Hi everyone! It’s my favourite time of year in the book blogging community- when everyone is reviewing their year, settling on their top books and celebrating how well they did with their reading year. I love doing my two-part wrap up of the year in reading but I can’t finish my posts until I return to Liverpool in the New Year and am reunited with my laptop and it’s image-editing capabilities. So, in the meantime, I’ve decided to participate in the very exciting End of the Year Book Survey! This is organised every year by the lovely Jamie from Perpetual Page Turner so be sure to check out her original post with the survey and join in yourself if you fancy it!
Number Of Books You Read: 86
Number of Re-Reads: 35
Genre You Read The Most From: fantasy, young-adult
Best in Books
1. Best Book You Read In 2017?
(If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2017 release vs. backlist)
I have an entire top books of 2017 post pending any day now (once I stop being indecisive and settle on them already)… is that the way of getting out of answering this question? Maaaaaybe… but watch this space.
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Probably Milk and Honey by rupi kaur. It’s not to say that I didn’t like this poetry collection, I did in fact, but I expected to LOVE it and I didn’t quite do that which is a shame.
3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
In a bad way, The End We Start From by Megan Hunter. So many reviews said this was beautifully written and I was optimistic that the contents would match the absolutely stunning cover but, alas, I just did not get it, I still don’t, and I’m not sure I ever will. I’m still surprised it has such rave reviews to be honest and I surprised myself somewhat too since with this book I’m unable to understand that whilst it might not be to my taste it might be to others. I just don’t get how it could be?? Clearly I’m the one who’s wrong here though, and that’s fine by me.
4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
I’ve pushed my housemate and friend Liz to read quite a few books this year but I think my biggest success has definitely been getting her to read Wishing for Birds, a poetry collection by Elisabeth Hewer, because she’s really not one for poetry, especially not free verse poetry, and she enjoyed it and then also gifted it to her TBTB Santa!
5. Best series you started in 2017? Best Sequel of 2017? Best Series Ender of 2017?
Best Series I Started In 2017: This is a toss up between A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan, the first book in a five-part series about a female naturalist called Lady Trent, and Mackenzi Lee’s The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue which is the first novel in a… duology?? I loved both of them for very different reasons and am glad the story doesn’t end after one book.
Best Sequel of 2017: Quite a few of the Saga volumes I caught up on this year. Also A Feast for Crows which successfully reinvigorated my enjoyment of reading the A Song of Ice and Fire series, just when I need it. And The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon, the third book in her seven(?)-part series about underground clairvoyance in a Victorian-esque dystopian London – the events of that book nearly destroyed me, so I’d say that it was pretty damn good.
Best Series Ender: I couldn’t not say A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab, as it is the concluding part of one of my favourite fantasy trilogies.
6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2017?
He’s hardly a new author but new-to-me, E.M. Forster has been a bit of a revelation because I didn’t expect to enjoy his books as much as I did. Also he does plot twists like I’ve never seen… like you have to think ‘wait hang on WHAT.!’ and backtrack a page to realise something just happened. Also let’s not fail to mention Anne Bronte, because I mean she’s clearly the best Bronte. #JusticeForAnne
7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
I don’t typically read non-fiction, but I did get to quite a few memoirs this year, one of the most surprising (and best) I read was Adam Kay’s This Is Going To Hurt.
8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
I couldn’t put down The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill. It’s not action packed in the sense of a thriller but it was so insidiously enchanting that I couldn’t stop reading it and devoured it in the space of a couple of days. I couldn’t properly articulate the dark charm of it in my review, I still can’t really put it into words, even months later.
9. Book You Read In 2017 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
Apart from anything Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse or the Harry Potter series (both of which I seem to be constantly at some stage of re-reading at any given moment), I’d probably like to re-read Mackenzi Lee’s The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue because, as aforementioned, it was SO good and the audiobook is A++++.
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2017?
As I laid out previously and in my review, I really rather hated The End We Start From by Megan Hunter, but I loved the cover so it’s such a shame.
11. Most memorable character of 2017?
I’m still thinking about Helen Graham from Anne Bronte’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, for all the right reasons. For all the wrong reasons (so so many of them), Feyre from Sarah J Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses, ughhhh.
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2017?
That’s quite possibly Elisabeth Hewer’s poetry collection Wishing for Birds – my gushing review of it is here, if you fancy a peek.
13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2017?
Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking really made me stop and think – see my review here if you’re curious to know the details!
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read?
Basically all of the Saga volumes past volume 3 – I’ve had them for a while now and I was hoarding them because I didn’t want to be in a position where I had no more left ‘in stock’ and had to wait on the next release.
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2017?
I hoard quotes so I’m not sure asking me to pick just one is wise… you asked for it:
” ‘You have risen from the ashes before. The only way to survive,’ he said, ‘is to believe you always will.’ “
– The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon
“What I will tell you is that you cannot force yourself to mourn. Sometimes, the best way to honour the dead is to simply keep living.”
– The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon
“Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.”
– The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
“It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.”
