Thistle (thistle_chaser) wrote,

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2016: A year of books

Every year I do a summary of my year of reviews. This year I made some charts so the info would be easier to take in at a glance.

Total books read for the year: 57 (goal: 50).

The really odd thing about this year was my number of abandoned books. What the heck happened this year?

Graphic novels were basically unchanged.

How much I liked the books. Scale: Loved/Liked/Okay/Disliked/Hated.

As seems traditional, I made a mistake numbering my books during the year. There are two #34s.

1) Split the Party Disliked
"Sauntering is a good word for it. Everything felt slow, like the whole story was dragging. I got bored very early on and never shook that feeling."

2) The Abandoned Okay
"I did like the cat parts of it, but for a story about a boy who turns into a cat, the cat parts were surprisingly few and far between."

3) The Planet Thieves Disliked
"Based on one single class about how all Earth spaceships work, these 8-13 year olds were not just successfully able to fly the ship, they took it into battle."

4) Not Bad For A Bad Lad Disliked
"Based on the title and cover together, I thought it would be about a horse. Bad Lad sounded like a great horse name, and 'Not Bad for a Bad Lad' made me think it would be about a problem horse who turned out good in the end."

5) Blood & Circuses Loved
"While I would have liked a lot more focus on the main characters, I loved learning so much more about their world. "

6) [The one book of credit I get for all my abandoned books and graphic novels.]

7) Captive Prince (book 1) Loved
8) Prince's Gambit (book 2) Loved
9) Kings Rising (book 3) Okay
"In the first two books, the political end of things were just as interesting (if not more so) than the relationship between the two men. Unfortunately the third book fell down hard on that aspect of the story, and so much of what happened wasn't at all believable and/or felt very rushed."

10) The Dragon Round Okay
"The dragon was interesting, even if all the human characters might as well have been cardboard cutouts. "

11) The Pride of Parahumans Hated
"Now, when I ask "How often do you read mention of the main character's anus on page two of a book?" you'll be less surprised."

12) Off Leash Liked
"It's the story of a man named Thomas, whose life was in a slump. He lost his job and couldn't find a new one, his girlfriend was distant and often vanished for weeks at a time, and he fought with his family to the point where he no longer spoke to them. Then he turned into a cougar."

13) Tails of the Apocalypse Disliked
"The "about the author" sections after each short story was a quarter the length of the stories themselves, and filled with promotion/links/sales info. That made this book feel more like advertising than an honest attempt at offering stories."

14) A Companion to Wolves Loved
"The story follows a boy who is taken by the wolf men, and ends up bonded to a "konigenwolf" (queen wolf -- alpha female). We learn about the whole wolf system though his eyes, and through the book the boy grows into a man."

15) The Tempering of Men Okay
"Character names were 10-20 letter long, appeared mostly random order to English-only me, and more often than not, started with V. At the 90% point of the second book, I encountered a name and had no idea if it was even a wolf or a man, and that was the final straw."

16) The Fate of Mice Loved
"Each of the book's short stories ended at the perfect point: She leads us right up to the ending, there's no doubt how the story will turn out, but she ends it a moment too soon. Every time a story ended, I had that "Arg! Wait no! That can't be the ending! It can't stop here!" reaction. And yet every story was a complete story."

17) The Unnaturals Okay
"So anyway, these animals are given *hand wavey* scientific injections and it turns them onto animal crosses. Buffalo-zebra. Panther-rabbit. Dog-eagle. That sort of thing. Then the animals have to fight to the death for the entertainment of the humans. It was exactly like some kind of talking animal Hunger Games story. "

18) My Story: Slave Girl Loved
"But either way, plot or no plot, the book was really enjoyable -- her voice was so strong, and there were so many details on how things were back then. "

19) Icefall Loved
"Every YA author out there should read this book before they go out and write their own. "

20) The Rest of Us Just Live Here Hated
"Instead, other than that one brief paragraph per chapter, we got nothing but teenagers going to school, stupid teenage drama about relationships, graduations, tests, stupid part time jobs -- nothing but boring, "real world" teenage drama, NO mention of supernatural other than the first paragraph."

