As December continues and the holidays and the end of the year rush toward us, it’s that time of year again: Jamie from The Perpetual Page-Turner‘s End of Year Book Survey! If you want to see the original survey with her answers and links to other’s surveys, just head here; otherwise, sit down with a steaming cup of hot chocolate – this is a long survey! Oh, and all the graphics used in this post come from Jamie’s survey – but all the many books read and answers are obviously mine!
Number Of Books You Read: 165 (as of today, anyway – hopefully it’ll go up at least a couple of books before the end of the year)
Number of Re-Reads: 54 – I obviously don’t have too much trouble rereading books…
Genre You Read The Most From: 104 books were contemporary books, so contemporary obviously wins!
1. Best Book You Read in 2014? (if you have to cheat, you can break it down by genre if you want or 2014 release vs. backlist)
Contemporary: Two books got 5 star ratings from me this year, and one of those was Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour. I kept expecting it to break my heart somehow, but the story was never that cruel to me. It was a beautiful story with great characters and a cover that actually matches the wonder inside, which is always great!
Paranormal: I just looked at yesterday’s Top Ten Tuesday post to see what paranormal books made the cut of my Top Ten books of the year – and none of them were paranormal! So, I had to look at all my 4.5 star books to see that only two made the cut – and I’m going to highlight the fun and great Split Second, the sequel to last year’s Pivot Point! It was fun and had two great protagonists, which meant two interesting romances to follow as well!
Historical: It’s kind of like fantasy-light since it’s a retelling of Robin Hood, but it’s still technically realistic (I think?), so I’m going with Lady Thief, the sequel to last year’s Scarlet! It was often heartbreaking, but in the best way possible.
Adult: J.K. Rowling’s written-under-a-pseudonym The Cuckoo’s Calling was definitely my favorite adult book I’ve read this year. I’ve been trying to read more adult books, and this book made it clear that I could like adult books (mainly mysteries, it seems) and that I so far love anything J.K. Rowling could ever write.
Backlist: Oh my god, where was Saving Francesca in my life? I kept seeing it as one of my Goodreads recommendations and thought it sounded interesting, but because it was a backlist title and not that many people were talking about it now, I always avoided it – but why on earth did I do that?! I already want to reread it, and I just read it a couple of months ago.
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
I haven’t finished this book, so don’t throw stones at me, but I was disappointed by the fact that Isla and the Happily Ever After didn’t wow me from the beginning. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for so much romance or maybe my expectations got too high, but I just had to set this book aside for now and will try it again when I really want a romantic book so that it hopefully goes better!
3. Most Surprising (in a Good Way or Bad Way) Book You Read in 2014?
When I picked up Illusive, I was hoping for a relatively decent paranormal book. I hadn’t read many (if any) reviews and I’ve been reading a lot more contemporary books than paranormal recently, so I really wasn’t sure what I would think of the book – so, when I ended up really, really liking it, that was definitely a great surprise! It wasn’t perfect and it wasn’t the most original story, but it was fun in a really comfortable, familiar way that combined a lot of tropes that I already like and now have me excited for the sequel next year!
4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?
I’m not really a book pusher – other than talking about the same books over and over again on this blog – but I do think I mentioned Dangerous Girls to at least three different people in real life simply because I wanted them to read it so I could then talk about and analyze the ending with them! I need more people to read it simply so I don’t have to feel like I’m alone in my questions about it!
5. Best Series You Started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?
I recently read The Raven Boys and am currently reading the sequel, The Dream Thieves, and I can already tell that it’s going to be a promising series – the language alone makes me want to pull up various WIPs and start waxing poetically myself! This didn’t come out this year, but it was my third book that I read this year and remains my favorite in the series: Stealing Parker – it’s the second book in the Hundred Oaks series, which makes it a true sequel, but either way it was my favorite from the very beginning and I have yet to find a book I like better in the series. I’m not sure if this is the ending of the series since it was already a surprise, but I loved the random fourth book in the Internet Girls series, yolo, which was just as fun as the rest of the books and now has college shenanigans to keep up with!
6. Favorite New Author You Discovered in 2014?
This is probably cheating, but whatever – I’m going with Adult Author Meg Cabot! I’ve read most of her YA books at this point, but I just started reading some of her adult books this year, and I was glad to see that they’re just as entertaining and fun!
