2014 End of Year Book Survey

All credit goes to Jamie at the Perpetual Page Turner for the creation of this awesome survey. I’ve skipped over the blogging section to focus primarily on the books, but a full version of the survey is available on her blog. Hop on over if you’re eager to do your own literary year in review.

2014 Reading Stats

Number of books you’ve read: 94

Number of re-reads: Officially, 0. Of the books I’ve pulled off my shelf and re-read without logging, probably 2-3.

Genre you’ve read the most from: YA contemporary

1. Best Book You Read in 2014?

Unteachable by Leah Raeder. The only book I’ve read and re-read multiple times in its entirety, and the first book I read this year that gives me hope for NA as a category.

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

In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis.

3. Most Surprising (Good or Bad Way) Book You Read in 2014?

On Little Wings by Regina Sirois. I expected a quiet, contemporary family drama set in a gorgeous location. I didn’t expect to become so enamored of the characters that I ached for them long after the story ended.

4. Book You “Pushed” the Most People to Read (And They Did) in 2014?

Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines. I recommended this quirky, fast-paced fantasy about badass librarians who use items pulled from books to fight evil to at least a couple of my friends. My boyfriend is the only person who I know for sure has read it, but we’re both eagerly awaiting book three.

5. Best Series You Started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?

Best series has to be The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, for being the smart YA thriller that I didn’t know I was waiting for. Best sequel goes to Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas, because I wished for the next installment almost as soon as I completed it. Best series ending book goes to Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan, for making me squeal and smile and almost start the series over from the beginning.

6. Favorite New Author You Discovered in 2014?

Leah Raeder. It took me far too long to read her debut, but I was totally hooked once I did. Two or three re-reads later, and I can’t wait to get my hands on whatever she publishes next.

7. Best Book from a Genre You Don’t Typically Read/Was Outside Your Comfort Zone?

Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Venkatesh. I don’t normally read much nonfiction unless I have to research something, but this first person account of Chicago’s street gangs was informative and entertaining. You probably shouldn’t walk into the projects with a sociology survey in 2014, though.

8. Most Action-Packed/Thrilling/Unputdownable Book of the Year?

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo. I stayed up until 2:30 in the morning, running on almost no sleep from the previous night, just to finish this one. Also a runner up for ‘best series ending’ book.

9. Book You Read in 2014 that You Are Most Likely to Reread Next Year?

I don’t have a guaranteed answer for this, since I more or less choose books to reread based on the mood I’m in.

10. Favorite Cover of a Book You Read in 2014?

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor.

11. Most Memorable Character of 2014?

Levi, from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, for being sweet and quirky and patient. Also, for being the fictional college guy I’d be most likely to date.

12. Most Beautifully Written Book Read in 2014?

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor. Which parts of my soul would I have to sell for an ounce of her wordsmithery?

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

Sex and Violence by Carrie Mesrobian, for completely changing the way I view and write male characters. Also, for handling a bunch of complicated issues without ever losing its authenticity or its voice.

14. Book You Can’t Believe You Waited UNTIL 2014 to Finally Read?

Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier. If I’d known there was a beauty and the beast retelling steeped in as much history and lore as fantasy, I would’ve picked it up a LOT sooner.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote from a Book You Read in 2014?

From Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan: “Your name was the first word for love I ever knew.” There are so many memorable quotes in this series, but since I’m a huge sap, I always come back to this one.

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read in 2014?

Shortest was Love and Haight by Susan Carlton.

Longest was Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor.

17. Book That Shocked You the Most?

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill. I sat on the couch, holding this in my hands and staring at it in total disbelief, when I’d finished.

18. OTP of the Year (you will go down with this ship)?

Kami and Jared from The Lynburn Legacy trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship of the Year?

Toby and June in Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt, for their age-is-just-a-number friendship.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 from an Author You’ve Read Previously?

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas. This series is an emotional roller coaster, but even when your heart is breaking, you’ll enjoy the ride.

21. Best Book You Read in 2014 that You Read SOLELY on a Recommendation from Someone Else/Peer Pressure?

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt was recommended to me by a writing buddy who described it as literary fiction that doesn’t feel literary. I was completely invested in June and her family by chapter two, and I couldn’t stand to stop reading after that.

22. Newest Fictional Crush from a Book You Read in 2014?

Tarver Merendsen from These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, whose rugged, war hero sexiness only increases when you learn that he writes poetry. I swooned every time he showed up on the page.

