Sunday, January 4, 2015

The 2014 End of Year Survey Pt. 1

I have officially been blogging on The Runaway Reader for ONE WHOLE YEAR. Which means I will finally allow myself to do the End of Year Survey as hosted by the ever wonderful Jamie! That's such a weird rule, I know, but the more pressing thing is, IT'S BEEN ONE FULL YEAR OF THE RUNAWAY READER. I can't even comprehend this. What. How. October 2013 doesn't seem all that far away.

It's been another great year of blogging and it's all because of YOU GUYS. I love that I'm able to gab endlessly about random shit and you guys will be there to listen to me. THANK YOU FOR STICKING WITH ME EVEN THOUGH I'M INSANE. I lovee youuuu to the moon and back and I'm so excited for 2015. I feel totally refreshed about blogging and I think I've finally worked out a system that does work so 2015, watch out because I'm going to kick some ass! But for now, let me take a moment to just look back at all the things that happened in 2014.

*All links lead to my reviews. I was too lazy to include Goodreads links for the ones I didn't review. Sorry.

Number of Books Read: Didn't reach my 100 books goal but I still read 73
Number of Re-Reads: 3 (The Truth About Forever and the first two Harry Potter books)
Most-Read Genre: I didn't even have to think about this. CONTEMPORARY YA, OBVIOUSLY. I am a huge contemporary girl through and through and try as I might to expand my boundaries, I know I'll always come back crawling to it.


1. Best book you read in 2014?
I can't do this, Jamie. YOU KNOW I CAN'T. So I'm going to take the easy way out and break it down by genre.
  • Adult fiction - I'm going with Me Before You by Jojo Moyes because it was the first book that popped to mind and that has got to count for something, right? But I'm not surprised because it was fantastic.
  • Contemporary - Hard category because there were so many great ones I read this year! This might be a little surprising but I'm going to go with The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith.

2. Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love but didn't?
Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins. It wasn't a book that I was initially interested in but after reading all these rave reviews, I went in pretty certain I would come out IN LOVE and then, the opposite happened...

3. Most surprising book you read in 2014?
I'd say Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut because it ended up being nothing like I would have expected. Not that the synopsis really told me much but talk about surprising! And what was also surprising was just how much I found myself enjoying the story.

4. Book you pushed the most people to read (and they did)?
I don't know if I really pushed any books on other people. I feel like 2014 was the year where everyone pushed books on ME. So... I shall leave this answer.

5. Best series you started in 2014? Best sequel? Best series ender?
The best series I started this year would probably have to be The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater. I am now totally caught up and just have so much love for it.

The best sequel I read was Fire With Fire by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian which I loved SO MUCH. It was such an exciting sequel to Burn for Burn.

And the best series ender for me is undoubtedly Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. I still have so many feelings about that book! And truthfully, I couldn't have imagined a better way to end it all.

6. Favourite new author you discovered in 2014?
I think... Kasie West. I loved On the Fence and enjoyed The Distance Between Us and now? I'm just about prepared to read any contemporary book she comes out with (and I'll probably pick up the Pivot Point series too).

I might even say Gayle Forman as well? I read my very first Gayle Forman book this year (Just One Day) and really enjoyed it, and then went on to really enjoy If I Stay as well. So I definitely think she's a contender for this category as well.

And maybe Huntley Fitzpatrick too? AHH. I don't know, there are just so many fantastic authors I discovered this year!!

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
The one thing this year that I wish I had done that I didn't was jump out of my comfort zone in terms of books. I was snuggled up pretty tightly in my little contemporary comfort blanket this year and even when I did venture out of that, it wasn't anything really, really DIFFERENT you know? I'm going to pick Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut for this again because I think that's the one book that was truly way out of my comfort zone and way out of the genres I typically read.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Fire With Fire by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian. By the halfway point, I was so invested that I started flipping pages like a madman. I could not read fast enough! 

9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Probably To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han because when P.S. I Still Love You comes out, I know I'll most likely want to marathon the two!

10. Favourite cover of a book you read in 2014?
I've always loved the cover of Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo and The Diviners by Libba Bray is GORGEOUS. To All the Boys I've Loved Before is also on my list because THAT GIRL and THAT ROOM. I want it. Attachments and Fangirl, both by Rainbow Rowell, are also favourites but was that a surprise to anyone because honestly Rainbow has some of the best covers. I also really liked Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo and all the covers of the graphic novels I read this year.

And I acknowledge that I just listed off like ten books but seriously, all the covers were GORGEOUS.

11. Most memorable character of 2014?

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?
This is a tough category because I don't usually take note of the writing unless it's really unique. And so for that reason, I'm going to choose We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. Even though I didn't LOVE the book and the writing sometimes threw me off, it was by far the most unique style I've come across this year and the times I wasn't totally scratching my head, it was actually rather beautiful and lyrical.

13. Most thought-provoking/ life-changing book of 2014?
The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu. This book made me think SO much and in ways that I couldn't even find the words to explain. I'm not much of a thoughtful reader - more of the type that just scans everything without giving it too much of a second thought and not absorbing anything deeper than the basic story line - so I definitely take note of it when a book makes me think as much as The Truth About Alice did.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read?
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. I just feel like I was SO late on that wagon.

15. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2014?
Err... I have no clue? I never take notes of passages if I'm not reading on my Kobo and I hardly ever remember them. So here's a quote from Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson that I found on Goodreads just now that I rather like. Pretend I've been gushing about it the entire year and have it secretly written on my bedroom wall.

