Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2012 End of Year Book Survey

I remember last year, before I started blogging, coming across these end of year survey/ lists with all the awesome books other bloggers had read participating. So  last month when I saw that Jamie over at The Perpetual Page Turner was gearing up for her 3rd Annual End of Year Book Survey, I was all giddy to join in on the fun:)

1. Best Book You Read In 2012? 

Yeah. What a loaded question. Because it would be IMPOSSIBLE to narrow it down to one (or even two,) here is a breakdown by genre.

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

That's easy. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin  I just didn't connect with it at all. 

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

Small Damages by Beth Kephart, The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna and The Trouble with Flirting by Claire Lazebnik. 

 4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?

The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna, The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (Two words: Joe. Fontaine:), Small Damages by Beth Kephart and always, always Sunshine by Robin McKinley. 
 5. Best series you discovered in 2012?

Definitely The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta. I managed to read the entire series in the span of one year and am still not over it yet:) Also The Shatter Me Series by Tahereh Mafi. And, I am really loving the Hundred Oaks Series/ companion novels by Miranda Kenneally. 

 6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?

Some new, some just new to me: Jandy Nelson, Beth Kephart, Sangu Mandanna, Tahereh Mafi, Gayle Forman and Miranda Kenneally

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

Well it wasn't a new genre but this year was definitely the year of Contemps! I went from being a paranormal/ supernatural fiend to the Queen of all things contemp! I think the defining contemp read of the year for me was The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson.

 8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi kept me up late at night and I had a hard time putting down other great romantic reads like Slammed by Colleen Hoover, Just One Day by Gayle Forman, The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson and Wallbanger by Alice Clayton. 

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

Definitely Out of the Easy by Ruta Septys, Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi, and Just One Day by Gayle Forman:)

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

Oh, this one is HARD. I absolutely adore the cover of Antony John's Five Flavors of Dumb. I am such a music person and this chick on the cover ROCKS that look.

11. Most memorable character in 2012? 

Joe Fontaine from The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson;  Josie from Out of The Easy by Rita Sepetys; and Froi from The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta top my list. 

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?
So many! The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson for sure. Also, Small Damages by Beth Kephart, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifvater, Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor and Just One Day by Gayle Forman. 

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

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson because of the sheer beauty of the writing and Just One Day by Gayle Forman because it made me want to start writing again. 

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

I know I keep repeating myself here but again, The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson as well as Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta and Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. 
 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012? 

Yeah, this one is without a doubt the hardest one for me to answer. It's also my favorite question! Here are a few:

From The Fault in Our Stars by John Green:

"I'm in love with you," he said quietly. 
"Augustus," I said. 
"I am," he said. He was staring at me, and I could see the corners of his eyes crinkling. "I'm in love with you, and I'm not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I'm in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we'll ever have, and I am in love with you."

And here is another swoony one from The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson:

    "Good." He brushes his thumb on my cheek , and again his tenderness startles me.

    "Because I'm going crazy, Lennie." Bat. Bat. Bat. And just like that, I'm going crazy too because I think Joe Fontaine is about to kiss me.   
     Forget the convent.   
    Let's get this out of the way: My previously nonexistent floozy-factor is blowing right off the charts.    
   "I didn't know you knew my name," I say.   
   "So much you don't know about me, Lennie." He smiles and takes his index finger and presses it to my lips, leaves it there until my heart lands on Jupiter: three seconds, then removes it, turns around, and heads back into the living room. Whoa-- well, that was either the dorkiest or sexiest moment of my life, and I'm voting for sexy on account of my standing here dumbstruck and giddy, wondering if he did kiss me after all."

Here is another quick one from the same book:

"Oh, God," he whispers, reaching his hand behind my neck and bringing my lips to his. "Let's let the whole fucking world explode this time."
And we do. 

Here is a steamy one from Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi:

I want this up and I want these down. 

