This is the second year I’m participating in Jamie’s (@ The Perpetual Page-Turner) End of Year Book Survey. What started off as a fun recap on her blog has turned into an excellent way for other bloggers to catch up with each other and what happened to them/the blog that year.
So without further ado, here are some of my reflections on my 2015 book life! Note: This includes all books read in 2015 – they do not have to be published in 2015.
Number Of Books You Read: 66
Number of Re-Reads: 3.5 (I’m halfway through a 4th one!)
Genre You Read The Most From: contemporary
1. Best Book You Read in 2015?
AHHHHHHH of course we must start with the toughest question. I think, of the top five books I chose, it would be Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier.
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Uprooted by Naomi Novik was definitely a good read, but I didn’t love it the way the blogging community seemed to. A lot of it had to do with the romance plotline. That particular kind of romance with that kind of guy isn’t my cup of tea, but everything else about the book was fantastic. A forest as a villain? Yes.
3. Most Surprising (in a good way or bad way) Book You Read in 2015?
Most Surprising (Good): The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski, only because I didn’t have very high expectations for it, and now I’m gaga over the trilogy.
Most Surprising (Bad): This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer Smith. I thought I would fall to pieces over it, and instead the book fell flat for me! Major bummer.
4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (and they did) in 2015?
A lot of what I recommend when I’m working at the bookstore tends to be contemporary YA that’s a bit on the lighter side (plenty of teens and parents ask for books that “aren’t so dark and heavy” or “the romance isn’t the main focus of the plot”). So with that in mind, I’d say I pushed Sophie Kinsella’s YA debut Finding Audrey and Holly Smale’s Model Misfit the most (and equally).
5. Best Series You Started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?
Best series started: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Best sequel: The Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman
Best series ender: The Wondrous and the Wicked by Page Morgan (mostly because this is the only ‘series’ (rather than duology) that I finished this year)
6. Favorite New Author You Discovered in 2015?
Stacey Lee! Her debut Under a Painted Sky convinced me to read all of her future work, forever and ever amen.
7. Best Book from a Genre You Don’t Typically Read/was Out of Your Comfort Zone?
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling, because I’m not a memoir person at all.
8. Most Action-packed/Thrilling/Unputdownable Book of the Year?
Teri Brown’s Velvet Undercover was definitely thrilling and hard to put down. Right up there with Blankman’s books. It’s that espionage element I’m surprised I love so much.
9. Book You Read in 2015 That You are Most Likely to Re-Read Next Year?
Probably Marillier’s Daughter of the Forest cause it’s so damn good.
10. Favorite Cover of a Book You Read in 2015?
Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch for series continuity and overall Balzer + Bray brilliance, or The Silver Witch by Paula Brackston for the way it almost looks like a portrait (the background has brush strokes and everything!), or Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy, again a credit to B+B brilliance. I DON’T KNOW. I love covers!
11. Most Memorable Character of 2015?
Sorcha (of Daughter of the Forest). Gosh, she’s nearly everything I could want in a character. Sorcha is strong, intelligent, wise beyond her years and yet still innocent, determined, driven by instinct.
12. Most Beautifully Written Book Read in 2015?
Daughter of the Forest. How many times will I need to mention this book before I convince you to read it, too? We’re only on Question Twelve!
13. Most Thought-Provoking/Life-Changing Book of 2015?
It sounds terrible to say I didn’t read a thought-provoking/life-changing book (well, Daughter of the Forest, again, is close on the life-changing), but there are a couple books I read this year that can inspire great conversations.
- Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman is all about the underbelly of German government before Hitler became Chancellor, a period of history so rarely discussed in American schools.
- A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis opens up a whole host of discussions about mental illness, asylums, feminism, and crime in nineteenth-century America.
- Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway dissects the ways a tragic incident can change not only the life of the victim but other lives surrounding him as well.
- Dumplin’ has a body positive message, one I’d never seen before (but surely had been mentioned or discussed in literature at some point…right?)
- Finding Audrey is one of few positive mental health books where things do not end in tragedy (why must mental illness always end tragically?)
14. Book You Can’t Believe You Waited UNTIL 2015 to Finally Read?
Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon. I think I’ll be answering this question with Outlander books forever. For shame I didn’t read them before!
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From a Book You Read in 2015?
Perhaps he could still weave together the broken threads of his life. And yet, I wanted him here now. I needed him here. In the darkness, if I sat very still, I could almost feel his presence by me, quite near, but not too near. Didn’t I promise to keep you safe, he would say softly. I have never broken a promise. Don’t look so worried, Jenny. And yet, he would be careful. Careful not to move too close. Careful not to frighten me. Waiting still. I am your shelter. Don’t be afraid.
—Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read in 2015?
After checking my Goodreads stats, the shortest was picture book The Animals’ Santa by Jan Brett (my favorite of her books!) at 32 pages and the longest was Drums of Autumn at 1,070.
17. Book That Shocked You the Most
Rook by Sharon Cameron. The intricacy, the plot, the world, the way it both mirrored and differed from Scarlet Pimpernel. Gosh, that door stopper was good. I remember I wasn’t quite in the right mindset to read the book, so it’ll be reread again eventually.
18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
RED AND SORCHA.
