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Ashana Lian's Fantasy Lab

Fantasy and Fantasy Writing from every angle: fantasy and sci-fi novels, films, artwork, superhero cartoons, children's and YA books, manga, anime, video games and comics. Put the microscope on 'Geek Culture'.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

2014 End-Of-Year Recap: Awesome And Awful In Equal Measures

Hello and goodbye, because this is the last post of 2014, and when you see me again on Janurary 1st, this blog will have a brand spanking new layout and I will finally introduce to you the young lady whose been waiting on the sidelines - Jade Rose!

Well, I took a break from uni because I went coo-coo-loco-bat-poop-crazy while I was there. I had no plan expect to 'get better'. A lot of the first part of this year went down the drain. Still depressed. Still suffering from anxiety. OCD got worse. In other words, I am just a bag of fun. But loads of awesome things happened to, like:

  • Fantasy Challenge!
  • My blog improved way more than it did last year.
  • A brand new collection of colouring pencils. =D
  • Illustrations I'm actually proud of.
  • Did I mention I read LOADS of books?!
  • Still learning the Japanese language - I have improved!
  • I made new friends =D
  • And repaired old friendships
  • I spend more on books this year than I have... ever... ever (Over £120.)
  • I acquired more books this year. A LOT MORE. (about 110... actually probably more)
  • And I went to more fantasy events than I've ever been to in my life. O_O

My Year In Books: 2014

Above is my Goodreads printscreen for all the books I've read in 2014 (not counting the one I'm about to finish) and what rating I gave them. I read 15,645 pages! It also has a pie chart of my shelves - books that were hilarious, books that I gave up on, and books that were heartbreaking (the ones I can't read twice). The questions below I've been working on for almost 3 weeks!! Anywhoo. Enjoy.


- Favourite books?!
`Fantasy Fiction: The Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, The Painted Man by Peter V. Brett, A Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin...
`YA and/or Children's Fiction: The School For Good and Evil by Soman Chainani, The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney
`Non-Fiction: The Unfair Advantage by Robert Kiyasaki
`Totally out-of my normal reading genre: 'Top Girls', a play by Caryl Churchhill.

- Books I couldn't bear to finish?
Four. These were the lowest rated books. Blue Exorcist manga by Kazue Kato, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, Anarchy by James Treadwell, and The Girl With All The Gifts. Also, when I get round to finally reviewing it, The Goddess and The Thief. I don't even want to talk about it.

- How many books did I read this year?
52 ?!?! I wanted to read one book a week, which seemed reasonable despite university and work, keeping in mind I'd be reading fantasy. I started the challenge in May, but I'm glad I've still just reached the target having missed four months!

- New author devotion?
N. K. Jemisin, Patrick Rothfuss, Marie Brennan, and Robert Kiyosaki. I intend to read everything they write.

- First and last book read in 2014?
First: I think it was the manga of Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr and Xian Nu Studio. Last: a self-help book called Mindfulness by Mark Williams and Danny Penman.

- First book I'll read in 2015?
The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. I was meant to finish those this month, but my sister only (FINALLY and reluctantly) lent them to me yesterday. They're the beautiful white 50th anniversary edition instead of the normal black ones - kinda like Cait's gorgeous white The Hunger Games boxset. Going off THG series a bit now, but those covers were lovely.

- Longest book I read?
Stephen King - 11.22.83. 740 pages.

- ...Shortest book?
That's gotta be The Ice Dragon, George R.R. Martin. It wasn't the best but I gotta say, I'm glad I read it. If it wasn't for that, it probably would've been a manga book.

- Highest library fines I incurred =/
At my local library, it stands at 9.40. I have no idea how it got so much. But wait for it - my university library fine was about £17. Which was totally my fault.

- Library books in my possession as of this date
14, with one to spare on my limit =] a few days ago I took out a whole bunch, and I felt as pleased as if I bought them all!!

