Friday, December 24, 2010

2010 Book Lists, Pt. 7: Craft Etc.

Wonderful Worlds
A tribute to the talented authors whose writing style pulls us right into a different world.

Singing the Dogstar Blues by Alison Goodman
I don't read much sci-fi, but this book makes me wish I did. A wonderful, not-too-complicated presentation of a future world. (also on: Sci-Fi/Dystopian, Night-In Reads)

Voices of Dragons and Discord’s Apple by Carrie Vaughn
I think Carrie Vaughn is a master of world-building. Whether it's magical realism (war between dragons and humans) or a dystopian setting with a contemporary mythological twist, I'm thoroughly convinced. (also on: Magical Realism, Fantasy, Night-In Reads)

Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready
Another world-building master. This world of ghosts and seeing them because of an unexplained event is intricate and conspiratorial enough to set the stage for a very big BLOWUP in the sequel. I can't wait! (Paranormal, Best Debuts of 2010, Love Triangles)

The Iron Fey, Book 1: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Julie spins for us a faerie world as complex and "sparkling" as a really elaborate Christmas lights decoration set-up. That's the only way I know how to describe it, because when she describes the world, it really is as if you can see it right there before you. (Fantasy, Best Debuts of 2010, Summer Reads, Love Triangles, Nice Guys)

Sea by Heidi R. Kling
I know next to nothing about Indonesia, but I could feel Heidi's love for and knowledge of the land exert itself in this gorgeous novel. (Best Debuts of 2010, Angst-Filled Reads, On Grief, Nice Guys)

Deception by Lee Nichols
Lee Nichols' paranormal, ghost-filled world is described in a way that converted even me, a paranormal skeptic. (also on: Paranormal, Memorable Protagonists)

Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
I'm not usually a fan of a liberal application of flashbacks, but in Immortal Beloved's case it actually worked really, really well, and I was sucked even more into Nastasya's story and the mysteries of her background. It helps that Nasty is rather snarky. (also on: Paranormal, Memorable Protagonists)

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
I wanted more elaboration on the workings of the International Paranormal Containment Agency, but thought it was very well imagined nevertheless. (also on: Paranormal, Best Debuts of 2010, Guilty Pleasures, Bad Boys, Beautiful Covers)

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Jellicoe Road reads like a crazy dream that in fact you're wide awake for. There's really no better way to describe it other than that it involves you so completely that you forget there is a world beyond the world that you're reading about in the book. (also on: Best Books Read in 2010, Night-In Reads, Quiet Gems, Nice Guys, Messy Relationships)

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Marchetta works her writing charm on a fantasy world! (also on: Fantasy)

Matched by Ally Condie
Regardless of what you think about the rest of the novel, there's no denying that Ally Condie's world-building is stellar, on par with some of the best dystopians. (also on: Sci-Fi/Dystopian, Love Triangles, Beautiful Covers)

Beautiful Covers
Out of the books I read this year, here are the covers that just absolutely take my breath away:

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Stolen by Lucy Christopher

The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, & June by Robin Benway
Theatre Illuminata, Act 2: Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev
Matched by Ally Condie

Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
The Infernal Devices, Book 1: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Sugar and Ice by Kate Messner
Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin

Rosebush by Michele Jaffe
Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly

Beautiful Writing
Self-explanatory, I think.

A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley
A treasure, with song lyrics and descriptions so precious you want to remember them forever. (also on: Best Books Read in 2010, Best Books Published in 2010, Quiet Gems, Messy Relationships)

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
I'm not quite sure it's the actual words being used here that are beautiful, but rather the scope of the ideas they convey. (also on: Best Books Read in 2010, Night-In Reads, Quiet Gems, Nice Guys, Messy Relationships, Wonderful Worlds)

Plain Kate by Erin Bow
Plain Kate immediately captivated me with its writing style. You can tell that Erin Bow is a poet: she blends poetry with the surrealism of a mesmerizing fairy tale. (also on: Fantasy, Best Debuts of 2010)

A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler
A cut above the typical contemporary tale with its alluring prose. (also on: Best Debuts of 2010, Angst-Filled Reads, Exceptionalities)

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
You can totally tell that Brenna and Maggie Stiefvater are crit partners because they both have a similar, lyrical, plaintive writing style. (also on: Paranormal, Winter Reads)

Jump by Elisa Carbone
Little was I expecting how beautifully thoughtful and philosophical this book was when I dove into it. (also on: Summer Reads, Quiet Gems, Books With Athletes)

Light Beneath Ferns by Anne Spollen
A gorgeous little creepy ghost story. (also on: Paranormal, Horror/Suspense/Thriller)

The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Hands-down lyrical and astoundingly beautiful prose. Lennie has the heart of a poet, seen in the little poems she left all over town and her narration. (also on: On Grief)

Theatre Illuminata, Act 2: Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev
I think I described Lisa Mantchev's writing as "literary dessert," and I stand by that: I don't know how in the world she constructs her sentences to make your eyes simply pour all over them. (also on: Fantasy, Love Triangles, Bad Boys)

And here are some mini-lists if you are interested in books featuring any of the following!

Boarding School Settings
Deception by Lee Nichols
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus
The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel

Books With Athletes
For Keeps by Natasha Friend
Jump by Elisa Carbone
Sugar and Ice by Kate Messner
Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork
A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler
Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly
Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

Books With Artists
A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler
Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern

Which books that you read do you think had the best cover? Best writing?

Back to: Master List | Pt. 1 | Pt. 2 | Guest List #1 | Pt. 3 | Guest List #2 | Pt. 4 | Guest List #3 | Pt. 5 | Guest List #4 | Pt. 6 | Pt. 7

Linked titles go to my book reviews; annotations as inspired.


  1. My favorite cover this year is definitely MATCHED -- I love both the simplicity and the colors. :)

  2. WAIT. Anna and the French Kiss is also a book with athletes???!

    I was already dying to read it before and none of the many reviews I read did not mention anything about athletes. I MUST GET MY HANDS ON THIS BOOK!

  3. Another fantastic list - best world building for me (although I haven't read any on your list, so that may change!) was in NK Jemisin's The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, which I thought would be fairly typical 'sword and sorcery' stuff but was so complex that I loved the way the author created the palace of Sky and it's society and used flashbacks to tell the story of the Three Gods.


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