Year in Review: 2010

Thank you all for a wonderful year! I've LOVED blogging this year, it's definitely been my best blogging year and I'm so excited for 2011!

Here is my year-end statistics post:

As of 11:59 on 12/31/10

Followers: 747
E-mail Subscribers Gained: 53 (pretty good since I didn't promote this at all this year)
Twitter Followers: 309
2010 Blog Posts: 304 (total 627)
Books Read: 84 (just barely made my goal!)
Pages Read: 30,017 (Approx. 357 pages per book)

Books Reviewed: 75 (List Below)
2010 Squeaky Books: 13 (Total 33)
2010 Semi-Squeaky Books: 15 (Total 21)

Books Read/Reviewed:
(All links to my reviews)

See you tomorrow for 2011 goals and some contest winners! 

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2010

Top 10 of '10

It's the last day of the year! 2010 is over. Can you believe it? This was a FANTASTIC year for YA. I could easily make a list of 50 books that I loved in 2010. In the end, however, there were 10 books that clearly stood out as the best. The hard part was figuring out what order to put them in! I think I finally got it down, though. So enjoy Enna Isilee's Top 10 Book Picks of 2010:

#10 Rot and Ruin, by Jonathan Maberry
GoodReads | Amazon* | My Review
When I was going through all of my 2010 reads, I actually surprised myself by picking this one. I only just read it, but it was definitely one of the most action-packed and thrilling reads of the year. I love me a good, classic zombie story, and there was hardly any profanity! A great book.

#9 Stork, by Wendy Delsol
GoodReads | Amazon* | My Review

You know, I still can't put my finger on what it was I liked so much about this book. It was probably that it read like a fairy tale. And all of the cultural themes were great. Plus the love interest was purty darn cute. A great, simple story all around.
#8 The Dead Tossed Waves, by Carrie Ryan
GoodReads | Amazon* | My Review
Oh! I love this series SO much. The mudo are AWESOME and there are just so many twists and turns and action, and then there are times of quiet and "calm" where you can reflect on the deep inner being of the characters. I just adore it. I CANNOT wait for the third book.

#7 Threads and Flames, by Esther Friesner
GoodReads | Amazon* | My Review

I haven't had a historical fiction novel effect me this much since I read The Book Theif. I cried like a baby at the end of this book. I know a lot of people have issues with how the book ended, but I loved it. It was a little slow at the beginning, but it was just so rich that I felt like I was really living the story. A wonderful peice of literature.

#6 Nightshade, by Andrea Cremer
GoodReads | Amazon* | My Review

I thought this book was so original, and it had so many different levels. The werewolves weren't werewolves, they were shape shifters. And the magic war is just so cool! And the love triangle was one of the most interesting and conflicting that I've read in a long time.

#5 The Dark Divine, by Bree Despain
GoodReads | Amazon* | My Review

Yup. Another werewolf book. And even though this came out in 2009, I'm including it because it came out in December of '09 and I only read it in June. This one made the list for the romance and characters. They all just felt so real. And I loved the subtle religion throughout the book. It didn't bash you over the head with its theology, but it added a great undertone to the story. Plus, Bree is a local author (which I didn't know when I first read the book) so she's a superstar in my world. *wink*

#4 Paranormalcy, by Kiersten White
GoodReads | Amazon* | My Review

Is anyone surprised to see this up here? This book is sassy, smart, and oh-so fun. Kiersten has one of the most unique voices I've ever read. Plus, she's an amazingly nice and fun person in real life. If you're looking for a story that will have you both on the floor laughing, and on the edge of your seat, then Paranormalcy is the book for you.

#3 Matched, by Ally Condie
GoodReads | Amazon* | My Review

I had a hard time deciding whether to put Matched or Paranormalcy in this spot, since I love both so much. I eventually chose Matched because I just adore dystopians. However, this book is so much more than that. This book is a love story. An amazingly beautiful love story. And yes, it has a love triangle, but it's the best love triangle I've ever read. For once I actually found myself caring about who she chose. That rarely happens for me. Ally is an amazing wordsmith. Her writing flows like prose, and even though this book has an AMAZING storyline, Ally could write a book about rocks and I would love it. She's just that good. (And she makes me uber-happy every time I see her.)

#2 Birthmarked, by Caragh O’Brien
GoodReads | Amazon* | My Review

I'm going to have to re-read this book, since I don't remember a whole lot. However, I do remember how I felt during and after reading it. The characters in this story are just so amazing. Plus, I love how this book makes you think. Caragh doesn't come right out and say "These people are good, and these people are evil." You have to figure it out for yourself. So amazing. I stayed up LONG into the night to finish this one.

