2015 End of the Year Survey

Hi everyone, and happy Wednesday!

End of Year Book SurveyTo continue a week of end-of-the-year reflection, I’m taking part in Jamie’s annual book survey. I’ll keep my introduction short and sweet, since there’s much to discuss: my answers are from books I read this year {i.e. they are not limited from those only published in 2015}, I attempted to name a novel once and only once for greater variety, and it’s a lot of fun if you want to participate too.

Number Of Books You Read: 110
Number of Re-Reads: Only two! They were Robin Benway’s The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June and Caroline Kennedy’s A Family Christmas.
Genre You Read The Most From: Contemporary, no doubt.

1-31. Best book you read in 2015?
Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead | Hands down, Stead’s newest novel was my favorite book of 2015. I never found time to write a review, but I just take that as an opportunity to re-read it in the coming year.

2. Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn’t?
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins | I’m so bummed that this beloved contemporary novel didn’t work out for me! Too much hype and too big expectations led to my greatest disappointment of the year.

3. Most surprising {in a good way or bad way} book you read?
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby | I hadn’t read anything from nor heard of Laura Ruby when I grabbed Bone Gap in the spring, but I will certainly be looking through her backlist now! Her novel was quite the pleasant surprise.

4-64. Book you pushed the most people to read {and they did}?
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli | Any book blogger would have had to be living under a rock not to have heard of Becky Albertalli’s delightful debut by now, but I made sure to recommend it to my friends this year too!

5. Best series you started in 2015? Best sequel of 2015? Best series ender of 2015?
Series: Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling | I think that was obvious. Here’s hoping I can read books three and four before I return to school next week!
Sequel: The Stars of Summer by Tara Dairman | I adored Dairman’s 2014 debut, All Four Stars, but she won me over with the second Gladys Gatsby adventure: The Stars of Summer.
Ender: P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han | Is a duology a series? Maybe, maybe not, but one thing is for certain: this sequel was a worthy follow-up to Han’s hit To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?
Jason Reynolds, author of The Boy in the Black Suit | I’ve spoken plenty about the magic that is Jason Reynolds’s writing, so it’s no wonder I consider him my favorite “discovery” of the year. I’m looking forward to working my way through his other books and upcoming releases.

7-97. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff | I rarely, if ever, take out a science fiction novel, but the creative design and interesting premise of Illuminae lured me to it. I’m thankful that I gave it a try; to say it’s a whirl-wind of a read is an understatement.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes | Oakes’ debut kept me up until midnight in the fall because I failed to find an excuse to put it down! Minnow’s haunting story threw me in a funk for days, earning it the title of “unputdownable book of the year.”

9. Book you read in 2015 that you are most likely to re-read next year?
The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall | I’ll admit, I’m not much of a re-reader. I hope to do more of it next year, starting with a childhood favorite: the Penderwicks series.

10-1210. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?
The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne | Thorne’s debut sports one of the best covers of the year: a combination of stunning watercolor and pretty hand-lettering. Fortunately, I thought the excellent cover was equally matched by the story inside.

11. Most memorable character of 2015?
Ryan Dean from Stand-Off by Andrew Smith | I love me some Ryan Dean, particularly when he’s a high school senior à la the Winger sequel, Stand-Off. His humorous voice is the reason I’ve fallen so in love with the duology.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?
The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma | Suma eloquently crafted a story of ballet dancers and juvenile delinquents in her 2015 release, The Walls Around Us. I can only encourage you to read it, as her lyrical prose is something best experienced for yourself.

13-1513. Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2015?
Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert | I hesitate to call Gilbert’s debut “life-changing,” but I do believe it to be incredibly thought-provoking. Conviction prompts questions of faith, trust, and guilt in what I consider a heck of a good book.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read?
The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski | Why I waited so long to grab Marie Rutkoski’s powerful novel is beyond me, but I’m oh-so happy that I finally carved out the time for it. I was instantly swept up into the complex world of the book’s main character, Kestrel. 

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?
“Arden’s ultimate dream, for when she was a senior, was to be the stage manager, the one who called the entire play. Like God, basically.” – Leila Sales, Tonight the Streets Are Ours. I love an author who can recognize the fun, honor, and work that goes into stage managing :)

16-1816. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?
Shortest: Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom by Lynda Blackmon Lowery | I sprinkle in nonfiction reads every now and then, such as this book about the Selma Voting Rights March of 1965.
Longest: The Marvels by Brian Selznick | This almost feels like cheating, given that half of Brian Selznick’s incredible story is pictures, but, hey, it was an afternoon well spent. I have no review to share, but I urge you to read The Marvels all the same.

