Friday, 31 December 2010

New Year's Resolutions & 2011 Challenges


Happy New Year, everyone! I know I'm a few hours early, but hey. In some ways, 2010 has been a great year, in other ways it hasn't. I'm looking forward to seeing what 2011 holds, though I still don't know where this year has disappeared to!

As always, here are my blogging resolutions for 2011:
  • Read more, tweet less. (Damn you Twitter for being so addictive!)
  • Discuss things more. One of my resolutions last year was to post discussion posts, and I don't think I did a single one. I just don't think I'm a very discussion-y person.
  • Write my reviews in a more timely fashion, eg. the same week I finish the book. I'm leaving them too long and forgetting things!
  • Try to comment on every blog on my blogroll at least a few times a week. I used to do this, but I started a new job and it zapped a lot of my time. I will make a conscious effort to get back to it ASAP.
  • Not really a resolution, but at some point in 2011 I want to dedicate a week to my favourite thing *ever*: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I'm considering this my reminder.


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2011 Challenges

I'm participating in at least 3 challenges as of now, and I'll be updating the page on my 'Challenges' navigation bar with books I've read. Here is more information on each:


  • 2011 Debut Author Challenge (DAC) - Kristi at The Story Siren is hosting this again, and I really enjoyed it in 2010. It's a great way for debut authors to get their work read and voices heard. I hope to read a lot of debuts just like last year, fingers crossed!


  • 2011 British Books Challenge (BBC) - I'm British, I read a lot of our fiction anyway, and my friend Becky at The Bookette is hosting it. What else is there to say? Here are some of the books I plan to read for the 'Home Grown' level (there are far too many to mention):
  • 0.4 by Mike Lancaster
  • Artichoke Hearts by Site Brahmachari
  • Small Blue Thing by S. C. Ransom
  • The Iron Witch by Kaz Mahoney
  • The Medusa Project: Hunted by Sophie McKenzie


Thursday, 30 December 2010

Wondrous Reads Top 10 Books of 2010

I remember doing these lists at the same time last year, and they weren't nearly as difficult. I think that goes to show what a wonderful year for YA 2010 has been. I have agonised over this list for days, but I've finally narrowed it down to my 10 favourite books published this year. Here they are!


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10. The Invisible Order: Rise of the Darklings by Paul Crilley




9. Noah Barleywater Runs Away by John Boyne




8. The Thirteen Curses by Michelle Harrison




7. The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams




6. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han




5. Firelight by Sophie Jordan




4. Matched by Ally Condie




3. Flyaway by Lucy Christopher




2. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver




1. The Legacy by Gemma Malley


Here's to 2011. Happy reading, everyone!

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Wondrous Reads Top 10 Book Covers of 2010

I can't believe it's this time again... where has the year gone? Anyway, here are my top 10 covers from books published in 2010. This list took me absolutely ages to figure out, and I think I'm finally happy with my choices. Kudos to all the publishers for their amazing covers throughout the year, and now on to my personal favourites...


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10. Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick




9. Wintercraft by Jenna Burtenshaw




8. Torment by Lauren Kate




7. The Thirteen Curses by Michelle Harrison




6. Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin




5. The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller




4. Pegasus by Robin McKinley




3. The Demon's Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan




2. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins




1. Matched by Ally Condie




I can't wait to see the covers in 2011... it's already looking like a great year!

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Guest Post: Elizabeth Eulberg's Year in Music!

Elizabeth Eulberg




The Year in Music (According to my Ipod)

I listen to music constantly – when I’m working, writing, at the gym, while I go to sleep… I pretty much won’t walk more than a block without my iPod. I have to say that this year had some great musical moments, at least in my humble opinion. So without further ado, my top five albums of 2010!


ARCADE FIRE – THE SUBURBS

I’ve been a huge Arcade Fire fan since the release of Funeral in 2004 (“Wake Up” is one of my favorite songs of all time). This was the album I was looking forward to the most this year and it is without a doubt my Album of the Year for 2010. The album was streamed online the day before it was released and I spent the entire day listening to it. I ended up seeing them in concert two days later and was surprised with how many songs I was already singing along to. A must!

Favorite tracks: “The Suburbs,” “Ready to Start,” “Empty Room,” “City With No Children,” “Suburban War,” “Month of May,” “We Used to Wait” (I realize I should’ve just put the entire album!)


FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE: LUNGS

This was technically released in 2009, but I didn’t get it until earlier this year, however I had to include it since I listened to it non-stop for nearly the whole year. I saw Florence a couple weeks ago in concert and they were truly amazing live. Her voice hit every note and she mesmerized the entire audience.

Favorite tracks: “Dog Days Are Over,” “Drumming Song,” “Cosmic Love,” and “Hurricane Drunk”


FRIGHTENED RABBIT – THE WINTER OF MIXED DRINKS

My brilliant editor (and music consigliere) David Levithan introduced me to this Scottish rock band. I found myself listening to this album back-to-back for almost an entire week. Funny story – I made a joke about prioritizing getting Frightened Rabbit tickets over turning on my air conditioner on Twitter. The band retweeted it (had a total fangirl moment!) and then some jerk complained to them about retweeting something “so silly” and the band rushed to my defense. It was a very surreal afternoon.

Favorite tracks: “Nothing Like You” and “Living in Colour”


MUMFORD & SONS – SIGH NO MORE

A friend asked me to see this band earlier this year at a very small venue in NYC, but I couldn’t go. I’m kicking myself now since I got their album a couple months later and loved it.

Favorite tracks: “The Cave,” “Winter Winds,” and “Little Lion Man”


TIRED PONY – THE PLACE WE RAN FROM

This is a “supergroup” comprised of members from Snow Patrol, REM, Belle and Sebastian, among others. As a “superfan” of Snow Patrol’s, I was eagerly awaiting this album. It did not disappoint. Tired Pony only did three concerts this year and I got to go to the NYC one. It is always awe-inspiring to see such talented musicians performing together.

Favorite tracks: “Northwestern Skies,” “That Silver Necklace,” “Dead American Writers,” and “I am a Landslide”


I’ve also had a great year of concert experiences. Not surprisingly, I’ve seen all of the above bands in concert this year except for one (Mumford & Sons – this must be corrected!). I’m hesitant to say what my favorite concert of the year was since I have Prince coming up in a couple weeks, and he is still the record holder for my favorite concert of all time (the pressure is on!). All of the above were incredible, but I also highly recommend seeing The Editors, Temper Trap, Phoenix, Broken Bells, and OK Go live if they ever come to your area.

Oh, and I also saw Glee live – AMAZING! Jane Lynch surprised everybody by coming out in full Sue Sylvester track suit and I think I screamed louder than the kids around me. Yep, I’m a total Gleek.

You know, as I read through this, I realize that Prince should be frightened, really, really frightened. He’s got one heck of a year to live up to!

To a 2011 filled with more awesome music!
XO, Elizabeth


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Thanks so much for this, Elizabeth! I'm so glad you like Florence and the Machine ( it's no secret that I LOVE her) and Tired Pony... yay! Elizabeth's new book, Prom & Prejudice, is published in January, but I think some places are shipping it now. I already have my copy on order! :)

Monday, 27 December 2010

Review: The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff


Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Paperback
Released: January 6th, 2011
Grade rating: B+


Amazon summary:

Mackie Doyle is a replacement - a fairy child left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago, to replace the baby when it was stolen away by the fey. So though he lives in the small town of Gentry, Mackie's real home is the fey world of tunnels and black, murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. Now, because his fey blood gives him fatal allergies to iron, blood and consecrated ground, Mackie is slowly dying in the human world. Mackie would give anything just to be normal, to live quietly amongst humans, practice his bass guitar and spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate's baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably back home to the fey underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem, where he must face down the dark creatures, rescue the child, and find his rightful place - in our world, or theirs.

Review:

I first heard about The Replacement months and months ago, thanks to the kick-ass US cover. I had no idea what it was about, I just knew it looked good, like a creepy horror story with sharp implements and children going missing left right and centre. I was pretty surprised to hear that it was about the fey, but I was more than happy for it to take that particular route - I love fairies!

I say I love fairies, but usually they're nice, occasionally romantic ones. The fairies in The Replacement are nothing like that and, if I didn't know better, I wouldn't have said they were fey folk. They're dark, mean and evil, and not at all like what I'm used to. I was actually quite surprised at the tone of The Replacement, as I thought it would be a lot lighter. I liked the darkness though, and I don't think it's something we see an awful lot of in YA. It was violent and full of menace, but it worked so well, no thanks to the creepy town of Gentry. I seriously would not like to live there!

