2016 End of Year Survey

Well, peeps, it’s the end of 2016. It’s been a year of ups and downs, of weird things, happy times, and sad times, but we’ve made it. Look how far we’ve come! And by the way, my brain’s still back in July, so I have no clue how in just a few short days it’s going to be 2017.

So today I’m going to be going over my year in review. I’m going to talk about the best books I’ve read, the disappointments, surprises, best in genres, and more. Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner is the host of this awesome survey every year, so here’s the blank form for this year!


2016 Stats

Number of Books You Read: 45
Number of Re-Reads: 1
Genre You Read the Most From: Young Adult Fantasy

Best in Books

Best Book Read in 2016: Probably going to have to say A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas. It was so much better than the first book and the stakes were a lot higher. And it gave me the worst book hangover I’ve ever been in. A close second is Illuminae by Amy Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. The unique format and the story combined to create a beautiful tale that had me on the edge of my seat the whole time.
Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn’t: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski. So many people have given it so much praise, but it just didn’t do it for me. I’ll read the second book, but I’m going in more hesitantly.
Most surprising book (good or bad): My Lady Jane by the Lady Janies, because I wasn’t expecting to laugh so much at a historical fiction novel! The magic worked in the world, the humor was awesome, the dialogue was perfect, and the narrators? Omg, they were the best part. Seriously, check this book out if you haven’t yet!
Book you “pushed” most people to read (and they did): Maybe the Off Campus series by Elle Kennedy? I’m actually not sure!
Best series you started? Best sequel? Best series ender?:
-Best Series Started: Air Awakens by Elise Kova.
-Best Sequel: A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir.
-Best Series Ender: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater.
Favorite new author you discovered this year: Elise Kova, for sure! I loved her Air Awakens series (or what I’ve read of it) and I can’t wait to read her next series, The Alchemists of Loom.
Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/out of your comfort zone: Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staple. As my first leap into comic books, I really enjoyed it! I mean, I’ve read manga for a large part of my life, so it wasn’t too different? It was just more colorful and way more mature and graphic.
Most action-packed/thrilled/unputdownable book of the year: Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman, hands down. It was the book that kept me up late and I just needed to keep going to the very end.
Book you read this year that you’re most likely to reread next year: Illuminae. >> Not even kidding. I’m ready to reread it now, thanks.
Favorite cover of a book you read: Let’s stare at this gorgeous cover together and bask in its gloriousness.

firefalling
Most memorable character: Probably Vhalla from the Air Awakens series because she started out as such a shy, unassuming character, but with each book she grows stronger not only physically, but mentally and morally as well. She’s had a great character arc so far in what I’ve read dealing with everything she’s gone through and learning about her powers and handling them. She’s just one that has stuck with me from the beginning.
Most beautifully written book: Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor, for sure. Laini’s writing in general is beautiful and this book was just one that brought me into the world, into the characters’ minds, and showed me so many things that I wasn’t expecting. I loved this book so much and the writing in it as well!
Most thought provoking/life changing book: This is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp is about a school shooting and the different perspectives that went through it. It’s definitely thought provoking and life changing, for sure, as I never experienced it and hope I never experience anything like it.
Book you can’t believe you waited until this year to read: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. SERIOUSLY, WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG? It was such a good sequel and I’m so glad I read it! I think I just put it off because Cinder was okay in my opinion, but not great, so I didn’t know what to expect with the rest of the series? But I’m so glad I finally picked it up.
Favorite passage/quote: “To the stars who listen – and the dreams that are answered.” – Rhysand from A Court of Mist and Fury.
Shortest and longest books you read:
-Shortest: The Crown and the Arrow by Renee Ahdieh at 9 pages.
-Longest: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas with 693 pages.
Book that shocked you the most: Have I talked about Illuminae yet, because I don’t think I have…
OTP of the year: First of all, HOW DARE YOU MAKE ME PICK JUST ONE. So, to spite you, I’m picking several: Feyre x Rhysand, Iseult x Aeduan (they’re not cannon yet, BUT I SWEAR IT’LL HAPPEN), Vhalla x Aldrick, Karou x Akiva, Ronan x Adam, Gansey x Blue, Shazi x Khalid, Laia x Elias, Scarlet x Wolf.
Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year: Karou x Zuzana, Safi x Iseult, Kady x AIDAN.
Favorite book you read from an author you’ve read previously: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas.
Best book read based solely on a recommendation/peer pressure: My Lady Jane! Seriously enjoyed this and am so glad there was so much buzz around it.
Newest fictional crush: Aeduan from Truthwitch. I just… *melt* Bad boy with a potentially tragic past and who can kill me without thinking about it? C’mon. xD
Best 2016 debut: I actually didn’t read any debut books, which is weird, because I definitely thought I had…
Best world building/vivid setting: The Air Awakens series had some awesome world building in it! As for most vivid setting, I think that one’s going to ACOMAF. Valeris is described really well in it!
Book that put a smile on your face/was most fun to read: I’m not going to say Illuminae again (but I totally am, it was super fun to read), BUT I am going to say P.S. I Like You by Kasie West because IT WAS SO CUTE I CAN’T EVEN. All the smiles and giggles.
Book that made you cry or nearly cry: Orange by Ichigo Takana. I cried reading these books because the situations and emotions were so real to me because I’ve experienced them myself and just… I loved it. Beautiful story.
Hidden gem of the year: Girl Against the Universe by Laura Stokes was a great book about mental illness and grief.
Book that crushed your soul: YOU KNOW WHAT I’M GOING TO SAY, SO WHY DO I HAVE TO SAY IT? (Illuminae) …. (and ACOMAF)
Most unique book: Okay, in terms of format: Illuminae. In terms of story: Truthwitch because of all of the different kinds of witches and the world and everything.
Book that made you the most mad (doesn’t mean you didn’t like it): The Goal by Elle Kennedy maybe? It just talked about abortion so flippantly and just… it’s not a topic to take lightly. I still enjoyed the book, though.

