End of Year Survey for 2015

Hey guys! Can you believe this year is over? Well, it’s close to over, but still. This year has FLOWN, and it’s been a seriously great one. Super stressful at times, but great. I’ve got a lot done and I just want to say thank you to all of you who read and comment and who are just awesome.

So today I wanted to participate in the 6th Annual End of Year Survey for 2015 that Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner created years ago and still continues with today. I did participate last year, but now I have way more books and stats and stuff to share!

So without further ado, let’s jump into the survey!

 

2015 Reading Stats

Number Of Books You Read: 50
Number of Re-Reads: One
Genre You Read The Most From: YA Fantasy

 

 

Best in Books

1. Best Book You Read In 2015?

Alright, well, this is a tough one. Honestly, the one I loved the most and definitely felt like I got the most from would probably have to be….

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

This book was just incredible and the best in the series thus far, in my opinion. Yes, it had its flaws, but it also was action packed, had wit, romance, and so much more.

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

I was excited to read Cinder by Marissa Meyer, hoping to really love it, but I just had a lot of trouble getting into it and really feeling for Cinder and what she was going through. There were several things that bothered me, but not enough that I won’t continue the series – I will! – it’s just going to take a little time.

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

The Selection by Kiera Cass surprised me in a good way in that I wasn’t expecting to actually like it as much as I did. Though the books weren’t profound, and the main character and certain situations were a little annoying, it was just one of those trilogies that just sucks you in and it had me wanting more.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

I think that it was A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. Maybe? I know I had a lot of positive feedback on my review for it on my blog and on my booktube channel, so I want to say that book.

 5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?

Series: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson. Beautiful. Check out my review!
Sequel: Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor. Captivating. Check out my review!
Series Ender: Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi. Amazing. Check out my review!

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?

Sabaa Tahir. She has a way of building worlds and telling heart gripping stories without mouthy, long, overly detailed sentences. I think her simplicity, but rich, descriptions of the world that her book, An Ember in the Ashes, took place in was beautiful, breathtaking, and magical.

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

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga. This book has a trigger warning of suicide, and as someone who has dealt with thoughts personally, this book hit many places I didn’t want to dig up. But I also thought it was a beautiful story, and even though it wasn’t perfect, it was still different and was definitely out of my comfort zone.

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

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor was not only a captivating and very unique story, but it had action, monsters, angels, war, love, betrayal, memories, and so much more.

 9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Maybe The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, before the next book comes out. I highly enjoyed the book, but I wouldn’t mind rereading it to see if I pick up on more things the second time around.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?

Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner is G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S. It’s my favorite cover of the whole trilogy, but all of the books are beautiful. I mean, just look at it:

theirfracturedlight

11. Most memorable character of 2015?

Honestly, I think that Juliette from the Shatter Me trilogy by Tahereh Mafi is pretty memorable. She had immense character growth, and even though I was completely frustrated with her at the beginning, I found myself literally cheering for her in the third book. Amazing character arc for sure.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?

I honestly can’t pick just one, so my top three most beautifully written books that I read were Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor, Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi, and The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson. Each had their own unique styles of writing and lore, and I felt like I could just feel the characters seeping into me when I read/listened to these books.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015?

None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio definitely opened my eyes to a group of people I never would have known existed without this book.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read? 

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare, which is book two in the Mortal Instruments series. Seriously, I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get to it. But hey, I still have the last two books in this series to finish, not including the other two in the Infernal Devices.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?

“Let’s go rattle the stars.” -Aelin Galathynius from Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?

Shortest: The Prince by Keira Cass – This is a novella, so obviously it’s short at 64 pages.
Longest: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas – My favorite book of the year was also the longest at 656 pages long!

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare. When you find out who a certain character is, you kind of cringe and go, “Eww.” So… shock factor was a little there.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

Jubliee Chase and Flynn Cormac from This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. I. Love. These. Two. Together. Like, I can’t express how much I ship them. They’re perfect for each other and compliment each other in every way and I just love them.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Karou and Zuzana from the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor. They’re just a great pair together, laughing at each other’s wit and just overall being the best of friends – especially considering what happens in the second book.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare was awesome. I loved being able to see the Shadowhunters in a different time period and more creatures and some of the same characters that I know and love be introduced just in a different context.

21. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

I think the peer pressure to read Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli was pretty high up there just in the community in general. AND I LOVED IT. The cuteness. It was too much.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?

Kaden from The Remnant Chronicles trilogy by Mary E. Pearson. I just love his bad boy/good boy kind of behavior and how he’s really just a kind soul and he’s rustic and… Let me wipe the drool off of my face.

