2014 End of Year Book Survey-Part 1

This survey was created by Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner and I’m so excited to be taking part in it. This is actually quite a challenge for someone with such a terrible memory, but I’m going to do my best.

2014 Reading Stats

1. Number of Books You Read: 55-58 is my best guess. I’ll have to start keeping better track!

2. Number of Re-Reads: 6

3. Genre You Read the Most From: Contemporary. About 40-45 of the books I read this year.

Best in Books

1. Best book you read in 2015?

I could break this down by category, but when I look at the list of books I’ve read this past year, there are two that jump out at me. The first is Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson. It’s funny because SYBG isn’t even my favourite novel of hers. That’s just how good she is. The second one is Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell which is an all-around brilliant book.

2. Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more but didn’t?

There were quite a few disappointments for me this year.

-How to Love by Katie Cotugno. It wasn’t bad, but I really thought I would love it.

-The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. Again, I had such high hopes, but I wasn’t a fan of the main character.

-Panic by Lauren Oliver. I’ve been waiting for LO to write another contemporary book since Before I Fall but this one never lived up to my expectations. I still think she’s a very talented writer, but Panic didn’t work.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014?

The Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi. I knew how popular these books were, but I somehow didn’t think I would like them. Her writing style takes some getting used to but once you’re past that, you can’t imagine reading this story any other way. I loved where she took the final book in the trilogy, though I know not everyone agrees with me.

4. Book you “pushed” the most people to read (and they did) in 2014?

2014 was the year of If I Stay. I work in a bookstore, and so I used the movie to my advantage in selling If I Stay to customers. I managed to personally sell at least 100 copies within a few months because I love this book so much. Gayle Forman is a master.

5. Best series you started in 2014? Best sequel of 2014? Best series ender of 2014?

Since I read so much contemporary, I actually didn’t read very many series this past year. By default, I think this entire category may go to Shatter Me, Unravel Me and Ignite Me. Honorable mention to Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor because I think she’s a wonderful writer and world-builder.

6. Favourite new author you discovered in 2014?

This one has to go to Leila Sales. I read This Song Will Save Your Life and immediately connected with her writing. I can’t wait to read everything else she’s written.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I don’t read a lot of adult fiction, which I know isn’t really a genre so much as a category, but it’s what I’m going with. I really enjoyed The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

The Program by Suzanne Young is probably the most action-packed, but unputdownable would be Just One Night by Gayle Forman. I was dying to read that book and it did not disappoint.

9. Book you read in 2014 that you are most likely to re-read next year?

Since You’ve Been Gone for sure, and Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller. I love her writing.

10. Favourite cover of a book you read in 2014?

Untitled-1Lauren Morrill’s Meant to Be was one of my favourite covers of 2013, but her latest book, Being Sloane Jacobs, holds a special place in my heart because it has Montreal’s skyline on the cover. Honorable mentions to A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall, Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

11. Most memorable character of 2014?

Cath from Fangirl and Emily from Since You’ve Been Gone. I’m mentioning these two books a lot, and with good reason. I identified so much with both the main characters. I was such a shy kid, and I still am in so many ways. I’ve so often felt overshadowed by the people around me, and Cath and Emily are the same way. I loved how they grew and became more confident.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?

I think I have to go with Just One Night by Gayle Forman. Her writing gets me right in the heart. She manages to capture so many emotions that I could never put into words.

13. Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2014?

See question 11. For me, the most thought-provoking books are the ones in which I see myself. I’m typically a pretty self-aware person but those two books had me thinking more and more about who I was, who I’ve become, and especially what’s made me this way.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited until 2014 to finally read?

Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier. Most books I’ve read were 2013/2014 releases, but this one was originally released in 2003. I hadn’t heard of it until this past year, when it was re-released with a new cover. I was really pleasantly surprised, and enjoyed reading about a character who is stuck between two different cultures.

15. Favourite passage/quote from a book you read in 2014?

I’m completely terrible about keeping track of quotes, but I’ll just go ahead and assume it’s anything from Just One Night.

16. Shortest & longest book you read in 2014?

If novellas count, then the shortest is Just One Night at 40 pages, and if not then it’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane at 181 pages. The longest book I read was Allegiant, which had 526 pages.

17. Book that shocked you the most?

I’d have to say the end of Allegiant, just because I didn’t think Veronica Roth would go there. Ignite Me was also shocking, because Tahereh Mafi basically reinvented a character in what I thought was a stroke of brilliance.

18. OTP of the year?

Because I read The Thousand Dollar Tan Line this year, I’m going to cheat and say Veronica Mars and Logan Echolls. I will 100% go down with that ship. Anyone who’s seen Veronica Mars gets it.

