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?

Top Ten Tuesday: Quotes I Loved from the Past Year or So

Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday as hosted by the lovely people over at The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is about our favorite quotes from books that we’ve read in the past year or so. I think books always have that one gem hidden in them somewhere that always manages to shine through, so here are ten of the quotes I loved:

  1. “Happily ever after, or even just together ever after, is not cheesy,” Wren said. “It’s the noblest, like, the most courageous thing two people can shoot for.”Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
    1. I love this quote because it’s just beautiful and true: happily ever after is extremely hard to achieve, but if two people work hard enough at it, then it’s the best thing ever.
  2. “‘Let’s go rattle the stars.'”Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas
    1. I just love the simplicity of the statement, but there’s so much meaning behind it. In context, it’s war and fighting for everyone and their survival. Even without context, the line is just simply beautiful. Imagine rattling the stars: how much power, courage, and determination you’d need to do that. Stunning.
  3. “For too long, I’ve made my past my future, afraid to imagine anything else. And I acted like that – static – afraid of my own kinetic energy. Maybe it’s time to start imagining, maybe it’s time to be in motion. Maybe it’s time for me to fight back against the sadness inside of me.”My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
    1. As someone who has battled and dealt with depression and suicidal thoughts, I understand this line all too well. It’s the turning point, the realization that it will get better, that it’s okay to live. I love this line because of the desire to live, to push through it all.
  4. “We were both silent for a minute. And I wondered for the fist time whether ‘feeling feminine’ just meant feeling good in your own skin.”None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio
    1. It’s important to remember that very phrase, regardless if you’re male, female, whatever you identify as: feel good in your own skin. It doesn’t matter what you look like, what you believe yourself to be, identify as, or what other people say: feeling good in your own skin is the most important thing you can possibly do. I’m still working on it, but I’ve gotten pretty good lately.
  5. “He talked about the ocean between people. And how the whole point of everything is to find a shore worth swimming to.”Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
    1. I think a lot of times people, especially young people, go from relationship to relationship sometimes without realizing that it really is about finding that “shore worth swimming to.” And, when you do find that someone, it’s pretty great. And it doesn’t even have to be a romantic relationship: friendships, family relationships, coworkers, etc, are all important. Keep those “worth swimming to” close to you.
  6. “Words, I think, are such unpredictable creatures.
    No gun, no sword, no army or king will ever be more powerful than a sentence. Swords may cut and kill, but words will stab and stay, burying themselves in our bones to become corpses we carry into the future, all the time digging and failing to rip their skeletons from our flesh.”Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

    1. Coming from a reader/writer perspective, this is a beautiful and true statement. Words are so much more powerful than anything in existence. They are there when you go to sleep at night, or when you’re trying to catch your flight. They’re there no matter where you go, and I think that this quote is just so beautiful.
  7. “Life is made of so many moments that mean nothing. Then one day, a single moment comes along to define every second that comes after. Such moments are tests of courage, of strength.”An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
    1. Many people believe that our lives here are meaningless and that we exist just to exist, but sometimes there are those moments in time where we can’t deny that there’s something more, a bigger purpose than we realized. It can be big or small, but it’s there, and I think this quote nicely defines that, because it truly does take a lot of courage and strength to act on it when it’s there.
  8. “I see only reminders that nothing lasts forever, not even greatness.”
    “Some things last.”
    I faced him. “Really? And just what would that be?”
    “The things that matter.”The Kiss of Deception by Mary E Pearson

    1. Again, this is so true. Not everything lasts forever, but the things that matter – especially if they matter to you – will last forever. To me, love and hope will last forever.
  9. “There is no pretending,” Jace said with absolute clarity. “I love you, and I will love you until I die, and if there is life after that, I’ll love you then.”City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
    1. Honestly, this is just too romantic not to be a favorite of mine. So cute, so sweet, so much raw emotion. I love it.
  10. “Just because you can’t experience everything doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experience anything.”Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
    1. Seriously: you’re not going to be able to do everything possible in your lifetime. But you still need to experience what the world has to offer you right here, right now.

What are some of your favorite quotes and why? Let me know!

