December 20, 2013

Books & Blogging 2013 (The 4th Annual End of Year Book Survey)

2013 Year End Book Survey

One of the things I look forward to in December is the End of Year Book Survey, as hosted by Jamie! It's a great way too look back at a year of books and blogging, plus, it's pretty fun to see what else everyone has been reading and raving about in 2013. This is actually the survey's FOURTH year (which is pretty darn cool). [For my past posts, check out the one I did in 2011, and the one for 2012!]

It's always hard for me to make sure I mention a variety of books, so I've made a few rules for myself this year: (1) I am only allowed to repeat a book 3 times, and (2) I can break things down into genres. These rules are totally my own, but feel free to use them if you want!

And now, without further ado, here are my answers for this year's survey.

1. Best book(s) you read in 2013?

Fantasy YA: The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell (reminds me of Tamora Pierce books!)
Contemporary YA: Golden by Jessi Kirby (one of my absolute favorites this year!)
Paranormal YA: Spark by Brigid Kemmerer (second in a series, but so, so good!)
Historical Romance: Yours Until Dawn by Teresa Medeiros (reminds me of Beauty & the Beast!)
Contemporary Romance: Blue-Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas (an oldie, but a goodie!)
Historical Fiction: The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (such a uniquely written book!)
Non-fiction: The Geek's Guide to Dating by Eric Smith (all the references are quirky!)
Middle Grade: Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan (I adored the main character!)
New Adult: Brooklyn Girls by Gemma Burgess (set in New York City, baby!)
Series Starter: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard (necromancy + steampunk!)
Middle of a Series: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (Chaol freaking Westfall!)
Series Ender: The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan (I totally cried reading this!)

2. Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn't?

While it sated my need to find out how it all ends for Tris and Four, I just didn't find Allegiant by Veronica Roth as compelling as its predecessors.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013?
The Host Stephenie Meyer book cover

Hands down, the answer to this question is The Host by Stephenie Meyer. I didn't expect to love it as much as I did, but seriously, it's great! I also absolutely loved The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler. My review's not going up until next month, but suffice it to say, this book kept me reading until 3AM because it was just. that. good.

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

I'm fairly certain that this book is Crown of Midnight, because I basically gushed to everyone willing to listen about how amazing this book is and how incredible the series is as a whole. [P.S. I am constantly available for anyone who wants to email/chat/tweet about this series.]

5. Best series you discovered in 2013?

This is a prize that will either go to the Unearthly series (my review of book 1), which Jamie brought to my attention, or  the Something Strange and Deadly series (my review of book 1). I'm pretty sure you can also count all the companion novels in the Hundred Oaks series by Miranda Kenneally (my reviews: 1, 2, 3) too.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?
The Bone Season Samantha Shannon book cover

Samantha Shannon (author of The Bone Season) is one of my newest favorite authors! She's incredibly talented, and inspiring, and one of the sweetest people ever.

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

This is going to have to go to a series that I (finally) embraced last November - the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward (my mini-review of books 1-3). I never even considered picking up this series until my sister bullied me into it -- and I'm glad she did. This vampire brotherhood is kick-ass!

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?

Hands down, this goes to All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill. Once I started this book, I simply could not put it down! There was so much happening, so many twists I had to unravel and I loved it.

9. Book you read in 2013 that you are most likely to re-read next year?

I'm most definitely re-reading Incarnate, Asunder & Phoenix Overture by Jodi Meadows for the Incarnate Series Read-A-Thon I'm co-hosting with Bonnie! Other than that, we'll see but I'll most likely re-read some of my favorite historical romances.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?
Fangirl Rainbow Rowell book cover
I am seriously obsessed with the cover of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I love that they used an illustration for it, and one that goes perfectly with the contents of the book. Plus, I adored the font of the title too!

11. Most memorable character in 2013?

The one character I was familiar with but loved even more this year was Chaol Westfall (Crown of Midnight). The new characters I loved were Allyson (Just One Day by Gayle Forman) and Persis Blake (Across A Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund).

