December 31, 2012

Farewell, 2012: End of the Year Book Survey

Hosted by Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner.
1. Best book you read in 2012?
OMG HOW DID I FORGET THAT I FINISHED HARRY POTTER THIS YEAR?! Major oversight on my part. Sorry, but Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows takes the favorite read crown.


2. Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn't?
The first book that came to mind, and the one that was most disappointing, would absolutely be The Forgotten Garden. I'd read two books by Kate Morton previously, so I thought I knew what to expect with this one. Instead, the book ended up being one of my least favorite reads of the year.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012?
I was really surprised by Along for the Ride. It was my first Sarah Dessen, and I honestly expected it to be just a fluffy book. I knew people loved her books, but I didn't expect too much. Imagine my surprise when I fell in love!

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was also a really surprising read. I thought it would be boring and very science-y. Despite its bestseller status, I was sure that I wouldn't enjoy it. It was so well written and engaging that I ended up reading it in a little over a day. I was swept up in the story, and the science part was just a nice bonus. I was learning while being entertained. Score!

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?
I think my most recommended book this year has been Unbroken. I just loved it so much! I never thought a non-fiction book would be something that I'd be pimping out to anyone and everyone I know, but I've been begging people to read it! 

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?
I loved Grave Mercy and The Raven Boys. Both are first books in a series, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how both series develop in the future! These are such promising first books, and I really hope the next books live up to my expectations.

As for series that I started this year, immediately read both books, and NEED the third book... well, that would be the Divergent series. I tore through Divergent/Insurgent, and I cannot wait to see what happens in the third and final book in the trilogy. 

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?
Such an easy question! Melina Marchetta, Maggie Stiefvater, Veronica Roth and Kristin Cashore definitely top the list. Check out my recent Top Ten Tuesday post to see more of the new-to-me authors I read in 2012.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
I'm absolutely going to say Graceling. I honestly don't think I'd ever read anything quite like this before. I had this expectation that I was going to hate it - that it was going to be too weird or too much of stretch for my imagination. And in the end I ADORED it! This was definitely one of my favorite reads of 2012, and I loved that it was so out of my reading comfort zone.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?
I read a lot of books really quickly this year, but no other book had me on the edge of my seat like Gone Girl did. I started it on a flight from Atlanta to San Francisco, and I was reading it in baggage claim because I was so close to finishing it and HAD TO KNOW what happened. It was a totally psycho book, but it was by far the most thrilling thing I read this year.

9. Book you read in 2012 that you are most likely to re-read next year?
I'm likely to re-read books next year for one of two reasons. One reason is if it's part of a series where there is a new book coming out next year. Those re-reads may include: Pandemonium, Insurgent, For Darkness Shows the Stars, Grave Mercy and The Raven BoysThe other reason I'll re-read is if the book is calling my name to re-read it. Those might include: Jellicoe Road, The Scorpio Races, Graceling and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?

I adored this book cover! I love the black and white image, the way the image is focused on the couple with the motion blurred around them, and the adorable text elements. Even better? The story inside is a cute as the cover.

11. Most memorable character in 2012? 
I read a bunch of books with some bad-ass heroines this year, so I'd definitely say it was the year of memorable leading ladies: Puck from The Scorpio Races, Ismae from Grave Mercy, Tris from Divergent & Insurgent, Katsa from Graceling and Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Each of these ladies are absolutely memorable for their awesomeness and strength.

But the first characters that came to mind were Francesca from Saving Francesca and Tom from The Piper's Son. These Melina Marchetta characters are so memorable, so alive, that I can hardly believe they aren't real. Francesca and Tom are some of the most well-developed, realistic characters I've ever read about, and I will absolutely revisit them in the future.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?
So many of the books I've read this year were so beautifully written, but I'm going to try to refrain from rehashing some of the ones I've already named. Just assume that if it was on my favorites list, it was probably pretty dang beautiful. But I absolutely think that The Sky is Everywhere, The House at Tyneford and The Night Circus were three of the most beautiful books I've read this year. They were all so quotable, and I wanted to underline whole sections of each of them. For me, that's the sign of a dang good book.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?
This is so hard! I think I'll go with Unbroken because it was the book that has stayed on my mind and in my heart ever since I read it. It's the kind of book that breaks your heart, makes you question humanity, but also restores your faith in the human spirit and exemplifies amazing grace and forgiveness.

