December 31, 2015

2015 End of the Year Book Survey

Created & Hosted by Jamie from Perpetual Page-Turner
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!
1. Number of Books You Read: 153 books
2. Number of Re-Reads: 51 re-reads
3. Genre You Read the Most From: Contemporary (57 books - exactly the same as 2014!)
1. Best book you read in 2015?
I had three favorite young adult books: I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios (contemporary), Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas (fantasy) and Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee (historical). 

But I had so many favorite adult books that it's hard for me to choose! There were four contemporary standouts: Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center, My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman, It's Not Me, It's You by Mhairi McFarlane and The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. And I had were two historical favorites: These is My Words by Nancy E. Turner and All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. (See all of my favorite 2015 adult reads here.)

2. Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more but didn't?
I was initially going to say After You by Jojo Moyes because I absolutely hated it, but I was never actually excited to read it. I was nervous and skeptical, and my fears about it were confirmed in the end. So, I think the better answer to this question is Ana of California by Andi Teran because I was so excited about a modern Anne of Green Gables retelling, but it just didn't live up to my expectations.

3. Most surprising (in a good or bad way) book of 2015?
I decided to answer this question with a book whose very publication was a surprise - Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. The content of the book was also surprising and not at all what I expected. I'm not sure it should have been released, particularly not marketed as a "new" book from Lee, but I'm glad I read it.

4. Book you "pushed" the most people to read in 2015?
I bought Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center because of Estelle's review and absolutely loved it! As soon as I finished reading it, I started pushing it on all of my friends. I just couldn't help myself - it's just that good. I had to feature it for Buy the Book, too! If you haven't read it, what are you waiting for?

5. Best series you started in 2015? Best sequel of 2015? Best series ender of 2015? Best series overall in 2015?
I think my favorite series I started was A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, and my favorite sequel was Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas. I loved a number of series endings, but The Caller by Juliet Marillier and Every Move by Ellie Marney are at the top of my list. And my favorite series that I read start to finish is a tie between Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier and Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?
I highlighted ten favorite new-to-me authors in this Top Ten Tuesday post, and it's hard for me to choose just one for this question. But I think I'd have to go with Stacey Jay because I absolutely loved Of Beast and Beauty and Princess of Thorns - both were so creative and beautifully written!

7. Best book from a genre you don't typically read?
I used to read a lot more non-fiction than I do now, so I don't know if it technically counts as a genre that I don't typically read. But I'm going to go with it, and my favorite non-fiction book was If You Find This Letter by Hannah Brencher. I loved the writing and connected emotionally to what Brencher shared!

8. Most action-packed, thrilling, unputdownable book in 2015?
Without question, I have to say Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas. I couldn't wait for it to be released, and I actually took the publication day off work so I could read it uninterrupted. I'm so glad I did because I did not want to put this book down once I started it! This was definitely my favorite book in the series so far.

9. Book you read in 2015 that you are most likely to re-read next year?
Well, I have to give a shoutout to Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center, which I read for the first time this year... and then re-read just a few weeks later. As for what I'm likely to re-read next year, I'm already itching to pick up These is My Words by Nancy E. Turner and It's Not Me, It's You by Mhairi McFarlane again. Plus, there are a number of books in a series that I'll probably re-read next year.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?
All of my favorite covers this year were on historical fiction books - All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly and Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee. Just look at them!


11. Most memorable character in 2015?
Sarah Agnes Prine from These is My Words by Nancy E. Turner is definitely a character I'll always remember. She immediately came to mind for this question because I've never met a character quite like her. She's got gumption and grit, and I absolutely loved every minute I spent in her world getting to know her.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr was one of the most beautifully written books I've read in a long time - not just this year! I loved the characters and the story, too, but it was the writing that first drew me in and kept me hooked. I can't recommend this book highly enough!

13. Most thought-provoking book in 2015?
I've got to go with the book that made me think and take action - The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I never expected a book about organization and cleaning to give me so much food for thought about what I bring into my home and why. It was an odd read at times, but I'm so glad I picked it up!

14. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read?
I still can't believe I didn't read Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein until this year. I pre-ordered it back in 2013 after loving Code Name Verity and finally made it a priority. Why did I let it sit on my shelves for so long?!

15. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2015?
"But the things we remember are what we hold on to, and what we hold on to becomes the story of our lives. We only get one story. And I am determined to make mine a good one." - Happiness for Beginners

"Life is where you sleep and what you see when you wake up in the morning, and who you tell about your weird dream, and what you eat for breakfast and who you eat it with. Life isn't something that happens to you. It's something you make yourself, all the time." - Goodbye Stranger 

"I have seen the aftermath of death, the incredible mechanism of the body laid bare, and I know now that each person is a kind of miracle. A spark nestles like a bird inside our chests, so deep that we can't find where it lives, but it is everything. It's what makes us dream and think and feel and laugh and sing. And it is a mystery, and it is mundane, and, above all, it is fragile. Any moment could be our last." - Every Word

See more of my favorite quotes in this Top Ten Tuesday post!

16. Shortest & longest book you read in 2015?
I think the shortest book I read was We Should All be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (though it's technically more of an essay), and the longest book I read was Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon.

17. Book that shocked you the most?
I read Come Away with Me by Karma Brown while I was at the beach this summer, and I was so shocked by one aspect that I actually reacted to it out loud. My mom and sister both looked at me like I was crazy, but I couldn't help it. I'm not saying another word about it... Read it for yourself, and then you'll see!

18. OTP of the year?
THERE ARE TOO MANY TO CHOOSE! I loved Helen and Jake in Happiness for Beginners, Bex and Nick in The Royal We, Sarah and Jack in These is My Words, and Aurora and Niklaas in Princess of Thorns. But my absolute favorite couple is Aelin and Rowan in Queen of Shadows. SWOON.

19. Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year?
The friendship between Hannah and Gabby in Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid was my favorite! The book was dedicated to Reid's best friends and "all of the other women I feel destined to have met." I can't think of a more fitting way to start a book with one of the best friendships I've read in a long time!

20. Favorite book you read in 2015 from an author you've read previously?
I read my first Mhairi McFarlane book last year and enjoyed it, though I wouldn't say it was a favorite. But when I read Here's Looking at You and It's Not Me, It's You this year, it cemented McFarlane's spot on my list of all-time favorite authors. I absolutely adored both and can't wait to read more from her now!

21. Best book you read in 2015 that you read based solely on a recommendation from somebody else?
I would never have discovered My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman if a publicist hadn't pitched it to me. I'd never heard of the author before, but I was convinced that this was a book I NEEDED to read. It's one of my favorite reads of the year and earned a spot on my all-time favorites shelf, and I probably never would have read it if it wasn't for an email in my inbox!

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?
Jake from Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center swept me off my feet! He's one of my newest fictional crushes, but I think he's earned a permanent spot on my favorites list. He's smart, passionate, kind, helpful, and will have you swooning as soon as you get to know him.

23. Best 2015 debut you read?
Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee was one of my favorite books I read this year, and it just so happens that it's a 2015 debut, too! There were so many reasons that I loved this book - the setting, the characters, the relationships, the writing, etc. I could go on! Now I'm eagerly anticipating Lee's next book, Outrun the Moon.

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2015?
In order to avoid repeating the same books over and over again, I'm going to give this one to The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh. While I had a few issues with the romance and plot, I absolutely loved the world building in this book! I felt like that was where Ahdieh's writing truly shone.

25. Book that was the most fun to read in 2015?
I had so fun reading The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, even though it wasn't always a happy book. I thoroughly enjoyed finding the connections to Prince William and Kate Middleton's love story and totally fell in love with the characters while I was reading. And now I'm hoping for a sequel!

26. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2015?
Although I technically read it at the end of 2014 (though it was published in 2015), I bawled my eyes out while reading Before I Go by Colleen Oakley. I still get teary eyed when I think about it today! But I also cried reading Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen - an emotional roller coaster of a read that was my favorite of the series.

27. Hidden gem of the year?
I'm going to go with Unequal Affections by Lara Ormiston, a book I discovered solely because Barnes and Noble suggested it as a book related to something I was looking at on their website. I hadn't heard of this Pride and Prejudice retelling before, and it ended up being a favorite. I'm glad I didn't miss out on reading it!

