Reads of 2015

If I thought my reading list the last couple of years was pitiful, this year has been atrocious, but there are a few worth mentioning.

As You Wish by Cary Elwes is a must for any fan of The Princess Bride if only for the many reminiscences and stories behind the scenes of the cast. I finally read J.K.Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy with high hopes, yet I’m unsure how I feel about this book. I can appreciate the story, but the style was a little too much tell rather than show for me. I didn’t watch the television series because I have heard they insisted on a rather more upbeat ending. Not having the series to compare to the book, all I can say is I have no reservations about the end. It’s a consistently bleak book, but not all stories need to be promising.

I read all the Dexter volumes being a fan of the series and had no problem separating the stories from the show. As many things are similar as they are different. I’m making the rare choice here in preferring the show. The series did far more with the character.

I cannot recap on this year’s reads without mentioning The Forgotten Son by Andy Frankham-Allen, the first of a series of Lethbridge-Stewart books ‘The Brigadier of Doctor Who fame’. A good opening setting for a well-loved character. I have reviewed the book and will repost that review sometime in the new year.

The Fault in Our Stars was a surprising read, far more poignant than I expected it to be while A New York Winter’s Tale left me wondering whether I’d read something incredible, audacious, or ultimately aimless and futile. I’ve such mixed feelings over the book that I really cannot decide and maybe in that the book served the writer’s intention. It’s neither a romance nor a steampunk fantasy though it put me in mind of one. The only recommendation I can make is to read the book and discard the movie that is a truly poor adaptation of a far-more-complex story.

I finally caught up on George R.R.Martin’s ‘Game of Thrones’ novels and like so many await more releases. Daughter of Ashes, by Esther Mitchell, is worth a mention for the world-building.

I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading, L.Joseph Shosty’s book Old Wine & Black Hearts. The title and the cover had me already, appealing to the Dark Fiction themes I enjoy. The contents were an odd but pleasant surprise because there’s no way to anticipate these stories. The book is divided into two sections. Old Wine contains an eclectic mix of the bizarre and disturbing. I thought the first story in the collection the weakest, but it proved to be a more gentle introduction into an unorthodox selection of unpredictable tales. A couple of favourites are Strings, which has a deeper layer and could mean different things to different people while They Burned Old Ben has a thread of dark humour that’s unsettling.

A Sincere Warning About The Entity in Your Home, by Jason Arnopp, is a short release of a semi-predictable horror story but told in a way that captured my interest. I’d never heard of the writer before, but his resume and style will have me looking up more of his work.

So I end the year on Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn…another book that has left me with mixed feelings. I don’t like books told in the first person as much as third especially when more than one viewpoint is used and perhaps owing to this for the first third of the book it didn’t really work for me. The character presented in her early diary entries was so instantly unlikable I didn’t care what had happened to her, was merely curious. Perhaps the writer in me kept me reading because I had several theories. I don’t want to give away the story so it’s easier to keep to the impression I’m left with. This is a story about two complex but unlikable people who deserved each other, which doesn’t seem like the basis for a good novel; however, it’s clever and thought-provoking. Definitely, one that when read you want to discuss. Unfortunately, it also has one of the worst sentences I’ve come across in such an acclaimed book; had I written such a sentence and not edited it out, any one of my editors would have had me walking on hot coals. I keep thinking it has to be an error, but I have a sad feeling it’s not.

As always, hoping to do better with my reading this coming year.

2 thoughts on “Reads of 2015

  1. I wish I read Gone Girl first and then watched the film. The film was pretty epic and I personally love first person narrative. I think I would love reading the book as the POV is unreliable as well.

    The site is looking wonderful btw – hope you had a good Christmas and I hope 2016 brings you lots of happiness (and maybe Dean and Jay, lol).

  2. I read the book before seeing the film. Enjoyed both but preferred the book. On review, it probably sounds as if I didn’t like the book but that’s not true. There’s a few clever ruses in the narrative that’s too easy to give away in an in-depth review so I’ve avoided writing one. I really would encourage people to give it a go and stick with it if they’re unsure.

    Nice to hear you like first person as it’s not widely as liked as third. I prefer third but I’ve followed some very good series and authors who use nothing but first. Generally though, it doesn’t always tend to sell as well.

    We had a very good though sometimes working Christmas, a relaxing New Year’s Eve where I refused to do anything much (my birthday lol), and am feeling hopeful for a good 2016. Whether we stop where we are for a time or not, things have improved and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. Have been able to turn our backs on some truly horrible circumstances and people.

    Glad you like the site. I spent ages doing it over and splitting things up. You can find my romance site at: https://sharonmariabidwell.wordpress.com/ though I’ll mostly just post releases and news there, not blog.

    Happy New Year to you, too!

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