Thursday, December 30, 2010

End of 2010 Survey / FIVE Challenge

This awesome survey was created by the inspirational Jamie over at The Broke and the Bookish, with some additions that I gleaned from author Trish Doller.

1. Best book of 2010 - Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. Hands down. The only book I wish I could give 6 out of 5 stars to.

2. Worst book of 2010 - I was not fond of a couple of books I had to read for my Victorian Lit seminar. Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy really pissed me off.

3. Most Disappointing Book of 2010 - There's a couple I can think of that didn't live up to their hype for me, but I don't think I'll name names.

4. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2010 - Hmm, maybe The Iron King by Julie Kagawa. I thought I was burnt out on faerie wars and love triangles. Nope! Julie's charming writing pulled me right back into love.

5. Book you recommended to people most in 2010 - I talked up Jellicoe Road, Anna and the French Kiss, and Sugar and Ice quite a bit.

6. Best series you discovered in 2010 - I'll go with the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. This is quite simply one of the BEST urban fantasy series out there.

7. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2010 - Oh, why is this question so hard? Why were there so many talented authors this year?? I think I'll go with Jeri Smith-Ready on this one. All the books of hers that I've read so far have been consistently top-notch.

8. Most hilarious read of 2010 - That's difficult, as I usually turn back to my utmost favorites when I'm in need of a humorous read, but I tore through Castration Celebration by Jake Wizner last night and there were many moments in the book when I laughed so hard my stomach hurt.

9. Book that made you cry the hardest in 2010 - There was a point, somewhere in Holly Cupala's Tell Me a Secret, where I just put down the book and sobbed for about 10 minutes straight. I don't know why I was so affected by that one chapter. It might've been a combination of PMS and Holly's intense writing.

10. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2010 - I read Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien in one breathless, all-nighter gulp. I didn't dare put the book down for sleep!

11. Book you most anticipated in 2010 - Well, I definitely anticipated Mockingjay, but since nearly everyone's answer is that, I'll also mention that I pined for Clockwork Angel.

12. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2010 - I think that would have to be Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce. AMAZING.
13. Most memorable character in 2010 - Kate from the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. If I ever had to be in an urban fantasy story I'd want to be like her.

14. Most beautifully written book in 2010 - A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley, for its one-of-a-kind use of poetic descriptive language, phrases so beautiful they made my heart hurt in a good way.

15. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2010 - Umm I guess I'll go with Jellicoe Road for this. The only book I've ever read that actually caused me to stop reading for a few days afterwards, unwilling to pick up another book to break the spell that Jellicoe Road had cast over me.

16. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2010 to finally read - Jellicoe Road! Man, my answers are getting monotonous...

Book Blogging in 2010

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2010 - Probably Jamie at The Broke and the Bookish, for her wonderfully participatory features, posts, and questions that make me think, and her IRL friendship; and Jen of Makeshift Bookmark, for never failing to make me laugh with her genuine enthusiasm for good books.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2010 - Gah, this is so hard! Oh, hold on, let me just peruse the 200-something reviews that I wrote this year... GAH. Maybe Incarceron by Catherine Fisher?

3. Best discussion you had on your blog - You do realize you're asking me to pick one post I wrote that sparked discussion? I'm very proud of my What's Missing in YA Lit? post (and I still think everyone in YA lit industry should read it and take notes), but I think two that sparked the best comments were my post "Why I Want More Asians on YA Book Covers" and my "What is love, anyway?" post.

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else's blog - I've recently discovered the star feature in Google Reader and should probably keep track of my favorites from now on. Let me think... okay, fine, I give up. Just go to Adele's list of discussion posts and the First Novels Club's list of YA character studies and read them all.

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.) - PAYA! A writing workshop run by great YA writers, plus the treasured company of old friends and the discovery of new ones. It was just the right size for my kind of bookish event.


6. Best moment of book blogging in 2010 - I'm not really sure what this means? Um, I've had some pretty splendid conversations with bloggers over Twitter this year. And because I'm not a person who gets close to others easily, this seems like a best moment for me.

7. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.) - I don't know if there's much this year that I didn't discover last year, but I greatly appreciated Doylestown Bookshop's Advanced Reviewer Program earlier in the year when, y'know, I obviously didn't have enough books to read!

Abbreviated Persnickety Snark's FIVE Challenge for 2010

So I wasn't able to participate fully in Adele's awesome FIVE list-making challenge, uh, mostly because I was busy making 1302948576 lists for the last two weeks. But some of the lists she challenges us to make are worth sharing, I think. So here goes!

1. The Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty - Always and forever my go-to series for when I need a 100-volt jolt to my energy levels, inspiration, and happiness. I feel like I reread this series about once a year, and this year happened to fall on my finals week (heh).

2. The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare - Oh how this paranormal series makes me giggle and sigh.

3. Fat Cat by Robin Brande - Arguably one of the best contemporary YA books out there. I reread it every once in a while just to remember how amazing contemporary YA can be, if you have the right character and are dedicated enough to the research.

4. Dairy Queen + sequels by Catherine Gilbert Murdock - Another amazing contemporary YA series, with a one-of-a-kind protagonist.

5. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - Reread so soon after my first read-through? Must be a sign of its adorable goodness.


1. Where She Went by Gayle Forman - I absolutely cannot wait to find out what happens to Mia and Adam, in NYC, from Adam's point of view. Will Gayle make me cry buckets again? I hope so.

