Happy New Year everyone! I hope wherever you are, whether it’s at a party, the pub with friends or at home in your dressing gown watching TV or film marathons (all equally great options) that you are enjoying a relaxing, entertaining night and you’re starting the New Year as you intend to go on! Let’s hope we all make 2015 a great one!
2014 seems to have whizzed by but it’s been a pretty good year for the most part. I passed my second year of university and started my final year, which has included some really great grades and plenty of fun impromptu cocktail and movie nights with my housemates. I went to the Isle of Wight festival to enjoy some great music and learnt how to bartend, and I also had some fun days out like Go Karting, Archery and visiting the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio Tour (which I keep meaning and failing to blog about). Overall, I’m in a much happier and positive place than I was a year ago, which is awesome! 🙂
It’s also been a pretty good bookish year for me too, I read 31 books (11432 pages), just beating last years target of 30 books (and 10531 pages) ohh yeah! Yes, I am a very slow reader *don’t judge me*. I also gave out five, five star ratings and particularly read a lot of great contemporary books this year which is very unusual for me!
So without further ado, here are the lucky books that are receiving notable bookish awards from me this year!
The Most Unique Writing Style Award. Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff – This book was so unique and beautiful. It’s plot and characters felt so refreshing, but most memorable of all was the writing which banished the use of speech marks. It had a brilliant effect making me as the reader feel completely rooted inside the main character’s head, more than I have with any other book before. Picture Me Gone was a contemplative, thoughtful and mysterious YA read!
The Best Fantasy Novel Award. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin – I read a few fantasy books this year, but all paled in comparison to the mighty brick of a book A Game of Thrones. The thought and detail that went into this novel’s worldbuilding was astounding. The plot was constantly fast paced and gripping due to bloodthirsty battles and constant betrayals and there was a wide array of flawed, memorable characters on every page. If you’re a fan of fantasy novels this one is a must read!
The Causing You to Harass People because it’s so Freakin’ Good Award. Trouble by Non Pratt – This was probably my favourite five star read of 2014, and that’s saying a lot because normally I couldn’t possibly choose! Trouble was a smart, realistic and laugh out loud funny read with wonderfully flawed sarky characters that had me simultaneous beaming and crying my eyes out. That takes skill people, that takes skill.
The Truly Timeless Story Award. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – If you can believe it, it took me until 2014 to pick up this much loved classic and I really wish I had picked it up sooner, because it shot straight onto my favourites list! It was a beautiful and deeply moving novel that used memorable characters to both highlight the horrors of racism and prejudice while also showing how selfless and honorable human beings can be. It was a thought provoking and heartwarming book and I won’t forget it any time soon!
The I Will Crush You With My Anger Award. All the House of Night books by P.C. and Kristin Cast I read – These books infuriate me like no others, and I mean that in the best possible way Cast ladies because despite constantly feeling the urge to rip out my own hair while reading them, you’ve still kept me reading until the very end, dammit. Thanks for fulfilling my reader angst quota for the year, guys!
The It’s Weird but Good Award. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury – I have yet to review this one but this novel was one of the weirdest books I’ve ever read. It was amazing but in the most bizarre way. It’s a novel full of crazy ideas set in a weird dystopian world where everything seems as if it has been turned upside down and words have lost their meaning. I’m looking forward to reviewing this one!
The Biggest AWWHHH Factor Award. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – Fangirl, a story about a nerdy girl named Cath who moves to university but has anxiety problems and an obsession with Simon Snow fanfiction was one of the cutest novels I read this year. I was literally in love with the main romantic interest Levi on a disturbing level and often found myself grinning like an idiot whenever the two main characters interacted. It’s a novel about the struggle of growing up and becoming your own person and was a perfect feel good book worthy of many OOOOHHHH and AWWHHS!
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So now that’s the book highlights over and done with, onto the resolutions!
