28 December 2011

End of Year Book Survey 2011

Over at The Perpetual Page Turner the End of Year Book Survey is in full swing!  I know I'm participating in a lot of these annual summary posts right now, but I really like the idea of this one - it highlights so many top moments of 2011 I couldn't resist.  Come and join in or just read some of the survey results!

Without further ado, here are my survey answers!

Best Book You Read in 2011

Can I choose two? No? Oh.... - then it would have to be Swan Song by Robert McCammon – I read it in two days (960 pages!) and was completely enthralled by the story, the characters, the setting, everything.  I’ll definitely be keeping this one and re-reading!

Most Disappointing Book/Book you wish you loved more than you did

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan – the whole idea of the book appealed to me, but I found it didn’t keep my attention and I had no feeling at all, negative or positive for Mary.  It’s put me off reading the rest of the series too.

Most surprising (in a good way) book of 2011

Zombie Fallout by Mark Tufo – when I read there was a supernatural element I was a bit cautious as supernatural is not usually my scene.  But it was so well combined with the zombie story, and fitted perfectly with the characters and the situations they found themselves in, that I can’t now imagine it NOT having a supernatural element. 

Book you recommended to people most in 2011?

Rapture by Phillip W. Simpson – I was completely blown away by the story, the characters and the writing – and I knew it would appeal to a lot of people, particularly readers of YA and post-apocalyptic /dystopia fiction.  And I was right!

Best series you discovered in 2011?

Definitely the  Zombie Fallout series – a series of 4 books and a prequel, I’ve read three so far and I will be reading the prequel and book 4 in 2012.  As soon as I finished one book I went straight out and bought the next so I could keep reading!

Favourite new authors you discovered in 2011

Phillip Simpson – as well as being a fantastically talented author he is also a lovely person.  Patrick D’Orazio, Mark Tufo, Joseph Talluto are my other three ‘discoveries’ for 2011.

Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you

I didn’t really read much outside of my comfort zone this year – but one book that I wouldn’t have picked myself was Thicker Than Water by Greg Sisco – I have a real aversion to reading vampire novels (blame Twilight!), but Greg’s fantastic blog post about REAL vampires convinced me to give his book a spin, and I really enjoyed it!

Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2011

Dead of Night by Jonathan Maberry – I’m a massive fan of his writing but Dead of Night sucked me in from the first page and I couldn’t bear to put it down.  Every time I had to go and do something it was always after ‘just one more chapter’ – which always turned into four or five more!

Book you most anticipated in 2011

The First Days: As the World Dies by Rhiannon Frater – I’d heard so many fantastic things about her writing, and in the zombie genre women are in the minority, but she’s top of the game.  The book was right up there in my favourites of 2011 and I look forward to Fighting To Survive in 2012.  I particularly loved the lead characters were female, again very uncommon in zombie writing.

Favourite cover of a book you read in 2011

Again, Swan Song by Robert McCammon – I have the 2009 re-released cover which perfectly reflects the book.

Most memorable character in 2011

Dez from Dead of Night – I love characters that are flawed, and ballsy female characters – she fit the bill perfectly.

Most beautifully written book read in 2011

The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse – the language was exquisite and fit the story perfectly.

Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2011

After Daybreak: The Liberation of Belsen by Ben Shephard.  I do read some non-fiction, and this one was so emotional that it will stay with me for a long time.  Told from the POV of the medical staff involved with the initial liberation in April 1945, the care of the survivors of Belsen during the first weeks and the eventual moving of people to DP camps and back to their home countries made for an extremely moving book.

Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2011 to read

Earth Abides by George R. Stewart – originally published in 1949, I’d heard about this book several times over the past few years as a classic in the PA genre, but I wasn’t able to get a copy until 2011 when it was released as an audiobook.  In hindsight, I should have been more persistent and tracked it down a long time ago.

Favourite passage/quote from a book you read in 2011

‘It was almost a relief to feel the little stab in his heart, to know it was still there, that it still mattered, that the ring was still important.  If he let himself think about it long enough, he knew the little feeling would swell into something that made his throat tight, his shoulders tense, something that made him grieve for the pictures he used to have, the pictures that had been lost in London.  It was the only thing he could do for her.  He hadn’t got home in time, he hadn’t been able to help her, he hadn’t been able to do anything to save her, but he could still save her memory, keep it as something he would never betray’

from Breakdown by Katherine Amt Hanna

Book that you read in 2011 that would be most likely to be reread in 2012

Meat by Joseph D’Lacey – a grim, unsettling dystopia that I listened to as an Audiobook – I’m looking forward to reading the written version.

Book that had a scene in it that had you reeling and dying to talk to somebody about?

20 Years After the Zombie Apocalypse, when Harri returned to collect her baby.  I can’t say more than that without giving part of the story away, but it was horrifying, emotional and tender all at the same time!

New favourite book blog that you discovered in 2011

This is really hard because this is the first year that I’ve started reading book blogs, so I’m going to do a few honourable mentions instead of a favourite:

Candace’s Book Blog: www.candacesbookblog.com
Pure Imagination: www.pureimaginationblog.com

Favourite review you wrote in 2011

Patrick D’Orazio’s The Dark Trilogy – reviewing the whole trilogy at once was a massive undertaking, but I really enjoyed writing it and reflecting on all the books at the same time.

Best moment of book blogging in 2011

Running my Happy Zombie New Year giveaway – I met so many fantastic people, found some new bloggers and had the chance to give books away that I’d loved in 2011.

Most popular post on your blog
High Moor by Graeme Reynolds – I’ll always be scared of werewolves now!

Post you wished got a little more love

Definitely Dead of Night by Jonathan Maberry – it was a great book and I hope that more zombie lovers can share it with me!

Best bookish discovery

The Book Depository – I can send books so easily all over the world.  A great tool for giveaways too!

Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of the year?

Yes, I set myself a goal of reading 104 books in 2011.  So far (28 December) I’m at 142 books so I’ve completely smashed it! 

One book you didn’t get to in 2011 but will be your number 1 priority in 2012

I’m really looking forward to Divergent – I’ve heard SO many good things, but I’ve only just bought myself a copy.

Book you are most anticipating for 2012

Survivors by Z.A. Recht.  I loved his first two books, and after he passed away in 2009 it looked likely that The Morningstar Strain series would not be finished, so I’m really looking forward to this one.

One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging in 2012

In reading I hope to expand my horizons a little, but also to continue to read great books by Indie authors.  Some of my most fantastic reading moments in 2011 were discovering hidden gems, and I really want that to continue.

In blogging I hope to keep spreading the word about books that readers wouldn’t normally stumble upon during their book rambling through book blogs, Goodreads and Amazon.  It’s really exciting to fall in love with a book that I’ve accidentally discovered and I want to help other readers discover these books too.

Thanks for stopping by and if you kept reading the whole way through!


  1. Wow, loved the survey. Picked up a few books to read. :)

  2. As usual, I'm sat here scribbling down titles :P I found some of your recommendations in the kindle book sale yesterday so am very pleased there.

    I liked Forest of Hands and Teeth and I will be picking up the rest of the books at some point, mainly because I want to know if the book in the Nuns cellar gets a revisit! I agree though that Mary was not a likeable character.

    Great post :)

  3. 960 pages in 2 days?! I'll have to check it out! Good luck with your 2012 goals and happy New Year!

  4. I loved, LOVED this survey!

    I'm stealing it for my diary :)

    Sofi xx



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