Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

2012 – A year in review:
Well we made it! No end of the world for us. Not that the Mayans themselves thought it would end but we do like to make a drama out of things. It has been an interesting year. Sleep deprived is the first thing that springs to mind, but two excellent boys make it all worthwhile.
We have also had the Olympics and the Queen’s diamond jubilee. Both of which were much derided at the start of the year, but ended up being one of the best things that have happened to this country and created an amazing buzz for a couple of months.
Writing wise, I managed around 50,000 words. Not ideal but then not too shabby considering all that I had going on either. Next year, I am determined to finish the second book in the Ballad of Frindoth trilogy. I think I will do it, I am also determined to hit my target of sending the first book out to at least twenty publishers (only 4 so far).
In terms of the blog, I have now had over 18,500 visits since it began. That is tremendous. I regularly receive around 30 visits a day which is just brilliant. I can’t thank you enough and hope this figure continues to grow.
This readership is in no small part to the regular contributions of reviews from Jacqui. I owe her a massive thank you as she is just as responsible for making the blog what it is as I am. Without her, there would be days where nothing is posted as I sometimes struggle to balance everything. Between us, we have managed 150 posts this year. Most of them are well over 500 words in length, which considering we both have full time jobs and other commitments is pretty good I’d say.
We hoped to write this post together, but due to me being stupidly busy over Christmas, I have not managed to raise anything. Maybe, Jacqui can do her own blog in the next few weeks? (How’s that for pressure?) But in all seriousness, Jacqui has been generous in her time and I am truly grateful.
So how much did I read this year? Two years ago I averaged 32 books a year. Last year I blew that out of the water and read a whopping 54 books. This year I read even more...
Total books read = 72
Most read genre = Fantasy (16)
Not sure how I found the time to do read all of those books. The longer commute has certainly helped but by Jove that is a vast amount of books. Even more frightening is the fact that I slowed down considerably from October onwards when the Kindle Fire came out and I found myself playing games on it. I doubt I will read that many next year but you never know.

Most read authors:
Stephen King = 5
Bernard Cornwell = 3
James Patterson = 3
Karin Slaughter = 3
Tess Gerritsen = 3
Suzanne Collins = 3
Wow, I might as well copy and pasted last year’s stats. This surprised me as I definitely experimented with a lot of new authors this year. I guess, every time I did not enjoy a book, I returned to the one of my favourite authors. I read two books by both Robert McCammon and John Connolly my other two favourites authors, the former I’m not sure why and the latter because I have read everything he has written.
Anyway on to the Awards Ceremony
Top 5 books of the year:
5. Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen
This book was part of my initiative to try new genres. It was the second one I tried and I absolutely loved it. The film did not do a too bad adaptation either but as always the book was far superior.
4. The Wind through the Keyhole – Stephen King
The Wind Through the Keyhole
King treated us to a return to his Ka-tet and did not disappoint. Reading about Roland and co again was like meeting old friends.
3. The Providence Rider – Robert McCammon
The Providence Rider
McCammon does not seem to miss with this series. Every entry gets stronger and stronger. In this book we at last meet the infamous Professor Fell – he exceeds expectations.
2. When the Lion Feeds. – Wilbur Smith.
When the Lion Feeds
Last year I lamented that I took so long to read second Smith book. This year I went back to his debut which was the best book I had read of his so far. Fast becoming one of my favourite authors.
1.    Red Country – Joe Abercrombie
For the second year running Joe takes the honours. Considering I read the Heroes this year as well, I was really spoilt for choice. Red Country steals the award for me, as I was in the mood all year for a western type book and this hit the spot.
Best New Series Discovered:
Legend – David Gemmell
Douglas Hullick deserves a mention but although it might be the last book I have read this year Legend steals it for me. I can’t wait to read more.
Best old author discovered (Author that has been around a while and I have only just started to read).
Jennifer Fallon.
I saw the Wolfblade trilogy in the charity shop and liked the looks of them. The first book surprised and delighted me.
Best continuation of a series:
Dark Fire – C J Samson
Dark Fire
Although there might have been other books that continued a series that I rated higher, this book reminded me how much I loved the first book and made me by the others in the series immediately.
Best scene from a book:
Red Country – Joe Abercrombie
Again, there were a few candidates,  Matthew Corbett sitting a Professor Fell’s dinner table in the “Providence Rider”, the scene in the field in “the Twelve” or Alex Cross facing down the deranged father in “Merry Christmas Alex Cross,” but the scene that wins is Lamb’s entrance into the bar in “Red Country.” It had been years since we say Ninefingers do his thing, and he had never done in better than in that bar.
Biggest surprise:
Ender’ s Games – Orson Scott Card
Ender's Game
There were a couple that could go in here. I was surprised how much I enjoyed the Hunger Games trilogy and how the third book in the Twilight series was actually very good but for me considering my aversion to sci-fi I loved Enders Game.
 Biggest disappointment:
The Twelve – Justin Cronin
I was really looking to the follow to the Passage. Unfortunately I have to put the Twelve down as a big disappointment. Although there, were some excellent writing contained within the book.
So that is it. I hope you enjoyed the award ceremony. I wish you a very Happy and prosperous New Year.