End of Year Survey 2018

This is my fifth time taking part in Jamie’s End of Year survey!  It can be easy to get to the end of the year and only remember a couple of stand out titles, so I love doing the survey because it gives me an excuse to go back and really think about everything I’ve read and loved throughout the year. The only downside is it always takes me forever to finalise my answers!  We’ve still got a couple of days left of 2018, but I’m considering the two books I’m currently reading (Head On & The Hidden Oracle) as finished because they will be before 2019 starts.

**2018 READING STATS**

Number Of Books You Read: 130 (including the 2 I’m currently reading)
Number of Re-Reads: 3
Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy

 

best-YA-books-2014

1. Best Book You Read In 2018?

The Long Way to A Small Angry Planet

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

Ooh I’ve got a couple for this.  1984 – I thought for sure I’d love it, but I was so underwhelmed.  IT was also disappointing: I’m a big wimp but didn’t find this particularly scary, just weird. Finally, Annihilation: secret government conspiracy, aliens etc, should have been all my favourite things and yet I found the writing style offputting and felt like little happened.

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

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir. To be totally honest, I wasn’t totally convinced by this series from the first book, but the audiobooks were on Scribd when I was a member earlier in the year so I decided to give them another go and ended up really enjoying A Reaper at the Gates! I was also really surprised by Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire, because I’m not much of a short story fan but loved it.

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

Probably Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – it was a book of the month when I was still bookselling and I think it has a huge, broad appeal, so I’ve recommended it to absolutely loads of people this year.

 5. Best series you started in 2018? Best Sequel of 2018? Best Series Ender of 2018?

Series starter: The Long way to a small Angry Planet or The Poppy War
Sequel: Nyxia Unleashed
Series ender: Queen of Air and Darkness

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2018?

It’s got to be Becky Chambers for this one!

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

Out of my comfort zone, My Absolute Darling…. This was a Waterstones Book of the Month, had rave reviews and was like marmite: everyone I spoke to either loved or hated it.  It was uncomfortable to read at times but it was completely impossible to put down and well worth reading.

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

I was completely and utterly hooked on The Hunting Party; it’s a crime ‘And Then There were None‘ style murder mystery set in a country lodge in Scotland and it was addictive!

 9. Book You Read In 2018 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

While I’ve read some amazing books this year, there aren’t really any that are calling out for a re-read just yet, so I’d have to say The Bullet Journal Method, not because I’m likely to re-read it cover to cover necessarily but because I probably will refer back to it multiple times throughout the year.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2018?

These covers are pretty different I guess but I love all three.  The Extinction Trials is a particulary unusual choice for me as I’m really not a yellow fan but I love how it’s so simple with just that dinosaur eye…I actually have this face out on my shelves at home!  The cover for The Long Way to A Small Angry Planet is very simple, but I love how pretty it is – it’s the sort of thing I’d pick to have as a phone wallpaper.  Finally, although I was a little underwhelmed by The Boneless Mercies in the end I absolutely love that cover still.

11. Most memorable character of 2018?

Honestly, I loved all of the cast of The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. I also thought Monty in The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue was totally unforgettable.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2018?

Oh, I’ve read some beautifully written books this year, I can’t narrow it down to just one!  Madeline Miller’s Circe, V.E. Schwab’s This Dark Duet, all of the Wayward Children books by Seanan McGuire and The Mermaid by Christina Henry all had beautiful, lyrical writing that was just enough to give me pause to admire without being too wordy or distracting.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2018?

Most thought-provoking/discussion inciting: My Absolute Darling AND Beneath the Surface
Most-used or referred to: The Bullet Journal Method
Most motivational: Eat, Drink, Run

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2018 to finally read? 

The Goddess Test series: these have been on my kindle since 2013 and this year I finally got around to reading them on my honeymoon.  They were enjoyable, easy reads that fitted perfectly in with my mythology mood!

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2018?