23. Best 2014 Debut You Read?

Pointe by Brandy Colbert. One of the only 2014 debuts I read this year–oh, the shame–but that’s not a consolation prize. The flashbacks were introduced subtly and poignantly, and the ‘kidnapping victim returns home’ plot never feels tired or trope-ridden. Extra special bonus for having so many awesome POC characters in one place.

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

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas. As if the extremely thorough map at the beginning wasn’t enough of a clue.

 25. Book that Put a Smile on Your Face/Was the Most Fun to Read?

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, because I spent most of it squealing like a fourteen-year-old girl. If Rainbow Rowell spends the rest of her career writing love stories like this one, I’ll spend the rest of my life buying her books.

26. Book that Made You Cry or Nearly Cry in 2014?

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart still makes me weepy in the final chapters.

27. Hidden Gem of the Year?

If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin wasn’t actually published in 2014. I’m going to include it here anyway, because it portrays the whole experience of high school, first love, and first lost more clearly than anything else I’ve read.

28. Book that Crushed Your Soul?

Every Day by David Levithan. You know the scene in Friends where Joey puts Little Women in the freezer to hide from the inevitable heartbreak? When I finished Every Day, I had to put it out in my car so there would be physical distance between me and my pain. Not even joking.

29. Most Unique Book You Read in 2014?

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh, which is a collection of personal essays about depression, dogs, productivity, and real life horror movie experiences, among other things. You’ll laugh hysterically reading it, but it will also make you think.

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

Bruised by Sarah Skilton. I liked the author’s writing a lot, but I spent most of the story being frustrated by its protagonist. I’ll definitely be given Skilton’s next novel a try, though.

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

These Gentle Wounds by Helene Dunbar, which I’ve wanted to read since a friend of mine recommended it about six and a half months ago.

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

A Court of Roses and Thorns, because Sarah J. Maas has become one of my Insta-buy authors, and I’m super excited to start her next fantasy series.

3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Second Position by Katherine Locke. Ballet and trauma and rekindled romance? Yes, please!

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

The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson, because ending the previous book on a cliffhanger like that was admirably cruel, but waiting to find out what happens to these characters is agonizing.

5. One Thing You Hope to Accomplish or Do in Your Reading/Blogging Life in 2015?

I’d really like to read 100 books this year. I’m so close already, which means that 2015 will be my year.

6. A 2015 Release that You’ve Already Read & Recommended to Everyone?

I don’t think there is one. What would you recommend I read first in 2015?

What books did you enjoy reading this year? Let me know in the comments–or link me to your own survey!

Class of 2014: YA Superlatives Blogfest — Popularity Contest

Here we go again! Just like yesterday, I’ve linked all book covers to their Goodreads pages.

Day 2 — Popularity Contest

Villain I Love to Hate

There are plenty of YA villains I’ve wanted to punch in their smug, nasty faces every time they appear on the page, but Sable was the only one whose death I actively spent an entire series wishing for. I’m not a violent person by any stretch, so he wins hands down.

Most Likely to Become a Rock Star

We work for three and a half hell-bent hours, until the keys are literally smeared with blood and my mind has been bleached to a glorious blankness, a lunar eclipse of the soul. The music is a castle I conjure around myself, a fortress of notes no feeling can storm.

Maybe it’s cheating to use a character who is already a musician, but Kiri from Wild Awake is the kind of girl who could sit at her piano for hours, playing whatever pops into her head, and not realize that a whole audience has showed up to listen.

Most Likely to Start a Riot

Substitute revolution for riot–and really, isn’t a revolution just a series of riots that overthrow governments?–and Nikolai Lantsov already has. The man’s charismatic, reckless, and incredibly persuasive. I’d follow him into chaos.

Biggest Flirt

Evan Carter isn’t necessarily a flirt, but he’s the guy who always knows how to get the girl. Even if you take his slow reformation process into account, he was the obvious choice for me.

Coolest Nerd

Mik’s violin does make him a little–or a lot–sexier than your average nerd stereotype, but a music nerd is still a nerd. His legendary violin playing, both in our world and Eretz, is what gives him his street cred.

Fashion Queens

Because you don’t have to be super into fashion to wish you were as boldly stylish as Pippa and Vicky.

Character I’d Most Want for a BFF

From fighting evil sorcerers to self-defense lessons, to subtle and not so subtle acts of rebellion, there’s never a dull moment when you’re friends with Kami Glass. I’m pretty sure being her friend means you’re automatically in with the rest of her group, too, which would be awesome.

