Books I’m Looking Forward To in 2016

by Diana Sousa

I am probably missing some amazing books in this list, but this is mostly so I remember to keep an eye out for these books. If you know of a book I might enjoy that is not here, please say something in the comments! They’re ordered by releasing date.

(Also, if you hover over the image you’ll see a small synopsis of the book, and a link to its Goodreads page, because I like to procrastinate by writing code)



I’ve already read This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp, and A Hold On Us by Pat Esden, which you should definitely get!

What about you, what are some of the books you’re looking forward to?

End of Year Book Survey 2015

by Diana Sousa

booksurvey2015

Another year, another survey! You can read the original at Perpetual Page Turner.

2015 Reading Stats

Number of books you’ve read: 52

Genre you read the most from: Fantasy

Best in Books

1. Best Book You Read In 2015?

Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Clementine, Cherie Priest

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2015?

Saga #1, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (in a good way)

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2015?

Same as above.

5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?

– The Code Name Verity series, by Elizabeth Wein

– Voyage of the Basilisk (Memoirs by Lady Trent), by Marie Brennan

– I’m *assuming* Winter, by Marissa Meyer

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?

Elizabeth Wein

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

The Art of Asking: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help, by Amanda Palmer

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

This Is Where It Ends, by Marieke Nijkamp

9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

I don’t really reread books (there are so many others to read!)

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?

  

11. Most memorable character of 2015?

The narrator of Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?

(I want to keep choosing Elizabeth Wein’s books for everything)

Fairest, by Marissa Meyer

13. Most Thought-Provoking / Life-Changing Book of 2015?

The Last Leaves Falling, by Sarah Benwell

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read?

Code Name Ver

Vicious, by V. E. Schwab

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?

“The Fraud Police are the imaginary, terrifying force of ‘real’ grown-ups who you believe – at some subconscious level – are going to come knocking on your door in the middle of the night, saying:
We’ve been watching you, and we have evidence that you have NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE DOING. You stand accused of the crime of completely winging it, you are guilty of making sh*t up as you go along, you do not actually deserve your job, we are taking everything away and we are TELLING EVERYBODY.”
― Amanda Palmer, The Art of Asking

“He wanted to care, he wanted to care so badly, but there was this gap between what he felt and what he wanted to feel, a space where something important had been carved out.”
― Victoria Schwab, Vicious

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?

(not counting with single issues comic books)

– Lumberjanes: Beware the Kitten Holy, by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke A. Allen, Maarta Laiho (128 pages)

– Winter, by Marissa Meyer (824 pages)

17. Book That Shocked You The Most

This Is Where it Ends, by Marieke Nijkamp (I was expecting stuff, but uggghh)

18. OTP of the year

Thorne and Cress (The Lunar Chronicles) [And the same as last year!]

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

The friendship in Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Hogfather, by Terry Pratchett

21. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?

None.

23. Best 2015 debut you read?

The Last Leaves Falling, by Sarah Benwell

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

A Thousand Pieces of You, by Claudia Gray

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

(I just noticed I don’t really read fun books. It’s only drama, and feels, and terrible things)

Hogfather, by Terry Pratchett

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?

This usually doesn’t happen to me, but since this year it actually did some times, I’ll have to mention all those books.

– Code Name Verity, by Elizaebth Wein

– This is Where It Ends, by Marieke Nijkamp

– The Last Leaves Falling, by Sarah Benwell

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Far From You, by Tess Sharpe

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Same as question 26.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015?

(will you really make me say Code Name Verity)

The Martin, by Andy Weir (for the humor)

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

So I won’t repeat the answers to 26 again…

The Saga series, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (UGH)

Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016?

Lair of Dreams, by Libba Bray

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)?

A Gathering of Shadows, by V. W. Schwab

On The Edge of Gone, by Corinne Duyvis

3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Beyond the Red, by Ava Jae

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016?

In The Labyrinth of Drakes (Memoirs by Lady Trent), by Marie Brennan

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading Life In 2016?

Read more comic books, and more diverse books.