7. Best Book from a Genre You Don’t Typically Read/Was Out of Your Comfort Zone?
I like mysteries in general, so it probably shouldn’t have been a surprise, but I was still pleasantly surprised when I read the adult mystery – that also happens to be a classic, which is a “genre” I tend to avoid – And Then There Were None, one of the most popular Agatha Christie books. Not only was I interested in the mystery, but I didn’t mind that the book had been written decades before I was even born – which might have had something to do with the fact that I wasn’t being forced to read it.
8. Most Action-Packed/Thrilling/Unputdownable Book of the Year?
If I hadn’t used it already, I would have talked about Dangerous Girls, but instead I’ll go with a slight cliché – Gone Girl. I read it early this year, before the movie came out but after everyone was talking about it, and I was a bit surprised by how much I agreed with the hype, since hype can often mislead me, of course. I wanted to know what had happened and then, once I knew that, what was going to happen.
9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
I’ve been eagerly awaiting the beginning of 2015 so that I could reread Smart Girls Get What They Want without messing up my Goodreads stats! Maybe it’s the fact that the main character’s name is Genevieve, maybe it’s the friendship, maybe it’s the romance – but let’s be honest, it’s really all of those things that make me want to read it again!
10. Favorite Cover of a Book You Read in 2014?
Look at it! Just look at it! The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is such a beautiful, typography-based cover, with a gorgeous blue and a beautiful font and a feather illustration that fits in with the story in such a tragic and magical way. The book is just as whimsical as the cover – only it ramps up the sorrows part a lot more than this gorgeous and lush cover.
11. Most Memorable Character of 2014?
There are so many great characters that I’ve read about this past year, but I’m going to go with a crowd-pleaser – after all, there’s a reason so many people love Kenji from Ignite Me and its previous books! He’s the funny one, but he’s also the person who’s able to say the smartest things, to complain for us readers when we can’t – he’s the one to call out various characters, especially Juliette when she’s being weak and annoying. I would read a companion that’s just about Kenji going about a regular week if it meant more time with the character!
12. Most Beautifully Written Book Read in 2014?
I just connected with the story in Love Letters to the Dead so much – but I didn’t really connect with the protagonist. That’s a bit uncommon to me, and it’s definitely a testament to the beauty of the story and the words and such. I felt more of a connection with the many dead people that the protagonist wrote to, and they felt like fully-fleshed out characters – not because they actually were real people, but because the writing worked so well and made them seem like real characters rather than dead people, if that makes any sense.
13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014?
45 Pounds (More or Less) should totally be required reading for all high school students, but especially teenage girls. When we live in a society that’s always pushing the idea of being skinny and curvy and “healthy” (in appearance, not necessarily lifestyle), without any flaws like stretch marks or pores, it’s so very important to read books where the protagonist is not only not the same skinny, beautiful-without-realizing-it protagonist that we can get too much, but she learns to accept herself over the course of the story. The protagonist, an overweight girl trying to lose weight, isn’t the only body type, though – you also get to read about her mother, who’s struggling with the opposite problem (rather than overeating, she doesn’t eat nearly enough), and you see how the two extremes affect the younger daughter/sister in the family.
14. Book You Can’t Believe You Waited UNTIL 2014 to Finally Read?
Well, Saving Francesca definitely fits in this, but since I already used that and want to not repeat so much, my choice is much easier: The Perks of Being a Wallflower! This was the rare type of book where I was so into it and personally invested that, rather than feeling like I had to keep reading it as quickly as possible, I actually had to put it down a lot because I felt like I was being so overwhelmed by EMOTIONS! I get very emotional while reading books, but never emotional to the point where I had to put a book down (well, I did with Second Chance Summer, but it’s still very, very rare for me!).
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?
I’m not the type of person who normally picks out quotes and passages, but I’ve been trying to change that this year, and there have been some that stood out. I’m going to go with a quote from Everything Leads to You, even though I’ve already mentioned that book, because this quote seems to sum up life and people in general quite well:
But I was wrong. There are no scenes in life, there are only minutes. And none are skipped over and they all lead to the next… I want to apologize for not realizing sooner that what I felt in Clyde’s study was not the beginning of a mystery or a project. She was never something waiting to be solved. All she is – all she’s ever been – is a person trying to live a life.
– Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour (page 176)
If you want to know what’s going on in context, then you’ll just have to read the book!
16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?