Your Blogging/Bookish Life

New favorite book blog you discovered: Cait @ Paper Fury, for sure!
Favorite review that you wrote: I have a few favorites, but I think one of them is my Dreams of Gods & Monsters Book Review.
Best discussion/non-review post: Am I A Reader?
Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc): For blogging, Loveathon 2016 was sosososo fun! I’m definitely participating again in 2017. I also went to three book signings this year, which is crazy to me! I went to Jodi Meadows/Erin Bowman, Sarah J. Maas, and Maggie Stiefvater signings. So much fun!
Best moment of bookish/blogging life: Probably meeting my favorite author, Sarah J. Maas.
Most popular post on your blog (by view or comments): By views it was on February 21st Loveathon mini challenges #3 and #4, which made me have 149 views in one day!
Post you wish got a little more love: I honestly have no idea.
Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc): Getting more active on Bookstagram helped to show me a lot of awesome bookish small businesses, so there’s that.
Did you complete any reading challenges or goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year: Yes! I completed my Goodreads reading challenge of reading 30 books this year (I read 44!), I commented more on other blogs, and included more topics on writing.

Looking Ahead

Book you didn’t get to this year that will be your number one priority in 2017: See my Beat the Backlist Challenge post because I have a decent list there.
Book you’re most anticipating for 2017 (non-debut): A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas.
2017 debut you’re most anticipating: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Series ending/sequel you’re most anticipating: Windwitch by Susan Dennard, and the last book in the Throne of Glass series. *cue sobbing*
One thing you hope to accomplish/do in your reading/blogging life in 2017: Go to a book convention, like Book Con or Boston Teen Author Festival.
A 2017 release you’ve already read and recommend to everyone: None because I haven’t read any yet!

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

What was your top read this year? What book surprised you? Did you have anything exciting happen to you blog wise? Tell me all the things!

Reading Certain Types of Books During Certain Times of the Year

I’ve talked about being a mood reader before, so today’s topic is along those lines but it’s more about reading certain types of genres during certain times of the year.

I think for a lot of people their reading is affected by their mood. I know that when I make a TBR for a month I don’t stick to it because when that month rolls around I’m no longer in the mood to read that book and therefore it would most likely affect my reading experience.

But do you ever feel like you read a certain type of genre/author/book during a certain time of the year?

For a lot of people, I know that they like to read contemporaries during the summer because they’re light hearted and they feel like they match the tone for the season (carefree, relaxed, romantic, etc), and that some people read horror books during October, fantasy during the winter months, etc.

But why do we do this? Are we drawn to certain types of books during the year because that’s the trend or do we feel within ourselves that it matches the kind of tone we want to feel for that time of year?

I’ve recently been in a contemporary kick where all I want to read is contemporary because I’m struggling to read fantasy books. They’re fast, they’re fun, and they don’t require a ton of thinking to build up the world in my mind or think of the plot and possible twists and turns and such.

And then it got me thinking: am I wanting to read contemporaries because of the season? Is it because I want light hearted reads for the summer months, or do I just want to read a lot of cute romantic types of books?

