The Artist Librarian: 2015 End of the Year Book Survey

Wow, I'm feeling way too accomplished for finishing this, but it was a lot of fun!  I saw Ally from The Scribbling Sprite participate in this book survey and I had to try it out!  Survey created by Jamie @ Perpetual Page Turner. See her original post for the link-up!  Most of the links below are my reviews of the book titles.

2015 Reading Stats

Number Of Books You Read: 141 (80 books/novels, 61 comic books/graphic novels), not counting picture books.
Number of Re-Reads: Er, I didn't really count this year ... I'd guess around maybe 5?  I also read 14 Attack on Titan manga twice.
Genre You Read The Most From: According to Goodreads, it's Dystopian, but half of that was the 20+ Attack on Titan manga and tie-in series. ;-)

@ArtistLibraryan's best reads and blogging in 2015: End of the Year Book Survey

Best In Books

1. Best Book You Read In 2015? (If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2015 release vs. backlist)
--I don't have to to cheat!  As a soon-to-be-librarian who adores historicals, Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden (an academic librarian by day, award-winning author by night) was definitely my top pick of the year!

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t? 
--Wayne Thomas Batson's Dreamtreader trilogy.  WTB was one of the first "new" (i.e. not C.S. Lewis or Tolkien) Christian fantasy authors I discovered in high school.  I hadn't kept up with his books recently, so when the opportunity to review the last book in his new trilogy came up, I jumped at the chance to read them.  As I wrote in my review, it's a good middle grade Christian fantasy series.  However, I think maybe I've outgrown WTB or my expectations were too high ... I didn't love the books as much as I wanted to or thought I would.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
--It's a toss up between Nadine Brandes' A Time to Die (I can't believe what she did in the middle of, and at the end of the book!) or Jennifer A. Nielsen's The False Prince (maybe some will think the climax revelation cheap.  I almost felt betrayed for a moment, but I didn't realize it was happening until it was).

@ArtistLibraryan's best reads and blogging in 2015: The Lunar Chronicles - Most Recommended

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)? 
--I don't know anyone read them because of me, but the books I recommended the most this year was The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.  The books I posted the most about were probably Dina L. Sleiman's Valiant Hearts novels or Nadine Brandes' Out of Time books, since I was fortunate to be invited to these awesome authors' book launch teams.

@ArtistLibraryan's best reads and blogging in 2015: The Christiansen Family - Best series I started in 2015

5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015? 
--I'm going to be super technical and not count trilogies, so I'll say Susan May Warren's Christiansen Family series.  She alone has made me want to read more Contemporary Christian fiction.  Her characters are authentic, unperfect, and relateable ...
--Best sequel ... I'm sounding like a broken record, but A Time to Speak by Nadine Brandes. Attack on Titan, Vol. 2 is a close second because of what happens in it ... *no spoilers* Seeing episode 8 of the anime blew my mind and prompted me to read the rest of the manga ('cause couldn't wait watching 1 episode a week on Cartoon Network)!  =P
--Best series ender was definitely Winter by Marissa Meyer.  It took awhile to get there, but I think I needed all 800+ pages to say goodbye to those characters.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015? 
--I'll point to my Top 10 New-to-Me Authors of 2015 post, but I'll name Rachelle Dekker, since I'm ashamed to say I forgot to add her to that list.  Great YA dystopian debut with The Choosing --so much potential in this trilogy ... interested to see how it goes.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone? 
--The best book I read that was out of my comfort zone was Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson or Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher.  If they weren't required reading for my Books & Media for Teens course, I probably would never have read these general market YA novels because the storylines didn't sound appealing to me, but as modern YA classics, they're good to know about and they're good discussion opportunities.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
--I'm going to give this one to the Attack on Titan manga.  I borrowed volumes 1-14 from the library and I spent literally the whole night reading them until 3-4am and then freaked myself out when going upstairs to sleep ... Titans are scary.  ;-)

9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
--The Attack on Titan Guidebook, in preparation/research for a Survey Corps uniform cosplay (Mikasa Ackerman, Sasha Braus, or Zoe Hanji?) ... maybe.  I couldn't write a review for Beyond All Dreams (Elizabeth Camden) without gushing uncontrollably, so I do want to reread and write a proper review this year.

@ArtistLibraryan's best reads and blogging in 2015: Best Book Covers

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?
Dauntless - Medieval era heroine armed with bow and arrow ... 'nuff said.
Batgirl of Burnside, Vol. 1 - Batgirl's costume re-design is perfect!  Love the practical and utilitarian design. 
Attack on Titan, Vol. 13 - Hajime Isayama isn't the best manga artist but this is my favorite cover of his.  My crew look so "badass" and epic ...  Please no one else dies ... ;-)  <3

