Thistle (thistle_chaser) wrote,
Thistle
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2017: A Year of Books

Every year I do a summary of my year of reviews. This year had two big trends:

1) LitRPG. "Sucked into a video game" books, where a person gets trapped in a video game world. In the beginning of the year, I packed my Kindle with them. They seemed like the perfect books for me! Then as I kept reading them, I learned the truth: The vast, vast majority of them are awful. So so so amazingly badly written (major issues in the very first sentence of the book was the rule! Not the exception!), with awful, unrealistic characters and situations no one could believe as real.

2) I cannot count. Each year I make one or two errors in my running tally of books, but this year I made four. So luckily I more than reached the 50 book mark!

Anyway, on to the books!

Total books read. 50 books per year goal:

This was a challenging year. Phone games are such a waste of time, yet they endlessly call out to me... I lost so much reading time to them.

Abandoned books. How's this? The exact same number as last year!

As you can see, I used to never want to stop reading a book before I finished it, but life's too short to waste time on bad books.

And, as you can see, abandoning books I didn't like worked for me. The chart of how much I liked books I finished:



Just for fun, I made one of my abandoned books for 2017:

That's actually more positive than I would have guessed!


1) The Forest and the Farm Liked
"All in all, this was a nice story. "Nice" really is the right word for it: Mellow, mild, unoffensive, non-exciting, yet warm and... well, nice."

2) People of the Sky Loved
"If you told me a book that included bestiality (is sex with insects still called bestiality?) and mpreg could get a 'Loved' rating from me, I would laugh at you. And yet this book did."

3) Video Game Plotline Tester Okay
"This is probably the most poorly written book that I've ever willingly finished."

4) Ghost (Wolf's-own) Loved
"But I really did love it. The characters were so interesting, the story kept zipping right along, and while there was a relationship in the story, it never got close to being a romance book."

5) Weregild (Wolf's-own book #2) Loved
"Never have I liked the second book in a series more than the first. Never have I liked a second book even equal to the first. As much as I loved the first book in this series, the second one blew it out of the water."

6) Koan Loved
"Especially because now I can only say OH MY GOD I LOVED IT SO MUCH!"

7) Incendiary Disliked
"...while I loved the first three books endlessly, the last one didn't work for me. This is going to sound like the most stupid reason for not liking a book, but: There was too much plot."

8) The Wolf's Boy Loved
"The whole book was just so perfect. The writing was outstanding, descriptive, perfectly believable. The characters, from main to minor, were great. I loved the whole story so much."

9) Wind Rider Loved
"She didn't want to be just a wife and a baby-maker, which made her character arc through the story one of the most satisfying examples of character growth I've read in a long, long time."

10) Shattered Shields Loved
"Almost every one worked great as a stand-alone story! And as an added bonus, they made me want to go read the rest of the authors' works!"

11) Sucked into an RPG Liked
"I ended up enjoying this book quite a bit! It enters a very small category of books: Self-published books I enjoyed."

12) The Zoo at the Edge of the World Loved
"One day the father catches a jaguar, and that's where the story takes off. Dipping into fantasy, Jaguar (who will accept no name, for he is an animal of the Jungle) gives Marlin the ability to understand and talk to animals."

13) The Great Zoo of China Hated
"A giant themepark full of dinosaurs dragons opens up, things go wrong, dinosaurs dragons attack and kill nearly all the humans at the park. Heard that plot before? You sure have."

14) The Last One Loved
"It was SO COOL, such a perfect, believable, realistic glimpse at how someone can go insane. "

15) Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality Loved
"I've read and reviewed this book a couple times now (this reading is number 4!)."

16) Skullsworn LOVED
"I was crying by the end, and I didn't even know if they were happy or sad tears."

17) Warchild Loved
"Ugh, this book, it broke my heart and I loved it for doing so."

18) Nyxia Liked
"Take the Hunger Games, but make all the kids willingly involved, and you get this book."

19) Aisling, Book One: Guardian Okay
"I gave it more of a chance than any book I ever read before (I read the entire book and 10% of the next book), but it just never caught my interest."

20) Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China Disliked
"This book was depressing. Joyless. Not surprising, since it was about what was basically modern day slavery."

21) Transformation (Rai Kirah Book 1) Liked
"There are two more books out in the series, but this book ended on a nice note and I don't feel the need to continue it."

