Friday 30 December 2016

End of Year Survey

I love doing the Perpetual Page Turner's year-end survey! I don't keep stats, so moving straight onto the questions. For her fab post, check here.

1. Best Book You Read In 2016?
(If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2016 release vs. backlist)
This Song Is (Not) For You by Laura Nowlin has to take this; I adored the central love triangle here, and seeing asexual representation made me so, so happy.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
I started the year by finally reading Treasure Island and, being familiar with the story from seeing films and plays, was looking forward to it - but it never really clicked for me.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  
I wouldn't necessarily say I was surprised by the awesomeness of Unboxed, as I've always known Non Pratt is exceptional, but I think the amount of character development she packed into a novella is really incredible.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
I think I'm probably claiming Alice Oseman's stunning Radio Silence here, although there have been SO MANY incredible bloggers pushing this one super-hard that I'm not sure I can take any particular credit for it.

5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?
Series starter - Emily Skrutskie's The Abyss Surrounds Us features fabulous world-building, an incredible f/f couple, and a superb plot.
Sequel - Dahlia Adler's Right of First Refusal is one of my favourite ever NA books, a gorgeous (and steamy!) romance with an amazingly strong cast. Also nearly all of the supporting characters are queer, yay!
Series ender - And A Happy New Year...? was the perfect farewell to Holly Bourne's superb Spinster Club. Outside of YA, Daniel Abraham brought his magnificent The Dagger and the Coin sequence of epic fantasy novels to an end with the best yet, The Spider's War.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?
So many! In addition to authors mentioned for the answers to other questions, I thought Katrina Charman's two books in the Cat Cafe series were really lovely and I'm excited to read more from her. They're also gorgeously illustrated by Lucy Truman - definitely my favourite illustrator discovered this year; her art for both the Cat Cafe books AND for the Egmont reissues of my beloved Trebizon series was stunning!

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
I'm not a time-travel fan at all generally but The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig and Lauren James's The Last Beginning both completely blew me away.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
I think this has to be Alwyn Hamilton's Rebel of the Sands, a super-pacy read which is one of the few fantasies I've ever wished was LONGER, in a genre generally known for high word count. Super excited for Traitor to the Throne. (Edit: I wrote this answer a week or two ago. Since then, I've read Traitor and incredibly it is even BETTER than Rebel!)

9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
I think this will probably be Super Awkward by Beth Garrod because it's one of the few books which made me laugh on every page, and I feel that I may need cheering up at points in January, especially.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?
I think Lisa Horton is a fantastically talented illustrator and designer and with it still being comparatively rare to see a BAME character on the front of a book, her cover for Susie Day's adorable The Secrets of Billie Bright was a brilliant one!

11. Most memorable character of 2016?
I really do want to try and limit these to one pick per question, but you CANNOT make me pick between Meredith Russo's Amanda in If I Was Your Girl - the first #ownvoices trans narrator I've read in a YA novel - and Lada Dracul, the lethal and brilliant main character (I was about to say heroine; this may be a stretch!!) of And I Darken by Kiersten White.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?
I'll say The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - Starr's voice is stunning and it's an incredibly important read.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?
I think Juno Dawson's Mind Your Head - written with advice from Dr Olivia Hewitt and illustrated by Gemma Correll - takes this; it's an incredibly frank and important look at mental health.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read? 
I borrowed Love Is A Number by Lee Monroe back in something like 2014 from Debbie and FINALLY gave it back to her a week or so ago. Oops. 

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016? 
I can't think of anything non-spoilery!!

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?
Shortest was probably Non Pratt's gorgeous Unboxed, her Barrington Stoke debut. I love Barrington Stoke and this is one of the best of theirs that I've read! Longest - this is where I wish I kept records!! I'm guessing maybe Leigh Bardugo's epic, awesome Crooked Kingdom.

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most
I hate spoilers so much that I can barely answer this but one moment in particular in Crooked Kingdom STUNNED me.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
Crooked Kingdom yet again for me here, with Jesper/Wylan being my favourite of the MANY awesome ships there.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Two trios of friends were incredible - Holly Bourne's Spinster Club, and the three girls at the heart of Sara Barnard's Beautiful Broken Things (which I maaaay have read in 2015, I think, but can't leave out as they're wonderful!) I also found the platonic friendship between Frances and Aled in Radio Silence to be utterly brilliant.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
So many, and trying to go for a bit of variety! Jess Vallance's Birdy was an incredible debut; this year's The Yellow Room was just as fantastic. A super-creepy but very moreish read.

