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Smugglivus 2010 Guest Author (& Giveaway): Christina Henry

Welcome to Smugglivus 2010: Day 14

Throughout this month, we will have daily guests – authors, bloggers and publishers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2010, and looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2011.

Who: Christina Henry, debut Urban Fantasy author. Christina lives in Chicago, and loves all things with samurai, zombies, and subtitles. Not a bad combination!

Recent Work: Black Wings, the first book in an exciting new UF series (which we will review very, very soon).

The size of my TBR pile has become somewhat frightening over the past couple of years. I’m buying just as much as I used to, but I am not reading anywhere near as quickly as I would like. My four-year-old thinks that anytime I’m not moving it’s time to read to him, and the rest of the time I’m chasing him around, fetching him snacks or trying to squeeze in writing time while he’s at preschool (housework has totally gone out the window). It seems that by the time I sit down to read in the evening I can manage only a few pages before my eyes close of their own volition.

Because of this, books that are new to me are often not new to anyone else, so when I was trying to remember what I read this year to compose this post I realized a lot of things were probably not the best of 2010, but more like the best of 2008, or possibly 1999 (or even earlier – some of these books are starting to smell dusty).

There are a few writers who always get my attention as soon as their new releases come out. These are the ones whose books get started as soon as I get home from the bookstore – they never even hit the TBR pile. Charlaine Harris, J.D. Robb, and Stephen King top that list – I’m really hoping Santa will bring me King’s Full Dark, No Stars. I’ve been very good this year!

Anyone who knows me or has read interviews with me is aware of the fact that I’m a major fan of Jim Butcher. His twelfth novel of the Dresden Files series, Changes, was my second-favorite of the series so far (after Summer Knight). It’s like a master class in how to take risks as a writer. Of all the UF writers out there Butcher is probably the one that I most admire. He takes unbelievable chances with his character and he’s not afraid to really shake up his universe. Plus, he’s got a wonderful sense of humor – I never get through one of his books without chuckling aloud several times.

Another novel that I have recommended to just about everyone this year has been Joe Hill’s Horns. It’s a pretty intense horror story about the aftermath of a young woman’s murder and what happens to her boyfriend, who is wrongly accused of the crime. It has one of the best opening lines of any novel I’ve ever read:

“Ignatius Martin Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things.”

You pretty much have to read the book after that, don’t you think? And the rest of the novel definitely lives up to the promise of that first line. Many, many images from that story have stuck with me in the months since I’ve read it.

I recently finished Ken Harmon’s The Fat Man: A Tale of North Pole Noir in one afternoon (husband and child were out of the house). It’s an unbelievably funny send-up of the noir genre told by Gumdrop Coal, the elf who delivers coal to naughty children at Christmas. I had so much fun seeing all my favorite Christmas characters reinvented by Harmon and told in a Philip Marlowe-style voice. A lot of people I know will be receiving this book as a gift from me this year.

I have to give a shout-out to two of the best literary adaptations that I watched this year. The BBC’s Sherlock, a modern reimagining of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, was one of the best TV shows that I saw all year and criminally (pun intended) brief at only three episodes.
AMC’s adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s comic The Walking Dead was consistently excellent and also painfully short – do we really have to wait until fall of 2011 for new episodes? Whose brains have to be eaten in order to get this thing rolling sooner?

Thanks to Thea and Ana for inviting me here today, and happy reading in 2011 to everyone!

Thank you Christina!

Giveaway Details:

We have ONE copy of Black Wings up for grabs, courtesy of Ace. The contest is open to residents of the US only, and will run until Saturday, December 18 at 11:59PM (PST). In order to enter, leave a comment here letting us know what book has been shamefully sitting on your TBR, as yet unread! Only ONE comment per person, please! Multiple comments will be automatically disqualified. Good luck!

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  • Noobling
    December 14, 2010 at 1:13 am

    Oy, I still have The Eye of the World sitting on my bookshelf…Thanks for the contest; glad to have the opportunity!

  • Rebecca
    December 14, 2010 at 1:58 am

    Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh. I adored the first book, Angels’ Blood, but the sequel? Shamefully unread!

    PS: Sherlock is my new favorite TV show. It is full of awesome.

  • Kathleen
    December 14, 2010 at 3:07 am

    I’ve had Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Claire on my shelf since it came out but haven’t read it. I know, I’m a terrible YA fan… 🙁

    Also >>>> Sherlock kicks a** I love Steven Moffet so freaking much! Everything he does rocks (Next Moffet masterpiece; the DW Christmas Special!)

