January 5, 2015

2014 End of the Year Book Survey

The End of the Year Book Survey is created by Jamie of The Perpetual Page-Turner. It's such a fun way to reflect back on the past year's reading.

So without any further ado...

2014 Reading Stats
Number Of Books You Read: 81
Number of Re-Reads: 2 (Just Finnikin of the Rock and Lady of the Forest last year. I need to step up my re-reading game for this year!)
Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy (What a surprise, right?)

Best in Books
1. Best book you read in 2014
Young Adult: I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Adult: Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

2. Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more but didn’t
A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller. I realize I’m one of the very few for whom this book didn’t work. And I wish that wasn’t the case. A historical fiction about art and suffragettes is something I should love, but Vicky made for a most frustrating protagonist.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014
All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry. I kept hearing that this book was told in second person and that made me nervous - but it’s no more told through a second-person narration than any novel based on letters or diary entries is. Judith may be speaking to her love and childhood friend Lucas, but this is firmly her story. Her empowering, beautifully narrated story.

4. Book you “pushed” the most people to read (and they did) in 2014
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta. I chose this as my book club pick so that I could have a refresher prior to reading Froi of the Exiles and Quintana of Charyn for the first time.

5. Best series you started in 2014, Best sequel of 2014, Best series ender of 2014
Series starter: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
Sequel: The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas
Series ender: Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014
Marie Lu. This is a bit surprising for me, since I did not enjoy Legend all that much. But I had access to Prodigy and Champion so I kept reading the series and discovered it got better and better. And then I found myself to be very impressed by The Young Elites. I hope that Lu continues to improve with each subsequent story!

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone
Something Real by Heather Demetrios. Contemporary is not my favorite genre to begin with, and I’m definitely not very interested in reality TV - or stories about reality TV. But Demetrios’ debut really looks past all the artificiality and is incredibly poignant.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. This book starts off with a major spaceship crash survived only by two people who don’t really care for one another, and the tension only builds from there. It’s science fiction, but also a survival story and a romance and contains paranormal elements.

9. Book you read in 2014 that you are most likely to re-read next year
I do plan on re-reading some books next year, but I like to space out re-readings of books by many years. I had some books I loved this year, but none that I’m in any rush to re-read this year already.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014
I adore its elegant simplicity.

11. Most memorable character of 2014
It’s a tie between Quintana (of Froi of the Exiles and Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta) and Breq (of Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie). Much of The Lumatere Chronicles is based around Quintana’s so-called “madness,” but as Froi and readers get to know her, she becomes this complex, fascinating character. And Breq...where to start She’s an ungendered AI system that controls spaceships and individuals. I never would have thought of a character like her!

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton. I’m partial to Latin American works magical realism, and it felt like Walton really tried to emulate that writing style in her own story. It’s a quiet, unassuming sort of novel full of both wondrous occurrences and beautiful language.

13. Most thought-provoking/ life-changing book of 2014
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Oh man was this book depressing. Well, the subject matter is depressing, although I felt like protagonist Kathy tries to put up a wall by narrating her story in the most disconnected way possible. Even with a narrator who is in many ways emotionally detached, though, this one packs a punch in its depiction of ethics and morality.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. To be honest, I have read the abridged version of this book back when I was little, and I have seen the 1994 film version. But they’re not really the same thing as reading this story in full completeness. It’s much as I expected it would be, but still very good!

15. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2014
She found that she did not mind losing the previous moment, for this one was just as lovely.
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

I don't believe in miracles, but if the need is great, a girl might make her own miracle.
All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry

Quick, make a wish.
Take a (second or third or fourth) chance.
Remake the world.
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

16. Shortest & longest book you read in 2013
Shortest: According to Goodreads, it’s Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman (56 pages)
Longest: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (752 pages)

17. Book that shocked you the most
The Young Elites by Marie Lu. After reading her Legend trilogy earlier in the year, I knew that Lu wasn’t afraid to take risks in her novels. Making Adelina an anti-hero was surprising enough, but even beyond that Lu makes it clear that none of her characters are safe from harm.

18. OTP of the year
I really, really like Froi and Quintana (The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta). I just love that they’re two broken people who are willing to trust in each other. And because I can’t resist adding a quote:

‘Our bodies aren't strangers,' he said, his voice ragged. 'Our spirits aren't strangers'. He held her face in his hands. 'Tell me what part of me is stranger to you and I'll destroy that part of me.'
And she wept to hear his words.   

19. Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year
Friendship: The surviving contestants from Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Familial: Noah and Jude from I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

20. Favorite book you read in 2014 from an author you’ve read previously
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. I expected to love Nelson’s sophomore novel, and wow did I. It’s just beautiful. This novel features a new cast of characters than those of The Sky is Everywhere, yet contains many of the elements that make it a Nelson work: death, complicated sibling and family relationships, an absent mother, expression through the arts.

21. Best book you read in 2014 that you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure
Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer. A lot of people kept reading and loving this one, but this wasn’t so much peer pressure as curiosity on my part. It’s not my typical type of book, but I was pleased to discover how heartwarming and genuine Queenie’s story is.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014
I really liked Enzo (The Young Elites by Marie Lu). I admire his passion and determination, but I won’t say any more so I don’t reveal spoilers.