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?
--Beyond All Dreams was just like a love letter to librarians, librarianship, and art, so I just ... that one for me was the most beautiful. 
Also, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman comes to mind.  Even though written in the 21st century, it had a really classic, British children's book feel, like it was timeless, despite the references to cell phones and such which clearly date it as modern.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015? 
 Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When the Stakes Are High.  A required reading for my Library Management course, but it emphasized several concepts that I think are important for communications.  It's not a perfect book, but a lot of interesting things to think about and consider when dealing with conflict.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read?
--Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card and The Giver by Lois Lowry.  I'm actually glad I didn't read these in middle or high school because I think I got more out of them as an adult ... but yeah, chalk these up to LIS books & media class required readings.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015? 
--Luke Callahan has an amazing scene in chapter 8 of Beyond All Dreams where he's encouraging his young nephew, an aspiring artist.  As an artist and creative myself, I found the whole chapter beautiful, but here's just a brief portion:
If you don't make it as a painter, funnel that passion into something else, but it doesn't have to die.  Do you think I would have turned that old boxcar into a traveling library if I hadn't been in love with poetry?  My love of poetry was a gift from God.  So is your passion for art, even though we don't know yet what form it will take.  If you don't make it as a painter, perhaps you'll be a great teacher.  Or a museum curator.  Maybe you'll become a rich industrialist and fund a museum.  Just don't limit yourself by thinking you already know God's purpose for you.
16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?
--Shortest books were the picture books I read for LIS classes or preschool storytime at the library.  The longest book was Winter by Marissa Meyer at 824 pages.

17. Book That Shocked You The Most (Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)
--Nadine Brandes' A Time to Die and A Time to Speak win this for sure ... all of the above while reading her books!  ;-)

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!) (OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar) 
I probably shouldn't admit this, but I'm Team Eremika:  That is, 'shipping Eren Yeager and Mikasa Ackerman from Attack on Titan.  I love this pairing!  They have so much ... history together, I just can't see them with anyone else.  In real life, I might have some issues with their relationship (they're the points critics of this 'ship usually bring up), but I think they have the potential to really compliment and support each other (think what was "Everlark" in The Hunger Games trilogy).  But sometimes, I don't know why I even bother since I'm pretty sure romantic relationships aren't at the forefront of creator Hajime Isayama's mind (this is a shonen/action/"boys" manga, after all --romance isn't the focus).  There are little hints in the manga and anime, but they're not a couple yet (at the very least, there's a strong bond of friendship).  In all honesty, I probably wouldn't even be in this borderline horror?/dystopian fandom without this 'ship.  =P

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year 
--Trevn-Sar Hadar and Hinckdan (Hinck) Faluk, Prince Trevn was hands down my favorite character in Darkness Reigns, the part 1 e-book of Jill Williamson's new epic fantasy series, and his close bond of friendship with Hinck, his backman (and I guess, wingman) just makes me smile.  

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
--Beyond All Dreams and With Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden.

21. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
--Ender's Game.  For a presentation, I had to read a minimum of two books from a Margaret A. Edwards award-winning author for my Books and Media for Teens class. I couldn't decide between Susan Cooper (The Dark is Rising sequence) and Orson Scott Card --After talking to my classmates, polling my friends on Facebook, and talking to a school librarian, I ended up choosing Card.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015? 
--Ooh ... snap, too many.   Uhm, the guys from The Lunar Chronicles probably won't count because it says "newest" ... so, I'll narrow it down to Luke Callahan (especially with a very romantic, sweet, swoon-worthy gesture/scene near the end of Beyond All Dreams), Jude and Hawke from Nadine Brandes' Out of Time trilogy (in the words of Megara, "I won't say I'm in love," but ... *yeah*), and Kael from Secrets Kept by J.L. Mbewe (I must know more about this angsty elf! LOL). ;-)

23. Best 2015 debut you read?
--As one of the only true debuts I read, The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
--Nälu (J.L. Mbewe's Secret's Kept, Collum & the Darkwater forest (Patrick W. Carr's The Darkwater Saga), and the United States of the East/post-apocalyptic North America (Out of Time trilogy).

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
--Princess Ugg, Vol. 1 by Ted Naifeh (a princess from a viking-esque tribe is sent to be educated in a refined princess academy) & Kristy's Big Idea by Ann M. Martin, adapted by Raina Telgemeier (this Baby-Sitters' Club graphic novel was a nostalgia trip; a very well done adaptation).  Also Your Lefthanded Child by Lauren Milsom --even as a lefty, this was an eye-opener in a "that kind of makes sense" way ... =P 

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?
Probably A Time to Die and A Time to Speak.  Nadine Brandes, your books are emotional roller coasters --just sayin'. ;-)

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
Because I don't normally read indies, Secrets Kept by J.L. Mbewe, but the librarianship-focused, Cosplay in Libraries: How to Embrace Costume Play in Your Library by Ellyssa Kroski, is a close second.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
--Nadine Brandes' Out of Time books.  Both of them.  Crushed in a good way, but ... my heart/soul. =P

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015?
--Meanwhile by Jason Shiga --sort of a "chose your own adventure story" but crazier.  You have never read a graphic novel like this one. 