28. Book that crushed your soul?
I'm pretty sure These is My Words by Nancy E. Turner crushed my soul. I could have used this book as the answer for the question about a book that made me cry, but it seemed more fitting for this question. I loved this book, but I still haven't recovered from the ending. I never saw it coming, and now my heart...

29. Most unique book you read in 2015?
Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid was one of the most unique books I've ever read because of the concept and format. It looks a tiny decision in the main character's life and splits into parallel stories based on what happens in her life as a result. The idea of fate versus free will was fascinating, too! 

30. Book that made you the maddest?
Love, Lucy by April Lindner was the book that made me the angriest. It's a modern retelling of A Room with a View, which is an incredible book with the best message. But this book did such a disservice to the source. The two stories don't compare, and the retelling didn't capture any of the depth of the original.
1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015?
I'm so happy I found Lauren from Bookmark Lit this year! I always look forward to reading her posts - whether it's a review, discussion or another creative feature. And I think I discovered Modern Mrs. Darcy at the very beginning of the year, and it's quickly become the blog I most look forward to reading every day!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?
I loved my review for Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee because I was inspired to use a more creative format for it! And I enjoyed writing my review for the Sevenwaters series by Juliet Marillier because I think I highlighted all the reasons the series is so worth reading.

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?
Rather than choose my discussion post with the most comments or views, I decided to highlight four of my favorites - on channeling your creativity, on being in a reading funkon my biggest book buying quirk and on what Anne and Gilbert taught me about love.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I loved co-hosting the Return to Green Gables event with Rachel from Hello, Chelly and Alexa from Alexa Loves Books, so that would definitely be my favorite online event that I participated in. And although I didn't attend any large bookish events, I did get to go to two signings that I adored - one for Before I Go by Colleen Oakley and one for A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (with Susan Dennard there, too!).


5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015?
I absolutely loved meeting Lindsey from Bring My Books for dinner when she was passing through Georgia in April, so that was definitely a highlight! And I took the day off work to see Mockingjay Part 2 with my dad, which will be a favorite memory for me. I'm still sad about saying goodbye to the series! 

6. Most challenging thing about your blogging or reading life this year?
Hmm... I think the most challenging thing about my blogging life this year was probably being in a blogging funk for most of the fall. I found out I was pregnant in August (which is so exciting!), but I spent most of my first trimester feeling like I could fall asleep at any minute. It's been hard to get back in the blogging groove!

7. Most popular post this year on your blog?
My Beginner's Guide to Faux Doris: The Inserts post was the most popular one on my blog this year, and it's also the most popular post I've ever written on my blog. I've definitely got search traffic and the online interest in faux doris to thank for that! I loved writing about it, so I'm glad it was something people enjoyed.

8. Post you wished got a little more love?
I can't really think of a specific post that I wish got more feedback! I'll always wish that reviews were a bit more popular, but I totally get why they're not.

9. Best bookish discovery?
I'm so glad that I discovered The Folio Society, even though my wallet isn't a huge fan. They make the most gorgeous editions of books, and I'm giddy every time I look at them on my shelves! Honestly, they're so pretty that I'm almost afraid to touch them. I'm so obsessed with them that I wrote a post all about them.


And while it's not strictly a bookish discovery, I'm glad I discovered faux doris this year, too! I'm an organization and planning nerd, so faux doris are right up my alley. I already loved May Books, and now I have the perfect way to carry them with me. I can plan, write down favorite quotes and brainstorm future posts in one place!


10. Did you complete any reading challenge or goals that you set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I recapped my progress on my 2015 resolutions in this post if you'd like to take a look. But to summarize - I met eight out of the ten resolutions I made and completed my goals for all four of the challenges I participated in.
1. One book you didn't get to in 2015 but will be your number one priority in 2016?
I've had Life After Life by Kate Atkinson on my shelves since 2013, and I have no excuse for not having read it yet. I've heard nothing but praise for this book - so why haven't I picked it up?! I'm making it a priority in 2016.

2. Non-debut book you are most anticipating for 2016?
I'm dying for the next Throne of Glass book, but it doesn't have a title or cover yet... So, I've got to go with The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry. I've loved everything I've read by Berry so far - hopefully I'll love this one, too!

