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!)

♥ ♥ ♥

Goodbye to 2014 + End of Year Book Survey | Magan

Hello, friends! Happy last day of 2014! I wish you the happiest New Years Eve and hope you have incredible plans tonight. Dustyn and I will be staying in, playing games, and ringing in the new year in a very low key way. 2014 was full of amazing new firsts, lots of incredible books, less reading than my norm, and so many great new memories. I loved answering Jamie’s survey questions and reflecting back on all the new characters I was able to meet this year. I sincerely hope you’ll be encouraged to add a book (or five) to your to-read lists from my favorites. 

Image Courtesy of falloutgirl9001

Number Of Books You Read: 52
Number of Re-Reads: 2 (Anna + the French Kiss, Lola + the Boy Next Door)
Genre You Read The Most From: Contemporary YA Fiction (86%) / YA Fantasy (8%) / Adult Contemporary (6%)

Best-in-Books-Magan

1. Best Book You Read In 2014? (If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2014 release vs. backlist)

YA Fantasy: Heir of Fire
YA Contemporary: Open Road Summer and Rites of Passage (debut releases) / All the Bright Places (a 2015 release)

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

I had four books I just couldn’t finish this year — Find Me I’m Yours (unique in concept, but a bit too scattered and the language was too immature for the narrator), And We Stay (really could. not. connect. to this story),  The Secrets of Lily Graves (again, was disconnected from the main character), and Anatomy of a Misfit (hard hitting and super offensive right off the bat).

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

17 First Kisses — when I began this book, I read a lot of iffy reviews on Goodreads that gave me the impression I wouldn’t enjoy it. I have to say, I’m SO glad I gave it a try and decided to make up my own mind.

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

Even in Paradise. Hands down one of the books I gushed over the most. (I could have / should have included this in my Best Book list.) It’s such a multi-faceted favorite. I was on pins and needles while Estelle and Rachel read it because I wanted them both to love it sooooo much. (Spoiler: they did!)

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

Well, very few of my books were series this year. I needed closure and to not overwhelm myself with lots of sequels. I love, love, loved To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and cannot wait to see what happens next. Stephanie Perkins’ books aren’t a “series,” but the last companion book, Isla and the Happily Ever After was so lovely; I really am so thankful to have had more of Perkins’ beautiful words to read this year.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?

Well, let’s just get over the fact that I’m going to cheat here. My new favorites are:

Kasie West (On the Fence)
Joy N. Hensley (Rites of Passage)
Jennifer Niven (All the Bright Places)
Emery Lord (Open Road Summer)

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

I don’t typically read many books written in verse so I’m awarding this to Stasia Ward Kehoe’s The Sound of Letting Go.

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

Heir of Fire took me a little while to read because I should have re-read the previous books again, but once I got back into the rhythm of the story, I WAS HOOKED. I have to say it’s probably my favorite in the series so far. Otherwise, I listened to We Were Liars as an audiobook while I was walking. I couldn’t stop walking; every single chapter ended on such a note that I just had to keep going. SO addicting!

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

Oh, you guys. Obviously I’m not a very good re-reader. I think I admit this every single year. :-/

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

 Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando — it’s eye catching, graphic, and doesn’t include photographs of people (which is just so, so common)

11. Most memorable character of 2014?

Maybe it’s a complete cliche to mention this book, but Amy and Nick from Gone Girl had me reeling for weeks after finishing the book. I just could not wrap my head around that book and their marriage!

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?

All the Bright Places. I know, I know. I’m mentioning this book a lot, and in a few days, I’ll be tweeting non-stop about it on release day. I think, honestly, that this is one of my favorite all-time books. It’s so incredible. THE WRITING IS SO AMAZING.

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

We were Liars made me think SO MUCH while I was listening to it, and I mentioned that in my review. There’s so much you can take from how the family ripped itself apart, vying for belongings and things.