Character I Wish I’d Dated in HS

D’Arcy Benoit is studious and stubborn, but he’s also sweet and supportive and fiercely loyal. Plus, he’s French.

Most Likely to Become President

Maybe I’m just being optimistic, but I’d love to see someone as passionate and socially aware as Gat leading our country.

Favorite Parental Figure

“Nah, Dad, I’m good. Please leave me in this hotel bedroom with my handsome boyfriend. And several of his relatives, and a very sharp weapon.”
“Clearly I went badly wrong somewhere when raising you,” said Dad.

Jon Glass from Unmade, for facing sorcery, blood magic, and the threat of a daughter who could be sexually active without losing his sense of humor or his love for his family above anyone else.

Do you think there are any characters I missed? If you do, let me know!

Class of 2014: YA Superlatives Blogfest – Head of the Class

The YA Superlatives Blogfest is the brainchild of Jessica Love, Alison Miller, Tracey Neithercott, and Katy Upperman, and it provides book lovers of all ages the chance to give shout-outs to their favorite YA novels. I enjoyed reading the various posts and book suggestions so much last year that I’ve decided to participate in 2014.

Day 1 – Head of the Class

(I’ve linked all book cover images to their Goodreads pages, just FYI.)

Favorite Dystopian

The war Day and June were fighting, for their country and for each other, made for one of the most thrilling conclusions to a trilogy that I’ve read all year. Also: major props to Marie Lu for not writing a simple ending for an impressively complex series.

Favorite Science Fiction

For causing me to sit on the couch and stare at the last page in shock once I’d finished. Kind of an unhappy ending, sure, but completely unforgettable too.

Favorite Fantasy

I would’ve read this in one sitting if Celaena and her comrades weren’t busy breaking, mending, and re-breaking my heart the entire way. If the next book appeared on my shelf tomorrow, I would call in sick to work without question.

Favorite Contemporary

I’m a huge fan of contemporary YA, but this tale of mental illness and music and several different varieties of all-consuming love was magical. I can quote certain passages because I’ve re-read them so many times.

Favorite Action/Adventure

Playing Panic means facing your worst fears and risking death for the possibility of large amounts of money. There’s a revenge subplot, betrayal, catastrophic examples of small town boredom, and a girl who plays the game because she has nothing to lose. I’m not sure if this counts as action or not, but I couldn’t put it down.

Favorite Historical Fiction

A Robin Hood retelling in which Maid Marian is forced back into court life after years spent hiding among the Merry Men? A super sexy romance featuring a Robin Hood who’s deeply troubled by his own past? The most badass Eleanor of Aquitaine I’ve had the pleasure of reading? Yes, please.

Favorite Mystery

The Naturals is probably more of a thriller than a mystery, but I loved the idea of an FBI special forces squad composed of teenagers who didn’t specialize in physical butt-kicking. Who needs martial arts or super human fighting abilities if you have Cassie’s or Dean’s profiling abilities or you can read body language like Michael? I can’t wait for the next book!

Favorite Romance

Because if Rainbow Rowell does nothing except write me love stories like Levi and Cath’s every couple years, I can die happy.

Favorite Paranormal

This was my most anticipated book of 2014, and it did not disappoint. Kami and her crew of magic and non-magic users fight the final battle against evil sorcerers at work in their little English village of Sorry-in-the-Vale. I expected this book to break me. I did not expect to start choking up by page 35.

Favorite Genre Bender

I’m not necessarily saying this book is a genre bender, but if I reveal too much, I’ll spoil the reading experience. What I will say is that Charm and Strange was one of my surprise favorites this year. I did not expect to like it as much as I did.

What have your favorite YA reads been this year?

I’m BAACCCKK . . . Sort of

And by sort of, what I mean to say is that I should be blogging more regularly from here on in. At least after the start of the New Year, anyway.

I’m sorry that I’ve left this blog to wither for almost three months, but in my absence from blogging I’ve gotten a ton of writing done. So I can’t really be too sorry about that. 🙂

I’ve been working on a rewrite for Facing the Music that I’m super excited about, starting to brainstorm for a newer version of Amnesia Conspiracy (which still needs an actual title), job hunting like a mad women, and making plans for lots more awesomeness in 2015.

Hopefully by the time Christmas rolls around, I’ll be able to tell you guys all about it.