End of 2010 Survey!

The Perpetual Page Turner is hosting this survey. Go to her blog to link to the responses by tons of bloggers.

White Cat (Curse Workers, #1)1. Best book of 2010? This is hard! Since there are so many great books I’m going to interpret this as: best YA book published in 2010 to narrow it down. Holly Black’s White Cat was pretty incredible. It has action, mystery and suspense, not to mention character depth and all around awesomeness. I’m picking this book because it’s not just something I loved myself, it’s one that I confidently recommended to my younger brother, my mother and my friends. It is very rare that I think a book would appeal to all of them but Holly Black’s writing will be appreciated by a variety of audiences.

Dateable Rules, The: A Guide to the Sexes2. Worst book of 2010? I’m not usually a book basher, but there was this really terrible book I picked up at work. Dateable Rules, The: A Guide to the Sexes was really awful. At first I thought it looked pretty cool, but um no on closer inspection it’s incredibly sexist and makes me angry. According to this book men need to “conquer” and be in power in the relationship, and women need to “learn to shut up”. The fact that I disagreed with the religious nonsense just added to my general dislike of the book.

linger cover art3. Most Disappointing Book of 2010?  I was most disappointed with Linger by Maggie Stiefvater. I loved Shiver so much that I over-anticipated the sequel. It’s not that it was terrible, it just didn’t live up to the hype in my mind. I’ll still read the next book in the series but my expectations have gone down a few notches.

Generation Dead (Generation Dead, #1)4. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2010? I was most surprised by Generation Dead. I forced myself to read a zombie book (I’m quite squeamish) because I was TRYING to have a zombie night at the library for teens (no one showed up but that’s a different story). I was pleasantly surprised by Daniel Waters! His book is a beautiful social commentary about discrimination, and I found myself loving the zombies and their friends. The book I was dreading turned out to my one of my favourites, and I’ve been recommending it a lot.

5. Book you recommended to people most in 2010? I have a hard time answering this because I recommend things every day, at work, to friends, on the blog…I’be probably promoted Scaredy Squirrel the most but that’s not YA. My recommendations really depend on how I’m recommending it to.

The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxset
6. Best series you discovered in 2010? The Hunger Games trilogy! I can’t believe I resisted reading it for so long. Everyone kept telling me to read it and I was like “kids killing each other? Ick!”  because I thought it was just violence for violence’s sake. Once I realized that Collins is critiquing violence, reality tv, and oppressive governments, I was all in. I love dystopia and social commentary. Plus there’s tons of suspenseful action, Katniss kicks butt and Peeta is a sweetie, how could you not love the series?

7. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2010? Suzanne Collins, Daniel Waters, Gemma Malley, Kelley Armstrong, Holly Black, Kim Harrison, Simone Elkeles….

8. Most hilarious read of 2010?  The Feegles in The Wintersmith had me laughing pretty hard.

9. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2010?  The Hunger Games trilogy. I read it in 4 days and it would have been less if I didn’t have to wait to get the next book.

10. Book you most anticipated in 2010? I think it was Linger but I mentioned earlier how that worked out.

11. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2010?


nightshade cover links to reviewRules of Attraction (Perfect Chemistry, #2)Sisters Red cover art

12. Most memorable character in 2010?  I was most struck by Cassel from White Cat, Chloe from the Summoning and Haymitch from Hunger Games but so many more characters touched me this year

 13. Most beautifully written book in 2010? I love the Scottish and formal language of The Forest Laird. Laini Taylor’s Lips Touch Three Times was pretty poetic.

14. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2010? Most books have a pretty big impact on me, I don’t think I can choose.

 
15. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2010 to finally read?  The Hunger GamesI’ve already explained why

 Book Blogging in 2010 (optional)

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2010? To be honest I just started really following any blogs in 2010. Jan 2010 my friend Erin opened my eyes to book blogs and I’ve been eating them up ever since. Some of my favourites are The Green Bean Teen Queen, Forever Young Adult, The Story Siren, Pure Imagination, and YA Bliss. I’ve also been reading Mark Reads  every day and he’s a good one to follow for a specific book but he has less variety.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2010?  I liked reviewing The Resistance, Generation Dead, and Sisters Red (I have a lot of trouble deciding)

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?  I wrote a post about why sometimes reading formulaic books is reassuring. I unfortunately haven’t had enough people commenting to work up a good discussion between people. It’s something I’d like to have next year.