I'd also say Second Chance Summer because it's one of the few books I've read that has had me in major tears by the end. It just felt that touching and that personal. 

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read? 
There are books published way before 2012 that I didn't read until this year, but I'm not counting them because many of them I didn't even know about until recently. For example, I can't believe I just read Jellicoe Road, but I also didn't really know anything about it until recently.

So, I'm going to give the award to I Capture the Castle. Published in 1948, I'd heard enough about this to be intrigued but never got around to reading it. Then, I happened upon a copy while traveling and decided the time was right. I'm glad I finally read it because I loved it! It was one of my favorite books of the year - why didn't I read it sooner?

15. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2012?
"Maybe she'd always been there. Maybe strangers enter your heart first and then you spent the rest of your life searching for them." • Melina Marchetta, The Piper's Son

"She craved a presence beside her, solid. Fingertips light at the nape of her neck and a voice meeting hers in the dark. Someone who would wait with an umbrella to walk her home in the rain, and smile like sunshine when he saw her coming. Who would dance with her on her balcony, keep his promises and know her secrets, and make a tiny world wherever he was, with just her and his arms and his whisper and her trust." • Laini Taylor, Daughter of Smoke and Bone

"It is the storyteller's prerogative to try to write, every now and then, the ending she might wish for. Even if it exists only on the white page." • Natasha Solomons, The House at Tyneford

"I'm drawn to him and tied to him with the cords of a thousand different memories." • Allie Condie, Matched

"He was giving her the most important thing he could, the only way he knew how. He was a professor, a lover of stories, and he was building her a library in the same way other men might build their daughters houses." • Jennifer E. Smith, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

"It's like being in love, discovering your best friend." • Elizabeth Wein, Code Name Verity

"When I read a book, I put in all the imagination I can, so that it is almost like writing the book as well as reading it - or rather, it is like living it. It makes reading so much more exciting, but I don't suppose many people try to do it." • Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle

16. Shortest and longest book you read in 2012?
The Great Gatsby was my shortest read at 180 pages. The Pillars of the Earth was my longest at 973 pages, but Bleak House was a close second at 866 pages. 

17. Book that had a scene in it that had you reeling and dying to talk to somebody about it?
The ending of Pandemonium. The everything of Gone Girl. The tears in Code Name Verity. The swoon in Jellicoe Road. The intensity in The Scorpio Races. The feels in Graceling. The people in Saving Francesca.

I seriously need some more bookish people as friends in real life so that I can talk to them because OMG who the heck am I supposed to share all the feels with?!

18. Favorite relationship from a book you read in 2012?

Puck & Sean. Lola & Cricket. Katsa & Po. Tris & Four. Taylor & Jonah. Verity & Maddie. And if you aren't familiar with these relationships yet, you need to get on that this instant.

19. Favorite book you read in 2012 from an author you read previously?
I think my favorite book by an author I've previously read would be Lola and the Boy Next Door. Stephanie Perkins sure does know to write some swoony boys and awesome stories. I can't wait for more from her! 

20. Best book you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else?
Without a doubt, I have to give this to Code Name Verity. After seeing Elena and April rave about it over and over again, I knew I had to pick it up. I like historical fiction, but I'm not sure I would have picked this one up because the cover and description didn't pull me in. Needless to say, I am SO glad I trusted their amazing judgment because this was one of my favorite reads this year!
21. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2012?
Since I started blogging last November, I can't really remember who I discovered before 2012. So, some of my favorite book blogs whose recommendations are rock solid include: April from Good Books & Good Wine, Magan & Estelle from Rather Be Reading, Jamie from The Perpetual Page-Turner, Asheley from Into the Hall of Books, Elena from Novel Sounds, Lisa from Lisa is Busy Nerding and Lorren from The Story Girl

22. Favorite review that you wrote in 2012? 
I'm not sure if I really have a favorite review! Maybe my review of Along for the Ride? I think that was one of my better reviews - I was able to mention everything I loved about the book and hopefully did it justice.