3. 2016 debut you are most anticipating?
I struggled a little bit with this question because I rarely get too excited about debut books, though I do love reading them. But I'm looking forward to reading A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro and love the cover!

4. Series ending you are most anticipating in 2016?
Without a doubt, I cannot wait to get my hands on The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski! (And thank goodness the cover isn't changing anymore...) I'm nervous, excited and desperate to see how it ends. ALL THE EMOTIONS.

5. One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging in 2016?
I made a lot of progress with reading fewer review books this year, but I'm still buying too many books and not reading enough from my TBR. In 2016, I hope to make a bigger dent in the unread books on my shelves!

6. A 2016 release you've already read and recommend to everyone?
I've only read two 2016 releases, but I was so pleased with The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows. It was an excellent conclusion filled with romance, action, emotion and everything else I've come to expect from this series!

6 comments:

  1. Well done, Hannah! A third of your read books were rereads.

    I'm pretty sure our tastes are almost 100% similar. Your hesitation to read Jojo Moyes's follow-up (and the concern was valid) is why I'm not so sure I'd want to read that book anyway. Didn't she say in an interview that she thought she was done with those characters and then something new popped into her head? Sometimes the poignancy of the previous book should stay left alone. :/

    LOVE Marillier! Her YA trilogy was fantastic. So glad you enjoyed it too!

    Life-Changing Magic is on my TBR. I want to see what's so great about it, and experience it too. Rarely does a nonfiction title (and one on organization) intrigue me, but this one definitely does!

    UNDER A PAINTED SKY made it to my favorite debut as well. Looking forward to OUTRUN THE MOON!!

    THE ROYAL WE was the book I put down as one recommended to me and I'm glad I read -- and it was because of your review. :)

    MEETING LINDSEYYYY. She's the best, isn't she? It's great you two finally met!

    Those Folio Society books though...*burns hole in wallet* *doesn't mind one bit*

    A STUDY IN CHARLOTTE. THE WINNER'S KISS. Oh gosh, Hannah, I need to make a dent in my TBR case as well, and read fewer ARCs. There's a post going up tomorrow with my bookish resolutions and those are my top two priorities. Get back to reading for fun and less for promotion, you know? Backlist and midlist titles are just as wonderful and deserve long-term attention.

    ReplyDelete
  2. So jealous of your 51 rereads, that is fantastic! I still guilted myself too much about them half the time but I'm going to try for more this year :) Queen of Shadows!!! I'm reading The Royal We ASAP, can't wait! Ooh Princess of Thorns- it comes out in paperback soon, I'm going to use a giftcard to buy it. Lauren's blog is great! I'm glad I was her Secret Santa last year because her blog was such a good discovery. So jealous you got to meet Lindsey and she got to meet you!!!! I adore you both <3 I haven't gone on the Folio Society yet because I'm afraid of spending all my money haha! But those pictures... *drools* I loved the Mirror King too! Such an excellent conclusion :) Here's to reading books from our shelves and having a great 2016!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for the shoutout!! I'm so happy you've come to enjoy my blog :) Yours is one of my absolute favorites. <3

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'll Meet You There is one of my favorites ever! Love Josh and Sky's story. The Wrath and the Dawn had such vivid imagery and worldbuilding, for sure. And oh man, there are so many on here that I need to read and haven't yet. Rose Under Fire, All the Light We Cannot See (!!!), and Under the Painted Sky. I also have yet to continue the Throne of Glass series, been nervous of the hype, but I really want to understand why everyone loves the books and characters so much. And I definitely just added These Is My Words to my TBR! I do like my soul-crushing stories. ;) Also one of these days I'm going to get a Folio Society book because the covers are just so gorgeous! I hope 2016 treats you to an even better reading year, and that you accomplish your goals for the blog and books. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hooray for an amazing 2015, Hannah! You seriously are one amazing lady, and I'm always inspired by your blog posts <3 I love that we have so many reads in common on our favorites list, and that there are a quite a few on there that are new-to-me and have been added to my list of books to consider reading. Here's to hoping for an amazing 2016 reading year for us both!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I felt the same way about Come Away With Me. I wasn't expecting that plot twist at all.

    And I remember being so exhausted in my first trimester. I'd basically get in bed as soon as I got home and watch reruns of full house all night.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...