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A Tribute to 2014 Reading: End of Year Survey

Hello! Happy new year & all that! Most of the weekend, I’ve been exclaiming in disbelief how this is all possible. Fastest year ever, right? My final duty of 2014 is always feeling out the End of Year Survey. It’s so much fun, but also hard to wrap my head around the 180 books I read this year and make sure I spotlight as many of them as I can. I hope you find a lot of variety  and some good stuff to add to your own lists.

As always, thanks for checking in! ♥

reading-stats-2014

Number Of Books You Read: 180
Number of Re-Reads: 10
Genre You Read The Most From: Contemporary YA

best-YA-books-2014

Top Reads of 2014 Rather Be Reading Blog Estelle1. Best Book You Read In 2014?

Sorry, friends. I can’t pick just one. Here are the books I would talk your ear off about at a cocktail party.

Young adult:

Big Kids:

New Adult:

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

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares: The anticipation was SO high; it’s been a long time since we had a new book from Brashares but the premise was not fleshed out enough.

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

In Deep by Terra Elan McVoy: Have you read any of McVoy’s books? All of them are so different but I thought this was super clever. She released a prequel this year about a character from one of her older books. One of those I am planting myself on my couch and not moving until I finish and really tests how you feel about people and their actions.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?

I bought a lot of copies of Breathe, Annie, Breathe for runner friends who didn’t necessarily read YA and I am happy to report to say they really enjoyed it and related to Annie’s experience. I also pushed Summer of Yesterday by Gaby Triana and Make It Count by Megan Erickson on as many people as I could.

5. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?

Jessica Darling’s IT List 2 was fantastically charming and funny; Complete Nothing by Kieran Scott was a nice look at a serious couple in high school struggling with all the challenges graduation brings. (This Cupid stuck in NJ series is just hilarious.)

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?

How about 3?

  • Jason Reynolds, author of When I Was the Greatest and the upcoming, The Boy in the Black Suit. Brilliant, real writing. (Why is he so underrated?)
  • Robin Talley, author of Lies We Tell Ourselves. Not only did her historical fiction knock my socks off but her upcoming work sounds so unique. Can’t wait.
  • Sara Farizan, author of If You Could Be Mine. I read both of her books this year, and wow, she has a way of tackling some very serious situations with humor and realism. It’s tough for me to explain as a reviewer so I strongly suggest you check her out soon!

Alienated by Melissa Landers and Rites of Passage by Joy Hensley7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Alienated by Melissa Landers; I didn’t review this one for some reason but the Roswell-esque, dual-POV book was so spectacular. The chemistry between the two characters was SO intense, and the female lead was one of the strongest I read all year.

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

Rites of Passage by Joy Hensley: I sat on my couch and did not move until I reached the very end of this book and then I screamed a lot. A LOT.

9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

It’s most likely that I’ll be reading Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally because it will be released with a brand new cover in paperback in the spring

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

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour is gorgeous. I love the silver!

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

11. Most memorable character of 2014?

I’m still a huge fan of Cricket from the Nantucket Blue books. This year, Nantucket Red was released and I couldn’t stop myself from thinking of Cricket as someone I could easily bump into on the subway or something. She’s one of my favorite characters of all-time.

Beautifully Written Books of 2014 Rather Be Reading Blog12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?

Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot: Did you ever read a book and find yourself holding your breath the entire time? Magan loved this book, and I’m so glad I borrowed it from the library. Holy crap; beautiful but not in an inaccessible way.

Runner-up: Steal the North by Heather Bergstrom, a big kid book that blew me away. So emotional, so grounded in nature.

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

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid made me thinking a lot about relationships and how we keep them fresh as the years ago on; Like No Other by Una LaMarche made me think about bravery and how sometimes the right decision isn’t the decision everyone else would make; Life By Committee by Corey Ann Haydu made me think about how we relate to others, how people make quick judgments, and how it feels to be lonely.

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

Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos: Okay, this book only came out in 2013 but still, the male POV is so sharp and the book has such an interesting family dynamic. I want more people to read it. (Yes, you.)

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?

“I am a vacation. I am the Caribbean, and a fruity drink and a sunburn and a break from real life. But I am not real life. No one lives in the Caribbean. No one wants a fruity drink every day. I’d rather be water: necessary.” — from Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu.