22) The Durmstrang Chronicles Loved
"To say [the main character] is flawed would be an understatement, but through the series she grows and changes and I just love her so."

23) Beasts of Tabat Loved
"The worldbuilding was deliciously good."

24) Gamer Fantastic Liked
"Those three stories were worth the price of the book, though it makes me grumpy to say so -- why aren't all the stories in it that good?"

25) The Blood of Ten Chiefs Liked
"Unlike most anthologies I've read, almost all of stories in this book were quite good."

26) The Weigher Liked
"Set on an alien planet, the natives were sentient big cats."

27) Blue on Black Loved
"If this review sounds like a lot of "I don't know", that's because it is. Even by the end of the book, I was so unsure about so much... and I loved that!"

28) They Both Die at the End LOVED!
"There's something to be said about a book that tells you in the title what will happen, but you still spend the whole entire book thinking, hoping, wishing it won't come true."

29) More Happy Than Not Okay
"I feel like the author cheated -- the book radically changed at the 50% point (though it made sense that it did)."

30) The Salt Line Loved
"It says something about the writing of this book that I hadn't even realized it was a dystopian story until about a third of the way in."

31) Dawn of Mammals (Saber Tooth) Loved
"As much fun as the story itself was, it was just as much fun reading about the world."

32) Terror Crane (Dawn of Mammals Book 2) Disliked
" I swear to god, I wish all of the characters got eaten by a prehistoric predator."

33) Hell Pig Liked
"These books were self-published! WOW. Not just were they all very well written, the editing in them was outstanding."

34) Killer Pack Liked
"I completely loved not just this whole series, but the author's writing in general."

35) Mammoth Loved
"The last book, Mammoth, had them time-jumping to a more modern time, which you would think after their adventures in prehistoric times would be boring, but it completely was not."

36) Game Runner Loved
"Unlike so many other YA books, all the adult characters were nicely fleshed out, completely reasonable people, with thoughts, motives, and drives of their own."

37) Corpora Delicti (Administration book 9) Loved
"To make it more complex, there's a BDSM part of relationship... when Toreth is a professional torturer and Warrick hates that with every fiber of his being."

38) Edgedancer Okay
"Before I get to the review, let me say that paying $8 for an ebook novella is really annoying, especially when the hardcover version is only a dollar more."

39) How to Be a Super Villain Okay
"As expected for a book for kids, the plot was very simple and silly (but cute). It didn't really work for me, but I was completely not the target audience."

40) Monster (Gone series) Liked
"Representation in media is good, but in this case it felt like the author was checking off boxes. Especially when the bad guy went from reasonable man to rabid woman-hater for really no reason at all..."

41) Dogs of War Loved
"Not only did he have to overcome his geneteching (which only wanted obedient slaves), he had to also overcome a dog's drives to make its master happy."

42) Weregirl - Liked [Review coming soon.]



1) Saturday the Twelfth of October Disliked
"Flat writing and dated."

2) Blood and Chocolate Okay
"To me, the book was a tad too heavy on romance and high school life, and not heavy enough on werewolves."

3) Count to a Trillion Disliked
"We went backwards and forward in time, the dialogue was really 'off' to my ear, and this whole new ruined Earth really wasn't explained all that much (Why were lawyers gunslingers?)."

4) Iron Edge Disliked
"I really didn't like the tone of the book (felt very pro war/pro military/macho... [Written by] P.S. Power.)"

5) Dominion Over All Okay
"Even for a story about a magical cat, it wasn't very believable."

6) The Gold Farmer Okay
"The story followed a successful gold farmer as he somehow got pulled from one VR game into a different one and trapped there. What a fun, perfect idea for a book! What a great match for me!" [Ahh my first time reading a LitRPG book. How much more innocent I was then...]

7) Paint Over the Stars Disliked
"The teenage boy, who was already bratty to the point of not being pleasant to read about, got much much worse."

8) Lord of the Wolves Disliked
"This was an odd book. A "talking animals" story featuring wolves, but they were basically just people/humans. I have no idea why the author decided to make them wolves."

9) Traitor Game Okay
"The writing was fine, but it just wasn't pleasant at all spending time in the bullied kid's head -- that he was the main character made that an issue."

10) Slave (The Fae-Born Narratives) Disliked
"And yet the author described every single person in that city as being an awful horrible disgusting person. Every single one of them had "lust in their eyes"."

