Welcome to Smugglivus 2012! Throughout this month, we will have daily guests – authors and bloggers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2012, and looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2013.
Who: Angie of Angieville, blogger extraordinaire who is singlehandedly responsible for introducing us to many new writers with her beautifully written, concise reviews. She is also singlehandedly responsible for our routinely depleted bank accounts. We invited Angie over to kick off Smugglivus last year and we love her so much, we had to have her start the festivities this year, too.
Please give a warm welcome to Angie, everyone!
Kicking off the Smugglivus festivities has fast become one of my favorite holiday traditions! I’m pleased as punch to be here today, sharing my annual awards for my favorite bookish delights of 2012. And let me tell you, it wasn’t easy this time around. Quite a bit of mulling and brooding and general hem-hawing went into this year’s selections. But I think the following is an accurate reflection of the scenes, characters, authors, and artwork that stole my heart in the last twelve months. Without further ado:
Arranged marriages gone wrong, nuns trained as assassins, Death himself stalking the halls of the high court of Brittany . . . this level of intrigue just doesn’t come along every day, you guys. As mesmerizing as a perfectly played game of chess, this feast of historical fiction had me at hello.
I’ve Got Your Number
My first Kinsella foray was a resounding success and it was all to do with Poppy and Sam and their hilarious and contentious battle of wills. Kinsella killed it with a perfect exchange of texts, emails, messages, and footnotes leading up to an in-person meet-cute that literally took my breath away.
Jim Shrapshire for Magic Dreams
I’m a sucker for a man of few words finally employing them at the most propitious of moments. Such was the case with were-jaguar Jim Shrapshire in this excellent novella set in Ilona Andrews‘ Kate Daniels world. You have to wait for it. But then we all know that only makes it better. *sigh*
This one qualifies as one of the biggest surprises of the year for me as well. Julie, Celeste, Matty, Flat Finn . . . they all just hunkered down and made a home inside my heart. Wonderfully obtuse and endearing, they managed to engage the full range of my emotions. All I ask for in a book, really.
Best Debut Performance by a Heroine in a Leading Role:
Edie Spence for Nightshifted
Edie is stone cold awesome. She works as a nightshift nurse on the scariest ward the county hospital has to offer. Y4. The ward for things that go bump in the night. She’s scrappy, fiercely independent, and by the time the conclusion came around I wanted to share a fist bump of solidarity with this girl.
Best Debut Performance by a Hero in a Supporting Role:
Adam for The Raven Boys
I love it when a supporting character reaches out and steals the limelight. Even better when said character is a nice guy with razor edges. When it comes to Gansey’s raven boys, it’s all about Adam for me. All of the characters are standouts, but Adam is the crucial one. Like Dally from The Outsiders, Adam is so real he scares me. I have all available appendages crossed for his continued survival in the books to come.
Best Performance by a Hero in a Ridiculously Charming Role:
Lucas for Easy
So the nice guys kind of killed it this year, didn’t they? How novel. Tammara Webber could easily have gone all white knight with Lucas. Happily, she chose not to eschew his grey areas and instead presented her readers with the ridiculously charming, yet appropriately nuanced and conflicted Lucas. For which she has my gratitude.
Best Performance by a Villain:
Leck for Bitterblue
Some bad guys just never go away. Leck actually won this award a few years ago when Graceling came out. And now here he is again, haunting the lives of characters and readers from beyond the grave. Honestly. With Leck Kristin Cashore wins at crafting my very worst nightmare and wrapping it up in a big, fat bow. *shudder*
And she wins again for the unbelievable way she rounded out this trilogy. I know reader reactions were all over the map on this one, but I personally found it supremely unsettling and profoundly moving. Painful and pensive, I just love the way she writes. Please to be continuing, Ms. Cashore.
I read some solid retellings this year, but this post-apocalyptic version of Persuasion is the one. The massive amount of care and thought that went into it is evident in every detail. But it’s the way Diana Peterfreund sets the tale free to soar on its own that garnered all my admiration.
Nothing gives me chills like a familiar author and/or series bowling me over with a particularly well-done change of the game. Well, I’m here to tell you Patty Briggs knocks it out of the park with this third full-length installment in her Alpha & Omega series. Not only does she change the game, she changes the world. Bravery. I loves it.
Either you love it or you hate it. I love it. Unashamedly. I say if you’re going to publish a scifi/cyberpunk retelling of Cinderella you dang well oughta slap a legit cover on that bad boy. And, by Jove, Feiwel & Friends went and did it. Bravo!
Best Author Pimping:
The lovely Rose Lerner
For successfully bringing the fabulous Courtney Milan to my attention and recommending her books so assiduously. Thanks to Rose, I started reading Milan’s fascinating blog. From there I moved on to her marvelously written historical romances. I haven’t looked back since. Bibliocrack at its finest, they’re good for what ails you.
And finally my 2013 Must Be Mine List (in order of publication):
Given my feelings about Lindner’s retelling of Jane Eyre, wild horses could not keep me from devouring her take on Wuthering Heights. So excited to start the new year off with a bang!
Sequel to Cinder. Sci-fi retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. They are going to look so pretty together on my shelf . . .
One word: Warner.
Fair Game put me seriously in the mood for more Mercy. I suspect higher vampire involvement in this one. Which means more Stefan. Which fills me with delight.
Sequel to Grave Mercy. Featuring crazy Sybella. Yay!
The first in a new series from the always-stellar Raybourn. Scandalous flapper exiled to Africa. Yes, please.
And no final covers yet on the following, but I am counting down the days just the same:
Retired teen concert pianist struggles to find her mojo. After How to Save a Life, I read what Zarr writes.
It Felt Like a Kiss by Sarra Manning
Next adult novel from Ms. Manning. Can’t wait!
Third and final book in the Books of Faerie. I would like to find out how Luke is doing, please.
Third in the Edie Spence series. Things are getting real, guys. I am full of fear.
Sixth in the Kate Daniels series. How in the world did that happen?! I don’t care. Kate & Curran for evah.
Please don’t die, Adam. Please don’t die, Adam. Please don’t die . . .
Clockwork Heart 2 (title to come) by Dru Pagliassotti
I fell so in love with the first book. I am ridiculously excited for the second.
Companion novel to For Darkness Shows the Stars. Inspired by The Scarlet Pimpernel. Pardon me while I cannot handle the awesome.
What’s that you say? I’ve prattled on long enough? Hm. You may be right. Better dash. Here’s to an absolutely stellar Smugglivus and a happy holiday season to you all!
Thank you, Angie!
And now, we declare Smugglivus officially open!!