19. Favourite non-romantic relationship of the year?

All of the friendships in This Song Will Save Your Life, Fangirl and Since You’ve Been Gone. The books were about the main characters venturing outside of their usual crowds and making new friends. I loved all of these interactions.

20. Favourite book you read in 2014 from an author you’ve read previously?

No surprise: Since You’ve Been Gone.

That’s it for now! Look for Part 2 in the coming days.

What was your favourite book of 2014? Feel free to answer any of these questions yourself in the comments below.

Top Ten Goals For 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

I’m not sure if I’m a firm believer in New Year’s resolutions. On one hand, I know how slim the chances are that we keep them, but on the other hand I do like to think that each new year brings with it lots of possibilities and potential for change. That being said, here are 10 things I would like to accomplish in the new year:

Bookish

1. Read 75 books. I don’t think it’s necessary to assign yourself a quantitative goal when it comes to books, but I’ve been reading less recently. I’d really like something to push me to take the time to read more and watch less TV. I remember years when I’ve read 100, but this past year I barely hit 50.

2. Read more adult fiction. I don’t have this goal because I think I should be reading “adult” books and not YA. I just realized that because I love YA so much, I’ve been missing out on so many great books. I don’t have time to read everything but I want to carve out a bit more time to explore other things.

3. Read more classics. I can’t stand pretentious readers. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves in life. There is no single right way to be a reader. Personally, I would like to add more classics to my reading list this coming year. I think history is important and classics are literary history to me.

4. Read more fantasy. I have always loved fantasy. From Harry Potter to Tamora Pierce, fantasy was my genre of choice as a kid. I don’t want to stop exploring new worlds. I love contemporary YA so much that I sometimes forget to keep my reading options open. Specifically this year, I want to finish the Grisha trilogy, take the Throne of Glass plunge, and find out why everyone loves the Mistborn trilogy.

Blogging

5. Be more consistent. I’ve only been blogging for under a month and already I’ve had issues with posting consistently. Between celebrating the holidays with my family, getting over a cold and working constantly, I didn’t have much free time. I want to work on anticipating this and having posts ready ahead of time so I can still share new content during busy times. I already know this will be the most difficult thing for me.

6. Post more reviews. Posting reviews is difficult because you can only post as many as the number of books you read. And then of course there are books you read that are basically a big “meh” and what do you write then? I want to work more on articulating my thoughts. This ties back to goal #5 in that I want to consistently offer new posts.

7. Be creative. I’ll take vague goals for 100 please, Alex. What does this even mean? I’ve always struggled with my lack of creativity. I look at people with artistic talent and imaginative minds and I’m jealous. I don’t consider myself to be among those people, unless you count a relentless imagination for generating terrible scenarios. My one talent in life. There are a lot of bloggers out there, which means a lot of posts have been written and many opinions shared. I want to try to come up with original and interesting content.

Personal

8. Study. I’ve recently gone back to school after a little break. I’m trying to find out what it is I want to do as a career and taking my time to make the right decision this time around. I want to make myself proud with my work. I don’t want to have as many regrets as I do from the first time I went to university. I don’t want to keep thinking “I should have” or “If only I had” and instead I want those thoughts to begin with “I’m so glad I…” because really only I am responsible for my successes or failures. It’s taken me a while to come to terms with this, and some days it’s still a work in progress.

9. Work out more. The irony of wanting to be more creative and then having the most typical resolution possible has not escaped me, don’t you worry. I’ve had a hard time convincing myself to work out since I started a retail job where I’m on my feet for hours every day. In 2015, I want to get back to how active I used to be. I’ve never been that consistent, or at least I was very consistent for several months until I wasn’t at all. I want this to be the year that changes finally.

10. Be more adventurous. I’ve never been a very outgoing person, though I’m WAY less shy than I used to be. Even from five years ago, I feel like I’ve really grown as a person. Still, I want to push myself to try new things. I may not be as shy, but I’m still extremely self-conscious. I want to make myself do things even when there’s a very good chance I’ll end up embarrassing myself. I haven’t come up with a concrete list of things yet, but you recognize those moments even when you’re in them. Your first instinct is to say no, and instead I want to force myself to say yes.

 

There you have it! My goals for 2015. I’m sure I won’t be able to keep all of them, but I look forward to reading these again in a year, and seeing how I did.

What are your goals for the new year? Do you believe in resolutions at all? Leave me a comment below.

