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)

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!

Estelle’s End of the Year Survey (So Long 2013)

end of year survey 2013

I love the End of the Year Survey + I loathe the End of the Year survey because it’s so difficult to pick favorites, especially after reading 160 books this year. I’m going to try to do what I did last year which is answer each question as differently, as possible so I can get you a real taste of all I read this year. Thanks in advance for spending time with my answers!

Thanks to Jamie for making this happen again!

[ best books ]

1. Best Book You Read In 2013?

Here’s the thing… I’ve kept a running list all year of my favorite books and I’ve been swapping them out as I’ve needed to. And then at the end of the year things just got out of control because I loved reading so many things. But like I said last year, if you know me in real life, it’s very likely I’ve talked about one of these books with you:

Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones
How to Love by Katie Cotugno
Criminal by Terra Elan McVoy
Openly Straight by Bill Konisberg
Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando
OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu
Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham
The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding
The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler
Winger by Andrew Smith

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

The Fault in Our Stars was the first book I finished this year, and I just… didn’t feel the same affection for it that everyone else did. I wish I had.

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

Time Between Us series by Tamara Ireland Stone. I had Book 1 from Rachel for a long time, and didn’t read it until months after, a few days after I saw Tamara at a reading. I practically stayed up all night finishing it, and as soon as I got another B&N coupon, I bought the newly released  Time After Time. I loved the rules to Stone’s time traveling world,  the family interactions, and all the music (look at these mixes!) really won me over. Anna and Bennett are two characters I’m going to think about for a long time.

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

If by “recommended” you mean bought for people? Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Roomies by Tara Altebrando and Sara Zarr, The Reese Malcolm List by Amy Spalding, and Winger by Andrew Smith

But then again, if you have seen me in any capacity (this includes social media), I have probably talked about a title in question 1.

5. Best series you discovered in 2013?

Starstruck by Rachel Shukert. Hollywood, 1930s, unique ladies on different paths. Book one was so well-researched (politically, too) and written so fully… I am so looking forward to Book 2.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?

Elana K. Arnold, author of Burning, was sweet enough to send me a copy of her book during my first book buying ban. Her writing is beautiful; her premises are unique and I can’t wait to go back and read her other books.

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

I read a lot of time travel books this year, and while the idea of it really freaks me out… I really enjoyed each of them for their own separate reasons: 11/22/63 by Stephen King, All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill, and the Time Between Us series by Tamara Ireland Stone.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill for sure. It was raining outside, I was standing outside my grocery store reading and texting Sasha at the same time because the ending was so WTF and crazy. Such a fantastic book. I really like time travel stories! (Even if they freak me out.)

Bonus answer: Criminal by Terra Elan McVoy… this book stopped me in my tracks. It scared me, it challenged me, and gosh, I wanted to stay up all night and read it SO badly.

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

I think Fangirl (Rainbow Rowell) and How to Love by Katie Cotugno. I have been unable to get these characters out of my head, and both copies I read of the books were advanced copies. I want to wear in my very own copy. AND WRITE DOWN ALL THE BEAUTIFUL QUOTES.

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

Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham

11. Most memorable character in 2013?

Rafe from Openly Straight has been on my mind since I left him back in the summer. He leaves a very liberal place where he is fully accepted to a boarding school where he wants to be seen as himself and not defined by his sexuality. He makes so many mistakes but I loved his heart and his experiment and everything about him.

Bonus: Lemon in Fingerprints of You by Kristen-Paige Madonia. I read this book on a road trip to Florida and I couldn’t put it down. Lemon’s journey to find her dad, deal with her pregnancy, and break away from her mom was so effective and emotional but also full of light and joyful moments too. I think of Lemon a lot.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?

How to Love by Katie Cotugno had me from page 5. The language was so beautiful and still down to earth, and I just connected with the story so deeply. Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith is definitely a close second. Her writing was so rhythmic, emotional, and manic — just like the main character.

Bonus answer: Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan. A REVELATION.

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

Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones seems like a silly answer maybe. But it felt inspirational to me. Here is this man from a very small town, a very supportive and creative family, who works so hard to get what he wants and literally never stops working. He basically works until he dies. I was amazed by how his mind was always coming up with these amazing concepts to create and share with the world, and how he never gave up on a project. Henson also had this special talent for picking the right people to work for his company, and watching that happen on a page, was so special. It made me feel like somewhere, someplace there is a spot for me to embark on projects of my own. (He was also a great dad, even if he wasn’t the best husband. I admired how he motivated his children.)

Bonus answer: 11/22/63 by Stephen King. Another strange answer, huh? I’ll admit the beginning of this book was slow and wasn’t about JFK as much as I thought it would be but the main character, Jake, and his journey… made me think a lot about the choices we make and the ripple effect each one has. It truly is an emotional book, and not only because a president is shot and killed. There’s a very human, down to earth story in there.

