12/21/14

2014 End of the Year Book Survey

One of my favourite end-of-the-year moments is when Jaime @ The Perpetual Page-Turner launches her end of the year book survey!  It's a great opportunity to look back through the books that I read last year.  Plus, I LOVE reading other blogger's responses.  So, if you took part in the survey, please leave me a link below so that I can check out your answers!  Without any further ado, here goes...


Number of Books You Read: 60
Number of Books You Re-Read: I think 3?
Genre You Read The Most From: Contemporary

1. Best Book You Read in 2014?
I discovered the Throne of Glass series this year, so I'll go with Crown of Midnight for this question!  For the remainder of this survey, I will try not to use this series for every.single.answer.  But no promises.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Probably Ignite Me.  It was one of my most anticipated releases this year and, while I did enjoy it, it wasn't AS good as I was expecting.

3. Most Surprising (in a good or bad way!) Book of 2014?
I wasn't expecting much when I picked up Ann Brashares' The Here and Now, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it.

4. Book You "Pushed" the Most People to Read (and they did) in 2014?
I've talked a lot about the Lunar Chronicles to my co-workers, although they kind of gave me a funny look when I used Cinderella and cyborg in one sentence...

5. Best Series you Started in 2014?  Best Sequel of 2014?  Best Series Ender of 2014?
Throne of Glass would be an easy choice, but I'm going to go with the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, since I gobbled up seven of the books so far this year!  In terms of sequel and series ender, I'm going to have to go with Laini Taylor's Days of Blood and Starlight and Dreams of Gods and Monsters.  What a beautiful series!

6. Favorite New Author You Discovered in 2014?
I adored Open Road Summer, and will definitely be picking up Emery Lord's new book when it comes out next year!

7. Best Book From a Genre You Don't Typically Read/Was Out of Your Comfort Zone?
I started the Song of Ice & Fire series this year, which is enormous and fantasy, two things that I usually shy away from.  I'm currently reading the third book, and loving it.

8. Most Action-Packed, Thrilling, Unputdownable Book in 2014?
Definitely The Assassin's Blade.   It was my first introduction to Celeana, and I found myself sneaking in a paragraph or two while waiting for the elevator at work.

9. Book You Read in 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
I'm planning to do a couple of re-reads next year, mostly book 1s in a series that I started a LONG time ago, but none of them are books that I read this year.

10. Favorite Cover of a Book You Read in 2014?
I downloaded a review copy of No Place to Fall specifically because I loved the cover so much!

11. Most Memorable Character in 2014?
Celaena Sardothien, hands down.  Okay, I can't promise that I won't use this series for every single answer.  All bets are now off.

12. Most Beautifully Written Book Read in 2014?
Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy.

13. Most Thought-Provoking / Life-Changing Book of 2014?
Katie Cotugno's How to Love.  Although I didn't review most of the contemporaries that I read over the summer, finishing How to Love prompted me to open up my laptop and write a gushy, incoherent review purely based on all of the emotions that I was feeling at the end of the book.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read?
Probably Outlander.  It had been sitting on my shelf for YEARS, and even my mom had already read it.  It was okay, but definitely didn't live up to the hype.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?
I don't jot down quotes too often, but I knew that I would love Celaena from page one of The Assassin's Blade when she's irritable at being called to a meeting in the middle of the night, only to be told, "Perhaps if you hadn't been reading all night, you wouldn't be so exhausted."  Oh yeah, she's a badass AND a reader? I'm in.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2014?
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 -- A Game of Thrones (801 pages!)
Shortest -- Delirium Stories (208 pages)

17. Book that shocked you the most?
Without being spoilery, there was a moment in Crown of Midnight where I thought my heart would break and I had to put the book down for a bit because I just couldn't see through the tears.

18. OTP of the year (you will go down with this ship!)
Although I still don't fully understand the whole "ship" thing, Chaol and Celaena, hands down.

19. Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year?
The friendship between Reagan and Dee in Open Road Summer.

