December 29, 2014

Books & Blogging 2014

a survey created and hosted by Jamie

The Annual End of Year Book Survey is always one of the most challenging posts I face every December! But it's also one of the most enjoyable, as I get the opportunity to look back at the year that has passed in terms of reading and blogging. I tried to keep my repeat answers to a minimum, but I couldn't help myself when it came to certain books, as you're going to see. (If you're curious about my past answers, here's my 2011 post, my 2012 post and my 2013 post.)

Number Of Books You Read: 240 books!
Number of Re-Reads: 12 rereads
Genre You Read The Most From: Contemporary, which is really surprising! (I read 104 books.)
(This information is as of December 24, 2014.)

1. Best book you read in 2014? (If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist)

YA Fantasy: Heir of Fire
YA Contemporary: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Adult: After I Do
New Kid on the Block: Open Road Summer
Backlist Book: Daughter of the Forest
Series Binge: Fire and Thorns series (The Girl of Fire and Thorns, The Crown of Embers, The Bitter Kingdom) by Rae Carson

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

I didn't fall in love with The Winner’s Curse the way many of my friends did. I could see the potential for a good story, and somewhat liked the characters, but there was something missing for me. (I will say that I liked it better upon a reread!)

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

I was really surprised (in the best way) by how emotional I got reading Torn Away. Brown somehow manages to capture the destruction of a town during a natural disaster, and how it might affect someone who was there. It was a seriously moving novel.

4. Book you “pushed” the most people to read (and they did) in 2014?

There are exactly two book series that I book push constantly, via flaily tweets, fangirly posts and tons of giveaways. I've always encouraged people to read the Throne of Glass series and the Newsoul series - and I've succeeded in getting people to read both series this year!

5. Best series you started in 2014? Best sequel of 2014? Best series ender of 2014?

Series Starter: Snow Like Ashes

Series Sequel: The Perilous Sea // Heir of Fire

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?

I'm totally going to cheat here by telling you that every single author in this post is a new favorite for me. But of them all, Juliet Marillier (Daughter of the Forest) has left the strongest impression. I've only read one of her books, and yet I can already tell what an incredible writer she is. I've been slowly but surely collecting her novels, and can't wait to binge on her entire backlist in the months to come.

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

Off the top of my head, I can think of two: Dangerous Girls (a YA mystery-thriller that had me on edge the entire time I read it) and As Long as You Love Me (an NA novel about a girl who falls for her best friend's older brother - who she has also known for a long time). They both challenged me to read out of my comfort zone, and managed to really leave a good impression!

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

Rites of Passage is the first book that came to mind. What goes on in this story is so damn intense that I just couldn't set it down while I was reading it!

9. Book you read in 2014 that you are most likely to re-read next year?

Heir of Fire, obviously. I seriously just cannot get enough of Sarah J. Maas' writing, and this story, and these characters. (#TeamCelaena)

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

There are two covers that I loved in particular this year: Unspoken (the original pink cover, mind you) and Blue Lily, Lily Blue. Both are absolutely stunning!

11. Most memorable character of 2014?

Male: Rowan Whitethorn (from Heir of Fire) - There was no way any other male character could be chosen for this category. Rowan seriously made such a good impression, with his strength, wisdom, support and friendship with Celaena. Plus, it helps that he sounds like a very hot guy too!

Female: Kami Glass (from the Lynburn Legacy) - Though I only had the pleasure of "meeting" Kami later on in the year, she is seriously one of my favorite protagonists. She's got a hilarious way of thinking, a witty comeback for every occasion and a curious mind that won't be satisfied until she finds all the facts. It was so easy to love this sleuthing teenager who was after what was right.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?

This is one of the easiest questions for me to answer, as it was the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. I described Laini's writing as being so much like a work of art, and it's true. Her vivid descriptions and lovely turns of phrase are just so damn beautiful.

13. Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2014?

After I Do left me thinking about marriage - what it entails, what it means, what changes it can go through. It also left me thinking about love, and what it really does mean to love somebody, and how love can change over time. It was definitely a book that left me with plenty of food for thought!

