Monday, December 30, 2013

4th Annual End of Year Book Survey--2013 Edition!

-->Hey guys!  If you believe it or not, the end of 2013 is finally here, and as usual, Jamie of The Perpetual Page-Turner created her 4th Annual End of Year Bookish surveySo if you want to know all about what I loved, was disappointed by, and read in 2013, here are the answers!  I haven't had the chance to review all these books, but I'll be working on that in 2014.

Best In Books 2013

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 adored Winger by Andrew Smith and Cinder by Marissa Meyer.  Winger told an amazing story with enthralling characters, and Cinder managed to be something that was both different and totally awesome.  My third pick won't be out until 2014: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, but believe me when I tell you that you need this book.  You'll see a full list tomorrow when I tell you about my top books of the year. I still have to decide if there will be 10 or 12 books on the list! 

2. Book You Were Excited About Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

I finally broke down and read Divergent this year, and it wasn't what I hoped it would be. While I haven't reviewed it yet, I'll tell you that I found the romance unoriginal and wasn't pleased with the worldbuilding. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke proved to be an astoundingly boring read for me. I was a little dubious because I saw Misty of The Book Rat didn't like it, but i thought maybe it'd have some redeeming quality that I'd like.  As cool as the concept was, it was horribly boring and long.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013? 

Definitely This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales.  I listen to  pop and random obscure bands, so I was worried this book would consist primarily of references to indie 80s musicians that I don't listen to. Of course, because Elise is a DJ, music plays a big role, but I found myself really engrossed in her story of discovering and embracing herself.
4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?

Winger by Andrew Smith, which is impressive because I only read it in September.  I was blown away by the quality of the writing and it's been a long time since I've found a character as endearing as Ryan Dean West.

I've also been trying to get more people to read Black Helicopters by Blythe Woolston.  This is a seriously messed up little book, which is pretty clear from the synopsis, and I'm worried that's scaring other people away.  It's an extremely literary and thought-provoking read, though, and I love that Woolston tackled a topic that isn't often addressed in YA literature.

 5. Best series you discovered in 2013?

No contest--the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.  I fell in love with the quirky concept, fast-paced plot, and world building of  Cinder.  I love how so many fairy tales are being tied into this epic saga.  And I love Thorne so much.

Honorable mention also goes to Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins.  Hex Hall has been out since 2010, and all three books are already released, so I'm definitely behind.  I'm hoping to read more of the books in this series in 2013!

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?

I'm sticking with authors that are new to me, so some of the authors I'm mentioning have been published for a while.  Because I read two books by her this year, I'll have to go with Rainbow Rowell this year, but honorable mention also goes to E. Lockhart, Andrew Smith, Leila Sales, Rachel Hawkins, and Holly Black.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

Definitely Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake.  You could argue that this book is horror, and this is a genre I've been nervous to read for fear of nightmares.  I was proud of myself for diving into it and am hoping to read more horror in 2014!

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?

Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I got completely sucked into Meyer's story and world.

 9. Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

I'm planning on rereading We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.  This is seriously intense book that completely messes with your mind, and the first time you read it, it's so hard to figure out what's going on until you reach the very end. I want to reread it so I can feel all of the emotions.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?

11. Most memorable character in 2013? 

Without a doubt, Ryan Dean West from Winger by Andrew Smith. I found him hilarious, sweet, and incredibly endearing.   His decisions weren't always the best, but he had a good heart, even if it took him a while to discover that side of himself.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?

Golden by Jessi Kirby.  The storyline of this book was compelling and the message left me thinking afterwards.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013? 

Also Golden by Jessi Kirby, because it left thinking so much about how taking risks, pursing your passions, and having lots of different life experiences is a good thing, even if they don't always end well.

I think Just One Day might have also had this impact on me, but that one had a slightly ambiguous ending, and I saw more of myself in Parker from Golden than Alyson in Just One Day.  I will say I liked Just One Year better than Just One Day.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read? 