I’m never very good at this question because I don’t track quotes throughout the year (note to self, start doing that!) but a flick through on goodreads leads me to a few.
From The Long Way to a Small and Angry Planet:
“Ninety percent of all problems are caused by people being assholes.”
“What causes the other ten percent?” asked Kizzy.
“Natural disasters,” said Nib.”
“Humans’ preoccupation with ‘being happy’ was something he had never been able to figure out. No sapient could sustain happiness all of the time, just as no one could live permanently within anger, or boredom, or grief.”
From A Short History of Nearly Everything:
 “Consider the fact that for 3.8 billion years, a period of time older than the Earth’s mountains and rivers and oceans, every one of your forebears on both sides has been attractive enough to find a mate, healthy enough to reproduce, and sufficiently blessed by fate and circumstances to live long enough to do so. Not one of your pertinent ancestors was squashed, devoured, drowned, starved, stranded, stuck fast, untimely wounded, or otherwise deflected from its life’s quest of delivering a tiny charge of genetic material to the right partner at the right moment in order to perpetuate the only possible sequence of hereditary combinations that could result — eventually, astoundingly, and all too briefly — in you.”
“If this book has a lesson, it is that we are awfully lucky to be here-and by ‘we’ I mean every living thing. To attain any kind of life in this universe of ours appears to be quite an achievement. As humans we are doubly lucky, of course: We enjoy not only the privilege of existence but also the singular ability to appreciate it and even, in a multitude of ways, to make it better. It is a talent we have only barely begun to grasp.”

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2018?

Shortest: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #6 (40 pages)
Longest: IT (1156 pages)

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

(Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)

 

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

Albus & Scorpius (The Cursed Child)

Mark, Cristina & Kieran (Queen of Air and Darkness)

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Monty & Felicity (The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue/The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats & Piracy)

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2018 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Either Six of Crows (Leigh Bardugo) or Into The Drowning Deep (Mira Grant)

21. Best Book You Read In 2018 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.:

Sleeping Giants and The Poppy War

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2018?

Haven’t got one!

23. Best 2018 debut you read?

The Poppy War and The Extinction Trials

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

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet: although a lot of the worldbuilding is space ships, the background on different species, their cultures and histories etc made it all feel so complex and vivid.

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

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue: honestly this was just great fun to read, it made me genuinely laugh out loud.  Bryony Gordon’s Eat, Drink, Run too: one of my top books this year, it was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster but it also made me smile, and laugh, and even cheer.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2018?

The Assassin’s Blade – this was a re-read that I felt more emotional about this second time around!  Also They Both Die at the End (see Q28).

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Probably either Nyxia or The Extinction Trials – I loved both but haven’t seen much about them.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

They Both Die at the End…. I think there was probably actual sobbing.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2018?

Sadie – loved the Serial-esque podcast type format, and it worked perfectly on audio.

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

I think probably 1984, and sadly it WAS because I didn’t like it!

book-bloggingThis year has been manic (exams, a promotion, starting teacher training, moving house, getting married) and I’ve had no laptop so my blogging has been depressingly infrequent!

1. New favorite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube channel you discovered in 2018?

I’ve been rubbish at commenting but a few blogs I’ve been reading all the time are: Kelly’s Rambles, The Basic Book Bitch, Jenny in Neverland & Jenniely.

2. Favorite post you wrote in 2018?

Probably my most-popular post (see Q7) which actually isn’t even bookish at all….

3. Favorite bookish related photo you took in 2018:?

…. Will do better in 2019?!

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

I loved taking part in the OWLs Readathon hosted by BookRoast in July and the TackleThatTBR readathon hosted by TheBookishFairy.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2018?

I haven’t quite done it yet but I will by the end of the year so I’m going to count it: hitting 130 books in a year, my highest number so far!

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

Balance, balance, balance.  With everything that’s been going on I’ve managed to keep my reading up but the blog has been depressingly neglected.

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

So the most popular post on my blog this year didn’t actually have anything to do with books, it was a film post: The Greatest Showman, like P.T. Barnum’s circus, is a lie – and that’s okay.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Honestly, I’m thrilled people are still reading at all after how sporadic I’ve been this year!

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

I placed my first Society 6 order this year and this may have been fatal for my wallet because I loved everything that arrived and now I’m just going to want more….

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

Goodreads goal (originally set at 100) – Completed and exceeded.  Haven’t looked into challenges in detail yet but I think I’ve done pretty well this year!

looking-ahead-books-2015

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2018 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2019?

Muse of Nightmares I think – I was hoping I might get a copy for Christmas so I think I’ll pick myself up a copy in the new year.

 

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2019 (non-debut)?

The Pioneer – space + secret conspiracies = I’m sold!

3. 2019 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

I think at the moment, House of Salt and Sorrows, a creepy-sounding Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling.

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2019?

So many! Top priorities though would be: Nyxia Uprising (Nyxia #3), Rebel (The Extinction Trials #3), The Dragon Republic (The Poppy War #2) and In An Absent Dream (Wayward Children #4)

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2019?

Blogging: I’m so excited to blog more regularly and get back into commenting and the bookish community more.

Reading: I’m aiming to knock some series off my TBR with the Serial Reader challenge.