– The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
“People believe, thought Shadow. It’s what people do. They believe, and then they do not take responsibility for their beliefs; they conjure things, and do not trust the conjuration. People populate the darkness; with ghosts, with gods, with electrons, with tales. People imagine, and people believe; and it is that rock solid belief, that makes things happen.”
– American Gods by Neil Gaiman
“In both the art and the business worlds, the difference between the amateurs and the professionals is simple: The professionals know they’re winging it. The amateurs pretend they’re not.”
– The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
“Wherever you go, you take yourself with you”
– The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
“Truly, life is wasted on the living, Nobody Owens. For one of us is too foolish to live, and it is not I.” (One of my all-time favourite quotes ever)
– The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?
Longest book: currently it’s A Feast for Crows with 852 pages – but I did read quite a large portion (1107 pages to be precise) of War and Peace too, but I didn’t finish it.
Shortest book: that’s definitely Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them at a mere 42 pages.
17. Book That Shocked You The Most
I’m terrible at guessing how crimes are done so probably Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie – as I said in my review, the book was only on like 3 stars and then the reveal happened and I was like ‘whaaaaat’ and bumped it up to 5 stars.
18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
New-to-me: Monty and Percy from The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue – I wanted to smush my little gay babies together so much from the beginning of the book!
Also Rhy and Alucard from VE Schwab’s Shades of Magic trilogy. They’re not exactly new this year since I’ve read her previous books in the series before 2017 but the third book really developed their relationship more deeply and genuinely to some truly emotional places and I loved every moment of the heartbreak.
My always OTP from re-reads: Matthias and Nina from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – smol feisty girl + tall prudish stick-in-the-mud = my jam!
19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
From rereads, I would have to say Bod and Silas from The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. From a book I read for the first time this year (though it’s a series ender from one of my favourite trilogies, as previously mentioned), Rhy and Kell from A Conjuring of Light because the Maresh brothers are #siblinggoals, even/especially when you add Alucard into the mix and he taunts Kell by being all flirty with Rhy – I LIVE FOR that crap.
20. Favorite Book You Read in 2017 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
That would be Matt Haig’s How to Stop Time – I’d previously read his memoir Reasons to Stay Alive (very highly recommended!) and his novel The Humans and adored both of them so I rush to this one and requested it on NetGalley as soon as was humanly possible.
21. Best Book You Read In 2017 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
I get most of my recommendations through osmosis via Booktube and the book blogging community anyway but for argument’s sake I’ll pick Marie Brennan’s A Natural History of Dragons which I’ve heard recommended a lot by both Jean from Bookish Thoughts and Holly from Holly Dunn Design on YouTube.
22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2017?
You know, I don’t think I have one that I wasn’t already aware of before 2017. How sad is that?! I fell a little bit more in love with August Flynn (and, if I’m honest, his “dad”, Henry Flynn) from VE Schwab’s Monsters of Verity duology though, if that makes for a more interesting answer?
23. Best 2017 debut you read?
Looking back, it turns out that I didn’t actually read many debuts at all! So I’ll have to plump for Sandhya Menon’s When Dimple Met Rishi because Rishi is a big ol’ squish and I want to protect him from the world at all costs.
24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
Since I’m trying not to pick re-reads for this question I guess I’ll say the world created in V.E. Schwab’s Our Dark Duet. I’m not particularly into dystopian anymore (if I ever even was into them out of more than just necessity) so I rarely rate them but Schwab has an uncanny knack for subtle world building through not only the physical landscape but also the culture and vocabulary used in a society, and all her books (including this, the second half of her Monsters of Verity duology) have such a vivid tone and aesthetic.
25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
I hate myself for this but The Hating Game by Sally Thorne was a cute contemporary and I knew EXACTLY what was going to happen at every turn of the story but I didn’t care, it was still SO much fun and I grinned like an absolute idiot. (I wrote a review of it, if you’re curious!)
26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2017?
I sobbed through a sizeable portion of The Art of Asking, likely due to the fact I was listening to the audiobook which Amanda narrates herself so obviously hearing someone’s emotional story from the person themselves is quite the tear jerker.
27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
Ok so a lot of people are talking about this so I don’t know if you’d call it a hidden gem per say but I was very pleasantly surprised by Big Little Lies and it was a right little hidden gem for me personally because it so isn’t my genre at all but I was HOOKED and I ended up really thoroughly enjoying the entire thing. I didn’t know a thing about it really (which is definitely the best way to go into it in my opinion) but I still wasn’t expecting that much from this book. I was proven so wrong and I’m glad to be proven wrong in this case!
28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
In case it wasn’t obvious from the fact I constantly allude to it, A Conjuring of Light walked all over my soul, crushed it, rebuilt it, then crushed it all over again just for the fun of it. And I’d let it do it all over again.
29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2017?
Well I guess I’d have to say Neil Gaiman’s American Gods is pretty damn one-of-a-kind because I read it in its entirety and I’m still not sure I could tell you what happened in it at all. Which is kind of the point but still… I got nothing.
