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End of Year Bookworm Survey

I picked this up from I Am Writer...Hear Me Roar! and you should drop by and leave a comment. Alyssa has a knack for writing quick, compelling reviews. If you find my reviews long and boring, you might prefer her style. This survey is also a yearly thing hosted by Perpetual Page Turner, so feel free to pass it along or drop them a link to your own survey. 

I've included cover pics and links to the books I talk about in case you want to check any out. 



Let's go!

Number of books you read this year: ...idk, a lot I guess? But not as many as I would have liked. It never is.
Number of re-reads: Erm. No clue. Sorry. :(
Genre you read the most from: Fantasy! That one I can answer! I did fit some other genres in there, too. 

1. Best book you read in 2016? 

This is HARD. But actually I immediately thought of The Red Sea and The Silver Thief by Edward W. Robertson. While there were aspects of both which I adored, I'm going to go with The Red Sea because a) stonepunk things and b) NO GIANT SPIDERS. Seriously, what the hell is it with fantasy and giant spiders?

Image result for the red sea the silver thief

2. Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn't?

And I Darken by Kiersten White. It's gender-bent historical fiction about Vlad the Impaler and the Ottoman Empire. I had to set it down in the first third, and while I'll finish listening to it eventually, I'm not eager to get back to it. Part of this was because I got really invested in the gay romance, and even started to read Lada as a potentially asexual character...only to learn that White regendered Vlad just to make her a love interest for the sultan.

Like I said, I'll get back to it eventually. But right now I'm not in the mood.
Image result for and i darken
Also I object to this cover because Lada is supposed to be very ugly.
3. Most surprising (in a good or bad way) book you read?

A Wish After Midnight by Zetta Elliot was a great read and an even better listen, but I picked it up thinking it was a portal fantasy. It wasn't, quite; it was historical fiction which used time travel as a plot device to transport kids from 2000 Brooklyn to 1860's Brooklyn. It was good, just not what I expected.

Image result for a wish after midnight

4. Book you "pushed" the most people to read (and they did)? 

The White Tree and The Cycle of Arawn in general by Edward W. Robertson. I nagged and nagged and my friend finally got it on audiobook, which I honestly wouldn't recommend, but I need someone to talk about this series with. Even if the protag is such a moody emo teenager in The White Tree. It's worth it. Read it. Read it. *whispers* reeeead....iiiiiittttt....

Related image

5. Best series you started in 2016? Best sequel? Best series ender? 

As a whole, The Emperor's Edge by Lindsay Buroker is the best series I started. The best sequel I read is another Lindsay Buroker; Blood Charged was an action-packed magitek fantasy spy thriller and an absolute delight. I don't have a best series ender because I haven't completed a series in...wow. A while. While I'm telling you what to read, just go buy everything by Lindsay Buroker, OK? Start with Encrypted, maybe, or Balanced on the Blade's Edge if you like romance more. BUT DAMN. EVERYTHING THIS WOMAN WRITES IS GOLD.

Image result for the emperor's edge     Image result for createspace independent publishing platform blood charged by lindsay buroker

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?

I'm coming very, very late to the Jim Butcher fandom, but he's new to me!

7. Best book from a genre you don't typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I don't read a lot of romances or romcoms, and South of Sunshine by Dana Elmendorf was great. Humor, heartbreak, healing, and a dollop of Southern charm captured my imagination, even as Elmendorf refused to romanticize the setting.

Image result for south of sunshine

8. Most actionpacked/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Lexicon by Max Barry, holy shit. I got it because I was like "Oh hey, that's the NationStates.com guy!" I was not prepared. I WAS NOT PREPARED.

Image result for lexicon max barry
More indie authors! And international
authors! Yay!

9. Book you read in 2016 that you are most likely to re-read next year?

Castle in the Air and The Spellcoats are two Diana Wynne Jones novels which I re-read at least annually. I'm probably going to add The Islands of Chaldea to that list, simply because it's her last book and I haven't gone back to it yet.

Image result for diana wynne jones last book   Image result for diana wynne jones last book    Image result for diana wynne jones the spellcoats

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?

The cover for The Accidental Afterlife of Thomas Marsden by Emma Trevayne is perfect. It grabbed my attention in the store and it perfectly sets the tone and concept. 

Image result for the accidental afterlife of thomas marsden when does it take place

11. Most memorable character of 2016?

Grumpy old ethermancer from The Silver Thief by Edward W. Robertson. She's old, but she's still kicking ass, taking names, and schooling the protagonist on why he sucks. You never see a crochety old female mentor, either. She's tricksy and grumpy and amazing and complicated. Plus, reading about an 80-something woman fighting demons is simply delightful. She is never named, known only as "The Keeper." 

Image result for the silver thief

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?

Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand is beautifully written, with spellbinding fantasy segments interspersed with reality. The fairy-tale style of the fantasy sections juxtaposed with the bleaker, choppier voice of day-to-day action complement each other beautifully. Both styles are spoken by the same narrator, too. It's lovely.

Image result for some kind of happiness claire legrand

13. Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2016?

