I wasn’t tagged in this one, but I saw it over on Destiny’s blog HowlingLibraries (linked here), and it looked like a lot of fun. This tag has kind of made me realize how out of touch I am with the news, since I didn’t get a lot of the references they made. I don’t know what it was this year, but it feels like in general there’s been quite a bit of negativity and stress everywhere. I’m hoping that this will all ease up with the new year, but if nothing else, at least I know I’ll have a lot of fun with next year’s reading challenges!
1) First Ever Doctor Who (Your favourite female protagonist)
I had a few characters who were good contenders for this question, but I think I have to give it to Kady Grant from Illuminae, specifically because of her interactions with the ship’s AI system. Kady was a lot of fun to read, and I loved her devotion to the people she cared about, and her willingness to do whatever it takes to get out of bad situations. She is definitely one of the most memorable characters I read this year.
2) GCC Cuts Ties with Qatar (An author you cut ties with)
This is actually a tough one for me to answer because (with a few exceptions), I have a self-imposed rule that I try not to read more than one book by the same author in the year to encourage myself to read a wider variety. I think the closest for this one would have to Khaled Hosseini, although I’m hesitant to say I cut ties since I would probably still read his books. This year, I read And the Mountains Echoed, and it was my least favourite of his books. I love The Kite Runner, and I really liked A Thousand Splendid Suns, but I found this one disjointed and not that interesting.
3) La La Land Oscar Mix-Up (A book that surprised you)
I’ve mentioned this one before, but definitely The Status of All Things. I feel like it’s the kind of book you need to be in a certain mood for in order to enjoy, but I rarely read this kind of story and wasn’t expecting much from it. I ended up really enjoying it, and immediately went onto Goodreads to add more books by this pair of authors to my TBR. I love books that involve social media and books that are character-driven, so I guess it’s not a huge surprise that I ended up enjoying this one. I’m glad I decided to give it a chance.
4) Hurricanes and Earthquakes (A book that rocked your world)
I have to give this one to The Raven Boys. After hearing about it non-stop for about a year, I finally decided to give it a chance, and I was really missing out! This book drew me in right from the first pages, and I was captivated the entire time. I put it off for so long because it seemed way too overhyped, although I should have learned my lesson from doing the same with Harry Potter. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series, and find out what happens next! The characters are so well-developed and interesting, and although I found the plot a little confusing at first, it was easily one of my highlights of the year.
5) Louvre Abu Dhabi (Favourite book cover art)
I’m not really one to judge books by their covers, although there are a few that catch my attention. What I sometimes find is that the books with the most appealing covers aren’t always the most appealing reads, unfortunately. I think I have to give this one to The Problem with Forever because I first decided I wanted to read it after the cover art caught my attention at the bookstore. This book was a 4-star read for me. It was a little on the lengthy side for a YA book, but the character development was great. I love the cover because of the beautiful blend of colours.
6) Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi Sells for $450 Million (A take-my-money book)
Hands down, I have to give this one to This Savage Song. As soon as I finished reading it, I knew I had to buy this book and it’s sequel, and I got them both within a couple of weeks of reading it. I was going to put this one down for the book that rocked my world above, but once I saw this question, I knew it would fit best here instead. This is one of the few books I’ve read that literally made me want to run out and buy it as soon as I had read it, and where I actually followed through on that and bought it. I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to read Our Dark Duet this year, but it’s top of the list for next year for sure!
7) Total Eclipse (A sequel that overshadows the first book)
I was more focused on starting new series than on continuing ones I’d already started this year, so I don’t have a ton of sequels to choose from. The one series I did finish was The Lunar Chronicles, and I think Cress and especially Winter were excellent sequels. I loved Cinder, and I liked Scarlet but not quite as much. I thought Winter especially was an amazing ending to the series, and it was impressive that book that was so long managed not to feel like it was dragging. And as much as I enjoyed Cinder, that book was very predictable. I would love to read more by Marissa Meyer!
8) Muslim Ban (Favourite diverse read)
I’m starting to feel like this book is becoming the Harry Potter of the year, where it’s almost a cliched answer to any kind of “favourite book” or “best diverse book” question, but I have to say The Hate U Give. I thought this book did a great job of making the issue so clear and accessible to a wider audience, and it really brought it to life for me. I’m sure we’ve all heard the news stories about police brutality and racial profiling, but this book brought it down to such a personal, human level that it was easy to connect with. I was very worried going into this book that it couldn’t possibly live up to all the hype surrounding it, or that the subject matter had overshadowed the book itself, so I was glad to find that it really was that great.
9) Italy Doesn’t Qualify for World Cup (Most disappointing book)
The Underground Railroad! Can a book really count as disappointing if you weren’t sure in the first place how much you wanted to read it? I honestly had no intention of reading this book, and the only reason I picked it up is because it was chosen as a Book of the Month in one of my Goodreads groups. It seemed like everyone was talking about it, and everyone seemed to love it, so I thought I would give it a chance. I’m sure it didn’t help that I went into it expecting that I wouldn’t be that into it, but I just could not connect with the book at all and I found it very boring. The concept was great and thinking about the overall storyline afterwards, I liked what the author tried to do, but I didn’t enjoy reading it at all.
10) Prince Harry Gets Engaged (Favourite ship)
Easy one for this one — Cress and Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles.
11) Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Most anticipated book)
I’m not sure if this is meant to be my most anticipated book from this year, or for next year. Right now, the book I’m most anticipating for next year is What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera, two authors that I only started reading in the last year or two, and that I’ve grown to really love. There is no cover art available for this one yet, so I can’t add anything, but the book is due out all the way toward the end of next year — October 2! It’s such a long time to wait!