I mean, most definitely I always want to read cute romantic things, but I think it actually does have something to do with the summer.

My days of summer vacation have long since been gone, but I still remember that feeling of freedom and being able to hang out with friends, have fun, and just relax for a while. I think I’m trying to relive that feeling through lighter reads. That isn’t to say that I won’t be reading fantasy books or books in different genres that might be heavier, but I struggled with reading over the summer last year because of the types of books I was reading, and I don’t want that to happen again.

Overall, yes, I do think that the season affects how and what we read. We feel more sluggish and tired in the winter, so we’re easily ready to curl up with a good, large book and just take our time with things. In the spring and fall I feel like it’s a transitional period, because now that summer’s practically on our doorstep I really just want to read fast books.

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

Do you find yourself reading certain genres or books during certain times of the year? Are you more drawn to contemporaries during the summer months or do you follow a strict TBR? Does it even matter to you what you read, when you read it?

Genrethon Wrap Up

I swear, every time I participate in a readathon something in my personal life drags me down and I find myself struggling to keep up with it all. Ahhhhh. I mean, I still participated and I had fun, but this week was just a load of ups and downs and not a lot of reading time.

So, genrethon is over (sadface) and it was a less than stellar week because I didn’t finish a single book, BUT I still read some things, so here are some stats:

Magical Realism

thenightcircus

The Night Circus: 46 pages

I only read the first chapter of the book because I didn’t have much time, or the time I want to invest and dive into the book. I hope to do so eventually, though, because I know this is a very beloved book.

Horror

asylum

Asylum: 150 pages

WHY MUST THERE BE PICTURES IN HERE? WHY. Other than the unsettling pictures, I’m enjoying what I’m reading so far. It feels like a “classic” kind of school horror story and I really like that feeling about this book.

Memoir

binge

Binge: 12 pages

Oh Tyler.

Total Pages Read: 208 pages

I mean, that’s not horrible. At least I still read a bit from each book I was setting out to read for genrethon. Things just kept getting in the way in my personal life, so there’s that.

Otherwise I had a fun time and I know some people got enjoyment out of my Twitter hashtag #raynareadsasylum. Oh man. Here’s a few:

Screen Shot 2016-04-16 at 1.55.59 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-16 at 1.56.19 PMScreen Shot 2016-04-16 at 1.56.26 PM

So that was a fun experience. I’ll finish the book, I promise, but I don’t know how I’m going to handle it!

So that’s it for the genrethon! I hope to participate next time and actually try to finish at least one book, hopefully. Until then, I’ll just keep reading.

Did you participate in genrethon? What books did you read? What was your favorite and least favorite? Let me know!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Enjoyed That Aren’t My Typical Kind of Book

Hey peeps and welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday as hosted by the lovely people of The Broke & the Bookish. Today’s topic is all about some of the books that I enjoyed in the last yearish that aren’t my typical kind of book/genre that I gravitate toward. So I looked back on my Goodreads reading challenge from last year and discovered that a) I read A LOT of fantasy/sci-fi, and 2) I barely read any contemporary – and ones that I enjoyed, no less.

So, for this week’s TTT, I’ll be talking about contemporary that I enjoyed in the last yearish, plus one from this year!

  1. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I loved this book when I read it back in 2014. Rainbow’s reading style is a little difficult to get into, but once I’m into it, I’m hooked. I love the stories she tells and how raw and real they can be, and I just love the dynamic between the two main characters of the book and the romance and everything about it.
  2. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I LOVE THIS BOOK. It’s probably my favorite contemporary book ever because I could just relate to it so much that it wasn’t even funny. I loved the fangirl aspect, the romance, the school crises, and just everything about it. So good.
  3. To All the Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han. I thought that this was a cute romance with a nice family dynamic because you don’t often see good family dynamics in YA, which I just don’t get, but whatever. I enjoyed reading this book and the drama in it.
  4. None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio. This was my first book reading about an intersex individual and I thought that it was well done. It was a good book to read about the kinds of realities people can face and deal with not only on the outside, but the inside as well.
  5. Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. SO MUCH CUTE I CAN’T EVEN DEAL. GO READ IT. NOW.
  6. My Heart & Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga. A sensitive topic of suicide in this book, but I still enjoyed it. I felt there were a lot of beautiful lines in the book that spoke to me because of my own personal experiences with the topic.
  7. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith. And with the longest title ever award (again), I thought this was a cute romance story about a girl and a guy who meet at an airport and grow to really like each other in such a short amount of time.
  8. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han. The sequel to To All the Boys, I enjoyed this book even though I found the love triangle to be more plot device than anything. But it was still cute and stuff.
  9. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. A girl allergic to everything, a new next door neighbor with a broken family, a secret, and love? Sign me up.
  10. Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone. I loved this book and thought that it did a good job portraying a certain type of OCD without being over the top with it. Plus, the romance was nice, too.

