My Ten Favorite Books of 2014


Earlier this month, I sounded off over on BookRiot about my favorite book of 2014, Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff.

I’ve pretty much rambled about that book to everyone who will listen, and it was a really easy choice for my favorite book of the year. It’s a perfect geek love story, and I’ll continue to prattle about it until someone tells me to shut up.

I did love a lot of other books this year too though, most of which ended up as Best of the Month selections on BookRiot.

So here they are, my ten favorite books released in 2014.

Note, this isn’t to say I didn’t read other, equally awesome books this year that weren’t released in 2014. I did. Those favorites include September Girls by Bennett MadisonUnder the Empyrean Sky by Chuck Wendig, Relativity by Cristin Bishara, The Sound of Us by Ashley Poston… the list goes on. Those guys are a great start though.

And when it comes to book series… well, you can read my latest list over on The Huffington Post. The conclusions to Susan Dennard and Kat Zhang’s trilogies brought the tears. I adored all of those.

Now then, let’s do this!


1. GUY IN REAL LIFE (Steve Brezenoff): You know what, let’s just not do this again. See above, and see my ramblings over on BookRiot. I give my books away to friends that visit all the time, but this hardcover will never leave my bookshelf.

Favorite book of the year.

The end.

2. LOCK-IN (John Scalzi): I breezed through the first half of Lock-In in a single evening. An incredible book with a unique, stunning plot. I rambled about it here on BookRiot, so I’ll spare you the cut-and-paste.

It’s a must-read, whether you like sci-fi or not. You’ll adore this novel. Can’t wait for the inevitable TV show.


3. STATION ELEVEN (Emily St. John Mandel): This book left me absolutely haunted and emotionally drained… and I loved every moment of it.

A novel about the apocalypse that takes place before and after it happens, this National Book Award nominated novel might have been the most heart-wrenching book I’ve read all year.

If I had to pick my favorite book for adults this year, this would be the one. As opposed to YA, which would go to G.I.R.L.

4. BLIGHTBORN (Chuck Wendig)I picked up both of Wendig’s YA novels before I zipped off on vacation, I read the first book (Under the Ephamrapn Sky) and the sequel, Blightborn, in two days.


If Chuck was to ever offer a course in world building… man, I would take it like, three times. I mean, just look at the cover. That world pictured there is fully realized, and man, is it ever beautiful. I can’t wait for the third and final book in this series. I need it now.

5. GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE (Andrew Smith)How do you even classify this book? How? Someone please tell me because I can’t.

Actually you know what? Here. Let me try.

Nope. Can’t. Just read this. It’s unique, hilarious, and incredibly heartfelt.

6. SEKRET (Lindsay Smith): I’m sorry, I just love YA writers who share my last name. It’s a thing, I guess.


This surprise YA novel is unlike anything you’ve ever read. Spies. Mind control. The KGB vs. the CIA. The world is rich and the setting is incredible.

I’ve got an ARC of the sequel, and I can’t wait to read it over the holidays.

7. IN A HANDFUL OF DUST (Mindy McGinnis)Without a Drop to Drink was one of the most surprising reads I’ve ever had. I picked it up on a whim, spotting it for $1.99 on the ol’ Kindle, and just LOVED it.

McGinnis sure does know how to gut her readers with her prose, and I welcomed giving her my tears with the sequel to that first book. I hope they have made her stronger, more powerful.



8. BURN OUT (Kristi Helvig): I do this weird thing when a new author follows me on Twitter. If they are fun, engaging, interesting, and if I can, I’ll pre-order their book. Kristi has a knack for sharing advice and talking about awesome reads, so I pre-ordered her debut. And it blew me away.

She was kind enough to blurb my debut YA novel, and let me tell you, that was a thrill for me. Her epic science fiction novel is fantastic, and I can’t wait for the series to continue.

9. TALKER 25 (Joshua McCune)Fact. When my pal Preeti tells me I need to read a book, that means I seriously need to read it, and I should stop whatever I’m doing and pick that book up right away. This was one of those recs, and my goodness, what a story. Dragons. Dystopia. Romance.


Gah. This novel blew my mind, and I can’t wait for more in the series.

10. World of Trouble (Ben H. Winters): OH NO. I’m talking about a book I worked on at Quirk Books! Please don’t send me to book jail, you guys. Please.

One of the greatest thrills of working at Quirk has been marketing Ben’s amazing trilogy. The Last Policeman is one of my favorite books we’ve done, and the conclusion to his epic, World of Trouble… man, he just nailed it.

I cried a lot. I laughed a lot. I smiled really hard. So very proud of this author. Great work, Ben.

And that’s it! Though I’m sure I missed a book or two that I loved just as much as these guys. It’s hard to choose, especially when you read like, 100 books in a single year.