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?
The Book Thief Markus Zusak book cover

The Book Thief was so wonderfully written! It might have started slow, but it just won me over as I kept turning the pages. The inclusion of illustrations and definitions and other such things was something that I completely adored.

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

It was definitely Golden. That book made me think about what I was doing with my life presently, and what I wanted to do with it in the future. It is such a beautiful, thoughtful novel!

14. Book you can't believe you waited until 2013 to finally read?

It took prompting from the Gayle Forman Read-Along to get me to read these two, but I loved If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman. I'm pleased to say that I really loved these books, and I can't wait for the movie!

15. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2013?

I have so many quotes that I loved from books I've read this year (and you can find them on Stories by Alexa). But my favorite right is this:

16. Shortest and longest book you read in 2013? 

The longest book I read this year was The Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (811 pages), and the shortest was Teacher's Pest by Charles Gilman (170 pages). [I didn't count novellas, but if I did, the shortest would be Fearless by Brigid Kemmerer (44 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.) Be careful of spoilers!
Crown of Midnight Sarah J. Maas book cover

Okay, seriously, this will have to go to Crown of Midnight! Anyone who knows me and has read the book will know exactly which scene/s I'm talking about. [And if you want to discuss with me, just tweet me or email me!]

18. Favorite relationship from a book you read in 2013?

[Sorry guys, I'm totally cheating on this one and posting my top choices for each section!]

Romance: Celaena & Chaol in Crown of Midnigh/  Beth & Ryan in Dare You To by Katie McGarryWanderer & Ian in The Host [There deserves to be a bonus shout-out for Warden & Paige in The Bone Season!]

Friendship: the gang in Crash Into You by Katie McGarry / the seven demigods in The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan / Ronan and Gansey in The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater [I also loved Caggie and her best friend in The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle, out in 2014!]

Family: Callie and her father & his family in Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller / the Merrick brothers in the Elemental series (my review of book 1) / the brotherhood in Black Dagger Brotherhood series (my mini-reviews of books 1-3) [I also loved Jude and her dad and sisters in The Book of Broken Hearts!]

19. Favorite book you read in 2013 from an author you've read previously?
Where the Stars Still Shine Trish Doller book cover

I'm going to answer this one with Where the Stars Still Shine. I loved this sophomore novel a lot! The descriptions of the setting made me want to go there and visit immediately. I also adored the family aspect to this one, particularly because it featured a giant Greek clan!

20. Best book you read in 2013 that you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else?

I'm going to have to say that it was one of my sister's recommendations: The Host. That book really wasn't what I expected, and in a good way. You can tell I liked it a lot because it's already made multiple appearances on this list!

21. Genre you read the most from in 2013?

I read a lot of fantasy, which should come as no surprise to anyone.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?
Something Strange and Deadly Susan Dennard book cover

Warden from The Bone Season! Daniel from Something Strange and Deadly! Wrath from Dark Lover!

23. Best 2013 debut you read?

I've mentioned a few debuts already, so here's a new one: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas. I liked this fantasy series starter! It might have had a bit of a slow start, but it really picked up towards the middle. I liked the whole girl-disguised-as-a-guy bit, and I really liked the idea of training in the Crucible!

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

I loved the descriptions that were included in Across a Star-Swept Sea. There's one part in particular, involving a star cove, that was especially lovely. I also liked the way things were described in These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner, because I really felt like I was immersed in that world!

25. Book that was the most fun to read in 2013?

I had fun reading Also Known As by Robin Benway! That book made me laugh when I read it, and I loved the story too because it has spies and it's set in New York City. My favorite characters - Roux and Angelo - are pretty much a big part of why I enjoyed this one.

26. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2013?
Stealing Parker Miranda Kenneally book cover

Let's see, right off the top of my head, I remember crying or at least tearing up while reading Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally, Golden, and The Host.

27. Book you read in 2013 that you think got overlooked this year or when it came out?

I think this honor goes to the Elemental series (my review of book 1), which more people need to know about! For stand-alones, I definitely want to put it out there that The Cadet of Tildor is pretty darn awesome.

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2013?