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

Over Christmas, Dustyn and I had a lot of miles to cover. We re-read the second book in the Alanna series by Tamora Pierce. I read these books in high school and I’m so glad I’m re-reading them (with Dustyn!) because they’re quick, enjoyable, and I love the story.

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

I did a post with a few of my favorite ones! Here’s one I particularly loved:

jenny han quotes

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

Longest: Heir of Fire (562)
Shortest: This Christmas (160)

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

We Were Liars and Gone Girl

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!) (OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

Charlotte (Charlie) and Braden from On the Fence — there’s no way these two could ever break up. I mean, how could they? Her brothers wouldn’t allow it!

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

The relationships in Head of the River, all around, were awesome. I can’t even pick one specifically because there were so many strong aspects here.

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

Roomies by Tara Altebrando and Sara Zarr — This book was amazing! Estelle couldn’t recommend it enough and I’m so happy I took her advice. (Not that I can ever turn down a Zarr book…)

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

I’ll Give You the Sun — hasn’t everyone raved about this book this year? It felt like it to me, and I’m really glad I read it, too. There’s a reason there’s been so much excitement.

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

Josh from Isla and the Happily Ever After. This is one of those few times when I really wanted his perspective added because I adored him so much. I think I connected to him even more than I did Isla!

23. Best 2014 debut you read?

See Question #1: Open Road Summer and Rites of Passage.

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

Considering I didn’t read as much fantasy as I would have liked, this easily goes to Heir of Fire.

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

Not in the Script — there were some great laugh out loud moments here. Plus, I really, really loved the characters and their ability to make smart, mature decisions (for the most part).

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

I’m seeing that I didn’t read a lot that made me cry this year. (That’s a shocker because I always sob!) However, All the Bright Places had me ready to hyperventilate with all the feels.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless — this was an easy, quick read with a main character I found interesting, a great setting (a grocery store), and told over the course of one day.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

I’m going to assume this means in the best way possible, and therefore, my answer is intended positively. I felt soooo wrapped up in Rites of Passage. Sam was so mistreated and bullied and I wanted to take care of her, but I also admired the living daylights out of her because she was so much stronger than I would have been.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?

Party by Tom Leveen — his books always seem to have something special about them; in this case, the story is told from 11 different people’s perspectives.

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

See Question 28. For all of those reasons, I was super angry. Bullying, of any kind, gets my heart racing and makes me wanna protect someone.

My-Bookish-Blogging-Life-Magan

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014?

I was really, really terrible about perusing as much as I used to because I had my daughter, Everett, in February. I was doing really, really good to keep up with simply writing my own reviews. Goal for 2015 is to get back in the game and be more social again!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014?

My review of Head of the River. I put so much thought into it and poured over the words until it seemed just right.

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

My post on friendship and how I think it’s important to not lump people into boxes so we can know more about them.

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

I photographed the Texas Teen Book Festival again this year; I hung out in the author room and photographed the photo booth, taking photos like these:

Gayle Forman posing with a teen who interviewed her at the Texas Teen Book Festival, October 2014.
Gayle Forman posing with a teen who interviewed her at the Texas Teen Book Festival, October 2014.

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

I guess I’m just super proud that I kept up with blogging. I didn’t read as many books as I have in the years past, but I seriously doubted my ability to do this well once I had my daughter. I spent a lot of time working on my time management this year and while I didn’t accomplish as much as I would have liked to, I certainly did okay.

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

 Our most popular, comment-wise, was Lola’s bedroom decor we created from Lola and the Boy Next Door. (A post that was so, so fun to create together!)

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Estelle’s non-bookish Q&A in which she answers questions I asked her at the end of this year; timing these posts is always so tricky at the end of a year! As far as a personal post I wrote, I think my themed-gift-pack for The Prince of Venice Beach. A lot of our readers are female, but I hoped to reach out to a few guys with this one and it wasn’t very popular.