“Isn’t it nice… once you’ve outgrown the ideas of what life should be and you just enjoy what it is?” — from After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

“I can’t surround myself by people who are hiding their pain beneath swagger and a grin.” — from Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

  • Shortest: The Reluctant Elf by Michele Gorman (a 100-page novella)
  • Longest: Take Me On by Katie McGarry (a bit too long, if you ask me at 546 pages)

17. Book That Shocked You The Most

Blazed by Jason Myers. This book isn’t going to be for everyone. It’s full of very heavy drug use and a lot of… tough situations but Myers is a freaking GREAT writer and so maybe the material was shocking but what’s more shocking to me is that I don’t see more people reading his work. GO TO IT.

18. OTP of the Year

Annie & Jeremiah in Breathe, Annie, Breathe: Things start off hot and heavy but Miranda Kenneally does such a great job of developing a strong friendship between Annie and Jeremiah. His care (especially since it almost seemed out of character) was so compelling and incredibly sexy.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

The sister relationships in All The Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han and Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan were so fantastic, and like so many others I loved the friendship between Reagan and Lilah in Open Road Summer. What I loved about all of these, actually, is that they weren’t glossed over, superficial relationships. Each of these authors gave us the complicated, and the nitty-gritty.

Best Relationships in 2014 Reads Rather Be Reading Blog

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

WHY MUST I PICK? Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu & Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally. As for a “big kid” pick, After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

21. Best Book You Read In 2014 Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

Charlie Glass’s Slippers by Holly McQueen: This was one of those lucky accidents when I met someone at a book event and they told me all about this book. SO GLAD I brought it on a beach excursion with me. So funny, so sweet, and a ton of fun.

22. Best 2014 debut you read?

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord (yes, it lives up to the hype); When I Was The Greatest by Jason Reynolds (his YA debut); Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley.

23. Best World-building/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Threatened by Eliot Schrefer: I may not have loved it as much as Endangered but Schrefer brought me into a brand new world with Luc’s story and his bond with chimpanzees.

24. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas: This Sliding/Doors-esque book was super adorable. I read it in one sitting, and you can’t do that with a book that isn’t fun.

25. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?

There Will Come a Time by Carrie Arcos & Pointe by Brandy Colbert: Two books that had me openly crying on the subway in front of strangers. Beautiful books for very different reasons but two of the most impressionable books I read this year too.

26. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Perfectly Good White Boy by Carrie Mesrobian: Carrie is such an honest writer, and this book from the male POV had such a surprisingly profound effect on me. Senior year of high school = tough, tough, tough but also exciting because it’s the first time we start to make decisions for ourselves (mostly, I think).

Noteworthy Reads from 2014 and Rather Be Reading

27. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Pointe by Brandy Colbert: I related to part of this book so much that I felt extremely anxious and emotional (again on the subway). Colbert wrote a beautiful, heartbreaking story that was so perfectly paced; the reveals were shocking but sometimes not and that made it even more difficult to read. So worth it. This author deserves all the praise she is getting.

28. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014? 

How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer: I was nervous about picking this one up because it had a science-y premise but once I got over the hump, it totally worked and the second storyline was so surprisingly and not what I was thinking AT ALL. So effective and memorable.

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

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin: Rose is such a caring, loyal little girl and I was so angry about how people treated her in this book. It was downright heartbreaking and I wanted to punch a lot of people in the face.

book-blogging

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014?

  • Rosie at Eat, Read, Glam reviews book, Lush products, and has the most adorable accent. Her v-logs are great!
  • Andi at Andi ABCs is forever thinking up some amazing feature ideas, bringing the community together, and is just one of the kindest (most fashionable) souls I know.
  • Sarah at You Should Read This YA: an old supportive friend who finally got her blog up and running. Go & read it!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014? 

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Second: Blazed by Jason Myers. Third: Althea & Oliver by Cristina Moracho.

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

When Magan first had Baby E, I had a blast putting together the Baby Book Blogger Guessing Game. My god, these pictures were adorable and the post inspired everyone to be very interactive.

As a joint venture, BEFRIENDED was a new feature M & I thought of to show another side of authors & books through friendship. Our first post was an interview between the lovely Corey Ann Haydu and her true life best friend.

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

I had a great time at the New York Teen Author Festival this year with Maggie from Just a Couple More Pages. (Her recap can be found here.) The evening reading with Rainbow Rowell and Jennifer E. Smith was by far one of my favorite events I’ve been to.

Big hugs to Brittany from The Book Addict’s Guide for organizing the Pub Date feature I work on every month with a great crew. (Not that I need another excuse to buy a fun craft beer, but it’s nice to be able to get a little personal on the blog and think about books in a different way.)

