December 29, 2014

2014 End of the Year Book Survey

Created & Hosted by Jamie from Perpetual Page-Turner
I can't believe it's already this time of year! Where did 2014 go?! I always look forward to these end of year recap posts for because I always discover new book recommendations. But more importantly, there's something I love about reflection. It's nice to stop, think back over what's happened this year and gather my thoughts before starting the new year. I know this post can be so long, but I love doing it anyway.
1. Number of Books You Read: 200 Books Read in 2014
2. Number of Re-Reads: 25 Re-Reads
3. Genre You Read the Most From: Contemporary (57 Books)
1. Best book you read in 2014?
I wish I could pick just one book, but that's not happening. I've narrowed it down a little bit, but you'll see some of these reappear throughout this survey. However, whenever possible, I tried to highlight a variety of books. I didn't want to feature the same books over and over! But keep in mind that many of these could have been the answer for every question on this survey...

YA Contemporary: The Sea of Tranquility* by Katja Millay and Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
YA Fantasy: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas and The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
YA Mystery: Every Breath by Ellie Marney
YA Paranormal: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Adult Contemporary: After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid and One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
Adult Fantasy: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier and The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Adult Historical: I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe
Adult Science Fiction: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

*Technically published as Adult, but I consider it Young Adult.

2. Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more but didn't?
Sadly, I was most disappointed by The One & Only by Emily Giffin. While I don't always love her characters or their choices, I generally enjoy reading her books. This one, however, just made me rage. I hated pretty much everything about it, and Giffin is no longer an auto-buy author for me.

3. Most surprising (in a good way) book of 2014?
I think that The Likeness by Tana French was my most surprising read. For some reason, I thought French's books would be very gruesome and dark. So, I only picked up The Likeness because Cass and I decided to read it for Favorite Factor. And I'm so glad we did! I fell in love with French's writing - it was nothing like I imagined.

4. Book you "pushed" the most people to read in 2014?
Just like last year, there are three books that I read and recommended most in 2014. They are: I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe, After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid and Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier.

5. Best series you started in 2014? Best sequel of 2014? Best series ender of 2014? Best series overall in 2014?
I've said it before, but it's still true: I'm a series addict. I finished 15 series this year, and that doesn't include the series I'm now in the middle of reading. The best series I started was The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski and The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. My favorite sequel was, without question, Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas. The series ending that stands out in my mind is Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor. As far as my favorite series overall, I think that's a tie between The Sevenwaters Series by Juliet Marillier and The Lynburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan - two series that I read in their entirety this year and absolutely loved.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?
I discovered a number of favorite new-to-me authors this year - see my 2014 author obsessions. But I think that Juliet Marillier is at the top of my list. I binge read her entire Sevenwaters series, and I've since bought seven other books from her backlist. Obsessed much?

7. Best book from a genre you don't typically read?
While I read quite a bit of non-fiction, I gravitate to specific kinds of non-fiction. There is No Me Without You by Melissa Fay Greene, a book that was part biography and part cultural/medical history, wasn't something I'd typically pick up. But as heartbreaking as it was to read, I loved it.

8. Most action-packed, thrilling, unputdownable book in 2014?
Once I started Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers, I knew I couldn't stop until I'd finished it. I don't know why I waited so long to read it! It was the definition of thrilling and unputdownable. And more recently, I stayed up way too late at night to finish Every Breath by Ellie Marney. It was just as good as everyone had said! Now, I'm just dying for the second book...

9. Book you read in 2014 that you are most likely to re-read next year?
Well, I've already read The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski and After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid twice this year! But the two books at the top of my to re-read list, excluding series I'll likely re-read in anticipation of new releases, are I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios and Open Road Summer by Emery Lord. However, since I'm co-hosting The 2015 Re-Read Challenge with Kelly, I'm hoping to re-read even more!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?
I adore the covers for Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen and Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson. I think Lost Lake is just lovely and memorable, and the cover of Since You've Been Gone fits the book perfectly.


11. Most memorable character in 2014?
I'm always drawn to well-developed characters - it's probably one of the most important elements of a book for me. So, it shouldn't be surprising that the most memorable characters for me were from my favorite books: Kami from Unspoken, Reagan from Open Road Summer, Sorcha from Daughter of the Forest and Rosetta from I Shall Be Near to You. These are four of my favorite characters ever - not just this year.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?
The minute I finished Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, I knew I'd found the answer to this survey question! The writing is absolutely stunning. Mandel weaves several voices into a moving story that stayed with me for weeks after I finished it. I was so enchanted by Mandel's way with words!

