2014: The Year-End Book Survey

This survey is hosted by Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner.

I think this will probably before my final post before the Christmas break.  I will be back to blogging around January 3rd or 4th.  Hope you all have a brilliant break and see you next year!

2014 Reading Stats

Number Of Books You Read:   50 at the time of writing.
Number of Re-Reads:   0
Genre You Read The Most From:   Fantasy, YA, contemporary

Best in Books

1. Best Book You Read In 2014?

Shadow & Bone and Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
The Collected Works of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Levin
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
The Dark Tower series and Revival by Stephen King

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

Want You Dead by Peter James, mainly because it was recommended to me by a colleague who claimed it was the best book she’d read in the last two years. With such high praise and great expectations I guess it was a lot to live up to. I did enjoy the book, but it had been so built up that for me it fell short. I think coming into this series midway through, without having experienced the developing characters and their stories was probably a mistake for me too, as their subplots were just as interesting as the crime they were investigating.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014?

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. A fair amount of time has passed since I finished that book and I STILL can’t get the twist out of my mind, or how I missed it when I thought I was paying such close attention while I was reading. I really want to revisit that book sometime and read it again, knowing what I know now.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?

The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey was one I recommended, and was delighted when I took the book back to the library to see that the next request for the book was for a reading group. I bet they had an amazing time reading and discussing the book. I almost wish I’d been part of the group.

Also The Collected Works Of A. J. Fikry. I think this is a wonderful book for anyone who loves books and reading. It was a joy to read, and definitely one I would recommend, although you may need your tissues for the ending, which I wish I’d known before I started because I found it really sad.

5. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?

The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo was one of the best series I started. At first I was just reading, but part way through the first book something really took hold and I was swept up with the world of Ravka and the characters of the book. I couldn’t wait to read the rest of the series because I enjoyed it so much. The second book didn’t disappoint either, just made me love this fictional world even more.  I’m saving Ruin and Rising for 2015 because I don’t want the series to end for me.

Siege and Storm is probably the best sequel, as it carried on the great pace during the latter stages of Shadow and Bone, and set the scene nicely for the final confrontation which I will hopefully read about soon in Ruin and Rising.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?

Leigh Bardugo for the Grisha trilogy.
Margaret Atwood after I read Stone Mattress.
E Lockhart for We Were Liars.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I read The End of Your Life Book Club which is far removed from the type of thing I would normally read.  I do tend to stick with the familiar because reading a book can take up a lot of time, so I want it to be something I know i’m going to enjoy.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey
The Dark Tower series by Stephen King, but especially Wizard and Glass.
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters was thrilling in a different way, it was a really engrossing drama.
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo was another book I couldn’t tear myself away from.

9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

I would read The Dark Tower again in a heartbeat, all 8, house-brick sized books of that series kept me gripped.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?

The Diviners by Libba Bray
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. I thought this was a lovely cover the first time I saw it, but once I’d read the book and could pick out various details I thought it was even more brilliant.

11. Most memorable character of 2014?

The Darkling from the Grisha trilogy.
Evie O’Neill and Jericho from The Diviners, and their nemesis Naughty John.
Charles Jacobs from Revival.
Jericho Barrons and V’Lane from Darkfever.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters was wonderfully written, and so was The Diviners by Libba Bray. I can’t possibly choose between the two of them so I have to say both. Each book made me feel really immersed in the world/time period.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014?

Reading The Dark Tower series almost back to back had a pretty great impact by the time I reached the latter books. I felt really engrossed in the plot and characters and really cared about their eventual fates, so inevitably there were tears involved on more than one occasion.

The Collected Works of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin had a great impact too. It was such a lovely, warm read, but by the end I was crying again.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read?

The whole Dark Tower series. That was such an intense reading experience, especially towards the latter end of the series. I can’t believe I waited so long to get on with it. I’m definitely going to re-read it sometime. Would 2015 be too soon to tackle all those 1000s of pages all over again?!

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?

“I love books, by the way, way more than movies. Movies tell you what to think. A good book let you choose a few thoughts for yourself” – Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning, p.39

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2014?

The Longest according to my Goodreads shelf is The Dark Tower by Stephen King which comes in at 1079 pages. I’m actually pretty surprised at this, because I read that book on my e-reader and it didn’t feel that long at all. Who knew?

I think the shortest was The Handsome Man’s De Luxe Café by Alexander McCall Smith at 240 pages.

17. Book That Shocked You The Most
(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)

The final scene in The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey made me really wish I was reading this book at the same time as someone else, so we could talk about it. It wasn’t what I expected at all, but I did find it quite satisfying.

Also, several scenes from The Dark Tower by Stephen King, including the final scene featuring Roland. I would love to know what other people made of the end of Roland’s quest.

The final stages of Revival were pretty shocking too.  That’s not a place I would want to go to!

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

Cath and Levi from Fangirl.
Mac and Jericho Barrons from Darkfever. No, wait… Mac and V’Lane. ARGH! Too tough, I can’t choose!