2. We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han - I eagerly await the conclusion to one of my favorite series.

3. Huntress by Malinda Lo - I look forward to being immersed in Malinda's writing again. Even better, this is an Asian-inspired fantasy with an ethnically accurate cover. WIN.

4. Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal - Everyone has been saying wonderful things about this debut. Luckily I only have to wait about two more weeks before it comes out!

5. The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta - Ms. Marchetta can do no wrong with her writing, and I can't wait to read this book.


1. Diversity continues to be the norm in stories - The second half of 2010 produced for me many great books featuring a colorful cast of characters. I want to see this quiet shift into the recognition of our differences carry over into 2011 and beyond.

2. Fewer luuuv-at-first-sight romances - They're ridiculous and unrealistic and even the most ardent paranormal romance readers knows it by now.

3. POC characters in paranormal or urban fantasy - Asian characters have a strong showing in Asian-inspired fantasy, but I would love to see a paranormal or urban fantasy story, set in our times, that features a POC main character.

4. Covers diversify and remain true to the story - Enough, enough, enough with the whitewashing! You think you're not going to get caught if you whitewash characters on covers? In this Internet and info-tech age, everyone is a "cop," and one doesn't need to be a professional to cry foul.

Okay, only 4, but I think those are four solid ones.


1. Jamie at The Broke and the Bookish and The Perpetual Page-Turner - Jamie is an eclectic blogger, but she reads a healthy enough dose of YA (*pats self on back for an influence well done*) that she can be included on this list. This beautiful chick is incredible because she's so passionate about inspiring conversation over books. The many features she runs on her blogs have me thinking all the time, and she has the particular talent of asking me questions that make me think about things I've never given much thought before.

2. Jen at The Makeshift Bookmark - Jen is a gem. Her unbridled enthusiasm for books makes her blog a joy to read, each and every day. Not to mention she is an utter joy to talk to online. I can only hope that one day I'll be able to meet her in the flesh, from which we will then proceed to fangirl over our shared interests!

3. Adele at Persnickety Snark - How could I not mention Adele on a list like this? I don't think a list of YA bloggers is complete without Adele, who has spunk and a sharp and inquisitive voice that's all her own. She writes fantastic discussion posts that I always look forward to reading. Even better, I got to meet her this year. That's saying a lot when we live on opposite sides of the world. We hung out for a day in NYC, and it was an amazing experience to talk books with someone so passionate, well-read, and intelligent.

4. Angie at Angieville - One of my favorite bloggers, because even though our reading tastes do not necessarily converge, she just has a way of writing her reviews that makes you feel like you're in a room in person with her, and there is no one else, and she is talking about this book to you and only you. I always take into consideration her reviews because she's just so utterly sincere with them. She's passionate about retellings, which I love, and she also does a cool feature called Retro Friday, in which she reviews her old fave YA reads, which I wish I could do because older gems need recognition as well.

5. Khy at Frenetic Reader - Last but certainly not least, Khy is a fave YA blogger of mine, not just because she is a cool half-sweetheart/half-kickass girl, but also because every single one of her posts is full of a genuine passion and interest in what she's writing about. And you know, I'm a sucker for genuineness all the time. Whether she raving about her newest fave read or ranting about YA genres or covers, she does so with an excellent sense of humor and always gets me thinking. I love that about her blog!


I think that's all for now!


  1. I must read Jellicoe Road, especially if it's your top pick for 2010. I am loving the Jessica Darling series, which I just started this month. It's addicting! I also cannot wait for the next book in Han's Summer series. It's my most anticipated book for 2011. I loved PAYA too. It was great to meet you! Hopefully we can all go to another even soon. Enjoy your NYE!

  2. Steph--you are the reason my TBR list is bursting at the seams!! I love you for it. And you can definitely pat yourself on the back for all the YA I've been reading.

  3. I dropped over after finding you through Bookshelves of Doom.
    I have now bookmarked your blog, and I shall return. (Sounds like a threat, doesn't it? Hee, hee, you haven't seen the last of me yet.)
    I can see we have some differences of opinion in YA, but you have given me much to ponder. And I like pondering. :)

  4. I really need to read Jellicoe Road. It's such a polarizing book and I need to add my opinion!

  5. On the Jellicoe Road was amazing!!!

  6. Wow you went epic with the lists, Steph!

    As always, it's so refreshing to hear a fellow Asian demanding diversity, a cry that should be taken up by EVERYONE, but especially people of color, and ESP. yellows, whose meekness and keep-you-head-down-don't-talk-about-race attitude I'm so sick of. (You're a younger generation so you might get less than that. My own father raised me to think white people were better than us!)

    In response, all I can say is - I'm working as hard as I can to get published! I'm even cutting down hours on my pay job so I can get my novels out into the world. Not a single one of them has a WASPy lead and the boys are all colored and HAWT.

  7. Holy smokes! This is quite the list of awesomeness. Hope that 2011 is as wonderful for you as 2010 was!

  8. Thanks for the FNC shout-out! Your lists have been incredible, and we're so grateful to be included in one!

    Funny enough, I was actually considering doing a week of character study re-posts, since we have many new followers since we originally posted. Definitely another vote in the Yes category.

    Love and agree with the 5 hopes for YA in 2011.

  9. I just finished Jellicoe Road this holliday season. Amazingly good!


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