2015 End of Year Book Survey

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This survey is created by The Perpetual Page-Turner.

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Number Of Books You Read: 123 (as of 12/27/15 – this will probably go up a book or two by year end)
Number of Re-Reads: 24 (not counted in the above answer)
Genre You Read The Most From: YA

 

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1. Best Book You Read In 2015?

I don’t think I can pick one book, but I have narrowed it down to my three favorite (which were also the ones I got for Christmas):

  1. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
  2. Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin
  3. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (This book will be referenced a lot from here on out, BTW)

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway, Pretending to be Erica by Michelle Painchaud, and The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

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The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – in a Good way!

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

The Fill-in Boyfriend by Kasie West. I’ve had a few different people tell me they read it because I kept talking about it.

 5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?

Started – Six of Crows (Six of Crows) by Leigh Bardugo

Sequel – First Frost (Waverly Family) by Sarah Addison Allen

Ender – Winter (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?

Allison Leotta – The Anna Curtis series

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

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Carry On by Rainbow Rowell – I don’t read a lot of books that have LGBT romance.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Six of Crows!

 9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Big Little Lies

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?

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The book only got 2 stars from me, but I adore the cover of A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray.

11. Most memorable character of 2015?

Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows. He’s everything.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?

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First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015?

This year I read for pure enjoyment purposes. I can’t say I read anything that was life-changing.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read? 

Missing You by Harlan Coben. Not necessarily that book, but the author. I have never read him before and I know I’ll definitely be reading more of him.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?

I don’t keep track of quotes. It’s not my thing.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?

Shortest – Ten Rules for a Call Girl by Allison Leotta

Longest – Winter by Marissa Meyer

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

You know, there were several books that had some small twists or surprises, but there is not anything that stands out to me as being really shocking.

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

(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

Cinder & Kai from Winter

Kaz & Inej from Six of Crows

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

The Six of Crows gang as a whole, Cinder & Thorne

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Six of Crows – previously read The Grisha series by Leigh Bardugo

21. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas – because ALL THE HYPE

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?

Kaz Brekker. Obviously.

23. Best 2015 debut you read?

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Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

The Wrath and the Dawn

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

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The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?

While it definitely wasn’t the sob fest that was Me Before You, After You by Jojo Moyes had me a little teary at the beginning.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

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Aimee and the Heartthrob by Ophelia London was pretty cute.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

I didn’t read a lot of heavy hitting reads this year. I’m not actually upset by this.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015?

You by Caroline Kepnes. This book was just Messed Up.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

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Vendetta by Catherine Doyle because it was RIDICULOUS!

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1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015?

I’m not entirely sure if it was this year or last year, but I’m pretty sure it was this year that I discovered Brandie is a Book Junkie. We don’t share the same tastes in everything, but we both love Suspense novels and if she gives a Suspense a favorable rating, it’s automatically going on my TBR. She is also the reason I read my first Harlan Coben book this year. And we also figured out that we live in the same county, which is pretty cool!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?

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Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

If My Life were Like Chick Lit…The Wedding Date and All the Ways in which I am not a Proper Book Nerd/Blogger.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

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I went to a book signing/talk by Linda Castillo (of the Kate Burkholder series).

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015?

I had my first publisher provided giveaway – for a copy of Black-Eyed Susans.

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

I’ve had several book slumps throughout the year and that bled over into not having anything to post on the blog. I’ve also had lots of Low-Blog-Self-Esteem moments where I kind of hate everything about my blog/blogging.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

My review of The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne has the most views of the year. I don’t have any idea how to search by comments or likes.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

I don’t really know. I wish every post got more likes/comments/views. But what can you do?

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Many new blogs

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

For the Good Reads Reading Challenge I wanted to read 115 books and I surpassed it.

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1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016?

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Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone. I bought it when it was on sale, but haven’t read it yet. It’s first up after I get some library books and ARCs out of the way.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)?

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The Raven King!!!! How many times has this been pushed back?!?