23. Best 2015 debut you read?

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon was just amazing. It was a fast read, but it was so powerful in such a short book. I really enjoyed it.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews really goes into detail about the setting and I have a really easy time picturing it.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli HANDS DOWN GETS THIS. Oh, and The Amazing Book is Not on Fire by Dan Howell and Phil Lester, particularly the audiobook version of it. Yes.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?

I don’t really cry when I read books, but My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga pulled at way too many heart strings and hit very close to home.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater was pretty dang on awesome. I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did, that’s for sure. It had a lot of elements I thought worked well together, plus the writing was just beautiful. Check out my review here!

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare. This book perfectly wrapped up the first three books, and I just loved it to pieces. From beginning to end I enjoyed it and it just crushed me under it.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015?

This is incredibly hard because I read so many unique books… I’m cheating again and I’m going to pick two: Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor and The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. Both are very unique in terms of their plot and the stories they hold behind them, and I just think each has their own beautiful writing and tale to tell.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

I was kind of grumpy reading Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. There were several reasons, but this one definitely bugged me a lot.

Your Blogging/Bookish Life

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015?

I think Happy Indulgence is a new favorite from this year. Jeann made a great post about remembering why you blog, in which I made a post in response to that, and she otherwise makes fun, engaging, informative posts.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?

This was super hard to pick, but I think my favorite review I wrote was on Queen of Shadows. I exploded all of my thoughts and feelings into that post (or as much as I could without it being a 20 page paper), and I think those emotions really crossed over into that review.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

I think my Booktubers vs Book Bloggers | Let’s Discuss post was the best discussion post on my blog. Even though I didn’t get any comments on it, I just think the content itself was important. We’re all part of one huge community, and it really doesn’t matter which platform we decide to use to express our love for books on.

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

Bout of Books was probably the best event I participated in. It was a relaxed, but super fun read-a-thon, and it was my first one! I had a really fun time, even if I didn’t reach my goals.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015?

I have a few, but I think my favorite moments are when I get comments from people telling me that my review made them want to read that particular book. It just makes me feel like I accomplished something as a blogger and a reader. So thank you to all who have commented!

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

I had the most views on my June 2015 Wrap-Up with 53 views in a day. Awesome! Thanks guys!

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

In all honesty, I wish more people discussed more with me on my discussion posts, but I know a lot of people might get intimidated by those kinds of posts. I promise I don’t bite!

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

Okay, this may be a little silly, but I think that this tote I got from Barnes & Noble is the most beautiful bag ever and I can’t wait to use it as my purse:

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

Upon reviewing my bookish resolutions for 2015, I did complete a major goal, which was to read 30 books in the course of the year. As I read 50 this year, I definitely passed it! I also did do a lot more discussions and some tag posts, so there’s that, too.

Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016?

Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor, for sure.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)?

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir! Can’t wait to read this sequel.

3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira. I mean, c’mon, doesn’t the title alone sound awesome? The main heroine turns to her favorite YA books for love advice, which just sounds cute (and so accurate).

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016?

The next book in the Throne of Glass series, of course! I can’t wait until September! D: So far awaaaayyyy.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016?

In my reading life: Read without apology. As in, read as much as I can and whatever the hell I want.
In my blogging life: Try to post more regularly, but really just have fun with it! And also comment more on other peoples’ blogs.

6. A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

None! Because I haven’t had the opportunity to do so.

Magic Bleeds Book Review

magicbleedsTitle: Magic Bleeds
Series: Kate Daniels #4
Author: Ilona Andrews
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: May 25, 2010
Genre: Adult – Urban Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 349
Format: Gifted Paperback

Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for the magic. When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose.

Kate Daniels works for the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid, officially as a liaison with the mercenary guild. Unofficially, she cleans up the paranormal problems no one else wants to handle – especially if they involve Atlanta’s shapeshifting community. When she’s called in to investigate a fight at the Steel Horse, a bar on the border between the territories of the shapeshifters and the necromancers, Kate quickly discovers that there’s a new player in town. One who’s been around for thousands of years – and who rode to war at the side of Kate’s father. This foe may be too much even for Kate and Curran, the Beast Lord, to handle. Because this time Kate will be taking on family.

As this is the fourth book, there will most likely be some spoilers.

This fourth installment was probably my favorite so far, and that’s probably because of the plot in this specific book and my growing attachment to the characters.

In this book the plot continues to wrap itself more around Roland – an undead piloter, and possibly undead himself – who happens to also be Kate’s father. She knows she has to kill him eventually, and I know that the major overall plot is leading up to that, but the plot in this book is about a plague bringing person who has ties to Kate that neither of them knew about until one day when they run into each other.