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

Once again, BEA brought some fantastic ladies into my backyard and I loved that we had extra time to hang out with one another.

RBR 2014 Moments

I’m so grateful for the emails, the drinks, and the meals I’ve shared with various people in this community and most importantly, the friendships that continue to blossom. It means more to me than any book.

6. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Ha! It seems my birthday post celebrating Dawn Schafer from The Baby-Sitter’s Club was the most popular of my posts this year. I had so much fun writing that one.

7. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

While I love my Big Kids’ Table feature, I still wish it got a little more love especially my 2014 summary post. (Does anyone else thing the blog world is inundated with too many features? Does it make features in general less unique and special? I have my theories…)

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

Hannah @ So Obsessed With continues to be my life coach… her Wunderlist post definitely helped my organizing.

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

My goal was to read 175 books this year, and I just about made it… but I’m more proud of FINALLY getting my local library card and not buying as many books and also re-reading so many of my favorites. (It was so nice to rediscover Miranda Kenneally’s books again.)

looking-ahead-books-2015

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

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes. I bought it when it came out over the summer, but I won’t get to it before the new year. I tried, I really tried!

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

Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu; The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler; Drive Me Crazy by Terra McVoy (middle grade!), The Forget-Me-Not Summer by Leila Howland (another middle grade!).

Anticipated Reads of 2015 Rather Be Reading Blog

3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Since Magan couldn’t stop praising it, I’m going to say All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. (M sweetly bought me a copy; can’t wait to drop everything and read it. M demanded it!)

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

P.S. I Love You by Jenny Han: I’m so glad I made the first book a priority this month but I also sort of hate myself because I need book 2 NOW.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2015?

I’m so looking forward to meeting new bloggers and discovering new blogs by taking part in the Reread Challenge + co-hosting Dive Into Diversity reading challenge. I never commit to these because I’m scared of not having time but since they are so lax, it just seems like a bonus to be a part of something.

It’s already started this year but I want to improve my blogging vs. real life balance. In the last few months, I’ve had to pull back on what I can accomplish for the blog (sometimes this really sucks because nothing hurts more than an idea that never turns into anything because of lack of time) so maybe my real challenge will be figuring out how to make our hours increase to 26 per day. (ha ha)

All in all, I want to be inspired by the books I’m reading and inspire others to pick up those books.


 Thank you so much for reading this whole thing!
Be sure to check out other End of Year Surveys at The Perpetual Page Turner.
(I swear it’s the best way to get book recs you may have missed!)

♥ ♥ ♥

January 23, 2015 - 4:54 pm

Alexa S. - So grateful for our friendship, E! Also grateful that I can always count on you to mention books that I haven’t heard about or much about anyway on your survey. Love that you continue to encourage me to push my boundaries with your reading suggestions <3

January 4, 2015 - 5:32 pm

Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads - I am going to track down some Taylor Jenkins Reid this year, since I keep seeing her books featured on these best of 2014 survey/lists! And, of course, I always trust your recommendations =) And if you figure out how to get two more hours into the day, please let me know! I would also benefit from more hours in my day =P

January 4, 2015 - 2:23 pm

Sara (of The Page Sage) - I loved the Song Girls in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, especially the relationship between Kitty and Lara Jean. I can’t wait for the sequel (though until this week I thought it was a standalone…whoops)

January 4, 2015 - 9:47 am

Annette - I really liked Sex & Violence, and I like Mesrobian’s writing, but I couldn’t finish Perfectly Good White Boy. It may have been the mood I was in or something…

Great list. I enjoyed hearing about your faves.

January 4, 2015 - 9:46 am

Rebecca @ Reading Wishes - I’ve yet to read any of your best books of 2014 *hides* but they are sound so great and many I hope to get to v. soon! The good thing: I have an excuse since 4/6 are diverse titles 😉 #win Can’t wait for Sun to arrive in my mailbox.

So glad you’re a fan of All the Boys; sorry you now have to wait with the rest of us for #2.

So looking forward to hoisting #DiversityDive with you guys!

I love how you make me even more excited for books I want to read and bring ones to my attention I may have overlooked. It’s always dangerous stopping by, but so worth it 🙂

January 4, 2015 - 9:28 am

Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook - I still need to read Everything Leads to You! I really want to listen to is via audiobook, but I don’t think there is an audiobook. I love the cover too. So pretty.

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