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

Anatomy of a Boyfriend series by Daria Snadowsky. I had NO idea these existed and I got such a kick out of reading this and Anatomy of a Single Girl. Daria’s writing reminds me of Sex and the City for teens, and the feelings in Boyfriend were so spot-on for me when I was about to graduate high school. Definitely check these out; the covers are great too. (Also “Single Girl” is what NA should be, I believe.)

Bonus: The Best Night of My Pathetic Life by Tara Altebrando: SO FREAKING GOOD + not based on romance, at all. Loved that.

Triple bonus: Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume. I was seeing the film so I read it right before that and wow, a story of so many emotions and so much growth in such a short collection of pages. THIS is why Judy is a queen. (P.S. See the movie. Go to iTunes. Do it.)

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

“We would hold hands as we jumped, but by the time we swam up to the surface, we’d have to let go. No matter how we tried, once we started swimming, we always let go. But after we bobbed to the surface, we’d climb out of the pool, clamber up the high-dive ladder, clasp hands and do it again. We’re swimming separately now, I get that. Maybe it’s just what you have to do to keep above water. But who knows? Maybe one day, we’ll climb out, grab hands, and jump again.” — Gayle Forman, Just One Day

“It’s hard when you open your heart and let someone in and then suddenly they’re not in it anymore. It doesn’t matter whose fault it is; that empty spot stings so bad that you want to find any kind of relief, or wrap yourself up so tight you can’t feel it anymore.” — Bill Konigsberg, Openly Straight

“I think often there is no good way out of something. No nice, easy ending or neat resolution, no clear way to set things right. That works in stories, in children’s fairy tales, but not in real life. Nothing everything can be fixed. And perhaps not everything should be.” — Elana K. Arnold, Burning

“How do you know? How can you tell if anything will ever come out of it? How can you endure waiting for someone else to, well, recognize you? How can you stand the not knowing?” — Lauren Graham, Someday Someday Maybe

“Life’s too short to walk away from people who love you. Even if that love is flawed and complicated and screwed up it’s still love. And that makes it worth finding a way to hold on to it.” — Kristen-Paige Madonia, Fingerprints of You

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

Shortest: Honeymoon in Paris by Jojo Moyes (72 pages)

Longest: 11/22/63 by Stephen King (849 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!

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas was full of WTF moments for me. I convinced Shanyn to read it after me, and then Tara read it and even after all of that, we were still dissecting the book to death because it was so OFF ITS ROCKER and amazingly mind-bendy.

Bonus answer: Winger by Andrew Smith. Pretty sure I freaked out the guy sitting next to me on a plane because I gasped or cried out or something. I also slammed the book shut and I was in the air and without Twitter or texting and really going to lose my shit over it. Such a brilliant book.

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

Friendship:

Mo and Annie in The Vow by Jessica Martinez; they were willing to do so much for each other.

Ryan Dean and Joey in Winger by Andrew Smith; Ryan Dean really needed a sense of reality with all of his dreaming and immaturity (he couldn’t help it) and I loved how Joey gave him advice and was patient with him.

Romance:

Anna and Bennett in Time Between Us series by Tamara Ireland Stone: I never wanted a couple to make it work so badly; I really believed in them.

Sam and Camilla in Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil; it was just too adorable to watch them get to know each other. The author really took her time with this one, and I loved it.

Family:

Ted and Ava in The Look by Sophia Jordan: two very different sisters who share some very touching and tough moments.

Merry and Queenie in Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer: Sisters who need to make peace with their past, rekindle their friendship, and also took such different paths in life. I loved how they complimented each other.

Jude and her dad in The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler: Let me just buy you some tissues. Please? This book is so beautiful. Sure there is romance but at the core, it’s about devotion to a parent and trying to give them back something for giving you so much in this life.

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

The Vow by Jessica Martinez. I read Virtuosity last year, and I liked it but The Vow really blew me away. I was a little intimidated by the heft of the book, but the reading experience was so worth it. Two friends making this HUGE decision, defying their parents, and figuring this messy situation called marriage of convenience out? So discussion worthy and wonderful.

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

Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer mainly because of Cassie at Books with Cass. The best book pusher I know. She was right, guys.

And Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter after Betty really loved it. It was very good! And so not my normal kind of read.

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?

Definitely contemporary. But I’m happy I dabbled in others, too.

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

I don’t really get crushes on my book people. I’M SORRY. But I did love Ryan Dean in Winger. (In fact I am pretty sure I dated a guy just like him in high school. So there ya go.)

23. Best 2013 debut you read?

OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu. Bea is such a realistic character that it almost hurt to read her sometimes. She was in total denial about who she was and as a reader, I just wanted to scream at her and care for her at the same time. There were so many well-rounded characters in this book, each with their own challenges, and the cover is SO BRIGHT. (Corey also has a new book coming out in the spring…!)