I think that the plot in this one intrigued me the most so far is partly because, 1) the fighting scenes in this one are kind of kickass, 2) the sexual tension between Kate and Curran finally reaches a climax (omg bad pun), and 3) I felt that I learned so much more about the characters as a whole in this book in particular.

So first, let me talk about the fighting scenes: now with each book we get fighting scenes as it’s just the nature of the story and the characters themselves. But when Kate would go up against some of the people in this book in particular I felt that the descriptions were a lot more detailed and that there was just a lot more going on.

It wasn’t so much that I couldn’t keep up and I knew all of the characters that were taking part in some way or other. I think that the authors really did a great job in this book showcasing how strong of a character Kate is while also showing that she is also human and is prone to getting her ass kicked just as much as she kicks others’.

And the romance! Whew! Bring me a fan because it’s getting hot in here. I think one of the best things about this series is the slow burn romance between Kate and Curran – and that there’s also no third party to get in the way because I’m kind of over it. But these two, though they’re always at each others’ throats, they know their feelings for each other.

I know that Kate has an extremely hard time letting people in with how she was raised and how things usually go in her life, but once she lets Curran in, she knows that she can’t leave him. I never thought that that made her seem clingy or in any way made her relinquish any sort of power; in fact, I think Curran really compliments her well and makes her stronger.

Overall, I felt like I just really learned so much about the characters in this book. I’m really starting to connect with them and react more if something bad happens to certain characters, or even if something good happens or if humor is used.

I found a lot more humor in this book than in the previous ones and I just thought that it was executed in a fun and engaging way. And even though new characters seemed to be introduced left and right, I still got a feel for who they are and what sort of significance they hold in Kate’s life and to the story as a whole.

I really enjoyed this installment of the series and I highly recommend it if you haven’t read it yet. It’s definitely made me want to keep going and see what Atlanta’s got in store next for Kate and Curran.

I rated this book 4.5/5 stars.

Top 5 Wednesday: Books to Read By the Fire

Welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday as hosted by Lainey of gingerreadslainey. Today’s topic is our top five favorite books to read by the fire, aka holiday/winter reads. So here are my picks in no particular order:

5. The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews

magicbites

This adult urban fantasy series would be nice to curl up by the fire with because not only does it have action and fantasy, but there’s also a slow burn romance that’s just filled with tension as the books progress.

4. The Starbound trilogy by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

This trilogy is beautiful and epic and it tells the story from six different perspectives throughout all of them. Between the lonely and dangerous world in the first book, to the war ridden, split territory world in the second, to the underworld and an mysterious beings in the third, this trilogy definitely has a lot to offer during those cold winter nights. Plus the romances are amazing.

3. The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

cityofbones

Need I say anything about this series? It’s got action, adventure, conflict, romance, demons, magic, weird creatures, kickass people, and so much more. Definitely a good read to curl up by the fire with.

2. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

eleanorandpark

This story is both part sweet and bitter, but the sweet far outweighs the latter. This story is about two outcasts and how they come together to find a love that’s truer than anything they had ever experienced before. How sweet for the holidays, right?

1 . All the manga!

I love manga, so reading it is just a fun activity to do in general. You can find everything under the sun from action, adventure, romance, shoujo-ai (girl-girl love) and shonen-ai (boy-boy love), to one-shot, slice of life, horror, and so much more. Really, whatever your preference is, you can pretty much find a manga based around it. Really, all you have to do is find the one that you think best fits your winter mood.

So there you have it! My list of some of my favorite winter reads. Definitely check these out and see what you like curling by the fire with.

What books would you read during the holidays/winter time? Let me know!

Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-You Authors

Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday as hosted by the people of The Broke & the Bookish. Today’s topic is about your top ten favorite new-to-you authors that you read in 2015, so here are my top ten in no particular order.

