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2013 End of the Year Book Survey

2013 End of Year Book Survey

Happy New Year’s Eve!

So much has happened in 2013! I’ve read tons of books (although I didn’t reach my goal of 80), moved to South Carolina, began work at a new school, went to Europe, celebrated our 8 year wedding anniversary (!!), among so many other things! Thank you to all the BookTasty friends out there who helped make 2013 a wonderful year! Since this is a book blog, we’re going to take some time to reminisce on the books I read in 2o13 with the annual End of the Year Book Survey!

Relating to Books!

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)

Apparently, 2013 was the year of fantasy for me because my 5 favorite books were ALL fantasy! In 2013 I loved:The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

  • Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
  • The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
  • The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
  • Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
  • Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

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

I really thought I’d adore The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater so much more than I did. It took me forever to finish it because I just couldn’t get into it. I should have just put it down and not finished it, but I felt so bad because I loved The Raven Boys (book 1).

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

I had seen Icefall by Matthew Kirby sitting on the shelves in my Media Center for a LONG time. I always looked at it and then put it back down, never thinking it sounded really interesting. Well, I finally read it because it is on the 2013-2014 SC Junior Book Award List and lo and behold I REALLY LIKED IT!

 4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?

I definitely recommended The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson to the most people this year!

 5. Best series you discovered in 2013?

Hands down Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series! I love fact that it is a mash-up of fantasy, steampunk, and mystery genres! Seriously, these books are so refreshing and fun, they’re my favorite!

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?

Belle Epoque by Elizabeth RossI really enjoyed “meeting” three new debut authors this year. Elizabeth Ross (Belle Epoque), Rachel Hartman (Seraphina), and Alex Lidell (The Cadet of Tildor) are all authors whose future work will definitely be on my radar!

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

I don’t know if it was the best “out of my comfort zone” book or if I’m listing it because it was the only one I read that was out of my comfort zone…but I’m listing If I Stay by Gayle Forman. This was a 100% pure CRYING book. I generally do not do crying books. I didn’t love it, but it was out of my comfort zone.

 8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?

I seriously could not put down Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys! I was absolutely riveted from the start!

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

Honestly? I don’t know…it’s rare that I re-read books (unless it is Pride & Prejudice which I have read three times).

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

Most definitely the covers for Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series. Aren’t these covers just breathtaking?! I want to wear the gowns!

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger

11. Most memorable character in 2013? 

Is it cheating if I choose three? They kind of come together in a pack so I’m including them as one: Ronan, Gansey, and Adam…The Raven Boys! Although I wasn’t a fan of The Dream Thieves, I really liked book one, The Raven Boys. These three boys together are all pretty awesome in their own ways, but they also have magic among them!

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys was just so moving I have to give it this title. The subject matter and Sepetys writing wove together to create a haunting story full of beauty, pain and hope.

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

This is a tough question. As much as I hate to say it (ducks from internet wrath about to come at me) Paper Towns by John Green just may have been the book that impacted me the most. Although this story was entertaining, it was not in any way a favorite of mine. I didn’t hate it, but it did leave me thinking a lot about relationships, selfishness, and pain. I think that Margo Roth Spiegelman may be one of my least favorite characters ever written, but she did make me think about things, so she has that going for her.

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

With the movie releasing this past November, my Husband and I listened to the audiobook of Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card and neither of us could believe that it had taken us that long to actually read it!

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?

Lions of Little Rock

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

How I did this: Went to my read books on Goodreads and sorted by page number and just looked for what I knew I read this year that was the shortest and longest.

Longest: Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare with 570 pages

Shortest: The Humming Room by Ellen Potter with 192 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!

Definitely The Crown of Embers and The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson! I was dying to talk to my friend Mandi about a certain someone and specific scenes, but she hasn’t made it past book one yet! Get reading Mandi!! We have lots to discuss!

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

Okay so we all know romantic is the type of relationship I’m going with here. The smouldering relationship between Grave Mercy by Robin LaFeversIolanthe Seabourne and Prince Titus VII, in The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas, was by far one of my favorites of 2013! I can’t wait for the other books in this trilogy! Another favorite was the romance between Ismae Rienne and Gavriel Duval in Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers! And let’s not forget Elise and Hector from The Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy by Rae Carson!

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

I used to read a lot of Philippa Gregory novels in college, but hadn’t been excited about any of her recent titles until I saw Changeling, her foray into YA, at my school Book Fair! I bought it and read it in like a week. I had forgotten how quick and enthralling her books are!

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

I’m pretty sure Delirium by Lauren Oliver had been recommended to me by about fifteen students in less than a week’s time. I figured it was time to read it! I liked books one and two but was disappointed in book three.

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?

No questions asked, I was completely in love with fantasy in 2013!