17. Book That Shocked You The Most
Breakaway by Kat Spears | Kat Spears’s sophomore novel – and the first of hers that I’ve read – had me engaged throughout, but the relationships between characters and the gut-wrenching ending were what shocked me the most. 

18. OTP of the year {you will go down with this ship!}
Jo and Eddie from These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly | I read Jennifer Donnelly’s newest novel just days ago, so the evident connection between main characters Jo and Eddie is still fresh in my mind. They are, in my humble opinion, the cutest fictional couple of the year.

19-2119. Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year
Normandy, Neil, and Dusk from The Truth Commission by Susan Juby | On the non-romantic side, I had to narrow down fictional friendships, but I think it was clear from the beginning that best friends Normandy, Neil, and Dusk from Susan Juby’s The Truth Commission would take the title.

20. Favorite book you read in 2015 from an author you’ve read previously
I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios | It would be difficult to match my love for Demetrios’ debut Something Real, but her sophomore novel, a raw and compelling tale about a war veteran and recent high school graduate, came very, very, close.

21. Best book you read in 2015 that you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure
The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant | I’m always somewhat weary of summer reading – reading for fun is far better than reading for school – but I was fortunate enough to have an English teacher convince me to read The Boston Girl for my assignment. I loved it.

22-2422. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?
Max from The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord | I’m not much of a “fangirl” in the typical sense, but I did – and still do! – consider Max from Emery Lord’s adorable contemporary novel a near-perfect guy. He’s sweet, smart, and a bookworm through and through.

23. Best 2015 debut you read?
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera | I’ve named a number of excellent debuts already, but one I have failed to mentioned is Adam Silvera’s outstanding novel, More Happy Than Not. An emotional punch to the heart, the book had me crying  on the way home from Virginia. 

24. Best worldbuilding/most vivid setting you read this year?
Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray | At over six hundred pages, the Diviners sequel is not for the faint of heart, but I’d argue that Bray’s vivid and historically accurate setting more than makes up for the book’s brick-like appearance.

25-2725. Book that put a smile on your face/was the most FUN to read?
Murder is Bad Manners by Robin Stevens | Middle grade books are what I turn to when I need a light-hearted read, as such was the case when I picked up Stevens’ debut, Murder is Bad Manners. The detective work of protagonists Daisy and Hazel had me smiling the entire time I was reading the novel.

26. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2015?
Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed | I had come to accept that books rarely make me cry when I read Aisha Saeed’s debut last June, only to have it finish with me in tears. Written in the Stars is not sad because it’s fictional; it’s sad because it so closely mirrors events of real life.

27. Hidden gem of the year?
The Notorious Pagan Jones by Nina Berry | One of my personal favorites of the year, Nina Berry’s historical fiction mystery has flown under the radar – and to that, I say, what a shame. With a well-paced storyline and well-developed characters, this is a hidden gem worth picking up!

28-3028. Book that crushed your soul?
Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff | Graff is no stranger to packing emotion into her middle grade books, so I should have been prepared for the soul-crushing final chapters of Lost in the Sun. I read it last summer, and I’m still angry over Trent’s jerk of a dad.

29. Most unique book you read in 2015?
The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough | Brockenbrough’s April release is best described as historical fiction meets magical realism – a unique premise if I ever saw one – as the characters of Love and Death orchestrate a game between two young adults in the 1930’s.

30. Book that made you the most mad {doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it}?
All the Rage by Courtney Summers | I quite literally felt “all the rage” when I read Courtney Summer’s novel about a girl suffering from an act of sexual violence. I wasn’t angry over the book itself; I was only frustrated because it’s a story that is, sadly, all too realistic.

31-3331. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015?
This will forever be a hard question – there are so many terrific blogs I read on a consistent basis! – but I’ll give a shout-out to Word Revel. Joséphine’s photography is breath-taking, and I find myself looking forward to her weekly Mise-en-Scène posts {such as this one}.

32. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?
Another tough one! I’ll go with the review I wrote for Megan Mayhew Bergman’s Almost Famous Women. I had so much fun putting together the images for each short story, and I liked that I learned more about the women as a result.

33. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
I think my favorite “discussion” post {a term used loosely, as I haven’t written many discussion posts yet} is the peek I shared into my daily life. Day in the Life posts are popular across the blogging community, and it was no different of a case here. I loved reading your own schedules too!

