My (extremely late) 2016 end of year book survey!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Okay, wow, SORRY THIS IS SO LATE. January was crazy busy, plus my mental health was on the rocks again, so I really didn't have time to do this until the wee end of the month. The lovely Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner created this end of year book survey and I loved doing it last year, so I jumped on board again this year :) 
Number of books I read: 81
Number of re-reads: 0
Genre you read the most from: 

Best book you read in 2016?
It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover. Not only did this leave me a sobbing mess at the end, but it, once again, proved that CoHo is a wordsmith. Her writing is searing and honest, and it never fails to resonate with me.

Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn't?
Caraval by Stephanie Garber. There was sooo much awesome hype for this, but I was disappointed. I really enjoyed the plot and Scarlett's overall character arc, but for most of the book she was so strict in her beliefs. She was incredibly dull. I felt like I was reading the entire book through a lens; it was almost good, but not quite there.

Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2016?
The Rift Uprising by Amy S. Foster! Even though the mc could be a little stiff at times, I was shocked at how thought-provoking this was. I summed my feelings up perfectly in my Goodreads review:

Book you "pushed" the most people to read (and they did) in 2016?
Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas! I frequently shout on Instagram that people should read this book or that, but Dangerous Girls was the one book that I pushed on my friends and they actually read it.

Best series you started in 2016? Best sequal? Best series ender?
Best series I started was hands down The Graces by Laure Eve. I was enthralled in Rain's story from beginning to end. Best sequel (this is technically a series ender, but it's a duology, so fight me) was The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows. One of my favorite scenes in a fantasy book EVER is in this masterpiece, and it still makes me laugh hysterically to this day. And finally, the best series ender was Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. This sucker-punched me in the gut and shredded my heart, but I would gladly go through it all over again just to relive the feels.

Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?
Julie Buxbaum! Her YA debut, Tell Me Three Things, was poignant, tender, and heart-warming, finding room on my all-time favorites shelf. I absolutely loved it, and I'm eagerly anticipating her next novel that comes out in 2017.

Best book from a genre you don't typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
I don't read that many YA crime novels because I feel like they're usually lacking that thrill that I get from reading adult crime books. There's a certain line you can't really cross in YA, but Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas knocked it out of the park. She toed the line, delving into the complicated and tumultuous relationships between girls in high school. It was dark, electrifying, and sexy. I absolutely loved it.

Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas. I have an extremely complicated relationship with this series, but I can't deny that SJM can whip out books that are bursting with action and suspense (also, slight fae porn.) Especially when it comes to Aelin, who always has something up her sleeve.

Book you read in 2016 that you are most likely to re-read next year?
This is a hard question, because I re-read a book, or a series, if the final book is coming out. For example, I'll be re-reading Frostblood by Elly Blake in preparation for the final book. (It's only a duology.) But I'm assuming this question means a book you loved so much that you want to re-read it again. I'm going to cheat and give two books: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, which is the bet rom-com I've ever read in my entire damn life, and After The Fall by Kate Hart, which I finished this month and still am buzzing about. It was incredible.

Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?
I'm cheating again, SORRY: After The Fall by Kate Hart and Crooked Kingdom by Queen Bardugo. I couldn't pick between the two, because they're both absolutely stunning in two very different ways.


Most memorable character?
Lucy Hutton from The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. Unless you've read the book, you don't understand how truly weird she is. She's me. I'm her. That's all I can say, folks. 

Most beautifully written book?
It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover. Her writing is truly unlike anything I've ever read before. 

Most thought-provoking/life-changing book?
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. This was an eye-opening book about what it's like to truly be an introvert. Thanks to my mom, I learned pretty early on what an introvert was, but Cain named off examples of things that I truly thought I had only experience before. I realized, however, that I wasn't an introvert, and was a mix of an introvert and an extrovert: an ambivert. So that was pretty eye-opening. 

Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read?
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler. Oh my gawwwwwd this book, you guys. I read, and fell deeply in love with, Twenty Boy Summer in middle school. (I even got all of my friends to read it!!! I was so proud.) But if I loved it so much, why did it take me 8 years to read her other work? I have no fucking idea. But The Summer of Chasing Mermaids didn't disappoint. At all. It's now a new all-time favorite. 

Favorite passage/quote?
"I have been made to protect you. Even in death, I will find a way."


Shortest and longest book you've read this year?
The shortest was a novella from Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy: Pale Kings and Princes, which was 40 pages. The longest was Empire of Storms by SJM at a whopping 701 pages. Give me any other author and that would probably take me years to read, yet I finished EoS in 3 days.

Book that shocked you the most?
This is a tie between After The Fall by Kate Hart and The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows. After The Fall had such a sudden heartbreaking plot twist that I was in denial for like, 50 pages, and cried my eyes out, while The Mirror King has THE BEST scene in the entire world at a certain wedding and I still can't believe Meadows did that. It's so juicy.


Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year
Honestly, none. A brotp hasn't stuck out to me this year. Nothing as legendary Juliette and Kenji from Shatter Me, or Celaena and Rowan in HoF.

Favorite book you read in 2016 from an author you've read previously?
The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I LOVED her Lux series, and TPWF didn't disappoint. I swear, Armentrout and SJM have a literal gift for writing swoon-worthy guys. It's crazy.

Best book you read in 2016 that you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure?
Dreamology by Lucy Keating! I read Brittany's review on it and immediately added it to me TBR list, then signed up for the blog tour. If I hadn't seen her review, I highly doubt I would've read, and loved, it.

Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?
Motherfucking Rhysand from A Court of Mist and Fury. How much do you want to bet that he'll be the answer to this question on most people's post for 2016?

Best 2016 debut?
Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn. This was such an astonishingly important book. It deals with safe sex, cheating, assault, bullying, and slut-shaming in a raw and realistic way. We need more books like this, guys. It's so, so incredibly important to show readers a reliable MC who enjoys sex. We need to get uncomfortable with the idea that girls are bullied for doing things a guy gets congratulated on. It's utter bullshit, and I love how Flynn explores this topic in Firsts.

Best world-building/most vivid setting your read this year?
Crooked Kingdom. Just... this was everything. I can't elaborate on that, except to throw CK at your head and tell you to read it.

Book that put a smile on your face/was the most FUN to read?
The Hating Game. Not to sound like a used record, but seriously, nothing was as light-hearted and fun as this damn book. At least not in comparison to anything else I read this year.

Book that made you cry, or nearly cry?
Crooked Kingdom, It Ends With Us, After The Fall, Empire of Storms, A Court of Mist and Fury, Tell Me Three Things, Second Chance Summer ... SHALL I GO ON? My empathy will be the death of me. A book doesn't even need to be sad to make me cry, someone could just be really fucking funny and I'll start wailing.  I don't understand it either.

Hidden gem of the year?
Cherry by Lindsey Rosin. I've seen few people talk about this, and think EVERYONE should at least give this a shot. A trend I noticed in 2016 was YA sex-positive contemporaries. Granted, there weren't that many, but they started popping up noticeably, and I think this is such an important topic for teens. Saving your virginity for a serious relationship is totally fine, and that's depicted a lot in YA. But what's also totally okay is casual sex, and I think it's important for everyone to know that. Girls are held to such a ridiculously high-standard in todays day and age, and I want to rip that fucking thing to pieces. (This topic always gets me heated, and I wanted to quickly throw out another book dealing with this topic: Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn. 1000000/10 would recommend!)

Book that crushed your soul?
It Ends With Us and Crooked Kingdom. V HEARTBREAKING. MUCH HURT.

Most unique book you read in 2016?
I don't want to spoil what made A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz so insanely cool... so I'm not. Instead, feast your eyes on my Goodreads review:

Book that made you the most mad (doesn't necessarily mean you didn't like it)?
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson. The mc, Taylor, in the beginning of the story really struggled with confronting her demons and standing up for herself, and I found it really irritating at times. While I can relate on a certain level (I hate confrontation 80% of the time), Taylor really gave a whole new definition of running away from your problems.

New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016?
Grace from Words Like Silver! I stumbled upon her Twitter when I was looking for bookish people to follow (my handle is @vibinwithbooks if anyone was interested), and I was immediately in awe of her writing and how much she had already accomplished in her 18 years of existence. Her reviews are in-depth and absolutely flawless.

Favorite review you wrote?
My favorite review can barely be considered a review, because I basically said, "I don't want to spoil anything, so get the fuck up and read this yourself. IT'S INCREDIBLE." That was for The Graces by Laure Eve, which I read in a single sitting and now bow down to whenever I see it on my shelf. 

Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
Oh my gosh, definitely my "Holy crap, I'm writing a book" post! Two stories came to me this year, and I finally hunkered down and started researching both of them. I've never had this much interest in any of my ideas before, so I took that as a good sign that this is legit, and whipped up a post about it. I added some helpful links that I had been using, like a world-building questionnaire for fantasy stories, and got so many positive responses to it.

Best event that you participated in (author signings, festival, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I, Mariah Smith, went to THE Holy Grail of all book events: BEA, aka Book Expo of America. They hosted it in Chicago, the love of my life and my hometown, and if that wasn't a sign from above to go, then I don't know what was. I persuaded my mom to come with me to be my wingman, and we (or at least I), had an absolute blast. I wrote a whole post about it, recanting all the people I met (Leigh Bardugo! Jennifer L. Armentrout! The Booksplosion trio!) and all the fabulous books I got. This is definitely something to go to at least once in your life.

Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
This is a little more personal than the question entails, but since it was, and still is, affecting my blogging and reading life, I thought I would mention it. I've been struggling heavily with anxiety since the end of August. I've never had this issue before, so I have no idea what caused it, but it got bad enough that I had to drop my classes because I couldn't keep up with the workload and couldn't be around all those strangers. It felt like someone was stuffing bees into my head and body, and the more people I was around, the louder they got, until I felt like screaming. Throw in some panic attacks (which, again, I've never had before) and this overwhelming feeling of absolute dread and fear that I'll never finish school, and I was basically falling apart. I told that to someone, and I almost started laughing and crying hysterically because it had never been so terrifying true before. BUT, fear not, I'm a (little) better, and my mom and I have kind of rooted out what causes my anxiety to rear its ugly head. So, it's a process. I'm getting there. Good vibes, yo.

Most popular post this year on your blog?
Randomly enough, my review of The Thousandth Floor by Katherine McGee.  I have no idea why, because I didn't do anything special with it, but that's gotten the most views. A close second is my book writing post. 

Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
Oh dear god, definitely the books for trade hashtag on Twitter. It's simplicity is what is really amazing -- you just trade books that you don't want for books that you do. It's that damn simple. (Also, I've been slowly gathering some major unicorns, and am almost ready to unleash them on the world to finally get my SJM ARC's. My heart, body, and soul are ready.)

Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of the year?
Yes! Thanks to listening to Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan, which was split up into novellas for the audio book (and Goodreads counts as individual books) I was almost 16 books ahead of schedule at one point. It was glorious.

One book you didn't get to in 2016 but will be your number priority in 2017?
There were a loooooot of books that I wanted to finish in 2016 (namely, my entire TBR), but... it grew instead. I wholeheartedly blame BEA for that.

Book you are most anticipating for 2017 (non-debut)?
Definitely Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo. And The Ends of the World by Maggie Hall. And Terra by A.C. Vaughn. And Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios. And A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas. *starts to sweat* Don't make me choose. Please.

2017 debut you are most anticipating?
A Shiver of Snow and Sky by Lissa Leuddecke! I randomly saw Scholastic tweeting about this, and immediately was intrigued by the summary on Goodreads:

Red, red, the lights glow red
Beware the dangers up ahead…

On the frozen island of Skane, the sky speaks. Beautiful lights appear on clear nights, and their colours have meaning: Green means all is well, and the Goddess is happy. Blue means a snow storm is on the way.
And then there’s red. Red is rare. A warning.
Seventeen years ago, the sky turned red just as Ósa was born, unleashing a plague that claimed the lives of hundreds of villagers, including her own mother. This time, when the night sky once again bleeds crimson, she must discover what it means before so many lives are lost again.

Sounds insanely cool, right? Sign me the fuck up.

Series ending/sequel you are most anticipating?
Kings Cage by Victoria Aveyard. I have a hard time connecting to Mare, but I'm so invested in Cal and Maven's story that I need to know what happens to my beautiful boy-king and his brooding brother. And Aveyard is kind of ruthless, so I'm curious to see how much blood will be shed in this third installment.

One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging life?
I possibly want to re-do my blog design. I'm not sure yet, because that's such a staple on who I am and I have business cards printed out and everything... but it's been bugging me. I also want to get graphics done for my posts, and take another book picture. And for my reading goal, I'm crossing my fingers that I'll crush half my TBR. My ultimate goal is to see the entire shelf empty, but that's pushing it. So I'll stick with reading half of it. 

A 2017 release you've already read and recommend to everyone: Violet Grenade by Victoria Scott! Ohhhhh my gosh did I love this. It has everything: a slow-burning romance, action, fantastical-elements, WILSON (something you didn't realize you needed until you finished this book), an entertainment house, a sweet friendship, swearing, and some elements of PTSD/over coming emotional abuse. This comes out in May! I leave you with the mysterious summary:

DOMINO: A runaway with blood on her hands.

CAIN: A silent boy about to explode.

MADAM KARINA: A woman who demands obedience.

WILSON: The one who will destroy them all.

When Madam Karina discovers Domino in an alleyway, she offers her a position inside her home for entertainers in secluded West Texas. Left with few alternatives and an agenda of her own, Domino accepts. It isn’t long before she is fighting her way up the ranks to gain the madam’s approval. But after suffering weeks of bullying and unearthing the madam’s secrets, Domino decides to leave. It’ll be harder than she thinks, though, because the madam doesn’t like to lose inventory. But then, Madam Karina doesn’t know about the person living inside Domino’s mind. 

Madam Karina doesn’t know about Wilson.

*sobs* I just loved Wilson so much, I NEED MORE OF WILSON IN MY LIFE, VICTORIA.

Okay, holy shit, it's done. I've finally finished this end of year survey (late, I know, I'M SORRY). Link me to your 2016 posts! I would love to see what your favorite books were, and if Crooked Kingdom broke you as bad as it broke me :)))))))

No comments:

Post a Comment