Welcome to Smugglivus 2013! Throughout this month, we will have daily guests – authors and bloggers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2013, and looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2014.
Please give a warm welcome to Sarah, everyone!
Winter always sneaks up and surprises me. Fall arrives with flurry and fanfare–all the back-to-school sales in stores, the invasion of school buses, the changing of leaves. I can’t miss the arrival of fall, but winter… Holiday displays creep in with the Halloween candy leftovers, and all of a sudden, the leaves are all on the ground, I have no idea where I put my winter coat, and we haven’t ordered any presents for anyone.
Last year, I made a list for Smugglivus of all the books that I love to give to people for holidays and birthdays: http://www.thebooksmugglers.com/2012/12/smugglivus-2012-guest-author-sarah-beth-durst.html It includes many old favorites, as well as a few new ones. This year, I thought I’d focus just on new ones.
Here are a few books that I read over the past year that I particularly liked:
Novels for Teens
Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce
Evvy meets Luvo!! You don’t have to have read all of Tamora Pierce’s Circle books before reading this book, but if you do, you’ll be happily reunited with Rosethorn and Briar and others (and get to see how Evvy meets Luvo, one of my personal favorites). Tamora Pierce creates fantastic characters that you quickly grow to love in a wonderfully magical world.
Hero by Alethea Kontis (sequel to Enchanted)
Alethea Kontis plays with bits of fairy tales in this series, and it’s wonderfully fun. I think I liked this book even better than the first one (which is saying a lot). HERO centers on Saturday, the “normal” sister in a fairy-tale-ensnared family, and her adventures. As a side note, if you’re looking for a fantastic picture book, I recommend ALPHA-OOPS by the same author.
Claws by Mike and Rachel Grinti
Emma takes on cat powers in order to rescue her sister. If you’ve ever wanted to be a cat, if you’ve ever wanted to talk to a cat, or if you’ve ever had a cat, this is the book for you. Additionally, it has some great worldbuilding. Though this book does feel complete as is, I’m crossing my fingers for a sequel.
Iron Hearted Violet by Kelly Barnhill
The joy in this book is that it feels new and ancient at the same time. It’s about a princess, a magic book, and the last dragon in the world, and reading it feels like discovering a new fairy tale.
Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor (sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone)
Reading her work, you can tell that Laini Taylor loves words. Her prose is lovely and a joy to read, plus she tells an exciting and heartwrenching story. This book is the continuation of her angel-and-monster epic, and it raises both the stakes and the magic.
School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins
Izzy Brannick is a monster hunter forced to go to high school for the first time. Rachel Hawkins also wrote THE HEX HALL series, which I loved, and this book has that same great mix of humor and adventure.
Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst
I wrote this one. 🙂 It’s about a girl in the paranormal witness protection program, who, haunted by visions of carnival tents and tarot cards, must remember her past and why she has strange abilities before a magic-wielding serial killer hunts her down. It’s the creepiest, wildest book I’ve ever written.
Novels for Adults
The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty
A travel writer is hired to write a travel guide for monsters and other magical beings visiting NYC — and, on the side, must face her ex’s angry wife and save the city from destruction. I adore funny urban fantasy, and this one is both clever and funny.
Midnight Blue-Light Special by Seanan McGuire (sequel to Discount Armageddon)
Verity Price is a ballroom dancer and a protector of monsters (the nice ones). When a secret order of very powerful monster hunters who hate Verity’s family comes to town, Verity must save the people (and creatures) she loves. Exciting and funny, this series features my all-time favorite minor characters: the Aeslin mice. Best. Mice. Ever.
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
Ever since THE BELGARIAD’s Silk, I’ve loved thief characters, especially clever ones. Locke Lamora is a brilliant thief. Watching his schemes is both fascinating and engrossing.
Libriomancer by Jim Hines
I really, really want the magic power in this book. Isaac Vanio can “reach” into books and draw out objects. After reading this book, I spent about an hour eyeing my bookshelf and daydreaming about what I’d bring to life.
Fool’s Gold series by Susan Mallery
Set in a lovely small town, each book centers on a different romance between two likeable characters with lots of great friends. These books are the happiest books I’ve ever read. Reading them felt like eating an entire plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. I plan to reread them next time I need cheering up, especially THREE LITTLE WORDS and CHRISTMAS ON 4TH STREET. (Note: these books are for adults, not teens.)
Coming in 2014
I’ve also read two books that I highly recommend that aren’t out yet: THE WINNER’S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski and OTHERBOUND by Corinne Duyvis. I’ll be including them in my giving list for next year…
Happy reading, everyone! And happy Smugglivus!
Thank you, Sarah!