Saturday, January 4, 2014

End of Year Book Survey: 2013

It's the time of year for bloggers everywhere to take a look back at the year that was. Well, technically it's past that time of year but because I was without internet for all of December I'm only just getting my End of Year Book Survey up now! This survey is in its fourth year and it was created by Jamie of The Perpetual Page-Turner. It's so much fun to do but quite lengthy. So, thank you in advance to those who make it through the entire post. What were your favourite books of the year? Let me know if I missed any good ones! And Happy 2014!

1. Best Book You Read In 2013?
Chick lit – Blogger Girl – Meredith Schorr. Hands down the book I’ve recommended the most this year.
Historical fiction – Life After Life – Kate Atkinson. This book is so twisty turny but it’s amazing.
General fiction – Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan. It had everything and it was awesome.
Contemporary YA – Fangirl– Rainbow Rowell. Just amazing.
Fantasy/dystopian/basically anything not contemporary YA – Divergent series – Veronica Roth. SO glad I finally read this one.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Longbourn by Jo Baker. I still really liked it but this was a case of having mile high expectations. I should have known better!

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013? 
Skinny Bitch in Love - Kim Barnouin. I really wasn't expecting to love this one. I thought "This woman wrote a is she going to do with writing a novel?" Honestly, it's not the best literary adventure ever written but I still loved it. I'm excited there's going to be a sequel!

4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?
Blogger Girl by Meredith Schorr for bloggers and chick lit lovers, Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan for those looking for a good fiction read, Life After Life by Kate Atkinson for people looking for a twisty story.

5. Best series you discovered in 2013?
In the interest of not saying the same thing over and over again, I’m going to go with S.E.C.R.E.T. by L. Marie Adeline (aka Lisa Gabriele). This is a new erotica series written that got a lot of marketing from Random House of Canada when it was released earlier this year. We’re seeing erotica everywhere these days but I thought this series had a good storyline to it (unlike others I could name). Not to mention it's written by a Canadian and Lisa is absolutely fabulous (so glad I went to the lunch Random House hosted for bloggers!). Review for S.E.C.R.E.T. here and S.E.C.R.E.T Shared here.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?
Rainbow Rowell. Technically I’ve heard of her and have been meaning to read her debut novel Attachments for a couple of years but I didn’t actually read her books until this year (which is probably a similar story for a lot of people). She blew up the blogosphere with her two YA novels this year, Eleanor & Park and Fangirl, and rightly so. They’re awesome novels and she’s an equally awesome person. You can tell that just by following her on Twitter but I met her when she came to do a signing in Toronto and she was beyond lovely.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
If you’re a regular reader you’ll know that I’m Canadian. I hadn’t read nearly enough Canadian fiction (referred to as Can Lit) and wanted to change that this year. Little did I know that I would end up doing an internship at the amazing nonprofit Project Bookmark Canada. It made me realize that Can Lit comes in all shapes and sizes. Part of my job had me read novels based in one particular Canadian city to see if there were any potential Bookmarks to be found. The first one I read was my favourite – The Bone Cage by Angie Abdou. It’s about two athletes in Calgary who are training to take part in the summer Olympics. I just loved it. I’ll definitely be making a point to read more Canadian books from now on. Perhaps I’ll start with the books nominated for Canada Reads 2014!

 8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?
Just One Day and Just One Year – Gayle Forman. Holy man. I was crazy invested in Allyson and Willem's lives and I read both of these books in virtually one sitting.

 9. Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
I don’t tend to reread a lot of books these days, especially one year after another, so this was a tough one. In a perfect world, if I had the time I would like to reread the Divergent series (yes, this is coming up again). In part because it was awesome but also because the movie will be released in March.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?
Hands down the Canadian hardcover edition of Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. I have never loved a cover more in my life.

11. Most memorable character in 2013? 
 Don from The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. I had never read a main character like Don before and I think that’s part of why this novel did so well. To make a very basic comparison, he’s a lot like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. Even if you don’t like that show (I don’t), I think you’d like Don and his story.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?
The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe. Oh, this book was so heartbreaking. It was so kind of Schwalbe to share the last few months of his mother’s life with the world and allow us to learn what an amazing person she was.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013? 
Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell. As I looked through the list of books I read this year, Fangirl stuck out for me. This book is awesome for so many reasons but I really liked that Cath wasn't your typical college student. And she wasn't your typical atypical college student either. (That makes sense in my head...) I really connected with her because she was so incredibly (painfully) shy and I felt like that when I was in my first year of university too.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read? 
It sounds crazy but I actually hadn't read The Devil Wears Prada (2003) prior to this year. I love the movie but had never heard enough good things about the book to warrant putting the time into reading it. I finally read it because the sequel came out this year…but I still haven't read that one either! I also finally read Austenland (2007), a book I'd been meaning to read for ages. I read this one this year because the movie came out but I still haven't seen it because it didn't come to a theatre near me. Boo!

