2013 in Review: Happy New Year Bloggers!


New Years is one of my favourite holidays. Cynics will knock it and pragmatic people will state that everything doesn’t just start again with the beginning of a New Year, but for me it often does. Sure, things don’t magically transform, only you can choose to make things different and even that doesn’t happen in the flash of an eye. But for me, New Year is a great celebration. It’s a time where we can be thankful that we actually made it to the end of the year through all of the stress and tribulations and hopefully have become a lot stronger because of it! I think 2013 was a pretty good. I passed my first year of University, went on holiday to Edinburgh without any major catastrophes and attended my first author signing. Sure there were some sucky times too, there always are, but I am happy to say that the good outweighed the bad this year!
2013 was also a great year for books and blogging by my standards. I sped my way through 31 books and 10617 pages, a massive total for a slow reader like me (last year 2012 I read only 22 books). And of those books I gave six five star ratings! That’s almost unheard of for me, I don’t give out those five stars lightly. In terms of blogging achievements, I managed to bash out 113 posts on my keyboard, completed the 30 Day Blog Challenge and took part in my first ever 24 Hour Readathon as a reader, which was a truly amazing experience. 😀 My blog visitors came from 128 different countries and the majority were from The United States, the UK and Canada.

To make this New Year post just a little bit different I thought I would give some of the books from this year awards, instead of just listing my top three.

So, without further ado!Hush Hust by Becca Fitzpatrick

The It’s so Bad it’s Good Award: Hush Hush by Becca FitzpatrickThis was one book I shouldn’t have reread and resulted in some serious reader angst. Yet, for all my anger and frustration with it I somehow enjoyed it on a weird masochist level. It was definitely a serious case of it’s so bad it’s good. I would have to stop every now and again just to laugh at what I was reading. Writing the review for it was a blast, not only was it quite therapeutic but it also allowed me to put my sarcasm in full swing!

Dracula by Bram StokerThe Person I’d Least Want to Meet in a Dark Alley Award: Dracula by Bram StokerDracula was the first book I read in 2013 and kicked off the year nicely. I became totally immersed in the eerie vibe of the book. Although Dracula doesn’t actually show his face that often, his presence is always felt and his reputation is built up by characters who have been affected by his menace. To me, this made him even more spooky because it meant his character was more elusive and mysterious. Therefore this grants Dracula the person I’d least want to meet in a dark alley award! On Writing A Memoir of the Craft

The Book I Would Most Like to Have a Guest Lecture On:
On Writing by Stephen KingThis book was a suggestion from the Creative and Professional Writing course I took along with Psychology in the my first year, it blew me away. I would really love to prod Stephen King’s mind and I am adamant he would make the perfect guest lecturer. He knows his stuff, something that I didn’t give him credit for before reading this book!beautiful creatures

The Best Imagery Award: Beautiful Creatures (The Caster Chronicles series) – While this series does have a few issues, I cannot fault the beautiful gothic imagery used in each installment. It makes what could have been a very average middle of the road YA book into an incredibly memorable read. Even though I gave the first two books in this series three stars I am still as enthusiastic about this series as I was the day I finished reading it. I can’t think of another book from this year that is more deserving of the best imagery award! I Heart New York by Lindsey Kelk

The Smile from Ear to Ear Award: The I Heart Series by Lindsey KelkThese are the best feel good books I have read in a long time! With every single installment I found myself laughing out loud, grinning uncontrollably and just having some good old-fashioned entertainment. The plot wasn’t too involved or in-depth but the writing was brilliant. It remains the best chick lit I have ever read.

Great Expectations

The Best Classic Award: Great ExpectationsNo one was more surprised by my love of this book than me. I still cannot believe I enjoyed a Dickens novel after my traumatic experience with Oliver Twist. I fell in love with all of the characters and this book is my favourite classic of 2013 by far, the others weren’t even in the same league!

The Biggest Surprise Award: Divergent by Veronica DIVERGENT_B_Format_UK.inddRoth – I have yet to review this book, but I finished it a few weeks ago and could not put it down! I had a lot of preconceptions about Divergent and had almost convinced myself I wasn’t going to like it before I had read a page. So how surprised was I to find myself racing through it and completing it in two weeks, even taking into consideration that it was the exam period and I was desperately cramming. When I reached the half way point I went online to order the second book because I knew I would want to read this straight away. Look out for my review coming soon to a blog near you. 🙂

So now that’s the book highlights over and done with, onto the resolutions!