20. Favorite book you read in 2014 from an author you’ve read previously?
Jojo Moyes' Me Before You topped the charts for me last year, and One Plus One and The Girl You Left Behind were two five-star reads for me this year!

21. Best book you read in 2014 that you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else?
I asked for help choosing a series to start, and the response was overwhelmingly in favour of the Throne of Glass series.  You guys were sooooo right!

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?
I'm not really a "book boyfriend" kind of girl.

23. Best 2014 debut you read?
I didn't love it, but probably Amy Zhang's Falling into Place.

24. Best worldbuilding / most vivid setting you read this year?
Throne of Glass!!!!!

25. Book that put a smile on your face / was the most FUN to read?
Where'd You Go, Bernadette? actually made me laugh out loud, which books don't often do.

26. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2014?
*sobs*  Crown of Midnight *curls up into fetal position*  Oh my heart.

27. Hidden gem of the year?
Most of my five-star reads are the ones that everyone else loves too, so I don't know if I read too many hidden gem books.

28. Book that crushed your soul?
Crown of Midnight.  Gosh, I'm really not doing very well with not picking this book for every question!

29. Most unique book you read in 2014?
I loved the unique non-traditional narrative style of Where'd You Go, Bernadette?  Actually, I think that this book might just be my hidden gem book.  I loved it, but it's a little under the radar.

30. Book that made you the most mad (doesn't necessarily mean you didn't like it)?
This is going to be the most unpopular of opinions, but I really, really, really disliked Outlander.  Like angry rage for most of the book.  The rape, the beating, the insta-love -- UGH from beginning to end.


1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014?
In all honesty, I don't do a very good job at keeping up with the blogs that I followed pre-2014, and haven't added any new blogs to the roster.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014?
Probably my rambling thoughts after I finished How to Love.  It's a great feeling when you finish a book and just have to say something right away.

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?
When I asked you guys for help on starting a series!  Or my post about bookish guilt.

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?
Sydney @ Utterly Bookish has written some of my favourite posts, but her ranting discussion "Quit Making Me Feel Like I Need to Defend YA" is, hands down, the best post I read all year.  Every time I read her blog, I'm amazed that she's a teenager, because she sees the world in a much more adult fashion than I did at her age.  I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I only went to one author event this year and met Marissa Meyer!

6. Best moment of book blogging/your book life in 2014?
Probably joining a book club again, thanks to my wonderful new co-worker who invited me to join her book club.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
I have had a tidal wave of spam comments this year so, if my stats are to be believed, it's my review of Girl of Fire & Thorns, and my second Marko Monday post (both from 2013).

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
I was really proud of my post about ARCs and, while it did have some love, I had hoped for just a little bit more.

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
I've never bought anything from Etsy, but have spent quite some time browsing bookish things.  I haven't yet decided what or if I want to purchase, but I'm sure that I will know once I find it!

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I didn't really set any goals for myself, nor did I do a very good job of keeping track of my stats, but I feel pretty proud of how many series I completed, as well as how many books I read off my shelves.


1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015?
Heir of Fire, although I will be starting that one as soon as I unwrap it on Christmas morning, so there's a possibility that I'll be done by the time the new year arrives!  Otherwise, hopefully Requiem!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?
I posted a list of my most anticipated 2015 releases, but basically: SARAH J. MAAS.

3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
I haven't had my eye on any debut books for next year, but I'm excited to see what's on everyone else's horizons for next year!

4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2015?
Definitely the Lunar Chronicles!

5. One Thing You Hope to Accomplish or Do in Your Reading/Blogging in 2015?
Keep having fun, whether it's posting what I want or reading what I want -- 2015 will be fun and stress-free!

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Looking Forward...to 2015!

It's hard to believe that 2014 is almost behind us!  Even though I'm always sad to bid a fond farewell to the past year, I'm always excited about the fresh start that a new year brings!  Here are my bookish resolutions for the coming year ...

