Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 End of the Year Book Survey

 I cannot believe the end of the year is coming to a close. For me, 2013 has flown by in more ways than one. It's always fun for me to reflect on the year... I enjoy reviewing the books I've read throughout the year to determine my favorite reads.

Earlier this month, I came across another book blog titled The Perpetual Page Turner and noticed that Jamie, the book blogger extraordinare, is hosting the 4th Annual End of the Year Book Survey!! So, I decided to do something different this year and fill out the survey and post my answers here for you all to read!!

1. Best Book You Read In 2013? (If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist)

I've read soooo good books during 2013!! If I had to narrow down my choices, then I'll pick the following two books as my top two favorites for 2013:

Fiction: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.

Health: Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself by Lissa Rankin MD

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

Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom. This book didn't live up to the hype for me. I know it was on the bestsellers list forever and even made into a movie. Yes, I liked it, BUT I didn't think it was all that. I felt that Mitch Albom came across as writing Tuesdays With Morrie for an ulterior motive.

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

The Girls by Lori Lansens
IVAN (Her Russian Protector #1) by Roxie Rivera
The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson
Sellevision by Augusten Burroughs

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

The same book titles from question number one.

5. Best series you discovered in 2013?

I discovered Lee Hanson's Julie O'Hara Mystery Series novels this year. I like mystery novels a lot. So, I enjoyed reading both Mystral Murder and Castle Cay by Lee Hanson. I still have Swan Song by Lee Hanson yet to read in this series. I like the lead character of Julie O'Hara as she is a body language expert and this skill helps her solve mysteries.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?

Joshilyn Jackson is the author that immediately pops into my mind. I really enjoyed listening to the unabridged audio version of The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, which was not only written by Joshilyn Jackson, but also read by her as well. Loved the characters and storyline in The Girl Who Stopped Swimming.

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

Okay, this question is difficult to answer for as I pretty much read books from almost every genre with the exception of a few of them. However, I guess I'll add the following selection:
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford by Ron Hansen
I'm not much into western novels and this one fits this genre...It was pretty good. Ron Hansen is a good writer.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?

I have to choose just one book?? I read many thrilling books! Here are my picks:

1) The Reversal by Michael Connelly
2) The Whole Truth by David Baldacci
3) The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
4) The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
5) The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson

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

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein and/or Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself by Lissa Rankin MD.

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

11. Most memorable character in 2013?

1) Oscar (a cat) from Making the Rounds with Oscar by David Dosa MD
Making the Rounds with Oscar by David Dosa MD is a work of nonfiction. Reading this book had me wondering how are animals able to determine when someone is in need or will pass away??Animals are amazing creatures! More intelligent than humans sometimes!

2) Enzo (a dog) from The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. Enzo is memorable because the storyline is told from his viewpoint. I love dogs and am the proud and luck pet owner of two Pomeranians.

3) Hamish Zupanek from Nosebleed by Ged Maybury.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.

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

Once again, I'll have to choose the following two books to answer this question!

Fiction: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.

Health: Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself by Lissa Rankin MD

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

This is an easy question for me!! I can't believe I waited until 2013 to read The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd! I actually listened to the unabridged audiobook version of this novel and it was amazing.

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

Some of my favorite quotes come from The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein and are as follows:

"[T]hat which we manifest is before us; we are the creators of our own destiny. Be it through intention or ignorance, our successes and our failures have been brought on by none other than ourselves." page 43

"The true hero is flawed. The true test of a champion is not whether he can triumph, but whether he can overcome obstacles - preferably of his own making - in order to triumph." page 135

I enjoyed many of the of the scenes in this book. Like the ones with the zebra and its symbolism. Or the documentary Enzo watches and learns that the Mongolians believe that the next incarnation for a dogs is man.

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

I'm not sure about the longest or shortest book I've read this year. I've read a lot of eBooks and many of them didn't have page numbers in them and many of the physical books I've read have been passed on to other readers!