23. Best 2014 debut you read
Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley. I was a bit worried that the book might be overly ambitious in trying to tackle both civil rights and gay rights in one book, but it wasn’t at all. It wasn’t always the easiest book to read, but it is a powerful one.

24. Best worldbuilding/most vivid setting you read this year
The mountain village of Nag’s Head and its surrounding land from McCormick Templeman’s The Glass Casket was certainly among the most atmospheric.

25. Book that put a smile on your face/was the most FUN to read
“Night of Cake and Puppets” by Laini Taylor. This was just so freaking adorable. I couldn’t say I loved Zuzana and Mik until reading this novella. I want to have a romantic adventure like theirs!

26. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2014
I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe. This is a romance that takes place during the Civil War. I knew it was going to have to deal with death and broken families and be sad, but I hadn’t realized to what extent prior to reading it.

27. Hidden gem of the year
I’m not sure anything I read in 2014 really qualified as a hidden gem. One book that I think was decently promoted but that I didn’t see much reviews of/hype for was Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth. It’s such a “me” book it’s ridiculous, but I also think it definitely should be receiving some critical acclaim, if it hasn’t been.

28. Book that crushed your soul
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. If by “crushed my soul” this question means “made me question my faith in humanity,” then yes. Well, a potential route that humanity might take, but still. Very depressing.

29. Most unique book you read in 2014
Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick. The reverse-chronological vignettes about reincarnated lovers meeting over and over again was interesting, to say the least. Runners up include The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman and Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie.

30. Book that made you the most mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)
Well, Liar by Justine Larbalestier was a maddening sort of read. I like unreliable narrators, but Micah is something else. She tells readers she’s a liar, and is she ever. I just want to know if the supernatural elements were true or not!

Looking Ahead
1. One book you didn’t get to in 2014 but will be your number 1 priority in 2015
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. My boyfriend read this recently and is on my case about me reading it so that we can discuss (he loved it, by the way). I have only a few library books standing in my way of reading this doorstopper!

2. Book you are most anticipating for 2015 (non-debut)
Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman. So, so excited for this! I believe this book was my answer for the same question on last year’s survey, because the release date has been pushed back many times now. But now March 10 doesn’t seem so far away.

3. 2015 debut you are most anticipating
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh. This is apparently a retelling of A Thousand and One Nights with a few twists along the way.

4. Series ending/A sequel you are most anticipating in 2015
Winter by Marissa Meyer. I mean, I’ll probably read Fairest as well, but I’m most excited for Winter. I liked what I saw of Snow White’s character in Cress and am eager to see how Meyer works with the “Snow White” fairy tale.

5. One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging life in 2015
I actually have quite a few reading/blogging goals, but I’d say my main one is to become a more diverse reader. There are so many books out there and it’s so easy to become excited for something that everyone else is reading/reviewing (which is by no means a bad thing!). But I’d like to branch out and read more varied novels on here and expose myself to new, unique stories.

6. A 2015 release you’ve already read & recommend to everyone
I haven’t read any 2015 releases yet, so time will tell!

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'm glad to see that you were able to read many wonderful books this year Amanda! I'm excited as you've mentioned enjoying quite a few books that I still need to pick up yet. I haven't read anything by Lu yet, and had overlooked Something Real and The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, but I think I will have to reconsider giving them a go. I hope you have a fantastic reading year in 2015!

  2. I really need to pick up Bitter Greens and Lies of Locke Lamora. I know I'm going to love those two and seeing how much you enjoyed them means I'll likely adore them too. So glad to see you loved I'll Give You the Sun--it was definitely one of my favorites--and I'll be curious to see what you make of Shadow Scale once you read it. I really expected a lot and though I enjoyed it a ton, I preferred Seraphina. Still, I'm looking forward to comparing notes. Great recap of 2014, Amanda!

  3. I'm so glad I wasn't the only one disappointed with A Mad, Wicked Folly. And yay for I'll Give You the Sun! Also, we agreed on our favorite 2014 debuts! Lies We Tell Ourselves was so, so great.

  4. I only just read my first Marchetta book last year (Jellicoe) and now I'm definitely sold on her writing style and I want more! And I really want to read Finnikin now, of course. Your reviews and other's of the series have convinced me of that! Jandy Nelson is another one I really need to check out sometime. Here's to a great reading year in 2015!

  5. I'm so glad you read and loved All the Truth That's in Me. That was one of my absolute favorite reads in 2013, and I never expected to love it the way that I did. I read the Lumatere Chronicles a few years ago and quite enjoyed them, but I want to re-read now that I have really fallen in love with fantasy because I think I'll appreciate them and love them even more now (sighhhh that Froi and Quintana quote you shared - LOVE). I'm happy to hear you enjoyed Something Real because I just bought that one recently. And I totally agree on Never Let Me Go - it was depressing and so different from anything else I've ever read, but man that book made me THINK. And I am so, so, so pleased to see Nowhere but Home and I Shall Be Near to You on your survey - two of my very favorite books. I Shall made me cry, too. I should have known it was a tearjerker, but I had no idea I'd be quite so attached to the characters! Ahhhh.

    Seems like you discovered so many wonderful books in 2014, and I hope that continues this year! :)


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