21) Dragon Trials (Return of the Darkening Book 1) Loved
"While people did bond with dragons, each dragon picked two people, not just one, which was a pretty interesting idea."

22) Dragon Legends (Return of the Darkening Book 2) Disliked
"I do still recommend the first book (especially at 99 cents), but I can't the second, and I won't be picking up the third. "

23) Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality Loved
"A story by a very intelligent author about very intelligent characters is just so enjoyable to read!"

24) Horses of the Dawn Hated
"I love talking animal stories, but the biggest sin one can make while writing them is to make the animals be nothing but humans in animal shape. This book could not have done that more if it had set out to do that. (WHY, author? Why would you do that? Why write about animals, then make them not animals?)"

25) Full Dark, No Stars Loved
"He's such a good storyteller. Some people say he's not a good writer, but I had no issues at all with anything in this book."

26) Drake and the Fliers Okay
"Where on God's green earth is the logic in that? That a virus kills off anyone who isn't a teenager, that it makes them able to transform into animals, but only animals with wings? And though the book didn't say it outright, the only winged things that showed up were predators. Hawks, falcons, owls? Yep. Ducks, chicken, pigeons? Nope."

27) The Gaslight Dogs Disliked
"The fantasy layer was so thin, I never for a moment thought she wasn't writing about Europeans' abuse of Native Americans."

28) Warchild LOVED
"Set in space, pirates attack an eight year old boy's homeship. All the adults are killed, the kids are taken as slaves by the pirates to use in their crew or sell to other crews. The pirate captain keeps one boy to train. The book follows what happens to that boy over many years. It's chilling. Realistic. Dark as hell."

29) Burndive Okay
"Ryan Azarcon is a spoiled rich kid. A celebrity. His father is a famous captain, his mother is some powerful government person. He's rich. He's drop-dead beautiful. He's bored. He acts out a lot. He does drugs. Some bad things happen to him (a terrorist bombing kills one of his family members) and he nearly has a breakdown. After what happened to Jos in the first book, I had to work hard to not roll my eyes that Ryan was reacting so poorly to something much more minor."

30) Cagebird Okay
"The second and larger issue I had was... pirate geisha? The two ideas just don't work together in my head. The pirates had this whole geisha culture going on, and it just never fit with the idea of 'pirate'."

31) Space Station Rat Okay
"The animal's voice was perfect. I totally believed the main character was a (super intelligent, genetically modified) rat. "

32) The God Engines, Questions for a Soldier Liked, Loved (Two novellas.)
" The worldbuilding was amazing: Set in space, gods are real. Not only are gods real, they're at war with each other. Some time back, one god got the upper hand, and enslaved a bunch of the other gods to serve His followers. Those followers force the enslaved gods to power their spaceships."

"Even with no descriptions or names, each character seemed so alive and whole!"

33) Wool Okay
"It didn't at all stand up to a rereading. I mostly just read it to get through it, so I could move on to the next book."

34-1) Proper Gauge Okay
"Unfortunately the second Wool book really didn't work for me. It almost felt like it was set in a whole different world. It was very very light on plot. It had no twists."

34-2) Chronology (part 1), Chronology (part 1) Liked
"Chronology is a collection of short stories with the theme of "time". Stories about time travel? Nope. Stories set in the past/future? Nope. To be included in this book, the story had to be set in a period of time. If your story cannot meet that bar, I'd be curious to see it!"

35) For Real Loved
"A 19 year old teen meets a middle aged man in a BDSM club. They have a connection, and the story follows their relationship as it grows and builds. In most stories like this, the younger man would be the sub, but in this book he was the dom. That was a nice twist."

36) Interspecies: Volume 1 (The Inlari Sagas) Loved
"The stories were really about relationships, mostly interspecies relationships (as fitting the book's title). ... It's been a long time since I've enjoyed and been so impressed by a self-published book. I wish more of them were like this one."

37) Tom, Thom Loved
"What a wonderful story! Though not of a type I'd usually read, and I'd think I would have hated (about a Changling), it really worked, and was magical and perfectly lovely."

38) In Real Life Loved
"A kid, a gifted math student, was also gifted at playing an online game (Starfare in the book, based on Starcraft in real life). This teen was one of the best players in the US, and eventually one of the Korean professional teams recruits him. "

39) Captive in the Dark Disliked
"A "dark erotica" book that was neither dark nor erotic."