How did I do with my 2014 resolutions? Super well as it turns out, I am well chuffed! I completed all of my personal resolutions to varying degrees, I successfully cut down my use of annoying, petty words like ‘really’, and ‘very’ that were littering my writing. Don’t get me wrong I’m still guilty of using them but not as much as I used to! I also semi-achieved my aim to not get stressed out as much and keep things in perspective, at least towards the second half of 2014. Finally I said yes to more things (within reason) that I normally probably would have bypassed because they were a little scary or anxiety inducing, and you know what? All the things I did say yes to turned out really well, so hopefully I can keep this up!
I was also reasonably successful with my book resolutions. I read the books I wanted to read and tried really hard to complete some of the series I had started ages ago and left hanging (finishing 3 in total, huzzar!). However I also started 3 new ones… whoops. BUT I still made good general progress because 17 of the books I read this year were from series (which probably made the reviews pretty boring for you guys but YAY FOR CATCHING UP)! I also surpassed my goal to read 4 books from The Rory Gilmore Challenge, some of which were classics too (I picked up The Lovely Bones, To Kill a Mockingbird, Stuart Little, Fahrenheit 451 and Atonement). The only resolution I failed at was letting go of books I was not enjoying, because I am still trudging through the House of Night series which I seem incapable of abandoning despite my dislike for it!
So since I did so well, I guess it’s time to make some new resolutions for 2015!
1.) Graduate. GULP. 2015 is the year (unless something goes horribly wrong) that I should be completing my final year of university and possibly walking away from education for the last time. This means I’m aiming to work especially hard this year on my assignments, exams and dissertation so that I will *fingers crossed* get a 2:1. A first (the top grade you can get) would be amazing, but a 2:1 would still make me ecstatic beyond belief because there was a time when I thought I wouldn’t ever make it this far, and I am so proud of myself for being so damn determined and stubborn!
2.) Get a job. And when I say get a job, I mean a bog standard, everyday, low paid job so that I have an income when my student loan dries up that will also give me some up padding for my CV (as opposed to a grown up, well paid job in the field of psychology).
3.) Begin driving lessons. Because public transport sucks. The thought terrifies me because WHAT IF I’M RUBBISH but y’no, it would be kinda useful. I don’t plan on starting this until late in the year though, so this resolution does not include aiming to pass a driving test in any way!
4.) To not worry about not having a plan. It looks like 2015 is going to be both exciting and terrifying. It will be exciting because if all goes well I will achieve what I have been working towards for such a long time – graduating, but it will also be terrifying because I will be entering the adult world well and truly, and I have no idea what I will be doing with my life. It will be the first time I haven’t had a plan. Some may say that sounds reckless, even stupid, and I admit the idea makes me feel as if my stomach has plummeted into the fiery pits of Mordor because I AM A PLANNER. I’m already bombarded with the ‘what are you going to do after uni’ question on a regular basis which has the potential to make me freak the heck out. Which is why I’m making this resolution, to remind myself that it’s okay not to have a plan sometimes, and it’s okay not to know what I want to do with my future at the age of 20. I would rather be sure about my next move than to race into a career path that doesn’t make me happy, and while sometimes I feel like I’m standing at the edge of a cavern, I want to be the person admiring the view, rather than the one who is terrified of falling.
1.) To continue to finish off some of the book series I have started. I’m keeping this resolution from last year because I still have a heck of a lot of series on the go, and without this resolution I will definitely be getting into dangerous territory!
2.) Finish The House of Night series specifically. Because seriously, I’m so ready for this series to be done now. I’m determined to finish it in 2015! Only two more books to go, I think I can do it. :S
3.) To continue working on The Rory Gilmore Challenge. I’m aiming to read 5 books off the list this year!
4.) To keep up to date with review posts. I’ve really struggled with this lately because of university, and getting behind on reviews makes blogging feel more like work than fun because it becomes like ticking off a list, which is definitely not what I want! I also don’t like getting behind because it means I don’t get to do as many discussion post which I really enjoy doing. So this year my aim is to be a bit more strict with myself about staying on track – which will hopefully make blogging more fun!
So that’s a wrap! Hope the recap was vaguely interesting. Happy new year everybody!!! 🙂
All book covers taken from Goodreads.
Other images my own, please do not reuse.