19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship of the Year
Grace and Dr Thornhollow from A Madness So Discreet. I said in my review:
What an individual. And what an opportunity for Grace to fall in love and forget her entire past and the scars it left behind, an opportunity for a scientific man to crack open his shell and break free and fall in love. Thank goodness McGinnis did not go that route!
20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 from an Author You’ve Read Previously
The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord. She’s an automatic read and buy for me, and I didn’t think it was possible to love a YA male character more than Matt Finch, but then Max Watson showed up and SHUT THE FRONT DOOR I HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT.
21. Best Book You Read in 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY on a Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure
The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, recommended by Hannah @ So Obsessed With, and thank goodness! I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy…well, frankly, “royal family fanfiction” (because WHAT), and I TOTALLY DID.
22. Newest Fictional Crush from a Book You Read in 2015?
Red. ‘Nuff said.
23. Best 2015 Debut You Read?
Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee, again. Best newly discovered author and best debut!
24. Best World-building/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
Gosh, those are two completely different things in my head. The best world-building may go to A Court of Thorns and Roses by SJ Maas, and the most vivid setting will (of course, you guessed it) Daughter of the Forest. Both are fantasies, but one is entirely new and the other based on Ireland.
25. Book that Put a Smile on Your Face/was the Most FUN to Read?
Murder is Bad Manners / A Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens. Talk about a classic MG detective mystery!
26. Book That Made You Cry or Nearly Cry in 2015?
Letters to the Lost by Iona Grey, but I think that has something to do with the fact it was late at night and it reached a point in the story that touched me so deeply I couldn’t help but cry. I’m emotional like that.
27. Hidden Gem of The Year?
Kate Alcott holds a special place in my heart, so I’d say her “Gone With the Wind”-behind-the-scenes book A Touch of Stardust was a hidden gem in 2015.
28. Book that Crushed Your Soul?
The Winner’s Crime. Right in the feels.
29. Most Unique Book You Read in 2015?
The Doldrums by Nicholas Gannon. It’s a quirky and unique adventure-that’s-not-quite-an-adventure MG, and the author used his own artwork to enhance the story. He’s definitely someone to watch.
30. Book that Made You the Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
I Remember You by Cathleen Bell was…odd. I still don’t know what it was I read, and I remember feeling unsettled the entire time I read it. Again, not mad, necessarily, just…frustrated.
1. New Favorite Book Blog You Discovered in 2015?
Probably Kelly @ Belle of the Literati. I stumbled across it after joining the ReRead 2015 challenge, and I love her mixture of discussion, challenges, tags, and reviews (plus she reviews a lot of historical fiction, which is hard to find in a YA-saturated blogosphere).
2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?
A Madness So Discreet because there were so many things I wanted to talk about and discuss. The quotes alone said it all, though!
3. Best Discussion/Non-review Post You had on Your Blog?
Best discussion: “Finding Yourself in YA Contemporary” received a lot of traffic on the blog / “Book Buying Habits” received a lot of traffic on the blog and feedback on Twitter.
Non-Review post: “First BEA Experience” had a lot of comments, received a lot of traffic, and is picking back up in stats again.
4. Best Event that You Participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
My very first Book Expo America! I met so many bloggers, had meetings with my favorite editors, gathered up some excellent reads, and successfully navigated New York City solo.
5. Best Moment of Bookish/Blogging Life in 2015?
Making my first sale as an agent!
7. Most Popular Post This Year on Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
Most popular non-review post of 2015: First BEA Experience.
Most popular book review post of 2015: The Doldrums
8. Post You Wished Got a Little More Love?
My Thankful For post for Thanksgiving should’ve received a little more love, I think. We all need to take a moment to be thankful for what we have and what we’ve been given.
9. Best Bookish Discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
BookOutlet.com, though if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, the jury is still out…
10. Did You Complete Any Reading Challenges or Goals that You had Set for Yourself at the Beginning of This Year?
I made a goal to read 50 books in a year, and I read 66! I also participated in ReRead 2015, but only read 3 books, so I don’t think that was…completed or successful. Haha!
1. One Book You Didn’t Get To in 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016?
I genuinely can’t say. Maybe The Fiery Cross (Outlander‘s fifth book) or Son of the Shadows (the second Daughter of the Forest book).
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating for 2016 (non-debut)?
Anne Blankman’s Traitor Angels or Stacey Lee’s Outrun the Moon or Ruta Sepetys’s Salt to the Sea.
3. 2016 Debut You are Most Anticipating?
Apart from my answer for #6 in this section, I’d say Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor. I’ve already read it (review coming in February!), but it’s one of those books I have to have my hands on now. There’s also Evelyn Skye’s The Crown’s Game, too.
4. Series Ending/A Sequel You are Most Anticipating in 2016?
The next Jackaby book, though the title and publication date have not been announced. If the publication timelines are anything like what’s already been published in the series, we’ll see it this fall!
5. One Thing You Hope to Accomplish or Do in Your Reading/Blogging Life in 2016?
Announce more book deals!
6. A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:
Tara Sim’s Timekeeper, coming out in the fall. For obvious (agenting) reasons.
What books were highlighted in your End of Year survey?