40) Multiplayer Disliked
"A bunch of ISIS terrorists sitting around in a cave, trying to figure out how they can train when every time they leave the cave, US drones/forces find them and kill them. The one American convert has an idea: Use MMORPGs -- massively multiplayer online role-playing games."

41) Red Fox Okay
"This story had such potential. This story had such plot holes."

42) Penric's Demon and Penric and the Shaman Loved, Liked (Two novellas.)
"It made me wish I was possessed by a demon."

43) Anton and Cecil, Book 2: Cats on Track Liked
"This author wrote the best 'talking animal' characters I've ever read. "

44) Waer Loved
"But all in all, this was a wonderful story. The author stated that she was working on it for 10 years, and I believe it."

45) The Woman Who Loved the Moon: And Other Stories Okay
"If I was rating this book based only on the first two stories, I would have given it a LOVED instead of okay. The first story was my favorite, the second story I really liked a lot, and everything after that was pretty meh."

46) The Cage Liked
"I should have hated this book. It did all the worst things a YA book could do... and yet the author pulled it off. Not only did I not hate it, I actually enjoyed almost all of it."

47) Shadows of a Superhero Okay
"The plot was about a collection of sidekicks. Their hero was hurt badly and knocked out of commission, so they had to take over and try to fight the big bad guy themselves."

48) The Hunt Disliked
"On top of me frowning endlessly each time Cora showed up (a problem, as she's the main character), this book had unbelievable thing after unbelievable thing starting to happen, and eventually it got to be too much."

49) Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality Loved
"I love that fic so much, I'm ready to start it from the beginning again."

50) Gamescape: Overworld Loved
"It's so rare to find an author I can trust. I've read so many books where the characters do utterly unbelievable things, it's wonderful that everything in this book made sense and was realistic."

51) A Captive in Rome Hated
"For a book following a boy as he loses his family to war and is taken as a slave by the enemy, it was mind bogglingly boring."

52) We Were Wilder Liked
"There was a lot of logic you had to not question, but the story was interesting enough that this was a rare case where I was able to overlook plot holes."

53) The Cat Kin Disliked
"I couldn't decide if this was a bad book or just a really strange book."

54) War Stories: New Military Science Fiction Liked
"While every story in this book wasn't a winner for me, the majority of them were. ... Each story revolved around the theme of war, though few of them were directly about battles. Most of the stories were about relationships, which was a positive to me."
55) Gilded Cage Loved
"The author did everything, everything right in this book. The writing, both technical and storycrafting, were perfect. What little romance in the book was completely believable and realistic."

56) Wolf's Cross Loved
"I really enjoyed the plot. The werewolf's reason for killing humans was completely believable, and yet sad because he was fueling the whole 'werewolves are demons and so we're right to kill them all' thing."

57) Wolfbreed Okay
"For me, it just seemed so... shallow? Not dark? "

1) Extinction: The Warriors Return Hated
"Whip out your pocket knife and open his wound further, stick your fingers in, cry out "My god! He's been shot in the heart! But I know what to do!". Then, using that same pocket knife, open the father's chest up, and since you have no rib spreaders with you, use your bare hands to rip his rib cage apart. Then, after seeing all his other organs exposed to the air, and still with your bare, ungloved hands, stick your fingers into the hole in his heart to stop the bleeding..."

2) Far World Disliked
"The writing was dull and predictable... published by: "Shadow Mountain publishes and promotes a variety of books, all of which reflect the values espoused by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." "

3) Brethren (Raised By Wolves Book 1) Disliked
"While it wasn't bad, it didn't catch my interest at all, and boy did it seem really long winded."

4) Thimble Summer Disliked
"Thimble Summer was set in the Depression era of early America, and told the story of a nine year old girl. First published in 1938, it's no wonder the text felt so dated and the story boring."