- Most money spent in one go on books?
... £58.97 on four hardback fantasy books about to be signed by the authors. O_O #neveragain #whoamikidding

- Most books bought in one go?
58 fantasy books from a job lot on ebay.

- No. of new series started in 2014?
If my count is correct - 8! Yay!

- No. of series completed in 2014?
... none. Grrr e_e I will remedy that next year. All of N. K. Jemisin, Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson?!?! That'll be my goal.

- Reread books in 2014?
None. With so many new books to read and 700 books on my TBR I wasn't very inclined to waste time this year. But very very soon I want to re-read Lian Hearn, because I love the Tales Of The Otori series and they are some of my inspirations.


- The book I should've read sooner.

- The book that changed me.
The School For Good and Evil. Oh. My. God.

- The book that shocked me.
The Painted Man by Peter V. Brett. Without going into spoilers - I still can't believe Leesha's story arc. The realism of it was heartbreaking.

- The book that dazzled me with it's cover.
Abengoni: First Calling by Charles R. Saunders. You can also find the original art on DeviantArt.

- The character that stayed with me.
Kvothe from The Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. he was perfect, and yet flawed, but so intelligent, yet fallible, and he had absolutely every right to be the protagonist of that novel. I'll never get over all of the ways he wriggled out of problems!

- The book that was written SO WELL
The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August is my first choice because I loved how it weaved the tale together over the course of the novel. Ready Player One by Earnest Cline was also very clever.

- The friendship I loved SO MUCH
Yeine and Sieh from A Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin. I just, ah. I can't. Too much. Just love.

- The ship I shipped SO HARD
I know this might sound a little weird (maybe sordid is a better word) but in The School For Good And Evil... SPOILER!!! The School Master believed that the only way to stop the good characters winning a fairytale was to trump 'good love' between a princess and a prince with 'evil love' between the villains. So then I became extremely fascinated by that concept and really wanted Sophie to be with the School Master instead of Prince Tedros. SPOILER OVER.

- The book I wouldn't have read if it wasn't for XYZ-circumstance
I wouldn't have read The Fault In Our Stars by John Green if it wasn't for a blogger I admire called Zoe. I'm glad I did, although I don't see me ever reading it again.

- The book that made me CRACK UP laughing
The Long Haul!! That surprised me because after the fourth book, the Diary of A Wimpy Kid series started to get less and less funny. After Hard Luck, I wasn't sure if Jeff Kinney could make a comeback, but he outdid himself! SO. FUNNY. I need to hurry up and buy Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch because all of his books make me laugh too.

Fun fact: Another graph from Goodreads showing when the book I read was published. My graph has updated since I print screened this, so the lowest dot, published in 1937, was Tolkien's The Hobbit! There were ten books I read that were published in 2014.

Thanks for joining me for my last ever post in 2014! You might also want to read: 10 Things You Should Know About This Blog.

I have a BUNCH of 2014 reviews to catch up on and I'm going to do my writing wishlist at the end of this week, so hang around for all the awesomeness happening in 2015! I shall be enjoying the fireworks by the London Eye (on TV hehe) as my Mum and I do every year. See you on the other side! PEACE.

Ashana Lian .



    Like you said, white prettiness covers editions are CLEARLY special or something. XD I don't know why?! I actually do adore the minimalistic black editions of THG (and actually LOTR while we're at it, lol) buuuut, I love how THG has those shiny pages *swoons* WHAT CAN I SAY? I LIKE SHINY.

    I'm sad that this year has been sad for you. I've been rather sad this year too. gah. It's the weather. I BLAME IT ON THE WEATHER. Or the apocalypse. Bleh. Anxiety is the worst, particularly when no one thinks it can actually be as serious as it is.
    HERE'S TO A BETTER 2015!!

    1. Thanks Cait! I hope it's neater than before. Not done yet, I'm afraid. The header was meant to be done for New Years, but the silver gel pen I bought that day ran out and then there was SUCH an issue trying to get it work work again and in the end I was so tired the header had to be postponed! So at the moment there is a temporary dragon header. Because, dragons.