Q1 Reading

I read and loved Ellie’s post on her book stats for the first quarter of 2018, and couldn’t resist looking at some of my own! I haven’t tracked the books that have come in like she has, but I’ve enjoyed looking at the series statuses and lengths of what I’ve read so far.

Books read so far: 33
Total pages: 11027
Pages per day: 123
Average pages per book: 334

Format:

  • 8 Paperback (24%),
  • 10 eBook (30%),
  • 15 audio (45%)

Series:

  • First in a series – 8 (33.3%)
  • Second – 6 (25%)
  • Third – 3 (12.5%)
  • Fourth or higher – 7 (29.2%)

Genres (note, books are categorised as multiple genres in some cases so don’t add up to 100%):

  • Fantasy – 12 (36.4%)
  • Sci fi – 6 (18.2%)
  • Mystery – 6 (18.2%)
  • Manga – 5 (15.2%)
  • Romance – 4 (12.1%)
  • Contemporary – 4 (12.1)
  • Horror – 3 (9.1%)
  • Non-fiction – 2 (6.1%)
  • Crime – 1 (3.0%)

Length:

  • 0-150 pages – 0
  • 151-300 pages – 9 (28.1%)
  • 301-500 pages – 20 (62.5%)
  • 501-800 pages – 3 (9.4%)

Publication date:

  • Pre-2018 – 29 (87.9%)
  • 2018 – 4 (12.1%)

Target audience:

  • MG – 4 (12.1%)
  • YA – 6 (18.2%)
  • Not-specified (eg Manga) – 6 (18.2%)
  • Adult – 17 (51.5%)

Length:

  • 0-150 pages – 0
  • 151-300 pages – 9 (28.1%)
  • 301-500 pages – 20 (62.5%)
  • 501-800 pages – 3 (9.4%)

Reading Goals (5)

  1. Read 100 books – 33/100 – ON TRACK
  2. Finish/catch up with 15 series
    I haven’t worked out the exact number of these yet, but two-thirds of the books I’ve read in series are book 2 or later, so I think this is going pretty well.
  3. Read at least 12 manga volumes or graphic novels – 5/12 – ON TRACK
  4. Get My NetGalley ratio up to (and then keep it above) 80% – 73% as of end of March
  5. Read at least 48 backlist books – 29/48 – ON TRACK

April check in: Goals and word of 2014

Is it me or has this year just flown by?! I was just thinking ‘I should probably post a goals check-in soon’, and then I looked at the calendar (well okay, Excel) and realised that we’re 107 days into 2014. 107! Almost a third of the way through!

So, admittedly, this check-in is at a slightly weird point – not quite a third of the way through the year, but more than a quarter, randomly in the middle of the week….but it felt like a good time to check-in, so I’m ignoring the slightly strange date! Plus, seeing how far I’ve got (or not got), is always motivational, and I’m feeling ready for a kick up the….well, y’know.
Now, I’ll be honest, at first I couldn’t even remember what my goals of 2014 were, so I had to go look them up (probably not a great sign). To refresh your memory too:

Get my NetGalley feedback to approval ratio above 80%

Current: 53.2%
Honestly, I’m really pleased with my progress on this so far. I know to a lot of you, 53% looks really low, but considering I had an enormous backlog and started the year with something pathetic like 18%, I’m pretty pleased with my progress! 80% still feels a long long way off, but as long as I keep going in the right direction, (and keep the requesting sprees to a minimum!) I’m okay with that.

 

Read at least 100 books

Current: 19 books
I genuinely don’t know what’s been going on with my reading the last month or so. For January and February I was doing okay, but somewhere along the way I hit a total wall, and am yet to get my reading mojo back to normal. I’m waiting for things to click back into place (as they inevitably do), but if I’m still really behind for my mid-year check-in I I might have to reduce my goal a bit.

 

Read 45,000 pages

Current: 7088
Er, see above for this one too!

 

Read 12 books off my 101 Fantasy Project

Current: 3
Woohoo, I’m vaguely on target for this one! I’m thinking of trying to break my reading slump with some great fantasy, as it’s my go-to genre of choice, so hopefully I can tick one more off here soon too.

 

Write 75 reviews

Current: 20
This has been going pretty well so far, and I think I should hit my target. January was particularly great and I’m hoping for another month that good in May.

 

Branch out more

I think this is one I’m accomplishing. From my word of the year 2014, to filofax postsbookish drinking games and posts like now and then, I’m slowly diversifying, which I love.

