I’ve Moved to WordPress!

So, I did it! I have successfully moved to WordPress. I haven’t quite got the hang of it yet, but I’m getting there. The move has been really bloody stressfull, and it’s not something I would ever put myself through again. I might write a post on it when I’m back from America. For now, I will be going back and formatting old posts (all 933 of them!) and making sure everything looks presentable.

As you can tell, there’s no fancy design yet, but that is going to follow later, I promise! Judith is currently working on something for me, and while I have no idea what it’s going to look like, I’m very excited. I’ve never had a custom design before (one that I haven’t made myself in Paint), and Judith is hella talented.

I will be updating via WordPress from now on, so you don’t need to stay subscribed to my Blogspot blog. While things might look a little weird for the time being, the content will still be the same, so I hope you won’t mind too much!

Tatum’s 2014 Challenges

Basically this is what happens when Amber corners you.
Amber: Are you doing any Challenges this year?
Me: What? What?
Amber: I’ll find you some!
Me: What?
Amber: You can sign up, it’ll be fun!
Me: …Okay?
So I mentioned that I wanted to read more Classics this year because last year I started off quite well but then just…stopped?? I don’t know, I get distracted. Amber found me this rather excellent Challenge and this is me, officially signing up! For this Challenge, there are six required categories and five optional ones. I’ve decided I’m going to do three optional categories since I don’t really fancy sitting through any BBC adaptations tbh. 

My Not Very Official, Liable to Change List of Choices:
1. A 20th Century Classic
A Passage to India by E.M. Forster

2. A 19th Century Classic
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

3. A Classic by a Woman Author
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

4. A Classic in Translation
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

5. A Classic about War
For Whom The Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

6. A Classic by an Author Who is New to You
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

Optional Categories:

1. An American Classic
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

2. A Classic Mystery, Suspense or Thriller
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

3. A Historical Fiction Classic
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy
I’ve set my goal for this challenge at an optimistic ten books. Only those with 450+ pages count so it shouldn’t be too hard for me, I guess?

Monthly Wrap Up and TBR: December 2013 – January 2014

December was a very slow and frustrating reading month for me. I have been in a giant reading slump for the past three weeks, and it was showing no signs of ending until I took part in a 24 hour readathon, which kicked me up the backside and got me reading. Here are the books that I read:

Part 1 was a bit… not boring, exactly, but uneventful. But all hell broke loose in the second part, and I ended up adoring everything about it.
I have a bunch of books that need to be read in January, but I’ve decided that I’m going to take it easy with the review copies this year. I don’t want to pressure myself into another reading slump since I only just got out of one. So I’ll list a bunch of books here that I might read, or I might not, depending on my mood. I like options, and I like lists, to to-be-read lists are my favourite thing.
How did the last month of 2013 go for you? Did it live up to your reading expectations? Let me know what your favourite read was in the comments! And have you read any of the ones I have mentioned? I would love to know what you thought of them!

Amber’s 2013 End of Year Survey and Blogging Break

Before I get into this book survey, I wanted to announce that I’m going on a short blogging break over Christmas. It will only last a week, but I’m hoping that it will give me a chance to recharge and read some books without worrying about posting anything on the blog. I didn’t take a break at all this year, and posting almost every day for 51 weeks really gets to you, and so I think a break is just want I need. It will also give me the chance to get way ahead with my scheduling, which has been something that I’ve wanted to do for a while. So, Merry Christmas everyone, and I’ll see you closer to the New Year!

1. Best Book You Read In 2013?
In the past, I’ve tried to cheat with this answer. And this year isn’t going to be any different. Here’s a short list, because I can’t just pick one All Time Favourite! Some of these spread over a couple of genres, but who cares?

Fantasy: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Science Fiction: Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris
Thriller: Altered by Jennifer Rush
Paranormal: Pivot Point by Kasie West
Dystopian: The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
Other: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster. I was really excited for this debut since it was a standalone and there were murders going on and the worldbuilding had so much potential. It was still a good book, but the only thing I did love about it was my cat ship.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013?
Altered by Jennifer Rush. I read it on a complete whim, and I ended up adoring it and recommending it to everyone. I’m glad all of my friends have loved it too!

