Belated Bests: My Reading Life in 2012


January 9, 2013 by Heidi

Hi friends! You did get to see me talk about some of my favorite books from 2012 over at Smugglivus this year, but of course one extensive post isn’t quite enough for me to air out all of my reading thrills and spills from my first year of blogging.  Maybe I’m late to the game since I took a hiatus for the end of the year, but here’s hoping I can wring a few last drops of interest from the crowd looking for some seriously wonderful reads from the past year.

According to Goodreads, my reading year went something like this:

Goodreads 2012 StatsThat’s 218 books read total.  54 books with a 5-star rating (25%!), and 81 4-star (37%).  50 books (23%) made their way onto my 2012 Favorites shelf.  I’m calling that a very successful year!

I read 40 audiobooks (18%), 77 adult books (35%–Who knew?), 104 young adult books (48%), 32 middle grade books (15%–Surprised this is less than half my adult consumption), and 16 books were rereads (7%–Hurrah for Harry Potter and Sandman!).  117 (54%) were published prior to 2012, and 101 (46%) were 2012 releases.  All of this means it’s fairly impossible to choose favorites, but I’ve done my best!

Top 10 of 2012:

Seraphina by Rachel HartmanThis Is Not a Test by Courtney SummersCinder by Marissa MeyerSpendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz book coverThe Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis

#10– Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
#9– This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
#8– Cinder by Marissa Meyer
#7– Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz
#6– The Mighty Miss Malonee by Christopher Paul Curtis
#5– The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth
#4– Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
#3– A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge
#2– Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst
#1–The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. DanforthScarlet by A.C. GaughenA Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge book coverVessel by Sarah Beth Durst book coverThe Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan

I know, I know, I still need to review two of my top three books, but I swear I will because I must share my love of them with all of you.  Of these 10, four are debuts, and seven are stand alone novels!

Best of the Rest (AKA my way of squeezing in more than 10 picks):

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth WeinThe Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher HealyUnspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan book coverThe Humming Room by Ellen PotterGrave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Best Historical: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Best Audio: Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
Most Fun: The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy
Most Frustrating Ending: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
Best Retelling: The Humming Room by Ellen Potter
Best Stand Alone: Railsea by China Miéville
Best Romance: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Best Cast: The Diviners by Libba Bray
Best SciFi: And All the Stars by Andrea K. Höst
Biggest Jaw-Dropping Twist: Starters by Lissa Price
Best Adventure: The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Most Thrilling: I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
Most Promising Series Start: The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Best Creepy Crawlies: The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand

The Diviners by Libba Bray book coverAnd All the Stars by Andrea K Host book coverThe Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke book coverI Hunt Killers by Barry LygaThe Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand book cover

And finally, since more than half of the books I read in 2012 were published prior to 2012, I’ll leave you with a hat tip to the past and some oldies but goodies.  I did not include any rereads, and tried my hardest to limit myself to one book in a series or by author, with the exception of Ilona Andrews (I figured that since I read 13 Ilona Andrews books there could be two on my list):

Top 10 Books I read in 2012 that has nothing to do with 2012:

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens book coverThe Scorpio Races by Maggie StiefvaterMagic Strikes by Ilona AndrewsJellicoe Road by Melina MarchettaBayou Moon by Ilona Andrews book cover

#10– A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickons
#9– The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
#8– Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews
#7– Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
#6– Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews
#5– The Lost Conspiracy by Frances Hardinge
#4– A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
#3– Graceling by Kristin Cashore
#2– Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
#1– Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

The Lost Conspiracy by Frances HardingeA Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen TurnerGraceling by Kristin CashoreHowl's Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

How d’ya like them apples?  Feel free to carry me on your shoulders while cheering my awesomeness and good taste, or hiss and boo to your heart’s content.  Please point out what amazing reads I completely missed in 2012 so they can get their chance to make a mark on 2013, and feel free to shamelessly link me your own Best of 2012 posts since I most likely missed them while I was off gallivanting in the sub-zero temperature snow piles of Wyoming!

Once again, happy new year to all!  Next week I’ll be looking toward my most anticipated reads of 2013 as well as setting myself some goals.  After all, one doesn’t get to post face-palming abysmal failure gifs down the road if one doesn’t set oneself up to fall flat on their face early on.  Cheers!