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

Okay, definitely Prince Titus VII from The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas! He reminds me a a little of Will Herondale with his cocky swagger!

23. Best 2013 debut you read?

I didn’t read as many debuts as I wanted to this year, but I think my favorites was definitely The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas, The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell, and Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross. I can’t pick just one!

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

Oh most definitely the most vivid world was found in Gail Carriger’s Finishing School books, Etiquette & Espionage and Curtsies & Conspiracies. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I want to live in this fantasy steampunk world she has created! I want to play with all the cool gadgets and wear all the pretty Victorian gowns. Also I want a mechanimal named Bumbersnoot!

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

Probably Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card because my Husband and I listened to it together and now we have all these hilarious (to us) inside jokes from the book that come up frequently!

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

So this is a short list because I strive to keep my distance from books that want to make me cry. If I Stay by Gayle Forman and Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys were the two I allowed into my reading list this year. This is all we shall ever say of the crying…let’s never speak of this again.

Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?

I think Icefall by Matthew Kirby got overlooked whenever it was released. How could have not known about such a gem of a book until now?!

Relating to the Book Blogging Life

(optional)

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2013? 

Okay, so for sure Jessica B. from Books a True Story! She and I met on Twitter and we decided to create a new monthly meme called Reading Queue! It has been really fun and helpful to organize my reading plans and Jessica has been super friendly and sweet!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2013? 

Oh I think the books I loved the best get the best reviews…so let’s go with my review for Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger! I was definitely fangirling, but I believe I had a right to be!

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?

I had a lot of fun with my Escapism or Emotion? post over the summer. I loved hearing form people with differing opinions on why they read. It was enlightening to consider a reader’s reasons for reading and remembering that we all have out own preferences when reading.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?YALL Fest2013

GUYS! In November I went to YALL Fest in Charleston, SC for the first time ever! AND. IT. WAS. AWESOME.

Seriously, I have been a bad book blogger the past two months, but I will post a highlight post from YALL Fest. I had such a good time mingling with “my people” and showing love to some impressive books and authors!

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

Definitely starting Reading Queue with Jessica B.! You should check it out and participate with us!

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

My most popular post of 2013 with a whopping 82 views (haha) was my April New Releases post which posted on March 26, 2013.

7. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Definitely my regular reviews. I know it’s been a while since I posted one, but they just don’t get as much love as weekly memes do, which makes me a little sad.

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

Okay, so in regards to my regular Goodreads Reading Goal for 2013, I have failed miserably! haha Seriously, though my goal was to read 80 books this past year and I only made it to 53 books for 2013. Oh well…53 is still a lot of books!

I did do a fab job with my 2013 YA Audiobook Challenge coming in at 35 audiobooks finished in 2013! This was 5 more audiobooks than 2012! WHOOT!

However, I didn’t succeed at my 2013 Debut Author Challenge. I only manged to read 6 of the 12 I had planned on finishing. Oh well! Of the 6 I did read, I discovered some awesome authors who I will definitely be seeking out in the future!

Regarding Looking Ahead to 2014

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2013 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2014?United we Spy by Ally Carter

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell for sure! Also United We Spy by Ally Carter!

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

Oh Lord! I haven’t even begun to think about my most anticipated releases for 2014.

  • Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
  • The One by Kiera Cass
  • Cress by Marissa Meyer
  • Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger

Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood by Bajaj3. 2014 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

I think Alienated by Melissa Landers sounds like it could be a really fun read as does Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood by Varsha Bajaj!

 4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2014?The One by Kiera Cass

The One by Kiera Cass! I really just love this fun series and can’t wait to see how Cass wraps it all up.

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

I did a really good job with keeping my blogging schedule organized during the first 3/4s of 2013.  I want to start 2014 organized and continue it through the end of the year. I already bought my 2014 blog planner, so I’m off to a good start!

May 2014 be filled with love, joy and really good reads!

 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Boarding School Books

Hola!

It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and Bookish)!

But before we get there…Happy Anniversary to my awesome husband! As of today we’ve officially been married for 8 years! It’s pretty awesome being married to your best friend, especially when he makes you laugh all the time!

That cake was delicious.

That cake was delicious.

Awwww that was pretty sweet wasn’t it?!

Okay, let’s back to business. The theme this week allows us to base our list around our favorite settings in books. Now, I’ve said this before, but I am obsessed with boarding school books! Chances are if a book is set in a boarding school I’m going to LOVE it…seriously, I don’t think I’ve met a boarding school book I didn’t like! There is just something fun about the idea of being a teenager living away from the supervision of your parents that is just so enticing!

In my opinion, boarding school books are where it’s at!

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

A boarding school in France. Romance ensues!

I'd Tell You I Love You but then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally CarterThe Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter

Guys! It’s spy school! What could be cooler?!