Bonus: Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland — this book about summer in Nantucket, broken friendships, and surprising romance just reeled me in and I felt so connected to it. Such beautiful scenes, and really heartbreaking ones. Leila is a new favorite for me.

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

I am going to say Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland here again. She made Nantucket so alive to me, and you could tell it has a special meaning to her. I could practically smell the sea air, see the town, and all of its summer guests.

Bonus answer: Reality Boy by A.S King. This book is utterly brilliant, and King created such a realistic world of this reality show family and even the dream world our main character escapes too when he needs a break. Why didn’t this book get more attention?

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

Reading 3:AM Kisses with the #NASlumberParty crew was seriously the most fun I ever had reading a book. I was crying from laughing so hard. (Runner up? Stir Me Up by Sabrina Elkins!)

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

Oh I cried. The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler + Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan.

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

OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu. This book was amazing and powerful. More people read it please? Also the Starstruck series by Rachel Shukert. Especially for adults who like YA, this is a must read.

[ blogging ]

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2013?

It is incredibly hard to keep track of who I started reading this year but I am going to give it a shot:

  • Maggie at Just a Couple More Pages: incredibly candid, honest and smart reviews. I love her. (Even when we disagree.)
  • Brittany at The Book Addicts Guide impresses me constantly with all the projects she can juggle, the utter enthusiasm she has for reading and joining people together.
  • Judith (and now Ellice!) at The Paper Riot: super creative and original with succinct and thoughtful reviews. These girls make me want to read everything.
  • Betty at Book Rock Betty: she is the most fearless blogger I know and she provides her readers with such varied content (natural products, the always-game Mr. Betty, Baby Betty reviews, BARBIE videos). I never know what I’m going to find when I check out her blog and I just love that.
  • Cassie at Books with Cass: technically I met Cassie around this time last year but I am going to fib a little because this girl. THIS GIRL. She is the ultimate book pusher, she makes everything fun, and who she is shines through her blog all the time. She’s thoughtful and funny and sweet and I love her eclectic book tastes and her love for the Kindle Paperweight. And book sales!
  • Okay last one: Melissa and Christina at Allodoxophobia: I didn’t stumble on this blog until May but ever since I subscribed I get a lot of my best book recommendations from these two. The reviews are clean, well-written, and super straight forward.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2013?

I really liked my The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler review, and switching up my style in the Stir Me Up by Sabrina Elkins review!

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?

I guess it’s not much of a discussion but I have really loved the support we’ve been getting on our ONE A PERSONAL NOTE feature… including Magan’s post on foster care + mine on making changes.

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

Write Meg has been one of my favorite bloggers for a long long time. This year I loved hearing her thoughts as she planned a wedding, journeyed through weight loss, and of course, found time to read. Here’s a post about her journey to get healthy and a thoughtful wedding tips.

I love how Melissa at Writer Grrl Reads shared such a personal story with her review of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.

Feminism in YA guest post from Trish Doller over at Stacked. GREAT PIECE. Also Gayle Forman on endings.

And I have to mention some FUN posts: Ginger during our Sweet Summertime Reads feature: ingredients for summer romance + Jamie teamed up with me to talk about our husbands and the state of their reading. Will is not a reader. Jamie did a great job!

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

See some moments below. Also NA Slumber Party was so much fun! Can’t wait to start it up again next year. Also guest posting for Rachel’s Bookbags feature was SUCH A CHALLENGE. She makes it look easy, friends.

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

Leila Howland Nantucket Blue with Bloggers 6232013 - 1

Moment 1. Talking about books with Leila Howland (author of Nantucket Blue) and  these lovely ladies: Rachel from Rachel Reads, Alexa from Alexa Loves Books, Betty of Book Rock Betty, and Gaby from Queen Ella Bee Reads.

Estelle and Magan August 2013

Moment #2. Hanging out with my beautiful and sweet friend, Magan, TWICE THIS YEAR. The above picture is from my summer trip to Austin but it was so cool to see her for a quick jaunt down to Washington D.C. too. I always have the worst Magan hangovers when I get back from hanging out because she is awesome and we just get along so freaking well, and seriously laugh until we cry. MUST DO THIS AGAIN SOON.

Lauren Graham Someday Someday Maybe Tour and Signing

Moment 3. Okay, so even if we waited in this very long line to meet Lauren Graham… it was totally worth it. She was super sweet and still going through after signing SO MANY BOOKS. I was so so nervous.

Meeting Cassie of Books with Cassie

Moment 4. You know I must love this moment because this is not the most flattering picture of me. James and I had just had a very nice day at the beach, and on the way back, decided to say hi to Cassie while she worked. It was kind of an adventure because our GPS kept getting us lost BUT IT HAPPENED. And you know what, Cassie is just as awesome and sweet and funny in person than she is on the internet!