16. Shortest and longest book you read in 2014?
Excluding novellas, Relish by Lucy Knisley and It by Alexa Chung were my shortest books at 192 pages. But if you want me to not count the graphic novels and the coffee table books designed to be short, then I suppose it'd be The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Matheiu which rings in at 199 pages.

The longest book I read this year was The Diviners by Libba Bray at 578 pages which is not a surprise because that thing is a BEAST.

17. Book that shocked you the most?
Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater had a pretty shocking ending... but then I found out that what I THOUGHT had happened didn't actually happen so it wasn't shocking any more.

Honestly, I don't really know how to answer this question because a lot of times I'll skip to the end when I'm reading just because I want to know so badly what happens and while it may have shocked me then, by the time I actually get to it I already know what's going to happen and therefore totally forget my initial reaction.

(The only time I've ever truly been shocked was reading Dangerous Girls. And it wasn't because I didn't skip to the end - I definitely did - it was just that I totally misunderstood what was going on and scanned over that one KEY sentence. So I thought I knew what was going on but then I didn't and then I got to the part and I was like HOLY SHIT?? HOW DID I MISS THIS??)

18. OTP of the year?

But also Tiger Lily and Peter Pan from Tiger Lily? AND ROSE AND DIMITRI HOLY SMOKES. And Reeve and Lillia from Burn for Burn. AND KESTREL AND ARIN FROM THE WINNER'S CURSE.

Also I just realized that the majority of the couples I've listed here either don't get together or can't which is really, really sad. Authors, why must you do this to me??

19. Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year?
Blue and NOAH. NOAH, MY BABY. Again, from The Raven Cycle. 

Also Josh and St. Clair. Their relationship was probably in Isla and the Happily Ever After for like two pages but I don't care, they're my faves. And Harry, Ron and Hermione because DUH. And from Small Damages (which was actually so good), the main character Kenzie and Estela, the cook. I LOVED THEM SO MUCH. And also Jase Garrett from My Life Next Door and the relationship he had with his family. It was beautiful.

20. Favourite book you read in 2014 by an author you've read previously?
The Diviners by Libba Bray. Prior to this year, I had read A Great and Terrible Beauty in 2012 and DNFed Beauty Queens also in 2012. But I don't think anything could have prepared me for the brilliance that was The Diviners. 

I might also say Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell because I freaking loved that book.

21. Best book you read in 2014 based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure?
The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater! I had zero interest in reading it even despite all the rave reviews until my friend was like "Read it! It's really good". So I did because I was at a library and didn't want to be all NO NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS, and now my life will never be the same. And I am forever indebted to her. 

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?
Joshua Wasserstein from Isla and the Happily Ever After. Levi from Fangirl. JASON FROM MEANT TO BE. Frank from Since You've Been Gone because I JUST LOVE GINGERS, OKAY?

23. Best 2014 debut you read?
A Mad Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller which is all 20th century London (or late 19th century?) and art history and feminism and just great historical fiction overall. Or The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu? I don't know, I love them both for different reasons. I can't decide! (But you've probably already noticed that by now...)

24. Best worldbuilding/most vivid setting you read this year?
The Archived by Victoria Schwab. I think I remarked in my review about how well-written everything was that I could picture the entire story in my mind, frame by frame as if I were watching a movie. Victoria Schwab really did such a great job creating the Archived world.

Jokes I lied. There is no review for The Archived as I noticed when I went to cross link my reviews. Oops.

25. Book that put a smile on your face/was the most fun to read?
Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill was CRAZY fun to read. I had such an awesome time reading that book and feeling like I was right there with Jason and Julia as they experienced London together. But you know, travelling plus cute romance always equals FUN so I can't say I'm surprised. That's always been a winning combination for me!

26. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2014?
So I had a very clear answer for this but then flipped through the questions and realized that it would work better for number 28 so I'm going to push that book away and say How to Love by Katie Cotugno. Which did make me cry quite a bit. I think I probably started tearing up at the third chapter and from there it was just a slow progression of more and more crying.

27. Hidden gem of the year?
Small Damages by Beth Kephart isn't a book I was blown away by but was a book that I enjoyed quite a bit and think should be read by more people. There were a few things I had trouble with but at the end, I was happy to have read the book just for all the great characters and wonderful experiences I was able to read about.

28. Book that crushed your soul?
ME BEFORE FREAKING YOU. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, 100%. That ending made me SOB like never before. Oh, Will and Lou... How I love you both.

In other news, anyone else hear about the casting for the leads in the film? What do you think about it?

29. Most unique book you read in 2014?
There were quite a few unique books I read in 2014 but I'm going try to pick out books I haven't mentioned so far so this title goes to Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. The entire premise was a new one for me and really interesting and refreshing. Unlike anything I've ever come across before. Like how often do you hear about an IT guy that falls in love with a girl through work emails?

30. Book that made you the most mad?
Tough, tough, tough! But uh, probably The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown? I liked it during the first half but then after that, it kinda went downhill for me and made me scream all types of things.


Ok so this survey ended up being a little lengthier than I had anticipated because I just LOVE to talk so I'm going to cut it off here and post pt. 2 later on this week. But let's discuss in the comments! Have you read any of the books listed here? And if you've already done this survey, link it down below so I can go pay a visit to you!

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