I only started following Snuggly Oranges this year, but I love it! Debby's a pretty awesome blogger. Her blog design is super cheerful, "Debby books" exist in the world and I enjoy reading her discussion posts too. Out of my real life friends, I adore Gaby of Queen Ella Bee Reads because she has great reviews (and we share tastes in books and book boys), and fun discussion posts.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2013?

One of the reviews that was extremely hard to write, but hopefully expressed my feelings well was the one I wrote for The Book Thief. A close second and third would be the ones for Golden and Just One Day, with Crown of Midnight rounding up the group.

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?

I don't actually do a lot of discussion posts on my blog, which is something I'd like to remedy in 2014. Here are three posts that I feel could fall under discussions -- and I hope you check them out!

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

Two of my favorite posts were written by Magan - one about foster care and parenthood, and one announcing her pregnancy. These posts were so wonderful to read, because they were personal, thoughtful and really emotional too.

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I loved attending BEA for the second time in 2013, and co-hosting the Book Blogger Picnic (Look out for this again in 2014!). Virtually, I loved co-hosting the Love-a-thon in February (and watch out for this again in 2014!).

6. Best moment of book blogging/your book life in 2013?
Young Authors Give Back authors Erin Bowman Susan Dennard Sarah J Maas Kat Zhang
I adored meeting the YAGB girls! It was truly an honor, just like being the official blogger for the NY stop of the Fierce Reads tour was. I also spazzed every time an author (Tahereh Mafi! Diana Peterfreund! Jodi Meadows! Nova Ren Suma! Leigh Bardugo! Meagan Spooner! Amie Kaufman!) knew who I was, and knew my blog.

7. Most popular post this year on your blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

If we're looking at views, I'm surprised to report that my series review of Something Borrowed + Something Blue by Emily Giffin garnered the most views! I seriously wasn't expecting that at all, but I guess people really liked that book or the movie.

8. Post you wished got a little more love?

I appreciate each and every comment I get, mind you, but they can be surprisingly sporadic when it comes to the biggest part of my blog - my book reviews. Generally, I wish all my reviews got a little more love and not just the popular or most anticipated titles! Here are some reviews I feel like you should check out: Moonset by Scott Tracey, Spirit by Brigid Kemmerer and Yours Until Dawn by Teresa Medeiros.

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

I'm pretty much obsessed with the photos that Margot takes of "faux" YA book covers. She shares them on her site, The Real Fauxtographer, and it's the best. thing. ever. She's so talented that it's not even funny -- and one of the nicest people I know too!

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

The good: I completed my Goodreads reading goal of 200 books (which is so unexpected, and pretty awesome)! I also managed to catch up on the entire Elemental series, and completed my goal of reading 24 debuts this year!

The bad: I failed by 3 sets for the Companion Novels Challenge, and haven't read 4 of the books for the Song of Ice and Fire Read-Along.

1. One book you didn't get to in 2013 but will be your number 1 priority in 2014?

There are three series that I will pick as answers to this question: the Jessica Darling series, the Legend series and the Under the Never Sky series. I've been hearing nothing but really good things about all three, so it's high time I check them out. Right? [Feel free to (lovingly) yell at me about which one I should read first in the comments.]

2. Book you are most anticipating for 2014 (non-debut)?

I want to answer this question with lots of different answers, but I will try to keep it to 10:

3. 2014 debut you are most anticipating?
Alienated Melissa Landers book cover

I'm going to go with a book that Jodi Meadows recommended to me recently - Alienated by Melissa Landers. Even though I don't read a lot of book about aliens, I trust Jodi's recommendation and really think I'll like this one!

4. Series ending you are most anticipating in 2014?

I actually listed most of them up there! I think I'm most excited for Strange and Ever After though, because I need to know what happens to Eleanor, Daniel and the Spirit Hunters. Plus, it's set in EGYPT -- one of my dream travel destinations!

5. One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging in 2014?

I would ideally love to be able to manage my reading of review books better, so that I can serve as a much better partner to all the publishers who let me read their books. This, of course, while making sure that blogging always stays fun and never feels like a chore! I'd also love to try to come up with more creative posts and discussion posts.