Some Kind of Happiness, again. This is a real genre-bender, set in contemporary America but with fantasy elements woven in. The protagonist uses her imagination to process reality, and reality seems to change to suit imagination, until they blur together. Magical realism? Maybe that's a good label for it. It's also one of the best books I've encountered about depression and anxiety. Especially for young readers -- the protagonist is eleven and has been depressed most of her life. This book could really help some kid who can't put a name to their feelings, and is evocative for anyone of any age who's been through something similar. 

14. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read?

Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence. I'd been reluctant to pick it up, and when I did, I found it was both scary with horror elements but also way lighter in tone than his previous novels, with a feckless, annoying, very fun-to-read protagonist. 

Image result for prince of fools

15. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2016?

From Some Kind of Happiness, pgs. 49 and 50
The orphan girl felt something deep inside her unraveling, sliding up her throat and out her mouth. She gagged. The snake set her down in the dirt and spat a coil of darkness into her palm. "There," the snake said. "I cannot remove all of it. It is lodged too deeply. I am not powerful enough. And besides, it is not my darkness to fight [...] First you must give it a name," said the snake. "Naming a thing takes away some of its power and gives it to you instead."
Also, "Have you dwelt on the nature of duckhood?" from The White Tree. The friend I got to read that has given me no end of grief over that scene (which I probably deserve), and we've gotten a great deal of entertainment out of it.

16. Shortest and longest book you read in 2016?

No idea. :(

17. Book that shocked you the most?

Lexicon. Jfc, that ending.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

My one true pairing is a non-canon couples/swinger pairing and I will ship it until my last breath. In the Dragon Blood books by Lindsay Buroker, Ridge and Sardelle are a couple and Cas and Tolemek are another couple. There's hate-flirting and skinny dipping and Ridge is strongly implied to be bi and I want them to be a nice polyamorous square. Buroker keeps lampshading the sexual tension and my shipper brain CANNOT EVEN.

19. Favorite platonic character relationship of the year

Dante and Blays from the Cycle series by Edward W. Robertson. Also I think their combined powers of snippiness would be too annoying for anyone else to tolerate. I also really liked Dante and Winden's relationship.

20. Favorite book you read in 2016 from an author you've read previously

Claire Legrand is one of the authors whose books I will blanket-buy and blanket-recommend. So, Some Kind of Happiness again even though it was drastically different in tone from her previous books.

21. Best book you read in 2016 that you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure:


Image result for aeronaut's windlass

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?

I don't really get fictional crushes. 

23. Best 2016 debut you read?

Flowers of Dionysus by Ty Unglebower, an indie author and a friend of mine. It's a magical realism novel (or contemporary with fantasy elements, if you will) about a small community theatre and all the ensuing shenanigans. It's got a lot of heart, it's accessible to non-theatre folks and resonant with theatre lovers. Also, I gave input on the cover, so yay. :) AND THE COUPLE I SHIPPED GOT TOGETHER, which almost never happens, so double yay!

Image result for flowers of dionysus

24. Best worldbuilding/most vivid setting you read this year?

Stonehill Downs by Sarah Remy took the standard fantasy pseudo-Europe setting and made it unique and evocative, just one corner of a varied world. You can practically feel the bleak wind on the downs and imagine yourself in Avani's little shack. There's a bit of a Nordic noir feel to it which I liked.

Image result for stonehill downs book

25. Book that put a smile on your face/was the most FUN to read?

The Emperor's Edge by Lindsay Buroker contains comic relief to die for. Wacky team dynamics, stoic assassins, and the ever-effervescent Maldynado -- a warrior-caste man's man turned male escort -- had me grinning and shaking my head. I love Maldynado. He's a runner-up for my most memorable character. Also, the comic relief in that series tends to actually be competent as well as funny, and to hide surprising depths. I'm curious to hear more of his story. Such as, how do you go from being the scion of a famous family to being a prostitute? I need this answered...

26. Book that made you cry or nearly cry?

A Wish After Midnight is genuinely upsetting in spots. This is when I turn the audiobook off, calm down for a bit, and then return to it.

27. Hidden gem of the year?

I'll give this one to Flowers of Dionysus, because it's indiepub, it's about theatre, and it deserves to be more well-known. And I'm not just saying that because I know the author. It's a good book. Read it.

28. Book that crushed your soul?

Lexicon. It's not often that I read a book thinking everyone died in the end, read the epilogue, and then wish everyone HAD died in the end after all. Again: I WAS NOT PREPARED.

29. Most unique book you read in 2016?

The Greenstone Grail by Amanda Hemingway was a dimension-hopping, aliens riding space dragons, sorta-kinda-vampiric take on the Holy Grail legend. Definitely unique and a refreshingly different spin on the mythos.

Image result for the greenstone grail

30. Book that made you mad? (whether or not you liked it)

The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue. Link to my review presented without comment.  I also got really annoyed at Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, partially because of the narrator reading it but also because of things fundamental to the book that I disliked. 