May 2013 Top Bookish Moments

Moment #5. I didn’t go to BEA so I can’t even say BEA but… it was nice that so many people I had been chatting with forever were in town and I got a lot of socializing in with them. But EH it was so hot, I thought I was going to faint in that NYC heat. So my brain wasn’t working and I don’t have a ton of pictures. But it was so nice to meet Shanyn and Asheley (left) and reunite with Sasha and Elena. In the right picture, a casual hangout at The Strand with Brittany, Alyssa, Mandee, Heidi, and Amara!

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

I really loved the feedback that I got for my Internet + I post. It was very difficult to hit publish on this one, but I was comforted to see how many people feel like I do… the internet is so crucial in our lives as bloggers (and readers) and it’s my main way of meeting people so… I think it’s important to share those experiences.

It was also a ton of fun to do this Austin Tour through the eyes of Lovestruck Summer, an older novel by Melissa Walker. I loved that Magan and I could work on it side by side, and also talk about one of our favorite authors at the same time. Austin is a gorgeous place and this post makes me miss it.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

I get a little frustrated with my Big Kids’ Table feature. I love it, but I also hear crickets when I post them. For example, I had a blast putting together this post with YA authors recommending their “big kid” picks and it just didn’t pick up steam like I wanted. I see a lot of readers and bloggers searching for something NEW and less popular to read, and therefore, I get a little sad when Big Kids’ Table doesn’t fulfill that need? (Suggestions welcome, friends!)

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

Does Lit Lushes fit under this category? I love the chats what Alyssa and Brittany host every other Thursday. I’ve met so many fun Twitter people, and the conversations are always SO SMART. I find myself thinking about them afterward and forgetting where they happened! During a Lit Lush Thursday chat of course!

Also the Recaptains is a project that I don’t see getting nearly enough attention. A few bloggers got together to help readers (like us) brush up on series volumes so we don’t have to totally reread. It’s a genius idea, and I love it so much. GO SUPPORT THEM.

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 100 books this year, and then I increased it to 150 and I’m about 10 beyond that now. I also read a lot of books out of my comfort zone, reread some books, and stopped reading review books in order to pick up something Magan loved. In so many ways, my reading felt like a success this year!

[ the future ]

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

Don’t kill me but I still haven’t read Just One Year (Gayle Forman). I have a small trip coming up, and I think I will finally get my chance. (I wanted to make sure I re-read Just One Day too so it’s a tall order and I haven’t had a chance to make this happen yet!)

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

Nantucket Red by Leila Howland (I’m pretty much dying for this one.) Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally.

3. 2014 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Officially the hardest question in this survey. The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer. Reality show, performing arts, high school drama! This was pitched as something like Glee? And I was pretty much sold!

4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2014?

I’m not much of a series person, but I am looking forward to Book 2 in the All Our Yesterdays series? I am so so interested to see how Cristin will keep it going.

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

Read a classic! Concentrate more on what I have already and what I like, and to stop feeling pressured to buy books when I don’t need them and already have a HUGE variety to choose from at home. (Can someone help me with this, please?) As far as reviewing, I need to keep track of publication dates better and not get request happy in any capacity. I want to be able to take a break if I can and not feel obligated. To say it more simply: just to have fun, stay relaxed, be creative, collaborate with more bloggers, and have even more of a blast blogging with Magan next year!

 ♥  ♥  ♥

Just want to give a huge thank you to the bloggers out there to continue to inspire me, and are always supportive and wonderful to talk to whether it be about books, beer, Zac Efron, or anything life related. It’s been such a fantastic year getting to meet so many of you in person and I have loved every second of it. Of course, to Magan, I could not ask for a better partner. I can’t wait to see what kind of blogger Baby B will turn out to be. (We start ’em young!) And to you, dear reader, even if you picked up one book because of our recommendations this year, thanks for trusting us with your time. We are so grateful and can’t wait to bring you more awesome books and thoughtful discussion in 2014!

↔

Oh gosh! If you read through that whole thing, THANK YOU.
Hope you get some good recommendations out of it! What a fantastic year!

Estelle: 2012 End of the Year Survey (Yay!)

2012 book year in review, favorite books of 2012

Oh man, how did we get to December 20th already? I feel like last December was just a blink away. (Is the accelerated speed of the year a sign of old age? I hope not!) I’m here with my answers to Jamie’s third annual year wrap up. I love this girl but gee, does she make my head hurt! I really tried to talk about a good variety of the books I read this year so hopefully you’ll have some strong recommendations to add to your own lists by the time you read this through.

Thanks for reading!