Baby’s First Audiobook-Veronica Mars Edition

I posted the other day here about how I’d never listened to an audiobook before and I decided to experiment with the Veronica Mars novel The Thousand Dollar Tan Line. This won’t be a traditional review of the book, though I will say a little bit about it. Mostly, this is going to be an account of my first audiobook listen. All the same, if you want to read more about the Thousand Dollar Tan Line, click here!

In short, the audiobook format just did NOT work for me. I’m a one book at a time person, and I kept wanting to pick up another book while I was listening but then I kept thinking about how confusing that would be for me. I have a terrible memory, so reading two books at once has never been a possible thing in my case. This is me:

 

goldfish

 

So if I take a day off from reading a book to read a different one, I’m basically like…

 

As a book monogamist, it’s a format that just doesn’t work for me. The Veronica Mars audiobook was just under 9 hours, and that took me an entire week to get through. I found my attention drifting constantly, which is probably why it took so long. I prefer the efficiency of reading a book myself.

The reason I started the audiobook in the first place was because it was narrated by Kristen Bell. This worked great for the parts that were actually Veronica speaking, but it just was not the same to have her imitating Keith and Logan. GIVE ME THE REAL LOGAN. What I really wanted was a live action version of this book, which is hardly its fault. Book, it’s me, not you.

Onto the actual book. Maybe it’s just me, but wouldn’t you naturally tell a Veronica Mars story from a first-person point of view? It’s perhaps not a true film noir style to do so, but through watching the show you become so accustomed to hearing Veronica’s thoughts. It was something I couldn’t get over as I listened. Because the narrator is not Veronica herself, Kristen Bell doesn’t voice it that way. While it makes sense, you’re still missing a piece of the show that you fell in love with. Another complaint I have is the lack of Logan. Without spoiling anything, he’s pretty absent for most of the novel. It’s also sad to be teased about him without actually getting to see him. I mean…

Veronica Mars

Yep.

I’m not sure this new series of novels adds much to the experience for me. If anything, it makes me miss the show even more. I’m a HUGE Veronica Mars fan, ever since it first aired on TV. I remember that crushing feeling of cancellation like it was yesterday. It’s actually the only show I own every season of on DVD. That’s commitment for me. Even with the movie, I miss these characters so much. I would have loved to see them one more time.

What if the audiobook had actually been voiced by each of the appropriate actors, with a different voice actor as the narrator. Basically it would have felt like an episode of Veronica Mars with described video and no actual video component. I would have LOVED this. Has this been done before? It could have been great.

To make a long story short (too late), I enjoyed revisiting my favourite Veronica Mars characters, but it wasn’t the same for me. You guys might feel differently, but personally I won’t be continuing on with the next one.

Anyone else a Veronica Mars fan out there? Leave me a comment below. 

What Does That Spell? Part 2

In my last post, Part 1, I let you guys know some titles I’ve loved in the past. This time I’ll be giving you a few books I’m really looking forward to reading. Some of these are titles I already own and haven’t gotten to yet and others I’m desperately hoping to buy in the near future. This all depends on the cooperation of my wallet/bank account of course. Without further ado, here is my name in books:

 

Side Effects May Vary-edited 2Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

I’ve had this one sitting on my shelves since my birthday in May. It didn’t get AMAZING reviews, and it got a little lost in the post-TFiOS shuffle for me, but every time I read the synopsis I’m convinced all over again that it’s something I NEED to read. I’m a sucker for books with lists (Since You’ve Been Gone) and especially bucket lists in this case.

 

Also Known As-edited 2Also Known As by Robin Benway

I’ve made it pretty clear how much I love Robin Benway. She knows her away around a funny book. I can’t imagine anything better than that combined with a high-action heist plot. I own this one too, and I’ve mostly been waiting for her to release more books beyond the two that are out, but I’m not sure I can wait much longer!

 

Rites of Passage editedRites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

Seriously, have you guys seen the reviews for this book? I need it NOW. It makes me think of Tamora Pierce’s Alanna in military school. Compare anything to a Tamora Pierce book and I am in. Every review I’ve seen has described it as unputdownable and desperately in need of a sequel. Book, get thyself on my shelf.

 

Ask Again Later edited3Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas

I’ve heard Liz Czukas’ books described multiple times as fluffy in the best possible way and I consider that such a compliment. It’s difficult to write a book that’s lighter in tone without crossing the line into superficial. Her latest book, Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless, was just released to rave reviews from the blogger community and I can’t wait to read that one either.