I succeeded at two resolutions I made for 2013, to read more classics (I read five) and to pass my first year of university. I made a good effort at the third to read six books off the Rory Gilmore Challenge. I managed three so I was half way there! I completely failed the last two however, to keep my tbr pile down (Really, is anyone surprised by this one?) and write a diary again (turns out when you have a roommate it’s not easy to write your private thoughts well, er, privately).

New Year has come round speedily so I haven’t had much time to think about my resolutions, but here’s a few I’ve managed to pull together:

Personal Resolutions:
1.) To cut down my use of the words ‘really’, ‘very’, ‘definitely’, ‘just’ and ‘however’ when I write. Some of these are overused when I write essays, others when I ramble on my blog posts. They’re silly, petty non words that somehow always manage to sneak into my writing, and I know it is not better of because of them. I have been trying cut down for the last month or so and have already seen some positive effects. So this seems like a good resolution for 2014!
2.) To not get stressed out as much. I know this is not a measurable goal as such but it’s something I would like to achieve. University has a tendency to send my stress levels into overdrive and sometimes I need to let things go because they aren’t worth it.
3.) To say ‘yes’ to more things (within reason). This resolution came about partly because I have a tendency to hide in my anxiety cave where it’s safe, instead of going out and giving things a chance, and also because I came across this brilliant (and now pretty famous) Youtube video. This has made me determined to try out more new things that I wouldn’t normally attempt. Again I began to put this in to practice at the end of this year, but also want to make it a top priority for 2014!

Book Resolutions:
1.) To finish off some of the book series I have started. One of my biggest and perhaps oddest reader habits is that I don’t like to read book trilogies or series one after the other. I like to have a break before going back to them, unless they are particularly gripping. The problem with this is of course that I forget to go back to them. I find a shiny new series I want to read and then proceed to leave that in the lurch too! I worked out that I currently have at least fourteen series on the go. THAT IS RIDICULOUS PEOPLE. Finishing series’ and tying up loose ends is a priority this year.
2.) To continue reading classics. I am enjoying and finding my exploration of the classics fascinating, they have so much depth, and even if I don’t necessarily like the book I am still awed by the power of their words.
3.) To continue working on The Rory Gilmore Challenge. Instead this year I am going to set myself the goal of reading four books off the challenge as many of the books are classics which I will not feel like reading during semesters. Hopefully I can reach this goal this time. 🙂
4.) To try to let books go that I am not enjoying. This is a tricky one, and I’m hoping I won’t have to implement it at all! I don’t want to discover more books and series that I dislike. However, while I am at university I have barely any time to read, so I don’t want to spend that time on books that don’t grab me. I’m not sure the perfectionist in me will have an easy time with this one though!
5.) To read the books I want to read. This may sound like an odd one, but I have noticed lately I have a tendency to put off reading the books I most want to read. This is partly because I feel the need to get rid of the books I am less likely to enjoy, partly because I read the books I feel obliged to read and also because I worry that the books I have been lusting over will not live up to my expectations. I am going to try and break this habit in 2014!

Okay so confession time, I wrote this post in a complete rush with a little help from my buddy Mr Cider, so I apologize if there is any awful glaring typos or awkward phrasing. I hope you all have a wonderful New Year bloggers and a great 2014!!!! ❤
I will leave you with this brilliant quote I came across the other day:

‘May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art – write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can.
And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.’

– Neil Gaiman

47 thoughts on “2013 in Review: Happy New Year Bloggers!

  1. What a fabulous New Year’s post – my favourite so far :). I can relate to so many things you said, especially the not stressing so much and hiding in the anxiety cave. And I loved your book categories and choices. Did you know that the movie for Divergent is coming out soon??? I’m so excited :). Congrats on all your wonderful achievements this year and happy reading in 2014!!

