Monday 1 January 2018

Annual End Of Year Survey, 2017 Edition!

I have been looking forward to doing this survey for a few months now! It's always fun to reflect on my reads from the year, and I enjoy using my reflections to set 2018 goals reading-wise! This survey is created by Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner so check it out!

Number Of Books I Read: 65

Number Of Re-Reads: 0

Best Book:
'Lies We Tell Ourselves' by Robin Talley.

Well, here it is. This year's chosen 'best book'. I adored this read because it had a fair few of these categories combined: it made me cry, pushed diversity in a way that I've never seen before, focused on a rarely covered time period and those opening chapters haunt me.

Book I Thought I Would Love More, But Didn't:
'Stargirl' by Jerry Spinelli.

I have to say, I'm disappointed that I didn't love this like I thought I would. It's considered a classic of Contemporary YA and so many people love it (and it's message) that I was sure it was a good book for me. I found the whole thing a little creepy though to be honest.

Most Surprising Book I Read (In A Good Way):
'The Toymakers' by Robert Dinsdale.

I expected to like this book, but I didn't expect to be so mesmerised by it, nor did I go in expecting this to be a five star read! This book took me back to the magic of my childhood and managed to combine the enchantment of toy shops at Christmas with the trauma of war/the outside world perfectly.

Most Surprising Book I Read (In A Bad Way):
'The Geek Feminist Revolution' by Kameron Hurley.

I really thought this book was going to be revolutionary. Sadly, it felt more like a biography with quite a bit of self promotion. The author repeats herself in these essays a lot, they don't seem to run all that coherently. I don't feel like I learned an awful lot to be honest.

Book I Pushed The Most People To Read:
'Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls' by Francesca Cavallo & Elena Favilli.

I recommended this to so many friends and members of my family as a book good for small girls who want something more than they're given. Girls can be ambitious, can do great things, and they can do it all without men. This book does a great job of proving that, with some gorgeous art alongside it!

Best Series Starter:
'A Darker Shade Of Magic' by V.E. Schwab.

I'd been told repeatedly to read this, and now that I have, it's without a doubt one of the best series starters I've ever read. I'm totally invested in the world and the characters, and can't wait to read book two!

Best Sequel:
'The Girl In The Tower' by Katherine Arden.

I really enjoyed this book. In fact, I loved the first one too, which I read in 2017 too, but this was even better and that's why it's my favourite sequel! Fantastic world-building, great character and plot development and not an ounce of filler material in sight!

Best Series End:
'Ruin & Rising' by Leigh Bardugo.

I'm pretty sure this was the only series I finished this year, and I'm way behind everyone else on that front! Nevertheless, this was the best book of the three in this trilogy and I loved it. I even warmed to Mal a little, which I hadn't done in books one and two, so that's even more impressive!

Favourite New Author Discovered:

Renée Ahdieh (I read: 'Flame In The Mist' & 'The Wrath & The Dawn')

I read two books by this lovely lady and I think that she is well deserving of the award because I enjoyed both, particularly 'The Wrath & The Dawn'! One set in Feudal Japan, the other taken straight from the land of the Arabian Nights! Great books, and a great new discovery for me!

Best Book From A Genre I Don't Usually Read:
'I Am Malala' by Malala Yousafzai.

Non-fiction is becoming a genre that I'm delving more deeply into as of late, which is something I've always wanted to do. But most of all, I wanted to read this book because I think it's important be diverse in my reading. I learnt a lot, not just about Malala's life, but also about the politics of her home country which I've never fully understood before.

Most Action-Packed/Unputdownable Book:
'One Of Us Is Lying' by Karen M. McManus.

This book had me totally hooked from beginning to end. It's weird, I wouldn't usually read this sort of thing. McManus' debut felt like a cross between The Breakfast Club, Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars. High school stereo types coming together, solving a mystery and facing the intrigue and rumours that are often found in school settings. Figuring out what was the truth and what was a lie was so much fun, and the finale was thrilling.

