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See ya, 2013! Please do forget to write. 2014...

I'd like to preface this first post of the (almost) new year by saying I don't feel too hot. In fact, tiny rivulets of anxiety-sweat are coursing down my back and pooling in my palms. I feel like Theoden as he wakes from the Shadow that Gandalf has freed him from and he reaches to grasp his sword, probably utterly consumed with fear at not being able to do it. Gandalf says to him, "Your fingers would remember their own strength better if they grasped your sword." And so I'm taking Gandalf's advice even though I'm just as scared and uncertain as Theoden King and grasping for my sword.

I'd also like to point out that I'm a lady, friends, and therefore I've vanquished all the other dirt paths your mind may traverse at a statement like that. I said it boldly, damn you, and with great dignity and pride!

But back to my point—I don't know if I have it in me to write about books anymore. I don't know if I have that same drive and skill that I've honed for the past three or four years to do this—blogging. But, one of my new years resolutions this upcoming year is to give it a try again, despite the three months of emptiness in what's supposed to be my pixelated sanctuary.

I also promised myself, however, that while I would dedicate myself to fairly consistent blogging again, I wouldn't chain myself to a rigorous schedule with no room for surprises, fun, or breaks; it's what burned me out the last time, this summer past.

So what I'm saying is I'll blog when I can, when I want, and fairly frequently, and do my best to read as many books as possible. Because, depressingly, I didn't do too well this year. Between personal failures, familial crises, and fresh starts in unlikely places I wasn't capable of triumph against every self-proclaimed doer's inborn demon—procrastination.

Well, that's all going to change this upcoming year. Hopefully.

So in the midst of our freshly cheered spirits, I give you Jamie's End of the Year Survey. Again. Because all the good fun of last year just wasn't enough. Obviously.

Aren't I a pretty, pretty little image? Nay, Jamie made it but thanks for the misguided flattery.

ALSO: Jamie says, "Anyone who links up by January 10th will be in the running to win a book of their choice that they saw on my list! :) Winner will be chosen off the linky."

1. Best Book You Read In 2013? (If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist)

After extensive psycho-analysis and soul-searching produced by many a "oms" I've deduced that I'm unable to pick a single favorite and that may remain the case for years to come. AND THAT'S OKAY. Jamie did it too, so hah! It just cannot be done. Books can shake you to your core from many different places in many different ways... Whoa, 2014 is making me a little philosophical. Good heavens, what will be next? Jersey's denizens will develop a soft tone of voice whilst taking public transportation? Perhaps the Mayans DID get it wrong.

In no particular order, this year the grand prize winners are Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales, How to Love by Katie Cotugno, Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer, Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas, Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare, The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson, The Mephisto Kiss by Trinity Faegan, Daylighters by Rachel Caine, and Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay.

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

Oh, mother may I... tell you how much I detest these books. And none of them are completely awful, mind you, but they're deceiving. LOOK AT THIS FACE.

Wait, no. THIS FACE.

Does that look like the face of a young woman who enjoys being given a chocolate chip cookie then having it ripped away?! EXACTLY.

I just knew you'd understand.

So the books I've found no forgiveness for are as follows REQUIEM BY LAUREN OLIVER (OH MY SMASHFACE SLAY PEOPLE WHO WRITE THINGS I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE), From Ashes by Molly McAdams (Just No), Stolen Nights by Rebecca Maizel (WHYYYYY?), City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Foster (I was bothered about not spelling her name right but then I thought, oh well because GAH!), Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo (Boo, no taboo relationships reached fruition!), Lovely, Dark and Deep by Amy McNamara (I remain flummoxed), Night School by C.J. Daugherty (sometimes, like, why do I try?).

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013?

Funnily enough, I just finished the answer to this question during the wee hours of the morn. And it was worth every bloody painful second of the bookhangover I was forced to endure as a result.

And that is The Collector by Victoria Scott.

4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?

So I was actually pretty Chatty Cranky this year looks like because as I was going through my goodreads I could point to at least a handful of books that have been named by me and deemed supremely worthy for all who dwell the Earth.

Pow! Compelled by a Vampire Diaries vampire. Feel FREE to listen me now. *snorts* Get it? You can't be free coz you been compelled what!

You should go read This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales, Throne of Glass, In Death by J. D. Robb, Morganville, and Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer like I've been telling everyone else these past few days. There's only been 365 of them!

5. Best series you discovered in 2013?

I defo have a few answers for this one. And for different reasons because they each do different things for me.

This gif was supposed to be cute but I just can't get my brain to sort it out as anything but dirty.