11) Cold Moon Hated
"How was the story/writing? Awful. AWFUL. It was "Warrior cat" fanfic (based on that talking cat series of books), but every single sentence had major issues."

12) Growing Pains: The Proving Grounds Okay
"The writing in this one was actually good, but the story was following that same exact pattern of overpowered male main character saving the day, so I lost interest in it."

13) The Girl at the Center of the World Disliked
" I liked the end of the world parts, but the whole thing with the aliens was too different from the first book(?) for me..."

14) The Zanzibar Cat Okay
"The third story had even more formatting/scanning issues, and was basically unreadable. Unfortunately I gave up on the book at that point."

15) Timebound Okay
"Good YA books are enjoyable by readers of any age, but I guess you can't blame a YA book for not hooking an adult reader."

16) The Ear, The Eye and the Arm Okay
"I had heard such good things about this book, but the writing didn't work for me at all and I wasn't interested in the characters."

17) Shade of the Moon Disliked
"Goodreads says it was the book, not me. The reviews there are amusingly bad -- the worst reviews I've ever seen in my time on Goodreads! A much better read than the book itself."

18) Race to Refuge Disliked
"Kid watches his father be attacked, killed, and turned into a zombie, then the father attacked and killed his mother. And had NOT ONE SINGLE REACTION TO THAT."

19) Mammoth Dawn Disliked
"I just didn't believe any of the characters as real people, and the story's tech didn't come off as realistically handled."

20) Swift Thoughts Okay
"...it did less than nothing for me."

21) Thomasina the Cat Who Thought She Was God Disliked
"By the 2% mark, I felt like I should have read a whole book already..."

22) A Whisper of Wolves Okay
"It wasn't bad, the story was just too simple and the characters were black/white."

23) The Weirdest Noob Disliked
"Oh LitRPG, you should be the perfect genre for me, but you never fail to disappoint me."

24) The Dragoneers Disliked
"Long review short, it was indeed a bad book."

25) Earning My Spots Liked
" A werehyena family was living in an area of the country populated by only werewolves, so the werehyena boy got teased and bullied a lot."

26) CHEATC0DE (The Downlode Heroes Book 1) Disliked
"Instead of the usual "sucked into a video game" or "sucked into a MMORPG", this one was "sucked into a first-person shooter". I do not like first-person shooters."

27) Status: The Game Hated
"The best thing about this book: The author went to the same high school I did."

28) The Blood Jaguar (Around About Ottersgate Book 3) Hated
"I thought it was about animals, but they weren't acting much like animals, so I wondered if they were furries instead."

29) Effeminate Earth Hated
"Poorly written, unbelievable world, nothing in the story made sense."

30) Forge of a Species Disliked
"The author himself wrote about how this book is basically just a second draft of his first book."

31) Jurassic Chronicles Disliked
"A collection of short stories, supposedly about dinosaurs."

32) Gamer for Life Okay
"Why is so much LitRPG so bad?"

33) The Zoo at the End of the World Hated
"Such a good idea, so poorly written."

34) Madness on the Orient Express Liked
"I was surprised that I enjoyed most stories in this book."

35) Dream Okay
"t wasn't too long before I had to give in and admit that I was just bored, and gave up on the book."

36) Wildside Okay
"...but the kids successfully blackmailing all the world's most successful and biggest zoos into paying them hundreds of thousands of dollars, without the government knowing what they were doing or where the prehistoric animals were coming from..."

37) We Are Both Mammals Disliked
"Giant honking plot holes."

38) Beast Master's Circus Okay
"Having a Thieves Guild set in space/in the future was really jarring, it feels more like an old D&D idea than something that would exist in the time of space travel."

39) The Fog Diver Disliked
"Add into those issues that the main character was some kind of special snowflake that everyone would either want to own or kill..."

40) The Last Ship Hated
"If you've lost your specs or user guide for your Destroyer-class warship, this book might be useful to you."

41) The Dogs of War Hated
"Just an awful book full of awful writing."

42) Dungeon Explorers Disliked
"Poor, poor writing."

43) Lion's Quest: Undefeated Disliked
"The main character was so good at a game that he was not just the best in the world, he was so much better than everyone else that he was bored. No one else in the entire world could even give him a mild challenge."

44) Seven Princes Disliked
"It's a bad sign for a book when I'm more interested in correcting a book's grammar than I am in the story."

45) Lives of the Monster Dogs Disliked
"While published in 1998, this book felt more like it was written in 1887."