13. Most thought-provoking book in 2014?
I was surprised when I realized that the most thought-provoking book I read was Ignite Me by Tahehreh Mafi. When I finished, I wrote my longest review ever. The book made me think a lot about unreliable narrators, perception and first impressions. Although it's received mixed reactions, I think it provokes so much discussion!

14. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read?
I was gifted a copy of Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier several years ago, and I just never got around to it. Once I finally did, I couldn't believe I'd let it sit on my shelves for so long! It was absolutely amazing, and I quickly devoured the rest of the series. I'm in love with these characters, this world and Marillier's writing!

15. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2014?
"I owe Dee for so much, for pinkie links and kindnesses and phone calls and bail-outs. This is the currency of friendship, traded over years and miles, and I hope it's an even exchange someday. For now, I do what all best friends do when there's nothing left to say. We lie together in the darkness, shoulder to shoulder, and wait for the worst to be over." - Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

"... it's okay to show people all of you. Not only okay - but empowering. The root of where our story is. Our real story, anyway. The imperfect, the intense, what you think is ugly and lame is actually what will set you free. What makes you the hero people will root for." - Girl Before a Mirror by Liza Palmer

16. Shortest & longest book you read in 2014?
I decided not to include novellas in this question, so my shortest read was Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt at 139 pages. The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons was my longest at 810 pages.

17. Book that shocked you the most?
There were a number of moments in Unspoken, Untold and Unmade that absolutely shocked me. Sarah Rees Brennan is a master of moments that take your breath away! From twists to cliffhanger endings, I was on the edge of my seat while reading this series.

18. OTP of the year?
My favorite romantic relationship? I can't narrow it down to just one! This year, I loved Mycroft and Watts (Every Breath), Arin and Kestrel (The Winner's Curse), Beast and Sybella (Dark Triumph), Rosetta and Jeremiah (I Shall Be Near to You), Red and Sorcha (Daughter of the Forest) and Bran and Liadan (Son of the Shadows).

19. Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year?
I couldn't pick just one! So, I've broken down my favorite non-romantic relationships into a few categories...

Favorite Friends: Dee and Reagan in Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Favorite Hero + Sidekick: Celaena and Rowan in Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
Favorite Siblings: Fergie and Anna in Girl Before a Mirror by Liza Palmer
Favorite Mother + Children: Jess, Nicky and Tanzie in One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

20. Favorite book you read in 2014 from an author you've read previously?
A lot of my favorites this year were from authors I've read previously, so I decided to pick one that I haven't featured yet in the survey: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. This was such a great ending and included a delightful scene featuring all of the characters readers have grown to know and love.

21. Best book you read in 2014 that you read based solely on a recommendation from somebody else?
I've got to hand this one to Every Breath by Ellie Marney! The cover and the summary didn't really appeal to me, but then I started hearing so much praise for it in the blogosphere. It was Lisa from Bookish Broads who convinced me I needed this book in my life - and then I won a copy in a giveaway she hosted. Hooray!

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?
Emery Lord knows how to write some swoonworthy fellas... I fell for both Matt (Open Road Summer) and Max (The Start of Me and You) this year! The other two standouts for me are Rowan (Heir of Fire) and Red (Daughter of the Forest). They all embody elements of my favorite types, too!

23. Best 2014 debut you read?
There's no question on this one! My favorite adult debut was I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe, and my favorite young adult debut was Open Road Summer by Emery Lord. I cannot wait for more books by both of these talented authors!

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2014?
Although I read the first book in the series two years ago, I fell in love with the world and imagery in Days of Blood and Starlight and Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor. There's something so haunting about the creatures and places described in these books! And it's not a fictional world, but I loved traveling to Russia during WWII in The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons. She made this place and time period come alive!

25. Book that was the most fun to read in 2014?
I had so much fun reading To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han and You Had Me at Hello by Mhairi McFarlane. Both of there were such pleasant surprises - funny, enjoyable and so memorable!

26. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2014?
I've talked before about how I rarely cry while reading, but something changed this year. I think I cried more than I ever have before! Here are the handful of books that made me cry quite a lot, though there are even more that made me tear up: I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe, After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid, Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan, Before I Go by Colleen Oakley and The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay.

27. Hidden gem of the year?
Although it wasn't released this year, I think The Pursuit of Happiness by Tara Altebrando was such a hidden gem! Estelle from Rather Be Reading gifted me a copy, and I'm so thankful she did. I don't think I would have discovered this book otherwise! As far as new releases, I felt like A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller was definitely a hidden gem. I'm a big historical fiction fan, and this was just what I wanted!

28. Book that crushed your soul?
I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe and Before I Go by Colleen Oakley are the two books that just ripped my heart out this year. Just thinking about them makes me want to bawl all over again...