 

Holier Than Thou-edited 2Holier Than Thou by Laura Buzo

I already included Laura Buzo in my list of top ten authors I discovered in 2014 and with good reason. She’s able to write characters in such a relatable way. I already loved her debut novel, and this one actually speaks more to me, so I’m expecting big things. The MC is a bit older and she’s on the cusp of having everything she’s ever wanted when tragedy strikes for her. Sounds perfect. Well, for everyone but her.

 

Well that’s it for Part 2. Hopefully you guys have gotten to know me a bit better through these posts. I’m really looking forward to getting some full reviews up here soon, once the exam period is over.

Have you read any of these titles? What’s on your TBR that you’re hoping to get to soon? Feel free to play along with me and give me your list according to your name.

Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This is a list of new (to me) authors that I first read this past year. Some of them were just making their literary debuts while others had been around for a while and I was just slow to catch on.

 Emery Lord

I’d actually been anticipating her debut from the time the synopsis was released. Right away I knew it would be my type of book, and I was so right.  What I loved about Open Road Summer was that she took the harder road and made the story about Reagan and not Lilah, the country star. It’s not about the perky singer, instead it’s about the prickly best friend and that’s what made the book. That way she was able to focus more on the character of Reagan, and not wholly on the glamour of the celebrity lifestyle. This is what makes a book stay with you.

Leila Sales

This Song Will Save Your Life actually came out in 2013 and I immediately heard great things, but for some reason I was slow to pick it up. Once I finally read it, I was blown away. If I had to compare it to anything it would be my favourite Sarah Dessen novels with a cute romance, fun side characters and emotional depth. I’m so glad I discovered Leila Sales’ work this past year.

Katie Finn

This is where I start to cheat a little bit. For those of you that don’t know, Katie Finn is actually Morgan Matson, author of some of my all time favourite books. HOWEVER this was my first official book by Katie Finn. This is the book you read after the last one tore your heart to pieces. It’s a completely different vibe from a MM book, basically all fun and shenanigans. Sometimes that’s exactly what you need.

Heather Demetrios

I’m actually the last person you’ll ever find watching that show Infinity Kids and Counting or whatever the latest iteration is (no judgment I promise, you should see what I DO watch) but I was completely hooked when I read Heather’s Something Real. I loved how it brought us into all the drama behind the camera, because no matter what we see on tv, there’s always another story. I can’t wait to read more from her.

Tahereh Mafi

Yes I’m the last person to read the Shatter Me series. I wanted to wait until all the books were out, and even then it seemingly took me forever. I’d already been stalking Tahereh and her amazing style on twitter for over a year beforehand. Her writing style is very different. It can be fractured and overly-metaphorical, but in the end it’s what made me love her. Once I got used to it, it was essential to my reading experience. Every emotion was multiplied by a thousand. I loved her entire series.

Kasie West

This past year I read both The Distance Between Us and On the Fence with the former being my favourite of the two. I haven’t picked up anything from her Pivot Point series but I know I will. Kasie really knows how to write character dynamics. The Distance Between Us was full of tension and amazing banter. I can’t wait to see how she adds those elements to a book with a more structured plot like Pivot Point.

Laini Taylor

After hearing overwhelmingly positive things about Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I was in. Again though, I waited for the entire series to be released. I haven’t yet read the last two books in the series, but I plan on doing a complete read-through at some point next year. I loved the intricacies of her writing with the world she crafted. It was so different and refreshing from anything I’d read recently.

Sandy Hall

A Little Something Different was just one of those books that makes you go AWWW. I love a book with a good hook. Also apparently a good rhyme. Throw me a concept like “love story told from the perspective of everyone around the couple” and I’m there. She managed to give all her characters such different voices. I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.

Laura Buzo

Originally titled Good Oil in Australia, Laura’s Love and Other Perishable Items was a great read. I’ve rarely been disappointed by Aussie YA. It more consistently has a grittier, less glamorous take on life than you’ll find in other branches of YA. You get two distinct POVs and two completely different character arcs which is always a sign of a good author.

Suzanne Young

This past year I finally picked up The Program and really liked it. I liked the characters, I liked the concept. Now, I was not the biggest fan of The Treatment. To me, it’s as if they were written by separate authors and the second one wasn’t given any clues as to what book one was about. Still, I’ve become a big fan of Suzanne Young as a writer and will definitely be reading Just Like Fate.

How about you guys? Which authors did you discover this past year and absolutely love? Any of them on my list? Let me know in the comments below!

What Does That Spell? Part 1

My blog is still really new and most of you guys haven’t had a chance to get to know me yet, so I decided I’d play a little game. This definitely has nothing to do with not having a review ready to post or anything. Absolutely not. So for each letter of my name, I’ve picked a book that I’ve read and loved.

