Sunday, December 26, 2010

Survey of 2010

I discovered a great survey over at The Perpetual Page Turner that covers what I've read and blogged about in the past year. This is a nice way to review what I've accomplished on this blog and draw it all together in a pretty package!

1. Best Book of 2010? Oh, this is a tough one. My knee jerk response to the question is Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. As many books as I've read that follow the plot line of innocent girl falls in love with supernatural being, I still was a total sucker for this one.

2. Worst Book of 2010? Well, this one is an easy choice. I was asked to review a self-published title, The Dead Rise First: Rapture Countdown by Alton Ragan and Robert D. McLaughlin, and oh how I regret it. No more self-published titles for me.

3. Most Disappointing Book of 2010? This would have to be Ash by Melinda Lo. I reviewed it for an event, and I specifically requested this one since I usually love fairy tales retellings. This book fell way below what I was expecting, especially since I had read more than one good review on the book beforehand.

4. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2010? I received the book Not a Sparrow Falls by Linda Nichols to review and was immediately intimated by the heavy drug-themed content, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed reading it. Even though it does not fall until the typical style of literature I prefer, I am glad I was given the opportunity to read it.

5. Book you recommended to people most in 2010? Well, I don't usually have the opportunity to recommend books to many people, but I consider myself to be very good at picking books for others, even if I have not read the books myself. This means that I rarely recommend the same titles to different people. That said, my best friend likes just about every book that I like, so she bears the brunt of many of my recommendations.

6. Best series you discovered in 2010? This is definitely the Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine. The series reminds me of my beloved Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with it's quirkiness and humor in the face of extreme stress and danger, and I fly through them as quickly as eating through a bowl of popcorn!

7. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2010? It's hard for me to pick just one, but I think Melissa Marr is a good choice for this question. I found her Wicked Lovely series well-written in its unpredictability, and I think her abilities and imagination leave room for lots of potential.

8. Most hilarious read of 2010? While I don't normally reach for a memoir or biography, My Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster had me laughing out loud on nearly every page! There were several times I was in tears from laughing and had to put the book down to gain control of myself. Both my husband and my best friend got annoyed with me for my behavior while I was reading this book!

9. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2010? How is this different from best book of 2010? Okay, I'll put some thought into this and try for a different answer. Well, I read through the entire Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead at lightning speeds thanks to a little contest I won through Penguin Canada. The most enticing book in this series for me was probably Blood Promise, as Rose and Dimitri finally got to be together, even if the circumstances were less than perfect for them.

10. Book you most anticipated in 2010? My favorite all-time author is Jacqueline Carey, so of course, I couldn't wait to finally get my hands on the next book in the Kushiel's Legacy series, Naamah's Curse. This series is just delicious, and I could read the books over and over again.

She Walks in Beauty11. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2010? I picked the book She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell from Bethany House for reviewing purely for the beauty of the cover. I'm a sucker for those old-fashioned gowns, and it immediately made me think of Belle's yellow gown from Disney's Beauty and the Beast (my favorite - she gets a library!). I have my eye on the Luxe series by Anna Godberson for the same reason. I also loved the title!

12. Most memorable character of 2010? This would have to be Mercy Thompson from the series by Patricia Briggs. I really grew to love this character and her inner strength, especially after reading the third book in the series, Iron Kissed. In this book, Mercy is raped by magical means, and it really took me by surprise that Briggs would address such a difficult topic, but the way that this ultimately impacts Mercy made me both want to be a friend to her and admire her for how she eventually recovers from this traumatic event.

13. Most beautifully written book in 2010? Reading Havah: The Story of Eve by Tosca Lee was like being allowed to sample gourmet food everyday. The beauty of Lee's skill with words felt like I was reading poetry, even though it was prose. Her descriptions of scenery and the emotion she poured into the character of Eve was breath-taking, and I felt like I was overdosing on literature everytime I picked it up. This one goes on my list of favorite books of all time.

14. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2010? Everything I read impacts me in some way, whether it be good or bad, big or small. The book that probably impacted me the most widely in my day-to-day life was In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. As a stay-at-home mom myself, this book gave the self-esteem boost I needed to change my perspective about what I do everyday so that I stopped focusing on what I can't do to what I can do - be a mother to my children and a wife to my husband.

15. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2010 to finally read? This would have to be Stardust by Neil Gaiman. I saw the movie long before I read the book, and several people recommended Gaiman to me long before I attempted to read anything by him. After reading it, I have to wonder what took me so long.

Book Blogging in 2010
1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2010? This is definitely the toughest question for me to answer. I follow quite a number of book blogs, and I like different things about most of them, such as a catchy title, eye-pleasing colors, attractive design, nicely-developed book reviews, unique features, great advice, etc. But my favorite blog would have to be Wicked Lil Pixie (Natasha) at Writings of a Wicked Book Addict. She has attitude to spare, and everything she writes has me laughing, sometimes to tears. I was even able to share some of what I've read there with hubby, who usually doesn't "get it."

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2010? I think one of my best reviews for 2010 was Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I had quite a bit to say about the book, and I find that it's easier for me to write longer reviews when I don't like everything about a book. When I rate a book as five roses, there are only so many ways to say that the book is great, fantastic, and incredible. I have also discovered that I review non-fiction books differently from fiction ones.

3. Best discussion you had on your blog? One of my more emotional blog posts was in regards to an unnamed publishing house that first requested I review a book, then butchered my review to post on its site when the owner did not like everything I had to say in my review. Needless to say, I was incredibly offended that they did not even bother to ask me before they did this. I only just resisted the urge to publicize the name of the house because they did remove the review when I asked them to. Amazingly, I still get emails from the publishing house to participate in other blog tours - which all promptly get deleted.

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else's blog? There was a scandal not too long ago in which a certain Missouri State University professor sought to have several YA books banned from the public schools in his district, and the complaints he had published regarding these books made the news big-time in the booking community. I believe I first read about this scandal from Natalie at Mindful Musings, who lives in the same area, so of course I had to blog my own thoughts on the topic. I don't think people will forget that travesty for quite some time.

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)? The event that I enjoyed participating in the most was the YA Bloggers Debut Book Battle. I got to partner with another blogger to judge between two titles and I made a new blogging friend in the process, The Book Vixen. Judging between Ash by Malinda Lo and The Season by Sarah MacLean with her also helped me write better book reviews on my own.

6. Best moment of book blogging in 2010? That would have to be when I found out that I had won the first five books in the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead from Penguin Canada. While this does not necessarily have to do with book blogging, I never would have entered the drawing had I not been accepting books from Penguin Canada to review on my blog.

7. Best bookist discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)? This is a tie between Goodreads and LibraryThing. Both sites are for keeping record of a person's book collection, whether that be in the form of to-be-read book lists, owned books, books currently being read, book wishlists, etc. You can also post reviews of books on the site, keep track of favorite authors and other book bloggers, recommend books to others, and enter giveaways for ARCs - on LibraryThing Early Reviewers and Goodreads First Reads. The main difference between the two is that LibraryThing requires you to pay to record more than 100 books in your personal book collection. I like LibraryThing specifically for the giveaways and for participating in SantaThing. I use Goodreads as my main book collection, and I have been working on transferring all of my current book reviews to the site. Eventually I plan to do the same for LibraryThing, but it's a slow process.


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