So my favorite series that I've discovered this year is the In Death series by J. D. Robb, an amazing blend of sci-fi/futuristic elements, murder mystery, and romance. Then my guilty-ish pleasure discoveries would be the Lords of the Underworld series by Gena Showalter and anything by Sarah MacLean. Really, they've all been a long time coming.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?

When did Jamie's questions get so easy?

The power of the double Ls: Leila Sales and Liza Palmer.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

Gothics historical? Steampunk? SO NOT what I'm about. These books though? OMZFG!!!@!#@#% 'Nough said.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?

Just One Kiss by Susan Mallery.

Ha. Hahaha. No. PSYCHE. Not that I don't love Susie's books but the book of choice for this question is definitely

World After by Susan Ee, man. THIS BOOK *shudders*. I will never look at angels the same way again.

9. Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Wow, this year it's beyond simple to come up with books. Like, I had no hesitation.

I choose Thankless in Death (because OBVS and Roarke, YUM), Daylighters by Rachel Caine (THE END *sobs*), The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson (one of the best series closers in forever), and lastly Breathless by Brigid Kemmerer (one of the hottest novellas of all time)!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?

When did Jamie's questions get so haaaard? *cries* You saw that right? No warning, this happened in a span of five seconds.

Okay *inhales*. I've narrowed it down to five. A mere FIVE, people. Why don't I just cut out my heart now?

11. Most memorable character in 2013?


Let's see, Dante, Dee and Dum, Iona, the Glass House Gang, Grayson Kennedy, Celaena, Myrnin, and LASTLY Elisa and Hector.

ALSO: Jonah Griggs. ALSO ALSO: Taylor Markham.

As if I'd pick ONE.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?

Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay, hands down. Next to Jellicoe Road, that is.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013?

Of course we've got to get a Rainbow Rowell book up in here for this question. But it's just one of many. Attachments, gosh, how do I explain Attachments? When I think about that book and everything that happens in it, you know what I can safely say I will always carry with me when I bring it to mind? Life, and the importance of living it no matter what, that ordinary doesn't always mean dull and comfort can lead to laziness. Doesn't matter what brings me down, Attachments taught me that I should always keep living. Then there was This Song Will Save Your Life which is such a personal book for me because, excluding all the awesome djing bits, it feels like a personal account of my life. And Leila made me realize two things: I'm not and never was alone and to always hold on to hope. I learned not to depend on second chances and instead do my best to make the first one count from Katie Cotugno's How to Love, and so much more. If no one can completely convince Queenie Wake of who she is without her say so, then I sure as hell won't let anyone tell me who I can or will be, and whether or not to be ashamed about it, ever thanks to Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer. And, lastly, Jellicoe Road left me dazzled and pained once it was through with my heart. How could anyone underestimate the power of a book after they've taken part in these stories?

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read?

Uh, yeah, still going with Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. Do you know what kind of sass I got when that one got out? Though it wasn't nearly as bad as what I got after people figured out I'd never finished Harry Potter. O_O

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?

“He is the most beautiful creature I have ever seen and it's not about his face, but the life force I can see in him. It's the smile and the pure promise of everything he has to offer. Like he's saying, 'Here I am world, are you ready for so much passion and beauty and goodness and love and every other word that should be in the dictionary under the word life?' Except this boy is dead, and the unnaturalness of it makes me want to pull my hair out with Tate and Narnie and Fitz and Jude's grief all combined. It makes me want to yell at the God that I wish I didn't believe in. For hogging him all to himself. I want to say, 'You greedy God. Give him back. I needed him here.” - Jellicoe Road
"Will," Jem said. "For all these years I have tried to give you what you could not give yourself."
"And what is that?"
"Faith," said Jem. "That you were better than you thought you were. Forgiveness, that you need not always punish yourself. I always loved you, Will, whatever you did. And now I need you to do for me what I cannot do myself. For you to be my eyes when I do not have them. For you to be my hands when I cannot use my own. For you to be my heart when mine is done with beating." - Clockwork Princess
"I don't know," I said finally, turning to face her. I curled my knees up alongside my chest. "I get that this is going to change my entire life, Shelby. It's just, like..." I trailed off and shrugged again, determined and afraid. "My life is already changed."