I have to go with a book that my parents gave to me in Christmas of 1998: Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind by Suzanne Fisher Staples.  I imagine my parents gave this book to ten-year-old Liz with the hopes of enlightening her about other cultures.  Mom and Dad, if you're reading this, I'd just like to point out that 25 still found this book an enlightening and important novel worth reading.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013? 
And she know it's nothing but a collection of minutes, all of them sitting together like popcorn on a tree, she can see now how easily they become hours, how quickly the months might have turned to years in just the same way, how close she'd come to losing something so important to the unrelenting movement of time.
 --This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith 
We sang almost the entire way there. I don't know how Coach M put up with it.  It was like he was deaf or something, because he never showed the slightest expression when the songs got completely vulgar.  It was like singing was the only time he'd tolerate our cussing, and he'd just keep his attention pinned on his notebook, where he'd organize rosters, medical forms, and notes on plays.  But I could tell the singing was making the driver of our chartered bus really agitated.  He started looking so frustrated and mad, but i could hear Coach M explain to him in his Henry Higgins tone of voice, "They are a rugby team. They sing.  There's nothing I, you, or God can do about it beyond hope that they will eventually tire."
--Winger by Andrew Smith

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

Shortest Probably Odd Duck by Sara Varon and Cecil Castellucci.  No surprise here as this is a picture book/graphic novel hybrid.

LongestMonsters of Men by Patrick Ness.  This is also not a surprise, as it took me from May to September to read this book. Admittedly, I had hard time getting into it because I didn't remember every single detail from books one and two.  As always, though, there were many feels involved when I read this book, and I really enjoyed it on the whole.

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!

Absolutely We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.  There wasn't a specific scene so much as the entire book.  Thankfully Ally was available via text and Jamie and Mitali had also already read it.

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

Friendship has to be Maddie and "Verity" from Code NameVerity.  I'm torn about reading Rose Under Fire because I adored Code NameVerity and cannot wait to continue their story, but I also know my heart will be ripped out.  Joey and Ryan Dean West from Winger also have a great friendship.

Family has to be Callie and her father from Trish Doller's Where theStars Still Shine.

I was going to make three sub-categories for romance, but one of them would be spoilery, so I'll tell you it involves two characters from Winger.

For a romantic swoony relationship, I have to say Justen and Persis from Across A Star-Swept Sea. Justen really is a romantic.

However, Callie and Alex from Where the Stars Still Shine takes the cake for romantic steamy. DAMN.

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

I have to go with Golden by Jessi Kirby.  I was dubious about it because I'd only sort of enjoyed In Honor, but picked this one up because the gorgeous cover and rave reviews sucked me in.  I adored this book.

20. Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock on recommendation from Jamie and April.  I don't think I loved it quite as much as they did, but it was a solid read regardless.

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?

Contemporary, without a doubt. I'm addicted. 

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?

Alex from Where the Stars Still Shine.  It doesn't hurt that I want to visit him in Tarpon Springs and eat Greek food while I do it. I should probably take some ice water and a fan with me.

23. Best 2013 debut you read?

It's an honest toss-up between The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston and These Broken Stars by Meagan Spooner and Aimee Kaufman.

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?

I was really wowed by how vivid the world in These Broken Stars is, but The Coldest Girl In Coldtown was also fantastic. Another tie.  Aren't we all astounded?

25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?

 Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morill.  There were a few serious issues presented, but overall it reminded me of The Cutting Edge and The Parent Trap.  It also reminded me of Cool Runnings, because if there is a sport that involves ice in the mix, I will be reminded of Cool Runnings.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?

 So many of them! I've already mentioned Winger and We Were Liars a lot, and they both made me cry. I also have to mention The One and Only Ivan and Counting by 7s

27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?

Black Helicopters by Blythe Woolston.  I talked about this one earlier, so I won't reiterate the points I've already made. If you want a thought-provoking read, pick it up. 

Book Blogging/Reading Life 2013

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2013? 

There were lots!  Maggie from Just A Couple More Pages and I have already had some great bookish discussions on Twitter, and she's read a lot of books that are on my TBR.  I also learned that Ellie, someone I went to grad school with, started Book Revels.  She has some great recommendations for fantasy if you need some.  Book Rock Betty is also really fun and has some great discussions.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2013? 

My review of 50 Shades of Grey is pretty hilarious.  Aside from that I think I did a nice job reviewing Black Helicopters and Across A Star-Swept Sea.

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?

