Friday, January 6, 2012

HAPPY NEW YEAR

A year in review 2011:
It is the 12th day of Christmas and so I thought it was time to talk about some of my reading highlights from 2011. It seems every blog does this and I can see why as I love reading others thoughts on the books I have discovered. Before I hand out any awards some brief stats for you on my reading habits in 2011.
Total books read = 54
Most read genre = Fantasy (10 books not including re-reads).
Most read authors:
Stephen King = 5 books
George R R Martin = 5 books (including re-reads)
Robert McCammon = 3 books
Bernard Cornwell = 3 books
Tess Gerritsen = 3 books.
Wow, 54 books read when I normally average around 32 a year. I have certainly enjoyed reading in 2011 but I think this says an awful lot about my lack of productivity on the writing front as well. Something that            will have to be corrected this year. As for the authors listed, it makes sense as I consider these to be my favourite alongside John Connolly and Karin Slaughter.
Anyway on to the ceremony. We start with the biggest prize. The countdown of my top 5 books from last year in order. And in 5th place....
5. The seventh Scroll by Wilbur Smith.
 The Seventh Scroll
Having really enjoyed the first Warlock book I sure put off this one for a long time. I waited 4 years to read book 2 for some unknown reason and what a fool I was for waiting so long. Loved this  book.
4. Mister Slaughter – Robert McCammon.
Mister Slaughter
Fantastic continuation of the Matthew Corbett series. Mister Slaughter himself is one of my favourite villains every created on paper.
3. Now you see me – S J Bolton
Now You See Me
I am so happy to put this in my top 5 books of the year. It is normally a list dominated by fantasy or historical fiction. Any concerns I had about S J Bolton starting a formulaic detective series were clearly unfounded.
2. 11/12/69 – Stephen King
11/22/63
Apparently Stephen King has lost his talent for writing. I present to you exhibit A.
And the winner is....
1.    Best Served Cold – Joe Abercrombie.
Best Served Cold
Joe is fast becoming one of my favourites. I will be reading the Heroes soon and am really looking forward to it.
Those were the top 5 books I enjoyed last year. You can click on the links to see my proper reviews of them. However, an awards ceremony would not be a ceremony with only one award and so...
Best new Series discovered:
Sword of Shadows: The Cavern of Black Ice – J.V. Jones.
A Cavern of Black Ice
This is one of only a handful of authors that has the potential to match the excellence of my favourites. Hopefully book 2 does not disappoint.
Best continuation of a series:
Mister Slaughter – Robert McCammon.
Mister Slaughter
See above for my opinion on this book.
Favourite scene from a book:
The dragon lands in front of Dany in a Dance with Dragons.
A Dance with Dragons
This was the most anticipated book of the year. Whilst it did not receive universal praise I for one loved it. George’s writing was as strong as ever and I think it was only people’s expectations that hampered their enjoyment of the book. I really hope the series does not become like the Star Wars franchise, where it is popular to slate George after his initial genius. The scene above had everything. It was one of the few times my heart beat so fast in reaction to what was unfolding. A perfect demonstration of creating tension.
Biggest surprise:
The Kinshield legacy – K C May.
The Kinshield Legacy
I had seen this book mentioned in passing on various forums. I thought the blurb sounded good and bought it on a whim. It was far better than I thought it would be.
Biggest disappointment:
The Seven Ancient Wonders
The seventh scroll – Matthew Reilly
I really dislike saying anything negative about an author. If they have managed to get published then good luck to them. Matthew Reilly has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. His writing is not the best and neither are his characters, but he can write action sequences better than anyone. This book was hard to defend though.