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

Okay so a steampunk spy boarding school might be cooler than regular spy school…maybe…

Princess Academy by Shannon HalePrincess Academy by Shannon Hale

Studying to be a princess must be done in a boarding school.

Star Cursed by Jessica SpotswoodStar Cursed by Jessica Spotswood

Cate has moved to the Sisterhood…yes it’s supposed to be a “nunnery” but it passes as boarding school.

The Cadet of Tildor by Alex LidellThe Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell

A boarding school to train soldiers…yes!

HarryPotter & the Sorcerer's Stone by JK RowlingThe Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

What boarding school book list would be complete without Hogwarts?!

The Name of the Star by Maureen JohnsonThe Name of the Star and The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

A boarding school in London?! My dreams come true.

joltedJolted by Arther G. Slade

Survival school sounds like fun!

Haven by Kristi CookHaven by Kristi Cook

A special school for teens with special abilities….

How do you feel about books set at boarding schools? Are there any that you think I should have added to this list?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Keep ‘em Coming!

Oh Hi!

Welcome back to BookTasty where I participate in Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and Bookish!

Have you ever loved a story and it’s characters so much that you just wanted more?! Well, I have definitely finished a book and thought, “okay…now give me a sequel!” only to find out that there is no sequel….NOOOOOO!

I know that not every book can be part of a series or even a trilogy and that some people get annoyed with the seemingly overabundance of series today, especially in the MG and YA world. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it is refreshing to read a story and be done with it, but I really love series because they allow me to spend more quality time with those characters I love. So, today I want to share some titles that I wish would just keep ‘em coming!

Belle Epoque by Elizabeth RossBelle Époque by Elizabeth Ross

Now, this one is a debut and Ross could have another one in the works, but as of now I know nothing.

Poison by Bridget ZinnPoison by Bridget Zinn

Unfortunately author Zinn passed away before the book was published so we’ll never have another book with these characters.

A Northern Light by Jennifer DonnellyA Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

I just want to know what happens next!

The Cadet of Tildor by Alex LidellThe Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell

This is another debut that could have a sequel coming…? Please?!

The Scorpio Races by Maggie StiefvaterThe Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

I just love this world so much I want more…MORE!!!

The Juvie Three by Gordon KormanThe Juvie Three by Gordon Korman

It would be really interesting to see what happens to these boys as their time with Doug Healy progresses.

Austenland by Shannon HaleAustenland and Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale

Okay, so Midnight in Austenland IS a sequel but, like Ariel, I WANT MOOOOOOOORE!

Incarceron by Catherine FisherIncarceron and Sapphique by Catherine Fisher

This world is so amazing that again, see above.

Along for the Ride by Sarah DessenAll of Sarah Dessen’s books

Can we just have a huge mashup book where all the characters meet and hang out and like I don’t know, go to college together in Colby or something?!

JaneAustenRuinedMyLifeJane Austen Ruined my Life by Beth Pattillo

Okay, so I think there is a sequelish companion novel to this one, but it’s a different character. I want the same character doing more of what she did in this book! (Not YA)

What about you? Are there any standalones that you particularly wish there was a sequel to?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Authors Who Deserve More Recognition

Hi there!

Happy Tuesday! It’s time for the weekly Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and Bookish!

I KNOW! I KNOW! This theme was from like two weeks ago. But our internet choose to be finicky so I couldn’t post it. Also, I wasn’t a huge fan of this week’s official theme, which was favorite beginnings or endings in a book. I have way too many of those and can’t even begin to list them, so I’m going back to the one I skipped.  :)

Mini Life Update: We’ve been in Columbia, SC for about two weeks now and are slowly but surely getting the house put together.  We’re enjoying exploring our new neighborhood and city – we even visited out local public library on date night!

House

Isn’t our new house adorable?!

Well, let’s get back to Top Ten Tuesday – my theme is Authors Who Deserve More Recognition. There are so many authors who are awesome but they aren’t the ones you hear about all the time. These are authors who are newer or maybe they’ve been around a little while and they just fly under the radar. All of these authors come with a high recommendation from BookTasty, so if you haven’t ready any of their books, you really need to!

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger Gail Carriger

She writes super fun steampunk stories.

Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day GeorgeJessica Day George

I love her light-hearted fairy taleish books.

Entwined by Heather DixonHeather Dixon

Awesome fairy tale retellings.

Seraphina by Rachel HartmanRachel Hartman

A debut in 2012 that was a great addition to the fantasy world!

The Cadet of Tildor by Alex LidellAlex Lidell

A 2013 debut and I can’t wait for more!

Saint Louis Armstrong Beach by Brenda WoodsBrenda Woods

Such a well written middle grades look at Hurricane Katrina mixed with a coming of age story.