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!

Well, I didn't read any works of fiction that fit the bill for this question. However, two nonfiction books I read had me sharing what I read with others. Those two books were:

1) Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart
2) Health: Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself by Lissa Rankin MD

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

Two very different relationships come immediately to mind though.

1) I read IVAN (Her Russian Protector #1) by Roxie Rivera, an erotica novella, which was HOT! The relationship between Erin & Ivan was attention grabbing for sure.

2) I also listened to The Girls by Lori Lansens and the relationship between conjoined twins Rose & Ruby Darlen was another good relationship.

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

I enjoyed reading Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart earlier this year. I'd read Wicked Bugs by Amy Stewart last year and loved it!! So, I figured that Wicked Plants would be just as good and it was. I learned some amazing things from Wicked Plants... For instance, I learned that cashews are related to poison oak, poison ivy, and poison sumac... "The nut itself is perfectly safe to consume, but if it comes into contact with any part of the shell in harvest, it will give the person who eats it a nasty rash." (page 40)

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

I read a book titled Nosebleed by Ged Maybury, which was recommended to me by another book blogger and Bookcrosser. Ged Maybury is a children's and young adult writer based in Australia. Nosebleed is a fun and humorous children's book, that has you laughing out loud often. I loved it!

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?

I read books from almost all genres! But the Mystery/Thriller Genre makes up the bulk of my reads this year. I completed 18 novels in this genre.

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

David Hawthorne from The Girl Who Stopped Swimming (Geeks, rule!!)
Henri Archer from Christmas Kismet (He just sounds too sexy)
Ivan Markovic from Ivan (Her Russian Protector #1) (Reformed bad boy)

23. Best 2013 debut you read?

The Best book I read that was published/released in 2013 was Nosebleed by Ged Maybury and Life's A Beach and Then You Die by Falafel Jones.

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?

I don't know if this book was so much vivid as it was realistic, but when I listened to The Girls by Lori Lansens on audiobook, I kept forgetting that I was actually listening to novel and not an actual memoir.

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

Nosebleed by Ged Maybury. Once again I have to select this novel as it had me laughing out loud frequently due to the antics of Hamish Zupanek!

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

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein hands down!! I cried periodically throughout this novel!!

27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?

I read Life's A Beach and Then You Die by Falafel Jones earlier this year and enjoyed reading this eBook. It's a mystery novel and the first in the series of books to feature a character named Max Fried, a former computer forensic examiner. It made for a good read. I look forward to reading the second book in the series titled Payback's a Beach, which was just released last month.


1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2013? 

I discovered many new book blogs this year, but I don't have a favorite new book blog!! But I have enjoyed visiting the following book blogs this year:

Betty's Books
Between the Lines
Bookish (different book blog above)
Caffeinated Reader
The Book Nympho
The Broke and the Bookish
 The Perpetual Page Turner

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2013? 

Oh, this was a tough to decide! The Art of Racing in the Rain, The Diaries of Adam & Eve by Mark Twain, Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart, and Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom were all good reviews.

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?

The best discussion on my blog was whether listening to audiobooks counted as reading them.

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?

Probably 2013 End of the Year Book Survey, because I've had to put a lot of time into thinking about my answers to the questions asked in this survey!!

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

I love book related events & participated in many of them this year! This year my favorite author events and signings are as follows:

1) An Evening with Lisa Ling --- Lecture & Booksigning! 
I've been a fan of Lisa Ling, American Journalist, since her days at The View talk show. I had a blast hearing Lisa Ling speak at UCSB's Campbell Hall earlier this year and a copy of her book, Somewhere Inside, autographed! Plus, I was able to have my picture taken with Lisa Ling as well!