Definitely my I'm Not Cool. I loved reading the comments and hearing how many of you agreed with what I had to say, or had your own thoughts to add.  This especially mad me feel good because I was nervous about posting it.

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?

On a bookish note, I love the photos that Ginger came up with that madeher think about Jellicoe Road.  Otherwise, the posts that stuck with me this year were largely personal.  I really enjoyed Jamie's If We Were Having Coffee feature.  I liked how she talked about her real life problems in her post, which I don't always feel free to do because I have colleagues who follow this blog.  Magan's post about how How to Love made herthink about her own experience fostering was really touching to read.

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

I didn't participate in a lot of events, but I got to attend the launch party for Carrie Mesrobian's Sex & Violence.  Elmo cupcakes and cherry lick were involved!  Apparently Elmo cupcakes play a role in the book, which I have yet to read.  Anyways, we played a drinking game with the cherry lick when Carrie read aloud from the book, which was super fun. I loved how Carrie took her launch party and made it a little more creative that way.

Not an event, but Corey Whaley happened to be at a conference I was at in April, and we had the chance to get dinner. It was fun to chat and Corey was very tolerant of my awkwardness.

6. Best moment of book blogging/your book life in 2013?

I got approved to be a part of a blog tour for an author I really admire this January! You guys will find out more about that soon.  Otherwise I have to say I've really enjoyed working with Ksenia at Macmillan this year.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Once again, my I'm Not Cool post. Those of you who have supported my uncoolness are the best.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

I'm surprised my So You Want to Be A Librarian post didn't get more love, only because so many bloggers I know have pondered the idea of pursuing an MLS/MLIS.  I'd also like it if my While You Wait posts got more comments.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Addendum Books in Saint Paul!  I was surprised to hear about a bookstore that I didn't know about, but as it turns out they're relatively new.  For being in a small space, they have an amazing selection.  Based on their website, they clearly hold tons of awesome events.  I only made it to Carrie Mesrobian's launch in 2013, but I plan to make it to lots more in 2014.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I set the goal of reading 100 books this year, and I've read 106.  While I would have liked to squeeze in a few more, this was a crazy year, especially personally.   And honestly? I had a little more reading time when I didn't have a full-time job.

Looking Ahead…

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2013 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2014?

Because I am eternally behind on my TBR pile (remember how I just finished a books my parents gave me in 1998?), I have three answers to this question.  Since Sex & Violence is a finalist for the Morris award, I'll definitely read it.  I was also pumped for Vicious but just didn't fit it into 2013.  For a backlist title, I'd really like to read The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. A lot of my friends love this book, and I was reminded of this fact when Rachel mentioned it in her End of Year Bookish Survey.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2014 (non-debut)?

Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson.  Both of her previous novels have made great summer reads, and I'm hoping this will be no exception.  And how cute is that cover?

3. 2014 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy.  The premise sounds fantastic, it's gotten rave reviews, and once again, I adore the cover.

 4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2014?

Honestly?  I think I'm still hoping to start most of the series that are ending in 2014, but I have read Shadow and Bone and Daughter of Smoke and Bone.  Although those were both iffy reads for me, I do want to see how both of these stories wrap up.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2014?

I'll set a goal to read 100 books again. I'd also love to have more discussion posts on this blog, so I hope I can make it happen.


  1. So I had many comments I was compiling in my head (always a bad idea) as I was reading your survey, but then I got to the part about you going to the Sex & Violence launch party and everything else left my mind. Then I got to the part where you said you haven't read Sex & Violence yet! Not to put any more TBR pressure on you, but you have it read it ASAP! I loved it so much, one of my top 3 books of 2013.

    Thanks for the shout out! I've had fun getting to "know" you through Twitter and discussing books. We definitely have lots and lots of overlap in what we read. Which is also why I loved all the Winger love on here! :)

  2. You will LOVELOVELOVE The Sky Is Everywhere!

    Also, I am all about your love for Cinder and Winger in this post! Oh, and Patrick Ness OF COURSE.


  3. Just read the Temple Wars Novel on Ganesha! The story is well told through a parallel protagonist Tarun who helps Ganesha retrieve his objects from the spirit world. It's a page-turner that will have you wanting more. You guys should check it out! Temple Wars



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