– shortest: The Agony of Alice (176) – this is a middle grade book in a series that slowly turns into a YA one, so it’s not really a surprise that the early books are so short
– longest: Days of Blood and Starlight (513) – unfortunately, for such a very, very long book, I wasn’t that interested in it
17. Book That Shocked You The Most
I really didn’t want to repeat too much, but I’m just going to have to go with Dangerous Girls. I need someone to talk with about it!
18. OTP of the Year (you will go down with this ship!)
The romance at the heart of The Art of Lainey was pretty adorable and fun and awesome. I won’t say who the romance is with, but you’ll probably figure it out pretty early – it’s about their relationship growing, not “who will Lainey end up with?!” which is a lot more interesting to read about.
19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
It wasn’t perfect, but I really enjoyed the friendship in Since You’ve Been Gone, maybe because I could relate to it so well. And, to hear me gush some more about this book, just read on…
20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
I enjoyed Morgan Matson’s first two books, but Since You’ve Been Gone is totally a new favorite. I connected with the main character so much and loved seeing the complicated and familiar friendship she had with her friend that suddenly disappeared. I could never do most of the things on the list left for Emily, but it was so interesting watching her struggle to do them all in an attempt to get her friend back and to become a better, more confident version of herself.
21. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure
If it weren’t for a couple positive reviews floating around in the blogosphere, there’s a good chance that I would have never picked up 17 First Kisses, and that would be such a shame! I really loved it and felt a great connection with so many of the characters. It did a great job of showing that there’s nothing wrong with kissing multiple people over the long years of middle and high school – kissing a few people over many years doesn’t make you a slut (nothing does, obviously, but that’s a common reason that people throw around words like that).
22. Newest Fictional Crush From a Book You Read in 2014?
I really, really need to reread it, but I definitely remember liking Mike, one of the love interests in Smart Girls Get What They Want. He was just an entertaining character and I loved his scenes with Gigi.
23. Best 2014 Debut You Read?
Well, two debuts made it onto my Top Ten list, so I’ll go ahead and talk about both of them, since I’ve already highlighted them: The Art of Lainey and 17 First Kisses. Two great contemporary books that have sex positive messages as well as athletic protagonists (in fact, I think they’re both soccer players).
24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
Outerspace and new, unique worlds certainly lead to some vivid settings, and These Broken Stars were no exception.
25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
The winsome threesome returning in yolo was certainly fun and funny to read!
26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?
I’m the type of reader who tends to cry at books a lot, so there are so many books that could fit this. I’ve already mentioned a lot of books that have made me cry or tear up, so no need to single out anymore.
27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
They’re older, so they’re aren’t so much hidden gems as they are simply out of the spotlight by now, but I was quite surprised by how entertaining and fun The Princess Diaries series was!
28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
There have been plenty of books that fit this bill, but a book about a girl who was in a school shooting done by her boyfriend and that many people also blame her for – I mean, it’s almost impossible for this type of book to not be soul-crushing, so Hate List definitely fits with this.
29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?
There have been plenty of unique books, but Something Real, a book about a family stuck in reality show hell certainly seems unique. You get a chance to see all the drama and interfering going on behind the scenes, which is enough to make your stomach turn even if you like reality shows.
30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
A book about Hitler and other Nazis isn’t really going to make you happy, now is it? Luckily, Prisoner of Night and Fog isn’t meant to put you on your side – it’s about one girl’s journey away from prejudice and ignorance.
1. New Favorite Book Blog You Discovered in 2014?
I follow a lot of amazing blogs, and there are so many more that I have yet to discover, but one of the first that came to mind when I actually began to think is The Novel Hermit. I found it before it got its makeover and moved to WordPress (I think), but I can’t think of what that was like at all because now I just think of its gorgeous theme Cee has now and all the enjoyable features I’ve grown to love. There are features about fonts (I can never resist looking for new, awesome fonts, so of course I’m going to love this!), covers (yep, still judge books by their cover too much – but I don’t care!), and letters from Cee that are used as more interesting “Waiting on Wednesday”-type posts, reviews, or discussion posts. She also participated in NaNoWriMo, and thus talks about writing and such a fair bit, so there’s just so much to enjoy! But, back to her theme – if I ever take the plunge and move to WordPress.org and buy a custom theme, I’m totally looking into whoever did her theme, because I just love it so much!
