10 for 2010: Favorite Reads

And here is the final 10 for 2010 list for this year, and the hardest one at that. There has just been too many good books in this year that it’s so hard to pick just ten. But I have to choose ten…but that doesn’t mean I can’t have runner ups and honorable mentions. ;) It’s my list, I can do anything I want to. :P

So, the last 10 for 2010, here are 10 of my Favorite Reads in no particular order…and then some. :)

1. Persuasion by Jane Austen – How much do I love this book? I am very glad that I chose this book as my first classic read for this year. I love Anne Elliot, and I want to be her. I don’t have much point of comparison over other Austen books, but this one is really, really good, even better than P&P. :) I cannot recommend this one enough. :)

2. Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews – I fell in love with the Kate Daniels series this year (thanks again to Chachic and Michelle for pushing!), but among the four books out in the series, Magic Strikes is the best one so far. It’s got action, tension and all the yummy hotness of Kate and Curran in all of it. Plus the ending had me all smiling and giggly and that is always very, very good. :)

2. Feed by Mira Grant – This book wasn’t the one that got me started on zombies this year, but it was the zombie book I loved the most. :) This book had me from the cover, and then with the story. I loved how geeky this book is and how emotional it is at the end. I loved the characters, and I loved the theme of the story…and I just really loved every bit of this book! This is one of the books that I got in Kindle, then got in print because I want to have my own copy. I gave a copy away, then I gave one as a gift, and now I’m (sort of) giving this away, too. I love this book that much.

3. Happyface by Stephen Emond – This is one of the impulse buys that I never regretted. I wasn’t a fan of hardcovers, but I am glad I got this one the moment I saw it because there are no copies of this one here. This is one of my favorite contemporary YA reads of the year. Happyface is such a darling character, and you just can’t help but fall in love with him. The plot is simple, but it’s very surprising and heartwarming at the end. I wish there were more copies of Happyface here so more people can read it…but that’s why I’m giving one away, right? ;) Oh, and I still think I look like Gretchen. ;)

4. North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley – This was another impulse buy, but I’ve been seeing this one way before I got it. I am glad I got it, too, because it has such a beautiful story. The story may sound a bit cheesy with all the beauty talk, but it doesn’t only just talk about inner beauty and self-esteem, but also complications of a family and dreams that never came true. Terra’s transformation was very inspiring, and the ending left me feeling very good about myself, and very beautiful. :) Truly a gem.

6. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver – I wasn’t planning to read this, and I stopped reading the start for a couple of times, but after I finished the first chapter, I got hooked. Before I Fall is a surprisingly good and powerful novel about life, death, friendship and the choices we make and how they affect people. I finished this book with a wistful smile on my face and tears in my eyes, thankful that I finally gave in and read it.

7. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness – This is one of the book that I know I would love, only because the people whose book tastes I trust loved this one, too. After reeling from The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, I needed more dystopia to keep the high going, so I finally read this one. And I loved every bit of it. I know it gets better with the next two books, and I am very excited to read them. :D Soon.

8. Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John – This book wouldn’t have made the list if I didn’t read it on time. If I read it in 2011, this would probably have made it in my 2011 list. :P I love the cover, and the story is just as good as the book. It’s not often you read a YA novel about a band, and it’s even rarer that you read a heroine who was deaf. It’s got diverse characters, a great story and a very rocking ending. :) A book that makes me reconsider my Top 10 is a book that deserves more attention. :D

9. Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra – You know you really love a book when you re-read it and it still gives you the same feeling it did on the first read. You know you love a book when you actually re-read it in the first place, and within the same year, to boot! I re-read Fairy Tale Fail after I finished reading The Maze Runner, and I really needed a pick-me-up after. It definitely picked me up, and it made me wish to have my own Lucas all over again. :)

10. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – And like every Best of 2010 books out there, I must not forget about Anna and the French Kiss! This book was an absolutely fun read. After a series of not-so-stellar books, this one just kind of blew my mind. :) I realized a lot of things in this book, particularly: I still love contemporary YA the best, and you can tell a completely ordinary story in an extraordinary way. This is also one of the books that I got on Kindle first, then the hardcover when I found out it’s already available here. That much love, people. That much love. :)

Runners-Up:

  • Paper Towns by John Green – I finished the John Green trifecta this year, and out of all books, I have decided that I liked Paper Towns best. While An Abundance of Katherines was the funniest and happiest, I thought Paper Towns had the better plot and would fare better for a re-read. :) Plus Radar + Ben and the road trip? Priceless.
  • Tall Story by Candy Gourlay – I wouldn’t have heard of this one if not for Pao and Chachic, and I am glad I got this one. Tall Story is a charming story about siblings, Filipino folklore and magic. This is a very heartwarming story, and I am glad this book is available internationally so more people can read it. If you haven’t read it, do include it in your 2011 reading list. You won’t regret it. :)
  • Unwind by Neal Shusterman – I wouldn’t have picked this book up if I hadn’t heard good things about it from my Goodreads friends. Perhaps my reaction to this was a bit similar to The Knife of Never Letting Go – I plunged into it ready to love it, and I did. It’s not a very cheerful book being dystopia, but it’s very good and it has a lot of potential for a re-read. :)
  • Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr – I read two of Sara Zarr’s books last year and I loved them, so when I saw she had a new book, I knew I had to read it. Once Was Lost was just as beautiful as her other books, but I think I like this one more because it tackled faith. I loved how simple Zarr’s prose was, and how she tackled sensitive issues with grace. If I may quote my review: “Once Was Lost makes you think, makes you ask, and in the end, makes you believe that no matter what the tragedy is, no matter how hard things are, there will always, always be hope.
  • Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan – I read this one fairly recently, and I really liked it. I don’t know if my moods influenced how much I liked it though…but like I said before: any book that has me smiling like an idiot at the last page deserves a recognition. :)

Honorable Mentions:

See, I told you it was too hard. I’m sorry if I overwhelmed you with too many books in this list! It’s just very, very hard to choose. Maybe next year I’ll be more critical, but I’m glad I read so many good books this year. Looking forward to what 2011 had to offer. :)

Now it’s your turn. What’s your top reads in 2010? :)

Check out my other 10 for 2010 posts!
10 Favorite Male Characters
10 Favorite Female Characters
10 Favorite Couples
10 Favorite Authors
10 Most Anticipated for 2011
10 Blogging and Reading Highlights

I’m giving away some of my favorite books in 2010 in my Anniversary Giveaway! Get to know the awesomeness that is Feed by Mira Grant, the first book in the Newsflesh trilogy! Every comment you leave is one entry — the more comments you leave, the more entries you get! :) Click the image for the mechanics and the list of prizes!

10 for 2010: Blogging and Reading Highlights

2010 is definitely an awesome year for my reading and blogging, particularly book blogging. After years of trying to figure out a niche blog, I finally found it. :) I realized  that I love reading and writing about books is one of the most fun things I’ve decided to do this year. :)

But there are more, obviously, but it really wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for the blog. And for other things. :) Here’s are my Top 10 Blogging and Reading Highlights for 2010. :)

1. Writing for The POC – Talk about a dream come true: getting paid to read and review books. When Pao emailed me to be a contributor for our old section, Pinoy Pop, I was excited to be on board. I really don’t know how qualified I was, but I was glad to be a part of the team. I loved having an excuse to read and review books. I’ve learned so much in writing my reviews when I did my stint at The POC, and I know that it helped me write better reviews. :)

2. Goodreads Second Meet-up - I have been active in Goodreads for the longest time already, but I have never posted much in the groups or interacted with any friends. One day, I just decided to post, and that got me invited to the second meet-up, and the rest is history. :) That was one of the best bookish meet-ups I’ve ever been in.

