I’ve done this once before but I’ve been struggling with my reading over the last few years and I’ve not been able to do it again. I finally was able to get back on track again this year as you’ll see 🙂 The End of Year Book Survey is in its 10th Year and is hosted by the lovely Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner.
We’re going to forget that it’s the really the beginning of the year (and
over a week a month into it) and pretend it’s really still the end of 2019. I’ve been caught up in helping someone move house for the last 2 and 1/2 months, but I’m stubbornly refusing to just let this survey go since I’ve had to miss out so much.
To get us started here is a few basic stats from 2019:
Number Of Books You Read: 132
Number of Re-Reads: 0
Genres You Read The Most From: Urban Fantasy, Sci-fi and Superhero
Best In Books
1. Best Book You Read In 2019?
It was a toss-up between two books, however, as one of them was finished in 2020 I’m going to declare Affinity Bridge by George Mann the winner. Not only did the story and characters blow me away, but George’s writing was wonderfully refreshing. I absolutely devoured the rest of the series and had to hold myself back from reading the follow-up series and more of his books otherwise nothing else would have got read in 2019. You’ll be seeing more of George Mann’s work in next year’s survey I’m sure of it!
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
The Ship of the Dead was the third and final book of the Magnus Chase series by Rick Riordan, and while it didn’t suck it really was the most lacking finale to date. It really didn’t feel anywhere near as climatic and the final chapter felt too short and really rushed. Hopefully, we’ll see more of Magnus and the gang because there is certainly more to tell, however, from a mythology perspective I’m not really sure where it could go next.
3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
As much as I love the character of Numair from The Immortals series, I was really uncertain about the Numair Chronicles. After all, we knew what happened and how things ended up right? Well the first book of the Numair Chronicles, Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce, proved me completely wrong and once again I fell head over heels for her incredible writing and amazing characters.
4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
I don’t think I did much pushing of a particular book. I always hand out recommendations when asked, but I did talk more about the new Star Wars comics in 2019 than usual.
5. Best series you started in 2019? Best Sequel of 2019? Best Series Ender of 2019?
Unsurprisingly based on my answer for #1 Best Series goes to Newbury & Hobbes by George Mann. I fell in love with the combination of steampunk, mystery, urban fantasy and historical London, even more so when book 4, The Executioner’s Heart, featured local history from my hometown Crystal Palace.
Tarnished City by Vic James, the second book of the Dark Gifts trilogy and it took me a while to finish due to bad health, but it was as brilliant as it’s predecessor and I can’t wait to read the final book!
Best Series Ender was bittersweet for me because the Cainsville series by Kelley Armstong has been one of my absolute favourite reads of recent years and the final book Rituals was stunning. It was everything I could have wanted and more, and I loved it but I’m so sad to leave such an incredible series behind.
6. Favourite new author you discovered in 2019?
I couldn’t choose between these two, so the honour goes to both George Mann and Adrian Tchaikovsky. I had the pleasure of meeting both of them at SFW last year and as well as being fine wordsmiths they are both lovely gentlemen.
7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Rituals by Kelley Armstrong, with Tempests and Slaughter following swiftly behind it.
9. Book You Read In 2019 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
I don’t have the time to Re-Read books any more.
10. Favourite cover of a book you read in 2019?
This was such a hard decision as there wasn’t a specific cover that really stood out amongst the rest this year. Eventually, I decided on Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce which has pride of place in hardcover on my bookshelf, reminding me of its splendidness on a daily basis.
11. Most memorable character of 2019?
I had to think about this for a few seconds and then with a massive grin it dawned on me suddenly; Doctor Aphra from the new Star Wars comics. Anyone who has met the dear Doctor will know what I mean. There really is no one quite like her and honestly, I’m going to leave it at that and point you at her series. Find out for yourselves. She’s first introduced in Darth Vader’s series so I recommend starting there.
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2019?
The winner for this is a graphic novel; Superman: Up in the Sky by Tom King. While Tom King is causing havoc in the Batman series (see my rant later on) his Superman work is absolutely sublime and this story about Clark following a kidnapped human girl’s trail across the stars was nothing short of stunning. If anyone ever asks why Superman is still such a beloved and relevant character this is the one I’ll be pointing them to.
13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2019?
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2019 to finally read?
The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness; it had been on my TBR for ages and I’d read the first and second books of the All Souls Trilogy in relatively normal time span (for me, that is). However, it took me a long time to pick up book three. I think I was put off by the huge length and detail while I was struggling with reading altogether, and while I enjoyed the books they’re not my favourite reads. I was able to pick up books by my favourite authors and no matter the size or density I was still making easy progress with them.