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

I'm not entirely certain why it took me two years (from the year that Alyssa gifted it to me for Secret Santa) to finally get around to reading Daughter of the Forest. It is inspired by a fairy tale, and features a great new fantasy world with memorable characters - how could I have resisted for so long? Thankfully, I've read it now and fallen so deeply in love.

15. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2014?

HA! I'm a quote hoarder, so this question is impossible to answer. Well, it is possible, and I will, but just bear in mind this is one of many that I loved this year:

"You know what? I think it's the bravest thing in the world... to run straight at love, even knowing how badly you could get hurt." - from Open Road Summer

16. Shortest & longest books you read in 2014?

Shortest: Beauty (175 pages)
Longest: Lover Reborn (649 pages) 

17. Book that shocked you the most?

I've read quite a few books that have shocked me in 2014, but I suppose Dangerous Girls takes the cake. I seriously swore so many times as I read it, even as the mystery kept me guessing. And when I hit the ending? I wanted to throw my book at a wall and scream, if that's an indication of anything.

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

I have lots of ships that I would like to see sail (including my beloved Chaolena). But one couple that stood out this year? Matt & Reagan from Open Road Summer. It's kind of impossible for me not to ship these two. It's an opposites attract situation right from the start, but that doesn't stop these two from discovering they have stuff in common. Plus, it was just pretty darn sweet to watch them fall for each other.

19. Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year?

Kami Glass + Angela Montgomery from Lynburn Legacy - Ah, these two won me over completely with their snarky banter! Even though they have very different ideas about what they would like to be doing, these two are often together to support each other.

Reagan + Lilah from Open Road Summer - These two are clearly opposites in personality right from the start. Their friendship is rooted in a shared history, in mutual love & respect & concern, and I admired how they were willing to do whatever they could for the other. 

Rowan Whitethorn + Celaena Sardothien from Heir of Fire - What starts out as enmity between strangers blossoms into a friendship between two kindred souls. It was captivating to watch Sarah Maas lay out the foundations of their relationship, and I totally approve.

20. Favorite book you read in 2014 from an author you’ve read previously?

Since You’ve Been Gone is Morgan's third novel, and it's brilliantly done. Once again, Morgan manages to capture what feels like the authentic experience of a teenager. And this time, she tackles friendship! It was seriously great to read another novel from Morgan, and I'm totally looking forward to the next one.

21. Best book you read in 2014 that you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure?

I very nearly skipped out on reading Stronger ThanYou Know. But then Rachel convinced me to give it a shot - and it turned out to be one of the best contemporaries I'd read all year! I also finally read If You Find Me, thanks to Judith, and found it to be as stunning as she had said it was.

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

Beast from Dark Triumph, who is raw and feral and mighty and tough. Even though he doesn't appear to be the most likable guy, there's just something about him (perhaps the goodness shining through his actions) that really is appealing. 

23. Best 2014 debut you read?

Open Road Summer is my favorite debut novel from 2014! It felt like Emery had written a book with all the elements I'd like to see in it: best friends, music, road trip and romance. I seriously just wanted to hug it when I was finished reading (and totally did).

24. Best world-building/most vivid setting you read this year?

Well, I finally read the Fairyland series and I must admit that the world Valente created is such a delight. There are so many wonderful magical beings and places! I loved the way she described the different parts of Fairyland, and how the world grew with each successive novel.

25. Book that put a smile on your face/was the most FUN to read?

Boomerang was so enjoyable! I don't read a lot of NA, but this one is the kind of NA that would convince me to indulge in it more often. With a plot straight out of a romantic comedy and two main characters who were easy to root for, the novel definitely left a good impression!

26. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2014?

After I Do had me sobbing like a baby. The struggles that the couple in the novel go through are all too familiar, all too possible. Reid really made their story come alive, to the point where these two felt like real people that I could really empathize with.

27. Hidden gem of the year?

Ellice recommended Love and Other Foreign Words to me, and even went so far as to lend me her copy. This contemporary is funny and fresh, and Josie is candid and unique in her way of thinking. I enjoyed this one a lot, and I know many of my friends have as well!

28. Book that crushed your soul?

Heir of {Freaking} Fire completely consumed me with feels. It's not an easy novel to read, as Celaena is going through such a tough period of her life for most of it. It broke my heart to watch Celaena grieve and rage, and it even had me fearing for her. And she's not even the only one going through hard times - Chaol and Dorian are too. But this book also crushed my soul in a good way, with unexpected developments for certain characters (namely Rowan).