  • RK Charron
    December 14, 2010 at 3:42 am


    Hi Christina 🙂
    Thank you for the excellent post.
    I love Jim Butcher’s writing also.
    And I totally agree with your literary adaptations.
    All the best,

  • Susan Laura
    December 14, 2010 at 5:57 am

    I have had a copy of “Nightlife” by Rob Thurman in my TBR pile for years! I have no idea why I keep picking other books over this one. Maybe today is the day . . . . . .

    And I am watching “The Walking Dead” right now. So good!

  • Mia
    December 14, 2010 at 7:04 am

    My TBR list has a ridiculous amount of books on it. I keep reading, but the list doesn’t seem to be shrinking.

    Some of the YA books on my TBR list are The DUFF by Kody Keplinger, Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan, and Ash by Malinda Lo. There are a ton of other ones. These three were picked at random.

    December 14, 2010 at 7:05 am

    I have yet to read White Cat.

  • Calamity Jane
    December 14, 2010 at 7:22 am

    They’re to many….but the ones that shame me more are The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss and The Painted Man by Peter V Brett

  • Amanda Lee
    December 14, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Oh man, I have so many TBR books… but I’ve had “Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition” on my desk for over six months now.

  • Sandy G
    December 14, 2010 at 8:21 am

    I still have Glitterglass sitting in by TBR pile

  • Amanda Isabel
    December 14, 2010 at 8:25 am

    OMG! I must give props for mentioning both Sherlock and The WALKING Dead! You are so my hero now! Everyone laughed at me when I set my recording devices (I always seem to have class when the good shows are on) but now I managed to hook everyone on both of them! And what about that Sherlock twist/hanging ending? I cannot wait to hear more! 😀

    *gush over*

    As for my shameless procrastination in my TBR pile … right now, right after this exam that ends at 3pm, I will be tackling last year’s Christmas present: Jasper Fforde’s “First Among Sequels”. I know, I know – that’s sad, but honestly with all the moving and school and work – I lost track of it for a few months, and now it is sitting on my shelf glaring at me.

    Anyways, thanks for the guest post and the contest! Much appreciated! 😀
    apereiraorama @

  • D.L.
    December 14, 2010 at 8:28 am

    It seems impossible to pick just one. My TBR pile has gotten completely out of control. I will shamefully admit though that I have had the boxed set of Lord of the Rings sitting unread in my room since I was 13… and I call myself a fan *hangs head*

  • Greg
    December 14, 2010 at 8:32 am

    I have many books shamefully unread but I have to choose Tim Powers On Stranger Tides

  • Maureen
    December 14, 2010 at 8:38 am

    I have several but I would say Speak, which I do want to read but haven’t taken the time yet.

  • Marie
    December 14, 2010 at 8:48 am

    My TBR list is creating a fire hazard…among those is Rachel Caine’s ‘Unknown’.

    Ditto on the props for ‘Sherlock Holmes’ and ‘Walking Dead’. I hope they do more of the SH, especially since Martin Freeman (Dr. Watson) is play Bilbo Baggins in Film adaptation of ‘The Hobbit’.

  • Su
    December 14, 2010 at 8:58 am

    If this contest is open to Canadians with access to a US address, please enter me. If not, please disregard this entry. 😀

    My secret shame: Mockingjay…. 😳 I plowed through the first two. I forced my husband read to them. He loved them. He read Mockingjay, is dying to discuss it with me and I have yet to read it. I think I just don’t want the series to end.

  • Sarah D. F.
    December 14, 2010 at 9:35 am

    I got The Forest of Hands and Teeth about a year ago at a bookstore that was closing. I know it is supposed to be great, but just haven’t read it yet.

  • Etta
    December 14, 2010 at 9:38 am

    I’ve had Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews on my TBR pile forever, and I don’t know why I keep passing it up, since I loved the first two books in the series. Sadly, the pile just keeps getting bigger.

  • Stacy
    December 14, 2010 at 9:39 am

    I still have City of Bones sitting on my shelf. Someday…

  • Robin K
    December 14, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Ummm just one!? So many I could not name just one. I have entire series waiting for me. *hangs head*

  • Ceilidh
    December 14, 2010 at 9:44 am

    I loved Sherlock so much, although the 2nd episode’s racially awkward moments made me a little uncomfortable. I am a raging Mark Gatiss fangirl though and highly recommend his Lucifer Box trilogy. You will spend the entire trilogy hearing Gatiss as Mycroft narrating it in your head though.

