Monday, 23 December 2013

2013 End of Year Book Survey: My Year in Reading and Blogging

Welcome to my last blog post of 2013! I'm going to be taking a well earned break from the blog over Christmas and will be returning early in the new year and what better post to end the year with than Jamie's End of Year Book Survey? I absolutely love survey's and I've had so much fun reflecting on my life in reading and blogging in 2013. This year hasn't been kind to me and my family but books have really pulled me through some difficult times and as a result I've had one of the best years when it comes to books and blogging. Here's to another year of wonderful books in 2014!

1.) Best Book You Read In 2013? (If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist)
I’m going to do my own thing here and share the best book I read each month because I can’t choose even within genres (especially for the best contemporary!)

January – Just One Day by Gayle Forman
February - Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
March - Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
April - Soulmates by Holly Bourne
May - The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
June - Crash by Nicole Williams
July - Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
August - Hurt by Tabitha Suzuma
September - Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
October - This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
November - Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

2.) Book You Were Excited About and Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Allegiant! I didn’t hate it but it was nowhere near as good as I thought it was going to be. Also The Program by Suzanne Young which I thought sounded fantastic but in the end had too many plot holes. As somebody who has had depression and knows a lot about mental health this book made me angry with how poorly researched it was.

3.) Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013?
Mine has to be This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales. I remember reading the synopsis and thinking it sounded okay but I wasn’t hugely fussed about reading it and then a few of my blogger friends were saying how good it was so I decided to give it a go and I’m so glad I did because as you can see it was one of my favourite books of the year!

4.) Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?
Probably a tie between Fangirl, Just One Day and This Song Will Save Your Life. I’ve recommend them all to so many people!

5.) Best series you discovered in 2013?
I discovered so many amazing series this year but my best discovery would have to be the Crash series by Nicole Williams. I was obsessed with this series and read all three books back to back.

6.) Favorite new author you discovered in 2013? 
Rainbow Rowell! I read all three of her books this year and have loved all of them. I’m really looking forward to Landline next year and will read whatever she writes in the future without question. I’ve also loved books by Kasie West, Carole Matthews and Susan Ee - I’m so happy to have discovered them as well!

7.) Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you? 
I’m really bad at reading books outside of my comfort zone mainly because I’m so happy in my little YA/Chick-lit bubble! I’ve really gotten into the New Adult genre this year though which is a new genre I’ve been loving!

8.) Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?
Hands down The 5th Wave! I was on the edge of my seat the entire time with that one.

9.) Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year? 
I’m not a huge re-reader but if I was to re-read a book it would probably be Fangirl because I connected to Cath so much.

10.) Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013? 
Probably, Angelfall. It’s simple but eye catching because it’s different to anything else out there and I absolutely love the colours and effect used.

11.) Most memorable character in 2013?
For me it’s Sturmhond from Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo who is a newly introduced secondary character and he’s so brilliant! He completely stole the show for me.

12.) Most beautifully written book read in 2013?
Gayle Forman’s Just One Day - her writing is absolutely stunning! Warm Bodies is a close second which I never thought I’d say about a zombie novel!

13.) Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013?
Hands down Just One Day. It has honestly changed my life. I have anxiety, panic attacks and OCD and as a result my life is very controlled and reading this book about the importance of being spontaneous and putting yourself out into the world has made me say yes to so many opportunities this year that I’d usually shy away from.

14.) Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read?
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, when the final book came out earlier this year it was the perfect time to finally pick up this series and I’m so glad that I did! Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian is another book I wish I picked up sooner because I found it so much fun!

15.) Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?
Going back to what I said about Just One Day I have this quote from the book chalked up on a black board in my room to remind me to just say yes, no matter how scared I am.

“Everything is happening all of the time, but if you don’t put yourself in the path of it, you miss it.” – Just One Day by Gayle Forman 

16.) Shortest and Longest Book You Read In 2013?
My shortest that isn’t a novella was Warm Bodies at 240 pages and my longest was Clockwork Princess at 570 pages.

17.) Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers! 
Pretty much the whole of Clockwork Princess I needed to talk about which is why I made a discussion post about it! Also the endings to Undone by Cat Clarke, Hurt by Tabitha Suzuma and Fire With Fire by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian left me in shock.

18.) Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
Romantic: Sydney and Adrian in The Indigo Spell and The Fiery Heart
Friendship: Jem, Will and Tessa in Clockwork Princess
Siblings: Carey and Jenessa from If You Find Me

19.) Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
 Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas and The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater are two sequels that completely blew me away! I liked the first two in both series when I read them last year but in these two sequels both authors completely upped their game!

20.) Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else
Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay which I bought solely because of Sam’s review. I actually hadn’t heard of this book before then and I bought it on her recommendation alone and really enjoyed it!

21.) Genre You Read The Most From in 2013? 
Contemporary YA, which has also been my favourite genre of this year.

22.) Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?
I’ve been introduced to so many swoonworthy book boys this year but the guy who completely stole my heart was Levi from Fangirl. I also have huge crushes on Raffe from Angelfall and Tucker from Unearthly.

