Smugglivus Smugglivus Guest Blogger

Smugglivus 2011 Guest Blogger: Carla of The Crooked Shelf

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: Carla of The Crooked Shelf, a blog devoted to YA goodness, all filtered through Carla (a self-confessed YA addict)’s awesome, witty, and hilarious commentary.

Please give it up for Carla!


I must say, I kind of spazzed out a little when I got an email inviting me to take part in Smugglivus again this year. Because I LUFF this blog with a white hot passion, and even being part of it for just this small amount makes me go YAYYY ME I AM AWESOME. And I really like feeling awesome. You know what else I like feeling? Satisfaction. The kind that can only be got from reading a rather bloody brilliant book and there have been SO many good books this year! So without further rambling on my part, here are some of the most splendidly pant exploding from awesome books I read this year.

Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley

You know, I find it really weird and bizarre how this this little book that could, has stayed so secretly under my radar for song long. It is sneaky! And oh so literary! It made me feel smart, and optimistic and symbolism. You guys know how I feel about the symbolism. It’s like THE ONE THING I CAN’T NOT LOVE. And this is a book that will quietly sink into your skin and then jump out at you at the end like SEE? YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE? And your head will explode. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that was just infused with so much hope. It made my heart happy.

I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan

AWWWWWWW. That’s the noise I make every time I see this on my bookcase. every. single. time. And it’s not just because of that amazingly gorgeous cover. It’s the stuff inside that counts. Hands down, one of the best contemporary novels I have EVER read. It’s heartfelt and honest and it will rip out your heart and play basketball with it on a really dirty floor and MAKE YOU WATCH. A lot of YA books that come out are a load of dribble (what? they are!) so when you read a book that you take something from, that you think about months and months after you finish, well you are onto a winner. I felt like a brownie after I read this. All deliciously warm and gooey.

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

It’s official. Sara Zarr is the Contemporary Queen. Her crown is delicate porcelain and has all these pretty flowers on it. And she rules the kingdom with words that will slice you in two. Because she is a Queen that won’t let you hide from real life; in fact, she will make you read the most uncomfortably real portrayals of teenage life and laugh when you choke on your own tears. JUST KIDDING! No seriously, this book is phenomenally good. And Sara is a genius. She doesn’t let you hide from the brutal and harsh realities of life, no, she delves into everything and shows you how deep the human connection really is. I stand in awe for how authentic her books are.

Dark Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn

LADY JULIA GREY LADIES AND GENTLEMAN. Okay, this is the fourth book in the series, so if you haven’t already read these books, your going to want to start with Silent in the Grave. I will describe it in as little words as possible – 1886 London, Romance, Mystery, Death, Private Inquiry Agent, Society, Investigations. Now, if none of them words make you salivate, then I don’t know what to say to you. Except, maybe you need to see a doctor because your brain is broked.

Saving June by Hannah Harrington

Are you sensing a THEME here? I am a serious contemporary whore it seems. But how can you not be when there are books like Saving June to read? And the best thing about this one is the dialogue; I love it when a book is whip smart and flows so effortlessly from one scene to the next. Because that doesn’t happen all that much. It doesn’t leave things to sit and settle and go stagnant. It pulls you along and it’s just so easy, which is SO refreshing! And this book had music! and sexytimes!! and sometimes the both together! This is a book that will make you love and hope and want to live. A book that will make you want to have sex to nineties rock.

And now I am all hyped up and excited and I wouldn’t be surprised if in about five minutes, I’m jumping around shouting READ ALL THE BOOKS. And the fact I’m hyper about books I’ve already read will give you a LITTLE inclination to how excited I am about the books that come out in 2012!!

Something Like Normal by Trish Dollar

This is the first book I have ever read that has a main character who works in the armed forces. Travis is a Marine. And since he got back home he’s struggling to adjust. His best friend was killed in action and his family seem like strangers. You guys!! This book!! I just want everyone to read it because it is just utterly breathtaking. You can tell just how much work and soul went into it, and how much she *cares* about these kind and wants you to, too. I loved it. June 2012.

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Okay, I read Delirium. Oh yes I did. I even got myself a little quote on the back cover of the paper back. EEEEEEEEkkk!!!! And that ending? I was all ARE YOU TRYING TO MAKE ME HATE YOU, NO REALLY, ARE YOU!! Because that ending was a killer. It was a cliffhanger to end all cliffhangers. OR SO YOU THINK. because I happen to have a copy of this here book, and the cliffhanger is just as excruciating. You have been warned. But it is so totally worth it! This is a lot more fast paced gonna keep you on ur toes because you need to know what happens next and what is happening why when where ahhhhh than Delirium. March 2012.

Wonder by R.J.Palacio

Oh my goodness. OH MY GOODNESS. This book made me cry on the first page and then I was a complete an utter mess for the rest of it. You need to watch out for this book. You need to take this time to prepare yourself because you are going to fall in love with August and learn just how incredibly cruel the world can be without even realising. Mind blowing stuff. January 2012.

Update on things I wished to happen in 2011!!

I am still waiting for the real Mockingjay to be released. It’s going to be SO good because Suzanne has had all this time to write it. I mean, i thought she might have released it sooner to be honest, you know, because this joke is getting beyond ridiculous, but hopefully she shall reward us for our patience.