    • Thank you my lovely friend, I’m so glad you thought so. 🙂 I can always count on you to understand my mad book brain. I’m glad some of the things I brought up resonated with you as well. It is always nice to know that we are not alone in our thoughts, and it often turns out that our thoughts are not as individual as we think the are! (In a good way.)
      I am greatly looking forward to the Divergent movie! Although I’m not sure I totally like the actors they chose and it looks quite different from how I pictured the world in my head, lol! Unfortunately I am also furious because I came across a horrendous spoiler for the last book Allegient. 😦

      • Oh no!!!!! Was it the big, huge spoiler?? That’s terrible :(. I get worried about seeing the movies for books I love because the movies are never as good as the books. Divergent looks really good though.

      • It was concerning the death of a certain character. :/ I went on Youtube to watch the trailer for Divergent and someone had posted it in the first comment underneath. People are so evil sometimes. -_-

        Me too, I had the shakes pre-The Hunger Games, I loved the books so much and was super nervous about the adaptation! Hopefully Divergent will be good too. 🙂

    • It is indeed, I kept thinking of more and more off the top of my head! Most are positive ones that I will enjoy putting into practice though so they won’t be a chore. 🙂

      Thank you Kokkieh, you too!

    • Really? That’s so sad. I know there are a lot of people that snub it but I still know others that like it. That’s a real shame, but yes, I love New Years. 🙂

      Thank you, Michael, I’m glad you enjoyed reading it!

  2. Happy New Year, Becky. You survived your first year at university. Well done! 🙂 Good luck with the resolutions. The saying “yes” is something I should work on myself this year.

    • Thank you, Emma. 🙂 I sure did, it was touch and go for a while but now I am officially half way through my degree, it’s crazy.
      I think the saying yes and taking chances aspect is something we could all use a bit of promoting for now and again!

  3. Ah, who wouldn’t want to win the “Smiling ear to ear” award…I’d love to see the trophy for that one!

    Happy New Year and many more blogs and books to come. Every time I come here my TBR seems to grow…your reviews sound so promising I have to try the book for myself. I think half of the books you read I end up suggesting to my school library, just so I can read them.

    They should hire you as a consultant. 🙂

    • Hehee I totally agree, the trophy would be a great addition to anyone’s home, I can picture it now! I think it would be gold with cartoonish ears and a Cheshire cat grin.

      Thanks Tony, and I hope so. 🙂 Hahahaa, I’m so happy to know my book obsession is having an effect, it’s the greatest compliment a book blogger and reader can get! I feel so thankful to have such a consistent reader of my blog like you. Happy New Year!

      They should, give me a good reference, yeah? LOL.

    • Neil Gaiman indeed! I ought to read more of his books, I’ve only read Stardust and I’ve heard from many that it’s not his best. I hope you enjoy the graphic novel, it sounds great. 🙂

  4. I love this. Book resolutions are the best, and I love that writing one. I have one of those as well: stop with the adverbs. ‘Adverbs are guilty until proven innocent”. I read that somewhere once and I wholeheartedly agree with it, even though I have an adverb abuse problem.

    I am surprised that you liked Great Expectations. I hated it! Pip was a weasel who didn’t appreciate what his family did for him. Nothing was good enough because Pip wasn’t a gentleman. What a bitch. And I’ve been avoiding Divergent as well, but it is currently sitting on my TBR pile. I’ll read it last. Just in case I get addicted.

    I don’t so much love NYE as New Year’s Day. There’s too much expectation for NYE to be an awesome night. New Year’s Day is just a fresh start. And everyone needs one of those, right?

    Happy New Year!

    • Awh, thank you Bec. 😀 Book resolutions sure are my favourite kind, they’re the ones I enjoy and get excited about trying to complete, unlike the traditional eat well keep fit, etc! Ohh adverbs should be on my list too, I abuse them far too often but I don’t think I’m quite ready to give them up yet, maybe next year. :S Good luck with the challenge, it’s a hard habit to break!