1. Read what I want when I want.
I think that I learned a lot about myself as a reader last year.  I went through a couple of mini-slumps when I was wearing myself out by reading what I had planned to read, and ignoring what my heart was telling me I should read.  Next year, I will still make my seasonal TBR posts, because it's FUN, but I will read what I feel like reading because I enjoy what I read more when I'm not forcing myself to read.

2.Not be afraid to try new things.
In 2013, I dipped my toes into fantasy when Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books encouraged me to try out The Girl of Fire & Thorns.  I used to read a lot of fantasy when I was younger (basically, if there was a unicorn involved, I was THERE).  As I grew up, I gravitated towards contemporary and then to dystopian.  This year, however, I delved further into fantasy and found that I'm really loving it!  I will definitely be open to trying new things in 2015.

3. Stay true to myself.
Even though I'll be open to reading something out of my comfort zone, I have also realized over the past year that I know myself best and, even if it's a book that everyone is RAVING about, it doesn't necessarily mean that I have to read it.  I have fallen victim to bookish hype quite a bit and every time that I'm disappointed I've realized that it's a book that I picked up because of the hype, but it wasn't really a ME book.  This year, I will still pay attention to the reviews when books are getting a lot of buzz and attention from bloggers that I trust, but I won't necessarily jump onto every popular bookish train.

4. Read books that I own.
I've always thought that the whole of idea of a "book buying ban" was funny, as I do buy a fair amount of books, but I've never felt that my book buying is out of control and requires an intervention.  I do sometimes struggle with the feeling of bookish guilt over the number of unread books on my shelves.  I've toyed with implementing a book buying ban, just to reduce the number of unread books on my shelves, but at the same time, I know that there are books that I will want to buy, and I don't want to restrict myself.  But then, I thought of the PERFECT way to get my physical TBR shelf down: I will not buy a book this year unless I plan to read it right away.  Yup, you heard it correctly.  Whenever I buy a book this year, it'll be because I plan to dive into it RIGHT AWAY.  I did this on two separate occasions this year (Black Dagger Brotherhood book #2 and Crown of Midnight) and it was AWESOME.  I loved the excitement of going into the bookstore because I was almost finished the first book, desperate to have the next installment in my hands.  Then, as soon as I finished the final pages of book 1, I jumped straight into book 2.  It was awesome, and I want to experience that more in 2015.

5. Continue to make progress with my series.
This goal goes hand-in-hand with the goal above.  While I definitely plan to complete some more series in 2015, I also want to binge read some series that I already own and haven't read yet.  Specifically, Marie Lu's Legend series, Neal Shusterman's Unwind series, Kristin Cashore's Graceling trilogy and the rest of the Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices series.  It's going to be epic.

How about you?  Do you have any bookish reading goals for the year?  Leave me a comment below -- and thanks for stopping by!

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12/13/14

Prequel & Sequel Challenge - Sign-Up for 2015!

preqseqbutton2015

It's time for another year of the Prequel & Sequel Challenge! Last year I was happy that Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat decided to take me on as a co-host, and we're giving it another go in 2015!

Welcome to the 2015 Sequel & Prequel Challenge, hosted by Novel Heartbeat and Writer Grrl Reads! The goal: To read as many prequels and sequels as you can. You set your goal at whatever number works for you.

