Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year: The Year With The Reader's Antidote + End of the Year Book Survey

It's 2013 guys!! I hope you all had a wonderful and safe New Years Eve. I know I'm thankful for this year. I have no room to complain about anything because there are far too many people that have had it worse than me. I have a loving family, a wonderful boyfriend, and a great life. I can't wait to see what 2013 brings!
Well we've officially spent a year together! I have nearly 700 followers and reached over 50,000 pageviews, a huge milestone for me! The blog has gone through the same major surface changes (which I honestly don't feel like putting here because I have no idea where the pictures are), but the content is still the same. I went through different fluxes of reading and reviewing and definitely read some of my favorite books of all time this year. I learned not to join every blog tour that I see, but I also realized it's a chance to give books that I wouldn't normally read a chance. I started school at a university level, endured finals week, and am more thankful for winter break than I ever have been before.

I learned a lot this year, about life and relationships (old and new), and about the blogging world. It's started to change and I'm not sure how much I like it. I feel like people have gotten nasty and some of my favorite bloggers have decided to leave the blogging world because of other bloggers and especially nasty authors. It's really sad that people stoop to such levels that it makes other people not want to do what they love anymore. There's also been an influx of book blitz, which basically means you feature a book and your post has been completely written by another person. I admit, I've signed up for a couple of these (it's literally only been two), but that's because the books look really good and I want people to know about them. Some people, though, do it every day and I just can't understand that. I feel like book blogs have lost their originality, which is why a lot of us bloggers decided to join this world in the first place. I can only hope that next year will be better.

That being said, I personally have been having an awesome year in blogging. I went to ALA (you can check out my recap and great tips HERE), went to a lot of book signings, and met some great new blogging friends. Check out their awesome blogs: Crystal from Elegantly Bound Books, Thuy from Nite Lite Book Reviews, and Kimberly from The Windy Pages. I also did an ALA Read-A-Thon with Thuy and Crystal, which was awesome.

Like I said, I've had an awesome year, and I can't wait to start this new year of blogging and reading books! So now I'm going to give you guys a sort of rundown of the year. Let's start with the books I read and reviewed in 2012. There are some that will be featured next year too because I read it, but haven't reviewed it yet, but I will have by January. I believe I've read around 110 books, but I probably counted wrong.

Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2) by Tahereh Mafi
Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer
Fireblood (Fireblood #1) by Trisha Wolfe
The Goddess Inheritance (The Goddess Test #3) by Aimee Carter
Breaking Point (Article 5 #2) by Kristen Simmons
Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky #2) by Veronica Rossi
Let the Sky Fall (Let the Sky Fall #1) by Shannon Messenger
The Archived (The Archived #1) by Victoria Schwab

What an epic year in books!

You have no idea how long that took to put together guys. All of those links go to my reviews (though, like I said, some aren't up yet) and downloading the pictures and then putting them into collages. But it's always worth it! I can't believe how many books I've reviewed this year! I'm pretty proud, even though near the end I had to read less. I blame school. 

Now here's how I did on my challenges. I totally failed on a couple, but otherwise, I think I did pretty great! I'm just going to put up the goals, but you can find out what books I read for what challenges by clicking on the My Reading Challenges tab.

Minimum goal: 12 books 
Read: 29 [completed]

Minimum goal: 10 books
Read: 20 [completed]

TBR Reading Challenge
Minimum Goal: 21-30 books
Read: 17 [ugh so close!]

Minimum goal: 10 books
Read: 5 [total fail]

Minimum goal: 5-8 books
Read: 10 [completed]

Check out my reading challenges page to see what I'm challenging myself to you this year! But here are the photos of the ones I'm participating in:
On a personal note, a couple things happened this year in my life. My grandmother died earlier this year, and it hit my mom really hard. Not only was my grandma gone, but my mom was stressed out all the time. Then I left for school, so I wasn't at home. And even though I was only an hour away, I got homesick. I also had to leave my best friend at home, and I missed not hanging out with her. I'm just so happy that I have my boyfriend up there with me. I've made a couple friends, but he made adjusting to the college life easy and fun. I'm proud of how I've done in my life, and I wouldn't change anything about it!

There are two things on the blog going on. The first is the Angelfire Read-Along, hosted by me and Momo from Books Over Boys! You can't sign up anymore, sadly, but hopefully you'll still read the series. The second is a reading challenge I created called the End of the Series Reading Challenge! These sign-ups are definitely still open, and you can find it along the sidebar. I hope to have more interesting events like these during the year. I'm thinking of doing a read-along for the Girl of Fire and Thorns series by Rae Carson since the final book is coming out this year (at least I believe it is), so we'll see. Let me know if you enjoyed the events this year!

One final thing (actually it's quite long). I've seen this 2012 Book Survey Circulating and decided it would be fun! It was time consuming, but it was worth it.