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

I love a good bookish deal. When Rachel mentioned the BookOutlet to me a few weeks ago in a tweet, I quickly had to look it up. I may or may not be obsessively checking it now.

10.  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 52 books this year and I’m hoping to have read 53. I’m hoping I can bump that back up again next year, but I ultimately want to be realistic, love what I’m doing, and not make this feel like a job. I want this to always, always be enjoyable.

Looking-Ahead-2015-Magan

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

I’m behind on Miranda Kenneally’s books, much to Estelle’s dismay. I hope to plow through all of her work I’m behind on!

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

The Start of Me and You by Emery LordThe Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

 Because You'll Never Meet MeBecause You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas: Great, unique premise, AWESOME cover.

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

 Winter by Marissa Meyer, the end of the Lunar Chronicles series. (SOB.)

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

 Read more. Maintain balance. Get ahead on my writing. Not get stuck in a review vortex because I want to write thoughtful, personal posts as well.

6. A 2015 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

 All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (Releasing on 1/6/2015) — DO NOT MISS THIS ONE.

 


THANK YOU so much for reading through all of that. Happy New Year! Happy reading!
We’ll see you in 2015!

Visit Jamie’s blog to link up and participate in the End of Year Book Survey!

(Image for Titles Courtesy of falloutgirl9001)

December Madness | An Estelle “Shelve It”

weekly feature to share the books magan and estelle are adding to their bookshelves each week

Greetings! How are you? Have you been trampled by crowds of shoppers this weekend, perhaps spending time with family, or maybe making some delicious desserts? Well… we have been busy with last minute shopping and lots of crafting (glue everywhere!). Oh the joy of December. This also means: great mail! I’ve been so fortunate to receive some goodies lately so I thought I would share. Tons to look forward to in my reading future; that is for sure.

Enjoy! I hope you like how I dressed up for you! 😉

gifted.

From Hannah | So Obsessed With:

Conversations with the Fat Girl by Liza Palmer
Silver Bay by Jojo Moyes
Last Letter from My Lover by Jojo Moyes
The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry

From Alex | Little Wing Books + @spiritbeauty_

Mosquitoland by David Arnold (March 2015)
My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga (February 2015)
The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma (March 2015)
I Was Here by Gayle Forman (January 2015)

From Rachel | Hello, Chelly

Playing with Matches by Suri Rosen
Stronger Than You Know by Jolene Perry

From Brittany | The Book Addict’s Guide

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Size 12 is Not Fat by Meg Cabot
Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas

From NOVL/Poppy:

Love, Lucy by April Linder (January 2015)
Kissing Ted Callahan by Amy Spalding (April 2015)

From St. Martin’s Press:

The Secret of Midwives by Sally Hepworth (February 2015)
In Some Other World, Maybe
by Shari Goldhagen (January 2015)

thank you so much!

what’s new around here:

*** We have two international giveaways ending in two days so be sure to stop in and enter. Free books! Did ya hear? Free books! Win an anniversary copy of Harriet the Spy for #SoRatherBeYoung kick off or two options for #DiversityDive challenge! ***

Also a huge, huge congrats to our friend Ginger & Elena, who both graduated from college this weekend! xoxo

have a great, great evening & thanks for stopping in!

 

Rather Be Reading Turns Three!

Hi, you guys!

Today we’re super excited to celebrate our THIRD ANNIVERSARY! On November 1st, Rather Be Reading turned three! (Flashback to our first post/book report — a review of Sarah Ockler’s Twenty Boy Summer.) Celebrate with us by reading a few then/now comparisons and entering two giveaways below! We thank each and every one of you for stopping by to share our love of reading. Each time we sit down at our computers, it’s because we’re excited to share our thoughts about our books and this blog is a labor of love that wove our friendship together. We’re very thankful for your comments/tweets and the friendships that have evolved because of our little slice of the internet.