    As for my TBR pile, I have read the first 30 pages or so of The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner and have yet to finish it. I blame uni, my job and real life but I still feel guilty since I was genuinely enjoying it.

  • erika toto
    December 14, 2010 at 9:50 am

    I have a whole bookshelf worth of TBR currently hiding under my bed so members of my family don’t take it into their head to purge for me. Just to name one… The Well of Lost Plots, by Jasper Fford.

  • Poppy
    December 14, 2010 at 10:19 am

    I have way too many books in my TBR piles! One that I’m really itching to read is Devon Monk’s Magic at the Gate…but I’ve got books out from the library that I should read first so the books I actually own keep sitting there and waiting for me to finally read them 😉

  • Christina Henry
    December 14, 2010 at 10:51 am

    @everyone who mentioned our mutual love of Sherlock – didn’t the cliffhanger just drive you nuts? Does anyone know when new episodes are coming out?

    The #1 book in my TBR pile that makes me hang my head in shame is “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” – I need to get on that bandwagon with the rest of the world!

  • Xy_Zero
    December 14, 2010 at 11:07 am

    I’ve been longingly glancing at “The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms” for a few weeks now while u try to get through the five books I’m currently reading. Before long suspect I’ll go ‘What’s wring with a sixth’ and change it to the next pile 🙂

  • jen
    December 14, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    i probably own somwhere between fifty and a hundred books i haven’t read. (i have many times that many that i HAVE read, i swear).

    two books that are really really high on the TBR list are the hundred thousand kingdoms by nk jeminsin, and acacia by david anthony durham. (though my dad recommended that i just wait on the latter until the last book comes out in a year or two, because waiting for sequels is sooo painful, and i’m all about instant gratification).

    ohh too many books, not enough time! but what a wonderful problem to have….

  • Tina
    December 14, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Until a few days ago, The Thief had been shamefully sitting on my TBR pile. However, after I read it I powered through the entire series in a matter of days. Now I wish I had waited! The series is too good and I can’t wait four years for the next installment.

    Right now, Mockingjay is taunting me. I loved the first two books but for some reason I’m reluctant to begin the final book. The longer I wait, the more spoilers I accidentally come across. I’ve heard it’s a very emotionally trying book and it’s hard to sit down and see such beloved characters suffer…

  • SaraC
    December 14, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    I have Lisa Kleypas’ Married By Morning just sitting there on my desk, patiently waiting to be read.

  • InnocentButler
    December 14, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    So, so many books. Honestly, I have 100+books in my TBR pile. Thankfully, I’m doing the TBR challenge next year. I would say I need to read the new Simon Green book the soonest (it hasn’t been read because it’s hardback and harder–although not impossible–to shove in my purse).

  • morganne wilbourne
    December 14, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

  • Kristin Centorcelli
    December 14, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Paranormalcy has been sitting on my shelf for weeks…staring at me….

  • Amy
    December 14, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    Catch-22. It’s still too complicated for my painfully puny brain…

  • NTE
    December 14, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    I loved Sherlock, and agree about the criminal part: Must Have More Episodes!

  • Victoria Zumbrum
    December 14, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    I still havent read Crescendo. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this book.

  • Throuthehaze
    December 14, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    Torment by Lauren Kate has been on my TBR for awhile now

  • JenM
    December 14, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    Oy, the two that I’m most ashamed of (out of the 100+ that are waiting for me) are Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews and The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook. Why am I ashamed? Because I actually pre-ordered both of these, then didn’t read them once they arrived. I swear, they are working their way up the pile though.

  • CC
    December 14, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Im afraid to read it because if I do I won’t have it to look forward to. And my expectations are way high now that I am afraid to be disappointed.

  • jennifer
    December 14, 2010 at 9:03 pm


  • Tiah
    December 14, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    I have a 4 year old and a 2 year old so I feel your pain about lack of reading time.

    The Name of Wind by Patrick Rothfuss has been on my tbr pile since May 2009. I rushed out to buy it based on everyones love of the book and it got lost on my shelf. *hangs head*

  • Stephanie K.
    December 14, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    I still need to read Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep.

  • Katie A
    December 14, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    You want shameful, I’ve got shameful – Susan Collins’ Mockingjay, if you can believe it. I know! I even bought it the day it came out!