1. Best Book You Read In 2012?

Between You & Me by Marisa Calin
Dreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando
The Comeback Season by Jennifer E. Smith
Where You Are by J.H. Trumble
What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton
Stealing Parker by Miranda Kennealy
Endangered by Eliot Schrefer
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
Princesses of Iowa by M. Molly Backes

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

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson – I had heard such high praise for this book, and almost bought it on multiple occasions. Thankfully I did take it out of the library and while I did like, it just didn’t hit me the same way I thought it would. I felt the narrator made me very detached from the story. (This might also have to do with me seeing another Peter Pan adaption on Broadway this year and falling head over heels for it. Not much could top that for me.)

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012? 

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers: Estelle reading a zombie book? Seriously, the writing was fantastic and I couldn’t put it down. Zombies or not.

Drama by Raina Telegeimer: My first graphic novel and whoa, did it make me smile so much? A theater nerd, stage crew, great facial expressions, a diverse cast. It was a highlight in my reading.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?

Check out my favorites list. More than likely if I spoke to you, I uttered one of those titles on multiple occasions.

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?

I’ll be honest… if a book is a series, I’m not very likely to invest my time. But I did finish Megan McCafferty’s Bumped series this year and I think it’s really pretty brilliant.

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?

Jennifer E. Smith, Melissa Walker, Adele Griffin, J.H. Trumble, Terra Elan McVoy, Colleen Clayton, Tara Altebrando, Marisa Calin. These ladies have become my go-to writers.

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

Endangered by Eliot Schrefer. I’ll be honest if I read the summary of the book somewhere else I don’t think I would have picked it up. But I was instantly intrigued when I heard him read a portion at the New York Teen Authors Festival in March. And I was not disappointed. Such an important literary achievement I think. Because hey, teen fiction can be literary!

8. Most thrilling, un-putdown-able book in 2012?

From What I Can Remember by Valerie Thomas and Stacy Kramer: read this on my cruise in June and omg, I was so sad I left it in my stateroom. (I couldn’t stop thinking about it.)

Also Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols. Yep. Could not put that one down either.

9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:

Stealing Parker by Miranda Kennealy; Graffiti Moon by Cath Crawley; Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?

Dreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando

Isn’t this gorgeous? I love the colors. So so much.

11. Most memorable character in 2012?

Garnet from Silhouette of a Sparrow by Molly Beth Griffin: she was so curious, so adventurous, and willing to be herself even when society wasn’t too keen on that.

Gabe from Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirsten Cronn-Mills is brave, a musical genius, and has the best personality. I just want to hug him and be best friends with him.

Jesse in The Difference Between You + Me by Madeleine George, such a strong character that is capable of being herself and feeling all things.

Chloe from Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe by Shelly Coriell is such a freaking positive person who loves hard + loyally.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis

Endangered by Eliot Schrefer

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Silhouette of a Sparrow by Molly Beth Griffin

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?

This is so tough. See: #1. Let’s also add in Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo. I loved the mixed in views of women and women’s roles. This is something I think about a lot.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta and perhaps any Aussie YA lit. I just think these authors have the right stuff, the perfect blend of the highs and lows of life. Attention to detail, character development. Amazing.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012?

“It’s your writing you guys. Follow it wherever it takes you. All you need to do is tell your truth.” — The Princesses of Iowa, M. Molly Backes

“I thought he should have realized sooner that important people don’t show up very often, and you should hold on to them when they do. Maybe I was smarter than he was all along, because that was something I’d always known.” – Other Words for Love, Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

“He’s still just a small flower, and I feel like I’m becoming a strong tree. There will be storms, and he will need shelter.” You Have Seven Messages, Stewart Lewis

“In this universe, there are no time machines, no keys that can turn hearts back around.” Love + Leftovers, Sarah Tregay

“Somehow he’d become the one constant in this whole uneven chapter in her life, & the idea that could change was unsettling.” – You Are Here, Jennifer E. Smith

“When wanting collides with getting, that’s the moment of truth. I want to collide.” – Graffiti Moon, Cath Crowley

“A year. A thousand kisses. And now a thousand one, a thousand two. There are so many other place we could have ended up, but I have to believe none of them would have felt this right. “All I want is you” is not entirely true. I want so much more, and with you I think I can get it.” – The Realm of Possibility, David Levithan

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?

Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews (654 pages)

The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan (210 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!

Stealing Parker (Miranda Kennealy) had many of these moments, as did What Happens Next (Colleen Clayton). Also! I managed to read a bunch on my trip to the middle of the ocean in June (Second Chance Summer, Unbreak My Heart, etc.) and I so missed talking to Ginger (GReadsBooks!) and Magan about books for days!

18. Favorite Relationship from a Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

I loved the friendships in Paper Towns by John Green, and also Colleen Clayton’s What Happens Next. Also The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg made me miss my girlfriends so much. I loved all the girlie time spent and connects made in that book.

