Thistle (thistle_chaser) wrote,
Thistle
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A year in books

I won't finish reading my current book by the end of the year, so I can make my annual wrap-up post now.

The number of books I read this year wasn't too different from the last two years.
2015: 46 read ( +17 I didn't reach the 50% point + 5 graphic novels)
2014: 41 read ( +8 I didn't reach the 50% point + 2 graphic novels)
2013: 53 read ( +20 I didn't reach the 50% point + 6 graphic novels)

In 2013 I was reviewing children's books as well, and counted those in the "I didn't reach the 50% point" group. So this year I actually did more reading than 2013, because of the greater number of non-children's books I didn't finish. Still, sadly I didn't reach my 50 book goal. Boo!

I enjoyed books more than average this year. This year only a total of 20% fell into disliked or hated, while in 2014 41% were disliked/hated and 2013 had 39% disliked/hated.

Loved: 13
Liked: 11
Okay: 13
Disliked: 5
Hated: 4

2015: Loved: 28% / Liked: 24% / Okay: 28% / Disliked: 11% / Hated: 9%
2014: Loved: 32% / Liked: 12% / Okay: 12% / Disliked: 34% / Hated: 7%
2013: Loved: 40% / Liked: 9% / Okay: 11% / Disliked: 13% / Hated: 26%



1) Shadows Beneath: The Writing Excuses Anthology Okay
"After I read a story once, I had very little desire to read basically the same story a second time, and no desire to read it a third."

2) Island Fire Liked
"Island Fire is the first self-published book I've encountered that, though it had many, many formatting errors, was really well written and had an interesting story."

3) Paint Loved
"While the horse named Paint was the thing that tied the story together, the book was more a look at life in the late 1800s in Canada. ... While this was a young adult book, it was the kind that an adult could not just absolutely enjoy, but love."

4) Seraphina Loved
"I 100% bought the dragons as both an alien species, fully different than people, but also individuals within that species. I loved the idea that they were able to walk around as human as well (though almost none of them could act convincingly human, they just didn't understand or value humans enough to learn how). "

5) Shadow Scale Okay
"When I reviewed the first Seraphina book, I loved it so much I couldn't decide which reason for loving it to write about first. Unfortunately, for book two, I have the opposite problem."

6) Warbreaker Disliked
"688 pages, and by the halfway point, not a single sign of real plot movement. "War is coming," but like the character said: It's been coming for generations, and it'd likely be coming for generations more."

7) Snow Flower: Arara's Tale Liked
"I got this book expecting it to be awful. I mean, look at the cover! Yeah, yeah, "You can't tell a book by its cover", except usually you can. "

8) Flower's Fang Okay
"This was a frustrating book. It's easy to hate a badly written book or love a good one, but this book was close to being one I could love, it just fell short in a couple big areas."

9) Gilded Loved
"The story takes place in Korea, and does the wonderful, WONDERFUL thing where it teaches you a whole lot without ever knocking you out of the story to do so."

10) Lady Numbers vs The Lawn Liked
"Lady Numbers vs The Lawn did something I loved: It wove the main character's imagination seamlessly with reality."

11) Ratha's Creature Loved
""Talking animal" stories, stories about animals with cultures, social structures, all that, are my favorite kind of story, and this is one of the best examples of the genre."

12) Clan Ground Liked
"Something about this book didn't work. It didn't work for me when I had originally read it in 1984, and something about it still didn't work for me today. I'm having the darnedest time putting my finger on what though."

13) Ratha and Thistle-Chaser Disliked
"It pains me to give a book in this series anything other than a 'Loved' rating, but I'm just about to stop reading it."

14) Wuftoom Liked
"He's a boy trapped in a body that's turning into a giant worm. "

15) Dog Hated
"I hated this book so much, I don't even want to write about it now. Usually there's some positive thing in a story that I can focus on, but for Dog there's nothing I liked other than the cover, and I didn't even like that much."

16) Tiger, Tiger Loved
"For a book aimed at young kids, it's surprising what happened to the tigers. Brute, the brother destined for the Colosseum, was abused. Tortured by humans. Abused for weeks on end to make him mean enough and hungry enough to fight. Boots, the brother who was to be a pet, was castrated, defanged, and nearly declawed. While none of what happened to either brother was gone into in detail, it was perfectly clear what happened to both of them -- and that they both felt pain from the things done to them."

17) The Good Dog Loved
"The problem with most books about talking animals is that the animals know too much -- they're more like humans in animal shapes than real animals. When it comes to addressing that issue, The Good Dog is one of the best talking animals books I've ever read."