Mockingjay Launch

3. Mockingjay Launch – Of all my years reading, I realize that I’ve never been in an actual book launch. Mockingjay‘s release finally made me attend one, and I wasn’t just a simple spectator, too. :P I was one of the Live Action Role Players, and while we lost miserably, it was actually quite fun. It was also the first time when the Goodreads and Flippers met, had dinner and coffee and talked about so many bookish things, it was almost like paradise inside CBTL. :D

4. 100 Books – When I set out to read 100 books in a year, I had no idea if I would be able to do it. So when I finally realized that I did do it, I couldn’t be more thrilled. Now I feel like 100 books is such a small amount. :P More next year, perhaps?

5. Getting my Kindle – The ultimate bookish toy. :P Just like the iPod, I never thought that I’d give in and get a Kindle, but after a friend told me how awesome it is, I suddenly had a gadget lust. :p After a lot of thinking, I finally gave in and got one…two days before the new one was released. How fun, right? But still, no regrets. I love my Kindle, and it really is the ultimate bookworm toy. :P

6. Filipino Book Bloggers Meet-ups – I used to be very active with the Filipino blogging community back in 2007, but I stopped attending after some time because I felt that it was too big of a community and I don’t know where I fit in. I was really more of a lurker as I kept on blogging and as I started my book blog. However, I found out that the Filipino Book Blogging community is a very warm and welcoming group. This is where I found out that I truly have found my blogging niche. :D

7. Friends opening book blogs - This year is also the year when my good friends opened their own blogs. I don’t know if I influenced them, but whatever made them start, I’m glad they did. :D Shout out to Grace, Aaron, Ariel, Ace, and Jzhun specifically. :D

8. Winning contests and features - I have the worst luck in contests, and I hardly win the things I really want to win. And then I got a lucky streak: I won Dee’s 100+ Follower Giveaway and then I won a signed Being Jamie Baker by Kelly Oram (which I hope arrives soon — postal service during the holidays here kind of suck) a few weeks later. I also got featured in Dee’s Blogger Spotlight, and I find it’s very fun to be featured. :)

9. Author comments and replies on blogs and Twitter. I love getting comments on my blogs, but nothing makes me squee more than author comments. And ever since I made my Twitter profile public, I got more follows on Twitter, and I love it when an author replies to me or mentions me, or follows me on Twitter. It makes reading so much more fun and interactive.

10. Goodreads Filipino Group – I must give another shout out to this, even if I mentioned the first meet-up a few numbers back. They’re really some of the best people I met this year, and I am really, really glad I went to the second meet up even if I had no idea who I would meet there. :) Joining this group made me read more, made me appreciate books more and made me write more. :) They’re probably one of the best reading things that happened to me in 2010. (Awwwww)

My bookish family :)

What about you? What are your reading or blogging (or both!) highlights for this year? :) Share them in the comments section!

Check out my other 10 for 2010 posts!
10 Favorite Male Characters
10 Favorite Female Characters
10 Favorite Couples
10 Favorite Authors
10 Most Anticipated for 2011

The Anniversary Giveaway is still ongoing! I’m giving away some of my favorite books in 2010! Every comment you leave is one entry — the more comments you leave, the more entries you get! :) Click the image for the mechanics and the list of prizes!

Five Flavors of Dumb

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony JohnFive Flavors of Dumb by Antony John
Dial, 352 pages

THE CHALLENGE: Piper has one month to get a paying gig for Dumb—the hottest new rock band in school.

THE DEAL: If she does it, she’ll become manager of the band and get her share of the profits, which she desperately needs since her parents raided her college fund.

THE CATCH: Managing one egomaniacal pretty boy, one talentless piece of eye candy, one crush, one silent rocker, and one angry girl who is ready to beat her up. And doing it all when she’s deaf. With growing self-confidence, an unexpected romance, and a new understanding of her family’s decision to buy a cochlear implant for her deaf baby sister, Piper just may discover her own inner rock star.