23. Best discussion you had on your blog?
I don't know if it was necessarily the best discussion, but I think my favorite discussion were the comments on my post about re-reading L.M. Montgomery over the summer. It was so reassuring seeing everyone agree that there's just so much pressure to read new books and that sometimes it's nice to just return to old favorites.

24. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?
Anna's post about Why Adults Read YA
SO many of Asheley's posts, but top of the list includes: Why She Loves to Re-Read, Her Favorite Things In Books and Print Books vs. Ebooks
Elena's post about The Art of Reviewing
Sarah's post Why I E-Read

25. Best event that you participated in?



I didn't really participate in many "events" this year, but I loved going to the Emily Giffin signing in Atlanta for her new book, Where We Belong. I went by myself, but I spent the whole time talking to the sweetest girl sitting near me. I think it was my favorite because it was such an example of how books can bring two people together and immediately make you feel like friends. Getting my book signed was just an added bonus.

26. Best moment of book blogging in 2012?
Is it totally cheesy to say making new friends? Meeting new people and talking books has absolutely been one of the best things about blogging this year!

27. Most popular post this year on your blog?
My most popular post, in views and comments, is my Top Ten Tuesday post with my favorite quotes. I love that it's one of my most popular posts because it's one of my favorites. I just love quotes so much - and it makes me happy that other people do, too.

An honorable mention goes to my post about my love for Peeta. It's one of my more popular posts, but it also gets an honorable mention because I think it was one of my first posts where people really commented and shared. Plus it totally helped me make some new blog friends!

The post with the most search traffic is the post about Society6 iPhone cases. I'm assuming people are looking for a review of the case before buying. Sorry, Internet. I just wrote about how they were pretty.

28. Post you wished got a little more love?
I think there are always review that you wish got a little more love or feedback, but I think the post I wish got more love is the one where I mentioned Juliette Tang's bookish photographs. I don't wish it got more love for my sake - I just wanted more people to see and fall in love with her awesome still life vignettes inspired by books.

29. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
While it's probably not new for most people, I was really excited about discovering Audible. I was lukewarm on the idea of audiobooks for a long time, but I've fallen in love with it now that I'm spending at least an hour in the car every day going to and from work. So yay audio for helping me be nerdy even when I'm driving!

I was also really excited to discover that my library system had a way to check out Kindle books. While the selection is still growing, I've been pleasantly surprised with how many books I can find in their catalog that I actually want to read. Score for libraries making it possible to read books for free!

30. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I originally set my Goodreads Challenge goal at 75 books. I read 127 books last year, but I thought I wouldn't be able to read as many now that I was working and not in college. Once I made the 75 books goal (in June!), I upped it to 125. I'm happy to say that I met that goal in November, and I've read 1421 books this year. Yay!
31. One book you didn't get to in 2012 but will be your number 1 priority in 2013?
Finnikin of the Rock, Seraphina, Reached and Days of Blood and Starlight. The first two because I bought them in July and still haven't read them, and the second two because I got them both like two weeks ago and was dying tos start them but never did. WHY HAVEN'T I READ ALL THESE YET?!

32. Book you are most anticipating for 2013?
So many good books are coming out in 2013! I can't wait for Isla and the Happily Ever After (this better happen in 2013), RequiemJust One DayDark Triumph and Secrets Over Sweet Tea.

33. One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging in 2013?
I think my biggest goal for 2013 is to not put pressure on myself, to just relax and to enjoy reading and not stress out about blogging. I got so burned out this year that I took a long blog break. It was much needed, but I don't want to do something like that next year. I want to be able to just enjoy blogging and write consistently.

I've also made it my goal to write more posts that will hopefully inspire more discussion. Some of my favorite bloggers are the ones that don't just write reviews - they write rants, opinions, thoughts on their bookish lives. I want to do more of that, so I've made that one of my goals for 2013.

12 comments:

  1. Happy new year! :) I'm always such a fan of your reviews and your book tastes, and I'm glad that you are back from your break! I feel happy when I see a new post from you (or 4 like I had today -- bonus!!). So many of the books you like, are the ones that I do... and you still make time for classics and adult fiction, which I love. Here's to more of that! Thanks also for the mention. I so enjoyed getting to know you in the beginning of the year, and hope we can continue! xo

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    1. Happy New Year to you, Estelle! Thanks for the sweet words about my reviews and book tastes. I, too, love that you read such a range of books. It makes me happy that you often review books I haven't seen anyone else reading or reviewing.