Here are a couple from The Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifvater:

Puck doesn't look away from the orange glow at the end of the world. "Tell me what it's like. The race."
What it's like is a battle. A mess of horses and men and blood, the fastest and the strongest of what is left from two weeks of preparation on the sand. It's the surf in your face, the deadly magic of November on your skin, the Scorpio drums in the place of your heartbeat. It's speed, if you're lucky. It's life and death or it's both and there's nothing like it. Once upon a time, this moment, this last light of the evening the day before the race--was the best moment of the year for me. The anticipation of the game to come. But that was when all I had to lose was my life.


For a long moment I stand on the rocks, imagining where she would be, and then I climb back up the cliff path. The ground is dark but here, closer to the sky, the evening air is still dark and red. Elsewhere on Thisby it must be night, but here, we still have a whisper of the evening sun, far away across the western sea. I find her there at the top of the cliff, facing the horizon. Her knees are pulled up to her chin and her arms wrapped around them. She looks like she has grown from the rocks and dirt around her. Though she hears my footsteps her eyes keep searching the sea. 
I draw myself up next to her and look at her profile, taking no effort to disguise my attention, here, where there is only Puck to see me. The evening sun loves her throat and her cheekbones. Her hair, the color of cliff grass rises and falls over her face in the breeze.

Here is a short one from Small Damages by Beth Kephart:

When I open the door, a nun blackbirds by, and I keep walking out into the air, which smells like fruit and sun and the color blue; it smells like blue in Seville.

And lastly, one from Just One Day by Gayle Forman:

When he finally kisses my mouth, everything goes oddly quiet, like the moment of silence between lightening and thunder. One Mississippi. Two Mississippi. Three Mississippi. Four Mississippi. Five Mississippi. 
We kiss again.  The next kiss is the kind that breaks open the sky. It steals my breath and gives it back. It shows me that every other kiss I've had in my life has been wrong. 

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012? 

Hmmm...I guess novella's probably don't count. I would have to say If I Stay by Gayle Forman at 201 pages (though it felt quicker when I was reading!) and Outlander by Diana Gabaldon at 870 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!

Ooh, great question! As far as swoony moments I'll have to go with the final scene in the forest with Lennie and Joe in The Sky is Everywhere as well as the scene in the art squat between Allyson and Willem in Just One Day by Gayle Forman. As far as totally SEXY and HOT moments I'll go with Juliette and  a certain someone in her room, in the dark,  in Unravel Me:) 

In terms of a big shocking revelation I think I will have to go with Maggie Steifvater's The Raven Boys when there was a HUGE revelation in the middle of the book that I totally didn't see coming. There was also a shocking moment at the end of the book! 

And I have to say that after I read the final pages of Quintana of Charyn I had the biggest smile on my face and immediately needed to gush with my friend Lauren (who was also reading the book) about what an awesomely fantastic, and amazing series  Melina Marchetta had written:)

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

Romantic: Gotta go with, you guessed it, The Sky is Everywhere's Lennie and Joe. I also loved the relationship between Puck and Sean in The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, the friendship between Queenie and Maddie in Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, and the relationship between Kenzie and Estela in Small Damages by Beth Kephart. 

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously
Definitely The Scorpio Races and The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater as well as Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor. Also The Diviners by Libba Bray. 

20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:
Slammed by Colleen Hoover was recommended to me by my friend Lauren over at Love is Not a Triangle and I LOVED it.  Also Asheley over at Into The Hall of Books recommended On The Island by Tracey Garvis Graves and it rocked! Leanna at Daisy Chain Book Reviews recommended On Dublin Street by Samantha Young and I couldn't put it down! I can't remember who it was that talked up Lovestruck Summer  by Melissa C. Walker (I think it may have been April at Good Books and Good Wine) but I read it and LOVED it:) 

 Book Blogging/Reading Life 

in 2012 

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2012? 

Well I discovered so many, it was my first year blogging!  My favorites have been Jen Ryland/ YA Romantics,  Into the Hall of Books, Ashley Loves Books,  Bunbury in the Stacks, and most recently Love Is Not a TriangleIvy Book Bindings, A Reader of Fictions and Late Nights with Good Books. I also love those kids over at Cuddlebuggery Book Reviews because they totally crack me up. 

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2012? 