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  1. […] Belated Bests: My Reading Life in 2012 // Bunbury in the […]

  2. Asheley says:

    Way to go, Bunbury! That’s pure awesomeness right there.

    I just re-read Cinder and it was better the second time, I assure you. AND AND AND I just read The Scorpio Races in print and audio a couple of days ago and OH MY GOODNESS. I can’t remember if you listened to it or read in print but HEIDI. The audio is deliciously beautiful. Good gracious.

    Yay for a new reading year!

    • Heidi says:

      Thanks, Asheley! I have NOT listened to The Scorpio Races on audio, but I know that my library does have it. Clearly I need to check it out for a reread, because I trust your audio love 100%!

      I’ve already devoured Scarlet, and it’s even BETTER than Cinder!! I’m still floored by how much I’m loving that series.

  3. Michelle says:

    Wow, you did a lot of reading this year! Five of my top ten made it to your list, along with many that were very close…as for the rest, I think I can safely add them to my to-read list. I was a little surprised that my ratings also weren’t a bell curve this year, but screwed to the 4 and 5 stars. I think 2012 was just a really great year for YA. :)

    • Heidi says:

      2012 was a really great year for YA! Glad to see you loved a lot of these as well, Michelle. I’m trying now more than ever to pick books that will get 4 or 5 star ratings out of me, so it’s likely 2013 will be even less of a bell curve. Here’s to another awesome year!

  4. Yeah my girl! A lot of your favorites were my favorites too!! Though my list consisted of me answering “The Heroes Guide to Saving Your Kingdom” to nearly every question…which is okay with me because Christopher Healy saw it and tweeted me some very kind words which made me dance and sing and feel a little pukey to be honest…I think my favorites post is buried within the other blog posts but you should read it AND my TBR for 2013 post because you will agree with a lot of them I believe!

    I am glad that you liked The False Prince, I was wary about that one! Also I kind of want to read Unspoken despite what everyone is saying about the ending…EEP!

    ALSO, Brides is my next book, Santa bought it for me!

    Finally, rumor has it that there are some ARCs out there of Cress….NEED NOW.

    • Heidi says:

      I promise I’ll go find BOTH of those posts! If only to have reassurance that we are awesome and book soul mates. 😛

      Really? I would be surprised if MM was done rewritting Cress already tbqh. There might be some copies to beta readers, but I doubt there’s full-on ARCs yet (I could easily be wrong here though).

      I DID really like The False Prince, and the weird thing about it was I liked it more and more the more I thought about it after reading it. Unspoken is awesome, I think you’d really enjoy it, and maybe going in knowing the ending’s going to piss you off will make it less painful?


  5. Angie says:

    I love that edition of A CHRISTMAS CAROL that you picture. What a lovely book.

    I got THE FALSE PRINCE for Christmas and plan on getting to it soon.

    • Heidi says:

      Isn’t it so pretty? I love that cover as well. :)

      I’m really curious to see what you think of The False Prince…it took me a while to get over the fact that it wasn’t Queen’s Thief, but the more I thought about it after reading the more I ended up liking it. I’m excited for The Runaway King!

  6. Have you not read Fire yet? You must read Fire!

    (I push it on everyone, but seriously: most amazing book.)

    • Heidi says:

      Gah, I know! I even bought it this summer when I was at an event with Kristin Cashore so that I could get it signed. It sits there on my shelf all pretty. I SWEAR I will read it this year!


        Like, I won a signed copy of Bitterblue, which is also incredible, but if there’s any one book that’s informed my YA taste in the past few years, it’s Fire. I actively resist re-reading it on a regular basis.

        And yes, I will hold you to reading it!

        • Heidi says:

          I do! It makes me laugh because I feel like Kristin’s signature looks like it says “Bitch”. I picked it up because I’d just finished Graceling, and I knew I’d love Fire. :)

  7. Holly says:

    I’m so glad you’re back, Heidi! You were missed. I love this list. I’m blown away by anyone that can read more than 100 books a year, let alone 200?! Insane. I think I will have to read The Miseducation of Cameron Post soon. I got a copy at ALAN in Vegas but haven’t cracked it yet. I definitely want to try The False Prince too. I’m not a middle-grade lover so I’ve worried that it will be too juvenile for me.