2. Favorite Review That You Wrote in 2014?
This wasn’t a review, but I just want to talk about a post I recently did that was kind of in response to a book, so it was a slight review in a way: Sometimes I Take Books Way Too Damn Personally. It was written in response to The Fine Art of Pretending, and it was just really personal and scary, so now I want even more people to look at the scary and personal post, apparently…
3. Best Discussion/Non-Review Post You Had on Your Blog?
I got some great response for this post, but even if I hadn’t, I would be so proud of my Common Archetype post, Incompetent & Uncaring Therapists. As you’ve probably heard by now, I had some problems with anxiety earlier this year and am now in therapy and doing other things to help with it. At the time I wrote the post, I wasn’t in therapy but I had definitely wondered if I should consider it, so the post was more personal than normal because the subject felt personal to me, even though it wasn’t at the time. By the time the post went up, though, I think I had been to therapy at least once, so it just made me so proud to have written it in the first place.
4. Best Event That You Participated In (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
Is it cheesy if I say this meme/survey/whatever? I don’t live in an area that has a lot of big author signings or festivals or anything like that, so right now any events I participate in have to be online, and since I don’t participate in a lot of things online, that limits my choices for this. Even though this is a long and in-depth survey, I love doing it and seeing other people’s answers!
5. Best Moment of Bookish/Blogging Life in 2014?
Authors retweeted some of my tweets! It was only a couple, but I don’t care! It made me feel so happy to know that they had seen my glowing reviews of their books (I definitely wouldn’t have tweeted at them if I didn’t enjoy their book, because that would just seem mean). Now I just need to start meeting them in person…
6. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
Interesting – apparently, Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Goals/Resolutions for 2014 was the highest viewed post from this past year, other than the homepage of The Reading Shelf. Didn’t think it was that interesting, but it’s always good to see people reading my posts! The most-viewed, non-Top Ten Tuesday post was a discussion about The Pros and Cons of Scheduling Posts, which I thought was more interesting, so yay!
7. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
Another Common Archetypes post – I would love to hear some more discussion about Invisible Bisexuals in YA because it’s just one of the many issues with sexuality in YA.
8. Best Bookish Discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
I just found this website called Thrift Books through Tumblr – it’s a great place to find cheap books with free shipping if you’re in the US! Not all books are in stock and newer books tend to be expensive (and by that I mean pretty much regular price) if they’re not out of stock as well, but if you want to find some older, “backlist” titles, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to get it for less than $10, if not $5!
9. Did You Complete Any Reading Challenges or Goals That You Had Set for Yourself at the Beginning of This Year?
All of them! Well, not the impromptu Summer of Series challenge, but I did complete 100 books, 50 new books, 12 debuts, 10 sophomore books, and am almost done with 10 adult books – I’m at 9 right now, but I will finish it in the last two or so weeks this year, I’m determined to do it!
1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015?
I had Blue Lily, Lily Blue checked out from the library, but I just returned it because I felt bad that I was reading so slowly and was thus keeping other people from reading it, so I’ll try to read it next year as soon as possible!
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?
Lair of Dreams, why didn’t you come out last year like you were supposed to?! I know, I know, it’s a long book and it takes a while to write and the author has been outspoken about some struggles with depression and such, but I still want the book as soon as possible (while still being totally respectful of mental problems). So, I’m definitely looking forward to finally reading this sequel to The Diviners as well as rereading that book before!
3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
All I really needed to know about The Wrong Side of Right is that it’s for fans of Sarah Dessen and Huntley Fitzpatrick. I know, I know, those comparisons can be awful, but that’s enough to catch my attention and get me to check out the summary, which also intrigues me – “Set against a backdrop of politics, family, and first love, this is a story of personal responsibility, complicated romance, and trying to discover who you are even as everyone tells you who you should be.” That’s the end of the summary, and it sounds quite interesting to me. Plus, that cover is gorgeous.
4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2015?
Lion Heart, the last book in the Scarlet series, is coming out in 2015, and I’m both terrified and excited for it. So very, very terrified and excited…
5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2015?
I feel like I say this every year, but I’m going to say it again: I want to get more involved in the blogging community! I feel like I do a tiny bit better every year, so maybe in another ten or so years I’ll finally be completely involved!
6. A 2015 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone?
I’m not interested in trying to get ARCs at this point, so all the books that I read are ones I can either get at the library or the bookstore. That being said, I’ll go ahead and plug another 2015 release I’m looking forward to and will hopefully recommend to everyone once I’ve read it: The Boy Most Likely To! Yes, I’m so freaking excited for this sequel to My Life Next Door and hopefully it will wow me as much as that book – otherwise I might cry. Or, you know, reread My Life Next Door.