Part I: All About Books
1. Best Book You Read in 2011?
Overall: The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Contemporary: Shut Out by Kody Keplinger
Dystopian: Divergent by Veronica Roth
Paranormal: Destined by P.C. & Kristen Cast
Fantasy: Tiger's Curse by Collen Houck
Science Fiction: Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
2. Most Disappointing Book/Book You Wish You Loved More Than You Did?Shiver. I had heard such amazing things about it and it just did not work for me. Maggie Stiefvater is a very talented writer -- and I really need to get back to The Scorpio Races, which I was enjoying -- but I could not connect with Grace and Sam at all. I'm still watching and waiting for a book about a werewolf that will sweep me off my feet. Suggestions are welcome!
3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2011?The Iron King. I had read a few fey books around the time that it released and didn't like them. So I ignored it back then. But with all of the praise I saw it receiving I had to check it out and I totally loved it. I have the rest of the series sitting here. Now I just need to find the time to read it.
4. Best Series You Discovered in 2011?
That's a tie, and both can be credited to Joanne over at The Fairytale Nerd. The two series that need to be listed are The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa and The Tiger Saga (Tiger's Curse, etc.) by Colleen Houck. They are both, as far as I'm concerned, fantasy / romance, and they are both totally fabulous. If you haven't started them, I highly recommend that you do. :)
5. Favorite New Authors You Discovered in 2011?
The first name that comes to mind is Jennifer L. Armentrout. I had the good fortune to read Obsidian and I absolutely loved it. What makes Jennifer stand out is that she has mastered the ability to create chemistry and tension between her characters that carries from the start of a book to the finish, and she is not afraid to make life difficult for them where getting together is concerned. Anyone who thinks 'romance is predictable' needs to give this book a shot.
6. Best Book That Was Out Of Your Comfort Zone?
Wither by Lauren DeStefano. Hands down. No questions. When I first read the summary my thoughts were: (1) That is the most messed up thing I've ever heard. and (2) How the heck did a publishing company ever approve something that sounds this shocking in the YA market? (Can you tell this was before I started blogging?) What ultimately sticks with me, though, is how much I ended up caring about Linden -- a character I thought I was going to hate. Very impressive.
7. Most Thrilling Couldn't-Put-It-Down Book of 2011?
Divergent by Veronica Roth. This book is nearly 500 pages long and I read the entire thing in one sitting. I literally could not put it down. Did not want to move for anything. Did not want to be disturbed. It was one of the most exciting reading experiences I have had in a long time. Anyone who hasn't picked up this totally awesome book really needs to because it is absolutely fantastic!
8. Most Anticipated Book of 2011
Destined by P.C. & Kristen Cast. I've been a fan of the House of Night series for quite a while now and I await each book very eagerly. I have grown very fond of some of the characters in this world (*cough* Rephaim & Stevie Rae *cough*) and I must know what happens to them. This is actually the series that got me interested in YA in the first place, as well as what inspired me to finally sit down and write Moon Dance so it has a very special place in my heart.
9. Favorite Cover of 2011
This is another tie. The book pictured here, Dearly Departed by Lia Habel, has a cover so gorgeous in real life that I've never seen an image that has done it justice. I had the privilege of reading this via NetGalley and when I saw it in a store I had to have a physical copy because the book was so beautiful. My other choice is Wither by Lauren DeStefano, which I showed earlier.
10. Most Memorable Character of 2011
I'm going to do this with male and female categories. For the male category I think I'm going to give this to Linden from Wither. Why? While he might not be the most oh-my-gosh swoon worthy hero that I want to end up with the heroine for sure at the end of a book, Linden is a deeply complex character who won my sympathy and my heart (whether or not he won Rhine's) by the time I closed the book. In the female category it has to go to Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. As I said during heroine tourney -- "Heroines should be heroic!".