#1 Inside Out, by Maria V. Snyder
GoodReads | Amazon* | My Review

There was really no question in my mind about which book I would pick to be my #1 choice of 2010. I have never read anything like this book. I feel bad for those of you who already know what it's about, because the twist honestly caused me to GASP ALOUD. I took this book to my family reunion at an amusement park and I read it WHILE ON THE RIDES. I'm going to have to find a picture of that. Did it make me nauseuous? Oh yeah. Was it worth it? Totally. This book had everything: romance, dystopia, mystery, intrigue, betrayal, and the TWIST! Oh! Everyone I know who reads this finishes it and is speechless. Maria V. Snyder is one of my favorite authors of all time, and I think this is my favorite book of her's. SO GOOD! You should go out and get it! It was originally released in paperback, so it's really inexpensive and SO WORTH IT.

Well, there you go. Those are my top 10 picks of 2010. How many have you read? Are any of these on your top 10 list? Who's excited for 2011? We had some amazing books this last year, and it looks like we have just as many amazing books coming up this next year. I'm excited!

Happy new year!
All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2010

*I am an amazon affiliate. If you purchase this book using my link, I will get a tiny fraction of the purchase, which goes toward contests.

**Across the Universe-- Beth Revis

Release Date: January 11th, 2011
Genre:  Romance, Mystery, Sci-fi
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin)
Pages: 400
Amazon Link*: Click here
Goodreads Page: Click here
Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone--one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship--tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.
Review: Holy crap.

Honestly, it's been a week since I finished this book and I still have trouble finding the words to describe it. I have never read anything like this. This book is one of the most unique, captivating book I have ever read. I could not put it down!

Every page held a new twist and a new turn. The characters had so much life in them I wanted to reach through the pages and hug them! The villain was villainous. The good guys were awesome. The heartaches put me near tears. (Well, I was actually near tears through the whole book because I just thought Amy's situation was so sad! Ah! I haven't felt for a character that much in a long time)

And the little details were amazing! I mean, think about it, what would happen if there was a pocket of humanity separated from the general populace for centuries? Have you ever thought about that before? I know I haven't. But Revis clearly knew every single facet of her world, down to how the language might have changed!

WARNING!! There is a lot of sexual stuff in this book. It's supposed to be disturbing to the main character, and it certainly achieves that goal. It made me feel pretty uncomfortable, just like it was supposed to. It's not crass in any way. You just have people acting like animals in heat. Because of this I would say that this book should probably be read by those 15 and older. But if you've got a mature 12-14 year old then it should be fine.

I stayed up until about 2am reading this. And when I finished I simply closed the book and said "Holy crap."

And I still feel that way.

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2010

*I am an amazon affiliate. If you purchase this book using my link, I will get a tiny fraction of the purchase, which goes toward contests.

Top 5 covers of 2010

Due to the number of images, this post will look better on the blog than it does on a feed reader.

Lots of people have been announcing their favorite covers of 2010 and I wanted to join in! These aren't my favorite reads of 2010, but I did really like the covers.

I wanted to pick 10 covers, but when I started browsing there were only 5 that really stood out. It takes quite a bit to impress me with a cover. So even though there were plenty that I really liked, these were my top 5, and they were HARD to choose!

#5 Bright Young Things, by Anna GodbersenThe models they use for Godbersen's covers always stun me. And the dresses! and the hair! I just love ALL of it. And I think the cover for the sequel of this book is even MORE gorgeous (but I have a prejudice for brunettes).

#4 Halo, by Alexandra Adornetto
Even though I didn't really like this book, I can't deny that the cover is lovely. Those wings are BEAUTIFUL (even though they look WAY to frail to actually fly), and this just makes me think of some perfect scene from a period film. Lovely.

#3 Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins
Again, not a huge fan of this book, but the cover is so cute! I love the expression on Anna's face, and the outfits, and the font, and the Eiffel Tower, and the sky, and the grass, and EVERYTHING! My only issue is that I think the cover is almost too cute for the book. The book had some really funny dialogue and description, but it's a little grittier than the cover lets on.

#2 Nighshade, by Andrea Cremer
This cover is so intense. I love the purple hair and lips, and the glowing golden eyes. The drop of blood on the "t" has always looked a little weird to me, but I love the blood on the lillies. It took me a second look to even realize that it WAS blood. This cover sends the PERFECT message.

#1 Matched, by Ally Condie
It shouldn't come as a shock to anyone that this is my #1 pick. I adore this cover. Not only is that kind of green my FAVORITE, the simplicity and grace of this cover is just simply stunning. I'm SO SAD that the final version didn't have the same aqueous flood (sparklies) that the ARC had. But I understand why they had to get rid of it.

So? What do you think? Do you agree with any of my choices? What are your top covers of 2010?

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2010

*Vesper-- Jeff Sampson

Release Date: January 25th, 2011
Genre:  Supernatural
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Pages: 304
Amazon Link*: Click here
Goodreads Page: Click here
Emily Webb is a geek. And she’s happy that way. Content hiding under hoodies and curling up to watch old horror flicks, she’s never been the kind of girl who sneaks out for midnight parties. And she’s definitely not the kind of girl who starts fights or flirts with other girls’ boyfriends. Until one night Emily finds herself doing exactly that . . . the same night one of her classmates—also named Emily—is found mysteriously murdered.