    • Heidi says:

      Thanks, Holly! It’s good to be back. :)

      Let’s be fair here, I only work part time, and I’m not a mom (unless my beastly cat counts), so I KNOW I have tons more free time to read than most people out there. I LOVED The Miseducation of Cameron Post. Small-town Montana was so much like small-town Wyoming (and probably Utah too), that it just felt like home and reading about my own childhood experiences. I’m sure you’ll be able to relate to a lot of what’s mentioned as well!

      The False Prince isn’t really Middle Grade-y at all, if that makes any sense. I know it’s been compared to MWT’s Queen’s Thief series a lot (there’s good reason to, but I wouldn’t go in with those kind of expectations), and I think that it’s no more juvenile than The Thief was at all. It doesn’t have the cutesy-fun writing style that a lot of MG books do.

  8. Fantastic list, Heidi! SO many of these are my favorites as well, but I really do need to read a lot of others. I actually just picked up A Face Like Glass, so I’m really excited to read that one and The Lost Conspiracy and Howl’s Moving Castle, which are all the MG novels I plan to read sometime this year for sure. The Miseducation of Cameron Post is on my list too and Vessel has gone back there as well, so I’ll hopefully enjoy it more this time around!(: Also, you need to read Fire this year! I loved it even more than Graceling and it’s easily the book I’d save if my house burned down, so I hope you can read that one sometime this year for sure. 😀

    • Heidi says:

      Yay!!! I’m SO excited for you to read Frances Hardinge! I actually got another of hers for Christmas, so I’ve nearly torn through her backlog, I’m sure you’ll be so impressed. AND Howl’s Moving Castle–I just loved it.

      I swear I will read Fire this year!! I’ve heard so many people say they love Fire even more, I think that my head may just explode from awesome overload if that is the case.

  9. Yes, The Hero’s Guide was definitely the most fun book I read last year. I still get all gooey when I think of Duncan. Sweet Duncan!

    Look at all those awesome books! I love seeing it organized like that.

  10. VeganYANerds says:

    This is such a fantastically detailed recap! I’m very happy to see Scarlet, The Miseducation and Code Name Verity here :) And I really need to get around to reading Unspoken!

    • Heidi says:

      Thanks, Mands! Gah, I loved all four of those books! I can’t wait for you to read Unspoken, I’m excited to hear what you think of it. :)

  11. janicu says:

    Nice! Now why didn’t I think of that (showing the goodreads stats?) – I may need to borrow that idea. :)

    I think you have good taste so I’m going to cheer your selections, not hiss and boo. And I’m going to add to the nagging to read FIRE. Heh. 😛

    • Heidi says:

      Go for it! Since I don’t actually rate on the blog, it was the easiest way to visually show how well my year went.

      I WILL read Fire this year!! Pinky swear. 😛

  12. […] THEN: Edited this post to add this chart, with *hat tip* to Heidi @ BunburyintheStacks […]

  13. Melanie says:

    I alsolutely loved Cinder!! I have I Hunt Killers and Jellicoe Road on my TBR shelf, hopefully I can get to them soon.

    • Heidi says:

      Oooh, I hope you do, Melanie! They’re both great, but Jellicoe Road makes that ‘very special shelf’ for one of the best books I’ve read of all time. I love it like fire…I actually never wrote a review for it on my blog because I just couldn’t find the words to express how wonderful it was!

  14. First of all, I had no idea Goodreads could compile stats like that until I saw your post. Now I’m going to have to go check mine out!

    Of all the books you’ve mentioned that I’ve read, I agree wholeheartedly. Apparently I should put some Frances Hardinge books on my TBR list. And of course Ilona Andrews (although I already knew that). Glad you had such a successful year with books. I hope 2013 gives you even more 5 star reads! :)

    • Heidi says:

      Oh yes! I hope you find the Goodreads stats, I really like how they do them. :)

      You SHOULD put some Frances Hardinge on your list, I really couldn’t recommend her enough, she’s one of my greatest new author finds of 2012. Everything she writes is amazing.