As for relationships, I don’t find many couples in these books to have a great balance of realism and magic (if that makes sense). The closest I’ve experienced this year were Andrew and Robert in Where You Are by J.H. Trumble, Sid and Corey in What Happens Next, and Sam and Jace in My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick.

And how about awesome, supportive families? The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George, Unbreak my Heart by Melissa Walker, Curveball: the Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick, Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson.

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 from an Author You Read Previously:

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson was just fantastic. I truly believe she wrote the perfect book.

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

Burning Blue by Paul Griffin was a huge recommendation from Magan. I had actually heard Paul read a portion of this book at the New York Teen Author Festival last year, and it just didn’t seem like my thing. But Magan wrote a glowing review, and bam, I read it and loved it. (Oh, and for the record, I have a ton of UNREAD books I’ve bought because of some solid reviews. So there!)

Book Blogging/Reading Life in 2012

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2012?

Since Magan and I just started in November of last year, I feel like I discovered a bunch of blogs this year. These are a few of my favorites: Novel Sounds, Pure Imagination, Makeshift Bookmark, and Radiant Shadows.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2012?

A poem for Love & Leftovers by Sarah Tregray, and pulling myself together to write well-justified reviews for Where You Are by J.H. Trumble and Endangered by Eliot Schrefer.

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?

So tough! Honestly, I enjoy any time I can reminisce with other readers about books from childhood like The Baby-Sitters Club. Nice to know people loved those gals as much as I did!

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

→ Rachel at Hello Chelly conquers women’s wants/needs in books + real life.

→ Elena at Novel Sounds muses over reviewing techniques.

→ Anna of Anna Reads sounds off in a fantastic post about adults reading YA books.

→ Tara of Fiction Folio talks about her need to change up what she is reading.

→ Rachel of Rachel Reads wrote a brilliant piece about the pressure to finish a book.

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

Last March, I had the best time attending a few events for the New York Teen Author Festival. My reading list just about quadrupled because I discovered so many new writers (or “new to me” writers) and I felt completely inspired by this genre and how diverse it is. (Plus I got to see David Levithan and Stephanie Perkins act out some of their books. Hilarious!)

6. Best moment of book blogging in 2012?

Reuniting with Magan in March! So much fun. And also meeting Between You & Me author, Marisa Calin, for lunch during the summer. I was so nervous but she was so awesome, and I’m glad we got a chance to chat. And any chance I got to meet bloggers in real life — like Sash, Elena, and Alexa! (Wish we could do it all the time!)

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

Surprisingly, the most popular post I wrote was about my favorite book quotes.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

I know I tend to read books that aren’t as popular or mainstream, but sometimes it’s a little sad that newer books don’t get as much attention. Like a post for Madeleine George’s The Difference Between You + Me, which I adored.

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

Honestly? My iPhone has been very helpful in my book reading. If I can’t grab a pen fast enough, I snap a picture of my favorite quotes. I also use the note function quite a bit. Last year, I mentioned Goodreads and while it has some bugs (still), I do like the scanning function to use at Barnes & Noble. So easy!

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

My original goal was to read 120 books this year, then 150, and then I raised it to 160. I’m just a few books off from 160 and I’m sure I’ll get there. I did not, though, read 6 classics like I wanted to back in January. I am ashamed and will try to make up for that in 2013. (Any suggestions?)

Looking Ahead…

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2012 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2013?

Speechless by Hannah Harrington + The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life by Tara Altebrando. I hate that I kept thinking I had so much time to pick these up.!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013?

Just One Day by Gayle Foreman. The praise is crazy! Also Jen E. Smith’s This is What Happy Looks Like.

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2013?

Estelle loves the library

One thing I have to do is to stop buying quite as many books. I have to work through the piles I have in my bookshelves (and piled on the floor and on my window sills) and make more of an effort to borrow books from the library and from others.

I may start simple with book reading goals for 2013. I do want to read more adult books, classics, and just pace myself. This year was full of a ton of changes for me, and I think that’s reflected in the final few months of my reading.

And as far as writing goes, I need to be sure to keep things exciting and thought provoking for the people who are stopping in to read, and, most importantly, me. My work will suffer if I’m not excited. I know this. I’m hoping my brain clears and Magan and I can keep a roll similarly to our holiday posts with unique blog ideas! I think as time goes on we are going to be incorporating more of our other interests in RBR too, and that makes me happy!

♥

Have to just take a quick minute to thank Magan for being such an amazing partner and friend. This blog is so much fun, and I love every minute of it because we are working together. Thank you thank you thank you for everything.

And to this amazing community that takes the time to comment on posts and send a tweet… the communication never ends and I love it. I feel so lucky, and I feel even luckier to call some of you bloggers such great friends. I can’t wait for 2013!