YOUR TURN - Have you filled out your End of Year Survey yet? (Feel free to link me in your comment so I can go and check it out!) Which of the books on my survey have you read? Which blogs do you enjoy visiting the most? Tell me what you think!


  1. You had a really productive reading year! I really wanted to read The Cadet of Tildor, The Bone Season, and the Sarah J. Maas books, but didn't get to them.

    I do agree that Counting by 7s, Golden, and Where the Stars Still Shine were all awesome books. I hope you have an equally awesome reading year in 2014!

    1. YOU MUST READ SARAH J. MAAS' SERIES! It's absolutely fantastic, and I always book push that series on whoever hasn't read it yet. You need to meet my beloved Chaol <3

  2. Ahem, you should also add Girl of Fire & Thorns to your 2014 reading list! I'm just sayin. Especially since it was YOU that got me into the series in the first place :P

    I enjoyed reading your answers! I posted mine earlier this week, but I'm on my iPad, and I'm not sure how to copy and paste links :P

    1. Yeah, I really need to complete my reading of that series! Judith (Paper Riot) and I are already plotting to read it together in February :)

  3. I love the fact that you loved The Host! OMG. That's like the best book I've read this year and the book that made me cried so so so hard.

    1. I was completely surprised by how much I adored The Host! It was a book that my sister recommended to me, and I put off for the longest time. I am now willing to admit I was wrong about that!

  4. Yay you! So many good books this year. And Chaol? Yes! Best thing that's happened all year. I can't believe I forgot The Bone Season; I LOVED that one this year!

    I need to make it up to NYC at some point next year! :)

    1. Chaol is certainly the best thing that's happened since 2012. I adore that man; BOOK HUSBAND FOREVER <3 And yes, I think you coming up to NYC is an INCREDIBLE idea! We would have lots of fun :)

  5. I enjoyed reading your answers to the 2013 End of the Year Book Survey. I'm participating in this survey too , but mine won't be posting until December 31st!

    I'm going to have to read The Book Thief!! Everyone who reads it says how wonderful it is!

    1. The Book Thief is PHENOMENAL. It's got a bit of a slow start, but it's worth pushing through it to get to that phenomenal story and ending.

  6. 200 books this year!! That's crazy. I will fangirl over Crown of Midnight and more importantly Chaol Westfall with you any day! Love love love him! And the books. They're awesome too. Lol.

    I vote for reading the Legend series next! My favorite dystopian series ever. And then definitely Under the Never Sky. Can't wait to read Into the Still Blue!

    I loved seeing all your BEA pictures. I'm really hoping to make it up there this year so we will have to meet up if I do! :) I'll be posting my survey towards the end of the month.

    1. I don't know how I managed that many books, honestly. I did travel quite a bit, so there was that, but otherwise, it was probably just a lot of book binging.

      Chaol is my favorite. He's my absolute favorite. I love that series SO, SO HARD. It's so perfect and I'm dying during this wait for the third book.

      I'm reading Under the Never Sky in February, and hopefully the Legend series shortly after. It's going to be so fun reading all these series, and continuing the ones I'm still reading.

      I hope you make it up to BEA, and that we get the opportunity to meet up if you do!

  7. Reaching your goal of 200 books is incredible! I completely failed all challenges this year, I think all the reading/blogging ruts I experienced this year was to blame. *face palm* I loved Golden too and it also made me cry. Definitely my favourite book of Kirby's yet!

    Loved reading your answers, here's my survey, if you'd like to stop by.

    1. Golden was such a beautiful book, wasn't it? I enjoyed it tremendously. It moved me completely when I read it and I'm glad you had that same experience.

  8. I love Crown of Midnight too! And CHAOL. Especially Chaol ;) It's amazing that you managed to read 200 books! I hope you'll get to read the Under the Never Sky series soon, I love it and it's one of my favorite series :)

    1. I love meeting fellow Chaol fans! He's my favorite part of the Throne of Glass series, apart from the amazing storytelling, of course.

  9. Gah I am so surprised that you didn't enjoy Allegiant! I really loved the book as I was anticipating it and I think the ending was really good. What about the book did you not like?
    - Annie

    1. It's not so much that I hated it, because I didn't. It just didn't have the same emotional pull that the first two had for me! I'm glad that you thought the ending was really good though.