23.) Best 2013 debut you read?
If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch - such a beautiful and heartbreaking book!

24.) Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?
Probably a tie between Pantomime by Laura Lam and Splintered by A. G. Howard. Laura Lam completely brought life at the circus to life and A.G. Howard took Wonderland and made it her own.

25.) Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?
Geek Girl by Holly Smale and The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah R Miller come to mind for this one. They were two super cute and funny contemporaries that I flew through that left me with a huge smile on my face.

26.) Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?
I’m such a cry baby and if I listed every book that made me cry or nearly cry this year we’d be here all day so I’m tweaking this question to the books that made me cry BUCKETS and they would have to be Clockwork Princess, Undone, If You Find Me and Hurt.

27.) Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?
I’d have to say Pantomime by Laura Lam because it is so different and outside of the blogosphere I haven’t really seen anybody talking about it. Also The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken which although hasn’t been entirely overlooked I think deserves a lot more attention because it’s such a brilliant and unique dystopian and it deserves to be HUGE!

1.) New favorite book blog you discovered in 2013?
I’ve discovered so many amazing book blogs this year and have made some great new blogger friends. The people I’m about to mention have very similar taste in books as I do and I’m regularly checking their blogs for recommendations! Jasprit and Rachel at The Readers Den, Sam at Realm of Fiction, Danielle at What Danielle Did Next, Samantha at The Secret Life of a Bookworm and Casey at Dark Readers. I’ve picked up so many good books because of them and I’m so happy to have discovered their blogs this year!

2.) Favorite review that you wrote in 2013?
Any review for a book that I’ve loved and that meant something to me on a personal level because they are always the hardest to write. So my reviews for Just One Day, Fangirl and This Song Will Save Your Life.

3.) Best discussion you had on your blog? 
I don’t really do many discussion posts on the blog and it’s something I want to get better at. I did do spoiler review/discussions for both Clockwork Princess and Allegiant that had a lot of interaction.

4.) Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?
I loved this discussion that Leanna had on her blog called Has Book Blogging Fallen Out of Fashion?

5.) Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
Hands down meeting John and Hank Green in London at the beginning of the year. They are such an inspiration to me and John is one of my favourite authors so that was fantastic.

6.) Best moment of book blogging/your book life in 2013?
There have been so many highlights this year! I loved having some of my favourite authors on the blog and of course getting my blog makeover. But something that always makes me so proud is when I see a quote from my review in a book especially when it’s for one of my favourite books like The Grisha series by Leigh Bardugo and Dare You To and Crash Into You by Katie McGarry.

7.) Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
Definitely my Clockwork Princess Discussion. It’s actually the second most viewed post on my blog of all time!

8.) Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
Probably my Booking by Numbers Meme a lot of people seemed to enjoy reading it and a few people even did their own post. But I spent such a long time on it and was really proud of it that I wish more people got involved. 

9.) Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
For a book store definitely Foyles in London! I’ve been twice this year and absolutely love it! It has so many US imports as well as being enormous. As for a bookish website I’m so thankful for the Recaptains which, in case you haven’t heard of it, is basically a blog dedicated to recapping books that are part of a series so that you can refresh your memory before reading the new book. It’s such a brilliant idea and has stopped me from putting off many sequels because I couldn’t remember what happened in book one and didn’t have the time to re-read it.

10.) Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I don’t tend to do reading challenges any more because I find that I never stick to them anyway. But for as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to read 100 books in a year, it was even on my bucket list! For the last few years I’ve come really close but never quite made it and this year I finally reached the big 100! I’m so proud of myself and it felt very satisfying to check that off my bucket list!

1.) One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2013 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2014?
I have a whole lot of sequels I need to catch up on! I’m in the middle of so many series and its hard keeping up to date with them all. I also really want to read the Shatter Me series back to back for the first time when Ignite Me comes out next year.

2.) Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2014 (non-debut)?
There are a lot of sequels that I’m anticipating next year and I have a list on my blog here! I’m also really looking forward to Landline by Rainbow Rowell, Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout, The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith and To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han to name a few!

3.) 2014 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
I’m really excited about Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira and The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings.

4.) Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2014? 
Isla and the Happily Ever After – it’s been such a long time coming! And of course City of Heavenly Fire. I have all of the series endings I’m looking forward to on this post.

5.) One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2014?
Number one on my list is to attend more book related or book blogger events. My panic attacks are triggered by public transport, especially travelling alone, and also being in big crowds of people which has made it hard for me to attend events that are usually held in London and I’ve had to turn down so many amazing opportunities. I’m getting a lot better with this though and am going to be saying yes to a lot more things in the new year.

As for reading I’d really like to get around to some older releases that I’ve wanted to read for ages but always seem to get pushed aside for shiny new books or review copies. I’d like to change this habit in 2014.


I hope you've had fun reading my answers and if you've done your own version of this survey please leave me a link in the comments as I'd love to check it out! 

Lastly I want to thank each and every one of you for reading and supporting this blog this year and I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas with plenty of books from Santa and a happy new year that holds the promise of lots of exciting new book releases in 2014!

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