5) Cat Running Disliked
"Though a modern book (published in the 90s), this book felt much the same as Thimble Summer. A young girl in the hot summer. She was a runner, but her father wouldn't let her wear "slacks" so she had to run in skirts. I read up to the 20% point, and though this was written by a "three-time Newbery Honor-winning author," the plot never seemed to get more complex than that. "

6) Simon Thorn And The Wolf's Den Disliked
"Unfortunately this was an example of a really bad YA book -- the writing was so immature, the writer had no trust in her readers, the adults were generally bad/untrusting just because they were adults in a YA story, etc. "

7) Fisherman of the Inland Sea Disliked
" Her voice didn't work at all for me. I read the first story, skimmed most of the second, but the third was where the book really lost me."

8) Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard Okay
"The worldbuilding was good. But once the plot got rolling (the quest for a drug that only the Fants knew about), the story lost me."

9) Behemoth (Apex Predator Book 1) Hated
"It's like he keeps using words at random, like he doesn't know what 'albino' or 'slapped' mean..."

10) Cobalt Slave Hated
"I didn't get much more than a page in, it was just that bad."

11) The Dragons Return Disliked
" Though it was only three years since the dragons appeared, somehow he had built a stone tower (three stories tall plus a deep basement) to live in. And he could do magic. Real, serious magic, like summoning elementals from another plane. Then elves showed up. And oh hey, and Atlantis was real too."

12) Villains by Necessity Disliked
"For supposedly being "Evil", the two of them were awfully good guys..."

13) Where the Deer Dwell Hated
"She loves her boss. He's the ~perfect~ man, so wonderful and attractive and cares about her and just ~perfect~. Except he's happily married. So, since she cannot have that ~perfect~ man, she decides life is just not worth living."

14) Ebon Moon Disliked
"The best thing by far about this book was the cover."

15) The Three Feathers Okay
"It's based on A Course in Miracles, which looks like some mishmash of New Age stuff, and the author states that Jesus guided her writing of it."

16) Tiger Born (Demon Age Book 1) Okay
"Melanie Nilles wrote that M. A. Nilles is her "dark side". She gave her "dark side" credit for writing the book..."

17) Grotto of the Dancing Deer: And Other Stories (The Complete Short Fiction of Clifford D. Simak Book 4) Okay
"The writing was quite dated (duh, he wrote from 1930 until 1980), but that wasn't why I stopped reading this book. None of the stories hooked me, or even mildly interested, so after reading the first couple I just abandoned this book."

18) Wildcatter Hated
"Between the 'hind legs' and 'mate' use, I'm almost wondering if this had originally been a furry novel and the author changed it for publication."

19) Rain: Rise of the Living Dead Disliked
"It's like the author said "I want X to happen," so had the best friend do things to make X happen, nevermind that no reasonable person, let alone a best friend, would do those things to another person."

20) Warclaw Disliked
"So, to be clear, Warclaw spend about 12 hours doing nothing but biting this female wolf's throat trying to kill her..."

21) That Game We Played During the War Loved
(In the Abandoned section because it's a short story, can't count as a full book.)
"Though on opposite sides of the war, and with that figurative minefield between them, the two still cared for each other and friendship was growing."

22) Where Wolves Run Okay
"Plot was pretty generic (when a man was a little kid, his family was killed by werewolves, so he grew up to be a werewolf hunter, only to have werewolves kill his wife and almost kill his kid while he was out hunting.)"

23) Hyperion Disliked
"...even though it was only published in 1989, it felt oddly dated."

24) The Fur Trader Okay
" The ex-military man was too cool for school and rather perfect at living out in the wilds alone, including facing down bears and driving them off with his voice alone, then peeing on trees to mark his land as his own."

25) Dog Country Disliked
" One of the Amazon reviewers called this not just military scifi, but heavy military scifi, and that was right. Page after page about how the troops moved on the game field, detailed description about cleaning guns, etc. "

26) The Book of the Dun Cow Disliked
"Though the characters were all talking animals, none of them felt at all like a real animal."

27) The Magnificent 12 Disliked
"If the book insulted itself, why should I like it?"

28) Darkness on a Pale Blue Stone Hated
"I loved the title of this book. Unfortunately that was the only good thing about it."

29) Mirage Hated
"Turns out this book was about 9/11, though the "sides" were reversed -- America was the terrorist country, and we bombed "twin towers" in the Islam world."