Whew, hope that wasn't too long! If you made it this far, the next section of the survey is about blogging life and looking ahead. 

1. New favorite book blog that you discovered in 2016? 

Sheena-Kay Graham's blog is a nice blog. Hop over for some posts about books and writing!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2016?

My favorite book review is probably The Book Blogger Platform, since I don't get much chance to read or review nonfiction. My favorite movie review was Rogue One. I miss doing movie reviews.

3. Best discussion/non-review post?

My post about how examiner changed hands and deleted all my reviews and how frustrating that was has been both popular and useful, as several other people have commented to share their own experiences with the change. 

4. Best event that you participated in?
If this counts, I had a short story in the launch of the "A Bit of A Twist: Read on the Run Anthology." 

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life? 

Taking book recs from people and reading them and then making them read the books I like. And talking about them. Also I tweeted to an author and they replied, and I was WAY too excited. :)

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

I like writing long, detailed reviews because in-depth analysis is always kind of hard to find online. But I've been hesitant to write long stuff or write too many reviews because I worry they won't be read. I think posting consistently is probably the main thing, and I should just write whatever I feel like. 

7. Most popular post this year on your blog?

My most popular month has been this December, which has been my most-visited month of all time. The most comments have been on my post Examiner is gone and so are all my reviews. The most pageviews have been on Book Review: The Greenstone Grail by Amanda Hemingway.

8. Post you wish got a little more love?

I just want to hear everyone's thoughts on Rogue One, honestly. I also want more people to understand why I don't like King Arthur. :) And also the post The Last Time I Voted, We Thought This Was the Worst It Could Get.

Looking ahead...

1. One book you didn't get to that will be your #1 priority in 2017?

Conspiracy, the next book in The Emperor's Edge. Ha ha, to be honest I have a hopeless TBR pile but if I think about that I might cry. One book at a time...also Goldenhand...and Fire and Stars...and...and...and...

2. Book you are most anticipating for 2017?

The Wound of the World by Edward W. Robertson, the next one in the Cycle of Galand series. I KNOW IT TECHNICALLY CAME OUT AT THE END OF DECEMBER. I DON'T CARE. I'M SO EXCITED I'M GOING TO SCREAM. I needed this to look forward to in 2017. 

3. Debut you are most anticipating?

I think The Reader by Traci Chee. I got it for Christmas and am SUPER EXCITED to start it. Not a 2017 debut but I don't really keep up with new book news. And the cover is just gorgeous!

Image result for the reader traci chee

4. Series ending/a sequel you are most anticipating in 2017?

The book has been written, but I'm anxious for Raptor by Lindsay Buroker to be made into an audiobook so that I can listen to it. 

5. One thing you hope to do in your blogging/reading life? 

Apart from reading ALL THE BOOKS? Continuing construction on my depleted reviews section and blogging more often generally.



How about you, intrepid reader who made it (or skimmed it) to the end of this post? :) Any favorite books or future goals? 

Comments

  1. Woohoo you did it! And I made it to the end! Thanks for the shoutout, btw. ;) I have now added a bunch of these books to my TBR list... the fun thing is you read very different stuff than I do so I always find something new when I read your blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome. And thanks for cluing me in to this survey!

      I think you would really like Some Kind of Happiness and Flowers of Dionysus. Myself, I'm slowly making my way through all the linked posts on Perpetual Pageturner and it makes me want to reactivate my GoodReads account just to keep track of my TBR list.

      Delete
    2. Those were two of the five I added to my list :) I have a Goodreads account but I don't use it, I just use Word documents for both my TBR list and book log, although the tagging features of Goodreads would be nice.

      Delete
    3. I did try to use Excel once for something similar, but it never quite worked out. Let me know what you think of the ones you marked! What others did you pick out?

      Delete
  2. Okaaaaaayyyy...I wrote a comment for this post that somehow ended up on your Rogue One post, and I have no idea how. I deleted that and will now comment on the proper post.

    First, thanks so much for your shout out of my novel! You should have told me you did that before, I would have thanked you earlier. =)

    Second, I have sadly not read any of the books on your survey here. =0 I do, at your suggestion have "The White Tree" on my "To Read" list, though. You read in a different genre than I usually do, but I think I will start reading more stuff that friends of mine recommend regardless of genre, so I can at least talk about it with them; people I know hardly ever read the books I choose.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A number on this survey are indie-authored. I've been actively trying to read (and promote) more indie and self-pub stuff. Lexicon, The White Tree/Red Sea/Silver Thief (all in the same series...well, the second two are a sequel series but details, schmeetails), The Dragon Blood series, The Emperor's Edge, Encrypted, and of course your book.

      If you do pick up The White Tree, which I highly recommend, I also highly recommend that you be patient with it because Dante can be such an insufferable ass. 16 and emo, you know. There are a few years between each book so the series isn't YA, but I'm always hesitant recommending books with younger chars to people who don't read a lot of YA because of age things and not gelling with older readers.

      Also, I'm totally willing to do a book recommend swap and later discussion with you, if you want. That'd be fun.

      Delete

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