      I was surprised that I liked Great Expectations too. Pip was a weasel, but I found him a weasel in an interesting way and felt a deep affection for some of the other characters surrounding him so I didn’t mind that aspect of it. I thought some of the imagery and word play in it was brilliant, but Dickens is also long winded and he likes going around the houses, so I also understand how just as many people can dislike his work as like it! I don’t blame you for Divergent either, sometimes when a book gets that much hype in can be off-putting instead of making you want to read it. It’s not the best written or deep book in the world but there’s so much heart pumping dramatic action it’s hard not to enjoy it! It’s one of my favourite books from this year. 🙂

      That’s fair enough I understand that. People do put a lot of emphasis on the perfect New Years Eve party, but that’s not what I think New Years is about.(Although the parties can be fun!)

      Thanks for stopping by Bec, I hope you have a great 2014!

      • I have a few of the traditional ones. But the get fit one is particularly important. I think I can manage it though. Just have to practise some willpower. hahaha.
        I think I’m going to try and read some modern crime novels this year. I mean, I’m reading “A Study in Scarlet” but that’s Sherlock: he’s timeless. I think I need to try some of the newer stuff.

        I don’t mind Dickens, I loved A Christmas Carol (I know, clichéd right?) but Great Expectations was too much. I think I get too invested in characters sometimes. It’s a problem.

        I think I just want to read the book before people start telling me about the movie. It seems like the right thing to do haha. But you are absolutely right about the hype thing: it’s why I haven’t read John Green. But there’s one that sounds awesome…Paper ….something. I think I might give it a go. At some point.

        Hope your 2014 is a great one!

      • Well they are traditional for a reason, most of us could do with getting fitter and eating better even if we don’t like doing it, lol! Aha, well good luck with it, I hope you can put it into practice and that it won’t be too painful an experience. 🙂
        Ohhh, I recognise that title but I didn’t realise it was about Sherlock Holmes, no wonder it has been so popular. I have never been a big fan of crime novels but I have got the entire Sherlock Holmes to read. I have a feeling I will really enjoy them so I am saving them for a rainy day. 🙂 I hope you have fun trying out some modern crime!

        Oooh I agree, I just read A Christmas Carol and again was surprised by how much I liked it, far more than any of the TV and film versions I have seen. Lol, don’t worry I understand far to well the problem of getting over-invested in characters!

        That makes sense, that’s one of the reasons I decided to pick up Divergent now, before all the movie storm fully hit. I didn’t want the story or plot twists to get spoiled but unfortunately I have already accidentally read a spoiler for the last book in the series, I was so annoyed! Funny enough that is also why I haven’t picked up John Green as well! I finally got my own copy recently however, so I think I will try and read that before the film too, in case I like it enough to want to see the film in the cinema. I think you’re talking about Paper Towns? 🙂

  5. Another Zoella fan! 😀

    Glad to hear your year was successful in terms of both blogging and life.

    How long were you in Edinburgh? It sounds like a wonderful place to visit. Have you read McCall Smith’s ’44 Scotland Street’ Series? It’s set in Edinburgh.

    • Indeed! Well, I am of a few select videos, I don’t follow her or anything though as I don’t have a Youtube account, I procrastinate enough without it, lol!

      Thank you, it turned out to be a year of mostly pleasant surprises. 🙂

      I was in Edinburgh just under a week and it was a wonderful place to visit! It has such a beautiful vibe to it, it’s almost a city that feels like a village, it’s all the mixing of old and new, I would love to go back again. I’ve never read the 44 Scotland Street series, I will have to look into that, thank you for the tip!

  6. First, what a positive and beautiful reflection on 2013! You really got a lot accomplished. I’m jealous. I didn’t get any of my resolutions done except one.

    Second, I love your awards and titles. I especially like the “Smile from Ear To Ear” award. I think I will put that book on my list. I need a few more feel-goods in my list. I’m also excited to see your mini review on Divergent. I just bought that book for my brother and was planning to read it after him. I’m glad to see that it received a positive review from you!

    Finally, let the haters hate. I think setting up a reflection of the year and resolutions for the New Year is a great idea. A lot of critics I know say that resolutions are silly because, if you don’t like something, change it. I think the idea of a New Year’s resolution is a good motivator for some people. I don’t think it’s silly. I’m glad you feel the same.

    A very beautifully written post and good luck on your resolutions this year! Happy New Year!!