In 2007, I wrote a NaNoWriMo novel with my main character as the manager and the guitarist of a Christian band. I had a pretty good idea for a story, really, with the band looking for a female vocalist and I figured the hardest part was writing about their chemistry. It turned out it wasn’t. The hardest part was writing about music because even if I’ve helped produced some concerts before, I still didn’t know how it feels like to be in an actual band, or even to just manage one. Suffice to say, that was one of the hardest novels I’ve tried to write.

But that doesn’t stop me from putting singing characters or bands in my stories. I don’t know why — maybe it’s a frustration because I know I am hardly musical? Oh I listen to a lot of songs, but I usually pay attention to the lyrics and not the music. Maybe it’s because I have a secret dream of being a rock star or a manager of a band?

Antony John’s latest novel, Five Flavors of Dumb spoke to my inner rock star and band manager. I’ve been eying this book for the longest time (even made a Want Books post about it) ever since I saw it from That Cover Girl. I was planning on waiting for the actual book to arrive but I had an ebook itch I needed to scratch and I was very easily swayed when she convinced me to. And this is one splurge I am very glad I did. :)

Five Flavors of Dumb tells the story of Piper Vaughan, deaf girl, who gets recruited to be the manager of Dumb, the new rock band in school. What would a deaf girl know about music, right? But Piper says yes to it after she finds out that her parents used her college money to buy a cochlear implant for her baby sister, Grace, who was born deaf. She has one month to bring in the cash, and it would have been easier for her if Dumb actually worked together…but as luck would have it, it wasn’t. And craziness ensues.

Five Flavors of Dumb is such a fun read from the start all the way to the end. I loved Piper’s voice. If you didn’t read the blurb, you’d honestly be surprised to find out she was deaf as she revealed it. I loved how smart and snarky Piper was despite her circumstances, and the fact that she was hearing impaired made her rock some more. I love how the other characters were more than what they were at first, from Ed the love interest who can play anything with stainless steel drums and particularly the other girls, Tash and Kallie. The characters were a diverse group, and it really brought out the “flavors” in the novel.

There’s also a lot more going in this novel other than Piper’s deafness or managing the band. This book also tackled some music history (Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix, for those who are curious), passion, a bit of self-image and a lot of family. I was torn between Piper and her family when tensions rose about her deafness and her sister’s cochlear implants, and normally I would think it was unfair for Piper. I hated Piper’s father at first for being so prejudiced against his daughter, but he had a good redemption in the end. It really is a difficult situation for a family to be in, anyway. The choices that Piper’s parents made are choices that they shouldn’t have to make, but they have to and just find ways to deal with what happens after. I loved how that issue was resolved and how everything was tied up at the end. To put it simply: it rocked.

I was kind of expecting it to be like Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway (which I also liked a lot), but Five Flavors of Dumb had all the things I liked about that novel, and more. This is one of the books that I think I will also get in print version when I see it in the stores here so I can lend it to other people and they can read for themselves how much this book rocks (and the cover is just really pretty). Don’t miss out on this one rocking your world. :)

And you know what? This book just gave me a problem. I’d need to fix my Top 10 reads of 2010 again to make room for this one.

Rating:

My copy: e-book, from Amazon Kindle store

Cover and blurb: Goodreads

Other reviews:

The Book Smugglers

YA Addict

10 for 2010: Most Anticipated for 2011

The best thing about being a book blogger this year is I get to find out about all the new titles coming out in the next few months and years. Before, I’d just rely on bookstore releases and sometimes I find out about them late! Thanks to the great blogging community and social networks, I find out about future releases so early! So early that sometimes the waiting time is unbearable. :P

So presenting today’s 10 for 2010: Most Anticipated Books for 2011.