1. Best Book You Read in 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want)
Well, this is just such a difficult question. The host (The Perpetual Page-Turner) even broke the rule of one book, so let's give this a shot by genre: 
DystopianCinder by Marissa Meyer 
Urban Fantasy: Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton 
Paranormal: Lux books #1-3 by Jennifer L. Armentrout & Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins 
Fantasy: The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson 
2013 Release: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer & Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn't?
This is easy: Embrace by Jessica Shirvington & Tiger Lily by Jodie Lynn Anderson. Both of these were great ideas and I just didn't enjoy the execution of the idea. Embrace had some plot details that I hated, and with Tiger Lily I felt really detached from a story that I was excited for.
3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012? 
Hallowed by Cynthia Hand & Dreamless by Josephine Angelini. In both of these cases, I thought the first book in the series was just okay, even though everyone seemed to love them. When the second book came around, I was definitely invested enough in the series to continue, but didn't expect much. Imagine my surprise when they were awesome!
4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?
I'd have to say Cinder by Marissa Meyer and the Angelfire books by Courtney Allison Moulton. Cinder definitely got it's share of attention (I'm actually pretty mad it didn't win anything on the Goodreads choice awards and that Insurgent took everything, even though it wasn't nearly as good as Divergent). But the Angelfire series is one that I adore and it seems no one has read. That's why Momo (from Books Over Boys) and I decided to do a read-along for the series, which is still going on.
5. Best series you discovered in 2012?
Hmm... The Angel Burn books by L.A. Weatherly & Die For Me series by Amy Plum. I loved both of these first two books, and now I'm just waiting for the third books in both series!
6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?
Jennifer A. Nielsen (The False Prince) & Courtney Summers (This Is Not A Test). Both of these ladies have written long before I read their 2012 releases, but I fell in love with their writing and their storytelling.
7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
Well, I'm not big on contemporaries, but whenever I do read them, I love them. They're just a bit out of my comfort zone. And the other genre that's WAY out of my comfort zone is books published by independent publishers. But I have a book that fits both categories, and that's The Kiss Off by Sarah Billington.
8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?
2012 publications: The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson, Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton, A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young & Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi 
2013 publications: Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi, Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter & Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:
I think the The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson is a definite re-read. I need to see Hector again...
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?
I actually wrote a post about my top ten covers of this year, because I am obviously incapable of narrowing it down. You can find that post here.
11. Most memorable character in 2012? 
Probably Daemon from the Lux books by Jennifer L. Armentrout. There's just something about him and how he is with Katie that's so different from other YA boys. And then Elisa from The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson. She's so strong and has been through more than any YA heroine that I've read, and it's only two books in!
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?
2012: Rebel Heart by Moira Young ~ This book isn't exactly written beautifully, but it's written in such a way where I felt like there was always something profound to be found in Young's words.
2013: Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi ~ Tahereh Mafi's prose is magnificent and beautiful in every possible way. The most gorgeously written YA series out there.
13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012? 
I feel like a lot of people will say The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, but sadly it was one of the books I wanted to read this year and just never got to. So I'm going to say This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers. I always force myself to read zombie books because I know they'll be good, and this book was so achingly perfect.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read? 
Definitely A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young & Die For Me by Amy Plum. Both of these were amazing books, and I owned both of them since 2011, and I was happy that I got to read them this year!
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012? 
How are we expected to remember this?? Well, luckily, I saved a picture of a quick quote from The Crown of Embers. It's said by Hector.
UGH! I definitely need to re-read this, and soon! There are other passages that are gorgeous, but I'm not at home so I can't find them.
16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012? 
Shortest: A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young (267 pages)
Longest: Angel Fire by L.A. Weatherly (636 pages)
17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!
Ugh, like all of Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton!!! It took so much effort trying to keep my review spoiler-free; I couldn't say anything that had happened! It had all of the criteria above: many WTF moments, epic revelations, and more that just steamy kisses ;D
18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
Here we go: Will and Ellie from Wings of the Wicked, Katie and Damon from the Lux books, & Aria and Perry from Under the Never Sky and Through the Ever Night. There's just so much more there in all of these books.
19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously
For this one, I'm not considering other books in the series, just the start of a new series. So my choice would be The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa. By the end of the Iron Fey series, I was in love. And I definitely enjoyed The Immortal Rules, though it's not for the faint of heart.
20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:
It'd have to be For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund. Anna from Literary Exploration not only recommended it, but also let me borrow her ARC! I actually don't get many recommendations, but I'm glad I read this one!


