Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Wrapping up 2013: End of Year Book Survey

best books 2013 end of year survey
Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner created the most wonderful end of year survey to help readers and book bloggers reflect on their year in books.  I've included books I read at any point during the year, but Bookmark Dragon only started in October of 2013 so some of the books I mention below haven't been discussed here on the B-Drag.  I still wanted to answer these questions, though, for my own benefit and reflection.  Feel free to answer any or all of the questions for yourself!

 Note: The survey is for books you read throughout the year, no matter when they were published, and is not limited to just books that came out in 2013!!  Also, all links go to Amazon.

Best YA book 2013

1. Best Book You Read In 2013? 

This is like asking me to select the best bone in my body.  I'm rather partial to all of them.  But if I MUST choose, I'd say The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

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

 Allegiant by Veronica Roth.

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

 Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale.

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

I've recommended both The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein an awful lot this year.

 5. Best series you discovered in 2013?

I discovered Cinda Williams Chima's Seven Realms series this year.  It's one of the best fantasy series I've ever read.

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?

It's a tie between Cinda Williams Chima and Sharon Shinn!

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

I read 17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma this past Summer.  I don't really know what genre it is - it's kind of a mystery-paranormal-psychological thriller-ish book - but whatever genre it is, I don't read a lot of it.  It was nice to dip my toes into these unfamiliar waters for a while, though I still prefer reliable narrators to unreliable ones, as I was reminded of with this reading experience.

 8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?

 I SO LOVED Veronica Rossi's Through The Ever Night.  It's one of the few sequels that improves on the already fantastic first book in a series.

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

Let's be honest here.  The Harry Potter series has been a pretty much guaranteed annual read for me since I discovered them over a decade ago.  I look forward to it every year, much like my annual Christmastime viewing of The Lord of the Rings movies with my husband.  Because nothing says Peace On Earth like watching Aragon take on hoards of orcs. 

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

Ha!  I just did a post on this last week.  This one is probably my #1 favorite:

11. Most memorable character in 2013? 

This has to be Zoe Ardelay from Sharon Shinn's Troubled Waters.  She's a kindred spirit, and one of the fictional people I'd most like to sit down and have dinner with.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?

Sharon Shinn's Troubled Waters.  I loved that book.  I wonder how many more times this book will pop up in this survey....
(Read it.)

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

Of course The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

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

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale.

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

  "I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”
-The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

 How I did this: Went to my read books on Goodreads and sorted by page number and just looked for what I knew I read this yeaer that was the shortest and longest.
Shortest– The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (180).
Longest — Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (759).

 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!

The end of Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo had me positively DYING to talk to somebody.  (Probably a therapist.)

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

Hmm.  Han Alister and Raisa ana'Marianna were lovely to read about.

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

Of course, the answer to this question every year will be the Harry Potter series.  Second to that, though, is probably The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson.  I still like the first book in the series best, but I still greatly enjoyed finishing Elisa's journey.

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

 Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, recommended by Jannsen at Everyday Reading.

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?

I can't find a Goodreads sort button for genre, so I'll guess... fantasy?  I have read more fantasy this year than I have in years past.  What can I say, I'm on a kick.

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

Sturmhond from Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo.

23. Best 2013 debut you read?

I'm a little embarrassed to say that I only read a handful of debuts this year.  Of those, though, my favorite would have to be The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani.

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

I can't decide between Cinda Williams Chima's Seven Realms series and Sharon Shinn's Troubled Waters.  Both had phenomenal world building.

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

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray.  That book is completely nuts.  But I loved it.

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

Oh goodness.  I'm not much of a crier, but The Fault in Our Stars by John Green nearly did me in.

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

I don't think many people are reading Sharon Shinn's Troubled Waters, which is a crying shame.  (And part of the reason I'm promoting it so heavily.)  It's well worth the read.


1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2013? 

Ummm.... mine.  All hail the B-Drag.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2013? 

Writing reviews is my favorite part of having a book blog.  I take my time on them and try to really capture the essence of the books I read without resorting to spoilers.  I had the most fun writing reviews for Troubled Waters and Allegiant, for very different reasons, but fun nonetheless.  (These links go to my review, but if you want to go to Amazon instead, here are the links for Troubled Waters and Allegiant.  You're welcome.)

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?

Still working up a viewership wide enough to engage frequent discussion, but so far the posts with the most comments are my post on minimalist posters of Disney films and my post on the Meyers-Briggs type indicator of Harry Potter and Star Wars characters.  

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

I enjoyed reading this post on if book blogging has fallen out of fashion.  As a new book blogger, I obviously found this to be relevant and worthy of consideration.

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

 ...Virtually connecting with other book bloggers?  I haven't attended many events this year (largely due to the birth of my daughter early in 2013) but hope to attend more in 2014.  Someday I'd like to make it to BEA, where all the fancy book bloggers go.  

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

Starting the B-drag!!  Connecting with other book bloggers who I've read for years!  Engaging with others in the comments!  Participating in the book blogosphere!  It's been an exhilarating ride so far, and I hope this is just the beginning.

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

I am delighted to say that my post popular post is my review of Sharon Shinn's Troubled Waters.  

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

I have to echo what Jamie said: All my reviews!  They take the longest to write, but only rarely get comments. I have no doubt that people read them but sometimes when they aren’t getting as much comment love it’s easy to think they aren’t being read. 

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

 My local indie bookstore, The King's English, is awesome-sauce.

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

I only started the B-Drag in October, so I had no goals for 2013.  Looking forward, though, I do have a few goals... (drum roll please...)


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

 I still haven't read Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand.  I MUST.

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

OH MY GOSH.  Rise and Ruin by Leigh Bardugo; Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi; Cress by Marissa Meyer, to name a few.