Guidelines

  1. The challenge runs from January 1st to December 31st.
  2. Any books started before Jan. 1 will not count.
  3. All books in a series count for points (see below)
  4. Novellas count, either prequels or sequels (i.e. #0.5, #1.5, #2.5, etc).
  5. Books can be of any publication date. They don’t have to be released in 2015.
  6. In order to get 10 points for a completed series, there must be at least 3 full-length books in the series.
  7. You can still get sequel points for a duology, you just can't get the 10 bonus points for finishing it.
  8. Sign-ups will be open until December 1st, 2015.
  9. To join, add the URL of your challenge post to the linky widget. (If you’d like to wait, it’s ok to use your blog URL and send us your link as soon you get the post up)
  10. At the end of each quarter (every three months), we will post a linky for you to add your sequel reviews to. The linky will rotate between our blogs on alternate quarters, so you can link up at Novel Heartbeat at the end of March and September, and here at Writer Grrl Reads at the end of June and December. If you have a ton of reviews for the quarter, you can always link to wherever you're keeping track of your progress. This will make it much easier for us - not only is it less posting, but it will be easier to keep track of how many points everyone has.
  11. We will try to do some giveaways throughout the year for participants (as long as we can afford it), as well as some mini-challenges and read-alongs ... so stay tuned for further details!
  12. There will be a giveaway at the end of the year for all participants who completed the challenge!
 

The Point System

For each prequel and sequel read this year, points will be awarded as follows:
  • 1 point for each prequel or sequel novella read and reviewed
  • 2 points for each full-length sequel read and reviewed
  • 10 points for completing and reviewing a full series (doesn't require novellas)*†
  • **You do not get points for the first book in a series
To get points, you must review the book/novella somewhere. If you want to earn points, please link up your reviews at the end of each month, and enter the number of points earned (we will give examples in the linky). Each point earned is an entry into the giveaway at the end of the year for all participants who completed the challenge. So, the more sequels you read, the better your chances of winning the giveaway! Plus, we are also considering one prize for the "overachiever award" -- the person who gets the most points!

*The 10 bonus points is for finishing a full series. That means that all books must be published (unless you got an advance reader copy early). i.e. If you are completely caught up on a series, and the next book is not releasing until 2016 (and you do not have an advance reader copy), that does not count toward the 10 bonus points.

If you started the series before 2015, you can still get the bonus points for finishing it if you reviewed the other books in the series at some point. For example: You read The Hunger Games in 2014, but read Catching Fire and Mockingjay in 2015 - you would get 2 points for both sequels and 10 bonus points for finishing the series (14 points total). You don't have to start the series in 2015 to get the bonus points.
10-25 points: Newbie
25-50 points: Amateur
51-75 points: Advanced
76-100 points: Professional
101+ points: Veteran

So let this year be the year that we stop whining about how many sequels are sitting on our TBRs or cluttering up our shelves! Take control of your reading destinies and sign up to read with us!

Grab a button:

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Link up!



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12/10/14

Looking Back...at 2014!

It's that time of year again, when we all get retrospective and revisit the bookish resolutions that we made last year!  Here are mine:

1. Read.
I started off this year with not setting a Goodreads reading challenge.  Shocking, I know!  But then I got tired of continually seeing it in my sidebar, just begging me to start, so I decided to just put 20 books as my goal, knowing that I could easily complete it.  But I read 20 books by May-ish, so I increased it over the summer to 60 books -- and I will definitely make it!  I definitely spent less time on Goodreads this year (my "currently read" shelf seems to always be hopelessly outdated!) so I definitely didn't stress about how much I was reading ... and I read quite a lot!

2. Read more books that I already own.
I definitely took a hiatus from library books this year, and read lots more of my own books!  I still have to total up how I many previously-owned books I read, but it was definitely better than previous years!

3. Read some more "big kid" books.
I ROCKED at this!  My winter TBR is all adult books, but I read quite a few this year, including the Black Dagger Brotherhood series and A Song of Ice & Fire (I'm not done either series yet, but they're both so good!)

4. Conquer my series TBR.
Well, I wouldn't say I conquered my TBR, but I definitely made a dent in the stack!  I also started a few new series this year, but definitely crossed quite a few off the list.

5. Be more selective with review titles.
I had spurts in the year where my review pile got a little overwhelming, but I've been using my e-reader less and less over the past few months, which has resulted in less e-ARCs.  At the moment, I only have four ARCs to read, all of which are 2015 titles.  I think I learned a lot about my ARC requisition process this year, which was really great.