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
--A Time to Die by Nadine BrandesI love the book, but that certain character ... oh, I was so mad.  ;-)

Your Blogging/Bookish Life

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015?
  • Dreaming Under the Same Moon Rissi's one of the most prolific bloggers I "know" --she and her book/media review blog is such an inspiration (wanna be a blogger like you when I grow up)!  ;-)
  • Britt the Book Nerd is a fellow LIS/Library & Information Science student (a.k.a. future librarian). ^_^
2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?
--Hmm ... probably "Smart & Sassy in All the Right Ways" (Like a Flower in Bloom by Siri Mitchell)
 or my manga/anime/fandom review of Attack on Titan.  My favorite more "professionally written" review was something like "A Shockingly Good Fantasy" (The Shock of Night by Patrick W. Carr).

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
--One of the most popular (and personal) posts I wrote this year was "And They Said Speak Now: In Defense of Christian Romance", but my favorite non-review post I wrote this year was my "Dream Bookish Cosplays" for Top Tuesday.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
--The opportunity to attend the American Library Association's Annual Conference (ALAac15) this summer was the best book-related event for sure!  For online or virtual events, the most amazingly organized and interactive launch team I've ever been part of was for Nadine Brandes' A Time to Speak --I met so many new book blogging friends through that!  A close second was being invited to be one of the hosts for Seekverville's Rockin' New Year's Eve blog party! 3,252 comments on one blog post I have never seen!  =)

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015? 
--One of the best bookish life moments of the year was experiencing the Exhibit Hall at ALAac15 and also the "Young Gotham" panel there, where I briefly met the main writers and artists of Gotham Academy, Batgirl (of Burnside), and Grayson.  It felt like I was at a huge Comic Con(vention). ^_^

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year? 
--Posting consistently.  I know you can schedule posts ahead, but between school, work, family, and more ... life happens.  Definitely going to try and co-ordinate better once summer comes! 

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
--According to Blogger, my top three posts are:

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
  • Cosplay, Comics, and Geek Culture in Libraries - A website created by an academic librarian/cosplayer Ellyssa Kroski, it's a treasure trove of information for librarians looking to incorporate fandom into their libraries.  Many contributing librarians write articles on programming, geeky arts & crafts, fandom, cosplay, book/media reviews, fandom life, and more!
10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
--I met my reading goal of 100 books for 2015.  More details in My Year of Books According to Goodreads 2015.

Looking Ahead 

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016?
--Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas ... I don't know if it's my #1 priority, but it's part of a series I'm absolutely curious about, with all the hubbub about them.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)?
--A Time to Rise, the 3rd book in Nadine Brandes' Out of Time trilogy! 

3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
-- Currently, Curio by Evangeline Denmark, which was released earlier this month!

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016?
--Nadine Brandes' A Time to Rise for series ending (Out of Time #3). For sequel, The Calling (book #2 of The Seer trilogy/series?) by Rachelle Dekker.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016?
--My first Top Ten of the month was all about my Bookish and Blogging Goals for 2016, but the main thing I want to do is add all my cosplay and costumes (with breakdowns and "making of"/walkthrough posts) to my blog.

6. A 2016 Release I’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:
I haven't read a 2016 release yet!

Whew!  If you've read all that, you deserve virtual brownie points!  So what do you think?  #QOTD: Feel free to answer one or a few of these questions in the comments, or if you've participated in the survey, I'd love to see your post! 
The Artist Librarian: 2015 End of the Year Book Survey The Artist Librarian: 2015 End of the Year Book Survey Reviewed by The Artist Librarian on 1/13/2016 10:59:00 PM Rating: 5


  1. I'm very much anticipating reading Nadine Brandes' books! And I look forward to reading Dauntless and The Choosing as well!

    Winter was amazing!! I agree, I needed 800+ pages to say goodbye to those characters too--and I still didn't want to.

    Ally @ The Scribbling Sprite

    1. They are so good! You will enjoy all of those titles!

      IKR? I'm glad Stars Above is coming out soon! Can't wait for that ... =)

  2. Oh! This is such a cool idea!

    And thank you for including Secrets Kept!!!

    1. It's kind of long, but an awesome survey --definitely made me think!

      You know I had to put Nälu in there! Can't wait for Darkened Hope later this year! =)

  3. This survey is awesome!! So proud to even be part of it. :) Eep! Can't wait to see what books will blow our minds in 2016! :D

    1. LOL, like almost all of the questions regarding emotions was, "Yep, the Out of Time trilogy." ;-) IKR? 2016 has a lot of great releases coming up. =)

  4. There are a lot of books I want to read here, most of all the Lunar Chronicles!

    1. I hope you enjoy TLC if you get to them! They're my favorite fairy tale adapatations ... sci-fi/dystopian-ish I hadn't seen before. Plus, they actually pretty clean general market fiction (for the most part, not counting Fairest ... that was kind of creepy). ;-)


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts! Comments are always welcomed and appreciated. In respect for others, please keep your comments PG/"family friendly" =)

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