Smugglivus Smugglivus Guest Blogger

Smugglivus 2010 Guest Blogger: Liz of My Favourite Books

Welcome to Smugglivus 2010: Day 14

Throughout this month, we will have daily guests – authors, bloggers and publishers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2010, and looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2011.

Who: Liz, one of the duo that runs UK-based blog My Favourite Books, dedicated to all things geeky and genre.

Please give a warm welcome to Liz!

So fantastic to be asked to visit here today to talk about My Favourite Book (MFB)’s very cool 2010 and what we’re looking forward to in 2011.

We have had a great year on MFB. Before I continue with the overview I’d like to take a few moments to praise my fellow blog reviewers.

Mark and I managed to lure Sarah Bryars (essjay) onto the blog to do reviews for us. Sarah’s been a life-saver and stepped in to look after a lot of YA reviews for us. She’s a librarian and knows her books and audience very well. She’s also in charge of Story Hour at her library so I really value her opinion when it comes to choosing younger books to review on the blog. Without Sarah’s help, I think I would have lost my mind this year – too many good book and not enough time to do all of them. But she stepped right in, made herself at home and let rip those reviews. I am eternally grateful to her and am so pleased to have someone on board who is as crazy about reading as I am.

Mark has been a trooper, looking after a lot of the Warhammer books for the site. These are his passion and I have to give a nod to the boys and girls working for the Black Library – if our massive bookshelf dedicated to the Black Library is anything to go by, 2010 has been a bumper year for them too. I asked him about some of his favourite books this year and he immediately mentioned Joe Hill’s Horns and the New York Times bestselling A Thousands Sons by Graham McNeill and of course, the long awaited Ultramarines movie we got to see a few weeks ago.

Then, something happened earlier this year. Gav from Nextread approached us, saying he feels that he’s done what he’s set out to do on his personal review site. He no longer wanted to run a review site, but he found the thought of not reviewing a bit troublesome. Would we consider taking him on board? It was a no-brainer. We welcomed Gav to the site and he did a lovely blog post telling all his readers that he’ll be doing the occasional review for us. Having chatted to Gav I know he’s having a real blast just kicking back and reading some books on his backlist. In some ways I envy him but on the other hand, I’m looking forward to those science fiction and crime reviews he’s been mentioning.

We also had Tina Everitt help us out with a few reviews but it soon became clear that her life had become too busy for her in her new home of Toronto, so we had to sadly say goodbye to her.

We attended Eastercon and Fantasycon this year. We also went up north to Thoughtbubble which was a blast. Three cons a year is pretty good and we had a lovely time at each one. We met a lot of new people and a lot of friends from Twitter. I read somewhere that Facebook was for people who felt they had to stay in touch with family and friends from when they were growing up, whilst Twitter was for the friends you wished you had all along.

We had an insane year of reviewing books. We hosted a very well received Under 14’s Only month on MFB and had some of the highest footfall ever on our site because of it. I heard from several school librarians that a lot of younger readers felt that they are being overlooked as everyone seemed to concentrate on books for older teens. This worried me quite a bit and I decided to grab a lot of books for younger readers and even roped Mark in to help out. Between Sarah, Mark and myself, we got through a lot of books on the site. But more keep coming in so for 2011, we’ll definitely be doing another month of Under 14’s Only books.

I’m not going to spend more time looking back on 2010 – we had a fantastic successful year and my mind is going all twisty turny trying to figure out favourite books so I’m going to bow out on that one, except to say that the one book I personally felt very passionate about was Unhooking the Moon by Gregory Hughes and it’s the one that won the Booktrust Teenage Award. *strikes a knowing pose*

2011 is going to be off the charts with new books by debut and existing authors. I’m concentrating only on UK publishers at the moment, so here’s a list of YA books and authors I’m looking forward to reading.

Of course, close to MFB’s heart is the lovely Kaz Mahoney’s The Iron Witch. I cannot be happier for Kaz that it’s been bought for UK distribution by the equally amazing people at Random House.

Another book I am excited about for 2011 is Francisco X. Stork’s Marcelo in the Real World. I LOVED Mr. Stork’s first book, The Last Summer of the Death Warriors and have been told by Scholastic that Marcelo is even more excellent. Who am I to say no, right?