30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
Apart from my long chronicled annoyance with Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses, I also got VERY frustrated at the direction taken in Erika Johansen’s Tearling trilogy, particularly in the third book The Fate of the Tearling. I thought I’d signed up for medieval-style fantasy and that is NOT where the story ended up. I wasn’t mad, I was just very disappointed.
Your Blogging/Bookish Life
1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2017?
I’m not sure when I discovered it (or how I went for so long ignorant) but Cait from Paper Fury always has so much infectious energy and enthusiasm about books and reading that I’ve been really loving her blog this year. There are probably many others too but she’s the first one who came to mind.
2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2017?
3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
Discussion posts are probably my favourite things to write and I really enjoyed writing and discussing the following:
Selfishly speaking, This Year’s Failure & What I Achieved re: NaNoWriMo was also really personally cathartic to write.
4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I’m super happy I decided to take part in Jamie’s TBTB Santa this year. It’s something that had mostly passed me by in the past few years and I joined in with gusto. I really enjoyed thinking up cute gifts for my recipient and wrapping them all up. If you’re ever in two minds about doing the TBTB Santa, I would definitely recommend it!
5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2017?
Honestly? When I started to let myself just write in whatever style/tone I wanted to on any given day. I always worry about consistency in tone and whether I’m toeing the right line between formal/eloquent and how I actually express myself on a day-to-day basis. I think the posts I did for the War and Peace Newbies Readalong are the ones that encapsulate the moments of this feeling best.
6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
Striking a balance between posting content regularly and actually being proud of what I’m posting. I’m not sure I’ve actually hit the balance right but Blogmas especially has helped me to re-assess which type of posts I actually like writing and which posts I like writing because they’re relatively quick and easy to “churn out” so I can get back to reading or watching TV sooner.
7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
For some unknown and inexplicable reason, my most commented on post this year was my June TBR post – a TBR which I’m pretty sure I wrote and then promptly forgot about, quelle surprise.
8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
I undoubtedly sound like a broken record here because most book bloggers say this but basically any/all reviews. I understand that the reason reviews are less-viewed, less-commented-on, and less-liked is because some people don’t read reviews until they’ve read the book and/or some people might not have any interest in the book you’re reviewing so why would they bother to read the review for it on your blog. I completely understand the reasoning behind why these types of posts get less love but, even so, a little affection would be nice.
9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
Definitely Fairyloot, a UK-based young adult fantasy subscription box that always has great featured books and puts SO much care into the goodies they include with it – if you’re curious, take a peek at my unboxings.
10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I generally do always smash my Goodreads Reading Challenge of 52 books (one a week). I failed the Book Riot Read Harder challenge so spectacularly and I think from now on I’m going to admit that I just don’t prioritise it so what’s the point in even trying. A challenge I love and managed to finish off at the eleventh hour is the Around the Year in 52 Books challenge. Other goals that I set myself included to read more (4) classics – done!
1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2017 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2018?
I know it’s because I never want it to end but it’s getting faintly ridiculous that I still haven’t read the final Raven Boys book, The Raven King, by Maggie Stiefvater. The fact I haven’t had any major plot points from it spoiled by now is, frankly, a miracle, so I need to just suck it up, get over the fact I don’t want it to ever end, and just READ THIS DAMN BOOK.
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2018 (non-debut)?
You know, I must be so out of touch with the publishing world because I can’t think of a single one. Someone hit me up with a list of anticipated 2018 releases please?? (Does VE Schwab have something releasing in 2018? She’s so industrious I wouldn’t be surprised.)
3. 2018 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
See above for my pitiful excuses!
4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2018?
I can’t think of a single one… unless Jim Butcher decides to grace us with the presence of the second book in The Cinder Spires series? Unlikely, isn’t it?
5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2018?
I saw this every year but write more reviews. Sometimes, I find it easier to write reviews for books I hate, and the books I love result in gushing posts that are barely counted as reviews but are an attempt at one all the same… what I’m really bad for is liking a book and then not reviewing it straight away because it was just ‘fine’. I claim this blog is for reviewing but I fall off the waggon quite a bit so I need to stop doing that and keep on top of reviewing right from the start of 2018.
Similarly to that, I would also like to reach a place where I’m happier with the quality of content I put up on this blog. Sometimes, writing an ‘easy’ post just so that I am consistently posting is such a tempting lure but I need to stop this mentality and start prioritising care and thought in my posts rather than sheer quantity of them. I just want to reach a place where I find the write tone for my blog and I’m happy with it and proud of what I post, because I’m definitely not at that point now.
6. A 2018 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable):
So not applicable. I suck at actually using NetGalley.
Well there was have it, folks, that was my End of the Year survey! It was a pretty good reading and blogging year, all things considered, and I hope 2018 brings even better things! I hope your 2017 was a good year and, if not, I hope 2018 treats you better. If you have your own survey, please do feel free to link me to it in the comments below because I love nosying at everyone’s answers. Otherwise, Happy New Year, and I’ll see you in 2018!