4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?
Altered by Jennifer Rush, for sure. I read it in January and since then I’ve been pushing it onto everyone! I’m pretty sure I’ve convinced at least 25 people to read it.

5. Best series you discovered in 2013?

Between the Lines by Tammara Webber. I wanted to pick a series that I discovered and finished, because that seems more fair. Between the Lines starts off as just “very good”, and then you get to the fourth and final book and you want to cry into your pillow for a week. The Grisha series by Leigh Bardugo is also pretty awesome.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?

Kasie West, because Pivot Point was FLAWLESS and The Distance Between Us was also really great. Kasie West is bloody talented! I’ve written a whole list on this, though, because there are plenty of authors that I have discovered and loved in 2013.

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

It’s not really out of my comfort zone because I’m happy to read anything, but I’m going to go with Between the Lines by Tammara Webber. It’s marketed as New Adult in the UK, and I’m very wary about that genre as a whole. I thought it was going to be sex sex sex, and honestly I can read that shit for free on the internet, but I was happy to discover that there was more to it than that.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?

Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis and Altered by Jennifer Rush. I read both of these in one or two sittings. There’s so much going on in each of them and I couldn’t put them down.

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

Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris, because I want to feel the pain again. Erased by Jennifer Rush, to celebrate the release day. And To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, because it’s one of the best books ever and I want to experience it again.

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

11. Most memorable character in 2013? 

Dodge from the Locke & Key series. Dodge is fucking evil, and I love reading about his quest to find the keys. There’s also Atticus from To Kill a Mockingbird, who I absolutely adore because he’s the loveliest human being. And Ramsay Bolton from A Clash of Kings. Ha.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson. Flawless.

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

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, because I have decided I’m going to be Atticus when I grow up.

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

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness. I read the first book in the trilogy, The Knife of Never Letting Go, ages ago, and I waited to pick this one up because I knew it would be heartbreaking. *cries*

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

And I don’t have photos of these To Kill a Mockingbird quotes: 

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”
“Atticus said to Jem one day, “I’d rather you shot at tin cans in the backyard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it. “Your father’s right,” she said. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corn cribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”
“It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.”

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

The longest book I read was A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin, although it was in two parts because the UK paperback had to be split. It’s a giant 1177 pages all together. The shortest book I read was a graphic novel – Crown of Shadows by Joe Hill, at 140 pages.
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!
Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris because there were steamy scenes under the floorboards and emotional scenes between two characters and then THE ENDING FUCK MY LIFE.

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013?

Patroclus and Achilles. They’re epic.

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

Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris. Fuck this book.

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

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. Tatum recommended it to me and didn’t warn me properly about it having the ability to destroy me. It’s a beautiful book, and I recommend it to everyone.

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?
Probably paranormal or fantasy? Or perhaps dystopian or science fiction. I don’t know, how do you keep track?

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

Barclay from Unbreakable, because oh my GOD he gives me feelings. Also Nick from Altered and Erased.

23. Best 2013 debut you read?

Altered by Jennifer Rush

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?
A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. I’m so deep into this world and its history now, I couldn’t NOT mention it.

25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?
People read fun books? Probably Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo because there was Sturmhond, who was epic, and also I really liked hating on Mal and wishing death upon him.

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

Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris, The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?
Tiger Lily and Unbreakable, because not enough people are reading them.

On Blogging

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2013?
Paper Riot, Writer of Wrongs, and Pop! Goes the Reader. I think I discovered all three this year.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2013?
My review of Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson because I worked hard on that one and it turned into an essay.

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?
Lauren’s post on LGBT+ representation in YA. It’s flawless.

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?
I have no idea! This is terrible. I often save discussion posts to read later, but with starting a new job and everything those posts just got forgotten about in favour of reviews.

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I took part in my first Bout of Books and it was epic.

