Smugglivus Smugglivus Guest Blogger

Smugglivus Day 27 – Guest Blogger: Lenore of Presenting Lenore

Welcome to Smugglivus – Day 27!

Throughout this month, we will have daily guests – authors and bloggers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2009, and looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2010.

Today’s Guest: Lenore, the force behind the excellent YA/Fantasy/Speculative Fiction blog Presenting Lenore. Lenore is a goldmine for great reads and upcoming titles, so we were thrilled when she agreed to write a piece for us for Smugglivus!

Please give a hand to Lenore!


Picking favorites is hard to do, especially in a year which produced such stellar YA reads. I would estimate that at least 30 of the 130+ novels I devoured this year were solid 5 star winners. But for Smugglivus I am going to share 5 of the YA novels that went above and beyond for me.

Lips Touch by Laini Taylor. The first short story in this collection, Goblin Fruit, was hands down the best piece of writing I read this year. It is intoxicating perfection, so amazing that I read several times in a row, once even out loud to savor the language. I talked about it so much that my husband had to read it too, and now he also cannot stop raving about it to everyone we meet. The other two stories are engaging and imaginative as well. So glad I picked this up at BEA (and met Laini). PS – It’s a National Book Award nominee too!

Dust of 100 Dogs by AS King. Reviewer X turned me on to this late last year, and it was one of my most anticipated reads for 2009. This is high concept at its finest with an execution that really delivers. As an extra special cherry on top, I did an interview with the main character of the novel in which AS just blew me away with her creativity. I am also incredibly blessed to have gotten to hang out with her at BEA in May. You rock AS!

If I Stay by Gayle Forman. This one probably touched me most emotionally, and I was surprised at how life affirming a book about death could be. Like I said in my review, 99% of it was pitch perfect, with only one scene I “complained” about. Oddly enough, I met Gayle in Books of Wonder while I was in NYC for BEA and we talked about that scene. She remembered my blog review practically word for word. Now that was humbling!

The Miles Between by Mary E. Pearson. After reading this and her The Adoration of Jenna Fox this year, Mary is my go-to author for intelligent and inventive YA with huge adult crossover appeal. I loved it not only for all of its’ quirk and experimental elements, but also for its’ heart.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. The Hunger Games was absolutely my favorite book of 2008 and I wanted to get my hands on the sequel so badly, I flew from Germany to New York City to attend BEA, woke up early to stand in line (in the rain) to get tickets just to stand in Suzanne Collins’ signing line, and begged Sharon (loves books and cats) to let me cut when the time came. I didn’t get to read it immediately, but I spent an afternoon on a rooftop hotel in Barcelona a month later utterly enthralled and completely immersed in Panem. WOW!

There you go. Five wonderful books I loved this year. I’ll have a list of ten more of my 2009 faves up on my blog today if you want more.

So what is in store for 2010? I’ve got my eye on these 4 more than any other…

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. Ok, kinda cheating because I already read this incredible mind-bending debut back in September, but I can’t wait for it to release in March because I want everyone else to read it. I adored this so much it just may be in my all time top ten list… Yes, you heard me right. YOU WANT THIS!

Book 3 in the Hunger Games Trilogy. Of course! Don’t make me wait until August Scholastic! Don’t make me go through Suzanne Collins’ trash!

Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Daniel Jennewein. Yep, this is the picture book illustration debut of my husband Daniel and I’ve been there during the entire 2 year publication process, so obviously I can’t wait to hold the finished product in my hands when it finally comes out in June. I hope you all find it as fun as I do!

The Heart is Not a Size by Beth Kephart. I read Undercover and Nothing But Ghosts this year and loved both of them. Beth can do no wrong by me, so naturally I am VERY excited about this one which is due in March.

Thanks for inviting me to share Ana and Thea!


Thanks Lenore!

Next on Smugglivus: Liz and Mark of My Favorite Books


  • Rhiannon Hart
    December 27, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    I have only read one of these books, shame on me! I shall rectify this. The first two sound so my thing. That’s so exciting your husband’s book is coming out. All the best for him with it 😀

  • Erica
    December 27, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    I sadly haven’t read any of your top 5 picks – I’ve heard nothing but great things about them though.

  • InABox
    December 27, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    I haven’t read any of the top 5 either…but Catching Fire and Before I Fall are definitely in my TBR list. I’m getting there!

  • katiebabs
    December 27, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    I’ve heard wonderful things about If I Stay. Must read that one…

    Aw, no pictures of your cute kitty Emmy to show us?

  • Mardel
    December 27, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    I love Lenore’s blog, though I hardly ever comment – I do read each new post.

    Lips Touch sounds like a great book. When I have a books with short stories in it, I tend to read them slowly – in between novels.

    I do have Dust of 100 Dogs waiting for me to read. Which I will do January 1, (waiting for the YA reading challenge to start).