What finally got me to read this one was the Discovery of Witches TV Show which I was really interested in, and just in case there were any spoilers for the last book (I knew who Sophia Myles was playing, for example) I wanted to finish it before watching the show. For anyone wondering; there are no spoilers for that book.
15. Favourite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2019?
I always find this one hard to answer because I notice them as I’m reading and have to go hunt them down whenever I do a survey like this. This time I found it relatively quickly:
“There are things you must do before that peace will be granted to you. Things that you must understand, that you must integrate into yourself. People who need your help. What one needs in order to heal will always come one’s way, but sometimes it can be hard to recognize it. Sometimes the most beautiful and important gifts come wrapped in pain and blood.”
After the year I’ve had this quote from a conversation between the Naruu Saa’ra and Calia Menthil in World of Warcraft: Before the Storm really struck a chord in me.
16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2019?
Longest – The Book of Life (561)
Technically Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell with 1,006 pages but since I just about managed a chapter before giving up on it I don’t really count that.
Shortest – World of Warcraft: Magni The Speaker (12 pages)
17. Book That Shocked You The Most
The Burning Maze (Trials of Apollo #3) due to a character death which I actually knew about and by the time I got my hands on the book I’d completely forgotten about. So it came as a complete shock, as it should, and honestly, I don’t know how I feel about it. I really didn’t see that coming at all.
Comics, it was another death and I’m using a spoiler tag for this one due to the repercussions for the Batman fandom:
They killed Alfred, holy shit. 80 years of Batman in 2019 and they fricking kill Alfred. It was the one thing everyone knew you didn’t do. Alfred was sacred. Honestly, I like many fans believed it was a rouse. Clayface or someone else had helped fake the death and in a follow up issue it would all be revealed, and we’d breathe a huge sigh of relief when it was revealed that Alfred was in fact alive. But then the issues kept coming and no, no, it couldn’t actually be true… could it? So far it is and I really don’t know how this is going to effect Bruce and the rest of the Bat Family. The entire family is a mess, completely splintered right now and with the Doom vs Justice war happening the fall out is going to be massive.
18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
Newbury and Veronica from the Newbury and Hobbes series by George Mann, and sometimes there was a literal ship to go down with 😉
19. Favourite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
20. Favourite Book You Read in 2019 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
21. Best Book You Read In 2019 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.:
I don’t think there was one specifically but I know Newbury and Hobbes had been on my TBR for years due to various recommendations.
22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2019?
The wonderful and admirable Miss Veronica Hobbes from Newbury & Hobbes. The independent and academically-minded assistant of Newbury, Veronica is unlike any Victorian heroine I have ever met before. While most fight tooth and claw against the rigid confines of their society, Veronica does it with such grace, charm and wit that she often leaves men flustered with how to respond. Most of the time they have no idea she’s even outmanoeuvred them. These are just the tip of her talents, and I’m going to say no more as her story is closely tied with the core plot of the Newbury and Hobbes novels themselves. All in all, she is extremely crush-worthy.
23. Best 2019 debut you read?
The Night Raven by Sarah Painter, and you can read my full review here. An absolutely delightful debut Urban Fantasy series set in London and book two, The Silver Mark, and book three, The Fox’s Curse are now also available.
24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
I technically finished this one in 2020, but I started it in 2019 so I’m slipping it in 😉 – Empire in Black and Gold by Adrian Tchaikovsky. It is one of the intricate and fascinating examples of world building that I’ve come across in quite some time. The combination of steampunk, fantasy and magical elements is just spot on, and the kinden, a humanoid race evolved from insects are absolutely incredible.
25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Oh goodness, I had an immediate answer and then I ended up with about 4 others. For books; anything by Rick Riordan and then the Iron Druid series by Kevin Hearne. Both of which will have you crying with laughter and then probably with sorrow in the next chapter. Comics wise Adventures of the Super Sons, the antics of Damian Wayne and Jonathan Kent, is absolutely hilarious and highly recommended.
26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2019?
27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
The Night Raven by Sarah Painter, I seriously cannot recommend this one enough!
28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
Heroes in Crisis was a really hard read. I didn’t hate it as many DC fans did, I thought it was really well written and as someone with mental health, I could quite easily see Wally going down that road. It crushed my soul because it was absolutely heartbreaking to watch, and also to read all the stories of the heroes in Sanctuary. To see their souls open like that in such a raw way was incredible writing, but so very painful to read for an empath.
29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2019?
While there were a lot of great and interesting reads on my shelf in 2019 the most unique book without a doubt was Empire of Black and Gold. As explained in #24 Adrian Tchaikovsky’s world building is exceptional and what makes it so is how unique it is. I had the pleasure of sitting down and speaking with him at SFW, and physically seeing/hearing that mind at work was an honour. The world he has created in Empire of Black and Gold is unlike any fantasy epic I’ve ever read and I’m glad to know that there are 9 more books (and a short story anthology) in the Shadows of the Apt series.