    • Thank you Fidgety! (Lol, that actually makes a great nickname.) It seems I did get quite a bit accomplished, although I wasn’t aware of it until I wrote it down on this post. Hey, one is better than none! You should always celebrate any accomplishment, no matter how small. 🙂

      Awwh thank you, I kind of made them up as I was writing so I’m glad everyone thinks they turned out okay. The I Heart Series is brilliant (well, what I’ve read of it so far), I’m not usually a fan of chick-lit at all, but the books captured my heart and have given me a lot of laughs. I know what you mean, I could use a few more feel good reads on my shelf too!
      Ohh, I hope your brother enjoys it as much as I did, and I hope he reads it nice and quickly so you can borrow it too. 😉 Hopefully I can get the review out soon but I have been struggling lately to do anything other than lie flat out on the sofa, LOL. I have been extremely lazy.

      Too right! I’m glad you agree. Sure, theoretically you could make changes at any point in the year, but I think New Years sets me up mentally to make changes and implement them and I like that. We can stay in our bubble of happy New Years cheer and ignore the rest. 😀

      Thanks again, and good luck completing your resolutions too!

  7. This is wonderful! A really great sum-up of your year, personally and bookishly. I enjoyed reading it 🙂 You seem like such a positive and driven person. I’m proud of you for achieving so many of your goals too.

    Here’s to 2014 eh?! Hopefully we both won’t struggle with blogging as much as we did in the latter stages of 2013!

    • Thank you Charl, I’m so happy you enjoyed reading it. 😀 I wrote this in such a rush that I was worried it might have been a bit boring!
      I definitely am a driven person when I put my mind to something, it often means I take a long time to commit to things because I know once I do I will COMMIT. Lol! On the other hand, sometimes this means I don’t give up on things I should. I’ve never really thought about it but I guess I am a positive person, though necessity I think. I do like anyone have large periods of time where I feel down, so I use the over-enthusiasm to keep me sane. 🙂 Awwh, ta muchly!

      Indeed, hopefully not. 🙂

  8. Happy New Year Becks! This post is so great! I loved the use of awards instead of just listing your favourite few books! Good luck with your resolutions, I hope you manage to stick with them 🙂 I hope you have a wonderful 2014.

    • Thank you, Lottie my lovely blogging buddy! I’m so glad you liked it. 🙂 I wanted to do something more fun and a little different this year, I don’t like going at things from the straight forward way and it often bugs me when I do. I think it’s the creative in me, LOL.

      Thanks, hopefully I will do better than last year, good luck with your resolutions if you have made any. 🙂

  9. Happy New Year to you too Beckster! Glad 2013 was a good one for you, may 2014 be even better!
    PS. I might need to steal No.1 of your Personal Resolutions- I abuse those words as well, although for me I might have to add ‘awesome’ and ‘dude’ to that list as well! 😀

    • Thank you muchly, Nisha. 🙂 Hopefully 2014 will bring some great things for both of us!

      Ahahaa, I’ve already used the words more times than I would like in the comments. It’s so tough to break habits because they’re second nature, you’ve done it before you even realise. I don’t even know how I picked them up because I didn’t overuse them two years ago! Ah, I use awesome a lot too. Duly noted. 🙂

  10. I have yet to find I Heart New York! I really want to read that one! Well done on sticking to some of your resolutions – it’s better than none. I have too failed at keeping my tbr pile down. =[

    I too want to finish book series I’ve started – but there are just way TOO many series. Almost every book I pick up these day turns out to be part of a series. =/ It’s disheartening. Good luck dropping books you don’t like – I personally can never do that. xD

    • Ohhh no! Is it being sneaky? It’s definitely worth the wait though if it’s any consolation. 🙂 I’m glad to hear you’re on the search for it. Thank you and I agree, if I complete even one resolution I am pretty chuffed with myself because that’s one thing I’ve achieved that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Haha, the tbr pile is a tricky habit to break!

      Ahh it’s good to know I am not the only one that has been too overenthusiastic with her book series. I know exactly what you mean, it can be quite difficult to find stand alone books sometimes. Hehee thanks I’ll need it, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to do it!

  11. I’ve been wondering about Divergent and will have to give it a try now. Since you’re looking for more classics, if you haven’t read A Tale of Two Cities you might like that one too. I loved the humor in it – especially while describing the characters. Happy new year reading!