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure
My friend Faye persuaded me to read The Number One Rule For Girls by Rachel McIntyre, which I hadn't planned on picking up, and I thought it was really awesome! 

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?
SAM. For those of you yet to read Traitor To The Throne, Alwyn Hamilton has given us my favourite supporting character since Leigh Bardugo's Sturmhond.

23. Best 2016 debut you read?
Again this is ridiculously hard to choose from! I've mentioned lots of them in other contexts, as well I want to give a shout out to Peter Bunzl's Cogheart, an incredibly entertaining steampunk MG novel - I'm super-excited for the upcoming sequel Moonlocket!

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
I usually think of fantasy novels or sci-fi ones when talking about great settings, but I actually think two of the best of the year for me in 2016 were contemporary novels. Eden Summer, by Liz Flanagan, brings a small Yorkshire town perfectly to life, while Emery Lord does the same for an American small town in When We Collided. Both are places I'd love to live!

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Super Awkward, as mentioned above, was hilarious, as were Perdita and Honor Cargill's Waiting For Callback and Katy Birchall's It Girl sequel Team Awkward

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - with angry tears about how terrible people can be, but also hopeful ones about how Starr will inspire readers to find their voice.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
Lots above that count for this too - in particular the three books I mentioned for the answer to question 25 all deserve to be huge! I also wish more people were reading Ruth Fitzgerald's Emily Sparkes series, which ties with Susie Day's Pea's Book (and spin-offs) for my very favourite MG contemporary books of recent years. Emily Sparkes and the Disco Disaster and Emily Sparkes and the Backstage Blunder were both packed full of laughs.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
Has to be Courtney Summers's All The Rage, and Angie Thomas's The Hate U Give - two incredibly powerful novels.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?
I am halfway through Love Beyond Body, Space And Time: An Indigenous LGBT Sci-Fi Anthology. Prior to this year most of the #ownvoices books I'd read had been contemporary novels; there's been some great sci-fi this year and as I'm trying to read more books by Native peoples this is a wonderful way to sample some outstanding writers. Speaking of anthologies, I'm also reading The Good Immigrant (edited by Nikesh Shukla) which is an incredible essay collection by BAME writers - including my brilliant friend Wei Ming Kam; great to see her in print!

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016?
My Furry Bookshelf - blogging about books and animals - is very cool!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2016?
I haven't reviewed that much, but I really liked the one I wrote about Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
I posted about the last 3 years and really enjoyed the chance to write about how amazing it's been and say thank you to some wonderful people.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I was incredibly lucky and was asked to chair a panel at Waterstones Piccadilly with fantastic authors Lisa Williamson, Non Pratt and Lucy Sutcliffe!

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016?
See above! But also YALC, always fabulous, and winning the Champion of Social Media award at YA Shot, where I also got to celebrate with my amazing friend Debbie, who won Champion of YA!

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
I've been super-busy a lot of the time and HAVEN'T managed to do a good job of taking it easy, meaning I've been incredibly tired quite often. Next year I need to do better!

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
I posted with my first thoughts on Litsy, which got far more views than most of my posts do.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
I wrote a post on friendship in and out of books which I was kinda hoping would be more popular.

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
I'm not sure if Safe Space counts as bookish-related but I THINK it does as most people involved are book bloggers. And they are all completely wonderful people so I definitely need to yell about it here!

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
No, but I intentionally didn't set myself many! I did flake out on the 2016 Classics Challenge, which was a shame but not massively surprising...


1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?
I swear I will FINALLY read Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence, which looks incredible!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?
Has to be Truth Or Dare - Non Pratt is one of my favourite authors, AND there is ace rep - yay!!

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
Lots, most of which are mentioned elsewhere! Sneaking in a YA debut by an established adult author, I'm a big fan of Sebastien De Castell and he showed at Nineworlds that he was incredibly knowledgeable about YA - so I'm very excited for Spellslinger

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?
Super-excited for the Waiting For Callback sequel, Take Two, from the fabulous mother-daughter duo of Perdita and Honor Cargill!

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?
Read and post more, and keep track of what I've read on Goodreads, but also stress less about it. Hopefully it'll happen, if not oh well.

6. A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:
In addition to The Hate U Give, which I've mentioned several times, and Traitor To The Throne, I ADORED Wing Jones by Katherine Webber - gorgeous 1990s-set coming-of-age story about a girl dealing with tragedy, discovering her ability for running, and falling in love. Stunning MC and wonderful supporting cast (especially Wing's grandmothers!)

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