      THG black covers I prefer over the original splotchy covers, the foiled shiny ones, and the new neon ones (which are pretty ugly.) But your white edition with the shiny edges are the best.

      Awwe thanks Cait. I agree, I was shocked at how many people I know who suffer from anxiety too and that makes me quite sad. I'm praying better things are to come. That's why I'm trying to makes lots of optimistic goals! =D

  2. Hi there!

    I like your new banner, it's so epic!

    It must be very hard to suffer from anxiety, I hope you'll feel better in 2015.

    I just checked out the blurb of Abengoni and now I NEED this book. Apparently there are black dwarves, just for that I need to read it, lol.

    Ahhh, it's funny that you couldn't bear blue exorcist. I actually really like this manga, I don't Watch the anime, but I read the chapters. Oh I finally got around to read Throne of Glass. My feelings are pretty much the same as yours. Here's my review of it:

    Your university fine beat mine, lol. And I thought I was bad. Mine is like £16 and a few pennies. Totally my fault, I took several books from the Library for an essay and completely forgot to renew the loan. It got high pretty quickly. 58 books on one go? THAT IS A LOT, lol

    Happy New Year (a little early)!!!

    1. Thanks Carla! Unfortunately the current header is a freebie as my own illustrated one isn't done yet. There were more hiccups than I anticipated O_O I KNOW ABENGONI LOOKS AMAZING! It's on my TBR -le sigh- but I will get round to it soon. There a lot of Afro-fantasy I need to read in 2015.

      Really? Sometimes the anime is better than the manga. And sometimes, vice versa, like Fruits Basket. And sometimes they seem to be pretty much the same, like Nabari No Ou. Sooo maybe I'll try the anime of Blue Exorcist instead. Oh I did see your Glass of thrones post (lol). With overtime at work and the anguish of re-doing this blog design all over again (I literally had to start from scratch, as the template I was going to use was some bogus bs) I haven't commented yet. Soon!!

      That's exactly what happened to me. I took the books out for my dissertation but every book is a 7-day loan, so I had to remember to renew them every week... well yeah, I forgot most weeks. Thanks, I hope you had a great New Year too!

  3. HAVE A GREAT 2015! So many stats!
    Hope all the coo-coo-loco- (all that) stuff improves by A LOT next year, (maybe all the books will help) The Lord of the Rings books look so pretty I NEED THEM. I just need to read more fantasy in general (would you hit me round the head if I said that the only fantasy author I recognised was old Tolks - and maybe Branson??) which is definitely a goal for next year (out of all the books I've read I've only read one fantasy book!). Gah.

    1. Thanks Mawa, me too. They do look pretty! =D I am glad my sister got them, even though they are the small paperback format which means the font is smaller e_e

      I know what you mean. A while back, it was hard to think of any authors besides those I'd read - mainly Trudi Canavan, GRRM, Raymond E. Feist and of course, Tolkien. I hear people say they want to read more fantasy quite a bit, which is why... tah-dah! I've decided to host a 2015 Fantasy Challenge, so you could join that if you wanted (< link there). Happy belated New Year!

  4. I like the new color scheme going on, it's really pretty! It sounds like you and your books had an amazing year and I hope your reading continues strong next year... I actually don't know most of these books but YAY FOR LORD OF THE RINGS. I've mostly toted them along to family functions, and get through them in a good six hours or so. I hope you enjoy all three!

    1. I'm glad you like it, Heather! I'm almost finished with the design, and the new header needs to go up (still). Hahahehe, I didn't know most of these books either. I love discovering underground stuff that nobody knows about. Sometimes they end up being so amazing, I'm sad they're underrated. LOL! Good idea! I enjoyed the hobbit so much, I hope I'll enjoy these too. Thanks!


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