2014 End of Year Book Survey

Hello hello hello my lovelies! Well, here we are, at the end of another year of work, school, dramas, yummy food, friendships, laughs, tears, and lots and lots of reading! This year has been very hectic and stressful for me, what with school and a few dramas happening at home, but looking back I do feel as though I’ve grown and become a better person and more in tune with who I am. As a final look back at the year that has been, I’ve decided to partake in a survey hosted by Jamie over at Perpetual Page-Turner that will have me look back at my year of reading and blogging. I won’t be filling out the whole survey, as I don’t think blog stats are all that important to talk about, but if any of you also want to fill it out for yourself, the whole survey can be found here.

1. Best Book You Read In 2014?

(If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist)

Oooh I read a lot of good books this year, but if I had to pick just one, I’d say it would be The Dying of the Light by Derek Landy. This is the last book in the Skulduggery Pleasant series-one of my most favourite series ever- and as a conclusion, it certainly did not disappoint. It was such an emotional rollercoaster, and I definitely recommend that everyone read the series; it’s absolutely spectacular.

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

I’d have to say The Stranger by Camilla Lackberg. I picked it up cheap at a newsagent’s (always the first sign), but I thought it would be a more exciting read than it was. I mean, it was an alright mystery for light reading, but I was expecting it to be more exciting than it turned out to be.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014? 

I’m not sure if it counts as a book, but in English this year, we read the Shakespeare play Macbeth. Before now, I’d only read Romeo and Juliet, and the amount of analysis we did on that text made me rather sick of it by the end of the topic. With Macbeth however, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it and continued enjoying it, even with a whole term and a half studying it. There was always something new to discover and I ended up scoring an A on my English exam in which I wrote an essay on the text.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?

I pushed a lot of my friends to read The Dying of the Light, and quite a few actually did. Mostly, I just wanted people to cry with me over the beauty that was that book. To put it in perspective, this was like the last Harry Potter book all over again for me, that’s how much I adored this series and how much it hurt me to finish it.

 5. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?

I haven’t read many series this year, but I was quite impressed by the series starter and debut novel Starters by Lissa Price. I haven’t read the second book in the series, Enders, yet, but I hope to sometime next year.

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?

John Green. I know I know, it’s a shocker that I hadn’t read any of his books until now, but he had me at Looking for Alaska.

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

I don’t typically read romance novels. I’m not really into reading mushy lovey-dovey books- Twilight ruined that for me- but some of the ones I’ve read this year, including Ava Dellaria’s Love Letters to the Dead and Michael Cunningham’s A Home at the End of the World have made me think that maybe it’s not so bad after all.

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

It’s a draw between Derek Landy’s short story collection Armageddon Outta Here, and The Dying of the Light. Both were absolutely chock-full of fast-paced action, snappy humour and charming characters.

 9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

I make a point of re-reading the Harry Potter and Skulduggery Pleasant series every year, and next year will be no different.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?

11. Most memorable character of 2014?

Valkyrie Cain- Skulduggery Pleasant series. She is just my favourite person ever.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?

It’s a tie between Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson and A Home at the End of the World by Michael Cunningham. Both books were just so beautiful to read.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014?

I’d say Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson. It really brought to light a new perspective on anorexia and depression for me.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read? 

John Green’s Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars. WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING WAITING SO LONG I AM AN IDIOT.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?

“Yes, just for a moment he loved his crooked neighbors with his crooked heart” – Tim Winton, Eyrie.

Oh, and I have to include this one because it’s bloody hilarious. I was watching this TV show last night, one of my favourites, called Life on Mars and the two main characters, Sam Tyler and Gene Hunt, are always getting down each other’s throats. Every line that comes out of Hunt’s mouth is pure gold, but this line had me in tears I was laughing so hard:

“If I were as worried as you, I wouldn’t fart for fear of shitting myself”– Gene Hunt, Life on Mars.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

Shortest: The Book of Jonas by Stephen Dau- 258 pages.
Longest: A Song of Ice and Fire- A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin- 852 pages including the appendix and acknowledgements.

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

Augustus Waters and Hazel Grace Lancaster- The Fault in Our Stars. I cry for 300 years.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Valkyrie Cain and Skulduggery Pleasant- Skulduggery Pleasant series. These two are my life.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

The Dying of the Light- Derek Landy. I’ve read the whole Skulduggery Pleasant series several times now since the release of the first book in 2007.

21. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

Starters by Lissa Price. Thank you Katherine ❤ xx

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?

Augustus Waters. Always Augustus Waters.

23. Best 2014 debut you read?

I haven’t read a 2014 debut book from an author, but Lissa Price’s 2012 debut Starters was the best. Eh, it’s close enough ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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

George R.R. Martin’s A Feast for Crows. You really feel a part of the world of Westeros, and the different atmospheres of different regions were described exquisitely.