 

Since You've Been Gone edited

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

It was a toss-up between this and Second Chance Summer, which is one of my all-time favourite reads. I live for stories where the main character is taken completely out of their element and forced to rediscover themselves in a different setting. I expect I’ll write a full blog post about this one at some point because it really hit close to home for me. I’m making this book sound so serious but it’s also tons of fun because of The List. The List of things that takes Emily out of her comfort zone and changes her over the course of a summer.

 

Audrey Wait edited

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

This one was my first book by Robin Benway so I had no idea what to expect when I picked it up and the best word I can use to describe this book is hilarious. I so rarely read YA that is just plain funny. It was also cute and Audrey has one of the best voices I’ve read. This book is from 2008 but if anything it feels even more relevant now in the age of internet fame. Plus, I’m sure we all remember this song and the madness that followed. Poor Delilah.

 

Rosie Project edited

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

I will admit I don’t read a lot of adult fiction. You guys all know FOMO right? Fear of missing out. Well I love YA but there’s also so much else out there that I could potentially love and I’m afraid of never discovering so I try to branch out once in a while. The Rosie Project is one I picked up from a recommendation and I was absolutely charmed by it. It’s essentially a love story from the perspective of someone who is so analytical that they don’t believe in love, or at least not in their ability to experience it. Think Sheldon. Do yourself a favour and check this one out.

 

A Little Something Different editedA Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

A love story told from the perspective of everyone but the couple involved. This book was so refreshing and each voice felt completely different from the rest, which is so hard to do when you’re juggling every POV from an inanimate object to a nemesis. I read this one on a plane as I was heading to Orlando (DIAGON ALLEY) and it did just the trick to keep me distracted from the crying babies and hacking coughs invading my personal space.

 

 

Heist Society edHeist Society by Ally Carter

Ally Carter has a different style from every other author that I read. I don’t read her books for an in-depth emotional experience like I would Gayle Forman, but it’s not like you watch Ocean’s Eleven or the Fast and the Furious movies for character development either. Instead, she specializes in fun shenanigans and eccentric characters. She’s a great counter-balance for when you’ve just finished with some heavier reading. I’ve only read this first book but I think the entire series is out (unless there’s going to be a fourth one?) so I’ll be catching up soon!

 

Look for part 2 in the coming days, where once again I’ll be narcissistically using my name to list books. Part 2 will be a list of books I can’t wait to read.

Now I want you guys to do the same thing. Can you come up with a book you love for every letter of your name? 

Do YOU Audio?

I have a confession to make. I’ve never listened to an audiobook. It’s honestly never occurred to me that I should even try one. I was talking to a friend recently, and the topic turned to long commutes. She was telling me how it takes her an hour to get to and from work every day and to pass the time she started listening to audiobooks. She’s actually just coming to the end of listening to the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series (Game of Thrones etc) on audio which is over 200 hours. NOW that may be more of a commitment than I’m looking for but I realized audiobooks could be the solution to my transit problems because….

I am that person who gets distracted by every little noise and detail of what’s going on around her. I actually feel super awkward when I’m on the bus heading to and from school because I’m absolutely paranoid that the innocent-looking 50-year-old lady beside me is reading over my shoulder and judging me with her eyes. No seriously. This is basically me the whole time as I try to concentrate on my book.

 

loki gif

This is why I have perfected the awkward reading angle where I shield myself from stranger criticism. It’s very subtle and looks kinda like this:

falling gif

So I’m starting to realize audiobooks are pretty great. If you’re listening to the radio while driving, all it takes is one bad song and you’re right back to noticing the guy who’s tailgating you and the other guy who’s changing lanes without a signal. I have a lot of driving pet peeves, but hey Montreal is known for its terrible drivers. BUT. If you’re listening to a great book on audio, then maybe just maybe you can tune all that out.

SO MY POINT. I actually just started my very first audiobook. I was about 60 pages into the Veronica Mars book The Thousand Dollar Tan Line and the format just wasn’t working for me. The voices in my head are a poor substitute for Kristen Bell’s lovable snark. I’m about 10% in right now, but look for a review of that one in the coming days. Also look forward to tons of peer pressure if you’ve never seen the show. It’s my specialty and it’s more or less in my blog name. You’ve been warned.

Bonus Content

 Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner wrote a post about using audiobooks as a motivation for exercise which you should check out. It’s a great idea if you’re better than I am at multitasking.

So what about you? Are you an audiobook first timer like me or a seasoned veteran? When do you listen to them and what makes you decide to do audio vs. print? Tell me your story!