  • Marie
    December 15, 2010 at 12:14 am

    My TBR list is so ridiculously long it isn’t even funny. But at the top – Side Jobs. I’m a Jim Butcher fan as well, and a couple of my friends devoured this as soon as it came out, and I’ve yet to get around to it. Hopefully it will make good airport/plane reading during the holidays. 🙂

    Also – the new BBC Sherlock was SO good. I can’t believe we have to wait so long for new episodes!

  • Courtney
    December 15, 2010 at 12:18 am

    I have a huge amount of books that need to be read! I have had “The knife of Never letting go” sitting on my bookshelf for over a year and have yet to pick it up!

  • Bella F.
    December 15, 2010 at 1:08 am

    First Drop of Crimson by Jeaniene Frost! 😯
    I love the Cat&Bones series but havnt quite made it to Spade’s book yet 😳

  • A'lina
    December 15, 2010 at 1:50 am

    Kim Harrison’s Hollows series books 1-3 are sitting on my TBR pile. I still can’t believe I haven’t read these yet! I’m going to put them on the very top of my pile because I NEED to read these!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Becky
    December 15, 2010 at 10:06 am

    The book I have still to read is The Stoneholding. I even have the squeal sitting right by it on my desk…I will get to them soon I think 😳

  • Teresa N
    December 15, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Oh wow, “the fat man” just got added to my TBR pile.
    The one book I haven’t gotten to yet is Gail Carriger’s “Blameless”. I want to reread the first two before reading the latest, and there hasn’t been time!
    Definitely would like to add “black wings” to my holiday reading plans as well 🙂

  • Nicole
    December 15, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    The sheer size and scope of my TBR pile is shameful. It hurts to look at it, yet I can’t stop buying books. Fool by Christopher Moore would probably be one of the ones that has been on there the longest, although I’m sure there must be older things in there. I’m afraid to look.

    I love Sherlock and the Walking Dead, too. I’m so sad that we have to wait for more.

  • Rachel
    December 15, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    I really need to get around to reading “Wolf Hall…” I bought it as soon as it was announced as the winner of the Booker Prize last year, and then I just never read it!

  • Hannah
    December 15, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    The Scarlet Letter – been on my TBR forever!

  • alana
    December 16, 2010 at 10:12 am

    I’m glad to see Butcher getting some love! I just adore his books.

    I’ve had He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut, and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know by Jessica Valenti on my “currently reading” list for months and months now. I just keep forgetting to pick it back up and finish it. The weird thing is I really enjoy the book too.

  • Lisa Richards
    December 16, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    Way,way to many to list , so I list only the one that I plan to read next Feehan’s “Dark Slayer”

  • Jufuzle19
    December 16, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    its embarrassing, but I haven’t found the time to read Hunger Games…

  • heatwave16
    December 16, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    The pile is just too huge to know where to start, but I think it has to be Road Trip of the Living Dead by Mark Henry.


  • Aik
    December 17, 2010 at 1:11 am

    I have Wicked Lovely sitting on my TBR pile.

  • Jess (The Cozy Reader)
    December 17, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    I can think of at least a few but I’ll just pick one!

    Perchance to Dream (Théâtre Illuminata, #2) by Lisa Mantchev.

    I loved the first book but I just can’t seem to pick up the second book! 🙁

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Marlene Breakfield
    December 17, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    Iron Duke by Brook has been sitting on my TBR mountain, because I got behind in writing reviews.

  • Stephanie
    December 17, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    It’s so great to see my absolute fave author of 2010 given a shout-out by Christina Henry. Horns by Joe Hill is an amazing book, I borrowed it from my library, but plan on buying my own copy asap. I have recommended this book to many of my friends, probably too much! But, anyway, those that have read it have given it a thumbs up. 🙂

    Oh, if you like Horns, give Hill’s A Heart Shaped Box a read, it’s a great book, too, as is his short story anthology: Twentieth Century Ghosts then there’s his graphic (illustrated comic) novel, Locke & Key.

    Okay, going away now, lol. :mrgreen:

  • Audra Holtwick
    December 18, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    I still need to read THE RECKONING by Kelley Armstrong.

  • Chimney
    December 21, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    Oh my goodness! Sherlock was so absolutely fantastic that I’d thought I wouldn’t survive a day after watching the first episode (as you can see I have, surprisingly)! I’ve never read the original novels before, but after watching this series and with thoughts of the newest Sherlock Holmes movie still in my head, I went out to the closest Barnes and Noble and got the complete leather-bound edition.

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