Always With You, Andrea Hurst, Anna St George, Book Review, Books, Bottom Five, C.B.Calsing, C.J.Skuse, Children's Books, Christian Fiction, Christina Murphey, Comedy, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Fantasy, Fran Seen, Franny The Fearless Firefly, Historical Fiction, Horror, Insatiable, Kristen Pham, Lani Taylor, Lionheart, Meg Cabot, Middle Grade, Monster, New Adult, New Year, Overbite, Romance, Storm Summer, The Dressmaker And Her Daughters, The Society of Imaginary Friends, Thriller, Top Five, YA Fiction
Coming up to the end of the year and I’m sure everyone’s keen to know the best of what the year had to offer. Although if I’m honest, the book didn’t need to be released this year for me to review it, I only had to read it.
So without further ado here are my five best and worst reads of 2016.
5th Worst, Crossing the street to avoid an annoying co-worker and having them see.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Lani Taylor
Despite having a Mary-Sue for a protagonist this book got off to a strong start, with demons and wishes, and doors leading to different universes. Shame it threw it all out the window half way through with over one hundred pages of go-nowhere, hyper-contrived romance between two characters that should have been wearing t-shirts labelled ‘how not to write’. It might have been saved from the bottom five if it had pulled out that nose dive, but unfortunately it’s 100-page detour seemed to make the author forget what she was writing.
5th Best, Getting a blissfully calm night’s sleep, dreaming of kittens.
Lionheart -Fran Seen
I struggled to find a number five this year. Lionheart went alongside two other reads (Basically Frightened and The Ghost Of Christmas Past) that I enjoyed but didn’t ignite a desire in me to tell everyone I know to buy them so they can share my uplifting experience. In the end, Lionheart won out because I like a good romance book and it was the only one this year I didn’t feel utterly failed by. As you’ll note this is the only romance in the top five, whereas the bottom five is full of the genre.
4th Worst, Making toast only to realise you’ve run out of butter.
Overbite – Meg Cabot
Usually, unplanned sequels fail in comparison to their parent book, but never quite this hard. The main character has such a personality shift from no-nonsense bad ass to simpering idiot that even though her name stayed the same I genuinely thought she was a different person. I was never clear at any one time what the characters wanted to happen and why. And I either didn’t get the humour or Cabot forgot to put it in. Either way, this comedy book is a failure
4th Best, Having Orlando Bloom bring you breakfast in bed after the aforementioned sleep.
Franny The Fearless Firefly – Christina Murphey
Usually, I wouldn’t like to put books for very young children up here. It takes a very different set of skills, after all, to write a picture book to a plot-heavy narrative. However, that doesn’t change the fact that FTFF was everything a children’s book should be, fun, colourful and informative, with little facts in the back of the book and a dictionary for some of the words to encourage learning. Perfect book for young kids.
3rd Worst, Suffering a home invasion by your inlaws.
Always With You – Andrea Hurst
300 Pages of absolutely nothing happening except erotic vegetable chopping, one pg-13 adulterous sex scene and… of no wait, that was the whole book. I wish I was joking.
3rd Best, Having a chocolate fountain installed in your living room.
Monster – C.J.Skuse
Again not something I expected to be in my top five, as Thriller/Horror is not usually my genre of choice. However Monster was by far the best-paced book I’ve read this year, full of suspense and gothic themes without going overboard. I shunned around three actual responsibilities to power read it.
2nd Worst, Being tied to a chair and forced to watch the entire Twilight Saga in one sitting.
The Dressmaker And Her Daughters – Anna St Gorge
Even if you can get past the writing, which is so bad this would have been my worst book of the year if I was basing my decision on execution alone, all you get in return is a romance about four sisters that is somehow both shallow and deeply disturbing. A warning that it’s very heavy Christian fiction would have been nice, especially since we’re dealing with some serious old testament kind of God. The only redeeming quality in my whole experience reading this is I got a few good ‘I can’t believe this is real’ laughs out of it.
2nd Best, Hearing the phrase ‘My dream house would have a library’ on a first date.
Storm Summer – C.B. Calsing
Despite some typographical errors I can’t put Storm Summer any lower on the list as it’s the book I’ve read this year with the most heart. A family-focused narrative with great characters and an arss-clenchingly thrilling conclusion. As an added bonus the titular storm is the only historical fabrication I can see.
Absolute Worst, Winning the lottery only to remember you left the ticket at your cheating ex’s house.
The Society of Imaginary Friends – Kristen Pham
I’m going to justify my choice here with a quote: “’And now she’s sort of like, um, what you would think of as the Globe’s President.’
Valerie’s eyes widened nervously. What was the proper way to show a unicorn respect? Especially a Unicorn that was President of the magical world?”
I’m very upset this sentence exists. This book is everything I hate in fantasy, Mary-Sue filled, complete lack of coherent world rules, nonsensical plot and to top it all off – bad writing. May it fade from memory as quickly as possible, lest I’m seized with the urge to try and gauge it out with a spoon.
Absolute Best, Inheriting Buckingham Palace from a long lost relative.
Insatiable – Meg Cabot
I couldn’t let the fact this book’s sequel is on my worst list drag it down. Comedy books are given a lot of free passes; because why write well when people are still laughing? On top of being funny Insatiable was well put together with a great main character who I would have actually loved to have seen outside a comedy book. Meg Cabot at her best.