  1. Tahereh Mafi – Her trilogy was one of my favorite trilogies of the year and I just really liked how she explored Juliette’s character and showed exponential growth with her, plus her writing style is just very poetic and lovely.
  2. Sabaa Tahir – Her debut novel was epic and it really was worth the hype, in my opinion. She writes strong characters and is able to really paint a picture of the setting without overkilling it.
  3. Renee Ahdieh – Her story was a retelling of a classic, and though I have not read said classic, her story was different and breathtaking. I really want to know more about Shazi and all the others and what happens next.
  4. Brandon Sanderson – Though I haven’t finished the books I’m currently reading by him yet, his writing is still very powerful and engaging. The stories he writes are incredible and the worlds themselves are breathtaking and different.
  5. Mary  E. Pearson – Her story captivated me and drew me in, especially the audiobook version. Though I may not have gotten the full “surprise” at the end, it was still an awesome tale of a strong heroine, two very different guys, a loyal friend, and so much more.
  6. Ilona Andrews – A new discovery thanks to Sanaa from InkBonesBooks, this is a long urban fantasy series that’s become one of my favorites. As this tale is written by a husband-wife team, I can sometimes pick out the subtle differences in the writing, but it’s still a good series.
  7. Becky Albertalli – Her writing style is so fun, but serious, too, and I just really enjoyed her book.
  8. Nicola Yoon – Her debut story was really lovely and just really showed that you can’t live your life by not doing anything – you have to do something!
  9. Laini Taylor – Her writing is so beautiful and the stories she tells are just as equally beautiful. Her trilogy has definitely captured my heart and has become one of my favorite trilogies, even though I haven’t finished the third book yet.
  10. Maggie Steifvater – When I first dove into The Raven Boys, I really just felt that it was such a unique and interesting read. I haven’t read paranormal in a while, but I think that Steifvater really captured the essence of paranormal. Her characters are all unique and the situations themselves hold a sort of magical realism, which was incredible.

So these are my top ten favorite new-to-me authors that I read this year. The stories are all unique and entertaining and I highly recommend any and all of them to you out there who are interested in reading books by them.

What about you? Who are some of your favorite authors and why? Let me know!

Magic Strikes Book Review

magicstrikesTitle: Magic Strikes
Series: Book #3 in the Kate Daniels series
Author: Ilona Andrews
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: February 20, 2009
Genre: Adult – Urban Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 310
Format: Gifted Paperback

When magic strikes and Atlanta goes to pieces, it’s a job for Kate Daniels…

Drafted into working for the Order of Merciful Aid, mercenary Kate Daniels has more paranormal problems than she knows what to do with these days. And in Atlanta, where magic comes and goes like the tide, that’s saying a lot.

But when Kate’s werewolf friend Derek is discovered nearly dead, she must confront her greatest challenge yet. As her investigation leads her to the Midnight Games—an invitation only, no holds barred, ultimate preternatural fighting tournament—she and Curran, the Lord of the Beasts, uncover a dark plot that may forever alter the face of Atlanta’s shapeshifting community…

As this is the third book in the series, there will most likely be spoilers.

I think one thing that I really enjoy about this series is that there is a major encompassing plot to the whole series (defeating Roland, the Big Bad) and that each book has its own subplot that’s specific to that book.

For this book in particular, it was all about getting back at the guys who brutally injured and attacked Derek, Kate’s shapeshifter “sidekick.”

Now, I really like Derek and his personality, so I was all for this plot. I thought that it was definitely engaging and that there was a lot going on in the book to not be bored with.

There was more lore about creatures and magic, this time focusing more on Hinduism and some aspects of the gods and deities of that religion, and their own twist in the book’s world – which I really appreciated. Yes, at times it was kind of long winded and maybe a little excessive, but I found the tales fascinating. There was also plenty of action and enough detailed descriptions to really figure out just what was going on and who was attacking or being attacked.

I actually found the details to be a lot more thorough in this book than the previous two. Or maybe I’m just not really remembering the details; who knows? But I did highly enjoy that aspect of this book.

Once again Kate was pretty badass. She took on a lot and dealt with a lot of things more mentally than before. She came to the realization that Roland was behind a lot of what was going on, and I also liked that she went into backstory about how Roland is her father and that’s why she always has to burn rags and clothes and such with her blood on it. Her blood holds special properties and magic that make her wicked strong, and I kind of really like that aspect of her.

We got to see more side characters in this book including Jim, Raphael, Andrea, Doolittle, and a new girl, Dali, who’s a weretiger. I really appreciated being able to see more shapeshifters in action because I really loved the shapeshifters as a whole, let alone as individuals. I just think that the concept behind them is pretty cool to imagine. I think that the team aspect that was used in this book was really well suited for the plot and that it was well suited for the characters, as well. Even though Kate is used to doing things on her own, she relied a lot more on others, which was a good character development point.

The romance in this book did grow a bit more, too, which is always nice for someone who loves love. As someone who loves love, it was awesome. It made me smile and swoon a bit, and I really craved more, but of course it didn’t go as far as maybe I would have liked, but it was still really steamy. But just so we’re clear, the romance was only sprinkled in about three times throughout the whole book, so it’s not like it encompassed the whole thing, for those who want more action and less romance.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I think it was a strong, solid edition to this series and I highly recommend it if you’ve read the first two books.

I rate this book 4/5 stars.