3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

I can’t think of anything at the moment. I’m not super attuned to those yet, I guess.

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016?

The Raven King, obviously, and Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2)

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016?

Request less ARCs unless it’s a book that I know I REALLY want to read. I hate DNF-ing ARCs, but I also hate forcing myself to finish books I don’t like and then try to write coherent reviews about them.

6. A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

So far I’ve only read one and a half 2016 books and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend them to everyone.

 

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Top Ten Tuesday: New-To-Me Favorite Authors

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten New-To-Me Favorite Authors I Read For The First Time In 2015.

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1) Emma Mills – First & Then

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2) Renee Ahdieh – The Wrath & The Dawn

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3) Julia Heaberlin – Black-Eyed Susans

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4) Allison Leotta – The Anna Curtis series

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5) Rebecca Sherm – Unbecoming

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6) Nicole Baart – The Beautiful Daughters

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7) M.J. Alridge – Eeny Meeny

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8) Taylor Jenkins Reid – Maybe in Another Life

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9) Barry Lyga – I Hunt Killers

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10) Ashlee Mallory – Her Backup Boyfriend

What new authors have you discovered this year?

Top Ten Tuesday: Debut Authors I Want Sophomore Novels From

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Debut Authors Who Have Me Looking Forward To Their Sophomore Novel. Some of my picks do have their sophomore (or more) novels published already, but I haven’t read them yet.

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1. Rebecca Scherm – Debut: Unbecoming

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2. Erin Morgernster – Debut: The Night Circus.

And just for fun – here is a link to a blog post Erin wrote about NaNoWriMo

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3. Stella Newman – Debut: Pear Shaped

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4. William Ritter – Debut: Jackaby

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5. Mike Lawson  – Debut: The Inside Ring

Ok, so I guess I’m only having a top 5 today. I’m sure I’ll realize a ton I missed when I read other people’s lists. I’m going to blame in on my NaNoWriMo brain!

The 1989 Book Tag

I’ve seen this on a few blogs, including Brandie is a Book Junkie, and since I am all about the tags lately, I decided to join the fun.

Welcome to New York
You can want who you want, boys and boys and girls and girls.

1. A book with LGBT themes.

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It’s not one of those specialized “diverse” books, but The Lynburn Legacy series has a romance side plot involving gay and bisexual characters.

 

Blank Space
You can tell me when it’s over, if the high was worth the pain.

2. A book that hit you right in the feels, but was totally worth it.

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)

First off, I totally thought the line was “…if I was worth the pain.” I’m going to go with Mockingjay because I refer to it as the book to read “if you never want to be happy again”, but I still love the series so, so much!

I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream.

3. A book that you hated but you loved the cover.

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)

I loooove the cover for Red Queen, but the story that goes with it was pretty Blah.

 

I’ve got a blank space baby and I’ll write your name.

4. Your latest book boyfriend/girlfriend.

The Fill-In Boyfriend

Haydn from The Fill-In Boyfriend

 

Style
We never go out of style.

5. A timeless classic you love.

Pride and Prejudice

Pride & Prejudice – obviously.

 

Out of the Woods
The rest of the world is black and white, but we were screaming color.

6. A book that had vivid world building.

A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic, #1)

A Darker Shade of Magic

 

The monsters turned out to be just trees.

7. A book where things weren’t exactly how they seemed.

Unbecoming

Unbecoming. This was one of my early favorites of the year. I think I need a re-read.

 

All You Had To Do Was Stay
You were all I wanted… but not like this.

8. A book you were eagerly anticipating, but ended up being disappointed by.

 

The Wrong Side of Right

The Wrong Side of Right. I was so looking forward to this and really, really wanted to like it. It was just ok.

Shake It Off
The haters gonna hate…

9. A book/series that everyone seems to love but you can’t help but hate.

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

Throne of Glass. I Just. Don’t. Get. It.