18) The Kingdom of the Sun and Moon Disliked
"I'm really tired of the dishonesty in self-publishing. I'm tired of having to do all this detective work to figure out if a book is self-published or not. (Why does it matter? Because it's very, very, very rare that a self-published book is even close to worth its cover price, and I've been ripped off by them too many times. "

19) Child of Earth (The Sea of Grass Trilogy) Loved
"Set in the future, scientists have found not only that parallel worlds exist, but how to cross over to them. Each one is a version of Earth with some small change -- however, sometimes those small changes happened thousands or millions of years ago, so it could lead to very big changes. No moons, two moons, worlds where dinosaurs never died off, worlds with a totally different atmosphere: as many differences as you can imagine. "

20) Cloud Magic (Sky Horses) Okay
"The book opened well enough. Chapter one was about a group of "sky horses" talking about sky horse things. Then chapter two took a left turn. Spoiler: Clouds are actually horses!"

21) Guy in Real Life LOVED
"The only reason I gave this book a chance at all was that the two main characters were into MMOs and tabletop RPGs. Even then, I worried the author would only make mention of those two things, but my worries were wrong: Gaming, both online and tabletop, were a third and fourth character in this relationship, and it was so so so wonderful."

22) Reindeer Moon Loved
"The timeline in Reindeer Moon was handled in a way I haven't seen before, but loved: In chapter three, we learned the main character was dead, and so the book contained two timelines: The living character growing, maturing, and so moving towards her death, and the same character as a spirit slowly remembering her spirit life, moving back towards her 'birth' as one."

23) The Animal Wife Okay
"The Animal Wife isn't so much a sequel to Reindeer Moon, it's a companion book."

24) Enslaved: The Orc Captive Disliked
"Then they [the orcs] have an orgy, raping the girls endlessly all night long. Of course all the girls enjoy it..."

25) Frost Dancers Liked
"I believed every animal in the book as an animal, not a human in animal shape. More than that, each of his animal species were so different -- it was just so enjoyable to see how he handled otter characters compared to hedgehogs. Their speech patterns and personalities were just so different."

26) Sergeant at Arms Hated
"You're a were-dragon on a planet of were-dragons. For lord knows what reason, every child born to your race is born male. "

27) The Mayflower Project (Remnants, No 1) Loved
"I can't believe how genuinely creepy this book is."

28) Destination Unknown (Remnants, No 2) Liked
"While I enjoyed this book quite a lot, it had a disturbingly familiar formula to it. It took me a moment to pin down from where, and once I realized it, it made perfect sense: It felt just like the book series her husband writes. "

29) Them (Remnants #3) Liked
"I'm this close to knocking this series' score down from a Liked to an Okay, just because of how darned short these books are. While they're YA books, they're about half the length of an average YA book, for no reason I can see (other than to stretch it out and make more money off the series). That annoys me."

30 + 31) Nowhere Land & Mutation (Remnants #4 & 5) Liked + Okay
"While the plot is great, the number of non-story issues are growing. As I said in my last reviews of the books in this series, these books are darned short. They very very much feel like chapters, not whole books. Related to that: It's getting annoying how much recapping the author has to do, when it feels like we just read about it in the last chapter."

32 + 33) Breakdown and Isolation (Remnants #6 and #7) Okay + Okay
"My enjoyment of this book series keeps going downhill. The awful, awful editing is part of it. (It's published by Scholastic! Marketed for schools and kids! They should be edited well!) I can overlook a couple errors in a book (though they make me grumpy), but these books tend to have an error per page. "


34-40) Remnants series conclusion (7 books) Okay - Hated
"The author said she was unhappy she had taken the story in this direction (unhappy with this last half of the series), and I 100% agree with her. It makes zero sense, and it ruined whatever joy I had left for the series."


41) The Dungeoneers Loved
"In many ways, this book had a very Harry Potter-ish feel to it. (And not just because it's YA -- you all know me, I read more YA than anything else.) The setting was just plain fun, it was a world I would have loved to be a part of. It went beyond HP though, both in quality of writing and realism of the characters."

42) The Sign of the Cat Okay
"I saw the answer to every single mystery in this book a mile ahead of time. From the biggest to the smallest, I was able to easily spot what was going to happen."

43) Silver on the Road Liked
"The worldbuilding in Silver on the Road was just amazing. I loved everything about it. Every single little detail and trait. It was set in an alternate version of the old west, one where the supernatural exists."

44) Dog Diaries #2: Buddy Disliked
"I found neither the dog nor the people to be very realistic, and everything was way too simplistic."

45) Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality Loved
"Methods of Rationality is an AU. In it, Harry Potter was raised by parents who liked him. He's also a young genius, determined to be a scientist. So, when his Hogwarts letter arrived and he attended the school, he applied a more realistic scientific mind to everything."