Walker Books is set to take on the bigger publishers this year with an expanded YA list of contemporary fiction that run the gamut of crime, fantasy and surreal. From their list I am excited about Zoe Marriott’s Shadows on the Moon and Flip by Martyn Bedford. Walker is also going to surprise us all with the online content they are brewing up for their various titles. I love this as the books are becoming more interactive for their readers.

When looking at titles from Atom I am especially excited about Rosebush from Michele Jaffe which I’ve already indulged in. Creepy, delicious and decadent. And I’ve heard the following from Sarah about Nightshade by Andrea Cremer (Dude, I’ve started reading it. It is so good. I already hate Ms. Cremer.) This is of course a good thing.

Simon & Schuster has the decidedly dark and eerie The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff which I am hysterically excited about. I’m not very fond of the UK cover but the US cover blows me away and this is the copy I read. I am also looking forward to Jonathan Maberry’s Rot & Ruin which just looks fantastic. Zombies…are so now, darling!

Before this list gets too long, let me quickly highlight some adult science fiction and fantasy books I am very interested in for 2011.

From Orbit we’ve got Jon Courtney Grimwood’s The Fallen Blade and Kate Griffin’s third book in the Matthew Swift sequence, The Neon Court. As a fan of both authors, I can’t wait to indulge in these. I am also looking forward to reading The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi. The Heir of Night by Helen Lowe is making me a bit breathless with anticipation too as I do so love a strong female lead character.

The grand daddy of them all, Gollancz has got a list that makes us all drool. Joe Abercrombie’s The Heroes (the maps, the maps are gorgeous!), debut author Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London, an urban fantasy with a smattering of CSI, Sheri S Tepper’s The Waters Rising and Scott Lynch’s The Republic of Thieves, Carrie Ryan’s The Dark and Hollow Places, Patrick Rothfuss’s The Wise Man’s Fear, Fenrir by MD Lachlan and Elspeth Cooper’s Songs of the Earth – Book 1 and Holly Black’s Red Glove – all of these together is a geeky reader girl’s dream.

Turning to Tor UK I am really liking the look of Adam Nevill’s The Beast and Sea of Ghosts by Alan Campbell. Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick looks like a ripping yarn full of thievery and dastardly deeds.

Atlantic Books’ fledgling imprint Corvus has given us some great titles in 2010 and 2011 is no different. The Diviner’s Tale by Bradford Morrow is being marketed as Crime but it can very easily cross genres into the urban fantasy realm. Beautifully written and out in January, I urge you to get a copy and to read it. It blew me away! I am also salivating at Son of Heaven by David Wingrove. This 20 volume epic sounds insanely well written and I am keen to involved in the life of Chung Kuo. Splinter by Sebastian Fitzek sounds like the new Inception / Memento and something I hope to get the chance to read. Then there is Dark Eden by Chris Beckett – a new science fiction novelist with a story that makes my skin itch, it sounds so good.

I can’t afford to list more books I’ve spotted for 2011. I already sound like a gibbering blogger. But these are some highlights I personally am looking forward to reading in the new year. Along with these new books, there are also some older books I want to re-read for the new year, and some older books I’ve never read yet feel I should. Amongst these are all the Harry Potters, the Spooks series of books for younger readers, Philip Reeve books (all of them), the books by Ally Kennen, more Mark Chadbourn and the chance to catch up reading the Tom Lloyd fantasy novels. And of course, more comics and graphic novels. I have also resolved to catch up on all the Jim Butcher books because I miss Harry Dresden!

When I thought 2010 was going to be a good year for books and reading, I clearly did not anticipate 2011 surpassing it. Now I have and I’m thinking…it may be a good time to win the lottery so that I can stay at home to read and then also travel to far distant cons to meet more authors to fan-girl about.

Thanks, Ana and Thea for letting me go all geeky in anticipation of 2011. Now, if only I can get a Tardis…

Don’t we ALL, Liz. Don’t we all…


  • Darren
    December 14, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Nice article. Even when time is short there are a small handful of blogs that I make the extra effort to keep up with. MFB is one of them.
    Yes, and Book Smugglers is another of them 😀

  • janicu
    December 14, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Oh yes, this is one of my fave blogs. Great post (I’m looking forward to reading THE HEIR OF NIGHT too!)

  • Liz
    December 15, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Thanks guys for commenting! 😀

  • wireless
    June 30, 2011 at 8:00 am

    It also makes good company. When the dog sense strangers nearby it’ll bark and this will drive an intruder away.

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