2012 book year in review, favorite books of 2012

Magan: 2012 End of Year Book Survey

2012 book year in review, favorite books of 2012

The lovely Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner hosts the Annual End of Year Book Survey. Jamie asks the questions and we answer! Estelle and I are each doing separate posts so we can share whatever we’d like. Be on the lookout for Estelle’s answers later this week!

Best In Books 2012

1. Best Book You Read In 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want.)

These are in no particular order, but are some of my top rated favorites:

I’ll Tell You Mine by Pip Harry
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
Burning Blue by Paul Griffin
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
How to Save a Life by Sarah Zarr
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Insurgent by Veronica Roth

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

Lauren Henderson’s Flirting in Italian was one of the most disappointing books I’ve read in a long while. I don’t ever like to discourage people from reading a book, but I felt like I needed to raise a warning flag with that one. The Disenchantments, What’s Left of Me, and The Selection also didn’t live up to my expectations.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012? 

The Ruby Oliver series by E. Lockhart. So many people told me they loved these books and I was a little wary, but once I finally started reading them, I BLEW THROUGH THEM. (Actually, let me clarify. I’ve had the 4th book on hold for about a month at the library and apparently, the person who has it checked out is never going to return it.)

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?

book cover for second chance summer by morgan matson

Oh, goodness. Either Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson, Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker, or My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick — all extremely amazing contemporaries. As far as sci-fi/fantasy/dystopians — most likely Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi or Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?

Hmm. Let’s say I rediscovered Delirium by Lauren Oliver. You may remember that last year, this book was filed under my most disappointing reads of 2011. I reread it earlier this year to give it another chance and FELL IN LOVE. I was wrong, y’all. I was wrong.

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?

Please allow me to slow clap Sara Zarr. I think she’s my main new-to-me author whose work I just wanted to devour. I was so, so thankful she had several books I could read after I discovered How to Save a Life. She’s the best!

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

Hands down This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers. I thought, “Zombies?! Eww.” But I read it anyway because Courtney is amazing and she certainly didn’t let me down.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi is ah-mazing. I couldn’t even put my thoughts into words to write a review for this one. Every time I tried, I failed. I did meet her this year and that was the icing on the cake! 

veronica rossi in austin at book people

9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:

I’m not a huge rereader, but I will probably be rereading Pandemonium, Shatter Me, and Insurgent (and basically any other prequel book) to make sure I remember the endings well enough to move onto the next book with no confusion. I discovered re-reading is a very beneficial tool when there’s tons of time between releases!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?

Even though I didn’t love this book, the cover is still absolutely gorgeous: The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour.

11. Most memorable character in 2012? 

A from Every Day by David Levithan definitely left an imprint. Sid’s personality in What Happens Next was one of my favorites; I loved her snark and sass.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

book review for How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

Oh, brother. I feel like there’s a lot of pressure choosing the right one(s). How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr left me stunned. I am not a person who writes down quotes when she reads, but I wanted to highlight the whole book.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012? 

One Pink Line by Dina Silver was a book that made me so, so thankful for my life. It’s brought my mom and I even closer. Live Through This by Mindi Scott was also a really powerful read. There were moments I almost put it down because it was so intense, but dang. So good.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read? 

Good gosh, that would have to be Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. I was *gasping* for air when I finished the final pages of this book. I loved it so, so much!

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012? 

“. . .There are certain people who come into your life, and leave a mark. . . Their place in your heart is tender; a bruise of longing, a pulse of unfinished business. Just hearing their names pushes and pulls at you in a hundred ways, and when you try to define those hundred ways, describe them even to yourself, words are useless.” — from Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

(Don’t you just want to read that book now? Yes? DO IT!)

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012? 

Longest: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor, 528 pages
Shortest: Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr, 198 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!

Oh! That would most definitely be the ending of Pandemonium. Or the ending of Insurgent. Both of those were like, “WAIT! WHAT JUST HAPPENED? ARE YOU SERIOUS?” I had to find my phone and start texting friends.

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

Can we just talk about Cinder and Kai for a moment? How amazing are they?! And, um, Rose and Will in The Survival Kit were so perfectly paired. Ay yi yi. Loved them! In Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe, I LOVED the relationship between Grams and Chloe.

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously:

Speechless by Hannah Harrington. Hannah is such a powerful writer. I love that she can do something pretty bold with a character (like making them choose to stop speaking) and creatively write their story.

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

Mandee at VeganYANerds gifted me I’ll Tell You Mine by Pip Harry when we did a book swap earlier this year. It’s an Aussie book and Mandee had highly recommended it. The storyline is fairly simple, but the writing is spot on. I want more of Pip’s work!

 Book Blogging/Reading Life in 2012

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2012? 

I ADORE Lisa at Lisa is Busy Nerding. Lisa and I are newer friends and I’m oh-so-thankful to get to know this awesome lady! Melissa at Writer Grrl Reads is one of the sweetest, kindest ladies I think deserves way more attention. (It’s really hard for me to narrow this down. I follow TONS and TONS of blogs in Google Reader and I wish I could give a shout out to every one of you.)