3. 2014 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Ahhh!  I don't know!!  I need to get on my debut lists STAT.

 4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2014?

See answer to question 2 above.  Cue squealing and hand flapping.

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

I'm avoiding setting marketing goals (number of page hits, number of comments, etc.) because I want this to continue to be a place of fun and stress-free book discussion.  But I am setting other goals: I want to read at least 50 books in 2014, and I want to read in more genres than I'm currently familiar with, just to broaden my horizons.  I'm looking forward to it.  Bring it on, 2014!


  1. Melissa, I really enjoyed reading your answers! As I was reading them, I wrote down a few thoughts. Here they are:

    *I have the Fault in Our Stars in my possession. I don't know why I'm delaying my reading of it. Must read it soon!
    *I never considered Cinda Williams Chima's fantasy series before, but your thoughts on her series have made me curious. What else can you say about it? :)
    *What did you think of Siege and Storm? I had a mixed reaction to Shadow and Bone, so I've been hesitant about the second installment. Is it stronger than the first? I agree with you, the covers of this series are very lovely.
    *Never heard of Troubled Waters before, but I’m now convinced I need to give it a try!
    *Oh... Code Name Verity. I've been wanting to read this one for a while now. I didn't have a chance to fit it in in 2013, but I know I must in 2014.
    *We both share the same love for Marissa Meyer! Yay! :)

    Thanks for sharing your year in reading, Melissa! I hope 2014 turns out to be another memorable one!

    Marlene @ The Flyleaf Review

    1. Hi Marlene! Thanks for your thoughtful comment! Here are some thoughts in return:
      -I'm afraid The Fault in Our Stars has been hyped up quite a bit. I find that almost always spoils my reading experience. It's still worth looking into, though. Enjoy!
      -Cinda Williams Chima is a recent discovery for me, but I really loved her Seven Realms series. There are 4 books in the series, with all of them about 400-600 pages long. (So, they're on the lengthy side, but not like George R.R. Martin lengthy.) She's not the type of author to over-explain her world; rather she just drops you in the middle of it and expects that you'll be able to keep up. It's a wonderfully imaginative, fully-realized fantasy world with and large cast of three-dimensional characters with hopes, strengths, shortcomings, and conflicting philosophies and beliefs. I had a really wonderful time reading it, and certainly recommend it! Let me know if you do end up giving it a try!
      -Hmm. I'm not sure you'd like Siege and Storm if you didn't like Shadow and Bone. I first read them because the covers are just so pretty. :) I actually liked S&B more than S&S, so take that for what you will. On the other hand, S&S introduces the reader to a new character named Sturmhond, and it might be worth reading just to meet him, if you know what I mean. :) But the tone and pacing of the second book are very similar to the first, so if you weren't totally sold on S&B then I'd maybe wait until I was bored and home alone one weekend before picking up S&S. Does that help?
      -YES!!! Definitely give Troubled Waters a try! I don't know why more people haven't read that book. It really is just so wonderful. Sharon Shinn is spectacularly gifted, and I'm so glad to have discovered her this year.
      -I really did like Code Name Verity, but I didn't love it. Still, it's one of those books that stuck with me months after reading, so I've got to give it credit for being memorable.
      -Three cheers for Marissa Meyer! Her books are so fun to read, and from her blog posts and twitter updates she just seems like the most lovely person. I'd love to meet her one day.

      Thanks again for your comment!! I really appreciate it!

    2. Thanks for entertaining my questions! :)

      *Cinda Williams Chima's Seven Realms series sounds phenomenal! Boy, I do like the idea of being dropped into a lush world and navigating it on my own. I'll have to make time for her this year! :)
      *I did like Shadow and Bone, but I didn't love fall in love it. My main issues with it stem from the focus on outer beauty and Mal's underwhelming characterization. He didn't feel authentic to me. It's almost as if the romantic relationship he had with Alina defined him. He didn't stand on his own, and as a result, I couldn't get behind the romance. Now that you know a little more about my experience with the first book, would you say the second gets better? I have S&S in my possession. Checked it out from the library! Should I send it back unread? ;)
      *SOOO, I just found out my library has a copy of Troubled Waters! Total win! Gotta check it out soon. Will you be reading anything else from Shinn any time soon?
      *Did you know Code Name Verity has a companion novel titled Rose Under Fire? Do you think you'd be interested in picking that one up?
      *I totally agree with your assessment of Marissa! She's pretty cool to follow! I'm so excited for Cress. I cannot stress that enough. :)

      Marlene @ The Flyleaf Review

    3. -I look forward to hearing your thoughts on Cinda Williams Chima and Sharon Shinn! I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
      -I thought Alina and Mal's relationship was the weakest part of S&B, so I completely understand your feelings there. Mal's character is developed more in S&S, but I still wouldn't say he's a strong male lead. The plot is the real strength of S&S. I kept reading primarily because I just HAD to know what would happen. I'd give S&S a shot if I were you, but if you find you're not loving it then I won't blame you if you move on to something else.
      -Yes! I just finished Royal Airs, which is the sequel to Troubled Waters. Although not as strong as TW, I still loved every minute in that world. I definitely plan on reading more Shinn in the future. I've heard her archangel series is good, so I plan on reading that soon.
      -I'd heard about Rose Under Fire, but Code Name Verity is one of those books that stands alone in my mind. I think I'll pass on RUF, unless I hear that I absolutely must read it. Have you heard good things about it? Should I change my mind?
      -I can't believe Cress comes out next month. SO. EXCITED.

  2. Dear Mel. You read a lot. Love Lizzie

    1. I'm afraid so. I'm in good company, though. How's your Agatha Christie binge coming along?


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