Magan:

MAGAN-THEN-AND-NOW

  • You guys have definitely witnessed my hair transformations, beginning with my ombre look back in 2011. I loved that hair, but boy it’s been a nightmare getting the ombre out. I’ve been ombred, brown, red, strawberry blonde, and am currently back to a close-to-natural hair color. I don’t know what was up with my eyebrows back in 2011, but I’m glad to see they’ve stopped looking like backwards apostrophes.
  • Back then I had no daughter and hadn’t been a foster parent yet, and I photographed more weddings than any year since (I think). My life was more leisurely and I focused a lot of time on reading, DIYing, and building my business. I currently have a 9 month old daughter, spend time with our foster daughter every other weekend since her return to her bio family, am photographing more families than weddings this year, and DIYing is probably one of the least important things on my mind right now.
  • My reading goal the year we began was 80 books, but I excitedly beat that goal and read 91. I feel almost ashamed to say I’ve gone backwards and have a lower goal this year than I have in the last three years, but it’s true. My goal is 52 – one for every week of the year – and I’m probably still going to be pushing myself in the coming weeks to hit that. This year has involved so, so, so much change it’s almost unbelievable.
  • I used to never watch television, but I have developed a major crush on Nashville, Parenthood, Million Dollar Listing (any city), Modern Family, and am currently re-watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix.
  • My addictions have grown beyond nail polish to include lipstick and eye shadows. It’s a sad, sad thing that an Ulta is opening up within a few miles from me. I’m going to need to drive completely out of the way to get to Target. 😉

 Estelle:

Then and Now Rather Be Reading Blog

I miss those glasses.

  • Like Magan, I’ve had a total hair transformation too. The bangs I had in the “then” photo was a total hack job, and I was scared away from them until this winter. Except as you can see from my current picture, I decided to chop off 17 inches of hair and go for the pixie. (I am loving it!)
  • I have a very strong memory of working on early reviews for RBR (pre-opening) at my dining room table in our house with the sun shining through the sliding glass doors. Never did I think we would sell our house a year or so later, move to the city, and James would be going back to school to get his law degree. Yet here we are. There are days I miss our house, but I am so happy we decided to make a move that made US happy. (Plus James graduates in May already. How insane is that?)
  • 2011 was a big year for me because I co-founded This Happy Place Blog AND Rather Be Reading within a few months of each other. (Oh! I also got married.) I am so happy that both are going strong, and I honestly owe both so much. They give me a creative outlet, got me into writing again, brought wonderful people in my life, and kicked up my confidence and taught me a lot I never would have learned otherwise. A few months ago, I started a brand new job and part of me wonders if I would have been on this path without these two projects.
  • My reading is out of control. I have more books in my apartment than I ever had in my house. Piles are everywhere. Ah. In 3 years, I have bought so many books and visited so many bookstores. I never had to think of enforcing something like a book ban (maybe one for clothing). I want to support the writers I love. I can’t help it! Lately, I’ve been thoroughly supporting my library which makes me breathe easy. (And also makes feel like a part of my community.)
  • Fun fact: I’ve traveled to Walt Disney World exactly six times since we started the blog and will head back for the big 7 this weekend. (Only to prove my obsession in this place has only grown. I am a loyalist, what can I say?)

As long as blogging continues to be fun, you can be sure we will continue to make our little home on the web at Rather Be Reading Blog. We like to think of this as the low-cost way the two of us can have “coffee talk” 2-3 times a week while we live in separate states. Now the only thing we need is a definite reunion date… get excited! That will be coming soon! 😉

So thank you thank you thank you for EVERYTHING!

Exciting News + (little kids) Giveaway!

In addition to Estelle’s Big Kids’ Table feature, I, Magan, am going to be sharing children’s book recommendations monthly in a Little Kids feature beginning in January. I read tons and tons of children’s books each week and realize that engaging, adult-friendly kids’ books are a rare gem. Macmillan recently shared a few of their upcoming favorites with me, two of which I’m really, really loving: Special Delivery by Philip C. Stead and Ben Draws Trouble by Matt Davies. Enter below to win a pre-order of each of these books! (Even if you don’t have kids, enter so you can spread the love to a niece/nephew or your friend’s babies!)