1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2012? 
Well I totally suck on finding new blogs. I'm going to say Alluring Reads, created by Jenni. All of my other favorites I've been following for a while.
2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2012? 
I feel like this question is kind of tooting your own horn lol but let me think... my reviews The Kiss Off by Sara Billington, and This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers. Even though I don't read a lot of contemporaries, I seem to write better reviews of them.
3. Best discussion you had on your blog?
One of the discussions I'm most proud of is my post about ALA. It's mostly due to the fact that, even though I was dead-tired from four days in a row at the Anaheim Convention Center, I made up a post of my adventures at ALA and all the tips I could think of.
4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?
There are a lot of good discussions on Literary Exploration, my blogging bestie Anna's blog. Definitely check out her blog!
5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
This is such a crazy question! Every event is an experience for me. All of the group signings were awesome, especially ones where I'd seen the author more than once. I was even the designated blogger for the Fierce Reads tour stop at Mrs. Nelson's Toy and Book Shop.
These ladies (Jennifer Bosworth, Leigh Bardugo, Jessica Brody, Marissa Meyer, Emmy Laybourne, and Anna Banks) were all so awesome! Other authors that I had the immense pleasure of meeting (some multiple times) were Cynthia Hand, Marie Lu, Beth Revis, Andrea Cremer, Lauren Oliver, Claudia Gray, Dan Wells, Tahereh Mafi, Anna Carey, Veronica Rossi, Josephine Angelini, Kami Garcia, Ransom Riggs, Veronica Roth, Aprilynne Pike, Richelle Mead, and Laini Taylor. I want to go to a few group ones this year, but I'm not sure how it'll work out... Also, ALA was a very exciting event, because I got to meet bloggers, publishers, and authors!
Some online events that I participated in were the usual blog tours and I did a read-along for the Matched series by Ally Condie. I hosted an ALA Summer Read-A-Thon with Krystal and Thuy, and currently the Angelfire Read-Along with Momo from Books Over Boys. Definitely more exciting than last year!
6. Best moment of book blogging in 2012?
Meeting all of my awesome blogging friends. Another great moment was meeting my blogging bestie, Anna from Literary Exploration. And of course ALA and all the book signing events I went to as well. My best moment, though, was when I was the designated blogger for the Fierce Reads event. I felt so honored to know that my blog was being noticed by a big publisher, and that they entrusted me with an event that was just so awesome!
7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
Sadly, most of them involve a giveaway. But the review that got most recognized and was not involved with a giveaway was Defiance by C.J. Redwine! Also, my review of Article 5 by Kristen Simmons has recently gotten some attention, as well as Hidden by Sophie Jordan.
8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
Honestly, I wish all my posts would get a little more love, especially my reviews and features unique to my blog.
9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
Hmm well even though I discovered it last year, one of the best discoveries I ever made was author signing events. Also, ALA was a wonderful discovery, since I got a lot of great books and met so many amazing people.
10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
Well originally I set my Goodreads goal to 125, which was stretching it a bit from my goal last year of 100. But I was really proud of myself for making it to 120. If you want to know how I did on my other individual challenges, you can see it earlier in my post!

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2012 But Will Be Your #1 Priority in 2013?
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I feel like a total loser for not reading it, but I've been told not to read it in public because I will turn into a total sobbing wreck. So I'm waiting until summer when I will have time to take an entire day and devote myself to balling my eyes out. I actually made an entire post about books I wish I'd read this year.
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013?
Oh, look, another list (there was no way I could narrow it to even ten choices): Most Anticipated Novels of 2013
3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2013?
I've been pretty good at posting nearly every day, even with college. One thing I really want to be better at is commenting. Between school, friends, boyfriend, reading and the actual blogging, I have very little time to comment, unless they're posts I'm super interested in. For my reading, as much as I want to read a billion books that come out next year, I also want to make a dent in the books on my shelf.
I hope you guys enjoyed the last year with me, and I can't wait to see what this year brings!


  1. Wowzers, you've read so many books this year! I read through the entire post constantly nodding my head because it seems we have pretty similar tastes in books. I've read 'A Fault in Our Stars' and loved it to bits. I really do hope you get to it someday. The characters are all pretty much unforgettable and was totally worth every tear and tissue when things got too really emotional or sad.

    Happy reading and happy new year Nicole! :D

  2. hi nicole! happy new year! wow this was an epic wrap up for 2012. awesome! this has been quite an eventful year in book blogging. there has been some crazy drama that i never expected. seriously, who expects drama in book blogging. but i've met so many fun people (including you) and have gone to so many events this year that have made the craziness worth it. and i am so amazed at all those review links. not only do they look great but you reviews a ton of books. i am the slowest writer ever so i bow down to you.

    hope finals went well and that you had a good holiday at home. i still haven't finished angelfire. i know! so bad. i suck at challenges. but i will finish it soon and we can discuss.

    have a good weekend!


I always appreciate comments and cherish every one of them. THIS IS AN AWARD-FREE ZONE. I don't have the time to fulfill the requirements for the awards, but thank you so much for thinking of me. I just ask for no vulgarity, and if you have any issues with my reviews or writing style, please e-mail me instead of commenting. Now, vent to your heart's content!

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According to FTC guidelines, I'm obligated to share with you that all of the books that I review on my blog are either purchased by me or given to me by an author/publisher. All of the opinions expressed in my reviews are mine and I do not receive any sort of monetary goods for writing either good or bad reviews.