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: Pam van Hylckama Vlieg, the lovely lady that runs Bookalicio.us, a blog devoted to YA and other delectable book news. Pam is also the resident blogger for Hicklebees, a wonderful independent bookstore in San Jose, CA.
Give it up for Pam, people!
When the Book Smugglers asked me to participate in SMUGGLIVUS there were several thoughts that went through my head:
“OMFG they are so cool and I am so awkward.”
Then I realized it is all about sharing. Sharing is caring and it can be fun, and there is nothing I like sharing more than a list of books I loved. I read purely for entertainment value. I know there are those who read to better themselves but I am nowhere near that sophisticated. So for you, all of you, I have made a list of books that will bring entertainment and fun into life. I give you the gift of lol and explode-y things.
Awkward by Marni Bates is one of my favorite contemporary YA books that I have ever read. It comes out in January from KTeen. Kenzi is socially awkward. She is an invisible but her claim to fame is tutoring a notable. On the first day of school Kenzi is talking to the notable crowd about school work when she knocks a jock off a set of stairs with her huge AP book filled backpack. She then jumps on top of him and begins giving him CPR and screaming crazy things. The boy was fine. Someone captured video of the incident and put it on Youtube as “Most Awkward Girl”. Hilarity ensues through the rest of the book. While Kenzi keeps trying to go back to being invisible the author creates new and inventive ways for her life to spiral even farther out of control. I loved the family elements, the best friends and every single laugh Bates gave me. This book is all about the fun!
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake is also a debut. I knew I wanted to read this book when I saw the cover, sometimes covers do draw me in. After reading the synopsis and checking out the Kendare’s interests I had a feeling Anna was going to be insanely horrifying. Blake did not disappoint. Anna is a horror story of epic proportions. A lot of research into the paranormal and the current set of beliefs on how to deal with ghosts went into the novel. I loved the characters. Anna’s backstory and the fact that it was set in frigid Canada. While reading the book I had this epic movie playing along in my head. It was all very visual and I would love to see it on film, you know instead of Paranormal Activity.
Cinder by Melissa Meyer is also a debut, and it also comes out in January, hmm I seem to be sensing a pattern…. Cinder is a retelling of Cinderella except it has way more awesome stuff. Disease, moon people, cyborgs and androids. Did I mention the moon people can control your mind? Meyer throws in all kinds of twisty bits to keep the reader engaged. What seems like a hefty page count becomes a race to the finish with a surprising ease. I literally devoured the words in this book, I was really glad it read so fast. If you like fairytales, retellings or sci-fi you will adore Cinder.
This January debut thing is getting out of control, I promise this is the last one. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows is so unique I can’t even seem to fit it in a genre. I suppose it is being marketed as a dystopia, but there is a heavy romance vibe and an incredible coming-of-age fantasy lurking under that classification. We begin the book with learning about Ana who is a nosoul. She is the only nosoul around. For hundreds of lifetimes the same souls have been coming back over and over again. When Ana is born instead of the expected soul the world everyone knew is turned upside down. What I like most besides the romantic moments is the twisty bits. The plot is lush and the big reveal is actually gasp-worthy. I cannot wait to read the sequel.
We have all read Holly Black books, and we have all loved her style, her darkness and her subtle intensity. I have read some of her stories in notable anthologies as well. My favorite thing however, is her short story collection that quietly hit the shelves this year. Each story had every quality I look for in a Holly Black work, and each story had it in spades. I ran the gambit of emotions while reading and I have pulled my copy out to reread at least twice this year. Holly took the best of the supernatural and the urban and made a gift to her fans with this work. It is not to be missed.
So there you have it folks! I hope you have/will read all of these books and come tell me about them when you do. Now I want to ask you, what were your favorites this year? I need more recommendations
like a hole in the head.
Thank you, Pam! (And now, can we get our hands on Incarnate already?!)