Hmmm. TOUGH one. I poured my guts out in The Sky is Everywhere and Just One Day and The Scorpio Races. And I struggled with my words in Finnikin of the Rock, Froi of the Exiles and Sunshine by Robin McKinley as well as The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?

I had fun writing a discussion post on my love of the bad girl in YA: I Don't give a Damn About my Bad Reputation...Why I Love the Bad Girl in YA Literature.  I also spoke a bit about genre blending in YA: Add One Part Dystopian, One Part Fantasy and a pinch of Steampunk, Blend Well...Looking at Genre Blending in YA Lit and I also had a great time with my Top Ten Jail Bait Book Boyfriends post. 

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

Oh, tough one. I enjoyed Jen Ryland/ YA Romantics' post Breaking News: Adults Read YA where she addressed the rise of the woman-child.  It was pretty fascinating. 

And I ALWAYS love my friend Lauren's Six Degrees of Separation Book Style Postsclick on the link to read her latest, over at her blog Love Is Not a Triangle

My friend Asheley had a great discussion post on the merits Re-reading favorite books over at her blog Into the Hall of Books. 

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

This is such a sore subject for me... I missed two awesome events this year.  In January John Green's Tour de Nerdfighting rolled through New Orleans and a family emergency came up at the last moment. I had my tickets and everything but wasn't able to attend ;( 

Then in June I had plans to attend the Fierce Reads tour stop in my neighboring city of Pensacola. But my oldest son was playing in  baseball tournament and I had to cancel.

In 2013 I am bound and determined to make an author event! And I already have one in mind. I have been in contact with author Ruta Sepetys who wrote one of my fave reads this year: Out of the Easy. I emailed her after reading it last month and asked if her upcoming book tour might include New Orleans, the city that is featured in Out of the Easy. She was so sweet and emailed me back that yes, New Orleans was going to be a stop and she looked forward to meeting me there. So, Ruta, I will see you in NOLA next year!
6. Best moment of book blogging in 2012?

Wow. So many. Of course all the buddies I have made over the year is at the top: LaurenJen, Asheley, Ashley, Keertana, Candace and the rest. I also have small little fits every time an author acknowledges a review or something like that. When Maggie Steifvater tweeted me that she loved my review of The Scorpio Races I didn't stop smiling for days. Same with Gayle Forman, Miranda Kenneally, Tahereh Mafi, Trish Doller, Simone Elkeles, Myra McEntire, and so, so many others.  Author Misty Provencher thanked me in the acknowledgements of her book Hale Maree a few weeks back and that was just so amazing to see my little blog listed in a REAL BOOK:) 

 But I think the one author moment I loved best was when Beth Kephart, who wrote one of my favorite books of the year, Small Damages, wrote a blog post with a snippet of my review thanking me. I know Beth does this a lot, and I think it really speaks volumes about the kind of person she is that she takes the time to do things like that. I know authors are just people too but I still fangirl like crazy when I actually get to correspond with one of them:)

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

By views: If I Stay by Gayle Forman  and The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater in a close second. 

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Probably some of my review posts.  Especially on the books I really loved or the reviews I really poured my heart and soul into. Here are a few examples:

Finnikin of The Rock and Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Small Damages by Beth Kephart
Cold Fury by T. M. Goeglein
Saving June by Hannah Harrington
Sunshine by Robin McKinley
Lovestruck Summer by Melissa C. walker

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

Pinterest and Tumblr. Mine are HERE and HERE. It's not completely bookish but I might never have tried them out if I had not been blogging. And I love visiting different author's pages. I especially love author Trish Doller's Tumblr page

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

YES. Here is the rundown:

My Goodreads Reading Challenge Goal: 140 books. As of today I only have 5 books left to meet my goal!

The 2012 Debut Author Challenge-                                    39 books
The 2012 YA Contemporary Challenge-                            44 books
The 2012 Sophomore Reading Challenge-                         21 books
The 2012 New Adult Reading Challenge-                          19 books
The 2012 Support Your Local Library Challenge-           10 books

Looking Ahead…

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

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. So embarrassed I haven't read this yet. And Audrey Wait!  by Robin Benway because I think I will absolutely love it:) Also The Queen's Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013?