30) The Dinosaur Knights Disliked
"Long-winded, the dinosaurs were treated as horses and other animals, nothing special or interesting -- they got no more mention or description than a horse might in a story."

31) Love Sucks and Then You Die Okay
"This book had all the issues I've previously mentioned about Grant/Applegate."

32) The Hungry Fox (No rating)
"Why oh why did I have a children's book on my Kindle? Not a YA book, not a young reader book, a children's book. It had maybe 20 sentences of text total."

33) Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble Hated
"...the bad guy seemed nothing but evil (no shades of grey in the book) -- HOW DATE PEOPLE WANT TO SAVE ANIMALS? THEY'RE DIRTY, THOSE ANIMALS! THE PLANET IS MEANT FOR PEOPLE!"

34) Dog Diaries: Ginger Disliked
"Like Noah Zarc, the writing was really, really simplistic and the characters black/white."

35) Midnight's Sun Disliked
"The wolves in this book were just plain odd (like they had religion and a court system for when wolves broke the rules)."

36) Werewolves of Brooklyn Disliked
"I think it was the quality of the writing and that the main character wasn't believable."

37) The Adoration of Jenna Fox Okay
"In it a teenage girl wakes up with no memories at all, not even her name. Her family tells her she's been in a coma for a year, and her memories will come back. But things keep not adding up, and why does one member of her family speak about her in the past tense?"

38) Children of the Dawnland Disliked
"I didn't believe any of the characters as children (the oldest was 12, but they all sounded like adults). That was an issue, as the story centered around the children."

39) Stardogs Disliked
"The main characters were "dogs" (not really anything like dogs, as far as I could tell), that could fly through space, use wormholes, etc without any space suits. Apparently they didn't need to breathe?"

40) Flynn's Log 1: Rescue Island Hated
"The Author! Has no idea! How to write! This book! Was about! A guy who gets sucked into Minecraft! It's unbelievable! And poorly written! And nearly every sentence ends in an exclamation point!"

41) Sims Disliked
"However, the meat of the tale was about a lawyer who was working for their rights, and the company that created the sims. That might have been okay, if there had been a single believable human character in the book."

42) Click Here To Start Disliked
"The main teenage character played "Escape the Room" puzzle games (where you have to just click on everything you can to find clues, then put them together to escape), and when his hoarder uncle dies and leaves him everything he owns, the kid has to play an "Escape the Room" game for real. zzz"

43) The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog Okay
"I liked Hank's voice, but the story was just flat for me."

44) The Wild Ones Okay
"Though a YA book (or younger?) it had some surprisingly dark scenes."

45) Chasing Sunrise Hated
"The writing wasn't good, the story didn't hook me, and after the glossary that was three strikes."

46) MindWar
"So Mr Perfect McPerfect is also perfect at playing video games."

47) Field One Disliked
"My kindle tells me I gave up at 4% in, which is faster than usual, but I just don't remember why."

48) Immortal Guardians (Spirit Animals: Fall of the Beasts, Book 1) Disliked
"The bad guy was EVIL EVIL McEVIL and went around stealing all the legendary spirits and turning them into tattoos on himself."

49) Tender Morsels Disliked
"While it didn't go into graphic detail, the father was sexually abusing her, having sex with her nightly (except when she was having her period, then he abused her about that). Hell, he just abused her all the time, no matter what she said or did."

50) Omnia Online Hated
"Aliens were watching Earth, waiting for us to get advanced enough for them to contact without changing us too much. To hurry us along, they set up a virtual reality online game."

51) Dragons Blight Hated
"Oh look, another self-published book with multiple mistakes per page."

52) Trust In Me Disliked
"A "dark erotic" book that was neither dark nor erotic."

53) Wardogs Okay
"An alien race made contact with Earth, slowly gave us tech and such, made themselves friends and allies, then the other shoe dropped: There was another alien race out there, ones hunting this first one, and they needed our help to fight them. Luckily humans are good at that."

54) Universe Online - Enter the Game Hated
Author's note: "I consider myself an 'okay' writer, but definitely not a great one. I don't have the learning, training, or experience to go that far. I'm just fine being an amateur author though, so that really isn't an issue. The problem comes in that I'm probably the most terrible proofreader and editor alive. Hahahaha."

