Saturday, January 1, 2011

Top 10 of 2010...and more

Happy New Year!

Time flies when you're having fun, and I have had a blast in 2010 working on this book blog.  I am so thankful for all the cool things I have done, the amazing people I've met and the incredible books I've received - none of which would have happened without Alison's Book Marks. 

I got to attend Book Expo America (BEA) for the first time and met tons of amazing authors and publishers.  I attended the first annual Book Bloggers Convention (BBC) where I met many of my favorite fellow bloggers.  I joined the Twitter universe this year - something I swore I would never do!  I also jumped on the Facebook page bandwagon, where most of my friends lurk and laugh at my goings-on.

Most of all, I read books:  124 books read
I also reviewed a few:  110 books reviewed (click here for full list)

So, which ones were my favorites?  Here they are...

The Best Books I Read in 2010:


A Fierce Radiance by Lauren Belfer
(June 2010, Harper)
I am an evangelist for this book.  I can't even count how many times I've recommended it.  A Fierce Radiance has everything - a love story, a murder mystery, business, politics, and it's all set against the dramatic background of the beginning days of World War II. 

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens
(July, St. Martin's Press)
As difficult as this story was, I couldn't put it down.  And when I turned the last page, I sobbed as if I were there.  The characters were so real.  As heavy as the book was, Chevy Stevens artfully paces her story to alternate between horrific events and a lighter sarcastic tone, not allowing readers to become too forlorn.  It's not for everyone, but Still Missing stuck with me for a long time.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
(July 2009, Dial)                                            The title kept me from reading this book before this year, isn't that silly?  I also wasn't sure I was going to enjoy a book written as a series of letters.  I loved this book so much.  I felt like I came across a box of letters in my grandmother's attic.  I fell in love with this cast of characters, the book made me want to get on a plane to England and go meet them all.  

Room by Emma Donogue
(September 2010, Little,Brown)
Brilliantly written from the perspective of a 5 year old boy, Room took a horrific premise and tugged at your heart without stomping on it.  I hesitated in reading this book, but I am so glad I didn't miss it. 

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
(May 2010, Knopf)
I felt like I was watching a movie as I read this book.  The characters, the places, the action, it all came alive for me.  Larsson and his "Girl" books are unmatched.  The last book in this unfinished series did not disappoint. 

 The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
(June 2009, DoubleDay)
The first book I read in 2010...and I knew it was going to be on this list 12 months ago.  I fell in love with Zafon's work when I read The Shadow of the Wind.  This book isn't a sequel, but more of a companion piece.  It's tough to critique a book in comparison to another by the same author.  They set the bar so high for themselves, yet no one else can touch them.  I didn't love Angel's Game in the same way I loved the first book, but still one of my favorites of the year.

The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova
(January 2010, Little,Brown)
An exquisitely written novel.  Elizabeth Kostova, critically acclaimed writer of debut novel, The Historian, delicately weaves a story together that spans centuries and continents.  Even though the plot may have been somewhat predictable, the writing and attention to detail was art in itself. 

The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton
(May 2010, Reagan Arthur Books)
I am putting this book on my list for purely selfish reasons.  This was my kind of book.  Drama on and off the stage!   Pair the drama with a quick pace and subtle connections, and I had myself an amazing book.  It was full of drama and script notes, angst and insecurity, scandal and lies. I loved it!

Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
(May 2008, Bantam)
After reading this book, I immediately became a fan and couldn't wait to get my hands on Allen's other books.  I still maintain that Sugar Queen was my favorite.  It's funny, smart and unique with just a touch of magic that no one does like Sarah Addison Allen. 

Labor Day by Joyce Maynard
(August 2010, Harper Perennial - paperback)
I read it in just two days, and the story spans only 6 days, but in less than 200 pages,  Labor Day is bursting at the seams with some of the most vivid and honest characters I have ever experienced. 

Special Award:

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
How could I possibly put this kind of masterpiece on a list with any other book?  It is truly in a class of its own.  I read The Fountainhead for my book club, and I am so glad I did.  It's one of the longest books I've ever read, yet I was sad to say goodbye to the characters when it was over.  I am truly in awe of Ayn Rand, and understand why this novel is so beloved.