Just One Year, the sequel to Just One Day by Gayle Forman. Also, the next book in The Raven Boys Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater and the last book in the Smoke and Bone Trilogy by Laini Taylor!

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

Maybe try my hand at this SEO thing? I feel like I should. Definitely more author interviews. I'd like to start reading more adult fiction on a regular basis. Give audio books another try. I have so many blogger friends who swear by them. 

There it is. My reading/ blogging year at a glance! Are you participating in Jamie's 2012 End of Year Book Survey? Be sure to link me up in the comments below so I can visit yours!


  1. Love your year-end survey, Heather! I am totally with you on THE LOST GIRL--I was blown away by that debut. It almost, almost made it to my top spot this year, just missed it. :) Thanks for sharing your list! We're publishing ours at the end of the month.

    1. Oh, I cannot wait to check your's out Wendy!! And yes, here is hoping that Sangu Mandanna returns with more Eva next year!

  2. I love how this post chronicles your reading from last year. Our surveys are definitely going to have some similarities and I love how much we read alike! I am so happy to have found someone to discuss the LUMATERE CHRONICLES and MELINA MARCHETTA with, who truly appreciates the magnificence of her writing. I also want to thank you for recommending to me so many of these books you loved - THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE, SMALL DAMAGES for sure. I am seriously seething with desire to read JUST ONE DAY, and I will definitely be emailing you to discuss it when I get my hands on a copy. Thank you for your friendship and blogging support of me this year as well! I wouldn't have made it this far without your guidance.

    1. Can't wait to check yours out, LJ:) You know I love all my bloggy friends so...:)

      Maybe Santa will bring you Just One Day, or at least a pre-order...)

  3. Yes, Yes, YES! You MUST read The Queen's Thief ASAP! :D I love this survey, though, Heather! I suspect I've been given The Sky is Everywhere for Christmas (YAY!), so I can't wait to read that one or Small Damages which looks beautiful. I've fallen in love with the majority of the books you mentioned this year and your quotes were fantastically chosen as well! I think my survey is going up next week, but so much of it is so similar to yours, which I love! ;)

    1. Can't wait to read yours too, Keertana! And I think I need to go back and add the Sevenwaters Series to my 2013 must reads, I know how much you, Lauren, and Heidi love it:)

    2. And when you do get the chance to read The Sky... and Small Damages you must message me and let me know what you think!

  4. I enjoyed reading post this SO much. And thanks for mentioning me :) One of the highlights of my blogging year was becoming friends with you.

    I agree with almost all of your choices. And I promise to read Raven Boys, Froi and Quintana ASAP.

    When you figure SEO out, you'll have to tell me.

    1. I've been too lazy to actually sit down and try to figure it all out, Jen! But I'm going to make an effort this year. Really.

      Lauren, this post from April at Good Books and Good Wine would probably explain it better than I:

      and here is another:

  5. Aw I'm glad I found your blog this year too, Heather!

    I get the feeling that I should probably read The Sky is Everywhere, Just One Day, Out of the Easy, the rest of the Lumatere Chronicles! I'll add them to my TBR list. :) Sorry that you had some bad luck with book events. I hope that next year is better in terms of that!

    1. YES! I know contemps aren't really your thing but if you do decide to go there than you absolutely cannot go wrong with the three you mentioned AND Small damages!

      And The Lumatere Chronicles--sigh. As a Marchetta fan you really must finish that series up. You will not be disappointed, Amanda!

  6. Okay.
    Clearly I just finished The Scorpio Races last night because at the FIRST MENTION of that book I burst into tears again. I'm not even kidding. I'm sobbing over the book you keep talking about, which means I need to send an email with allcaps and stuff.

    LOVE this survey. LOVE that there are still so many books in it that I haven't read yet because that means 2013 is my year of catching up!

    1. I cannot wait for that email, Ash! You are making me want to read it (and listen to the audio version simultaneously) all over again!!! Luckily I have my own hard copy of TSR and can actually do that now!!:)


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