A Look Back - Favorite Reads
For starters, let's take a look at my favorite books of the year (so far). I tend to be pretty stingy with 5-star reviews, with only 11 of them for the entire 2015 calendar year, but the first 6 months of 2016 have already seen 9 such 'perfect' books. If the second half of the year is half as good, I'll be a very happy reader.
Not surprisingly, Fantasy novels have once again dominated the 5-star shelf. Robert Jackson Bennett got us off to a great start in January with City of Blades; Brian Staveley made March memorable with The Last Mortal Bond; Sebastien de Castell kept things going into April with Saint's Blood; and Mark Lawrence opened May with The Wheel of Osheim, while Marc Turner closed it out with Red Tide.
Not far behind, Horror made a strong showing for the first half as well, with Jasper Bark's Stuck On You in March, and a pair of titles in June, starting with One Good Turn by Bryce Calderwood and ending with Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell by Paul Kane. Rather surprisingly, two of those titles (Bark & Calderwood) were WTF Friday titles, which I believe is a first for that feature.
Finally, Science Fiction made a rare appearance this year, thanks to The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again by A.C. Wise in February,
A Look Back - Disappointing Reads
Lest you think I've been overly generous with the stars this year, I've actually been highly selective, rating 4 books as 2-star or less, and abandoning another 5 titles to the DNF pile. Of those, All the Birds in the Sky and The Hatching were my biggest disappointments of the year, in that both were books I was really looking forward to, but which just didn't work for me.
Sadly, I also encountered one book this year that left me so uncomfortable I wasn't sure I even wanted to acknowledge reading it, prompting me to look into the author a bit more, just to see if perhaps what was meant to be sarcasm came across as a bit too sincere. Nope, his bullshit was completely sincere. I was so disgusted by the author's Twitter feed that I've vowed to never again mention him or his book by name, lest I inadvertently give his hatred a voice. Really, he's that bad.
A Look ahead - Anticipated Reads
Looking ahead to the second half of the year, there are several books that I'm anxiously awaiting (and a few for which I've already started campaigning for ARCs). Of those books, the titles I would consider to be my most-anticipated are:
- Twilight of the Dragons by Andy Remic [August 2, 2016]
- Of Sand and Malice Made: A Shattered Sands Novel by Bradley Beaulieu [September 6, 2016]
- The Gate To Futures Past: Reunification #2 by Julie E. Czerneda [Sept 6, 2016]
- The Wall of Storms by Ken Liu [October 4, 2016]
- The Librarians and The Lost Lamp by Greg Cox [October 11, 2016]
- The Secret History of Twin Peaks by Mark Frost [October 18, 2016]
- Willful Child: Wrath of Betty by Steven Erikson [October 18, 2016]
- Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection by Brandon Sanderson [Nov 22, 2016]