthy post. Once again, thank you Ana and Thea, for letting me take part in the Smugglivus festivities! Happy Holidays and Happy Smugglivus to all.