29. Most unique book you read in 2014?

I think Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White was one of the most unique books I read this year. I loved that it was reminiscent of Victorian England but with magic and completely different countries. It was unlike anything I've ever read before, and I absolutely loved it!

30. Book that made you the maddest?
Ugh. This is definitely The Summer Garden by Paullina Simons. I enjoyed the first two books in the series, but I have to pretend like the last one doesn't exist. It made me RAGE while I was reading... horrible characters, awful situations, and honestly one of the worst books I've ever read. I also raged a lot about We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, which I do not understand the hype for AT ALL.
1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014?
I'm so happy I discovered Lindsey from Bring My Books, Laura from Scribbles and Wanderlust and Morgan from Gone with the Words this year! I've so enjoyed chatting with all three of these ladies on Twitter, too.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014?
I think my favorite review that I wrote was when I shared 11 Reasons to Read The Lynburn Legacy Series. After binge reading this series, I knew I had to do something different for these special books. And I have to say, I was quite pleased with the result... I hope it convinced more people to take a chance on these books!

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?
I think discussion posts have become my favorite part of blogging! I made an effort to write more discussion posts this year, and I think the results have been so worth the effort. I've loved writing them - and then it's been even more enjoyable to see the conversations they've sparked. I tried to pick just one, but it was impossible. My favorites: On Buying Books: Admiring & Acquiring, On Different Kids of ReadersOn Talking About Books I LoveOn Finding the Non-Fiction for You and On Learning to Trust Your Gut.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I absolutely adored collaborating with Alexa from Alexa Loves Books for Fall Into Fantasy. It was definitely my favorite online event that I participated in! And speaking of Alexa, I loved getting to spend a weekend with her at YALLFest. The event itself wasn't my favorite, but I was thrilled to meet Laini Taylor and spend more time with one of my favorite people I've met through blogging. Hanging out with Alexa made the whole thing worth it!


5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014?
I've got three this year... First, attending Book Expo America (BEA) was definitely an item off my bookish bucket list! Although I've since wondered whether or not the event is really worth it, I can't deny that this was one of my favorite adventures this year. I'm so thankful I got to see what all the BEA fuss was about and spend so much time with my blogging friends! I'll never forget this bookish experience.

Photo from Estelle
The second thing I loved? The relationships that have formed because of blogging. I never would have imagined that this blog would introduce me to so many new people, especially ones I would one day call some of my best friends. This post from Cassie sums it up (and totally made me cry, too). I'll always be thankful for everything that blogging has brought into my life. From daily texts to silly videos, my life wouldn't be the same without them. I don't have a picture with all of us together, but I have hope that one day it will happen!

Photo from Cass
And my third favorite moment of the year? Well, I had to include one involving an author! Getting to know Erin Lindsay McCabe, author of I Shall Be Near to You, has been one of my favorite things about this year. I may have fallen in love with her characters first, but I now adore the person who created them. She's kind and generous - even sending me a signed copy of this beloved book! From her guest post to the #IShall Twitter chat, it's been such a delight to get the word out about one of my favorite reads.


6. Most popular post this year on your blog?
When I was looking up my most popular posts this year, I actually had a moment of giddiness. Of the top ten most popular posts on my blog (since I started three years ago), seven posts were from this year. Y'all! For a while now, I've felt like this has been the year I hit my stride with reading and blogging. And this just confirms it for me! My three most popular posts this year were all about organization: Get Organized on GoodreadsMy Book Blogging To Do List Printable and The Wonders of Wunderlist.

7. Post you wished got a little more love?
There are always reviews that I would love to get a little more love, but I know I would have enjoyed more feedback on my post about bookish love and critcism.

8. Best bookish discovery?
Book Outlet! I don't know when I first heard about this website, but I do know I was skeptical. A place I could buy bargain books? I was intrigued, but I was convinced the selection would be terrible or the shipping unreasonable. Thankfully, I was totally wrong. This site is amazing!

9. Did you complete any reading challenge or goals that you set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I did! I completed the Goodreads Reading Challenge. In fact, I far exceeded my goal of reading 120 books by finishing 200 this year! I also completed almost all of the resolutions I made at the beginning of the year, as you can see in my 2014 resolution recap.
1. One book you didn't get to in 2014 but will be your number one priority in 2015?
I'm ashamed to admit that I still haven't read the book I featured in this answer last year: Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund. I don't know why I still haven't read it! The same can be said for Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein. I even pre-ordered both of these books, so why am I dragging my feet?!

