2015 End of the Year Survey

Thursday, December 31, 2015
2015 End of the Year Survey! <<link to goodreads stats

According to goodreads, I've read 100 books this year & 36,644 pages.

And now it's time for the Book Awards!

Under a Painted SkyBook of the Year: 
Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee
West looks up. 'This is the best time to hunt, when the animals are out looking for their suppers. 'Course, with a painted sky, light's not always good.' I never heard someone call the sky painted before, but it's the perfect word. Clouds outlined in gold streak across the firmament, casting uneven shadows over the landscape. 
I really adored this book. It has everything I love - a likable, clever female lead, strong female friendships, a swoon-romance, beautiful writing, diversity, and a gorgeous setting & time period. It was one of my most anticipated books of the year, and I devoured it in a day. Gorgeous, gorgeous book.

Heroine of the Year: Ista from Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold
Roads were made for young men, not middle-aged women. The poor orphan boy packed his sack and started off down the road to seek his heart’s hope…a thousand tales began that way. She was not poor, she was not a boy, and her heart was surely as stripped of all hope as life and death could render it. 
Yup, I chose a middle-aged woman for my heroine of the year. She's whip-smart, with a no-nonsense attitude. Even though she's been put down her whole life, she takes it upon herself to have an adventure, save the day and fall in love. There's a reason why this won the Hugo & Nebula award.

Couple of the Year: Lara Jean Song & Peter Kavinsky from Jenny Han's To All the Boys series

I open up my brown paper bag and pull out his sandwich. I wrote a P on his in Sharpie so I'd know whose was whose. "Do you want a sandwich?"
"You made that for me?"
"I mean, I was making one for myself, too. It would have been rude to just bring one sandwich and eat it in front of you" - Peter & Lara Jean in To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Jenny Han really knows how to write what it feels like to fall in love/crush with a boy. Lara Jean is adorably naive, with infinite depths & Peter K. is a flawed, but wonderfully boy-dorable love interest. (I made that word up just now.)

Hero of the Year: Ed from The Enemy series

The trumpeters blasted out a ragged fanfare, thunder boomed overhead, and then, almost as if it had been rehearsed, the big doors at the end of the cathedral burst open and a flash of lightning revealed six kids standing there in shining armor. In the center, his mortuary sword raised in his hand, his scar lit livid, was Ed. - From The Sacrifice by Charlie Higson 
I love Ed. Ever since he appeared on page one of book 2 of the series. Out of all the characters, I think he's the one who's had the most growth - from care-free boy to berserker warrior. What a tormented, heroic kid. A leader, through and through.

He sometimes felt almost as if he’d died somewhere along the way, and only came alive when he had his mortuary sword in his hand. Was that why he was pursuing this mad quest? To show he still had a heart? -From The Hunted by Charlie Higson
The Wondrous and the Wicked (The Dispossessed, #3)Book Boyfriend: Luc from The Dispossessed series by Page Morgan
“Luc,” she managed to whisper before her head fell against his chest once more. Luc had come for her. She didn’t know how he’d known, but he was here and she was safe and there wasn’t anything for her to worry about any longer. - The Wondrous and the Wicked by Page Morgan   
Last year's pick was Raffe, and this year's is Luc. One's an angel, the other is a gargoyle. Do I just have a thing for men with wings?!?! In any case, I like how Luc is essentially a good guy/gargoyle, but also really sexxxy... Also, with the way it's written, Ingrid looongs for Luc, so as a reader, I longed for him, too! 

Best Supporting Character: The Kid from The Enemy series

"Oh boy. I'm sad, Sam. I'm very sad. But I don't have the words and I don't have any more tears. They were all squeezed out of me. I am made of sorrow, beg steal and borrow, will you love me tomorrow? I will love her for always and all time, and time beyond time. And I know she's gone to a safe place, a place beyond the stars where no one can hurt you. But still I'm sad." - The Kid in The End by Charlie Higson
The Kid won last year's Best Supporting Character. I just love him. He steals every scene. I could read a whole series just about him (oh please, Charlie Higson, write a series about The Kid!)
The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1)
Best Villain: Khalid from The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

“What are you doing to me, you plague of a girl?” he whispered.
“If I’m a plague, then you should keep your distance, unless you plan on being destroyed.” The weapons still in her grasp, she shoved against his chest.
“No.” His hands dropped to her waist. “Destroy me.” - The Wrath and the Dawn
Is he a villain? I guess that's debatable. At the start of the book, he has murdered (hundreds?) of girls, or at least ordered the murdering of said girls. I like how it's the ultimate "seduce & kill" narrative, with Shazi having to infiltrate the palace and murder the boy-king himself - of course...falling in love with the enemy complicates things...

Best Ensemble Cast: The Enemy series by Charlie Higson. So many great characters. Ed. Scarface. Ella. Small Sam. The Kid. Maxie. Blue. Jordan. Shadowman. Ollie. Kyle. Ryan. Jack. Bam. Dognut. Brooke. Hayden. On and on and on and on. Every character is memorable. 

