A (Partial) 2013 Survey + Looking Ahead to 2014

I managed to start off the year by accidentally marking all posts in my feed reader as read.  Whoops!  While it’s hopefully not an omen for the year ahead, it’s kind of refreshing to look at Feedly and think I’m completely up-to-date with everyone’s posts ;-)

best-books-2013

Anyway, I’ve been seeing the 2013 End of Year Survey hosted by Jamie @ The Perpetual Page-Turner pop up around the internets.  I wanted to do it – I even started drafting the post, but then realised that most of the answers would be along the lines of Parr, Pacat, Doyle & MacDonald, Wells, Elliott, Cross, Ryan… rinse & repeat…

I’m serious.

And while I’d love to gush a bit more about how I loved all their books, it would make for a pretty boring post.  So I decided that I’m going to cheat a bit and only answer the questions where the answers WEREN’T any of those above.  I know.  I’m a rebel, right?

Here goes:


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

Well.

I feel like this is sort of a negative way to start off the post, but then again, I skipped question #1, which was Best Books You Read in 2013.  Serves me right.

I mentioned this in my annual wrap-up post, but most of the series books I was anticipating just didn’t hit it out of the park for me.  Not that they were letdowns or anything, but I WANTED MORE.

So while an answer could be most of them, that’s only because I had really high expectations for a lot of books (and to be fair, I marked most of them as 4 star reads on GR anyway).  However, one book that didn’t quite work for me was Sharon Lee & Steve’s Miller‘s TRADE SECRET, which was depressing because I’d been looking forward to a sequel to BALANCE OF TRADE for so long.  But I never connected with the main protagonist nor cared enough to follow the obscure-ish plot(s).  I eventually finished the book, but it was a bit of a drag.

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

Elle Kennedy‘s HOTTER THAN EVER – I don’t think I’ve ever read a ménage à trois book before, but I was convinced by the Dear Author review.

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

13578466I love this Goodreads covers view of my 2013 books (even though I’m still in the process of listing all my 2013 reads).  I actually think most of the covers are fantastic, and there’s a real mix of styles – from retro to romantic, from atmospheric to just plain intriguing.

If I had to pick one (and obviously it would be one that I haven’t added to GR yet), it would probably be Sharon Shinn‘s ROYAL AIRS, and not just because the colours match my blog…  I love the ethereal feel, which contrasts quite nicely with that steely look of determination on Josetta’s face.

Jonathan Barkat was listed as the cover illustrator – I think he also did the cover for the previous book, TROUBLED WATERS.

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13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013? and 17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling

I grouped these two questions together as Elizabeth Wein‘s WWII novel ROSE UNDER FIRE would be the answer to both.  ROSE was hard-hitting and powerful in ways I didn’t anticipate, and I closed the book thinking “lest we forget”.  I’m glad she wrote it, and I’m glad I read it.

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

All my very favourite books for the year were from new-to-me authors, so here are two I haven’t mentioned yet: Anne Bishop‘s WRITTEN IN RED (not perfect and problematic in places, but it hit the right spot) and Andrea K Höst‘s HUNTING (added to the list of YA fantasies I’d recommend).

And to be honest, pretty much everything Ilona Andrews and Kelly Hunter released in 2013.

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

Seanan McGuire‘s INDEXING was a very fun and imaginative take on fairytales – and I say that as someone who generally does not get on with fairytale retellings.  It was released as a Kindle serial in the US, but only in book form in the UK – while I grumbled about not having the weekly episodes, I’m glad I got to read the entire story in one go!

Speaking of serials, I did read John Scalzi‘s THE HUMAN DIVISION in serial form, and Episode #7, “The Dog King”, was hilarious.

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And looking ahead to 2014:

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2013 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2014?

Ann Leckie‘s ANCILLARY JUSTICE – everyone and their mother appears to be loving this debut SF.  It’s on my Kindle now, so no excuses!

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

What, just one?  Here are four:

A new Andrea K Höst hopefully, fingers crossed – though she’s said that she may not release anything during 2014.

The next New York Leopards book by Allison Parr (I swear I read somewhere it’s Abe’s book – I hope so!).  Oh, I’ve obviously lifted my moratorium on mentioning these authors for 2014 ;-)

Sarah Rees Brennan‘s TELL THE WIND AND FIRE is a YA fantasy retelling of A TALE OF TWO CITIES, which sounds incredibly fun.

And Anne Bishop‘s MURDER OF CROWS (the follow-up to WRITTEN IN RED) is due out in March.

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3. 2014 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

I don’t really track debut authors, so I’m totally going to cheat and say Katherine Addison‘s THE GOBLIN EMPEROR (April 2014).  This is Addison’s debut work, but it’s Sarah Monette writing under a new name.

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4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2014?

CS Pacat‘s conclusion to her Captive Prince trilogy – I’m really hoping this is a 2014 release.

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

Umm… the usual.  Post more, comment more, read more from that TBR mountain of mine…

11 Comments

Filed under My Bookshelf, Random Thoughts

11 responses to “A (Partial) 2013 Survey + Looking Ahead to 2014

  1. I had planned to catch-up on my Sharon Shinn buying with my Christmas gift cards but I was more behind than I thought… I used to be so on-top of her releases. I still hope to rectify that in 2014 because I want Royal Airs. :)

  2. Great post, Li! And go for you being a rebel! Actually, Ames and I might take you as an example ;) I do like this survey that is going around, but there are some questions I wouldn’t be able to answer… and it’s really long! LOL.

    Woohoo about Written in Red! It was one of my favorite reads of 2013! And I can’t wait for the sequel.

    The best cover, for some reasons, it makes me think of some chinese ancient tv series pictures :P It’s nice :)

    • Haha – go for it! Yep, it’s really long so I’m glad I did a cut-down version. Because there were some books I hadn’t mentioned before, but were highlights of 2013 regardless.

      WRITTEN IN RED and the 2014 sequel are on so many people’s posts! I think it’s her best non-Black Jewels book to date.

      Re the Shinn cover, I actually think the dress was Asian-inspired – it’s cool, isn’t it?

  3. I agree, Written in Red is definitively her best non-Black Jewels book… and seriously, this series has the possibility to surpass the Black Jewels because so far, it’s been slightly less dark. Some of the darkness, especially the sexual darkness , was a bit off-putting to some readers. Perhaps Written in Red is not less dark, but the darkness is less obvious I think.

    Feels Chinese/Indian inspired indeed ;)

    • I agree – I don’t think I’ve done a full re-read of the Black Jewels trilogy (and don’t think I ever will) just because of certain scenes, but whenever I re-read sections, I’m immediately sucked into that world. Whereas with WRITTEN IN RED, I can totally see myself doing a re-read at some point – possibly just before the sequel comes out!

  4. The Anne Bishop book sounds really intriguing. I may give it a look. I own all the Black Jewel books but didn’t read them. I’m taking a month off to read other things so I may give Written in Red a shot. Enjoyed reading your end of the year summary post, Li.

    • Thanks Keishon!

      Angie just posted a review of WRITTEN IN RED @ Dear Author – it was fairly spot-on in terms of what worked for me, though I think I had a few more problems with the world-building than she did.

      • I’ll see where I fall then and I read Angie’s review at DA and she’s usually pretty good and I trust her judgement. Plan to keep my expectations at a minimum and will see how I like it. Thanks and good reading to you in 2014!

  5. Jan

    Great post, Li! Well thought out and interesting. I’m so glad I have a lot of Andrea K. Host backlist to read and that I finally tried her books! There are a number of other books and authors I need to check out, too!

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