So there you have it! I just realized that I’ve only read ten contemporaries over the last year and a half. The other 60ish books? Fantasy/sci-fi. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

What is the genre you typically don’t gravitate towards that you read in the last year or so? Did you find you enjoyed most of the books in that genre, or did you not like them much? Let me know!

Genre: Fantasy

I love fantasy. I always have, really. Being able to read about another world with people who go through similar or more difficult trials than we do in real life is always fun, and reading about the creatures that are often placed into fantasy books always draws me in, as well.

Fantasy isn’t just constricted to high fantasy though, a term that means that it’s set in a whole other universe that there are few similarities to our world, and can include magic, mythical beings, sorcery, etc.

There is also low fantasy, which includes a tale written in our own world, but includes some form of magic or some other telling aspect that makes it fantasy.

There are more sub-genres of fantasy, but let me focus on those two for now.

High fantasy is my preferred story to read. Not only do I get to read about the characters in that setting, I get to imagine that world that the author created and built from the ground up in their minds. It’s incredible to think about. Imagine having to come up with your own system of magic, landscape, society, culture, etc. It’s mind blowing and it makes me feel kind of giddy inside.

Some books that I would recommend that involve high fantasy are:

  • The “Throne of Glass” series by Sarah J Maas. This is a six book YA fantasy series in which the first three books are out. It involves a kickass female assassin named Celaena Sardothian, an evil king, the king’s son, a royal guard, and lot of forbidden elements that fit into this world of no magic. “What? No magic?” It was banished by the king and as you read you find out why it was banished and how. It’s my favorite series to date, so why would I mention it?
  • The Ice Dragon” & “A Song of Ice and Fire” series by George R.R. Martin. As very popular books, it only fits to mention this series and a companion novel. Set in a world of royals, peasants, kings, and lots of blood and sex, this series is definitely high fantasy. Not only does it include swords, political intrigue, lots of fighting, etc, it includes creatures that are only seen in nightmares, and dragons. Can’t forget the dragons. It’s a very long series, but it’s engaging. I haven’t finished it yet as I’m still working on the first book. I have read and done a review on “The Ice Dragon.”
  • The Lord of the Rings” series by J.R.R. Tolkien. As a modern classic this trilogy is an epic fantasy adventure with hobbits, wizards, elves, dwarves, ogres, men, etc. Though I haven’t read the books in their entirety yet, I do plan to this year. I have seen the movies, though, so yay for references!

There are plenty more series I could list, but those give just an example of what high fantasy can be considered as.

Now for low fantasy, I personally think more of these exist than high fantasy, especially in YA. There are plenty of adult high fantasy novels, but there are also low fantasy ones. A few examples are:

  • The Iron Fey” series by Julie Kagawa. Though the setting mostly takes place in faerie, parts of the story take place in the real world, especially when it gets to the second and third book. It’s a story about faeries, a girl who discovers the truth about herself, love, danger, and more.
  • The “Firelight” trilogy by Sophie Jordan. This is a trilogy about dragons and love and the dangers of being a dragon in our world. With the magical aspect of dragons that can change into humans, but are being hunted by humans, it makes for a great low fantasy trilogy to read.
  • The “Vampire Academy” series by Richelle Mead. This series is about vampires (duh) that live in our world, but their society is set apart from ours. There are different classifications of vampires and humans and it includes romance, action, and danger. I haven’t finished this whole series, but I figured I’d still list it.

So those are a few examples of low fantasy books, but there are obviously many more books that include many different situations and everything other than what I’ve listed above.

Now I didn’t include sci-fi in this list because I believe that it deserves its own post, which will be coming soon!

I also didn’t include graphic novels or manga in these lists because there are so many different kinds that I wouldn’t know where to begin… Well, except with some of my favorites, but that’s for another post.

Fantasy is one of those genres that I believe will always flourish because there seems to be a need to escape the real world and reach out to ones that don’t (or might) exist.

What are some of your favorite fantasy books? Do you prefer high fantasy or low fantasy? Series, standalones, trilogies? Let me know in the comments!