6. A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone.

This Is Where It Ends, by Marieke Nijkamp, because I want you all to suffer like I did!

Books I’m Looking Forward to in 2015

by Diana Sousa

I’ve been wanting to do a post like this for a while, mostly so I remember to keep an eye out for these books. But I also think that this is a good way to find out about books you might not have known about, specially if you have common interests with the person writing said post.

So please, if you know about a book I haven’t put here which you think I might like, throw it at me!

(I also did a bit of code magic – if you hover the image you’ll see information about the book, and you can click the image and it will take you to its Goodreads page! [Unless you are using older versions of Internet Explorer… but why would you do that?])


Here they are! I’m sure I’ve forgotten some and I’ll still discover other amazing ones. But for now it’s shaping up to be an interesting year in terms of books.

And you? Tell me about the books you can’t wait to read!

Behind the Cover – Patrick Insole
(The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman)

by Diana Sousa

BehindTheCoverThis week we’re joined by Patrick Insole, designer and art director for Headline Publishing Group. He was responsible for making the UK cover of The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, published by Headline.

Twitter | Headline Blog


How did you become a designer? Was it an area you always wanted to explore, or did it simply happen?

I originally trained as an illustrator and, for a long time after graduating, that continued to be my ambition – I certainly never set out to become a book designer. My first job out of college, drawing and designing 3 dimensional maps, was really just a way to provide a regular income while I got my intended illustration career up and running.

My first job in book publishing, as a junior designer at Walker Books, was little different – despite loving books and reading, at the time I didn’t really consider it as a long term career option. Once there, though, I quickly fell in love with designing books – it marries the skills of an illustrator with those of a designer in a way that felt natural, and working alongside such talented and passionately creative people, not just other designers but everyone involved in the publishing process, I learnt such a lot, as I continue to today.

How was the process of developing the cover for such a genre defying book? Was there a clear goal in mind?

It’s actually really refreshing to work on something that is so difficult to categorise – so many of the covers we work on have, to some degree, to conform to the conventions of the book’s genre. The cover for Ocean At The End Of The Lane was very much a blank canvas, and a very open brief. That can be quite scary for a designer, and certainly at the outset there was some anxiety that I wouldn’t be able to come up with any ideas, but reading the manuscript, the book is so rich in imagery I needn’t have worried. As with many of Neil’s books, though rooted in reality, magic permeates through the story and I knew I wanted to make a cover that somehow combined this sense of the strange with the everyday, the difficulty being how to portray these contradictory qualities without giving too much away, or being too descriptive.

How was the author involved? Was there some back and forth conversation with Neil Gaiman, any ideas or suggestions?

Neil has a very open-minded approach to his covers – allowing us pretty much free reign to explore ideas and to see what we come up with. Once we’d got some ideas that we liked we sent them through to Neil and between us we pretty quickly settled on a version of the final cover. From there it was just a case of refining the details.

Do you have pictures of earlier designs?

We actually got to the final cover quite quickly – there were a few other ideas that we tried (see below) but quite early on in the process I stumbled across the image of the diving boy taken by the very talented photographer Hengki Koentjoro, which I felt worked perfectly – dark and mysterious with a suggestion of travelling from one world to another.

Ocean_roughs_Page_1   Ocean_roughs_Page_2

Ocean_roughs_Page_3   Ocean_roughs_Page_4

From your experience, does the publisher have the final say regarding the design of the book, or does the designer have free reign?

It should be, and usually is, a very collaborative process. I work as part of a team of in house designers working for the publisher, so every cover we work on there’s a constant dialogue, sharing ideas between ourselves, the author, editor as well as the sales and marketing teams, so whilst ultimately the publisher and author have the final say, usually what we end up with is something that we’ve agreed on collectively.

Was there anything particularly different or interesting about this book cover, interesting facts you’d like to share?