How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy by Crystal AllenCrystal Allen

She writes a loveable main character in this story of bowling and character.

Lost in the River of Grass by Ginny RorbyGinny Rorby

Awesome survival tale set in the Everglades.

DarkLifeKat Falls

Wonderfully imagined dystopian mystery set under the ocean surface.

joltedArthur Slade 

What a fun and quirky read!

If you haven’t read anything by these authors you really should. I think they’re all delightful authors who definitely deserve to have more people read their books.

So…what are you waiting for?!

GO READ!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books I’ve Read So Far in 2013

Hello!

Every week I participate in The Broke and Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday. This week we’ve been given a Freebie Week to create lists based on whatever theme we’d like. So, since we’re almost six months into 2013, I thought I’d focus on my favorite books that I’ve read in 2013.

My Reading Goal for 2013 is to read 80 books. So far I’m a little behind on that goal, but I have read 22 books so far. Of those 22 books the list below are the ones that I’ve enjoyed the most.  They all have the BookTasty stamp of approval!

Okay for Now by Gary D. SchmidtOkay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt

Read: May 18

Poison by Bridget ZinnPoison by Bridget Zinn

Read: March 23

A Northern Light by Jennifer DonnellyA Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

Read: March 20

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

Read: March 8

The Raven Boys by Maggie StiefvaterThe Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Read: February 2

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra ClareClockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Read: March 26

Entwined by Heather DixonEntwined by Heather Dixon

Read: February 15

Seraphina by Rachel HartmanSeraphina by Rachel Hartman

Read: January 2

The Cadet of Tildor by Alex LidellThe Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell

Read: January 27

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina MarchettaFinnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Actually, I haven’t finished this one yet. I’m listening to the audiobook and am only about 40% of the way through.

So, what books are you favorite reads of 2013 so far? Have you read any on my list?

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Magic and Mobsters Unite: The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell

Well hello there!

As you may already know (from the buttons on the left side of the page or my earlier post) 2013 is the second year I’m participating in the Debut Authors Challenge! I had so much fun with this challenge last year, as it introduced me to so many new authors to love! Well, this year the first debut novel I read was The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell. Thank you to Dial books for the e-galley!

There is a new king on the throne of Tildor. Currents of political unrest sweep the country as two warring crime families seek power, The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidellangling to exploit the young Crown’s inexperience. At the Academy of Tildor, the training ground for elite soldiers, Cadet Renee de Winter struggles to keep up with her male peers. But when her mentor, a notorious commander recalled from active duty to teach at the Academy, is kidnapped to fight in illegal gladiator games, Renee and her best friend Alec find themselves thrust into a world rife with crime, sorting through a maze of political intrigue, and struggling to resolve what they want, what is legal, and what is right.

I love fantasy! I really, really do! And I really, really, believe that The Cadet of Tildor is a great addition to the genre. The world building is well done and I felt like I could clearly imagine this world where magic and mobsters unite.  There is just so much political and criminal intrigue that I want to know more about this world Renee, Savoy and Alec live in! Give me more Tildor books!

Lidell’s take on the heroine, Renee, is an interesting one. Renee, although talented, isn’t the strongest student at the Academy.  She is weaker than everyone else and is even in danger of loosing her place in the school. I appreciate that Renee, isn’t automatically this crazy beefed-up warrior girl, but that she instead works hard to get to where she wants and needs to be.

I had head a few other bloggers saying that there was no romance in The Cadet of Tildor, and how relieved they were. No romance?! I completely disagree! Although there was no major romantic story line, I found tendrils of romance throughout the story and can’t wait to see what forms in the next installment…I assume there is a sequel! I asked author Alex Lidell about this on Twitter and all she did was smile…so we’ll have to wait to see if my romance sniffing skills are as good as I think they are!

I was a little disappointed with Alec’s character. Throughout the story we’re reminded that he is Renee’s best friend, but in my opinion, he sure doesn’t act like it!  Alec doesn’t defend Renee when he should and pretty much leaves her on her own for most of the story. I guess, I need to consider the inner confusion and turmoil Alec is dealing with, but I just wasn’t a fan of Alec and how he treated Renee.

There is some violence…okay a lot of violence! But I think Lidell does a pretty good job of being realistic without being too graphic, which is always a good talent to have!

If you’re a fan of the fantasy genre, I think you’ll be pleased with Lidell’s debut, The Cadet of Tildor. It is a fun example of what can happen when fantasy and political thrillers unite! If there is to be more of Renee’s story, I will definitely be on the lookout for it!

Author: Alex Lidell

Publisher: Dial (January 10, 2013)

Format: e-galley (ARC)

Length: 400 pages

Series: standalone

YA/MG: YA

Buy the Book:  The Cadet of Tildor