29. Most unique book you read in 2014?

The Walled City definitely had the vibe of a dystopian, but the story felt really different and fresh. It's really cool that Graudin based it on an actual walled city. Even though she draws inspiration from history, she's created a world and characters all her own, and it was very impressive.

30. Book that made you the most mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Holy moly, there were so many moments in Rites of Passage that had me fuming. It was righteous anger on main character Sam's behalf, as she had to endure a lot of terrible things. I was horrified by the extreme actions people would take to discourage her stay at the academy, and it definitely made for an indignant reading experience.

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014?

I only met Andi (literally, as we actually met in person!) this year, but I enjoy her blog Andi's ABCs. I'm a huge fan of the ABCs feature! But I also enjoy reading her reviews, particularly since we have pretty similar taste in books. Andi's a total sweetheart, and I'm so glad we're friends now!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014?

Honestly, this is probably a toss-up between two reviews - Cress and Heir of Fire. Both reviews were written a little differently, which was necessary since both books gave me so many feels.

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

{Bookish Style Files} Met Gala 2014 Edition was my favorite “fun” post, inspired by a conversation with Erica and a penchant for dressing up book characters. And as for discussions, I didn't write all that many but my DNF post was certainly a post that I felt very inspired to do.

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

BEA 2014, in spite of all the stress, was super fun, as always. You can visit my recap (Part 1 & Part 2) to find out more of what happened during that week! As for blog events, there are a few I'm particularly proud of - Incarnate Series Read-a-thon (co-hosted with Bonnie), the Book Blogger Love-a-Thon (co-hosted with KatelynSomething Strange and Deadly Surprise Party (co-hosted with Rachel) and Fall Into Fantasy (co-hosted with Hannah). And of course, I loved working on 13 Days of Ash & Fire: An Heir of Fire blog tour!

And my new favorite feature on the blog? Books in Real Life, where Rachel and I get inspired by the things we read about in books and plan out a day filled with activities accordingly. I seriously can't wait to start plotting these out again for next year!

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

I think one of the best things to happen to me this year was finding my reviews quoted in ARCs, books and even a Goodreads ad. It's seriously an amazing thing to be able to fangirl - and have it used to officially promote some of my favorite reads!

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

I had the incredible privilege of being one of the stops for the Tarot Tour in celebration of Blue Lily, Lily Blue, the third novel in Maggie Stiefvater's Raven Cycle. It's definitely the post that got visited and commented on the most! I love that so many of my followers are enthusiastic Stiefvater fans too.

8. Post you wish got a little more love?

I definitely think the one about first book boyfriends is worth checking out! But just for kicks, you should also check out the fan fiction I created for YA Prom too.

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

Book Outlet is probably the best and worst thing to ever happen to me. I've seriously gotten so many books from them, even just in the last three months of the year. I can't help it - they have amazing deals on there and for current and backlist titles!

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

Goodreads Reading Challenge: 200 books – COMPLETED
Debut Author Challenge: 12 books – COMPLETED
Adventures in Awkwardness: 12 books – COMPLETED
TBR Challenge: 21-30 books - COMPLETED

1. One book you didn't get to in 2014 that will be a priority in 2015?

I solemnly swear to read Emma in 2015. I say that about a lot of classics, but I think Emma will be a feasible choice because (a) Jane Austen is a great writer, (b) I loved Emma Approved and (c) I own it already.

2. {Non-debut} book you're most anticipating for 2015?

This is actually an easy one! I'm really, really excited to read Truthwitch. It's the first in a new series by Susan Dennard, who is an author I absolutely adore. I really can't wait to see what she's brought into the world with her newest novel!

3. 2015 debut novel you're most anticipating?

There are a lot of debut novels that I most definitely want to read. But my fantasy-loving heart is telling me that currently, it’s a toss-up between Red Queen or An Ember in the Ashes. I'm predisposed to enjoy fantasies, first of all. But seriously, these two novels sound amazing as all heck and I've had friends say that they were really good!