I got my last years wish!! JOHN GREEN IS RELEASING A NEW BOOK. In like January!! And it has an awesome cover and title too!! COME ON SUZANNE WHAT ARE YOU PLAYING AT.

Breaking Dawn got released. I guess no petition was made or something. Do people not realise that what I say is gold-dust and they should jump on it right away? no? THEN WHY NOT. I had to sit through a really awkward scene with the wolves all taking in the woofish way, I had to see Jacob fall to his knees when he looked at the CGI baby’s face. I had to watch Edward break a bed. I had to do all of this wearing a “I ate a uterus and I liked it. Team Renesmee” shirt. I HAD NO CHOICE. I HAD TO DO IT.

Supernatural writers, YES!! YES AND YESSSSSS!! You listened!! You made Sam and Dean just Sam and Dean again! YAYYYY!! I mean, I wasn’t really down for the whole SPOILER SPOILER Sam with no soul situation END OF SPOILER, however,you do what you gotta do and I am down with that. Keep up with the good work. Oh one more thing? Take a leaf out of Twilights book, people like people without their shirts on. And when I say people, I mean me. And when I say people, I mean Sam.

Anyone released a book with the name Carla in it? No? WHY THE HELL NOT. It is a good name people! No, you can call your characters Katniss and Schuyler and Magnus but not Carla. I give up. You don’t know a good thing when it’s right there in your face. I feel sorry for you.

AND THAT’S A WRAP!! Thank you EVER so much to Ana and Thea for having me again! Thanks to everyone who has made this blogging year extra awesome, and if next year is as good as this year, then we are in for a riot. HAPPY SMUGGLIVUS AND ALL THAT JAZZ.

Thank you, Carla!


  • Patricia
    December 25, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Wait.. What is it about the ‘real’ Mockingjay? Could you write me an E-Mail with the explanation? I’m so lost right now. *runs around, screams, forgot why she originally wanted to leave a comment, bangs head, pulls out strands of hair, takes some Lorazepam..*

    Oh and: Happy Holidays!

  • Chachic
    December 25, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    Yay, Saving June! I loved that book and happy to see it included in Carla’s list. πŸ™‚ I’m so excited to read I’ll Be There – got a copy of that from my Book Blogger Holiday Swap Santa. And I REALLY can’t wait to read Something Like Normal! I’ve enjoyed the snippets that I’ve seen so far. Hope NetGalley puts it up soon. *crosses fingers and toes*

    Oooh and I started reading the Lady Julia books a few weeks ago and Carla’s right, they are lovely. I finished Silent in the Sanctuary on Christmas day. πŸ™‚

  • Doret
    December 25, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    How to Save a Life was very good. And thanks so much for letting me know about Wonder even without a summary I am intrigued

  • Kate & Zena
    December 25, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    Waaaaaaaaait. What real Mockingjay? Is the one published not the real book? I am so confused! (Is anyone else?)

    Carla, explanation! I’m so confused! Especially because I’m about to read it!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Amy @ My Friend Amy
    December 25, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    Everyone seems to really love I’ll Be There I need to read it. I had to give up on Supernatural a long time ago, though.

  • Lenore
    December 26, 2011 at 1:25 am

    Oooh! Mockingjay conspiracy theories. I like!

  • Carla
    December 26, 2011 at 6:49 am

    Patricia – ooooopppps, it was just a joke! I made predictions last year for smugglivus and one of them was that SC would release the real MJ because I was adamant that the book was some kind of cruel joke. so this is just be being silly.

    Chachic – yayyyyy! SLN is amaze, I simply can’t wait to talk about it with everyone. and HELL YEAH the Lady Julia books are bloody brill.

    Doret – my love for Sara Zarr is insane. SO. MUCH. LOVE.

    Kate & Zena – I am 100% sure that the Mockingjay that was published is the Real Deal. I’m just being silly and still can’t let it go because I refuse to believe that’s how she ended the series.

    Amy – yeah I know what you mean about Supernatural. Damn they went a bit wonky for a while but I am SO happy they got back on track because I was going to have to go find the writers and kick some ass.


  • Angie
    December 26, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Still a bit giddy you loved the Lady Julia books, too.

    I downloaded WONDER based on your rec. Need to get to it now!

  • Kate & Zena
    December 26, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Carla – Oh, I get it. I haven’t read that book yet, so I can’t tell you what I thought of the ending. This trilogy is as complex as His Dark Materials (a trilogy I love to bits and pieces and atoms. I read it every year and still find something new to think on.), so I’m sure I’m going to be thinking on the ending for DAYS.

    I’m not pleased when any great series ends generally. I normally cry in the depths of despair. I want it to keep going and going and going and going and going!

  • Carla
    December 29, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Angie – so excited to see what you think of Wonder.

  • Rebecca
    January 6, 2012 at 11:03 am

    “I am still waiting for the real Mockingjay to be released. It’s going to be SO good because Suzanne has had all this time to write it. I mean, i thought she might have released it sooner to be honest, you know, because this joke is getting beyond ridiculous, but hopefully she shall reward us for our patience.”

    HAHAHAHAHA!!! Okay, I know I’m late to the boat on this post, but I felt the SAME WAY when I read Mockingjay. UGH, so disappointed. But I’m still very excited to see the Hunger Games movie, the trailer was quite goosebump-inducing.

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