      Thanks, Amanda! I plan to be more selective about books this year, so I PLAN on having even more 5 star reads.

  15. Wow. I absolutely love this recap of 2012! I need to get off my butt and do one too. Though It won’t be this elaborate. Thank you for introducing me to DAUGHTER OF THE FOREST. Love that series and Juliet Marillier is sure to be a favorite for life. I want to read the Kate Daniels series this year, and I see that made your list as well. Basically I agree with anything I’ve read that you put on this post. I’ve had such fun discussing books with you and CANNOT WAIT to talk about BOUNDLESS when it comes out in a few weeks.

    • Heidi says:

      Thanks, Lauren! I’m SO GLAD you’ve read and loved Daughter of the Forest, seriously, it warms my heart. I hope you like Kate Daniels, Lauren. Before trying that series, I hadn’t really done Urban Fantasy at all, and now it’s one of my favorite genres.

      I am BITING MY NAILS in worried anticipation for Boundless!!

  16. Sandra says:

    Wow. I’m thinking I need to look into goodreads to keep track. I was afraid it would feel like homework, but having a record and sumation is excellent. I couldn’t even tell you what I read in the past year, other than that I was underwhelmed by many.

    Thanks for all those books to look into!

    (Couldn’t get into the Hero’s Guide, very much enjoyed Seraphina.)

    • Heidi says:

      Yeah, I love using Goodreads to keep track of my reading! It does all of that for you, so it makes it pretty easy to keep track of.

      Yeah, Hero’s Guide definitely wasn’t for everyone, I think it was TOO cutesy and kiddy for a lot of adult readers. So glad you enjoyed Seraphina though!

  17. Chachic says:

    Love your non-2012 list! So many excellent titles in your pile, looks like you had an awesome reading year last year. This post makes me happy because so many of my own favorites are featured here (too lazy to list them all down though). Way to go, Heidi! I’m amazed that you were able to read so many books. 😀

    • Heidi says:

      Thanks, Chachic! I couldn’t just NOT talk about my non-2012 reads, since I liked so many of those so much more than the 2012 books I read. 2012 wasn’t a great year job-wise, but that gave me lots of free time to read! 😛

  18. […] A Drowned Maiden’s Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz: Her latest, Splendors and Glooms made my Top 10 of 2012, so of course I wanted to read this one from her backlog. Sunshine by Robin McKinley: Yes…I […]

  19. AHHH! haven’t read any of your ten favorites reads, although I have Seraphina and Cinder on my Kindle just waiting for me. I need to get to those soon! And I need to start investigating some of the books you posted that I’m not as familiar with. I love love loved Code Name Verity, Grave Mercy, Jellicoe Road, Graceling and The Scorpio Races so I’m excited to see them on your extended list :) You had a great 2012 – and here’s to hoping for an even better 2013!

    • Heidi says:

      Oooh, I hope you do read them soon! I saw your lovely review for Code Name Verity this past week–SUCH a great book. As are the others, of course. :)

  20. Jasmine Rose says:

    1) What is this feature on GR and how do I not know about it?
    2) I’m pretty sure there must be something wrong with me because despite the fact that This is Not a Test was one of my most anticipated last year AND I own it, I still haven’t read it.
    3) I’ve seen The Diviners raved about by so many people that I’ve definitely been convinced to read it. I’m always reluctant when it comes to historical stuff, but a good murder mystery makes everything better ;]

    • Heidi says:

      Oooh, it’s a great feature! If you click on your number of books read in your reading challenge, it will take you to a screen showing the books you’ve read that year. In the box at the top there’s a link in the lower right hand corner marked “view your stats” which will show your number of books read per year–if you click on details for the year, you get this screen. :)

      Yes–you really need to get to This Is Not a Test.

      I hope you do decide to push yourself and read The Diviners! I’ve read all of Bray’s books, but it’s by far my favorite.

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While the source for each book I review is posted within its review, please assume unless otherwise stated that books reviewed on Bunbury in the Stacks were received free from the author or publisher in exchange for an honest review.