It is a good thing I started 2016 with a bang because I am ending it with a whimper. Well, maybe not quite a whimper, more like less of a bang. Like one of those champagne poppers versus the full Fourth of July fireworks. I had all kinds of grand reading plans for 2016. I discovered reading challenge groups on Goodreads and it was like the universe magically expanded. Then I went out and got one of those adult full time job things. Good bye grand plans. One of the wonderful things about my adult job is that it is at a school which means I have been on break for the last week. This gives me time to review my year of reading.
Top 5 Reads
1.) A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
-This is a middle grade novel. I devoured it in an hour. At the end of that hour I was an emotional wreck. This book should be required reading for any child (or even adult) who is grieving a loved one. The illustrations were gorgeous. If nothing else, pick this book up for the pictures. This book is being made into a movie for wide release in 2017 (currently it is limited release), featuring Liam Neeson as the Monster. As much as I love Liam Neeson, I think this movie will disappoint me as much as any book ever made into a movie.
2.) Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood
-Phryne Fisher just might be my new favorite fictional female. She is brilliant. The best part about these novels going forward, they are short. I tried an episode of the television series. I think the actress cast to play Phryne is brilliant but the story line veered too far from the books to keep my interest. I might have to come back to it once I have worked my way through all the books.
3.) Medicis' Daughter by Sophie Perinot
-How is it possible everybody and their mother has written a book about the Tudors but there is so little about their counterparts across the Channel? The French royals are just as scandal filled as any of the Tudor monarchs. Marguerite de Valios is a tragic figure and the bride at the original Red Wedding. To me the sign of good historical fiction is when I find myself desperately wishing for history to change just to save characters from their known fate. This book had me crying like a baby, begging for Margot to be saved from her impending fate.
4.) The Martian by Andy Weir
-I stepped well outside my bubble for this book. I am not a big reader of science fiction. I have minimal interest in space travel. While picking up this book is not likely to encourage me to read more science fiction, I'm not disappointed that I read this novel. Mark Watney had me in stitches. The other adult in my house was so curious to see what I was giggling about that he took the book from me as soon as I was done.
5.) Margaret the First by Danielle Dutton
- I knew nothing about Margaret Cavendish, the first woman to be invited to the Royal Society of London. This book didn't really provide me with a great deal of information about the Duchess but it was enchanting none the less. The words just floated along on the pages. Their was such a lyrical air surrounding me while I was reading that it was hard not to be disappointed when things came to an end after only 176 pages.
Worst 5 Reads
1.) The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
-Yet another over hyped bestseller that reminded me why I stay away from over hyped bestsellers. I couldn't even bother to finish the last part of the book. I looked up the ending on Wikipedia.
2.) The Visitors by Sally Beauman
-What should have been a fascinating thriller about the discovery of King Tut's tomb, was nothing more than a hot mess that should have been buried in a tomb.
3.) The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard 2) by Rick Riordan
-At this point it is pretty obvious Riordan is only writing because Disney has already paid him. It's the same story with different characters (well, mostly different). The shots he took at police officers in this books was particularly deplorable.
4.) Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Parts 1 and 2) by J.K. Rowling
-I don't even want to talk about this. The disappointment is still too raw.
5.) Bohemian Gosepl by Dana Chamblee Carpenter
-Another highly recommended book that turned into an utter disappointment.
1.) The Hourglass Factor by Lucy Ribchester
-I have little to no interest in the women's suffrage movement in England (despite being a woman who is grateful to all those women did for me and my daughters) so this book was not on my radar. It was a featured book at my local library. The cover was so amazing that I had to pick it up. One of the few times where judging a book by its cover works.
2.) The Moon in the Palace- Weina Dai Randel
-A beautiful novel about a time and woman history often ignores.
3.) Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
-A rare, over-hyped bestseller that I found myself in love with. I immediately went out and bought the next four books.