I'm pretty proud of my accomplishments this year.  How did you do with your bookish resolutions?  Leave me a comment below!  I'm also still sloooowly working on my end of the year book survey (it takes me SO LONG to put that post together!) so stay tuned for more bookish retrospectiveness!

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12/8/14

No Place to Fall - Jaye Robin Brown

To be perfectly honest, I chose this book specifically because the cover was super cute and the tagline on the cover spoke to me: A girl. A dream. A choice.  Seriously, doesn't that sound like a fun and lighthearted contemporary?

Jaye Robin Brown has woven a good story.  Amber Vaughn is faced with a few tough choices throughout the book, choices that ultimately define who she is as a person.  And while there were certain moments in the book where I was enraptured by her tale, the book ultimately felt a bit preachy at times. Also, I finished the book over a month ago and didn't write my review right away, and I'm struggling to remember the exact content of the story.  Ultimately, it's an easy read, but not one that will leave a lasting impact long after the last page is turned.

Note: I received an e-galley of this book from Edelweiss.  The fact that I received this book for review did not influence my opinion of this book in any way.
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12/6/14

On Forcing Myself to Read

I have written on here (more times than I care to admit) that Requiem will be the ONE book that I MUST finish reading this year.  I've set a goal for myself to finish this series so many times, and each time I just never quite get around to picking it up.

I requested an ARC of Burn by Julianna Baggott earlier this year, but only had a very short period of time in which to read it so it sits unreviewed on my Netgalley account.  I've borrowed the hard copy twice from the library, renewed it three times over (once even incurring fines), but have I read it?  Nope.

I want to finish both of these series so badly, but I just can't bring myself to pick up either book.  They've both been sitting on my nightstand, on and off, all freakin' year.  Yet they remain on my tbr-series-to-finish shelf on Goodreads.

Why, you ask?  Because I just can't force myself to read anything anymore.

I've had a mood reading post in a draft format for a while now, but I've been having trouble explaining my reading moods.  The truth of the matter is that I've been enjoying books more when I choose what I'm in the mood for, rather than focusing on what I've promised myself that I will read.  The past few books that I've read have been absolutely fantastic reads, and I feel like this is really working for me.  Of course, it presents a bit of a challenge with review books, but it has given me pause to think over my reading habits.

I've never been one to read off a strict schedule, and have been handling my review book schedule really well of late.  I generally choose what I want to read when I want to read it, and I want to continue to do so.  Unfortunately, this means that Requiem and Burn are just going to hang out unread for a little while longer, waiting until my heart feels that it's time to knock these two series off my TBR.  Hopefully soon, but we shall see!

Do you guys have roadblocks like this when it comes to certain books?  How do you handle it?  Leave me a comment below -- I hope that I'm not the only one!

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12/1/14

Top Ten Books I'm Looking Forward To Reading in 2015


Top Ten Tuesday is, as always, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Today's topic is books that we're looking forward to reading in 2015.  I'm already in the midst of planning my end-of-year-survey post, as well as some bookish resolution posts, so my eyes are already on the 2015 horizon .... let's see what next year has in store for us!

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (May 2015)
I still haven't read Heir of Fire, but Sarah J. Maas is a new favourite author for SURE.

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver (March 2015)
New Lauren Oliver?  YES PLEASE!

The Start of Me & You by Emery Lord (March 2015)
I looooooved Open Road Summer, and can't wait to see what Emery writes next!

99 Days by Katie Cotugno (May 2015)
How to Love topped the charts for me this year, and I'm excited to read Katie's second novel.

Untitled (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas (September 2015)
I have a feeling that, after I finish Heir of Fire, I'll be counting down the days until the release date for this one.

Winter by Marissa Meyer (November 2015)
I finally caught up in this series, and cannot WAIT to see how it all wraps up!

I couldn't quite think of ten books, but I'm sure I'll see some books that I missed on my list once I read through all of your lists!  Are you excited for any of the books on my list?  Leave me a comment below -- and thanks for stopping by!

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