46) NPCs Loved
"Most of the story followed those NPCs as they formed a party and tried to take over the roles of the PCs who had died."





1) Kiteman of Karanga Disliked
"There are a number of things a story needs for it to be worth reading: Believable characters, realistic dialogue, and a believable setting. This book had none of those."


2) Go Down, Aaron Hated
"I know, who would have thought that Nazi porn would be distasteful?"

3) Chaos Station Disliked
"Usually when I accept a book for review, even if it doesn't work for me I try to get to at least the 50% point to give it a fair chance. Unfortunately Chaos Station was so full of editing and formatting issues, I couldn't get nearly that far. "

4) The IX Disliked
"...some distant future alien race was getting their asses kicked by some other alien race, so they made some kind of wormhole technology to bring warriors from the past (Earth) into their time/planet to all fight together against the aliens.."

5) Swordbirds Disliked
"I could ignore issues like "How the hell do simple birds, bluejays and stuff, carry and use swords while flying? A sword would weight more than the entire flock of them!", but the issue that I couldn't accept was how one–dimensional the bad guy was. He literally cackled and talked out loud about how much he loves torturing people (other birds) and how much he loves whipping them and oh boy he'd get to whip some soon and evil evil I'm so evil look at me being evil."

6) The Shapeshifters’ Library: Reprinted Okay
" "Father always wondered if Mom did it with a dog." "

7) Obsidian Sky Hated
"The plot made just no sense. A meteor hit the earth, destroyed half the planet and most of the people, and somehow that made all future people born with 1-3 wishes that would come true. "

8) Child of Grass (Book 2 of the Sea of Grass Trilogy) Disliked
"While I'm no fan of organized religion, I really, really hate the "all organized religion is evil and everything bad in the world is caused by it, and every single religious person is bad/evil/stupid/cruel" plot device. It smacks of lazy writing. That was the whole plot of this book."

9) Island Shifters Okay
"Unfortunately it wasn't. Instead it was the most generic fantasy book you could find. Every fantasy race was represented in it (elf, dwarf, troll, cyclops, etc). 'Shifting' was the book's word for magic. Four teens were the 'chosen ones' who had to save the world from blah blah evil *yawn*. "

10) Brooklyn, Burning HATED
"Take everything I said about Steve Brezenoff's Guy in Real Life and reverse it, and you get my reaction to this book. I don't think I ever used 'HATED' in all caps for even for the most error-filled, stupid, nonsense self-published book, but I never had as strong of a negative reaction to a book as I did for Brooklyn, Burning."

11) Silvern Disliked
"So I accepted Silvern for review, and while there's nothing at all wrong with the book, for some reason the story never hooked me."

12) Corr Syl the Warrior Hated
"I'm so sick of self-published books with this kind of quality."

13) Zeroes Okay
"While there was nothing wrong with the book, for me there was nothing right either. I had no interest in any of the characters. The whole plot felt flat and uninteresting to me."

14) Star Kitten Hated
"Why did the cat planet import only human males as prostitutes, not females? Apparently human men enjoy multiple hours of brutal sex!"

15) The White Mare's Daughter Disliked
"Lots of sex (non-graphic), the dialogue was unrealistic to the point of being jarring to my ear, and what little I read of the plot held no interest for me."

16) The Catswold Portal Okay
"Picture the most generic fantasy story you can (evil queen, mysterious shapeshifting people), make that story drag on for hours and hours of reading without giving out any information or doing any character development, and you have this book. Don't forget to add in no original worldbuilding and a magic system that made no sense. "

17) King of the Vagabonds Okay
"The characters, while vaguely believable as cats, weren't interesting at all."

18) The Time Garden Okay
"The only thing I semi-enjoyed about it was the glimpse of a much older world (it was published in the 50s or 60s)."




1) Samurai Jack Liked
"I wasn't disappointed, it read just like an episode of the cartoon! "

2) Love Loved
"Told with no text, panel after panel was wonderfully drawn colored pencil artwork of the tiger's life. Every page was a thing of beauty."

3) Seraphina (sample chapters) Liked
" I loved the author's writing. Her world was detailed and interesting, and she quickly drew me into the story."

4) G.I. JOE: The Fall of G.I. JOE Volume 2 Liked
"I still enjoyed the art overall -- I spent an almost embarrassing amount of time looking at the coloring on a close-up of a chain link fence. Look at the use of yellow, and how many different shades there are in this: ..."

5) LOVE volume 2: THE FOX Liked
"The art was so lovely, I really didn't mind not following the story as well [as the previous book]."


2013 book reviews overview
2014 book reviews overview
Tags: 2015 books, 2015 books overview, book review
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