Best Bromance: The Axis Powers in Ink and Ashes by Valynne E. Maetani. Such strong friendships between the boys. I loved their banter & protectiveness of Claire. I want a boy-friend group like that! 

Best Girlfriends: Kami & Angela in The Lynburn Legacy series by Sarah Rees Brennan. Loving, supportive, teasing. Kami & Angela 4 EVA.

Best Ending: The Wondrous and the Wicked by Page Morgan (Dispossessed #3). It was perfect, perfect I tell you! 

The End (The Enemy, #7)Best End of Series: The End by Charlie Higson
He thought ghosts were the spirits of characters from books yet to be written. One day someone would properly write their stories and they would go into the pages of a book and live there until someone read that book. Then they would travel into the minds of the readers and live on safely there forever. 
I mean, that title - it's THE END! And boy, what an end it was...

Best Mid-Series: Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

Best Start of Series: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Best Standalone: Conservation of Shadows by Yoon Ha Lee
Conservation of Shadows

The night became the color of gun smoke little by little, darkness unfolding to make way for the lithe girl-figure. She had a straight-hipped stride, and her eyes were spark-bright, her mouth furiously unsmiling. Seran had half-expected her to have a pistol in each hand, but no, there was only the one[...]Most of the poets didn't recognize her, and none of the soldiers. But one of the poets, a chubby woman, tore off her necklace with its glory's worth of void-pearls. They scattered in all directions, purple-iridescent, fragile. "The Saint of Guns," the poet cried. "In the city where words are bullets, in the book were verses are trajectories, who is safe from her?" - Effigy Nights
Such a brilliant collection of sci-fi short stories. Multicultural in content. Every story is unique, and the storytelling superb. "Effigy Nights," is one of THE BEST short stories ever written.  

Debut Author Award: Stacey Lee. I am SO excited for this author's career - her debut had great characters, great writing, beautiful themes & a stellar story. Her books slated for 2016 & 2017, sound just as good. Speaking of which...

Outrun the Moon
Book I'm Most Looking Forward to Reading in 2016: Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee. Set in 1906 San Francisco, about a girl from Chinatown posing as a Chinese heiress in order to gain admittance to a prestigious all-girls school. GIMME NOW!

Category Fiction:

Science Fiction- The Cage by Megan Shepherd
Paranormal Romance- Talon by Julie Kagawa
Fantasy- Half the World by Joe Abercrombie
Contemporary Romance- P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han 
Historical Fiction- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Horror- The Hollow Boy by Jonathan Stroud 
New Adult- The Deal by Elle Kennedy
Romance- The Striker by Monica McCarty

Diversity Award: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Gorgeous fantasy re-telling of One Thousand and One Nights set in the Middle East.

LGBTQ Award: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
A brilliant contemporary fantasy about a brother and sister who find a sleeping faerie prince in the forest. It's atmospheric, weird, and completely lovely. 

Favorite Book NOT published in the last 5 years: The Shore of Women by Pamela Sargent. Published in 1986 this is a feminist sci-fi novel about a future in which women live in walled cities. Men living outside the walls worship the women as goddesses.

Favorite Re-Read: The Seer and the Sword by Victoria Hanley. <3 Loved it as much as the first time. Old school YA Fantasy at it's best. 

Favorite Middle Grade Novel: The End by Charlie Higson. This series is dominating my awards! It deserves it. This is the last book in a 7 book series. 

The Glass CasketMost Underrated: The Glass Casket by McCormick Templeman. What an eerie, gorgeous tale! 
Standing there in the snow, one raven-haired beauty wrapped entirely in crimson and one pale-haired sparrow of a girl swathed in white. - The Glass Casket

Years ago she’d learned to recognize any signs that Jude might be nearby. He was a year older than she was, but she was so small that he’d always seemed much older than that to her, and while she knew he was harmless, there was something vaguely frightening to her about that sly smile he always wore when he looked off into the distance as if she weren’t there. If it had simply been that he ignored her, that would have been fine, but he didn’t ignore her—no matter what he might pretend—because he always seemed to know things about her that no one else did. - The Glass Casket

Exceeded Expectations: Vendetta by Catherine Doyle. This book was surprisingly thrilling. It has a intriguing cast of characters. It was darker than I thought it would be - which I LOVED. Definitely looking forward to the next in the series, out in January!

Favorite Graphic Novel: Haru Matsu Bokura by Anashin. A cute, simple high school story about a quiet, shy girl who makes friends with four boys in the basketball club. 

Favorite Novel to Movie Adaptation: The Scorch Trials by James Dasher; starring: Dylan O'Brien, Kihong Lee, Thomas-Brodie Sangster & Kaya Scodelario. <3 So much better than The Maze Runner, and I liked that movie!

Thanks for tuning in! Next year is going to be another great year in books :) 

Happy New Year, Everybody!!!

Let me know (or link me) in the comments below about your favorite books of the year! If you've written a survey, I'd love to see it :)

You can check out the books I'm most looking forward to reading in 2016: HERE

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