 

10. A book/series you love but everyone else seems to hate.

I honestly can’t think of one. I tend to be the one to hate series that other people love (see above), but I don’t think there’s a lot of hate out there for any series that I really enjoy. I guess I just have wonderful taste 😛

 

I Wish You Would
I wish you knew I’ll never forget you as long as I live.

11. A book/series you know you will always love.

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)

 

The Raven Cycle. I love these characters more than I like most people I know in real life.

 

I wish you were right here, right now.

12. An upcoming release you wish you could have right now!

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4)

Winter – the Lunar Chronicles finale!

 

Bad Blood
Now we’ve got bad blood, you know it used to be mad love.

13. A character you once loved but grew to hate.

Ignite Me (Shatter Me, #3)

Adam Kent from the Shatter Me series. I adored him in the first book and slowly grew to really despise him through the rest of the series.

 

14. An author you haven’t forgiven for the things they did to your favorite characters/books.

Allegiant (Divergent, #3)

I think we all know who the answer to this is for me by now – Veronica Roth for Allegiant – the whole book, not just what she did to one of the main characters

Wildest Dreams
I can see the end as it begins.

15. A book that was far too predictable.

The Magician's Lie

The Magician’s Lie.

 

Nothing lasts forever but this is getting good now.

16. A book/series that you wish could have gone on forever.

Sacrifice (Elemental, #5)

I don’t know about forever, but the ending to the Elemental series was not good enough for me and I need more!

 

How You Get The Girl
That’s how it works, that’s how you get the girl.

17. One of your favorite books where they ‘got the girl’.

Someday Maybe (Definitely Maybe, #2)

Someday Maybe

 

This Love
In darkest screams, in wildest dreams, I never dreamed on this.

18. A book that completely shocked you.

Dangerous Girls

Dangerous Girls

 

I Know Places
Loves a fragile little flame it could burn out.

19. A book you thought you loved but quickly came to hate.

I can’t think of anything for this one either. I usually hate books pretty early into them if I’m going to hate them. I guess I could say Allegiant again since I had decided to love it before I even started it, but then, it turned out to be garbage.

 

Something happens when everybody finds out. See the vultures circling dark clouds.

20. A book you didn’t want to be seen reading.

Pretty Little Liars (Pretty Little Liars, #1)

The Pretty Little Liars series was a guilty pleasure (as is the tv show) – though I stopped reading them somewhere in the middle of the series.

 

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The drought was the very worst, when the flowers that we’d grown together died off first.

21. Does the wait between books made you forget everything that happened?

Often times, yes. Unless it was a book I completely LOVED, but even then I might need a bit of a refresher.

 

By morning, gone was any trace of you, I think I am finally clean.

22. A book/series you wiped from your memory.

Not to beat a dead horse or anything, but I like to pretend that Allegiant doesn’t exist.

FEEL FREE TO TAG YOURSELF IF YOU’D LIKE TO PARTICIPATE. LEAVE A LINK IN THE COMMENTS SO I CAN SEE YOUR ANSWERS!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far In 2015

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Well we are half way through the year and in accordance this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far In 2015. (In converse, I posted my most disappointing booksnof 2015 so far yesterday.) In no particular order, my favorite books I’ve read so far are:

Big Little Lies

1. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. Ok, so this one is in particular order, as I gave this book 4.5 stars and it’s probably my favorite book of the year so far.

The Singles

2. The Singles by Meredith Goldstein. This has been on my TBR forever and I was so excited when I found it for $1 at a library sale.

Eeny Meeny (Helen Grace, #1)

3. Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge. A great thriller/mystery.

Missing You

4. Missing You by Harlan Coben. My first Harlan Coben and it won’t be my last!

The Fill-In Boyfriend

5. The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West. Another adorable book that reminds me why Kasie West is my favorite YA Contemporary author.

First Frost (Waverley Family, #2)

6. First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen. Garden Spells was one of my favorite books last year and it’s sequel did not disappoint.

The Start of Me and You

7. The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord. Another cute contemporary.

Unbecoming

8. Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm. A very well done character-driven novel.