The thing is, Emily doesn’t know why she’s doing any of this. By day, she’s the same old boring Emily, but by night, she turns into a thrill seeker. With every nightfall, Emily gets wilder until it’s no longer just her personality that changes. Her body can do things it never could before: Emily is now strong, fast, and utterly fearless. And soon Emily realizes that she’s not just coming out of her shell . . . there’s something much bigger going on. Is she bewitched by the soul of the other, murdered Emily? Or is Emily Webb becoming something else entirely—something not human?

As Emily hunts for answers, she finds out that she’s not the only one this is happening to—some of her classmates are changing as well. Who is turning these teens into monsters—and how many people will they kill to get what they want?
Review: So I had NO idea what this book was about. The summary is long, but actually pretty vague. When I actually found out what the book was about I had a hard time deciding whether I liked it or not.

This book reads like a prequel.  I feel like the 2nd book will be the one that really gets the plot moving. But because this book was so prequel-ish it left me feeling unsatisfied. I kept waiting and waiting for it to build to something, and it did end in a really cool way, but it wasn't really what I was expecting. I wish that the 2nd book were coming out sooner.

I think my favorite part of this book is "daytime" Emily. She is EXACTLY like me. She'd rather curl up with a book than party. She only really has one friend, but she's a loyal friend. etc. etc. So this book had a really personal effect on me because I could totally understand what Emily was feeling when she would "change." That would freak me out! This both drew me into the story, and made me a little wary.
Eventually, though, the original plot and mystery drew me in, and the ending was SUPER awesome, so I really enjoyed this book. Enough to own it? Probably not. Enough to read the 2nd book? Most definitely.

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2010

*I am an amazon affiliate. If you purchase this book using my link, I will get a tiny fraction of the purchase, which goes toward contests.

*Unearthly-- Cynthia Hand

Release Date: January 4th, 2011
Genre:  Angels, Romance, Paranormal
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 448
Amazon Link*: Click here
Goodreads Page: Click here
In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . . .

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?
Review: I was really nervous about this book. Halo was such a flop (for me), and Hush, Hush has kind of dominated this niche of paranormal romance, so Unearthly was up against some stiff prejudice. But I surprised myself by really liking it.

It felt very... real. It wasn't just "I'm an angel, and so I'm so amazing." And it wasn't "HOLY CRAP!! I'm an angel!?! What do I do now?!" Clara was just a regular girl, trying to work with what she had been given.

And the love interest was SO CUTE! Everything they did together made me giggle. And I know this book sounds like a love triangle, but it really isn't. Because one of the "love interests" you don't want Clara to fall for (at least, I didn't). But that did make it a little stressful because that love interest kept being forced on her.

There was definitely some "religious" stuff in the book. Clara isn't any specific religion. But there are demons, and a brief trip to hell. It didn't bother me at all (and I'm a conservative Christian), but I know some of you are bothered by that so I just wanted to let you know.

The only thing I didn't like was the ending. The whole book focuses on one event that is about to happen. It builds and builds and builds, and then finally the event happens! And... then it's over. All of the characters pretty much just say "Okay. See ya later." And they leave. It's not a cliffhanger. It's not a resolution. It's not... anything.

So I won't read the next book because the ending made me want to know what happens next, but I'll definitely read the next book for the romance.

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2010

*I am an amazon affiliate. If you purchase this book using my link, I will get a tiny fraction of the purchase, which goes toward contests.

**Rot & Ruin--Jonathan Maberry

Release Date: October 5th, 2010
Genre:  Zombies, Horror, Romance, Dystopia
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 458
Amazon Link*: Click Here
Goodreads Page: Click here
In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn't want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.
Review: Now THIS is a zombie book. These are your standard, classic zombies. Dead rising to live again. An infectious bite. Slow, shuffling, moaning. Fantastic.

That isn't to say none of this is original. Maberry made a world that is both classic and unique. Quite a feat. And he had a great mind for detail. For example, he mentions that zombies tend to gravitate towards downward sloping places, since shuffling is difficult for them. Therefore, a mountain would be a good place to get away from them. I'd never thought of that, but it totally makes sense!

This book is action packed, heart wrenching, and thrilling. I loved every last page. There is very mild profanity, but it didn't bother me. And there's a lot of gore and grossness (as is the want of zombie books), but that didn't bother me either. It rarely does.

If you like Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth then you'll probably like this one. And I think this'd be a great one for teenage boys. Very kicka.

Now I've read all of the zombie books that I know of. Are there more out there? I can't get enough zoms!

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2010

*I am an amazon affiliate. If you purchase this book using my link, I will get a tiny fraction of the purchase, which goes toward contests.
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