Top 5 Wednesday: Anticipated Pre-Orders for the Rest of the Year

Welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday as hosted by Lainey of gingerreadslainey. Today’s topic is all about the pre-orders that we are most anticipating for the rest of the year.

Well, since I never pre-order books – or rather, rarely do – I’m going to count this as books I’m most anticipating the release of for the rest of the year.

5. “Carry On” by Rainbow Rowell

carryon

I’m so excited to see the fanfiction story from “Fangirl” come to life in its own novel. I’m really curious to see how the characters develop and how close they may or may not be to what was written from Cath’s point of view in the other book.

4. “Ice Like Fire” by Sara Raasch

icelikefire

I’m excited to see where the characters are now that they have their homeland back and how they’re going to access the magic in their land and when the villain is going to make a reappearance.

3. “Their Fractured Light” by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

theirfracturedlight

I need this third installment in my life like right now. I love this trilogy so much, and it gets better with each book. Like, my heart is so happy just thinking about it. I’m getting all the feels right now.

2. “Frozen Tides” by Morgan Rhodes

frozentides

I haven’t read the third book yet, but I am getting more into the series as it progresses and I am curious to see where the plot leads and who does and doesn’t die next and the magic in the world and all that jazz.

1. “Queen of Shadows” by Sarah J. Maas

queenofshadows

I’m so excited for this booooook. I mean, I’m sure you all already know that, but I needed to put it on here because if it wasn’t, then I’d call shenanigans. Blasphemy. Mutiny. You get it.

What books have you pre-ordered that you’re most excited for? If you’re like me and don’t really pre-order anything, what’s your number one book that you’re most anticipating by the end of this year? Let me know!

Half a Year in Review

Happy Independence Day to all you U.S.A. peeps out there! I hope you’re enjoying celebrating with family, friends, hot dogs, burgers, chilling by the pool, and all that jazz.

To everyone else: I wish you the same!

So it’s already half way through 2015. Wow. I seriously can’t believe it’s already this far through the year.

So today I wanted to just take a look at half the year in review and reflect on some of my favorite books that I’ve read so far, some of my favorite discussion topics, and more.

My Favorite Books of the Year (So Far!)

Wow, ten books. Didn’t expect that much! And it’s not that I didn’t enjoy some of the others I read, it’s just these were my top picks for the year thus far.

Favorite Discussion Topics

  • Letting Reviews Affect What You Read. This topic was generated around the time a very hyped book was released and I was less than pleased because I had checked many reviews before reading the book, thus I let the reviews affect how I read the book.
  • Auto-Buy Authors. I’m pretty sure we all have those authors whose works were just can’t resist, no matter how much we might want to. I have several of them.
  • We Need Diverse Books. I believe bringing in more diversity into YA literature is a wonderful thing and that we should be celebrating it more.
  • Giving Honest Reviews. I stand firmly by this in that you should always, always give your complete and 100% honest review, no matter what. But remember: there’s a difference between criticism and being mean.
  • Cataloging Your Books. This seemed to be a popular one where a lot of people liked how I presented how I catalog my books. I think it’s a good system to know how many books you have and compare it to how many you’ve read, have yet to read, etc.
  • Booktubers vs Book Bloggers | Let’s Discuss. Seriously, we’re all on the same team here, guys. I address some of the issues that sprang up.

I believe discussions can really bring a community together and get each other thinking deeper on some topics. Those were some of my favorite.

Other Things That Are Cool

  • I started Rayna Recommends, a monthly – now becoming bi-monthly – feature where I discuss some of the books, movies, and TV shows that I recommend based on a certain genre or topic.
  • I’m hosting my very first read-a-thon: Themeathon! It’s a month long read-a-thon that’s going through July and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun!
  • Who needs to go to Book Expo America (BEA) when you can just participate in Armchair BEA!? This was a fun little thing where a lot of bloggers participated in answers questions and allowing their followers to get to know them better.
  • I raised my Goodreads challenge from 30 books to 50 books for the year. I’m already more than halfway there and I believe that I’ll be able to reach my goal for the year.

So far this year has been a great one and I hope that that streak continues on throughout the rest of the year.

Let me know what your favorite book so far this year is. I’d love to know! Also, did you host any discussions on your blog? If so, which one was your favorite? Let me know!