The rules: You must be 13 years or older to enter. US residents only, please.

Special-Delivery-and-Ben-Draws-Trouble-Giveaway

 

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Anniversary Giveaway!

This year we want to share copies with TWO PEOPLE of the books we’ve reviewed together, KISS KILL VANISH and ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER! We’re also including a few of our favorite non-bookish things as well (there will be fun surprises from us included in the winners’ packages!).

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Estelle and Magan August 2013

Magan’s Farewell to 2013

end of year survey 2013

I just can’t even … how is today the last day of 2013? I’m flabbergasted, really. So much of what I anticipated for 2013 turned out to be completely different, and my reading life was certainly altered so much by the arrival of our foster daughter. Solid reading time became more of a challenge for me, but so much more precious (does that even make sense?). Hopefully I can give you some solid recommendations, but Estelle’s End of Year Survey just rocked my socks off with all the variety. Be sure to revisit hers for even more book recs! And as always, thank you to Jamie for taking the time to create the survey!

[ BEST BOOKS ]

1. Best Book You Read In 2013?

Best Sequel: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas / Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
OMG-I-Can’t-Believe-I-Waited-so-Long-to-Read-This: Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Best New Release: Winger by Andrew Smith
Best New-to-Me Author: Rainbow Rowell, Author of Eleanor and Park and Fangirl

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

The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekles — I just couldn’t connect, the pacing was soooo slow, and I had to skip to the end to read what happened because I wasn’t invested. For an adult book choice, it was He’s Gone by Deb Caletti. The story was so back and forth with past and present and it felt really strung out. The main character wasn’t appealing to me. I didn’t finish the book, and I didn’t even skip to the end to see what happened.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013?

If I Lie by Corrine Jackson has been on my kindle since its release last year, but one random day I decided to start reading it at the end of this year. I could not put it down. The writing just pulled me in right away and I kept wishing I hadn’t waited so long to read it after I was done.

4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?

Hands down the answer is Eleanor and Park. A friend of mine even asked me if we’re naming Baby Blasig Eleanor or Park. No, I’m not kidding. And sadly, no, neither of those names made the final cut, but it would have been a brilliant idea!

5. Best series you discovered in 2013?

I’m so belated in falling in love with this series, but I am deeply in love with Ally Carter’s Heist Society series! They make me laugh. I love the mystery of how they’ll steal what they’re looking for, and oh em gee do I love Hale.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?

Whelp, I somewhat answered that in question 1, but I also fell in love with Leila Howland (author of Nantucket Blue). I continued to love Sara Zarr’s work with the release of The Lucy Variations. Louise Rozett really captured my attention with her Confessions of an Angry Girl series, too.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

My answer’s a little unorthodox because I’m going to say Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. The book itself wasn’t outside of my comfort zone, topically, but it was in the respect that it was an audio book. The same goes for There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones. I’m so happy I finally listened to audio books, but at the same time, I haven’t exactly made this a habit yet.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?

I’m going to go with Tahereh Mafi’s Destroy Me and Unravel Me. I was SO Team Adam before reading Destroy Me and then I did a 180 and fell for Warner. I don’t remember a twitter conversation that went on so long as those involving these books. Everyone has such strong, strong opinions and that makes me so happy. (And also frightened. WHO WILL IT BE?!)

9. Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Oh, dang. Y’all, I am not, not, not a huge re-reader. My answer would likely be Eleanor and Park because it made me feel all the feels, but again, re-reading is so RARE for me!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?

Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt

10594356

11. Most memorable character in 2013?

I absolutely loved Parker Frost in Jessi Kirby’s Golden. She reminded me so much of my high school self — how I always had to follow the rules, color within the lines, and not question things. I enjoyed her transformation and couldn’t stop thinking about her when I finished the book.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?