    • I think Divergent has created a lot of curiosity in many readers, there’s been so much hype that it is hard to ignore! I’m glad this post could somewhat help you make up your mind. 🙂
      Ah, that is a great suggestion because A Tale of Two Cities just so happens to be on my list! I have heard good things, so I hope I will be able to say the same. 🙂

      Thanks so much for stopping by Sheila!

  12. Happy New Year Becky! Hope you have a great 2014 🙂
    I totally agree with you on the new year, new start idea. This year I’m looking at it like the end of a chapter and the beginning of a new one 🙂 I loved your book awards, when I saw Divergent I was like ‘!!!!!!!!’ I remember when I read Divergent I found myself racing through it, some nights it kept me up until 3am! I’m so glad you enjoyed it and I can’t wait to read your review. 🙂 I really want to start reading The Caster Chronicles series, I saw the Beautiful Creatures film and thought that cinematically it looked pretty great at times so I can only imagine what the description in the book is like. And on the note of Stephen King, I’ve never read any of his books but I have a book called ‘Heart Shaped Box’ by Joe Hill who I heard somewhere is Stephen King’s son, I’m slightly scared to read it though! haha.

    Congrats on passing your first year of uni, I know how scary that can be because you want to be able to continue on. 🙂 I’m with you on quite a few of your resolutions, particularly not getting stressed out as much (which I know can be really difficult being at uni!) and the saying yes to more things (I think I even posted that video on the A-Z of me post that you tagged me in!) And I’ve got a fair few series’ that I need to finish as well! 🙂

    I love the quote that you ended this post with, I may have to borrow it! 🙂

    • Thank you Sophie!
      I’m glad you agree with the whole New Year motto and yay you liked the awards. 🙂 I know, I know, I’m super late to the party when it comes to Divergent but at least I finally got there! Look forward to a full review coming to a blog near you soon, teehee. I certainly raced though it and saw a few 3am’s.
      I think you will love the Caster Chronicles, it’s so easy to get swept up in those books. Some of the writing is really beautiful and there’s fun characters in there too! I liked the film but it didn’t have the same magic as the books for me, plus they changed quite a lot of things so there will still be a few surprised for you in them, which is always good. 🙂
      I’ve never read any of King’s fiction books, I need to get on that! I own a few but somehow they end up at the wayside. I think I’ve vaguely heard of Heart Shaped Box but I’m not sure why. Is it horror like King?

      Thank you! It sure is scary, but then again so is second year as it turns out. Ever new level is a step up from the one before, tough stuff. I think we could all do with a little less stress in our lives, lol.

      Ohh I’m glad, for sure, feel free to use it!

      • I look forward to it! Yeah my sister-in-law told me that the ending to Beautiful Creatures is completely different! and your description just made me want to give them a go even more 🙂

        Yeah it is, it’s about an ageing rockstar who buys a dead man’s suit online and apparently the person’s ghost follows wherever the suit goes.

        haha! Yeah I know what you mean, I was forever being told to be kinder to myself and looking back I probably could’ve been, but I think when you care so much about something it’s easily done. It’s always a great feeling when all the hard work pays off though, especially if you enjoy what you’re doing 🙂 But I’m with you on having less stress in our lives!

        It’s great! I wrote it down in my quote book 🙂

      • Ahh, like father like son then. 🙂 Wow, that actually sounds like a really cool premise! I hope it’s good.

        Awwh, I love the way you’ve put that. It is so true! When your passionate about something it is hard to keep it in perspective.

        Oooh cool. 🙂

  13. Happy New Year! You’ve got some good awards there! I’ve been considering getting a copy of Stephen King’s book about writing. I remember you wrote a post about it a while back that first made me want to read it. Maybe I’ll get a chance to read it this year!

      • Thank you, I’m glad you liked the awards. 🙂 Ohh, On Writing is well worth a read! I think even those that have no intention to write as a living would still find it incredibly interesting. I did indeed, I was so surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I hope you get the opportunity to read it in 2014!

        Hahaaaa thanks, I like that it is a super quick reminder of what I have read during the year. 😀

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