January 1, 2013

2012 End of the Year Book Survey

I hope that everyone has been enjoying a happy and relaxing holiday season! May your New Year be full of good health, happiness, prosperity, friends, family, and, of course, good books.

I started my Goodreads account towards the beginning of last year, and then decided to create a reviewing blog about halfway through the year. While I've always loved to read, in the past I haven't been so good at really keeping track of the books I read or recording my thoughts on each one, when Jamie from The Perpetual Page-Turner posted her survey in December, I figured this would be a great way to synthesize my past year's reading. So without any further ado:
Best In Books 2012
1. Best Book You Read In 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want)

High Fantasy: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman 
Paranormal: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Contemporary: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Historical Fiction: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

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

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson A retelling of the Peter Pan story from time from the perspective of his jilted Indian princess lover sounded just perfect to me. Unfortunately I found the story to be tedious, trite, and incredibly slow-moving. So much potential, but it just didn't work out for me.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012?  

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green — I had a rather mediocre experience with my first John Green book (An Abundance of Katherines), but I did want to give The Fault in Our Stars a try, and it surpassed my expectations. It was humorous, poignant, witty, and so incredibly tragic.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?

Eon by Alison Goodman — I adored this book (and series) about a teen girl who has special capabilities and must masquerade as a boy for the chance to become a powerful Dragoneye, those who unite with the kingdom’s dragons and are able to save their country from ruin. Goodman’s novel cleverly questions so many assumptions we take for granted: gender roles, power politics, morality, self-sacrifice. I cannot recommend this enough!

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?

Eon series by Alison Goodman — I absolutely loved this series, obviously. My only criticism is that, although the ending is perfect, I wish there could have been a few more books in this series.

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?

Melina Marchetta, Alison Goodman & Shannon Hale

I have tons more, but I decided to select only those I read more than one work of this past year, so I’m confident it’s the writer I like as well as the books.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers I don't do horror books and I don't do issue-driven contemporaries. This book had some of both, and I found myself loving it. It’s definitely inspired me to read more Courtney Summers books (and issue books), and possibly more zombie books (we will see on that; I still think that I prefer my zombie novels to have zombies as the backdrop to a more human crisis).

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

I have a two-way tie on this.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer — I started reading this one weekend and did not want to put it down. From discovering Cinder’s identity to trying to figure out the Lunar Queen’s plot to noting the Cinderella inspiration, I raced through the pages of this novel. I can’t wait to read Scarlet!

Divergent & Insurgent by Veronica Roth — Perhaps these aren’t the most unique and inventive offerings to the YA dystopian genre, but they definitely were fun to read and fast-paced. I found myself racing through the pages to see what Tris would discover next about her futuristic Chicago world.

9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year: 

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta I read the first book in the Lumatere Chronicles last January at the recommendation of a friend. Although I loved it, I wasn't quite as enthused about reading its sequel, Froi of the Exiles, mainly because I didn't enjoy Froi's character in Finnikin of the Rock. But since then I've heard wonderful things about the second book, and, with Quintana of Charyn being released in the U.S. in March, I plan on reading all three Lumatere Chronicles in a row.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?
Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst Eon by Alison Goodman Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

11. Most memorable character in 2012?

Rather than explain my love of these characters through long-winded explanations, I’ll let their own voices carry across what I love about them.

Verity from Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
I am no longer afraid of getting old. Indeed I can't believe I ever said anything so stupid. So childish. So offensive and arrogant.
But mainly, so very, very stupid. I desperately want to grow old.
Fire from Fire by Kristin Cashore
Some people had too much power and too much cruelty to live. Some people were too horrible, no matter if you loved them; no matter that you had to make yourself terrible too, in order to stop them. Some things just had to be done.
I forgive myself, thought Fire. Today, I forgive myself.
Augustus Waters from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
All salvation is temporary. I bought them a minute. Maybe that’s the minute that buys them an hour, which is the hour that buys them a year. No one’s gonna buy them forever, Hazel Grace, but my life bought them a minute. And that’s not nothing.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

Another two-way tie here, and the best part is I’ve only read the books mentioned below by each author, so I cannot wait to start reading other books by these two talented ladies.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor — Laini Taylor not only writes incredibly well, but her story is probably one of the most unique stories I’ve read in a very, very long time. There are many aspects that would have easily become clich├ęd in another author’s hands, but the love story that Taylor created is so poignant and lovely.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater — I loved how subtle and atmospheric this story is. I’m in awe how in a story about murderous water horses, I was able to fixate on the beautiful language Stiefvater crafted, as well as the realistic relationship that developed between Sean and Puck.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?

Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst — Reading Vessel really forced me to consider fate, exactly what defines a sacrifice “for the greater good,” and the extraordinary amounts of courage and resilience that people can possess. A “chosen one” storyline always causes me to have heightened emotions and reactions, and Vessel did not disappoint.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein — More than any other World War II novel, Code Name Verity really gave me such an appreciation of the war and the potential effects it had on the fighters.  Reading this book forced me to consider what was truthful, the limits of morality, and how war changes people – for the better and for the worse.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?

Terrier by Tamora Pierce — I love Tamora Pierce’s Tortall books. I had heard about her Beka Cooper series but for some reason I just never got around to reading them as they were being released. I’m glad I eventually read her latest Tortall series, even if I do consider this her weakest series. Can her next series take place during Tortall’s golden age once again, though? Pretty please?

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012?

Far too many to count! Here are a few.

Not all sons were like their fathers. A son chose the man he would be.
Not all daughters were like their fathers. A daughter monster chose the monster she would be.
(Fire, Kristin Cashore)

Once I had suspended over this vast space, hanging and helpless, at a dragon’s mercy. Once I had feared that telling the truth would be like falling, that love would be like hitting the ground, but here I was, my feet firmly planted, standing on my own.
We were all monsters and bastards, and we were all beautiful.
(Seraphina, Rachel Hartman)

“What do you want from me?” he asks.
What I want from every person in my life, I want to tell him.
(Jellicoe Road, Melina Marchetta)

I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.
(The Fault in Our Stars, John Green)

Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there's no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.
(Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Laini Taylor)

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?

I did read some short stories, but for the sake of the survey I'm counting books, not novellas or short stories.

Shortest: Coraline by Neil Gaiman (165 pages)
Longest: A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin (1016 pages)

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

The entire second half of Code Name Verity — Seriously, once Kittyhawk’s section began, I was in a constant state of incredulity and awe. That so much could have been revealed through Verity’s section, if only we knew her better, was absolutely stunning. And there were a few key scenes throughout that made me laugh, sob, and become a general basket case of emotions.

The ending of Jellicoe Road — I’m a little slow on the uptake in general, so I only predicted the outcome right before our protagonist Taylor did. Regardless, it was so perfect. I loved seeing how the two tales intertwined. It made all of my initial confusion more than worth it – and I wanted to start rereading it right away (which I did).

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

Once again, books themselves define relationships far better than I can.

Friendship: Maddie and Verity in Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
It's like being in love, discovering your best friend.
Romantic Relationship: Katsa and Po in Graceling by Kristin Cashore
“I know you don't want this, Katsa. But I can't help myself. The moment you came barreling into my life I was lost. I'm afraid to tell you what I wish for, for fear you'll... oh, I don't know, throw me into the fire. Or more likely, refuse me. Or worst of all, despise me," he said, his voice breaking and his eyes dropping from her face. His face dropping into his hands. "I love you," he said. "You're more dear to my heart than I ever knew anyone could be.”

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously.

Fire by Kristin Cashore — Kristin Cashore really has a knack for creating such subtle and strong female protagonists. Katsa has her fair share of time questioning her self-worth, but it doesn’t even come close to the insecurities that Fire must deal with. I really loved this novel’s intelligent criticism on monstrosity and heroism and defining one’s power.

20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else.

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty — I’m not much of a contemporary fan, at least in terms of YA books; I feel like by this point I’m removed enough from high school that I can’t quite relate to the characters, and nor would I want to. Books dealing with high school and the insecurities surrounding life during those times do not appeal to me. And yet, I kept seeing Sloppy Firsts pop up everywhere on the blogosphere. In fact, a number of people said that the reason they ended up reading Sloppy Firsts was because so many other people praised it. And once I read Heidi and Keertana’s glowing reviews, I knew that I had to give this book a try.

Looking Ahead…

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2012 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2013?

There are far too many books I need to read, so I’ll break this answer into categories.

High Fantasy: Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta
Paranormal: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
Contemporary: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (or anything by E. Lockhart)
Historical Fiction: Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Septys
Urban Fantasy: Fever series by Karen Marie Moning; Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013?

Oh, far too many to choose! I’ll stick with a few series continuations here, because with those I already have some sense of confidence in the authors’ abilities and general writing styles.

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
Dracomachia by Rachel Hartman
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2013?