55) Lionboy: The Chase Disliked
"...whole pages of dialogue were in Italian! Seriously, what the hell? There's giving flavor to a story and then there's whole pages of stuff you can't read."

56) Centurion and Emperador Okay
"I went into this book thinking it was a graphic novel, so I was surprised to find it was a preschool book."

57) The Blind Dragon Okay
"I really, REALLY liked the interactions with the dragon, but they were too few and far between."

58) The Iron Ship Dislike
"The descriptions of the world itself were interesting, but nothing else hooked me, and I gave up on this one fast."

59) The Boy Who Drew Cats and Other Japanese Fairy Tales Disliked
"There was nothing at all wrong with them, they were mildly interesting, but 'mildly interesting' isn't enough to keep me reading."

60) Wild Blue: The Story of a Mustang Appaloosa Disliked
"I'm sure kids might like the writing style. It tended to be very excited! Things happened! Look at all these things happening! Things! You can tell it's exciting just by the writing!"

61) Child of a Hidden Sea Okay
"Then it became a murder mystery, and her genius brother (literally a genius) showed up in the world, and my interest went through the floor."

62) Bitter Seeds Hated
"I especially don't want to read about Nazi characters who buy children and drill into their skulls (complete with description of the smell of burning bone and the children screaming)."

63) Duncton Wood Okay
"It kept using 'mole' in annoying ways though (like "Has anymole seen him?"), and that was the final straw to me giving up on the book."

64) Secret of the Wolves Disliked
"The plot was unclear. Something about how gods had wanted to have wolves work with humans, and the wolves agreed, then someone (wolves or man) broke that promise. Thousands of years in the future, we arrive at current time..."

65) Promise of the Wolves Disliked
"Why would a first book start with an info dump? I slogged through that, but found the same issues with story and writing, so gave up on this one as well."

66) Beneath a Winter Moon Disliked
"This one had a very long, very poorly written author's forward. It ended with "Note: This book has been edited by the author, only." I gave it a couple pages into the story to see if it would be as poorly edited as I suspected. It was."

67) Insert Coin to Continue Disliked
"Unfortunately, right from the first page, this story really didn't work for me."

68) Warscapia Hated
"Written in first person, the main character sounded like an overexcited five year old."

69) Tandem (Many-Worlds Trilogy Book 1) Disliked
"...the whole entire story was about a girl, a plain "nerdy" girl, who high school's hottest guy falls in love with for no apparent reason."

70) The Erth Dragons: Wearle Book 1 Okay
"The writing killed the story for me."

71) Spin Disliked
" If the author had focused on the scifi aspects of this story, I would probably have loved it, but instead it felt like the scifi elements were just window dressing for the relationship story."

72) The Lieutenant Disliked
"It read like a Master and Commander fanfic/knockoff."

73) Ex-Heroes Okay
"The plot followed a small group of survivors living on a Hollywood movie lot. What a fun idea!"

74) The Cageless Zoo Disliked
"A family goes to "galaxy's only Cageless Zoo" (caps by the author), and of course something goes wrong and the animals attack the guests."

1) Paleo Disliked
"I like dinosaurs. I like stories told from an animal's POV. So I should like Paleo since it's stories told from dinosaurs' POVs. Unfortunately the art made it really hard to like (and read)."

2) Love: The Lion Liked
"Unfortunately, because we were dealing with lions (tawny) in a dry African plain, the colors tended to be dull. Lots of dark yellows. It's pretty telling that my favorite images (behind the cut, click below) were ones with color."

3) Hidden Universe Travel Guides: The Complete Marvel Cosmos Liked
"What a fun book this is! As the title implies, it's set up just like a tour book, just for the whole universe."

4) Love Volume 4: The Dinosaur Liked
"While the artwork was really nice in Dinosaur, I wish the pictures had been a lot more colorful.... modern day reptiles can be colorful, why can't dinosaurs be? Or at least the plants and trees/ground around them?"

Hopefully 2017 will be another great year of reading! With fewer abandoned books. (It would be hard to have more!)
Tags: 2016 books overview, book review
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