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?
It was hard to pick one favourite so I picked two. The first is a serious quote from Dreamland by Sarah Dessen. 

The next is a little funnier and it's from Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close.

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?
Longest: Allegiant – Veronica Roth. 526 pages.
I read a lot of short stories so I went with the shortest novel (novel = 100+ pages): Cleavage by Theanna Bischoff. 122 pages.
How to do this: sort your Goodreads list by page number.

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? 
End of Allegiant. I had to text my friend and fellow blogger Natalie (Browsing Bookshelves). Exact text: What the effing eff, Allegiant.

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
Romantic: Dash and Lily from Dash and Lily's Book of Dares (Rachel Cohn and David Levithan). This one almost didn't make it on the list as it was one of my last reads of the year. I liked that they got to know each other through words first and I could tell that once they did meet they'd be really good to and for each other.
Family: Neil (father) and Chris (son) in The Banks of Certain Rivers (Jon Harrison). Neil's wife and Chris's mother had had an accident when Chris was quite young so Neil had to raise Chris on his own. He's in his teens in the book and I adored every single scene with the two of them. As I noted in my review, reading about these two was one of my favourite parts of the book.

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Hidden – Catherine McKenzie. She is one of my favourite authors and I love that she's Canadian. Her books always have more to them than meets the eye and that was very true of her latest.

20. Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:
Just One Day and Just One Year by Gayle Forman. As I noted in my review, the main reason I read these is because Jamie (the lovely brain behind this awesome survey and the blogs The Perpetual Page Turner and The Broke and the Bookish) can't stop gushing about Forman. I now understand why. These books were awesome.

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?
Chick lit/women’s fiction. But is that really surprising? :)

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?
Cricket from Lola and the Boy Next Door. Oh, he was adorable. And much too young for me. But that's not the point. :)

23. Best 2013 debut you read?
Sweet Thing – Renee Carlino. This was my first foray into “real” New Adult and it was a thoroughly enjoyable trip.

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. 1. I can’t believe it took me so long to read this amazing book. 2. The world and circus Morgenstern created were just incredible. 3. Read it.

25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?
Sense &Sensibility – Joanne Trollope. I personally liked this adaptation and I found it kind of fun and interesting to read it while having Jane Austen’s original novel and the Emma Thompson movie adaptation in my head at the same time.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry. I don’t know what it was that hit me so hard but I definitely cried while reading this one (and teared up a time or two while reading Crash Into You, too.)

27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?
Someday Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham. Seems kind of silly to say that a book written by a huge celebrity was overlooked but hear me out. I heard tons about how Graham was writing a book and when it’d be released and what it was about. Then it was released aaaand crickets. I don’t really remember seeing this one around the blogosphere (or even “traditional” media…sphere) too much. Did anyone even really end up reading it? It wasn’t super fantastic but it was good!

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2013? 
I had the pleasure of working with blogger Vanessa for one week when we were Random House of Canada interns. It was my last week and her first and we quickly bonded (and wished we had been together for the full twelve weeks instead of just one). She's the writer behind My Pen, My Voice. She does a lot more writing than just book reviews but her blog is one to check out.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2013? 
After rereading a few, I've decided on two that I like: The Night Circus (posted May 24) and Just One Day/Just One Year (posted December 26).

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?
I'm not really into discussions…only because I forget that I comment somewhere and don't check back. I imagine others are like that as well. But, I did write a discussionesque post this year that I'm really proud of…even though it was kind of ranty and didn't have anything to do with books. I'm not working right now (I thought it'd be a good idea to leave my job last year and try out some publishing internships…ha) and I thought I'd write a post about how unemployment was going for me. It got a lot of responses, both from people who were in similar positions and from those wishing me luck, and it really made me appreciate the book community who showed such support.