2) The Search for Meaning in a Medical Life with Abraham Verghese, M.D.
Abraham Verghese is the author of Cutting For Stone and also spoke at UCSB's Campbell Hall earlier this year. My husband and I really enjoyed his talk about the meaning of medical life... It was one of the most engaging talks I've ever listened to by a well known published writer. I was also able to have my copy of Cutting For Stone signed by Abraham Verghese. I was also able to have my picture taken with Abraham Verghese.

3) Twist Of Fate: The Moth Mainstage in Santa Barbara
This was a fun event that my husband I attended at UCSB's Campbell Hall. We really enjoyed listening to true stories written and read by various people. Actress Molly Ringwald was one of the readers!

I have fun participating in the following two book events:

1) I also had fun participating in US World Book Night 2013 for the 2nd year in a row and have applied to be a book giver for 2014!

2) The Ho-Ho-Ho Read-A-Thon was also a lot of fun too!

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

I can't say as I had one great/best moment this year in terms of books and blogging. I have discovered so many wonderful books and new authors. I've had fun discovering new bookstores, attending wonderful author events and lectures, participated in read-a-thons, swapped books with other readers via Bookcrossing and so much more. So, selecting one best event/moment is impossible!

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

A post I made in September 2013 has been the most popular post with blog readers and is titled Secret Fore-Edge Paintings Revealed on 19th Century Books!! Granted, I thought this was an interesting post, but I didn't think it would be as popular as it was... The funny part is that no one has made a comment to this particular post, but it has received the most page views.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

 I guess the biggest disappointment for me was that I hosted A "Christmas Holiday Themed" Book Giveaway and no one signed up for it!! How sad is that???

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

I love visiting independent bookstores and reviewing them here on my book blog! This year, I've visited tons of bookstores, but my favorite new to me bookstores are as follows:

1) Vroman's Books in Pasadena, California... This place is an amazing bookstore!
2) The Book Mark Paperback Book Exchange in Escondido, California is an excellent used bookstore and very large!!

I also enjoyed visiting the Karpeles Manuscript Library in downtown Santa Barbara earlier this year and seeing original Mark Twain documents on display!


10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I took part in the Ho-Ho-Ho Read-A-Thon and had a blast! I had set a personal reading goal for myself. I was able to read more books than I had planned to read. however I didn't finish reading all the books I wanted to in the health and nonfiction genres that I wanted to read this year. I guess there is always next year!

I hope you enjoyed reading my answers for the2013 End of the Year Book Survey!
See you in the New Year!!


  1. I love that you picked animals as the most memerable characters. Sometimes they make quite the difference in books and in our lives. Your book giveaway might have been at a bad time... with the holidays I think people don't check their blogs as much. Here is my survey:


    1. I enjoyed reading your end of the year book survey!

      I'll have to try another book giveaway some next year... Maybe, it'll be more successful!

  2. I read Art of Racing in the Rain a few years ago and enjoyed it. And it's been way too long since I've read Joshilyn Jackson! I hope your 2014 is just as great!! And I'm curious--did most people think listening to audiobooks counted or didn't? When I first started blogging I didn't think they counted but I've since change my mind. Love them now!

    1. Most people thought listening to audiobooks counted as reading them! I love audiobooks and have become addicted to listening to them in 2013.

      In 2014, I'm also participating in an audiobook challenge, which I'm really excited about! See the following link for more information:

  3. I love this survey. I keep finding so many books to add to my list for this year as I read these.

    The Art of Racing in the Rain sounds interesting and it looks like the writing is beautiful too! I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the recommendation.

    And I still haven't read The Secret Life of Bees. I really need to get on that...

    Thanks for visiting my blog! I hope you enjoyed my survey.

    1. Yes, I enjoyed reading your end of the year books survey!! Have fun reading and blogging in 2014!

  4. Thanks for visiting my blog earlier! I don't think I've read a single one of the books you've mentioned here. But I read pretty much all YA so that's probably why. I have been looking to branch out into the adult genre though so I will have to try some of these. Happy New Year!

    1. Thanks for visiting my book blog and reading my answers to my end of the year book survey. :-)