6. Best moment of book blogging/your book life in 2013?

When Tatum joined the blogging team. It took a while to convince her, and she still doesn’t class herself as a book blogger, but whatever. TOM <3 p="">
7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
In terms of views, my Debut-a-Thon Sign Ups post was the most popular. Which pleases me, because it’s the first proper event or readathon I have ever hosted, and I loved it. In terms of comments (not including memes), people really liked my review of If You Find Me, and also Tatum’s review of Howl’s Moving Castle.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
My local WHSmith’s has a reduced section. Hehe.

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
YES! I have completed my Goodreads challenge of reading 100 books this year, which is just as well because I’m now stuck in a reading slump. I don’t think I completed the “Amber Must Read 5 Classics” challenge, though. I’m pretty sure I’m at three.

Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2013 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2014?
I’m not sure about #1 priority, but I really want to get to The Spartacus War by Barry Strauss. I can handle the pain, I promise.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2014 (non-debut)?

Ashes to Ashes by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian, and Split Second by Kasie West. Also the untitled, unannounced, so-not-happening spin-off series to Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris featuring Barclay. It’s happening in my head, okay?

3. 2014 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Probably The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings!

4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2014?

Ashes to Ashes, because fuck my life, it’s gonna be rough. And also The Retribution of Mara Dyer. And Flame by Amy Kathleen Ryan, because SETH. And the final book in the Grisha series. I read a lot of series.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2014?

One? Well, I want to make new friends, and I also want to convince Tatum that she’s a real book blogger person. And teach her how to format posts properly.

Tatum’s 2013 End of Year Survey

This year was pretty good in terms of reading; I read more in 2013 than I have in the past couple of years, mostly because I graduated from university and had more free time. BUT STILL. In the past I’ve usually had months long reading slumps but this year I pretty much read continuously from January right up until now; I think I doubled my last year’s reading count? Whatever, I hope next year will bring more amazing books and the time to read them!

Best book you read in 2013?

Hahahaha, my answer is so obvious and I don’t care – Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. I have a feeling I shall be answering a lot of these questions with this answer t b h.

I’m gonna cheat a little bit too and add to my answer because I loved both these books so much – The Diviners by Libba Bray (no-one is surprised lbr) and Gullstruck Island by Frances Hardinge.

Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn’t?

Soooo many. Angelfall by Susan Fe, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky, Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, all the sequels in The Maze Runner series by James Dashner as well as all the sequels in The Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy by Carrie Ryan.

Me after reading these books:

Not. Impressed.

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

Gullstruck Island, easily. I was just so blown away by the level of complexity in the story; I want to take this book and shove it in the faces of anyone who doesn’t think Children’s literature has any literary value tbh.

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

Code Name Verity and The Diviners, probably. Although everyone just went and read The Song of Achilles instead, which is an excellent compromise since y’know, Achilles and Patroclus.

Best series you discovered in 2013?

Lauren will like this answer XD Umm, ‘discovered’ may not be the right word here, more like ‘threatened into reading’, but I am really loving both the Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong and The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater. I am going to find a way to marry Gansey, you watch.

Favourite new author you discovered in 2013?

Kelley Armstrong, Frances Hardinge, Donna Tartt, Libba Bray, Madeline Miller and Elizabeth Wein.

Neil Gaiman would be on this list too but he is on notice after Neverwhere, a book in which rats are important characters. Like, n o p e.

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

Err, none of them? I don’t know, I read widely so it’d be pretty hard for me to come across something out of my comfort zone since I don’t really have one.

Most thrilling, unputdownable book of 2013?

Code Name Verity, Gullstruck Island and The Ask and The Answer by Patrick Ness, bane of my existence.

Book you read in 2013 that you’re most likely to reread next year?

I want to reread so many but the only one I know I’ll be rereading soon is Code Name Verity. Because I hate myself.

Favourite cover of a book you read in 2013?

Most memorable character in 2013?

All the main characters of The Raven Cycle, Evie from The Diviners, Julia and Maddie from Code Name Verity, Patroclus from The Song of Achille, Hathin from Gullstruck Island and Viola from The Ask and The Answer & Monsters of Men.

Most beautifully written book read in 2013?