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

1. What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen (May 2011) – If you’ve known me for a while now, you’ll know that Sarah Dessen is one of my favorite contemporary YA authors ever. Just Listen got me started on the contemporary YA genre, and I’ve devoured all her books ever since I read that. When I found out that she’s releasing a new book in 2011, I squeed. I absolutely cannot wait for this next novel — in fact, I am already planning a Dessen marathon to prepare myself for this new release. :)

2. Deadline by Mira Grant (May 2011) – Feed was one of my favorite books for this year, and the one year wait for its sequel is already long enough, don’t you think? More zombies, more politics and more blogging must be in Deadline…and maybe even a radio thing? I don’t know. But I am definitely looking forward to this one.

3. Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later by Francine Pascal (March 2011) – Two words: Sweet. Valley. Need I say more?

4. Bumped by Megan McCafferty (April 2011) – I loved the Jessica Darling series, and I like Megan McCafferty. This dystopian sounds really awesome, and I’ve seen very good reviews about this, too. :)

5. The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan (March 2011) – While there are other zombie books that I liked more than Carrie Ryan’s series, I am still in love with her writing. After I’ve read The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Dead-Tossed Waves, I cannot miss the third one. I hope more questions will be answered by then. :)

One of Our Thursdays is Missing6. One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde (March 2011) – Just like Sarah Dessen, Jasper Fforde is on my auto-buy list. Thursday Next is one of my favorite heroines, so it’s imperative I get a copy of the sixth book. And maybe refresh myself with the series, too.

7. Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews (May 2011) – I think I’ve professed my love for the Kate Daniels series enough this year? :) If not, I must say it again: I love this series. And like all the other fans I know, I cannot wait o get my hands on the next installment in the series. :)

A Monster Calls8. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (May 2011) – Okay, so I’ve only really read one book and a novella from him, but I like him already. While I wait for his new book, I will finish the two other books in the Chaos Walking series. Yes, I will.

9. Winter Town by Stephen Emond (Fall 2011) – Happyface is undoubtedly one of my most favorite books in 2010, so knowing that Stephen Emond will release a new book is just exciting. I love the premise too: “…told from two perspectives and accompanied by scrapbook entries and comics, childhood friends grow up, grow apart, and eventually fall in love.” Being the president of his fans club, it is my responsibility to get a copy of this as soon as its released. :P

10. Forbidden by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee (Summer 2011) – This is my most anticipated collaboration for 2011. Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee, two of the big names in Christian fiction — this is going to be good, I can tell. :)

Runners Up:

  • Allison Hewitt is TrappedAllison Hewitt is Trapped by Madeleine Roux (January 2011) – I saw this book on The Book Smugglers and I loved how it started out as a blog, too. Blogging and zombies again – one of my favorite combination. Must get this one.
  • Sweetly by Jackson Pearce (August 2011) – I love the cover, and I love the Hansel and Gretel retelling idea. I enjoyed Jackson Pearce’s Sisters Red, so I am excited to get my hands on this one, too.
  • Where She Went by Gayle Forman (April 2011) – I loved If I Stay, and the idea of the sequel is just…well, awesome. I can’t wait to know what happened after Mia’s ordeal.

Check out my other 10 for 2010 posts!
10 Favorite Male Characters
10 Favorite Female Characters
10 Favorite Couples
10 Favorite Authors

I’m giving away some of my favorite books in 2010 in my Anniversary Giveaway! Know why Patrick Ness is one of my auto-buy authors now through The Knife of Never Letting Go! Every comment you leave is one entry — the more comments you leave, the more entries you get! :) Click the image for the mechanics and the list of prizes!

10 for 2010: Favorite Authors

One of the many things I like about reading is discovering new favorite authors. They’re the ones you know that whatever book they will release, you’ll automatically get it, and you would still like them even if that new book wasn’t as good as the others (at least until their books just become really bad). 2010 gave me a chance to discover new authors that I haven’t read before, and they’re now added to my list of auto-buys. Not all of these authors have a lot of books out, nor have I read all of their works, but the ones I read for this year impressed me so much that I am looking forward to their next releases. :)

Today’s 10 for 2010 is 10 Favorite Authors (again, in no particular order):

1. Patrick Ness - I’ve heard of his Chaos Walking series  a lot, and I wasn’t really planning on reading it. But boy oh boy, I’m glad I started. Patrick Ness is one of those authors from where awesomeness comes. And this is only me raving about the first book (and the novella). And I absolutely love it that he’s a runner, too.

