Well hello there and Happy New Year! It feels good to be back at my laptop working on a post for this blog! I couldn’t let 2014 slip by without reflecting on all the bookish things. In some ways this past year has been challenging and difficult, but overall it was a very good year and I have high hopes for 2015. Please enjoy my End of the Year Survey and feel free to leave a link to yours in the comments, so I can see what you’ve been up to this year!
Number Of Books You Read: 86
Number of Re-Reads: 0
Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy
1. Best Book You Read In 2014?
Contemporary: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Fantasy: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Historical Fiction: A Mad Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen. I thought I’d be really into Dessen’s newest summery contemporary novel because I have loved the other books that I’ve read by her. In the end the storyline in this one just wasn’t up to par with her other novels so, in the end I was pretty disappointed.
3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014?
The Boy on the Wooded Box by Leon Leyson. I normally don’t lean toward nonfiction reads and probably wouldn’t have picked this one up if it wasn’t required reading for a committee I’m a member of, but I’m so glad I did! This was such an enthralling true story of the Holocaust that I just couldn’t put it down.
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander. This was by far my most recommended book in 2014. I pushed this book on almost every student I met, especially my reluctant readers because it’s different (written in verse), it’s realistic fiction, and it’s about basketball. A lot of students (mostly boys) took my advice, read it, and shared it with their friends. It is a middle school librarian’s dream! haha
5. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?
The Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes was probably the best series I started in 2014. I love fantasy and this series has it all even though I’ve only read the first two books so far.
TIE: Waistcoats & Weaponry (Finishing School #3) by Gail Carriger was one of my favorite sequel of the year. Carriger’s steampunk/supernatural Victorian, England has yet to treat me wrong. Cress by Marissa Meyer is by far my favorite book in the Lunar Chronicles series and Cress is my favorite of all Meyer’s heroines so far!
The One by Kiera Cass was my favorite series ender of the year. Okay, so I know that the series is technically not over yet since the announcement of The Heir (which Goodreads has marked as #4), but it doesn’t count in my mind because it’s supposed to be about a different generation and a totally different Selection. It just doesn’t count okay?!
6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?
Kenneth Oppel. I was so pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed his Matt Cruse trilogy that I ripped through those audiobooks like no one’s business! The mix of adventure and steampunk/fantasy knocked me off my feet. I’ll definitely be looking for more of his books in 2015.
7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
The Haunting of Gabriel Ashe by Dan Poblocki. Anything in the horror genre usually sticks in my mind and gets worse as my imagination mulls over it, which is why I tend to stay away from anything scary. This one was required reading for the previously mentioned committee I’m on, and I was surprised at how much I liked it, even though I did have to stop reading it when I was home alone!
8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
The Diviners by Libba Bray. I was completely obsessed with this paranormal thriller set in the roaring twenties! My husband had to ask me on numerous occasions to take my earbuds out and press pause on the audiobook for a while! It was that intriguing!
9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
Honestly, probably none. I don’t usually re-read books…unless they’re written by Jane Austen. There are just SO MANY new books to explore I can’t justify spending time on one I’ve already read.
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. I just love how gorgeously typographic this cover is. The illustration at the bottom and the use of only three colors just makes this cover stand out in my mind. It’s simple yet dramatic all at once and when you know the story better you see that there are symbols representing the different characters on the cover itself. It helps that I completely loved this book too!
11. Most memorable character of 2014?
Alanna of Trebond. I started The Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce because it was one of those “OMG You haven’t read that series yet and you call yourself a fantasy lover?!”. So I finally read it and yes I adore Alanna in all of her stubborn, strong, fearful, brave confusion! She could be Katniss’ older sister!
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?
Forest Born (Books of Bayern #4) by Shannon Hale. Shannon Hale will always be one of my favorite authors because she creates these poetic and lush fairy tale retellings that just make her stand out among all the other authors out there. I always love her books.
13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014?
Counting by 7′s by Holly Goldberg Sloan. I wouldn’t say that I enjoyed this story. I would say that it really got me thinking about relationships, community and the importance of being connected to people. It was too much of a crying book for me to actually like, but it did get my thoughts moving.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read?
Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty. For years everyone has been talking about this book and how awesome Jessica Darling is. Now, since I’ve read the first two books, I finally know what the fuss is about!
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?
“Gogo’s word make me feel taller. / People really are like plants – / kind words make them grow.” -Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg
This beautifully true quote comes when Serafina is working on a garden with the help of Gogo, her grandmother, who praises Serafina’s hard work with the plants. It’s one of those quotes that reminds me why being a middle school educator is so significant and the responsibility I have to speak kind words.
16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?
March: Book One by John Robert Lewis. This graphic novel memoir of John Lewis experiences during the Southern Civil Rights movement was my shortest read in 2014 with just 128 pages.
Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor. This trilogy finisher was my longest read of the year at 613 pages. I did listen to it on audiobook which though, with translates to 18 hours and 11 minutes.
17. Book That Shocked You The Most
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. I’m completely sure that almost every other YA fan will also list this one for this category. I JUST read it about two days ago and my mind was pretty much blown. Not because what happened was that shocking, but because Lockhart’s writing was so excellent that I TOTALLY did NOT expect it to happen. I had no idea. THAT is great writing!
18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
Jessica Darling and Marcus Flutie. I know I’m like over a decade behind with The Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty but COME ON! I’ve only read the first two books, and already I swoon thinking of their secret little coded messages and realistic friendship/relationship.