I don’t want older books and books from my TBR pile to get lost in the shuffle of new releases. I think that I did a good job this past year of not getting too swept away by new release crazes; however, I am challenging myself to both the 2013 Debut Author Challenge and the 2013 Standalone Reading Challenge, so I’ll definitely be focusing on new releases for both of those. But I don’t want to ignore potentially great older books in the process. My blog should be about what I want to read, whether it’s a new release or a book 15 years old.

I’d like to find some way to attend author readings/events. I haven’t looked into this a ton yet, but it looks like there aren’t too many that occur really close by and it’s difficult with work and grad school, but I’d like to find a way to attend some!

And, of course, I’d like to continue to find great new blogs and be able to discuss books with fellow readers!

Okay, this wasn’t one thing. But I hope to accomplish these all anyway!

2012 was a great year for books and I hope that 2013 shapes up to be even better!

author image


Amanda loves few things better than sitting down with a cup of tea and a book. She frequently stays up far too late, telling herself she just needs to finish one more page. When she's not wrapped up in the stories of others, Amanda works as a children's librarian in a public library.


  1. I don't know how to comment on this post because there is SO MUCH here. I agree with anything you mentioned that I've read! I haven't read EON but it is definitely on my list for this year. And I cannot wait for you to read FROI OF THE EXILES! I loved that even more than FINNIKIN. I agree that Melina Marchetta is fantastic. YOU CAN TRUST HER! What she does with FROI will blow your mind :). Also loved Code Name Verity and Verity and Maddie's relationship. DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT was so good! Can't wait for you to read that one too.

    1. Yay! Read Eon ASAP. And then Eona. Just go do it. :) And really? I am super skeptical about Froi still. But I will. I own it. It will happen. Same with Days of Blood and Starlight. Thanks for commenting, Lauren!

  2. I agree-The Scorpio Races is a really beautifully written book! It was one of my favorite reads last year :)

    1. I plan on re-reading it again next year -can't wait to do so! :)

  3. *sigh* That quote from Seraphina really hit me hard! Seraphina and Code Name Verity are among my favorites. Jellicoe too, of course, but I read that in 2012.
    I'm reading Vessel right now, and I'm hoping I'll like it as much as you did. In fact, based on your list, I can conclude that our tastes pretty much align so I'm pretty sure I will.
    Wonderful list, Amanda. I can't wait for you to read Kate Daniels!

    1. I know! I love that quote so, so much! It's just beautiful and poignant.
      Aw yay! I can't wait to read your thoughts on Vessel. :) I quite enjoyed it. And yes! I've heard SO many good things about Kate Daniels. I need to start reading those books soon!

  4. Yay! Loved reading your End of Year Survey, Amanda! I really enjoyed all your quotes, especially those from Seraphina and Daughter of Smoke and Bones.

    I cannot wait for you to read:

    1) Days of Blood and Starlight- because it is going to blow your mind
    2) Scarlet- because it continues on with the awesomeness found in Cinder
    3)Froi AND Quintana because I have never, ever witnessed a character morph and grow like Froi does in those two books. I promise you will not regret it...
    4) Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty because if you liked Sloppy Firsts you will probably love this 2nd book if for no other reason than because the Marcus Flutie factor is amped WAY up:)

    And thank you for recommending Eon to me! Now I really want to read Vessel after your thoughts on why it made such an impact on you! Happy New Year!

    1. Thanks, Heather! Happy New Year to you, too!
      Confession: I liked Marcus Flutie but didn't LOVE him in Sloppy Firsts. I don't know if that's just me, but I hope to love him by Second Helpings. And yes! I can't wait to read all those books! :)
      And do read Vessel! It's a fantastic book and I think our tastes are similar enough that you'll love it too!

  5. I have so much to say to you about this awesome post. I came across your blog because I also did the end of the year survey...

    1. Po and Katsa = GREAT ROMANCE! I totally agree with you there.
    2. I also had the Scorpio Races as the answer for my most beautifully written question. There was just something about that book that really made me smile.
    3. The Sloppy Firsts books are really good. I read those a few years ago and I have re-read them at least twice since then.
    4. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is a great book! I really hope you get around to reading that one. It is a different novel and just overall fantastic. I think I will have to read it again soon.
    5. I think I will now officially have to check out Eon. Thanks for the recommendation!

    I am now a NEW FOLLOWER! :)

    Here is my survey if you want to check it out.

    1. Yay! I'm glad to see we have so many similar thoughts on books! I am so ready to read The Disreputable...I've heard so many good things. I need to make time, and soon. And you should! Eon and Eona are both wonderful.

      Thanks for stopping by, Kay, and I'll definitely check out your survey! :)


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