2. Stephen EmondHappyface is one of my favorite books this year, and I found Stephen Emond very much like him. You guys should totally follow him on Twitter — he’s hilarious. And his Tumblr, too. :) And I’m not just saying this because I’m supposedly the president of his fans club. :P

3. Ilona Andrews - This husband-wife team is probably the best world-building authors I’ve read this year. They made Kate Daniels‘ world so real that I feel like I also lived there at some point while reading. I can’t wait to read the On the Edge series, and of course, the rest of Kate Daniels. :)

4. Mina V. Esguerra – I got to talk to Mina online last year because I asked her for a pep talk for the Pinoywrimos, and this year, she sent me an email about her ebook. I loved Fairy Tale Fail so much that I re-read My Imaginary Ex, and when she announced that she has a new book coming, I stalked the bookstores more often just so I could find it. Mina is now one of my favorite local authors, and she inspires me to finish my other NaNo chick-lits. :D I look forward to reading her future books!

5. John Green – I’ve heard of John Green for the longest time now, but it took me this year to read his books. I now understand why he’s such a staple in the contemporary community. John Green is the male version of Sarah Dessen, only quirkier, funnier and he has he most awesome sidekicks. When oh when are you coming out with a new book?

6. Rachel Hauck – I haven’t been reading too many Christian novels this year, but after I splurged on her books when I saw them on sale on Amazon, I started liking Rachel Hauck more. I was pretty lukewarm on her first novel, but her Lowcountry Romances are fun and sweet. She will definitely be one of my go-to authors if I want something light and sweet and Southern. :)

7. Kristin Cashore – I wasn’t really a fantasy fan at the start of this year, but Kristin Cashore was one of those authors who helped me convert. Much thanks to Adele’s rave reviews over Graceling and Fire, I gobbled up those two books too, and I love her since then. I love the way she writes and what she writes, and when that is probably the perfect combination. :)

8. Carrie Ryan – Her books made me love zombies again. Not everyone liked her books, but she has this way of writing that pulls me inside her world and make me feel what the characters feel and see. I love how thematic her zombie novels are, and how she never used the word “zombie” in her series. :D Someday, I want to write like she does.

9 . Mira Grant – I have professed my love for her zombie book, Feed, so many times in this blog, and I really, really cannot wait for the next book, Deadline. Should I even explain more why she’s here? I am very curious about her other books she wrote with her real name, Seannan McGuire — if only I can find copies of them here.

10. Stephanie Perkins – This author just totally rocked my contemporary world this year. It’s obvious that I love Anna and the French Kiss, and Stephanie is such a cool person online that it’s plus points for her. I cannot wait to read what she comes up with next.

Runner-up:

  • Jackson Pearce – Jackson Pearce is one of those super funny authors on Twitter that I started following before I even read her books. I loved As You Wish, and I liked Sisters Red, and I cannot wait for Sweetly. While I can’t say she’s one of my absolute auto-buy authors, I can definitely say that her books are those that will always have a place in my wish list. :)
  • Tamora Pierce – I’m a late fan, but better late than never, right? Tamora Pierce is like Kristin Cashore’s mom, and I know I should have liked her first, but forgive me for being such a fantasy noob. I now understood why Alanna is a hero for many girls, and why Trebond is such a magical, magical place. :) I look forward to reading her other books. :D

Check out my other 10 for 2010 posts!
10 Favorite Male Characters
10 Favorite Female Characters
10 Favorite Couples

Again, I’m giving away some of my favorite books in 2010 in my Anniversary Giveaway! If you haven’t read a John Green book ever, then here’s your chance to get his third book, Paper Towns for free! Every comment you leave is one entry — the more comments you leave, the more entries you get! :) Click the image for the mechanics and the list of prizes!