 

Change my layout

Not yet, BUT I have a defence…I’ve been looking into renaming StudentSpyglass, and working on ideas for a new layout that fit with the new name, so obviously I can’t implement it yet!

 

Be healthier

This is one I’m doing okay with. I’ve lost 8lbs, which isn’t huge but it’s a start. I’m also mostly eating less junk food, and doing a little exercise. (Although I fully admit I’m eating an Easter egg as I write this, because they were a £1 and my family are celebrating being free from work for a few days!)

 

Find a job & save towards my MSc

Well, I found a job (back doing the same temp work I was doing before Christmas). So far, I’ve managed to pay my 10% deposit, and pay off my overdraft, but that’s about it, so still a long way to go on the savings front, but I’m definitely making progress.

 

Get organized

Well…..January was fantastic, February was great, March was okay, but April….April has been a disaster! (I’m starting to notice I’m kind of an all or nothing person! Reading, blogging, scheduling, being healthy and being organised – they all seem to have gone out the window at once!). However, I’ve got ideas and plans, so fingers crossed I can make some headway on those and get back to being organised.

 

My word of 2014

fearless

As well as my goals, I wanted to check in on how I’ve been doing with my word of 2014, which was fearless. So, how have I been getting on? Pretty damn well actually! Here are a few of the fearless things I’ve done so far this year, that the ‘normal’ me would have balked at:

  • Signed up to the Race for Life (5k)
    • I’m about as unfit as a sloth.  In fact, that’s an insult to the sloth.  Maybe a dead sloth… Anyways, the point is, despite that, I’ve decided to sign up to the Race for Life – and I’m hoping to jog it, even though right now I can jog for about 30 seconds.  I have 9 weeks to fundraise and train, so any hints and tips greatly appreciated!
  • Requested review copies
    • Again, to some of you this is probably no big deal, but my review copies before this year came almost exclusively from NetGalley.  I haven’t requested many (and I haven’t had responses on everything I requested) but I’ve been branching out and requesting a few and it has been so worth it!
  • Dyed my hair a very different colour!
    • Until this year, my hair has been light blonde.  Like, forever, apart from one horrific incident when I experimented with brown that should probably never be talked about….  Last week I went totally different – the top is now very dark blonde (virtually brown) and the tips are red.  I maybe wasn’t fearless enough though, because I’ve decided to go back this weekend and go red all over!  Pre-2014 me would never have even dreamed of going so bold.

How are your 2014 goals going?  (And do you have any tips for a super-unfit me to survive 5k?!)

 

2013 Reading Progress

Goodreads challenge

2013 Reading Challenge

2013 Reading Challenge
Faith has
read 70 books toward her goal of 100 books.
hide

2013 books
Books read so far: 70
Goal: 100
Progress: 70% (19% ahead of goal)

I made some really great progress on this challenge for the first half of the year, and had planned to up my goal quite significantly, but now that uni is finished and I’m (temporarily at least) working, I’ve been doing a lot less reading. I’m going to up my goal slightly I think, to 120, because I’m not sure yet whether I’ll find another job after this temporary contract ends (in which case I won’t be reading too much) or whether I’ll be unemployed (and have loads of time for reading), but leaving it at 100 feels like playing it too safe! It is supposed to be a challenge after all 😉

 

What I’ve been reading

Review books: 40 (57%)
Library books: 12 (17%)
Freebies: 6 (9%)
TBR: 9 (13%)
Books bought this year: 3 (4%)

Pages so far: 22,235
Longest book: Beautiful Creatures (563 pages)
Average length: 318 pages

Hmm, the length of books I read has definitely dropped since I started blogging, and even further now that I’ve finished all of the Song of Ice and Fire series. The number of books I’m picking up as a personal choice are also coming to just under half, at around 43%. I’m hoping to even that balance out a bit throughout the rest of the year, particularly since I’m near the library now. Hopefully that’ll also mean more long fantasy books too!

 

Ratings

5 stars: 4 (6%)
4 stars: 16 (23%)
3 stars: 30 (43%)
2 stars: 18 (26%)
1 star: 2 (3%)

Average rating: 3.02

This looks low-ish, but it doesn’t particularly surprise me. I guess I’m a slightly harsher reviewer than a few of my goodreads friends, because I would say that the majority of books I pick up either do fall into the 2 stars (It was okay) category, or the 3 stars (I liked it). The ones I really like get 4 stars (I really liked it) and the amazing ones get 5 stars (It was amazing!).  That my average rating is 3, rather than 2.5, means from my point of view, the books I’ve been reading this year are better than average!