4. Series ending you are most anticipating in 2015? Series sequel?

Series Ender: I honestly don't know how Sherry Thomas is going to finish off her series in Elemental Trilogy #3. But I also know that I can't wait to have the third book in my hands, just so I can have more of Titus and Iolanthe, a ship I'm totally on board with.

Series Sequel: Is there really anyone who reads my blog or follows me on Twitter who wouldn't know the answer to this? I obviously need Throne of Glass #4 by Sarah Maas in my hands, because I need more of my favorite resident badass Celaena Sardothien in my life.

5. One thing you hope to accomplish in your reading & blogging life in 2015?

Host a bunch more fun events so that I can collaborate more with my favorite bloggers! Also, keep the weekend posting to a minimum. Not to mention slow down on the review books! (I know it said one, but... I couldn't help myself.)

6. A 2015 release you've already read and would recommend to everyone?

Oh boy. I'm actually guilty of having read quite a few (*coughs*10*coughs*) 2015 books already. And it's crazy, because I'd recommend quite a few of them and will probably fangirl like crazy over them from now until... forever.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
Finding Serendipity by Angelica Banks
The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

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. Oh man, Rites of Passage made me SO furious too. It was a good book, but NOT a fun one to get through, you know?

    And I'm definitely glad you loved Daughter of the Forest and Daughter of Smoke & Bone! Some of my favorite fantasies for such different, but equally awesome reasons.

    Also good to hear about Infinite being a great series-ender. I'm going to start it tomorrow and I can hardly wait. ;)

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  10. Rites of Passage is one of the books I'll read immediately next year!
    Heir of Fire, OMG. It truly is the best book I've read this year, it was just epic and intense and so many things happened to Caelena and so many new characters.
    Okay, I only care about one cause Rowan... Well... ROWAN!

  11. I NEED to read the Throne of Glass series! EVERYONE raves about it and I'm eager to see what all the fuss is about. I really want to read The Start of Me and You - it sounds fantastic! :)

  12. Your answer 'Juliet Marillier' makes me incredibly happy :D I don't think she gets enough attention from the blogosphere, so it's great to see you discovered her work. Rowan/Celaena are amazing friends. I love their dynamic :)

  13. Ok, everybody and their lists have me scared shitless to read Rites of Passage. It is almost everybody's answer to "book that made you the most mad." WTF Alexa, you know I get the FEELS something fierce and I have a feeling I'm going to have a heart attack of anger while reading if this poor girl gets shit on constantly....eeep. But I'm reading it like ridick soon we shall see... Also...Rowan...MINE

  14. I love your posts, I've just started my blog and yours is a big inspiration!

    The Film Burrow | Films & Books

  15. Yay! Great year in review. I see some great books on your list :) Wish I could comment on all your responses, but that would take forever, so I'll just say I'm glad you had a wonderful year of reading and hope 2015 is even better! :)

  16. 240 books!? I am positively amazed! I don't know how you do it. REALLY wanting to read Heir of Fire ASAP. I don't know what's taking me so long! Pretty sure I'm starting it after my current read. I'm also planning to binge Rae Carson's series this year, which goes perfectly with your fantasy challenge! I felt similarly about The Winner's Curse. I hear The Winner's Crime is even better, so I'm super excited about it. I'm also really excited to read Snow Like Ashes because millions of people have been shouting their love for it recently. Dangerous Girls had me on the edge of my seat as well!

    I've also been hearing a lot about Rites of Passage, which I had no idea was so intense. Maybe I need to bump it up on my list. I really loved Boomerang as well. Super cute and fun. I read it in a day.

    I hope you'll sign up for the Debut Author Challenge again. :) It's going to be a lot of fun this year! Congrats on completing all of this year's challenges! That's awesome! I'd love to collaborate on an event with you. :) You come up with some of the coolest ideas!

    Anyway, sounds like you had a wonderful 2014! I hope you have a Happy New Year!

    Here's my End of the Year Book Survey. :) -


    Also you are the queen for reading 240 books this year! You are amazing! oxo L

  18. You are the cutest! I'm happy we met and became friends too! XXOO

    Honestly I'm not all that shocked by most of these answers. Some are books I haven't heard of though so BONUS! :-)


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