  • Veronica F.
    December 27, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    hi Lenore!
    your site is in my top 3 fave book blog/sites!
    of these 5 books, I’ve only read Catching Fire, but what a book it is! I LOVe that series, so I completely understand the desperation for book 3, as I myself suffer from it, lol :mrgreen:

  • Celia
    December 27, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    Great list, Lenore! It’s creating massive book lust in my little heart (good thing!).

  • Chloe
    December 27, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    Wow, those are some great picks! Some of those are also my favorites, and others I haven’t checked out yet but I’d like to 🙂

  • Ari
    December 27, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    These all sound great. I want to read Lips Touch, the miles between and the dust of 100 dogs. I haven’t read any of the books on this list, I need to get on that! I did however start the Hunger Games 😀

  • Nikki @ Bookizzle
    December 28, 2009 at 2:08 am

    Ooh, I definitely cannot wait to get my hands on “Lips Touch”. Such a gorgeous cover!

    And I’m with you on Catching Fire. Absolutely enthralling!

    Excellent book list, Lenore. 🙂

  • angel13js
    December 28, 2009 at 5:48 am

    I so want to read “Before I Fall”, I’ve heard so many good things about it!!

  • austenfan
    December 28, 2009 at 8:12 am

    Out of all those books, I’ve only read Catching Fire (loved it!). And I’m with you, a lot of the books I read this year were really great, it’s hard to pick favorites! 🙂

  • I Heart Book Gossip
    December 28, 2009 at 8:18 am

    I’ve read Catching Fire and it was awesome. Great choices!

  • Spav
    December 28, 2009 at 9:31 am

    I have to say that I haven’t read any of the books you have listed, but I have seen some that are interesting.

  • Ladytink_534
    December 28, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    I’ve heard such good things about all of these that they’re all on my TBR list.

  • Jessy
    December 28, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    You’ve made me want to read Lips Touch now. I keep seeing it everywhere, but I wasn’t to sure about reading it because whenever I read the short stories I want more.

  • Mishel
    December 28, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    I have a lot of books waiting on my shelf from your overall favorite 2009 reads Lenore. I’m afraid I won’t be getting to them until next year. *sigh* I tend to look out for the ones you really like because I usually end up loving the book anyway. Thanks for being an awesome resource for me =)

  • Dee
    December 28, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    I’ve heard great things about your picks. I’m definitely going to pick up If I Stay and Lips Touch.

  • Krista
    December 28, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    I actually haven’t read any of these books, but they all sound wonderful. 🙂

  • Heather Z.
    December 28, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    Haha Lenore, you crack me up. I’ll gladly go through her trash with you. I think I may start making a paper chain to count it down.

  • Priya
    December 28, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    I agree with so many of Lenore’s choices. 🙂 The Heart is Not a Size is awesome as well!

  • chelleyreads
    December 29, 2009 at 2:06 am

    i haven’t read any of these books unfortunately but now i’ll look more into them. i actually just received a copy (late holiday present from a friend) of catching fire and i can’t wait to read it as i recently just finished reading hunger games and am completely in love!

    happy new year all!!

    michelle (aka chelleyreads)

  • Violet @ The Eager Readers
    December 29, 2009 at 3:20 am

    Excellent choices! I have not yet read Lips Touch, but now I am looking forward to it even more. I am also excited to read Before I Fall and the third book in the Hunger Games series. So much to look forward to in 2010! 🙂

  • Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit)
    December 29, 2009 at 7:28 am

    I loved Catching Fire and I loved Adoration of Jenna Fox. Excellent selections.

  • Angie
    December 29, 2009 at 11:13 am

    I love going through all these wonderful Best Of lists. This is a good one, Lenore. I recently read both LIPS TOUCH and THE DUST OF 100 DOGS and am still processing and figuring out what I think of them.

    Thanks for the great post!

  • JenP
    December 29, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Thanks for the post. Good choices!

  • Kay
    January 1, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    I so want to read Before I Fall and If I Stay! Great list Lenore!

  • karen
    January 2, 2010 at 10:16 am

    i haven’t read any of your favourite picks (yet) 🙂

  • Liliana
    January 2, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    well i liked too the hunger games
    and i have catching fire but i haven’t read it
    but i think i will love it

  • Ashley
    January 4, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    Wow this was a great list of books! I’ve read “Catching Fire”, and it was one of my favorite books I’ve ever read! And I’ve been dying to read “If I Stay”. Great post! 🙂

  • Soraya
    January 7, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Great list, Lenore! 🙂
    I want to read “Bedore I fall”.

  • gwendolyn b.
    January 7, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    Lenore, you’ve picked some real winners here! I’m really intrigued now to take a look at the story collection, LIPS TOUCH. I think I might have overlooked it if not for your recommendation!

  • Sarah Emmerson
    January 11, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    I’m really looking forward to reading Before I Fall; it sounds like an excellent book! And I also would like to check out The Hunger Games series. Thanks for your recommendations!

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