Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The 2013 Book Awards

You don't know how excited I am to be writing this.

I've been literally planning and dreaming about this post since mid-summer. And now it's finally time to post! :)

One of my favorite 'reflecting' aspects of the end of the year is looking back at the books I've read. True, true, I usually come in short of whatever goal I set. Still, looking over what I've read tells me a lot. I can remember every feeling the book gave me, what I was going through at the time, and how my life effected my opinion of the book. Books are a constant roller coaster ride for me. While I'm always reading, I go through ups and downs of excitement. Everything I read is driven by feeling, and it's interesting to see how those cycles change over the year.

In 2013, I read a total of 20 books. I came in short of my extremely optimistic goal of 40, but overall I felt it was a great year for reading. Almost everything I read was of great quality, and I found some really great authors! I completed 1 re-read and 19 new-to-me reads, and read from 13 new-to-me authors while reading 4 old-favorite authors. I tackled two titles from my Classics Club list, 9 from my Informal Summer Reading List, and 2 from my western list.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen / / Under the Jolly Roger by L.A. Meyer / / Shane by Jack Schaefer / / The Fitzosbournes At War by Michelle Cooper / / The Magic of Ordinary Days by Anne Howard Creel, Beautiful Girlhood by Karen Andreola / / The Fault In Our Stars by John Green / / The Quest of the Fair Unknown by Gerald Morris / / How To Be A Hepburn In A Hilton World  by Jordan Christy / / Glenn Beck's Common Sense by Glenn Beck / / The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tollkien / / In The Belly of the Bloodhound by L.A. Meyer / / An Assembly Such As This by Pamela Aidan / / A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper / / Don't Be A Lamesauce by Brandon Lee White / / The Lost Years of Merlin by T.A. Barron / / 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher / / Mississippi Jack by L.A. Meyer / / The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne / / A Study In Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

And now, the exciting part: which books made the cut for the 2013 Young Yankee Lady book Awards?

The Laid To Rest Award: Presented to the book I put down, but plan to return to.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo.

I WILL read this book, I swear. I tried reading it in the spring and I was just having none of it. But, it will be returned to.

The Unsuspected Award: Awarded to the book that took me surprise by how much I liked it.

An Assembly Such As This (Fitwilliam Darcy, Gentleman No. 1) by Pamela Aidan

This is my first Jane Austen fan-fiction read, and I was hesitant (because seriously, who can compete with Jane?). I was pleasant surprised, though, and can't wait to read the next two. She did a great job with Darcy's voice; I felt it was pretty believable.

The Disappointed Award: For the books that I was looking forward to, and found to be lacking.

The Lost Years of Merlin (The Lost Years of Merlin No. 1) by T.A. Barron

*cue shoe throwing*

I was just disappointed. It moved slow. The plot wasn't tight. I didn't love the characters. Maybe the series gets better, but this first book didn't draw me in.

The Long-Awaited: The book that languished on the TBR pile for far too long.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

*cue more shoe throwing*

I know, I know...this was the first Jane Austen I've ever read. But before you start plotting against me, just know that I did like this. A lot. Now, it's not my favorite Austen, but it confirmed the fact that Jane Austen's brilliant. Oh yeah, and Colonel Brandon's awesome.

The Upward Slope Award: For those books that started out boring but by the end were awesome.

The Quest of the Fair Unknown (The Squire's Tales No. 8) by Gerald Morris

I love Gerald Morris, and his entire Squire's Tales series. I was more than excited to read another, but I quickly got crabby after this one started out slow. By the end, though, I'd totally forgiven Morris and enjoyed the book.

The Downward Slope Award: You guessed it. For those books that started amazing and then fell through the floor.

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Alright, so I read this book on a whim after my list of eight books (yes, eight) to grab from the library were all checked out. And at first, I seriously couldn't put it down. But then it got...old. The same thing, every single page. I had to finish it, but I was all-to-excited to finally put it down. It should have been good, interesting, and gripping: it was about suicide letters, for pete's sake! But it wasn't, it was boring. And that probably makes me a horrible person.

Best New-To-Me Author:

Jane Austen

No explanation. She's just awesome. Titles read: Sense and Sensibility.

Best Old-Favorite Author:

J.R.R. Tolkien

For obvious reasons. Titles read: The Fellowship of the Ring.

The Too Much Hype Award: Best sellers that weren't worth the hype.

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Meh. It was alright, I guess. I didn't shed a tear over it, and it isn't worth a re-read on my list, anyway.

Best Reading Month Award: The month with the most completed books.

August, 5 completed books.

Since I had a long car ride to Missouri and back, I got a lot of reading done! I read In The Belly of the Bloodhound by L.A. Meyer, An Assembly Such As This by Pamela Aidan, A Brief History of Montmaray by Michele Cooper, Don't Be A Lamesauce by Brandon Lee White, and The Lost Years of Merlin by T.A. Barron.

Ultimate Page Turner Award: Awarded to the book that gripped me from start to finish.

In The Belly of the Bloodhound by L.A. Meyer

Best. Bloody Jack. Yet. Seriously, these books are all awesome, but this one was insane. I didn't see the ending coming (even though I should have....), and the entire thing was perfect. Easily my favorite in the series.

Most-Read Author:

L.A. Meyer, 3 titles read.

What can I say? Bloody Jack's are too good to put down. Read: Under the Jolly Roger, In the Belly of the Bloodhound, Mississippi Jack.

Most Emotional: A roller coaster of a book.

The Fitzosbornes At War (Montmaray Journals, No. 3) by Michele Cooper

Set in WW2, this book sent me spinning. It's sad, funny, and completely enthralling. Plus I had post-book depression after reading it.

Best Non-Fiction: Awarded to the best of the often-overlooked.

How To Be A Hepburn In A Hilton World by Jordan Christy

An adorable quickie. I agreed with her on everything, and it was great to hear from a classy lady. Definitely worth the read!

Five-Star Awardees: A list of the books that merited 5-star Goodreads ratings this year.

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
Under the Jolly Roger by L.A. Meyer
In the Belly of the Bloodhound by L.A. Meyer
Mississippi Jack by L.A. Meyer

The Ultimate Best Read of 2013: 

The Fellowship of the Ring (Lord of the Rings, No. 1) by J.R.R. Tolkien

While I usually find decisions that make me pin-point a 'best book' to be hard, this one was a no-brainer. This book has been in my life since I was 7, and reading always fills me with thoughts and memories I haven't felt in ages.

Thanks so much for stopping by and reading, guys! I hope you all have a lovely Christmas. I'd planned a whole slough of posts to really keep the Christmas spirit on the blog this season, but busy-ness kicked in and I didn't accomplish everything I wanted to. Still, this Christmas Week has already proved to be wonderful and I'm really looking forward to a break. 

I hope your families are healthy and happy, and that your Christmas is perfectly lovely. I'll be back on Thursday (or Friday...or whenever...). I just have one question....

What books made the cut on your awards?

Merry Christmas, all!

PS. Links to book reviews and such are found in the big list of books I read. :)


  1. I loved Lord of the Rings, myself. It was so hard for me to get through, but the chapter with Eowyn and Faramir was so worth it! I'd say it's my Biggest Book Read Award. Best Book Series would be Harry Potter. Biggest Surprise would go to The Great Gatsby.

    1. Oh, yes, that chapter's one of the best! So wish they'd put it in the movie, but it's almost nice having a 'secret' chapter no one but book readers knows exists! I'm actually going to try and re-read at least the first Harry Potter this year...I was really little when we read them and I think they deserve a second chance.