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

Derek Landy’ Armageddon Outta Here. Even that title man…

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and The Dying of the Light by Derek Landy. What an emotional ride.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Eyrie by Tim Winton. I’m so glad I read that.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

The Fault in Our Stars and The Dying of the Light.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?

Starters by Lissa Price. That was pretty rad.

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

The Dying of the Light by Derek Landy. stOP ToyING WIth MY EMoTionS GODdamMIT!!!!

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015?

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Also, a friend recommended Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas which I have yet to read, so I will hunt it down in the new year.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?

I pray to my lucky stars that the next book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, The Winds of Winter, will be released.

3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

I don’t really know of any 2015 debut novels yet. We’ll just see what’s coming!

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2015?

It’s already been released, but I’m going to read the sequel to Lissa Price’s StartersEnders, next year which I’m really looking forward to.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2015?

It’s year 12 for me in 2015, so I’m not going to set myself too many goals. All I’m going to do is try my best to read every day and update my blog consistently. After next year, I can start focussing more on challenges and push myself to do more.

6. A 2015 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

I haven’t read any yet, but if anyone else has any they’d like to recommend, I’d love to hear your suggestions!

 

2014 has been a big year and I thank you all so much for being a part of it. I still can’t quite believe that anyone actually reads and likes what I post on my blog, but to all of you who have stuck by me, I can’t tell you how grateful I am! Here’s to another year of wonderful madness!

-Christie 🙂 xx

With all my crooked heart

Today’s review: Eyrie

Author: Tim Winton

Cover of Tim Winton's Eyrie

Cover of Tim Winton’s Eyrie

Publisher: Hamish Hamilton – Penguin Australia

Released: 2013
Number of pages: 352
Genre: Contemporary/ Drama
Series: Standalone

Eyrie tells the story of Tom Keely, a man who’s lost his bearings in middle age and is now holed up in a flat at the top of a grim highrise, looking down on the world he’s fallen out of love with.

He’s cut himself off, until one day he runs into some neighbours: a woman he used to know when they were kids, and her introverted young boy. The encounter shakes him up in a way he doesn’t understand. Despite himself, Keely lets them in.

What follows is a heart-stopping, groundbreaking novel for our times – funny, confronting, exhilarating and haunting – populated by unforgettable characters. It asks how, in an impossibly compromised world, we can ever hope to do the right thing..

Goodreads.com

Tom Keely’s life is far from ideal. He’s divorced and detached, his career as an active environmentalist has crumbled around him, and he’s utterly broke. Far from the comfort of the home he left, Keely isolates himself from the cruelty of the outside world in his tenth-floor flat in the seedy, rundown Mirador in Fremantle, Western Australia. He drinks, pops pills and broods the day away, and the next day he does it all over again. He keeps his head down, he doesn’t draw attention to himself. Then suddenly one day, everything changes.

Returning to his flat on a particularly scorching day, Keely sees for the first time his neighbor from two doors down. Gemma Buck; a memory from a childhood long forgotten. She is weathered and hardened by the years and the hardships life has thrown at her, and here she stands before him again, as beautiful as she ever was, and with a grandson in tow. Little Kai is like nothing Keely has ever seen before. He knows far too much of the harshness of the world for someone so young, and the weight of burden he carries on his shoulders makes him even smaller, lost and afraid in a world overrun by corruption and crime. What starts off as mere passing encounters soon becomes something more. Soon, Keely finds himself with two more people in his life to worry about, whether he likes it or not.

Over time, Keely ever so slowly draws closer to Gemma and Kai. However, Gemma’s dark past begins to creep up on all of them, and they soon find themselves glancing over their shoulders wherever they go. Kai is also afraid. Afraid that his unsettled and traumatic childhood will repeat itself all over again, and he withdraws within himself, desperate to find comfort in his own mind. For the first time, it is up to Keely to pull himself together to keep this small, mismatched family from falling apart.

As the dangers of Fremantle’s dirty underbelly lurk nearer, Keely finds small measures of his old idealism beginning to seep through from under his grimy layers of depression and self-loathing. With the added responsibility of keeping two broken people from shattering completely, Keely decides to take it upon himself to initiate action, putting his own safety on the line for those he loves.

