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: 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!

10 for 2010: Favorite Male Characters

Favorite Male Characters

We kick-off the 10 for 2010 series with my Favorite Male Characters in 2010. I like strong, male characters in books, but by strong, I don’t mean macho or all gung-ho and just masculine. I like guys that leave an impact — guys who are not afraid to admit their weaknesses, guys who aren’t afraid to cry, guys who know how to respect the people around them and still stand up for themselves or their family when needed. In short, I like my male characters real, as real as they can be in fiction.

Not all of these characters listed below are the main heroes. Some of them are sidekicks or supporting characters, and they deserve as much credit as the heroes do. The heroes won’t be heroes without them!

And now my 10 Favorite Male Characters from 2010 — these came from books I read this year, and in no particular order.

1. Happyface (Happyface by Stephen Emond) – He has no face except for a happy face. He’s probably one of the most real characters I’ve read this year, and I cannot stop expressing my love for this guy. He’s just…aww. To quote my review:

Happyface is the dorky boy in school who you would never have a crush on, but would be really good friends with. He’s the guy who’d draw stuff for you, join you in shopping and hand you a Christmas gift that he made himself, looking all awkward and blushing. He’s the guy you will call when you’re dating someone and you need someone to encourage you or tell you that everything will work out — heck, he may even help you work things out with the guy. Happyface is the guy who is secretly in love with you, and you may never ever know because he’s too shy to tell you about it.

2. Radar (Paper Towns by John Green) – one of my favorite John Green sidekicks. I love that he’s black, and I love that he’s the ultimate geek in their little trio. I also love that Radar’s parents have the biggest collection of black Santas in the world. Radar is the type of friend who you’d normally forget, and he knows it, but when you need him, he will be there. Q is lucky to have him as a friend.

3. Jinn (As You Wish by Jackson Pearce) – for a paranormal creature, Jinn is not perfect. I really liked how the author wrote him, and how I was given an opportunity to see his side of the romance in the story, instead of just seeing everything from the girl’s side. Jinn is snarky, sarcastic and vulnerable at the same time. I rooted for him from the start all the way to the end. :)

4. Curran (Kate Andrews series by Ilona Andrews) – Ah Curran. I wouldn’t have discovered him if it weren’t for Chachic and Michelle pushing me to get the books. And I am very, very thankful for giving in because Curran is awesome. How do I describe the Beast Lord more accurately? I don’t have the words. Let’s just say he’s the guy who’d go through hell just to save his Mate. Who would not like that? I cannot wait for Magic Slays.

5. Bennett (Tweet Heart by Elizabeth Rudnick) – Another sidekick that won my heart. Bennett is your standard sci-fi geek who has a blog, a Twitter and is normally there to annoy the heck out of other people. However, he’s also the guy who you can count on to be there when things get ugly. I liked how complex his character was in Tweet Heart, and that’s saying a lot because that’s a book written in tweets and emails. :P

6. Shaun Mason (Feed by Mira Grant) – I love Shaun because I love brothers. And I like that while he can be reckless, he’s also very loyal to his sister, Georgia. This is a guy character who supports the female character and he still shines with his own wit and personality. I cannot wait to read more about him in the next book, Deadline.

7. Arnold Spirit / Junior (The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexey) – As I mentioned in the review, Arnold reminds me of Happyface and that was already an ultimate plus for me. I liked that he fought for what he wanted even if he knew no one really believed in him. I liked how he let things roll off his back and he keeps on standing up again. We could all learn a lot from Arnold Spirit. :)

8. Hassan (An Abundance of Katherines by John Green) – I am conflicted between Hassan and Radar as the best John Green sidekick, but who says I cannot love both. Just like Radar, Hassan is funny and loyal. I love that he’s Lebanese and even if Colin has been ditching him for all the Katherines, he stuck by him and he’s always there to pick him up after a break up.

9. Brigan (Fire by Kristin Cashore) – I loved Brigan the moment he first showed up in Fire. He’s the kind of guy that you’d initially be intimidated with, but you’ll also find him quite attractive. He’s the kind of man you know you could trust with your life, and would do everything in his power to keep his loved ones safe.

1o. Etienne St. Clair (Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins) – Etienne St. Clair is probably the most popular guy character in the contemporary world now, ever since Stephanie Perkins’ debut novel came out. And who wouldn’t like him? He’s funny, he’s witty, and he’s wonderfully imperfect. His British accent really helps up the hotness factor, too. :P

Runners-up:

Oh, and you do know I’m giving away some of my favorite books in 2010 in my Anniversary Giveaway, right? Win awesome books such as Stephen Emond’s Happyface — this happy/sad graphic novel like book has one of the most real heroes I’ve ever read, and it deserves more attention! 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!

Red Riding Hood strikes back

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Hachette Book Group, 336 pages

Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris– the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She’s determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts fiercely alongside her. Now Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves and finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax– but loving him means betraying her sister and has the potential to destroy all they’ve worked for.

Twenty-five-year-old Jackson Pearce delivers a dark, taut fairy tale with heart-pounding action, fierce sisterly love, and a romance that will leave readers breathless.

There is something about a re-telling of an old, popular story that fascinates me. It started when a friend recommended Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, a re-telling of the book of Hosea from the Bible, and I’ve read a lot of contemporary young adult (YA) stories based on fairy tales–but not all re-tellings work. Some authors simply retell the story with different names and twists that have little impact on the story. However, for those that manage to infuse an old tale with originality, the result can be a clever and creative read. Such is the case with Jackson Pearce’s second book, Sisters Red.

The cover is very pretty, but don’t be mislead by it (and the fact that Pearce’s first novel was light and romantic): Sisters Red is not your ordinary fairy tale retelling. Pearce goes in an entirely different direction from her debut by writing a modern version of Little Red Riding Hood that is dark, dangerous, and quite violent. The novel starts with Scarlett and Rosie March as kids, when they first encounter a Fenris – a wolf who assumes the form of a handsome man, and who feeds on beautiful women. Scarlett kills the wolf to save her sister, but not without the Fenris killing their grandmother and leaving Scarlett scarred and blind in her right eye. Seven years later, the sisters, together with their childhood friend Silas, have devoted their lives to hunting these soulless beasts who continue to prey on other women. When the three of them realize that Fenris from different packs have started to hunt together, they know something was up: the Fenris are looking for the Potential, a possible new werewolf recruit. Scarlett, Rosie and Silas head out to the city to find the Potential before the wolves do. Scarlett is thrilled that she’ll be able to kill more Fenris; Rosie, on the other hand, is excited for an entirely different reason: she longs to spend more time with Silas, who has started to point her in the direction of jobs besides hunting, and toward a life resembling normalcy.

It’s brave of Jackson Pearce to put a dark twist to this fairy tale (although it must be pointed out that the original versions of Little Red Riding Hood were dark indeed). Click here to read the rest of the review.

Rating:

2010 Challenge Status:
* Book # 57 out of 100 for 2010

My copy: ebook, $9.99 from Amazon Kindle Store

Cover and Blurb: Goodreads