Matched by Ally Condie
(November 2010, Dutton)
I knew it was a favorite before I even finished it.  Great family read, Matched sparked discussions within my own family.  It was smart and interesting, thought-provoking and poignant.  Ally Condie's writing is superb, I can't wait to read more!  The sequel, Crossed is due Fall 2011.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
(October 2010, Knopf)
Original, funny, smart, and heartbreaking.  This one really surprised me.  There were so many aspects of this book to talk about - love, loss, friendship, parents, responsibility, forgiveness - it was amazing.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
(July 2009, Wendy Lamb)
I read it one sitting!  Once you find out the big mystery at the end, you'll want to read it again knowing what you didn't know the first time around.  This is another book I have given as a gift many times, especially to girls between the ages of 10 and 15.  A great coming of age story, set in New York City, with just a touch of magic...and the desire to read L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time.  Any book that motivates a young reader to read more is a winner!

Linger by Maggie Steifvater
(July 2010, Scholastic)
The sequel to Shiver did not disappoint us this year.  Readers were treated to even more of Maggie's beautiful prose in Linger.  There was one chapter, which I think was my favorite chapter in all of YA this year - Grace's chapter  47.  Gave me chills!  This is one of the few books on my shelf that I have read more than once, and it's safe to say I will read it again.  Looking forward to the third installment in this Wolves of Mercy Falls series, Forever due July 12, 2011.

Beautiful Creatures/Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (Oct 2010, Little,Brown)
I am so cheating by putting these two books together, but they were both so great.  I listened to the audio version of Beautiful Creatures - which was the BEST AUDIO of 2010.   Beautiful Darkness was just as good, but took a bit of a darker tone.  I am especially impressed that two authors co-wrote this book.  There is such fluidity and style! 

The Iron King/The Iron Daughter/The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa (Jan 2011, Harlequin Teen)
Once again, I'm putting all the books of a series under the same rank number.  I can't separate any of the books in Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series, but that's not to say that each of her books can stand on its own.  Each book has a very clear beginning, middle and an end, which I have learned to appreciate in YA fiction.  Julie gives us a satisfying end to each book, but leaves us thirsty for more - I love that!  It's fast-paced, action-filled, and has the best love triangle since a certain girl moved to Forks.  

The Maze Runner/The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
(October 2010, Delacorte)     Another big hit in the dystopian YA category. The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials were everything a crossover series should be - fun, exciting, interesting, and thought-provoking. I can't wait for the final book in the trilogy, The Death Cure, due October 2011 (sounds creepy!)

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins
(August 2010, Scholastic)
How could I not include a book that enticed so many great discussions both in and out of the blogosphere? The final book in a trilogy that sparked another great wave of readers, Mockingjay was a force of nature. Katniss will always be one of the great heroes of children's literature.

The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berk
(February 2010, Knopf)
I LOVED this book.  Nothing supernatural about it, this book was amazing  I missed meeting Josh Berk due to illness, but I do have a signed copy of Dark Days on my shelf, which will be treasured.  A great book for boys and girls alike.  It's a special read - funny as hell, mysterious and touching too.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
(March 2010, HarperCollins)
Oh, I had a hard time placing this book, because it doesn't feel like it belongs in the last spot of the group.  The writing was amazing, the story was gut-wrenchingly honest, and it's not a series.  I know that sounds weird to point out, but it's so rare that a great YA book like this comes along that stands out in the crowd, all on its own.  I am really looking forward to reading Oliver's next book, Delirium, due out Feb. 2011.


Spaceheadz (Book #2) by Jon Scieszka
NERDS (Book #2) by Michael Buckley
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea


How Rocket Learned to ReadDear Tyrannosaurus RexCan I Play Too? (An Elephant and Piggie Book)

Knuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected DiversionDog Loves Books

How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills
Dear Tyrannosaurus Rex by Lisa McClatchy
Can I Play Too? by Mo Willams
Knuffle Bunny Free by Mo Willams
Dog Loves Books By Louise Yates

A very special Thank You to all the publishers and publicists that have been so good to me this year!! 

I can only imagine what amazing books we will be reading in 2011!


Judi said...

I loved Sugar Queen too!

bermudaonion said...

I've read several of those books and have several more in my TBR pile. I think Labor Day was on my best of 2009 list. I need to get to The Rehearsal soon! Happy New Year!

Alison's Book Marks said...

When I looked back through my 2010 list, YA outnumbered Adult fiction by a long shot! I had a really hard time with my YA list. Even now, I question: Hex Hall, Once a Witch, The Body Finder, Vladimir Tod, and others! It was a great year for me in YA.

I really should try and read more "adult" books. :)

Michelle said...

It sounds like you have had a great year, and you have definitely read some wonderful books! Of those I haven't read on your list, I am happy to report that I at least own them and want to get to them in 2011. I can't wait to see what you read during the next 12 months!

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