I found Tim Winton’s Eyrie to be a beautiful read. The whole book was rich in colourful imagery and each scene were was enriched with the most exquisite language. Tom Keely was a very observant, if very cynical, narrator, and to see the hot, dirty, shabby side of Western Australian life was an experience in itself. Winton breathes life into Keely through inner dialogue rich in Australian slang. For those outside of the country, you might need to consult an urban dictionary now and then, but for those who know a little of Australian life, it makes the story and it’s characters all the more loveable and relatable. Gemma Buck is also a character the reader grows to love. The victim of a lifetime of abuse and hardship, Gemma is a tough nut who works her hardest every day to provide for herself and her grandson Kai. She has been driven to the point of giving up hope that life will ever be better for them, and Keely is on the outside looking in. Through her, Keely finds his own strength and sense of purpose, for he comes to realise that it’s up to him to hold this broken little family together. The only character I couldn’t seem to find much connection to was Kai. He has grown up in a world of fear and dysfunction, and as a result he has retreated within himself, closing up like a clam to all affection. He is a mysterious child who knows far too much of the world for his age, even with his experience, and it was the level of intelligence that he possessed that didn’t really sell it for me.

Although rather slow at times, the book was enjoyable to read. There isn’t much in terms of action, so one should not enter this expecting high levels of drama and suspense. To look at it from a different perspective would be to see it as portraying an almost realistic type of life story; nothing overly dramatic, but enough events happening in the protagonist’s life to keep the story moving and deliver an effective message. There were some tense moments that kept me turning the pages, and I never found myself nearing boredom whilst I was reading. Winton takes on a very critical view of Western Australian life, and he expresses his frustrations and observations through Keely and his views on the world around him. The novel does become quite dark at times, and it sometimes left me feeling a little down after reading- it’s not exactly sunshine and rainbows, but it is beautiful, thoughtful and observant nonetheless.

I would certainly recommend giving this a read. It’s an enlightening perspective on a world run by corruption and materialism and provides an insight into the mind of Tim Winton and his views on society.

Tim Winton’s Eyrie is a dark, haunting story. It tests the boundaries and limits of the human spirit when confronted with the peril of a world lacking hope, and questions the integrity of humanity and what drives us to do right by others, even if it puts us in the firing line.

Rating- 7/10

WWW Wednesdays- December 10

WWW Wednesdays is an event hosted by Should Be Reading that asks three questions:

What are you currently reading?
I’ve just started reading George R.R. Martin’s A Dance with Dragons, the fifth book of the A Song of Ice and Fire series after I FINALLY finished A Feast for Crows. I have to read these books with short breaks between each one because there is just so much going on in the series, it’s a lot to take in all at once. I hope to finish this one soon to allow myself a break before The Winds of Winter comes out.

What did you finish reading?
I recently finished Eyrie by Tim Winton. It’s another to cross off my TBR list, and I absolutely loved it! I will have a review up soon!

What do you think you’ll read next?
I’d hopefully like to read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell next, or Stephen King’s  Mr Mercedes, but I’ll take a trip to my local library soon and just pick a few that catch my eye. It’s an incredible feeling, knowing I have time to read again!

What have you guys been reading? Any suggestions for books for me? Let me know in the comments!

– Christie xx 🙂

Guess who’s back…

Hello hello hello! Dearie me, it’s been far too long. I looked back on the last time I posted before the two reviews I recently wrote and realised the last time I posted was the thIRD OF OCTOBER. How bloody embarrassing…

I hate making excuses, but school really took a lot out of me this year. I had lapsed into this near-robotic state of just constantly working and stressing and barely sleeping, and the only thing that kept me going was basically caffeine. Not exactly healthy, I know, but by the last few weeks, I was running on empty. The amount of work I had to do kept me away from reading and blogging, and even when I had a few spare minutes, I couldn’t find the energy to do either. I just wanted to curl up and sleep for 500 years. After exam week, I had Year 12 induction week, so I basically was given introduction lessons to all of my subjects plus my research project and I have six assignments to keep me occupied these holidays. I mean, not like I have anything better to do like, y’know, holidaying hahahahahahahahahahaha *eye twitch*.

But I made it. I’m not dead. I struggled on. I kept going even when my batteries reached 0%. I dragged myself across the finish line gasping for water, a cold flannel and a fan. I gave myself a week of not worrying about work or responsibilities and allowed myself time to sleep and read and be a useless member of society, and now I’m back and I’m gonna be blogging with a vengeance. I have an arsenal of story ideas and an armada of reviews and I’m going to be writing relentlessly. I feel obliged to make up for lost time and lost life and I promise I’ll be trying to redeem myself as best I can.

For those of you who have stuck with me, I thank you with all my heart. It means so much to me that there’s even a possibility that there are some people out there who read all of my rambling nonsense, and even the slightest chance that there are people who read my blog and actually like it is overwhelming. So thank you for your patience as I’ve battled through this storm of a year, fallen over quite a few times, and emerged, bruised and breathless on the other side where you wait with a shake of the head, a Band-Aid and a cup of tea.

You ain’t getting rid of me that easy.

– Christie 🙂 xx