 4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog? I really enjoy the discussions on the Forever Young Adult blog. They manage to be hilarious but bring up serious issues at the same time. For example their post about resolutions that makes some good points about changes I’d like to see in YA writing/publishing but is laugh out loud funny.

 

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)? The Ontario Library Association Super Conference was amazing. It was my first conference and I was thrilled just to be on the expo floor getting autographed books, fighting stormtroopers and learning about new technology. That I got to go to informative sessions beyond that blew my mind. I can’t wait for more conferences.

6. Best moment of book blogging in 2010? This is all really new to me and I’m pretty easily excited, so I have trouble picking a specific moment.

7. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)? Um I’m gonna go with book trailers, I don’t think I knew about them in 2009 and they are a great way to promote books. I also love my new Kobo.

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Fate or Free Will? Destiny or Choice?

Early to Death, Early to Rise by Kim Harrison is the sequel to Once Dead, Twice Shy. The narrator is a teenage girl named Madison who suddenly has the fate of sinners in her hands. It’s a lot of responsibility, and she doesn’t agree with how she is supposed to deal with them.

“Now it’s my responsibility to send a dark reaper to end a person’s earthy existence. The idea is to save their soul at the cost of their life. Fate, the seraphs would say. But I don’t believe in fate; I believe in choice, which means I’m in charge of the very people I once fought against”

Early to Death, Early to Rise (Madison Avery, #2)Madison believes that she can prevent future Hitlers by reasoning with them rather than killing them before they have a chance to create the tragedy the angels predict they will. The dark reapers would kill baby Hitler and the light reapers would give him a guardian angel to protect him from the dark reapers. Have you seen Minority Report? Imagine the precogs screaming “Murder!” now what to do you do? Madison can’t agree with either side and she wants to use her new position of power to initiate change in how the dark reapers handle a reap.

This book is about her attempt to change one man’s fate without killing him, and trying not to allow for casualties because of her leniency.

It all sounds very heavy with big concepts like destiny but Harrison manages to make it a smooth refreshing read. There’s humour, especially in the portrayal of the supporting characters. Nikkita and Barnabas are reapers trying to pass as humans, and while they have no trouble with battles and life and death they can’t seem to blend in, avoid detention or get along. Madison’s banter and silly expressions like “puppy present on a rug” or “my dad’s going to have kittens!” are really funny even if they are just Harrison trying to avoid having swears in her book.

Good and evil are blurred, and I like that. There is no dark lord who must be defeated, no perfect champion, just flawed (as in human) characters who do what they think is best. Even if they are mistaken or misguided they believe they are justified in their actions, and that’s more believable than those villains who are just EVIL.

I really enjoyed Madison’s realization that our memories make us who we are

“It’s why we make the choices we do. How do you expect anyone to change if you smother the past in a lie?”

What we experiences shapes us as people. If we don’t learn from mistakes or feel guilty about hurting someone why would we not just do the same terrible things over and over?

Harrison’s character development is great when it comes to Madison. The things she misses about being corporial, her fashion sense, the way she worries about her dad, her unwillingness to give up on people…I really like the narrator and that’ s a big selling point for me. I’d like Barnabas to be fleshed out more.

I really enjoyed this book and the third book is on my TBR list for next year!

Don’t Fear The Reaper

cover art of once dead, twice shyYes that’s an awesome song by Blue Oyster cult, and the song is actually mentioned in the amazing book Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison. I was having mixed feelings about running Angel Month for Teen Tuesdays after I read Hush, Hush but Harrison’s novel has me enthused again.

Free will vs. Fate is the big debate this book will spark, and I love a good debate or any book that makes you think about big picture concepts.

What I found most interesting about Once Dead, Twice Shy is the angel mythology that is either new or different from what I am familiar with. That reapers are a kind of angels, and there are different classes of angels within the dark and the light is fascinating stuff.

I love that the dark and the light are not completely clear. With the “dark” angel having white wings and the “light” reaper having grey wings, the ambiguity of their place in the universe as good or bad is seen on a literal level. There is no pure evil and pure good that you might expect in such a story, and both free will and fate make some good arguments.

Everything I felt was lacking in Hush, Hush I found here.

  • Angel mythology
  • A character I liked and related to
  • Male characters who weren’t pigs, masculine minus the stalker/violent syndrome
  • Personality over power (cool powers but they don’t overpower the story)

I will definitely be looking for more by Kim Harrison!