Let’s talk beautifully written in terms of why I connected with them… Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell because my emotions were out of this world and the writing was so freaking perfect. Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland because it really hit on all the emotions of what it’s like when a friendship is unraveling before your eyes and you’re not quite sure how to make things better. Winger by Andrew Smith because the journey was so unexpected.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013?

I’ve always enjoyed Daisy Whitney’s writing, but When You Were Here really struck a chord with me. I am extremely close to my family, so Danny’s loss was one of the gut-wrenching variety that made me feel extremely grateful and thankful. And also — the visuals? The scenery? How gorgeous was that? I definitely wanted to travel with Danny and wished for more funds to do so.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read?

I answered this in question 1, too, but another awesome book was Sean Griswold’s Head by Lindsey Leavitt. Estelle and I have had many chats about this book. We’ve recommended it to so, so many people. Sean is sweet and charming and the family aspect is just so wonderful and … just read it, please!

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?

“And sometimes you held somebody’s hand just to prove that you were still alive, and that another human being was there to testify to that fact.” – Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

Shortest: I read a lot, lot, lot of children’s books this year. A favorite was Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin. The shortest non-kids book was Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi at 103 pages.

Longest: Cress by Marissa Meyer (560 pages)

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin really, really surprised me. The book begins with a scene that gives a snapshot of what’s to come, but the ENTIRE BOOK I kept hoping for something else. Or hoping that I misunderstood.

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

Eleanor and Park wins double points for being a lovely friendship and romance. Ink is Thicker Than Water by Amy Spalding features a fantastically diverse family that I adored. And Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer also had this beautiful mixture of romance (without it being too in your face), an incredible family, and self-discovery.

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Manicpixiedreamgirl by Tom Leveen. There was something so, so beautiful about this book. A male POV, a confused character trying to figure out what he wants when he finds himself in a relationship he didn’t plan to be in. A tough decision to make. Yes, loved this one. I read Zero last year, and enjoyed it, too, but I connected with Leveen’s writing way more with Manicpixiedreamgirl.

20. Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

I would probably still be saving Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour for a rainy day because I just didn’t want to be “done” with reading Morgan’s work. (I NEED MORE, Morgan!) After one of the LitLush twitter chats, I was very “peer pressured” (ha!) into reading it right then and there. I immediately grabbed the book off my shelf and began when it was over. Aside from that, my answer mirrors Estelle’s; I read Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer because of our book pusher friends, Cassie, Hannah, and Asheley.

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?

Contemporary for sure, but the majority of the series I’m hooked on are dystopias/sci-fi/fantasy.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?

Cassie is going to love this answer, I’m sure of it. Let’s talk about Dean Holder in Hopeless by Colleen Hoover. *fans self*

23. Best 2013 debut you read?

I love, love, loved How to Love by Katie Cotugno. It’s definitely a bit more on the adult side of young adult in that it deals with some bigger issues and a teen mom, but the struggles just felt so real and relatable, even though I haven’t been through the same exact scenarios myself.

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?

I felt Veronica Rossi did a fantastic job of bringing the world to life in Through the Ever Night. I loved the first book in the series, Under the Never Sky, but dang did I feel even more hooked and obsessed after this sequel!

25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?

I loved how much Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway made me laugh out loud while I was reading it. Audrey is a hilarious main character and her situation is a bit absurd, but that just made everything even more entertaining. And her parents? SPOT ON. Loved them!

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?

Eleanor and Park (duh.) and If I Lie — buckets and buckets of tears, y’all.

27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?

If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin — the story is so beautiful and the friendship is so… real. I really swooned over the love between the two main characters and just didn’t want the story to end.

[ BLOGGING ]

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2013?

