Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 End Of The Year Survey - Best In Books, Pt. 1

Image and meme property of Perpetual Page Turner
I came across the End of the Year Survey as hosted by Perpetual Page Turner and LOVED it. There are so many lists I could make, but this one seems to pull together the highlights. It's a pretty long list, and I'm a bit wordy, so I've split up the list across several days so I don't bore you all.

This is part one of the BEST IN BOOKS section.

Some questions have been broken down into subquestions (again, because I'm wordy), and I try to link all books mentioned back to their review at least once in the list. Enjoy!

1. Best Book You Read in 2012?
It should come as no surprise that my favorite book of the year is Robin LaFever's Grave Mercy. Ms. LaFever's world is impeccably researched and constructed, her plot is taut and exciting, her protagonists are daring and relatable, and her secondary characters are some of the most charming and well-rounded people I've ever had the pleasure to experience.

1a. Historical fiction?
Other than Grave Mercy, I completely lost my heart to The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I wish I could absorb it via osmosis so the words could be a part of me always.

A very honorable mention goes to Code Name Verity by the delightful Elizabeth Wein. Keep tissues handy.

1b. Fantasy?
The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson. I read the first book in the series, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, this year as well, but CoE was EVEN BETTER.

A very honorable mention goes to Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. The best dragon story I've ever read, no exaggeration.

1c. Dystopian?
Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi. It's not out until January, but I've already read the sequel to Under the Never Sky, and it's fantastic.

A very honorable mention goes to Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. The writing, you guys, the writing.

1d. Steampunk?
Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff. Japanese steampunk with thunder-tigers!

A very honorable mention goes to Leviathan by Scott Westerfield. Revisionist WW2 steampunk!

1e. Contemporary?
Heist Society by Ally Carter. I adore both of Ms. Ally's series, but the first Heist book beats the first Gallagher book hands down.

A very honorable mention goes to The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade. Read the fun, fluffy book!

1f. Thriller?
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga. Very gruesome but very fun, IHK lets us into the head of the son of a sociopathic serial killer. See? Tons of fun.

A very honorable mention to Ten by Gretchen McNeil, a very tense retelling of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn't?
I've had several of these, sadly. I call them my "lone reed" moments. (It's a You've Got Mail reference. Look it up.) I think my big "lone reed" moment goes to This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers. It was the first book I ever received from a publisher, and I was SO EXCITED to read it. Sadly, I just couldn't connect.

A dubiously honorable mention goes to The Selection by Kiera Cass. Bleck. So much wasted potential.

3. Most Surprising (In A Good Way!) Book Of 2012?
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman BLEW ME AWAY. I was a silly, snobbish girl and thought I wouldn't be wowed just because I wasn't a fan of the cover (which I now like very much, by the way.) Even after the good reviews start pouring in, I was a skeptic. No more! This book is wow dipped in a heavy sauce of holy cow.

Very honorable mentions go to Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama (my first really good mermaid book) and I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You by Ally Carter (my first Ally book).

4. Book You Recommended To People Most In 2012?
This one was a four-way tie. As a bookshelver I recommend a lot of books to people both online and in my real-life job. My forever recommendation is always The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. I push that book on kids, teens, and adults. I also push Grave Mercy a lot, seeing as it's my favorite book of the year. I really hyped The Crown of Embers online especially (HECTOR!), and, of course, was a Code Name Verity champion everywhere I went.

5. Best Series You Discovered In 2012?
There's another tie here between Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series and her Heist Society series. Both are funny and exciting. (The boys are pretty cute, too.)

A very honorable mention goes to Veronica Rossi's Under the Never Sky series. Perry! Roar!

6. Favorite New Authors You Discovered in 2012?
With the lone exception of Shannon Hale, literally all of the authors I read this year were new to me. I know, I know. And with very few exceptions, I loved them all, so I can't fairly answer this question. 2012 rocked.

7. Best Book That Was Out Of Your Comfort Zone Or Was A New Genre For You?

7a. Out of my comfort zone? 
Definitely Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. It's contemporary, it made me cry, and it's full of profanity and situations that left a bad taste in my mouth. I'll never read it again. But it was well-written, well-plotted, and just a good book from an objective standpoint.

7b. New genre? 
Definitely my winners for the steampunk category, Leviathan and Stormdancer. This year I attempted to read steampunk for the first time, and I think I'm going to legitimately enjoy myself, if the two aforementioned books are any indication.

8. Most Thrilling, Unputdownable Book Of 2012?

8a. Most thrilling?
Clearly, my pick for best thriller, I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga.

8b. Most unputdownable?
I book binged on so many books this year. Considering I read Monstrous Beauty in less than 24 hours, I'm going to have to go with that one. Such an intense book! Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen was pretty high up there, too. 

9. Book You Read In 2012 That You're Most Likely To Reread Next Year?
Um, all of them? I have an internal timer goes off when a certain amount of time has passed between rereadings. Since I know I want to go through it with a highlighter, I'll have to pick The Book Thief, but I honestly will probably reread all the books from this year, if I can.

10. Favorite Cover Of A Book You Read In 2012?
Oh dear. You all know I love covers. I'm drawn to covers. Therefore, most of the books I read have excellent covers. Because it made me gasp aloud when I saw it in person (and the details mean SO much more once you've read it), I'm going to have to pick Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.

Very honorable mentions goes to Grave Mercy for the crossbow and Cinder by Marissa Meyer for... everything.

That's part one of my End of the Year Survey! Come back tomorrow for part two.