2. Non-debut book you are most anticipating for 2015?
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas is definitely at the top of my wishlist! I've got several other 2015 releases I'm dying to read, as well as a bunch of anticipated sequels.

3. 2015 debut you are most anticipating?
I'm looking forward to reading Lost & Found by Brooke Davis and An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. Both sound so intriguing and seem like they've been receiving some praise in the blogosphere.

4. Series ending you are most anticipating in 2015?
I feel like a lot of series ended this year, and I'm not sure there are as many ending next year. It's going to be a year of middle books for me! However, I cannot wait for The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead. I have no doubt this conclusion will be epic! Although I'm a little scared for my heart...

5. One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging in 2015?
I desperately need to get control of my TBR, but that's not the thing I most hope to accomplish in 2015. Instead, I want it to be the year I return to my old love: re-reading. I spent so much time re-reading growing up, but I've fallen out of the habit since I started blogging. That's why I'm so excited about co-hosting The 2015 Re-Read Challenge! I think it will be good for me to spend time revisiting old favorites.

6. A 2015 release you've already read and recommend to everyone?
Oh! I've already fallen in love with several 2015 releases. I tried not to mention them too many times (if at all) in this survey since they aren't released yet, but I cannot say enough good things about these four books: I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios, The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord, Girl Before a Mirror by Liza Palmer and Before I Go by Colleen Oakley.

9 comments:

  1. I'm not surprised that everyone has Heir of fire on their list somewhere :D Such an epic book. Sarah manages to make me think the book can't get any better; and then it does. Seeing Juliet Marillier there on your list makes me SO happy :D I wish more people discovered her, she is such a good author.

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  2. Love seeing your pretty face!! And I LOOOOOOVE that the Bronze Horseman and The Sea of Tranquility is on your list...obvi!! :):):):)

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  3. 200 books!!!!! Go you! That's amazing! I'm surprised contemporary is your most read, I would have thought historical fiction for sure :)

    I did the same thing on my survey, I tried to highlight different books and favorites even though so many of them could have fit the bill repeatedly! I like that you split them into YA and Adult for best books too. Heir of Fire, Winners Curse, UNSPOKEN (!!!!), Every Breath! Yay! Queen of the Tearling and Daughter of the Forest are two of my priority books next year.

    I picked the SYBG cover too, love how perfectly it fit the story. Lost Lake is super pretty!

    Mycroft and Watts & Arin and Kestrel :D <3333 I've heard Beast from Dark Triumph is pretty amazing, I'm excited to finally read that series soon! Everyone convinced me to read Every Breath tooooo ;)

    You picked me as one of your discoveries?!?! You are TOO SWEET! I'm super duper glad I found your blog and I love our twitter conversations :) Ditto with Lindsey and Laura! Haha and we both picked our Lynburn review as our favorite, yessss.

    Ohhh Across A Star Swept Sea is wonderful! You'll really like it if you liked For Darkness Shows the Stars. I'm super excited about the freedom of re-reading too, thank you so much for hosting that challenge! I can't wait :)

    Loved your wrap up!! Here's to a wonderfully bookish 2015! <3

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  4. UGH I had a whole comment written for you, gushing over the prettiness of your blog, the books I'd read and loved as well (Laini Taylor and Emery Lord, to name a few), books I want to read but haven't yet (Marillier's DAUGHTER OF THE FOREST), and the touching photos with other bloggers and authors, BUT IT DISAPPEARED.

    Shoot.

    Just know I'm deeply in love with this post. Of course. <3

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  5. Feeling like a Hannah disciple because I have 2 of your heavily pushed books this year! #noregrets

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  6. So happy to see Juliet Marillier love here! I have to re-read the original Sevenwaters trilogy so that I can read the next three for the first time.
    I've seen nothing by praise for Station Eleven, so I'm going to have to make reading that a priority for this year!
    Your responses have just caused me to add a ton of books to my TBR list. I enjoyed reading this! :)

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  7. We have such similar taste in books I've bookmarked this page to refer to when deciding what to read in 2015. ;) I'm particularly excited to check out Open Road Summer, After I Do, The Bronze Horseman, and Daughter of the Forest. I totally loved The Queen of the Tearling and Station Eleven as well. I am sooo with you on the swoonyness of Rowan from Heir of Fire... OH MAN. I just opened that book and read a random passage with him and Calaena and I CAN'T WAIT FOR #4!!!

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  8. Have I mentioned how much I adore you? Because I do. I can't believe how many things we have in common (in terms of books andreal life) and it was such a joy to get to spend some quality time with you over YALLFest weekend. Here's to hoping we have more amazing reads + author discoveries in 2015, and hopefully, another chance to hang out again in person too!

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