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Melanie and Miss Justineau from The Girl With All The Gifts.
Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi from The Handsome Man’s De Luxe Café.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters. I’ve read quite a few of her books and I really enjoyed her latest offering.

21. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

Want You Dead by Peter James. A colleague gave it to me, saying it was the best book she’d read in the last two years.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?

Jericho Barrons and V’Lane, both from Darkfever.
Thranduil from The Hobbit (although I may be basing this on the film version rather than the book).

23. Best 2014 debut you read?

Wake by Anna Hope. That book was such an emotional, well-written read. It was definitely memorable.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

I love Mid-World from The Dark Tower, and Ravka from the Grisha trilogy. Both were really vividly created.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I adored everything about that book, from the relationships Cath formed to the fictional world of Simon and Baz that Cath was so devoted to writing fanfiction about. It was a wonderful read and I would read it all over again.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion also provided some laugh out loud moments too.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?

The Dark Tower by Stephen King.
The Collected Works Of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

I really liked Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. What an atmospheric read. I picked it up after it was recommended to me by someone at work and I was really glad I gave it a go.

I also really enjoyed It Must Have Been the Mistletoe by Judy Astley as a nice seasonal read.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

I know I keep mentioning this book, but yet again I’m going to go for The Dark Tower.  Reading what happened to the ka-tet before Roland completed his quest was so crushing (and I’ll say no more because I don’t want to risk posting spoilers for anyone who wants to read the series).

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.  I loved the mixture of story and fanfiction, and the way the novel addressed writing fanfiction, which has always appealed to me.  It was also a pleasure to read.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler, mainly because this book promises a big twist and I read some of the comments at the beginning of the book before I started reading and I worked out what the twist was going to be.  That annoyed me as I never read the book with any other idea in mind, and when I turned out to be right there was just no element of surprise left at all.  I would love to know how I would have responded to that book had I not seen the twist coming, because I’m the first one to admit I love a good twist in the tale.

Your Blogging/Bookish Life

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014?

This is my first year of book blogging, in fact I’ve only been blogging for a few months, so everyone and everything I’ve discovered has been new, and they’re all brilliant. I have all these excellent blogs to thank for my ever-expanding TBR list, because they all write such great reviews of some really interesting-sounding books.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014?

I absolutely loved reading The Diviners by Libba Bray, so writing a review for that book was a pleasure. To date I still don’t have it up on my blog, but it’s coming soon, so an eye out for that one!

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

I must admit I haven’t really branched out into discussion posts yet, and it’s something I really want to try and incorporate into my blog during the coming year.

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

One of the very first events, and the one that prompted me to think I should probably start a book blog was Sarah’s Trees of Reverie Read-A-Thon. That was the very first time I even became aware there was such a thing as the book blogging community, so I’ll always look on it fondly, and participate whenever there’s going to be another event.

I also really enjoyed Bout of Books, and will doing the next Read-A-Thon.

The meme I participate in most regularly is Top Ten Tuesdays. There are always such interesting topics and I love reading other peoples’ lists.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014?

In general my favourite and best moments of book blogging are when I’ve absolutely adored a book and can put all that enthusiasm into my review in the hope that other people will pick up that same book and also have an awesome read, or that they’ve already read the book and we can talk about all the things that made it so amazing.

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

I think that was probably one of my Weekend Posts but I’m not really sure.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

I guess any review could fall into this category. It takes so long to write a review, trying to word it well enough without revealing any spoilers can take up so much time.

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

Finding a bookshop that actually stocked a demo model of the new Kindle. I kept looking at it online and really wanted to see one in real life, but it took ages for anyone within reasonable travelling distance to have them in stock.

Also – Magnetic bookmarks!! I love them. They’re pretty, they hold your reading place easily, and they don’t get lost in handbags quite so easily as regular bookmarks. I’ve started a collection of them.

Finally, discovering the whole world of book blogging was a great discovery for me. Can you believe that before the middle of this year I had no idea such a wonderful place existed?

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

The only challenge I had this year was the Goodreads challenge. I set myself a target of reading 35 books, which I managed to complete. I’m hoping to sign up to a few more year-long challenges this time though. The only reason I didn’t before was because I have no idea about the book blogging community and the number of great challenges available.

Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015?

Just one, really? I could give you a whole list. Here’s just a few – Cinder/Scarlet/Cress, The Lies of Locke Lamora plus the rest in that series, The Name of the Wind plus the rest in that series, The Bronze Horseman, Anna/Lola/Isla. I think I’ll stop there.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. One word – FAE!!!

3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

I have absolutely no idea, but if you have some recommendations then I’m willing to listen…

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2015?

Okay, it’s not the series ending, and there’s a good chance it may not happen in 2015 but please please please give me The Winds of Winter soon! Please? I’ve been anticipating this book for a very long time now.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2015?

I hope to maintain my blog and keep adding new content and reviews. I’d also like to participate in plenty of online read-a-thons and events, and keep reading reviews and finding brilliant new books to read.

6. A 2015 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

None yet.  Feel free to recommend some to me though.

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