19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Jack Baker and Early Auden. The friendship between these two boarding school outsiders in Clare Vanderpool’s Navigating Early is so sweet and tender. You have these two teenage boys who both feel abandoned in some way forging a friendship while at that important coming of age time in their lives. Its good.
20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. I read Westerfeld’s Uglies series years ago (and LOVED them) and have known about this steampunk alternate history series for a while, but just never got around to giving it a try. I can’t wait to get my hands on book two, Behemoth!
21. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. I’ll be honest. I was not interested in this one when it first came out. I think it was mostly because of all the hype it got online. Everyone was talking about how amazing it was and I kind of thought…meh. But then I read it and yeah…I understand the hype! haha
22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?
I apparently had a thing for “bad boys” in 2014 because this is normally not my type! Some of my most major book crushing has been on guys that aren’t stereotypically good and might even be bad when you get down to it! Here are the first four that come to mind. Prince Magnus and Jonas Agallon both from Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes. How is it possible that I would be happy if she ended up with either one?! Also, The Darkling from Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. I know he’s pretty evil and really like a hundred years old, but he’s also pretty sexy! And don’t forget Ignifex from Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge.
23. Best 2014 debut you read?
A Mad Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller. I really like historical fiction and this debut had me hooked from the very beginning! It’s full of art, suffragettes, hot cops, romance, Victorian England…who wouldn’t love it?!
24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
The Diviners by Libba Bray. This book is a great paranormal thriller, but the roaring twenties setting was by far my favorite part of the book! From the clothing, to slang, to historical events, music and cultural trends Bray had me thinking I was living in 1920s New York City the entire time I listened to this audiobook!
Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg. This was such a sweet story of friendship, romance and coming of age. I purely enjoyed every minute of this book! If you’re looking for a quality feel good contemporary novel, this one is sure to make you happy.
26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan. I’ve already said it but I didn’t enjoy this book. I tend to stay away from crying books as a general rule, but if one book was going to make me cry this one gave it a good try. It almost did, I promise.
27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald. This was such a clever and quirky middle grades mystery I can’t believe it didn’t get more press.
28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
Icons by Margaret Stohl. I thought “Margaret Stohl…she’s really popular it has to be good”. I was wrong. I read it all the way through though just to be sure. This book was so bad that my soul was crushed because I can never get back that time spent reading it.
29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?
Gated by Amy Christine Parker. Was it the best book I read this year? No. But there is no other YA dystopian title out there about a religious cult/commune. I read it as a part of that committee I’m on and I’m really glad I did because like, I said, although it had its faults Gated sticks out the most to me as the most unique book of 2014.
30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
My Basmati Bat Mitzvah by Paula J. Freedman. I was just so disappointed in this one that it made me angry.
1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014?
Honestly, I didn’t do much new blog shopping this year. I was barely able to keep up with my own and the blogs I already love.
2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014?
Probably my favorite review was the one I wrote for The Dream Thieves. It was not my favorite book in any way (Actually it was a major struggle for me to read) so the review was a difficult one for me to write. I feel like in the end I challenged myself and what I got was a very honest, sincere review.
3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
I have been a little (okay A LOT) M.I.A. with reviews and the blog in general since school started. I’m currently in my third trimester of my first pregnancy and honestly all I could manage for many months was work, reading, resting. It’s normal, but when I realized that I had forgotten my monthly Reading Queue for November, I felt awful. So I had to be brave to come back for my December Reading Queue and confess that I forgot and just couldn’t handle anything extra. The response from followers was so kind and encouraging. This was by far my favorite post of the year for that reason. Thanks guys!
4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I was pretty out of the loop for anything extra related to blogging this year (I didn’t even make it to YALL Fest boooo). But I have continued to love keeping up with my Reading Queue meme whom I co-host with the awesome Jessica at Books A True Story. The Reading Queue is still really small, but I like getting to know the others who participate regularly a little better!
5. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
My most popular post was: YA Reads for Fans of Period Dramas.
6. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
My review for Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord, which was such a great contemporary middle grades read. Give this review some love people!
7. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
YES! After not meeting my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal for 2013 I am excited to announce that I surpassed my Reading Challenge goal for 2014! My goal was set at 70 books and I have finished with 86 books read this year! WHOOT!
Sadly though, I did not meet my 2014 YA Audiobook Challenge goal (hosted by Book and a Latte). I only listened to 34 audiobooks this year (instead of the planned 36) and because of my pregnant blogging slump I didn’t even come close to reviewing 24 of them. OOPS! Oh well, there is always 2015.
1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015?
Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers and The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas were both on my December Reading Queue, but I didn’t make it to them before the end of the year. Both will be some of the first books I try to attack in January!
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?
I can’t pick just one!!
The Winner’s Crime (Winner’s Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski (March 2015)
Manners & Mutiny (Finishing School #4) by Gail Carriger (November 2015)
3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas (Feb. 2015). A new fairy tale retelling!
4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2015?
See #2! haha
5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2015?
I hope to post more regularly. Even after the baby comes. That doesn’t have to be multiple times per week. Maybe only once a week…we’ll see. I’d like my posting to be more regular though. I know a baby will be time consuming, but with staying home there might be some wiggle room!
Thanks so much to everyone to reads/follows BookTasty! You’re all so encouraging and I appreciate you! I hope you have a fabulous New Year!