30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
There was some really good stuff from DC Comics but overall this year there was a lot of mess. It really does feel as though Michael Bendis has been given free rein to just mess up the Superman comics, writing characters (especially female characters) completely out of character and play with timelines like it’s his own personal fanfiction rather than a huge massive franchise with moving parts. Likewise, Tom King’s Superman in the Sky was absolutely amazing, whereas in comparison his work on Batman has been appalling. It just feels like the team handing out writing assignments has gone on holiday, or been super lazy; ‘oh let’s just give Bendis that… and that.. and that’. It really does feel sometimes like he’s now writing 70% of the series at DC.
Hopefully 2020 we’ll see things get shifted around and other writers will be given a shot. That started to happen at the end of 2019, and some new series’ started under new writers that so far have been really good. But that’s always the smaller characters so they’ll only get a small series while the big names will be stuck with someone who’s messing it up for a year or so.
Your Blogging/Bookish Life
1. New favourite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube channel you discovered in 2019?
I don’t really follow either.
2. Favourite post you wrote in 2019?
3. Favourite bookish related photo you took in 2019?
Such a simple photo but I just love how the colours and light played together.
4. Best bookish event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, etc.)?
5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2019?
Just being able to actually read again! I still struggled at times but being able to actually finish a few series and make headway with others, and even start new ones was a wonderful feeling. After everything I went through with my ME diagnosis, it was another aspect of my healing that I didn’t even realise I needed.
6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
Scheduling and organisation for both. I need to stop staying up until 3/4am reading and get into a routine of an hour or two tops before bed, and add some reading time during my day rather than splurge it all at once at the wrong time.
7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
Due to some recent changes I’ve no easy way to work this out.
8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
I really started using Scribd properly this year and it’s given me so much more access to new books. I didn’t realise just how many popular authors were available, nor recent publications. Why not try it yourself this year and get 60 days free using my referral link to see if you love it too?
10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I didn’t quite reach my Goodreads challenge of 150 books (managing 132) although I’ve probably read a few more comic books than I’ve actually ‘ticked off’ as completed due to the collected volume not being released yet (as I’ve mentioned before on my blog it’s too time-consuming to list every single individual issue on Goodreads). So overall I don’t feel so bad about not quite reaching the 150 mark. The fact that I achieved my goal of reading more, and getting back to going to my local library is much more important than how many books I actually read.
Once upon a time the amount mattered more than anything, but my ME diagnosis was a humbling experience, stripping me of the simplest tasks that I used to take for granted. Now I’m just happy to be able to indulge myself in a good book again.
1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2019 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2020?
Oh, there’s more than one; ha, there’s a whole bookshelf! At the top of the list is The Witch’s Kiss by Katherine and Elizabeth Corr which I picked up along with a few others one birthday and have not had a chance to read.
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2020 (non-debut)?
Star Wars: Myths & Fables by George Mann which my lovely fiance got me for Christmas. I’m currently making myself wait until I’ve finished reading some books for reviews before I read this one. I can’t wait.
3. 2020 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
A former soldier turned PI tries to help the fantasy creatures whose lives he ruined in a world that’s lost its magic in a compelling debut fantasy by Black Sails actor Luke Arnold. Welcome to Sunder City. The magic is gone but the monsters remain.I’m Fetch Phillips, just like it says on the window. There are a few things you should know before you hire me:1. Sobriety costs extra.2. My services are confidential.3. I don’t work for humans. It’s nothing personal–I’m human myself. But after what happened, to the magic, it’s not the humans who need my help.
4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2020?
We. are. finally. getting. the. next. Dresden. Files. book.
(I punctuated that so loudly that Chris asked if I was ok lol. It’s been 6 years since the last book.)
5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2020?
Finish up some of the series that I have on the go that have been completed for a long time so I feel free to start new ones. I constantly feel like I am 5 years behind everyone when it comes to new releases, and my TBR just never goes down. While I know it never will it would be nice to be able to experience some of the newer book fandoms that others have read. I’ve recently registered with Netgalley so that combined with Scribd will help a lot.
6. A 2020 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable):
I am currently reading the new Mercy Thomson book Smoke Bitten which is due out in March and it’s awesome. I am completely biased though as I’ve yet to not enjoy any of Patricia Briggs’ work.
Over To You
Well that is my 2019 book survey finally done, better late than never! How did your bookish year go? Did you fill out the same book survey or do a similar look back at your year in books? Any book recommendations? Let me know in the comments!
Feel free to add me on Goodreads to follow my reading adventures through 2020!
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