11. Most Beautifully Written Book of 2011
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley. Oh my God, where do I even start to properly sing the praises of the writing here? Everything here is exquisite. The way that she describes the art her characters do is so vivid and lovely that I could see it in my head. The way that she used that same style to practically turn emotions and hopes and fears into splotches of color was equally fascinating. I'm not really making sense, but just trust me. When this releases in North America on Feb. 14th, buy it.
12. Book That Had The Greatest Impact On You in 2011?
Summer on Fire by Kevin Craig. This book changed the shape and focus of my entire blog and is the 'pandora's box' that got me thinking that I might be able to make an impact on the world by reading books that I thought sounded exciting and sharing my views on them. It's the book that turned this into a book blog. And I am very glad for that.
13. Book You Can't Believe You Waited Until 2011 To Read
The entire Perfect Chemistry trilogy. How did I live without these books? I love them so much! Each pairing was extremely interesting, well developed and fun to watch come together. I am sad that this is over, yet I am excited to see what Simone will work on next. Plus, I still need to go and check out the rest of her books. But yes, if you like contemporary and haven't read these yet, I strongly suggest that you do.
14. Most Memorable Quotes of 2011
I'm guilty here, guys. I don't have a list of quotes to go to for this and I don't read in a way that really lends itself to recalling specific quotes easily. When I read it is kinda like watching a movie. Perhaps this is something I should try to remedy in 2012? Should I try to include a memorable quote with each of my reviews?
15. Book You Read in 2011 That You'd Be Most Likely To Re-Read?
Bumped by Megan McCafferty. Why? First off I loved it. But the real reason I might re-read it is that it is part of a two book 'set' and the other half is releasing in 2012. While I wish I could do this every time a new book releases in a series I love, I know I don't have time if I want to keep this place running. But in this situation I might be able to pull it off and I feel the reading experience will be much richer.
16. Most Memorable / Moving Scene
Nyx's forgiveness of Rephaim in Awakened. I remember where I was when I read this. It was May and I was sitting in the hospital waiting for my brother to come out of hip surgery and I kept having to stop and regain my composure because I wanted to weep for these characters, both for what they lost in this book and what they gained. It was bittersweet, both achingly raw and blindingly beautiful. The kind of impact that I think ever writer hopes and strives for.
Part II: Book Blogging / Reading Life
Q: What Awesome Blogs Did You Discover This Year?
A: There are way too many awesome blogs out there to list them all. But here are a few.
Giselle @ Xpresso Reads
Marie @ Ramblings of a Daydreamer
Aeicha @ Word Splunking
Joanne @ The Fairytale Nerd
Wendy @ A Cupcake and a Latte
Darkfallen & Greta @ Paranormal Wastelands
Q: Best Review You Wrote in 2011?
A: I'm rather fond of my review for The Iron King. I think I did a good job in both expressing what I liked about the book, as well as being candid about the things I felt could have been better. I have always tried to be completely honest in my reviews and sometimes it can be challenging to do that when I really like a book. Plus, if I give an author everything I've got the first time I review them, what's left? On a little off note, I am glad that I started reviewing books because I think it will make me more gracious about them when they are about my book.
Q: What Is The Best Discussion You've Had On Your Blog?
A: I think that would have to go to the post I did asking people how they like to read series. I am going to try and have more discussion based posts in 2012. I have run writing them and I love hearing what people have to say.
Q: Most Thought Provoking Discussion on Someone Else's Blog?
A: I don't have a particular one in mind, but my two favorite blogs to visit that often have interesting things to say are Fiktshun's Ramblings and Down The Rabbit Hole.
Q: Best Event You Participated In?
A: Hands down, Zompacolypse. I had a lot of fun getting my blog ready for Halloween and taking part in Zompcolypse gave me lots of opportunity to make sure that my handiwork did not go to waste. It didn't hurt that I took part in the Spooktacular Paranormal Reading Challenge, the Monster Mash and Bash Hop and the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop. October was a very good month, socially.