The Beautiful Daughters

9. The Beautiful Daughters by Nicole Baart. Beautifully written, another character-driven piece.

Black-Eyed Susans

10. Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin. This one isn’t out yet, but is easily one of my favorites. A great suspense story.

Law of Attraction  Discretion  Speak of the Devil (Anna Curtis, #3)  A Good Killing (Anna Curtis, #4)

11. Ok, so I’m adding another one and making it a series because these books are amazing and is my favorite new series of the year – The Anna Curtis series by Allison Leotta – Law of Attraction, Discretion, Speak of the Devil, A Good Killing

What are your favorite books so far this year? Do you agree with any of my choices?

Review: Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm

Unbecoming: A Novel

Synopsis from Good Reads:

A major debut novel of psychological suspense about a daring art heist, a cat-and-mouse waiting game, and a small-town girl’s mesmerizing transformation.

On the grubby outskirts of Paris, Grace restores bric-a-brac, mends teapots, re-sets gems. She calls herself Julie, says she’s from California, and slips back to a rented room at night. Regularly, furtively, she checks the hometown paper on the Internet. Home is Garland, Tennessee, and there, two young men have just been paroled. One, she married; the other, she’s in love with. Both were jailed for a crime that Grace herself planned in exacting detail. The heist went bad—but not before she was on a plane to Prague with a stolen canvas rolled in her bag. And so, in Paris, begins a cat-and-mouse waiting game as Grace’s web of deception and lies unravels—and she becomes another young woman entirely.

Unbecoming is an intricately plotted and psychologically nuanced heist novel that turns on suspense and slippery identity. With echoes of Alfred Hitchcock and Patricia Highsmith, Rebecca Scherm’s mesmerizing debut is sure to entrance fans of Gillian Flynn, Marisha Pessl, and Donna Tartt.

I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

I’ve read some good book so far this year, but nothing that has really stood out. Unbecoming, while not what I was expecting, is easily my favorite book of the year so far.

I love a good character-driven novel and this definitely fits the bill. I didn’t find this quite as suspenseful as the synopsis makes it sound, nor is it an exciting heist story. If you’re looking for those elements, Unbecoming may be lacking for you, but for me the character study completely made up for it. Grace is a young woman hiding from her old life. She is the root of the reason that her secret husband and his best friend has been in jail for three years and lives in fear of them coming back for revenge. This is the overall plot, but the real story is just Grace herself.

It is not an easy thing for such an unlikable character to be compelling, even sympathetic, but Scherm really pulls it off. While there were a few times in the book where I completely loathed Grace, overall I really did like disliking her. She is not the psychopath you might find in a Gillian Flynn novel, but a quieter kind of pathological. She’s selfish, a liar, and a thief, but you would never know it until you really get to know her. And she’s smart enough to never let that happen. Told in alternate timelines, we meet Grace as Julie the amateur art-restorer in Paris. Interwoven with her present life in Paris, we travel back to Grace growing up in Tennessee, to her college semester in New York, and to her return to Tennessee as she tries to desperately live the life she’s always wanted.

While the synopsis makes it sound that the robbery is the focal point of the novel, it’s more of the midpoint. There is Grace Before it happened and Grace After it happened. The real psychological suspense aspect for me didn’t come until the final part of the book when one of Grace’s biggest fears come to fruition. There is no dramatic climax or fight scene or narrow get away. The story continues at it’s methodical pace and I really had no idea what was going to happen next, how it was all going to turn out.

Overall, I really enjoyed Unbecoming. One of my few complaints of the novel is the information overload of antiques/art and the restoration process. There were many times where less information would have gone a long way and one of those instances where it felt like the author had done a lot of research and wanted to make sure it was all useful. Other than that, I loved the style, the alternating timelines, the character development, and even how truly unlikable the characters were. I would definitely recommend this book to fans of character-driven novels and I look forward to reading whatever Scherm comes up with next.

Rating (out of 5):

4 stars