Most Likely To Re-Read:
'A Christmas Carol' by Charles Dickens.

Who doesn't love a good Christmas story? I had never read a story by Charles Dickens before the day that I read this, but boy am I regretting that now. There's clearly a reason why his work is so highly regarded. He totally nailed the classic Victorian ghost story on the head, and having watched so many retellings of the film, I was surprised by how powerfully the book still affected me.

Favourite Cover Of The Year:
'Rebel Of The Sands' by Alwyn Hamilton.

This cover is so pretty, and I'm in love with the others in the series too! It might be simple, but it includes three of my favourite things: silhouettes, interesting colour combinations (gold and blue, who knew?) and a little bit of shiny gold when you hold it up in the light! So pretty! 

Most Memorable Character:
Parker Grant from 'Not If I See You First' by Eric Lindstrom.

She might not have been my favourite character. Heck. She definitely wasn't. But she wins this award because her sassy, bitchy nature was certainly unforgettable. And I did see a change as I read, which is what you always want from a character who is so mean! Also, she was the first ever blind POV that I've read from so that was certainly something new and memorable.

Most Beautifully Written Book:
'The Woman In Black & Other Ghost Stories' by Susan Hill.

This book really got me. I don't know what it is about Hill's writing that entices me in, but she does it masterfully. Most people wouldn't really consider 'horror' to be a genre that can be beautifully written, but Hill has a very distinct style that captures my attention every time.

Most Thought-Provoking/Life-Changing Book:
'Good Bones' by Margaret Atwood.

My first ever Margaret Atwood read? Of course it changed my life! Atwood has been on my TBR for the longest time, and so many people told me that reading her work will be a bit of a revelation. Well it was. I'll certainly be reading more.

Book I Can't Believe I Waited To Read:
'Fairest' by Marissa Meyer.

I finished 'The Lunar Chronicles' so long ago, but I've waited an absolute age to buy a copy of Levana's back story. I finally did so after Christmas though, and of course I loved how much more depth it brought to Meyer's already amazing world. I'm sorry, I'm embarrassed for me too.

Favourite Passage/Quote I Read:

'Sometimes the only thing a book gives its reader is a paper cut.'
-- 'The Gifts Of Reading' by Robert MacFarlane.

Shortest Book I Read:
'Homecoming' by Claire Legrand, 26 PAGES.

Longest Book I Read:
'The Final Empire' by Brandon Sanderson, 647 PAGES.

Book That Shocked Me The Most:
'The Bone Sparrow' by Zana Fraillon.

The brutality of this book is shocking. Especially upon realising that it's set in Australia, a country that should be far more developed and free than this book suggests. I felt for the characters in this book and their plight, and the concentration camp feel that I got here scared me. A lot.

OTP Of The Year:
Ash & Kaisa from 'Ash' by Malinda Lo.

F/f romance! Hooray! I rarely get to read about it, especially in Fantasy, but here it is and I loved it! I will ship them until the end of time.

Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year:
Lynn & Lucy from 'Not A Drop To Drink' by Mindy McGinnis.

I thought I'd go for a sort of older/younger sister bond here, and I really liked that Lucy managed to break Lynn's cold exterior so well. McGinnis did a great job at showing the slow but beautiful attachment between these two characters.

Best Release From A Previously Read Author:
'A Quiet Kind Of Thunder' by Sara Barnard.

There was never a doubt in my mind about Barnard winning this category. I loved 'Beautiful Broken Things' last year, I loved 'A Quiet Kind Of Thunder' even more this year, and that's unusual because fluffy YA contemporary romance is so not my usual thing. 

Best Book Recommended To Me Repeatedly:
'Radio Silence' by Alice Oseman.

Peer pressure was heavily involved in this one from pretty much everyone I've ever interacted with in the Blogosphere. I loved the characters, loved the message about 'good' and 'bad' fandom, loved everything. I don't know why I didn't read this sooner.