      Hope our friendship continues to grow in 2013 :) So happy to have "met" you through books!

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  2. Finnikin of the Rock! Let's make this happen.

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    1. Can we, please? Really. I mean it. I'd LOVE to do a group read!

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  3. 1. "So yay audio for helping me be nerdy even when I'm driving!" <3

    2. I actually pay for a yearly membership to a library several counties over (a much larger county) because they have a great ebook/audiobook loan system and my poor lil library is trying (read: struggling) to get started with ebooks and audiobooks. It's worth the $25/yr in ebook/audio/gas that I'm saving, for sure. YAY for libraries making things easy. Totally agree with ya there!

    3. I want to read so many of the books you mention here, but you have SOLD me on Unbroken by mentioning the grace and forgiveness. I will make it a priority.

    4. The Night Circus is one of my favorite books ever, print and audio. (Since you're audiobooking in the car [yay!], if you haven't heard The Night Circus, it is superb on audio and the chemistry and tension between Celia and Marco is there and then some. It is voiced by Jim Dale, the same reader of the Harry Potter books. I highly recommend it if you haven't heard it. If you have and I've missed it somehow, please forgive!)

    5. Great survey!

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    1. 1. <3

      2. I do the same time! My county's library system is really lacking. They have some okay stuff (I still use my card there occasionally), but it's just not great. I also have a membership at the library system of a neighboring county. They have a lot more money set aside for the library system and have an awesome selection of books, ebooks and audiobooks. It's the best!

      3. Yayyyyyyyyyy!!!! Read it and weep, lady. It's so good.

      4. I LOVE JIM DALE. GIVE ME THE NIGHT CIRCUS AUDIO NOWWWWWWWW.

      5. Thanks :)

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  4. We had a lot of the same books appear on our end of the year survey (The Scorpio Races and Gone Girl most notably). Glad to have found your blog!

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    1. YAYYYY Scorpio Races and Gone Girl! Wasn't Gone Girl crazy? I can't even imagine coming up with those characters! Thanks - glad you found me!

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  5. I'm a bit of a newbie to your blog, but just by reading this survey, I KNOW we have similar tastes when it comes to books! You'll have to let me know how you like Seraphina - SPOILER ALERT, it's AWESOME.

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    1. I love finding people with similar taste in books! I'm totally falling in love with your blog - yay for new blog friends! And eeek can't wait to read Seraphina and share my book thoughts with you!

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  6. okay this is LAAAAATE but here it goes anyway!

    1. SO HAPPY YOU READ HARRY POTTER THIS YEAR. did your life become more magical or what?!
    2. Melina Marchetta love!! I haven't read the Lumatere Chronicles yet (saving it for when the last book comes out in the States) but I know I will love it because A) fantasy B) it's MELINA MARCHETTA.
    3. totally agree about Gone Girl! I just COULD NOT STOP reading it, so compelling.
    4. aw, I love your answer with Francesca and Tom! I agree, I can't believe they're not real either and I'm so excited for a Jimmy book.
    5. hehe I finally read Jellicoe Road and I Capture the Castle (about to comment on your review after!) this year too. about time and totally worth it.
    6. eee it makes me SO HAPPY you loved Code Name Verity so much. <333
    7. I need more bookish friends in real life too but hey, that's what book blogging is for, right?

    v glad I got to know you and here's to MORE bookish fun this year (& updates! I missed you while you were gone!) x

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    1. 1. UM YESSSS SO MUCH MORE MAGICAL.
      2. It makes me so happy that you haven't read Lumatere yet because I'm posting something today that maybe you'll be interested in :) And gosh Melina is the best!
      3. YES! SO crazy I could not stop reading.
      4. THERE IS GOING TO BE A JIMMY BOOK? WHAT? STOP! ARE YOU SERIOUS?!
      5. Yayayyy for both Jellicoe Road and I Capture the Castle! Two of my favorites from last year.
      6. I have you to thank for this one <3 You rock, lady!
      7. EXACTLY!

      Excited for 2013! Yay to blogging fun!

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