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