Q: Best Book Blogging Moment of 2011?
A: Being approved to read Obsidian. I had been dying to read it since I first heard about it and had (and still have) every intention of picking it up. But it went something like this: got the file for my kindle, dropped everything I was doing and stayed up until 5 a.m. to finish it. That's how excited I was for that book. And it totally did not disappoint. I cannot wait for Onyx.
Q: Most Popular Post?
A: If we aren't directly counting giveaways, my most popular posts are probably either In My Mailbox, Top Ten Tuesday, Waiting on Wednesday or anything that I request people look at during giveaways -- Christmas Wish List, TBR Pile, Moon Dance Christmas Sample, etc.
Q: Post You Wish Would Get More Love?
A: Reviews, in general. I do have certain people who tend to comment on them a lot. And I am very thankful for that. But really ... It's a double edged sword. Reviews are suppose to be the heart of a book blog, as far as I can tell, and yet they can be one of the most difficult things to really use as a means to generate discussion -- which frustrates me since that is (in my opinion) the beauty of a blog over a normal website. The thing is it can be very hard to say very much other then "great review!" most of the time.
Q: Best Bookish Discovery?
A: I have two. The first is actually book blogging itself. This has made one of my favorite passtimes become a lot more social and exciting. It has granted me the opportunity to connect with others who love the books that I do and it has made life far more exciting in general. The second thing I would list is likely The Book Depository. I love being able to send books to people and this site lets me focus my money on that rather then wasting it on expensive shipping fees. (Who doesn't hate those?)
Q: Did You Compete In Any Challenges? Did You Succeed?
A: I took part in two challenges: The Spooktacular Paranormal Reading Challenge and (from my own site) the Keeping It Real Reading Challenge. They were both three books plus within a month and I did meet the goal for them both. I am doing a few year long challenges for 2012.
I've signed up for the Debut Author Challenge at The Story Siren, the Science Fiction Challenge at Working for the Mandroid, the Narnia Reading Project (I need to look up who is hosting that) and the TBR Pile Reading Challenge (multiple hosts). I'm also hosting my own challenge called Let's Talk About Love where I am encouraging people to discuss romances in books they read within various genres during the coming year. If you want to know more about that, you can click here.
Part III: Looking Ahead
Q: What Book Did You Not Get To Read in 2011 That Will Be Your #1 Priority in 2012?
A: I think the books that come to mind most immediately are Clockwork Angel, Shatter Me and Destined.
Q: Most Anticipated Book of 2012?
A: If we're talking sequels the answer is Fever, Thumped and Insurgent. If we're talking Debuts then I'd have to say Blue Sky Days, Grave Mercy and The Selection.
Q: What Are Your Reading, Blogging and Writing Goals?
A: Let's answer this one thing at a time, shall we?
Reading: I want to try and have at least two reviews out per week. I want to read a good mix of books I am looking forward to and books that I am approached about -- I need to learn to balance this better. I want to balance how many books I buy v.s. how many I read. I am hoping to read 100 books minimum in 2012.
Blogging: I want to get my blog more organized and I need to develop a new design soon -- going to be too warm for my current one before we know it! I want to start posting video reviews and video In MY Mailbox posts. I'm going to be sharing my first one tonight, actually! I also want to attend at least one blogging / books related event this year. That may sound like a small number but since I don't drive and my family will need to take me it's actually a pretty big deal.
Writing: I want Moon Dance to release on October 25th, 2012. So I really need to get my butt in gear on the revisions and make up my mind about a few key things. I also want to get started on outlining and writing Moon Shadow and Moonrise. (Names are tentative). So yeah... 2012 is going to be busy!
Anyway, thanks so much for taking the time to have a look at this. I had to fill this thing out. It is just such a great idea! Anyway, I'll be popping around to see what others had to say. I'll see you all on the other side of tomorrow! Happy New Year!