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2012? 

My review for Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo was really difficult for me to write because the book exceeded my expectations. The writing was so amazing that I didn’t know how to do the book justice. I’m really happy with what I finally was able to put together though.

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?

Hmm. By comment count, this probably doesn’t seem like much since there are only 5 comments, but I was so happy to know there were people who struggled alongside me with balancing life (jobs, husbands, etc.) with blogging. I wrote about my biggest challenge in 2012: balance.

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

Goodness. It’s hard to pinpoint just one of her discussions, but Kelly at Radiant Shadows does a fantastic job with discussions. Every week, I feel like she has something new and though-provoking to say!

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

This was the year that my mind exploded because of bookish awesomeness. I went to ALA Midwinter and ALA Annual, both fantastic events where I got to meet some INCREDIBLE people. TLA was in Houston, TX and I went to that event as well. I have gone to a handful of signings at Book People and Barnes and Noble in Austin that have left me wanting more one-on-one time with the authors because they all have such unique things to share about their books. Every one of those events and every single opportunity I had to meet an author, book friend, or publisher, I was left a little star struck. 2012 was absolutely amazing!

Ginger and me at TLA, Houston, TX

Veronica Roth and me with the signed copy of Insurgent! I don’t know how I didn’t pass out from excitement…

6. Best moment of book blogging in 2012?

I’ve really been trying not to repeat the same book titles over and over, but if you’ve followed our blog or twitter throughout this year, you know my mad/crazy love for Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson. I was involved in lots of tweets/discussions asking people what they thought of it and pleading with people to read it ASAP. I met Morgan at TLA right before its release and got an ARC of the book. About two months later, at ALA Annual, I was walking down an aisle and Morgan was walking toward me. Of course I recognized who SHE was, but I had NO idea she would know who I was. When she walked up by me and said, “Oh my goodness! Magan!” and hugged me, I almost fell on the floor.

Morgan Matson. Knew. Who. I. Was.

Let me state that this is not me getting a big head or anything. It’s simply due to the fact that Morgan was also @ mentioned in all the tweet discussions and probably saw my face popping up in her interactions feed more than she would ever want to.

This was hands down one of the most amazing moments of my LIFE. Also, Morgan is one of the sweetest/kindest people. Can we be BFFs in real life, please?

morgan matson at texas library association conference in houston, tx

^^I was very much blushing when I met Morgan at TLA.

 

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

One of the most popular posts that I’ve personally written was my Bookish Gift Suggestions for the Non-Reader (or New to YA Reader).

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Oh.. hmm. I wish every post had a little bit more love, but I just hope that we’ll continue to grow and interact with more people! 🙂

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

Yikes. I should probably say something like.. my credit card.. because I’ve purchased so many books this year, but I would have to say that conferences and signings have really just opened my eyes to the book-world in a whole new way.

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

My reading goal was 115 books and I’m currently reading my 100th. I don’t think I’ll make that goal this year, but it’s okay. I read a lot of amazing things this year and am really looking forward to so, so much next year!

 

Looking Ahead…

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2012 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2013?

After reading Jen and Carla’s End of Year Survey post, Carla convinced me Melina Marchetta’s Lumatere Chronicles series needs to be pushed to the top of my reading pile.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013?

Honestly, I’m scared/nervous/excited for Requiem by Lauren Oliver. I cannot believe the series is almost over (and oh, will I mourn it), but I NEED TO KNOW where Lauren is taking us! How does Lena’s story end?!

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2013?

One thing I’ve realized this month is that it’s okay to not always be perfectly on schedule or to always have a review go live. Estelle and I planned to let December be a more relaxed month for us, to post when we want to or do themed-holiday posts. It’s been so incredibly fun to think outside the box. I want to allow myself to do that more in 2013. To have more freedom to actually post all the crazy ideas that are in my head.

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Looking back at Last Year: 2011 End of Year Survey

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THANK YOU:

I wanted to take a moment to say thank  you to each and every one of you that have stopped by our blog this year. Thank you to the friends who have shared books with me (whether that be a recommendation or dropping one in the mail for me to borrow). Thank you for your comments, your tweets, your goodreads comments, your emails, etc., etc.. All of it. I have made some amazing, supportive, incredible friends in this community throughout the last year and I’m so overwhelmed by that. Estelle and I are so honored that anyone would want to pick up a book because of us. We are so touched when you reach out and want to get to know us beyond the book reviews. 

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

2012 has been so incredible. I cannot wait to see what happens next year. So many thanks go to Estelle for being the kindest, hardest working blog partner and friend a girl could ask for. Thank you for every single post you’ve written and every word of mine you’ve edited. 

Here’s to 2013!