46) A Whisper of Horses Okay
"The world setting was just plain stupid."

47) The Boy Who Plaited Manes Okay
"I felt like I just didn't get this story. Did it have a moral I was supposed to pick up on? Something other than the completely unsubtle 'Don't cheat on your spouse'?"

48) Game Break: Hayden's Book 1 Hated
"First sentence of this book: "GET HER OUT OF THAT DAM MACHINE," David bellowed at his assistant. "

49) Adventures of a Scribe Disliked
"LitRPG. First sentences: "Edward Monteger." My mother yelled. I winced at her harsh tone... "

50) Dun Lady's Jess Disliked
"A naked woman. Unconscious. In a horse's gear. And you don't call the cops?"

51) Camel Rider Okay
"Everything was too simple, the characters were black/white, and the story was too predictable."

52) Downbelow Station Okay
" If you look up "information dump" in the dictionary, you'd see a picture of Downbelow Station."

53) History is All You Left Me Okay
"I swear to god, [the author] can make me cry with just a few words."

54) The World Without Crows Disliked
"On top of that, the main character was overweight and the author made sure to play it up at every moment."

55) Sword of Ice: And Other Tales of Valdemar (Valdemar Anthologies) Disliked
"...this blast from the past collection of short stories didn't at all work for me."

56) Tess on the Road Disliked
"Every. Single. Character. In. This. Book. Was. Awful."

57) Demeron: A Horse's Tale Okay
"I didn't believe the horse character as a horse, and that's a deal breaker in a talking horse story."

58) One Thousand White Women Okay
"There was more rape happening than in Game of Thrones, and yet it had no impact on the characters. "Ho hum, I was raped every day for the last couple years or so. Hm, I wonder what's for breakfast?" "

59) Hyper Connection: A Dangerous Game to Play Okay
"Another day, another (I assume) 'trapped in a VR video game' book."

60) Grey Okay
"This wasn't a bad book, I just didn't find it anywhere near as interesting as his other series."

61) Deer Life Okay
"The beautiful cover was the best thing about this book."

62) Little Warrior: Boy Patriot of Georgia (Patriot Kids of the American Revolution Series Book 2) Okay
"Target audience was kids age 9-10, which explains the writing."

63) EverRealm Hated
"Three LitRPG books tried, each as bad as expected. EverRealm, Ring of Promise, Game Over. Each of them full of typos, unrealistic story, etc."

64) Ring of Promise Hated
"Three LitRPG books tried, each as bad as expected. EverRealm, Ring of Promise, Game Over. Each of them full of typos, unrealistic story, etc."

65) Game Over Hated
"Three LitRPG books tried, each as bad as expected. EverRealm, Ring of Promise, Game Over. Each of them full of typos, unrealistic story, etc."

66) The Horse Dreamer (Equinox Cycle Book 1) Okay
"The girl lost both legs at the knee, but in the first hours and days after learning that, continues to be nothing but perky and up-beat."

67) Soldier Boy Okay
"This should have been a good match for my tastes, but since it was a YA book, it was too sanitized for me to enjoy."

68) Hyper Connection Disliked
"While many of the typos and grammar issues were corrected, the numerous story issues went unaddressed."

69) Oathbringer Okay
"I stopped at the 4% point, but as long as this book was, that was still three nights of reading."

70) The Indian in the Cupboard Okay
"And yet this story fell flat for me. Perhaps because it was British, perhaps because it was dated. All these old books always seem to lack something for me..."

71) Lore Online: A Game Alive LitRPG Series Hated
"Back and forth notes between himself and some reader, in the middle of the published story!"

72) Dungeon Crawl Disliked
"One day I'll delete the last LitRPG book off my kindle, and that will be a good day indeed."

73) Dungeon Born Disliked
"An interesting idea, but wasn't very well written."

74) Captain's Kid Liked
"Every time I picked it up, within a page or two I started watching the clock."


Small bookkeeping update: In the coming year, for abandoned books, I'm going to keep one grand total of percent finished instead of rolling over to a new book in the middle of the year. So for example, if I read 50% of one, 30% of another, and 35% of the next, instead of calling that "one book + 15% towards the next", I'll call it 115%. Then at the end of the year, I'll break it down into books/100% chunks. That should make my final count easier to do.
Tags: #2, 2017 books, 2017 books overview, book review
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