The Raven Boys & The Dream Thieves, Gullstruck Island, The Secret History, The Song of Achilles, Code Name Verity and The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There by Catherynne M. Valente.

Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013?

Code Name Verity, The Song of Achilles and Monsters of Men absolutely devastated me, I will never be whole again tbh.

Book you can’t believe you waited until 2013 to read?

The Secret History and Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. They’re both old as balls and yet somehow passed under my radar? HOW?!

Favourite passage/quote from a book you read in 2013?

“I could recognize him by touch alone, by smell; I would know him blind, by the way his breaths came and his feet struck the earth. I would know him in death, at the end of the world.” 
– The Song of Achilles

“It’s like being in love, discovering your best friend.”
– Code Name Verity

“You know the reason The Beatles made it so big?…’I Wanna Hold Your Hand.’ First single. Fucking brilliant. Perhaps the most fucking brilliant song ever written. Because they nailed it. That’s what everyone wants. Not 24/7 hot wet sex. Not a marriage that lasts a hundred years. Not a Porsche…or a million-dollar crib. No. They wanna hold your hand. They have such a feeling that they can’t hide. Every single successful song of the past fifty years can be traced back to ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand.’ And every single successful love story has those unbearable and unbearably exciting moments of hand-holding.”

– Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist

“But I think of her and I feel like she’s as big as the world.”

– Monsters of Men
Shortest and longest book you read in 2013?
Without counting any novellas I’ve read this year, my shortest read, at fifty seven pages, was Esio Trot by Roald Dahl. I have a box set and I’d never bothered to read it before, okay. My longest, at one thousand, four hundred and ten pages, was A Breath of Snow & Ashes by Diana Gabaldon.
Book that had a scene in it that had you reeling and crying and dying to talk to somebody about it?
Uhh, have I mentioned Code Name Verity too many times already? Also The Song of Achilles because it legit made me want to throw myself out the nearest window.
Favourite relationship from a book you read in 2013?
Hahahahahaha, Julia and Maddie from Code Name Verity as well as Patroclus and Achilles from The Song of Achilles. I ship myself with pain, if you didn’t know.
Favourite book you read in 2013 from an author you’ve read previously?
This one’s easy – The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There.
Best book you read in 2013 that you read based solely on a recommendation from someone else?
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson. Amber recc’d it to me; I’m not much of a fan of Tiger Lily so I wouldn’t have picked it up otherwise. I’m glad she talked me into it though, it’s a really good adaptation and Hook is fantastically creepy in it.
Genre you read the most in 2013?
Dude, I don’t have the foggiest idea. Probably fantasy? I don’t know, I don’t pay attention to these things.
Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?
Gansey from The Raven Cycle, precious boat shoe wearing, mythical king hunting love of my life <3 Also Adam because of reasons.
Best 2013 debut you read?
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, yet another book that made me want to smother myself with my pillow.
Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?
I read The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, this year for the first time; Middle Earth is easily the most vivid, detailed fantasy world I’ve ever had the pleasure to read about. I still wish I was a Hobbit tbh.
Book that was the most fun to read in 2013?
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell :’D The main character writes slash fanfiction and cries over Simon Snow i.e. Harry Potter, a lot. What ISN’T fun about Harry/Draco slash is what I would like to know.
Book that made you cry, or nearly cry, in 2013?
Allllllll of them, and that is not an exaggeration.
Book you read in 2013 that you think got overlooked this year or when it came out?
*casually skips blogging questions because I am not a real blogger person*
Looking Ahead
One book that you didn’t get to in 2013 but will be your No.1 priority in 2014?
Lmao, as if I have that kind of organisational skill.
Book you are most anticipating for 2014 (non-debut)? 
Lair of Dreams, the sequel to The Diviners.
2014 debut you are most anticipating?
Whatever debut Amber makes me read. These questions are silently judging me, I can feel it >.>
Series ending you are most anticipating in 2014?
I don’t care if it finished like a year ago, I’m so excited to get to Thirteen, the final book in the Women of the Otherworld series. Witches, man :’D
One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging in 2014?
Read more Classics tbh.