  10. I've been meaning to read the Black DaggerBrotherhood for the longest time! I need to hurry up and get to it, because it sounds like my kind of thing.

    I've been told that I'll love Warden from The Bone Season, so again, I need to hurry up and read it!

    I'm so jealous that you got to go to BEA! I really want to go next year, and if not, in 2015. I just need to sort out my holiday time from work and everything.

    YES to CressandRuin and Rising and Since You've Been Gone and Isla! EEP!

    1. Oh, the Black Dagger Brotherhood is so fun to read! I love this vampire brotherhood, and you've reminded me that I must finish up with the rest of the books that are out already.

      I hope you get a chance to go to BEA! It would be amazing to get the opportunity to meet you in person :)

  11. The Cadet of Cildor was awesome! I wish more people knew about. I am really hoping that there will be a sequel! The Bone Season has made it to my faves list, it was addictive! The Host was a surprising read for me, too. I ended up loving it! I read TBF a few months ago and I see now why there is so much hype surrounding it.

    1. I really wish more people knew about The Cadet of Tildor too! It was a really great fantasy debut, and I think fantasy fans would definitely love it. And yes, The Host was definitely a surprise to me!

  12. I'm going to fill out this survey in a few days, but I have had so much fun reading everybody else. I have especially been paying attention to the blogging part because I have many ideas for the future of my small blog. Looks like 2013 was a great year. Here's to a great 2014.

    1. Thanks, Rachael! Here's to an amazing 2014 ahead of us!

  13. Totally agree on the Fangirl cover, and I was really excited to see The Book Thief on your favorites list. Such a great read! I'm so glad you always talked about Throne of Glass/Crown of Midnight because you're one of the bloggers that got me to finally read that series and OMG I LOVED IT. I seriously cannot wait for more!

    I'm excited to see some books in your post that I currently have to read on my Kindle or bookshelves: Something Strange and Deadly, These Broken Stars, Across A Star-Swept Sea, Also Known As and The Bone Season!

    GIRL, you absolutely have to finish The Girl of Fire & Thorns series and do a complete read of the Under the Never Sky series. Both are SO good (tho I haven't read Into Still Blue yet)! And I have the Legend series on my TBR, too!

    So happy you had such a great 2013 for reading, blogging and life (yay newlyweds!). Hope you have an even better 2014 :)

    1. I'm so glad that I was one of the people who convinced you to read the Throne of Glass series. I'm even happier that you wound up LOVING it! The wait for book three is going to slowly kill me, as I'm eager to get more of these characters and their story.

      I hope you tackle the books that you've got that were on this list! They're all really good reads, and I'd be hard-pressed to pick which one you ought to start with. (Something Strange & Deadly might win, I think. Either that, or Across a Star-Swept Sea!)

      I WILL. Judith and I intend to tackle it come February, just so we both have time to acquire the actual copies of the books. And I will also be reading the Under the Never Sky series with Nina (The Sea of Pages) in Feb! Maybe we can read the Legend series around the same time, then?

      Happy 2014!

  14. I love the Fangirl cover.... totally perfect for that book. I also cannot wait for To All the Boys I've Loved Before, What I Thought Was True, and Isla.... 2014 is looking good!! Oh and I love Margot's Fauxtos. She is so creative and awesome :)

    1. Margot's fauxtos are AMAZING. Her talent for coming up with such creative concepts and interpretations of awesome YA books is so cool!

  15. You MUST get to Alienated! That book blew me away, definitely one of my favourites of 2013. I've been dying to read Golden for quite some time now, may have to give in and buy that soon. I adored The Book Thief, such a beautiful book.

    Allegiant was one of my most disappointing reads of the year too. So wasn't worth the time I spent on it. I'm glad I am not the only one who hasn't got to the Under the Never Sky series yet either.

    Great answers. My End of Year Survey.

    1. I don't have a copy of Alienated on me right now, but rest assured, I will get to it in 2014, for sure! As for you, I really think that you should read Golden. And perhaps you can join in on our Under the Never Sky read-a-thon!


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