34-3634. Best event that you participated in {author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.}?
I’m delighted that my schedule worked out that I could participate in this year’s Book Blogger Love-a-Thon, if somewhat sporadically. I met so many kind bloggers through the event, and I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll be able to do it again in a few months.

35. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015?
I joined the Lit Up Review team! I had long admired this blog for its insightful posts and inspiring bloggers, so I was over-the-moon excited when I was told I was a contributor last winter. After a few months of regularly submitting reviews, I became a full-time writer this fall.

36. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
I think juggling reading my library books, posting on a consistent basis, and devoting time to my schoolwork and extracurriculars was the most challenging aspect of my year. It’s a tough balance to strike, but I like something to work towards.

37-4037. Most popular post this year on your blog {whether it be by comments or views}?
A quick peek at my stats showed me that my first discussion post, Do Tell: I Heart Organizing, was the most popular page on Ciao Bella! I’m not surprised; I love chatting organization, planners, and to-do lists with others.

38. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
I think it’s just because I have such a blast putting them together, but I wish my Picture Perfect posts – a new feature I started this year – received a little more love. You can catch them all here, here, and here if you’d like to take a peek!

39. Best bookish discovery {book related sites, book stores, etc.}?
I finally made myself a Ciao Bella Twitter last winter, and I think it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made for my blog! The book community there is incredibly friendly, and I know I always have an outlet to turn for blogging questions, book recommendations, or post love.

40.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I completely failed at the reading challenges I wanted to participate in, but I did reach my personal goal of reading one hundred books in 2015. I hope to do the same in 2016!

41-4541. One book you didn’t get to in 2015 but will be your number one priority in 2016?
The Last Ever After by Soman Chainani | I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the first two books in The School for Good and Evil series, but for whatever reason, the third book has been sitting on my shelf unread! I’m determined to get to it in the coming year – I’m afraid my sister, only the biggest SG&E fan ever, will disown me otherwise.

42. Book you are most anticipating for 2016 {non-debut}?
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson | I highlighted sixteen books I’m looking forward to reading next year in yesterday’s post, but the number one novel on my list? Morgan Matson’s The Unexpected Everything. Words can’t describe how excited I am.

43. 2016 debut you are most anticipating?
A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro | It’s hard to judge whether or not I will like a debut novel, simply because I have no gauge of reference, but I have little doubts over Cavallaro’s first mystery. It’s a new take on Sherlock Holmes, so you can be sure I’m pre-ordering a copy.

44. Series ending or a sequel you are most anticipating in 2016?
The Mother Daughter Book Camp by Heather Vogel Frederick | This was an easy category! It will be a bittersweet goodbye to my favorite set of characters, but I’m looking forward to reading one last installment in the Mother Daughter Book Club series.

45. One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging life in 2016?
I’ll be sharing my full list of resolutions/goals/what have you next week, but I would love to [1] develop and post more consistently on my blog Instagram and [2] read twelve classics in the course of the year. I think I can do both!

Have a lovely day!

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14 thoughts on “2015 End of the Year Survey

  1. The Penderwicks! They’re such a charming little family. I read my first Penderwick book when I was in college, actually. I was just browsing through the young adult/middle grade section at my university’s library, and I really liked the cover, so I pulled it off the shelf and read the book while waiting for my next class to start. It always pleases me to see a Penderwick book pop up on blogs, since it happens so seldom. I didn’t realize it was a series though, so I’ll definitely have to see if I can find more books at my local library.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, another Penderwicks fan! You hit the nail on the head: they ARE such a charming little family. Book Two happens to be my favorite – I hope you enjoy! Thanks for commenting! :)

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  2. Amazing list! I spy oodles of books I need to add to my TBR list. Also – AMEN on being disappointed by Anna and the French Kiss. I felt the same way. I was so excited about it, particularly as Rainbow Rowell was fairly gushy about it, but I just wasn’t as into it as I predicted.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I can relate – with every survey I visit, I seem to add another book to my TBR list! And I’m happy to know I’m not alone in my indifference towards Anna and the French Kiss; I just wasn’t digging Anna’s story. Thanks for stopping by! :)

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  3. Nice reading year! Contemporary was definitely the genre I read the most from as well. Though, I am predicting that in 2016 the biggest genre for me will be fantasy. I’m looking forward to A Study in Charlotte, too! I’m actually fortunate enough to borrow an ARC from my friend so I’ll definitely be reading that this month.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I can see why that might be your biggest genre; there are so many good-looking fantasy books coming out this year. And lucky duck – I hope you enjoy it! :)

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