What were some of YOUR favorite reads, you guys? Give me something to read over the holiday break.

Happy Birthday, Geeky Book

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On December 3rd of 2013, Quirk Books published The Geek’s Guide to Dating (pictured above in a lovely photograph by Lauren Reads YA), a fun little hardcover book packed full of 8-bit art, geek references, and (what I hope is) useful relationship advice. It was my first traditionally published book, and it came out during what might have been the best year of my life.

I mean, seriously. In 2013:

  • I got engaged.
  • I signed with a literary agent.
  • Inked sold to Bloomsbury Spark.
  • My niece was born.
  • I officiated a wedding for two of my best friends.

And a whole string of other lovely things happened. The list seriously goes on and on, and I’m a very lucky person.

A lot of authors that I follow post one-year anniversary entries for their books, so I figured, hey, why not. What’s happened with The Geek’s Guide to Dating? Well, a lot. Read more

INKED: Pre-order the Book, Get Swag!

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Happy almost-December, everyone!

Now that the cover is revealed (again, thank you, Adam Silvera, Susan Dennard, and Publishing Crawl!), it’s time to announce the pre-order campaign for INKED, my debut YA novel coming out with this January with Bloomsbury Spark, the digital imprint of Bloomsbury.

Why throw a pre-order campaign? Not just to drive sales. Not just to support the fabulous Bloomsbury marketing team (and fabulous they are!). But to say THANK YOU for supporting the book early on. Plus, since this is a digital exclusive series, I wanted to be able to hook my readers up with something tangible. Something you guys can hold on to.

The book is currently available for pre-order via:


And will be available via iBooks soon. If you pre-order the book, send me an email with a photo or a screenshot of your receipt (ericsmithrocks at gmail dot com), and that’s that! You’ll get your swag, limited swag, or awesome prize, should you win it.

Okay, so, here’s what we’ve got. Read more

Daft Punk & The Joys of Finishing What You’ve Started

Daft Punk Rock

In the Spring of 2012, my pal Tim Quirino and I had a wacky idea. Let’s dress up like Daft Punk for our annual show, the Philadelphia Geek Awards.

We had a few months, so we saved our pennies and hunted down some custom helmets on Etsy. I went with the Guy-Manuel, while Tim opted for the Thomas Bangalter look. Then we spent a few weeks working on the gloves, which we had to cut out, sand, polish, and paint ourselves. You can check out all the steps for that business here. Took quite a while.

Instead of the awesome Daft Punk leather jacket (or the Get Lucky sparkly suit jacket), we would be wearing our tuxedos, since this was our black tie event and we wanted to actually enjoy it helmet-less. I promised myself I would get the jacket at some point, take some pictures, etc… but the helmet and gloves simply sat on my shelf, collecting dust.

With the Fall here in Philadelphia and the world outside as gorgeous as it is (seriously, Philly is BEAUTIFUL in the Autumn), I found myself really wanting to take some nice pictures outside. But you know, in a costume. Because I’m an adult. I have plenty of Master Chief suit pictures, and the Rocketeer isn’t quite done…

I spotted my Daft Punk helmet on the shelf, and knew what had to happen. It was time to wrap this one up. Jacket. Pants. Shoes. Let’s do this. Read more

And We Have a Cover!

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And we have a cover! Hooray!

Last week, while I was on a little writing retreat with one of my best buds and my fiancee (I’ll write more about that in a future post), Publishing Crawl revealed the cover to INKED, my debut YA novel with Bloomsbury Spark.

It was a really exciting day, with the reveal hitting at 9AM on Monday. It was an absolute thrill to see so many of my friends tweeting and posting about the unveiling! Author buddies, publishing pals, friends from Philly and back at home… you guys were all over this, and for that, I sincerely thank every single one of you.

After the reveal, the book cover appeared on MediaBistro’s GalleyCat, fed into JacketFlap, and a number of blogs I adore, including Lauren Reads YA, M&EM Reads, A Reader of Fictions (in her Cover Snark column, yes!), Cuddlebuggery, my friends at BookRiot, Nicole’s Novel Reads, The Book Loving Nut, and more!

If you posted about the reveal and I missed you, let me know!

It’s also now on over 350 bookshelves on Goodreads. Before the reveal, it was just barely beyond 100.

So yay! Thanks again for everyone who shared and promoted the reveal, especially Adam Silvera and Susan Dennard, the two stellar authors over at Publishing Crawl who made it happen. And be sure to go meet Jenny, the stellar designer who created the cover. She rules.

Stayed tuned for more news, including the pre-order campaign, book trailer, blog tour… all that good stuff that leads up to book release. We are going to have a fun time, you guys.  Read more