It was actually an unusually straightforward process in the end – the expectation, when working on covers for such high profile authors, is always that it’s going to take longer and be a more difficult process, but sometimes as in this case, an idea can stick surprisingly quickly. For me, though, this was a very special project to work on. Neil has always been one of my favourite authors, so having the opportunity to design a cover for his latest novel was, though daunting at first, a real privilege and an ambition fulfilled.

Finally, what are some of your favourite book covers, whether they’re recent or not?

That’s a tough one! So many great covers, that I like for so many different reasons.

I love covers by Alvin Lustig and Paul Rand’s classic American designs for books like Kafka’s Amerika and Nicholas Monseratt’s Leave Cancelled (respectively) – such clean and simple designs that feel as fresh now as when they were first published in the 1940s. In the same tradition, though much more recent, Jon Gray’s cover for Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is also one of my favourites.

    


Thank you Patrick for your time!

If you want to know more about Patrick’s work, you can follow him on Twitter! I hope you liked this interview, and here are some other examples of his book cover design.

    

End of Year Book Survey 2014

by Diana Sousa

endofyearsurvey

I found this fun survey by Perpetual Page-Turner that I thought would be interesting to do! Feel free to do it too and link it to me, or comment with your own favourite books!

2014 Reading Stats

Number of books you’ve read: 40

Genre you read the most from: Science Fiction (category would be YA)

Best in Books

1. Best Book You Read In 2014?

The Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014?

Allegiant, by Veronica Roth (in a disappointing way)

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?

The Natural History of Dragons, by Marie Brennan

5. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?

– The Lunar Chronicles, by Marissa Meyer

– Shadowplay, by Laura Lam

– Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #6, by evil heart breaker Zack Whedon

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?

Marissa Meyer

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

The Diviners, by Libba Bray

9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

I don’t usually reread, I have a very good memory and would rather read new things. But perhaps Serenity: Leaves on the Wind.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?

    

11. Most memorable character of 2014?

Amy Dunne from Gone Girl

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?

Pantomime, by Laura Lam

13. Most Thought-Provoking / Life-Changing Book of 2014?

Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read?

The Lost Hero, by Rick Riordan

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?

“She got on with her education. In her opinion, school kept trying to interfere with it.”
– Soul Music, by Terry Pratchett

“In new situations, all the trickiest rules are the ones nobody bothers to explain to you. (And the ones you can’t Google.)”
– Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2014?

– The Diviners, by Libba Bray – 583 pages

– Equal Rites, by Terry Pratchett – 283 pages

– The Fisherman’s Net, by Laura Lam – 20 pages (short story)

17. Book That Shocked You The Most

Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn (even though I guessed the plot twist!)

18. OTP of the year

(Can I say Zoe and Wash even though one of them is… you know… dead?)

– Micah and Drystan (Micah Grey series)

– Thorne and Cress (The Lunar Chronicles)

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

– Rocket Raccoon and Groot (comics)

– Thorne and Iko (The Lunar Chronicles)

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Soul Music, by Terry Pratchett

21. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure.

I don’t usually read anything based solely on peer pressure or recommendations. At least I didn’t this year.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?

Huh… no one.

23. Best 2014 debut you read?

I haven’t read any 2014 debut, I know, shame on me! I’ve bought a few, but haven’t gotten to them yet.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

New York City in the 20s in The Diviners by Libba Bray.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Rocket Raccoon, by Skottie Young

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?

Serenity: Leaves on the Wind.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

The Cuckoo’s Calling, by Robert Galbraith

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

…Serenity: Leaves on the Wind. Are you noticing a certain theme by now?

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?

Rocket Raccoon #5 (90% of the dialogue is “I am Groot”)

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Allegiant, by Veronica Roth (ugh ugh ugh)

Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015?

– Jackaby, by William Ritter

– The Slow Regard of Silent Things, by Patrick Rothfuss

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?

Winter, by Marissa Meyer

3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

None of the Above, by I. W. Gregorio

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2015?

The Shadow Cabinet, by Maureen Johnson

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading Life In 2015?

Read a lot more books than I did this year.

6. A 2015 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone.

None, unfortunately!

(Actually… there is one, but I can’t tell you about it! Secrets secrets!)