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?
I really liked Rachelia's post about the whole Goodreads debacle (side note: can we not have any blogger drama in 2014? Makes me feel like I'm back in high school.) on her blog Bookish Comforts. 

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I was lucky enough to attend several amazing events and signings in 2013 but I adored this year’s Ontario Blogger Meet-Up. I went in 2012 and knew I had to go again because it’s so incredibly energizing to spend time with fellow bloggers. 

6. Best moment of book blogging/your book life in 2013?
There were so many great moments (interning at Random House of Canada being a big one) but one of my all time favourite bookish moments of this year was helping plan BookBuzz Toronto. It was an amazing event featuring nine women’s fiction authors and took place at a great bar in downtown Toronto. I still can’t believe that this event happened, that I was a part of it, and that I got to meet some of my favourite authors. Mind. Blown.  

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
There were a few posts that got a lot of hits and a few comments this year. My Touring My Bookshelves posts got a lot of love as did last year's survey and most Top Ten Tuesday posts. But one of the posts that stood out on its own was my Random House of Canada internship recap post.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
Perhaps my review of The Rosie Project. I think this was a great 2013 novel and I wish more people would read it. I think a lot of people are turned off by the fact that it's not your typical novel or main character and they think they won't like it. I thought the same thing but I loved it. It's so worth the read.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
The Austen Project. It's a project that is getting six contemporary authors to retell Jane Austen's six classic novels. I'm a little hesitant, even after enjoying Joanna Trollope's reimagined Sense & Sensibility, but I'm interested to see how it all turns out.
Also, three indie bookstore shout outs…I finally went to Words Worth Books in Waterloo this year (I had only lived in the city for five years and out of it for over three) and it was delightful. I also got the chance to visit Curiosity House Books in Creemore. Such a cute town and shop! I also finally managed to visit The Bookshelf in Guelph...I wish I lived in that city because the (awesome) bookstore is also a cafe/bar and cinema. Ah-mazing.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I took part in the 50 Book Pledge hosted by Savvy Reader (HarperCollins Canada) once again. I knew I’d hit 50 easily but I had hoped to make 200. Unfortunately, I didn't quite get there but I’m SO proud of the number I hit (183).

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2013 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2014?
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. This wasn't a 2013 release but I purchased my own copy (that's now signed, woot!) in 2013 so I'm counting it. I MUST READ THIS.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2014 (non-debut)?
Ack. Hard to pick…buuut…I think I'll go with Emily Giffin's new one, The One and Only, which is to be released on May 20th. I expect a copy for my birthday on the 28th. :)

3. 2014 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
Oh gosh. This is a tough one. I usually don't know about debuts until they're right on top of me. So I'll have to check my anticipated 2014 reads Top Ten Tuesday post. *reads over post* Alright, actress Judy Greer's memoir, I Don't Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star wins!

 4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2014?
I’m really looking forward to the final All Souls trilogy book, The Book of Life, by Deborah Harkness. It’s been a long time coming!

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2014?
I thought about not setting a goal for the number of books I want to read this year but I decided to try for 100 and see how it goes. I read way more than that in 2013 but my hope is that I'll be employed and won't have as much free time to read!
Because I can't just pick one thing, I also want to keep working on my blog and making it more…meaningful, I guess. When I was looking through posts to complete this survey I realized that a lot of the books I read just blended together. I'm not sure how to change that but it's something I'm thinking about as I start the new year.


  1. Great answers, Kaley! A few of mine match yours (you can check out my responses here: In fact, you made my survey because I read Crazy Rich Asians based on your review :-)

    Have a great 2014!

  2. Interesting to hear your thoughts on Longbourn. That’s one I’ve been interested in reading but haven’t gotten around to yet.

    Also, SO glad to hear you loved The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe! I saw that book in an English bookstore while I was studying abroad in France, and have wanted to read it ever since (talk about an eye-catching title, right?). But, it doesn’t seem to have the best reviews online sometimes, and I’m relieved to hear you liked it!

    Also, you HAVE to watch Austenland ASAP. (I think the DVD release is February 4?) I thought it was BRILLIANT. I actually only read half the book and gave up on it (though I’ve been thinking I should try it again), but I looooved the movie.

  3. Great answers! Skinny Bitch in Love also surprised me! And know how much I loved Just One Day and Just One Year! LOL that text you sent me about Allegient was hilarious...although most of the texts you send me are quite funny! Coffee date soon! Or ... I guess I'll see you for the Bachelor!


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