Main man Mackie took me a while to warm to. I liked him, but not as much as I thought I would. His love for music and his replacement attributes were fascinating, though, and I warmed to him more as the book progressed. I think part of my trouble with Mackie was largely due to the fact that his background and fey life wasn't explained enough. I was a bit confused to start with, but all became clear as I got to the end. Yovanoff's fey are nasty little people, aren't they?

The other side to the town of Gentry, with the Cutter, the Revenants and the Morrigan, was so well-realised that I often forgot I was reading YA. It could quite easily have been an adult horror novel in parts, because the underground world is so bleak and malicious. I loved it. Yovanoff's writing was also way above the debut author station, with beautiful descriptions and ideas jumping off every page.

The Replacement really does stand out from the paranormal crowd, firstly because there isn't a single fanged or furry creature in sight. It's a more mature story than a lot of other stuff out there, and that becomes apparent after a handful of chapters. I think Brenna Yovanoff is definitely here to stay, and I look forward to reading whatever she writes next.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

In My Mailbox #101: New Books This Week

In My Mailbox idea from Kristi @ The Story Siren, and all links take you to Amazon. Click images for a bigger picture!

I think this was quite possibly the BEST WEEK EVER. Or, y'know, definitely the best week of the year. I can't even describe how excited I am to read all the books I got for review (I'm halfway through The Thirteen Secrets now - it's *so* good. I love you, Michelle Harrison!), and the books I got for Christmas are equally as exciting. And really, really pretty US editions. *sigh*

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas if you celebrate it, and if not, I hope you had a great book-filled week! For Christmas I got books, CDs, DVDs, a fab dragon statue and a ticket to see Rihanna live next November. I'm very happy :D

This IMM is split into two sections: my usual for review/bought, and then books received for Christmas. So, here goes!


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(These all arrived because these authors will be at a Simon & Schuster blogger event I'm going to in February. A few are doubles, so they'll be going to good homes soon!)




For review:
  • RSVP by Helen Warner
  • Hellhole by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
  • Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

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Bought:
  • Room by Emma Donoghue


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Gifts for Christmas:




From mum and dad:
  • My Vampire Diary (A Vampire Diaries diary!)



From my BFF:


That's all from me. See you all next week, and have a very happy new year!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

US Vs. UK: Immortal Beloved Covers

US // UK

Once again I'm being indecisive - I like both covers. I like the flowers around our UK one, but much prefer the title font and colouring on the US one (though ours has a really lovely bright finish to it, and the flowers really stand out! I haven't seen the US finished copy though... is it shiny?). I do love the UK tagline though. I'm a sucker for those!

The UK cover seems like your typical gothic paranormal romance, which isn't a bad thing at all. I happen to love black covers! The US cover makes me think of magic and fire, which I'm sure doesn't actually have anything to do with the book - I'm not sure though as I haven't read it yet! I think the US one is actually slightly more eye-catching, thanks to those bright colours.

So who gets your vote this week? US or UK? I'm afraid I'm on the fence!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

1000 Followers Giveaway!

A few weeks ago I saw I'd hit 1000 followers here on Wondrous Reads. (Since then I've also reached over 2000 on Twitter, which is amazing - double yay!) Anyway. To celebrate, I thought I'd give some stuff away. I've taken pictures of it rather than list it - it's basically just books and loads o' swag.

Thanks to everyone who follows my blog, or even just stops by once in a while. I really appreciate it, and you've all made the last almost-2 years awesome :) As with all of my giveaways, you don't have to follow me or do things for extra points to enter - just fill in the form at the end of this post and you're entered.

This is open WORLDWIDE, and closes on January 1st 2011.


So here's what one lucky person will win:


Photos in order:
  • Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows and New Moon UK collector's editions
  • Stickers
  • Bookmarks
  • Postcards
  • The Demon's Lexicon alternate chapter
  • Angel and The Morganville Vampires tote bags
  • Simon Pulse, Angel and Fallen sample booklets
  • The Hunger Games and Simon Pulse pin badges
  • Lament sample booklet signed by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Angel poster












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