I really can’t keep track of who I started following and when, but Book Rock Betty certainly made me LOL a lot this year with so many clever posts. Jen at Pop Goes the Reader is such a lovely lady, and the design of her blog? Gorgeous. An awesome new friend is also Ashley at yAdult Review. Sometimes we bond over cereal. And Liz at Consumed by Books has got to be one of the sweetest, most supportive people out there.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2013?

My review of Golden by Jessi Kirby was fun to write (and I included some photos!) and I loved being able to review a whole series when I wrote my Ruby Oliver review.

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?

We’ve really been loving our personal posts — that we have an outlet to share and people who are so supportive and willing to offer advice/love/encouragement. Some of our favorites have been when I announced I was pregnant and when Estelle talked about the internet and friendships.

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?

This isn’t a book blog, but Estelle shared this article, I Can’t Do Everything, with me recently and it just really struck a chord. Who else feels like they need to be able to balance it all, wear multiple hats, and do it perfectly. Oh, you know, and save the world. Sigh.

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

I went to TLA in April and connected/roomed with some of my favorite Texas bloggers — Ginger, Lena, Jess, Sarah. I also volunteered as an event photographer for the Austin Teen Book Festival and nearly fell over from the awesome author lineup. (You can check out all the photos we photographers took throughout the day here.)

6. Best moment[s] of book blogging/your book life in 2013?

Well, that will always and forever be anytime I got to spend with Estelle. We were so lucky to get to hang out twice and one of those times was during the HOT Texas summer. Did y’all know that we had never hung out during the summer before? Hence why we were always wearing winter coats/scarves in all of our other photos.

Estelle + Magan in DC

Hanging out in DC for brunch + book browsing!

Trying on sunglasses in Urban Outfitters!

Trying on sunglasses in Urban Outfitters!

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

My pregnancy post caused an enormous uproar in the comments section and my twitter feed. (Thank you all again for all the congratulations. I can’t believe it’s been so long since that post went live. How is Baby Blasig almost here?!) On a very different note, I loved being silly and hormonal when I wrote the PMS Survival Kit post.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

This is silly, but I really loved recommending children’s books in this holiday shopping guide. I know we’re not a children’s book blog, but the books are still super cute and of course, I always love more recommendations!

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

Ditto what Estelle said about LitLushes in her End of Year Survey. I have absolutely loved joining in on the twitter chats when I’m free. When I realize I missed them for whatever reason, I get SO upset! It’s always so nice to gush about books with fellow readers and get more recommendations.

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

I decreased my reading goal from what it originally was (I think 100 books). I set it at 75 and seriously, I’m finishing that book up right now. It definitely wasn’t the kind of reading year I anticipated for myself, but considering all the change that occurred this year, I’m pretty darn happy that I was still able to manage that.

[ THE FUTURE ]

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2013 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2014?

Hmm. There are a lot of books Estelle read and reviewed here at Rather Be Reading that I’d like to get to. One of those being Wild Awake, and another being Dangerous Girls.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2014 (non-debut)?

Landline by Rainbow Rowell (I’m sure you’re so surprised by this choice.) and Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

3. 2014 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2014?

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi. This book is being published THREE DAYS before my due date. Who needs a scheduled induction when they have this book to look forward to?!

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2014?

My goal is to be able to balance being a mom to a newborn and my reading life. I don’t want that to completely go away. It’s been manageable with our foster daughter, but then again, we didn’t have her for the first seven months of her life. I really want to try to stay one step ahead and be better at planning (and following through with) reviews and other ideas. I feel like I really let go of wanting to review tons and tons of new books this year and became more satisfied than I was with reading what was on my own shelves; I need to keep that up because there are so many things here on my shelves I’d love to talk to you guys about.

♥

Estelle said it best in her survey, but I just want to reiterate how thankful we are for you guys. Thank you for loving books and for enjoying our posts. Thank you for your comments, your support, your tweets, your friendship. We wish you the happiest 2014 and hope that it’s incredibly fulfilling — both realistically and fictionally, of course!