Newest Fictional Crush:
Khalid from 'The Wrath & The Dawn' by Renée Ahdieh.

Well, anyone who has read this book will see why. Khalid is so adorable! I saw through his hard exterior straight away, and can't wait to see more of him in the next book!

Best 2017 Debut:
'The Bear & The Nightingale' by Katherine Arden.

Arden wins two categories of course because this series blew me away. I loved the amount of historical detail she put into this, and the inclusion of fae, spirits and creatures from Russian folklore. I can't wait to read the final book in this series!

Best World-Building/Most Vivid Setting:
'Three Dark Crowns' by Kendare Blake.

I have to say, I was a little surprised by how invested I became in the world of this book. I loved the three different 'settings' and how well everything merged together to form a cohesive plot. Blake writes her settings so well too!

Book That Made Me Smile/Laugh:
'Noteworthy' by Riley Redgate.

This was an obvious choice for me, because I ended up laughing so much at how well I recognised some of the situations in this book. I went to a Performing Arts university and the amount of drama found there is unreal. Thanks for the laughs and the nostalgia!

Book That Made Me Sad/Cry:
'The Sun Is Also A Star' by Nicola Yoon.

I wasn't expecting this one to have the sad ending that I did. I kind of expected a 'and they all lived happily ever after'! But that isn't the case in scenarios like this and Yoon did a great job in illustrating that.

Hidden Gem Of The Year:
'The Goblins Of Bellwater' by Molly Ringle.

This book was so great. I can't stop shouting about it! More people need to read this actually, especially if you're into urban fantasy involving goblins! Ringle made the fae as real and sinister as I imagined they would be, with their own set of rules, and the human characters are definitely worth shouting about too.

Book That Crushed My Soul:
'The Hate U Give' by Angie Thomas.

This book really got to me. Racism and police brutality are very prevalent in this day and age, and reading about it here really brought home just how unjust the system is. It's easy to see why this book has won a place on so many people's shelves.

Most Unique Book:
'Lot No.249' by Arthur Conan Doyle.

I have never read a book about an Egyptian mummy before! It was very strange but very cool to read one, and it was pretty well written too! I really didn't expect a story like this to come from the author of the Sherlock Holmes books either, but there you go!

Book That Made Me The Most Mad:
'Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki & His Years Of Pilgrimage' by Haruki Murakami.

I actually threw this book across the room when I finished it. In many ways it was really good, with an interesting plot and a mystery that totally hooked me. But I was so disappointed that so few answers were given at the end, and the final chapters pretty much led to nothing.

A Book I Didn't Get To In 2017 That Is Top Priority In 2017:
'Six Of Crows' by Leigh Bardugo.

This has been on the list for way too long. It's my next read, I can't wait for this one any longer!

Most Anticipated 2018 Non-Debut:
'The Cruel Prince' by Holly Black.

I've read a lot of Holly Black's books and really enjoy her imaginative ideas. I particularly liked her books about the Fae, and so look forward to another series about them!

Most Anticipated 2018 Debut:
'Children Of Blood & Bone' by Tomi Adeyemi.

This book looks AWESOME. I love the cover, the synopsis, absolutely everything about it quite frankly. I can't wait to get hold of it. Hopefully. Please?

Most Anticipated 2018 Sequel/Series End:
'The Winter Of The Witch' by Katherine Arden.

This was a bit of a no brainer for me. Books one and two were five star reads and I have high hopes for the final book in the trilogy.

Something I Hope To Accomplish In My Reading/Blogging Life:

I would really like to finish more series that I have started already, so that I can feel like I actually deserve to start new ones!

A 2018 Release I've Already Read:

Marissa Meyer's newest release was pretty darned high on the priority list, and I enjoyed it a lot! This one moves away from the fairy tales she likes to reimagine, and instead tries out superheroes! Great characters, a richly developed world and an intriguing plot. Need I go on?

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