Shelby looked at me like only a real friend can, like what I'd said made on sliver of sense. Then she sighed. "Well, all right then, baby," she said softly. "Let's rock and roll." - How to Love
"Do the people of North Star honestly think Merry Carole and I are just like her?
Merry Carole and I are the women North Star thinks we are. The women you're with in the shadows, but not the women you take to the Saturday dance. We're the women you're infatuated with, but not the women you love. The women who raise your unwanted children alone. The women who ruin you. The more Merry Carole and I fight the chains of our mother's legacy, the more they bind us." - Nowhere But Home
"Sometimes people think they know you. They know a few facts about you, and they piece you together in a way that makes sense to them. And if you don't know yourself very well, you might even believe that they are right. But the truth is, that isn't you. That isn't you at all." - This Song Will Save Your Life
She has been with us for such a short time, yet she was willing to risk her life for our cause. "Weren't you scared?" I ask.
"Yes. But it was a good scared."
"There's a good kind?"
"Oh, yes." Her voice drops so low I have to strain to hear. "Orlin made me scared all the time. Scared I would starve. Scared I would get too cold. Scared he would hurt me again or get so mad that he'd throw me to one of the men. That was nasty bad scared." She pauses, scuffing her boots against the floor. "But you never hit me, even though I'm your slave."
"You're not my--"
"And you always feed me. You call me a true name. Now, when I'm scared it's not because of meanness. And today I chose my own scared. It's always a good scared, when you get to pick it for your own self." - The Bitter Kingdom
"For the first time, she doesn't smell like roses. She smells like cactus milk--clean and salty and of the desert, like my people--and I suddenly wonder if she would taste like all the girls I've kissed in my life. There were other girls before... I always assumed there would be more, but I never thought...
Even a moment ago when I... I didn't think... imagine... that she might...
A part of me still refuses to believe it, but another part knows what a girl wants when her fingers linger too long on a boy's mouth, and it knows better than to hesitate. So I don't. I pull her hand away, and risk a kiss." - Of Beast and Beauty
16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

The longest book I read this year was The Host by Stephenie Meyer at 619 pages and the shortest would have to be Breathless by Brigid Kemmerer.

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!

All I got to say to this is Clockwork Princess (only because I couldn't put Jellicoe Road for another answer all by itself). And Jellicoe Road.

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

Now in all of the books I love, there are great characters with equally great connections with people. But the one I now have a long-standing investment in would be Eve Dallas and Roarke, together, and all the friends and family they make and meet along the way.

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

I've got two answers for this one because, well, you know, I'm me. They are Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas and The Mephisto Kiss by Trinity Faegan.

20. Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

Jellicoe Road and Nowhere But Home both fit this bill more than a little comfortably, so two answers again! Deal!

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?

Unsurprisingly, fantasy. Surprisingly though? Mucho contemporary. I actually used it to save me from reading atrocities enough times that I got to read some really amazing ones. Go figure.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?

Newest huh? Sawyer from How to Love and Gem from Of Beast and Beauty. And Jonah Griggs. Because #LOTSAREASONS.

23. Best 2013 debut you read?

And the winner of a trip to San Juan for two is Katie Cotugno for hitting off with a bang, pow! by giving us How to Love.

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?

Did anyone else get a little tired by this point?

Okay, but for serious I'm going with The Bitter Kingdom because have you seen all the places in there?! It's beautiful to read let alone imagine actually seeing.

25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?

I will not lie. It was super duper fun to plow through the Lords of the Underworld series. Sexy, angry, resentful demonic men falling for awesome women and, in doing so, breaking curses. It was so easy to blow through all of the current books.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?

Again, my chest was in my stomach and heart was in my throat and all those other expressions deep, insightful authors like to use to describe a serious case of heartache for both Clockwork Princess, and, um, Jellicoe Road *ahem*.

27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?

Thank goodness for easy questions at this hour. Simple as baking a cake... for anyone else other than me. Let's go with Orleans by Sherri Smith, The Avery Shaw Experiment by Kelly Oram, and lastly The Mephisto Kiss by Trinity Faegan.

Julius Pepperwood, I forgot how much of a pain in the ass this survey is. Don't misunderstand, it's LOADS of fun. For, like, the first ten questions then it's impossible to want to keep typing your feelings. Especially when one is at that same keyboard for four hours trying to complete this with extreme accuracy and exquisite wit. Obviously, it's a hard life I lead.

Agree, disagree with any of my points? What about your own survey what does that look like? Let me know in the comments down below!

I'll try to post part two at some point, but no promises... What? She SAID it was OPTIONAL. Learn about it.

Oh, joy. And some parting philosophy that doesn't belong to me, unfortunately for you, before you go.


Marathon said...

This Song is one of the best books I've ever read. When I think about it...I still get all teary. And gahhhhh the Throne of Glass books. CHAOL.

So happy to see you blogging again! <3

Marathon said...

Huzzah for easy agreements! I get emotional every time I mention it also. AND CHAOL FOR LIFE, BROTHA.

Thanks, darling, I've missed it <3