The Snobbery’s Naughty and Nice List 2012 Edition (Part V)

So I saw a comment in my twitter feed last Wednesday (the day the previous installment was posted), where someone was wishing that people would stop posting Best Of lists.  The bitchy contrary part of me immediately said (yes, out loud) “MAKE TEN MORE LISTS!!!!”  Now (and partially because Em is totally a bad influence) I’m trying to come up with increasingly ridiculous lists.  You might see some.  OR YOU MIGHT NOT.  You might also get a round of posts full of foul language after my dad makes me go see The Hobbit next weekend.  I DON’T KNOW YET.  You’ll have to wait and see.

ANYWAY, this post is going to cover things I read this year that I loved that didn’t make it onto the last list.

~o~

Mrs Claus with the Naughty List

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sj’s TIP TOP FAVOURITE Books Read in 2012

moers

ALL THE WALTER MOERS!

Susie DMed me in August, telling me she’d suggested my name to Tara as someone who might be interested in a blog tour she (Tara) was setting up for the upcoming Labyrinth of Dreaming Books.  “Have you/would you be interested in reading Walter Moers?” she asked.

At that point, I’d never even heard of him, but City of Dreaming Books sounded like something that was right up my alley, so I said I would be THE MOST INTERESTED, SEND ME ALL THE BOOKS! (um, paraphrasing)

I fell in love with CoDB within the first few pages.  Like, hard.  And then I got angry.  Because I couldn’t believe that NO ONE HAD BOTHERED TO TELL ME ABOUT THESE BOOKS BEFORE NOW!  There are very few authors who can write something that feels like it was written expressly for me.  The further I got into that book (and then subsequent books), the more I realized I was reading the exact sort of thing I’d ask someone to write for me – y’know, if that sort of thing were okay.

Walter Moers has been added to my list of “ZOMG, CAN’T WAIT MUST READ NAO!” authors.  There aren’t many on that list, so I hope he realizes what an honour it is to be there.  Hee.  Also, there are two other books already translated into English that I haven’t read yet, but I’ll be buying those for myself right after the holidays, when it’s okay to spend money on myself again.

Unless someone wants to buy me presents, then you can get me The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear and Rumo & His Miraculous Adventures.  Just sayin’.

~o~

My New Favourite Thursday Next Novel by Jasper Fforde

I’ll admit that I’m a little bit of an asshole about this.  Not EVERY BOOK can be my favourite, but every time I finish one of these I say “Nope.  That one’s my favourite.  Forget the rest, this one is the best.”  I REALLY MEAN IT THIS TIME!  Which kind of surprised me, because on paper, this book should have been one of my least favourites in the series.

It didn’t have ANY of the stuff I loved about the last few books, and it was set entirely in Swindon, which should have been the kiss of death…but somehow it wasn’t terrible.  No, in fact, it totally rocked.

I cried, I laughed, I wanted to punch things.  Isn’t that what we all hope we’ll get from our books?  That kind of emotional response, something that just makes you glad you know how to read?

By the time I got to the last page, I had a huge smile on my face and knew there was no way I’d be able to review it impartially.  Do me a favour, if you hate these books, please don’t tell me.  I get wildly irrational, and wouldn’t be able to pretend to be nice to you anymore.

He spent his life immersed in books to the cost of everything else, even personal relationships. “Friends,” he’d once said, “are probably great, but I have forty thousand friends of my own already, and each of them needs my attention.”

~o~

balrog

Obviously this summer wasn’t my first, tenth, or even twentieth time reading through Tolkien.  It was, however, the first time I’d attempted to read it with a group.  It was also the first time I’d actually tried to commit my thoughts on these books to writing.  Everyone that participated gives me warm fuzzies.  Thank you, so much for joining, for reading, for drinking along with the movies, for writing your own posts, and just for showing up to keep me from talking to myself.

Truly.  Thank you.  <3

(If you didn’t participate in the group read/watch, but are still interested in reading the posts and comments, click on the Puttin’ the Blog in Balrog menu right below the header.)

~o~

friends rule

So, this is a bit of promotion for some friends I love dearly and am incredibly proud of.  Volcanoes is Nicole‘s third book in her Grace Murphy series, and it’s her best yet.  I can’t review it because I’m FAR TOO CLOSE to it, but I can tell you that I love Grace (even when she’s an idiot) and I’m incredibly happy just knowing these books exist.

…AND THEN!  The lovely Amy had a book of poetry published this year!  AND IT’S SO GOOD!  I don’t usually read poetry but Amy made me want to read more.  No, seriously.

Go buy both of these books.  Or not.  But I think you should.

~o~

That’s all for today!  These are the books I loved the very very most in 2012, I hope you all had just as many new reading loves this year, too.  Thanks for reading.

The Snobbery’s Naughty and Nice List 2012 Edition (Part IV)

Now that my Rant Engines have been re-engaged, I’m having a hard time getting it together enough to talk about the things I loved this year.  AND THERE WERE SO MANY!  I might have to split this Nice post into two.  One for NEW things and one for things that were NEW TO ME.  Or I might just mix them up and put everything in neat little categories.

Sound good?

Honestly, I really don’t care if it sounds good because that’s how I’m doing it.  So there.

~o~

Mrs Claus with the Naughty List

~o~

sj’s Favourite Books of 2012

Best SF

The Deacon’s Tale by Arinn Dembo (reviewed Mar. 18)

Really, I shouldn’t have liked this as much as I did.  As you can see right there on the cover, this is a Sword of the Stars novel.  I don’t play, nor have I ever played Sword of the Stars (but it appears to have a decent following, I just don’t play many computer games anymore).  It’s set in an established future universe that should really only appeal to SotS gamers.

But I loved it.  No tedious infodumps for newbs, just good story telling.  And the best part?  There were these detailed Appendices at the end, that were really supposed to be for the players, but that I found incredibly helpful.

If you like space operas, give this a try.  As I said up there, you don’t have to’ve played the game to fall into this one.

Best YA

I have a few choices for this one, so just hang tight.

best ya 2012

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde (review haiku May 14), Debris Dreams by David Colby (reviewed Oct. 15) and Katya’s World (reviewed Oct. 1) by Jonathan L Howard

So, here we have 2 sf novels and a fantasy novel.  Other than the genre aspect, the only thing in common is how very SMART they are.  These are books that don’t assume young readers are stupid.  These are books that don’t act all condescending to their readers, just because they MIGHT not be adults.  I’ve already talked my 13 year old into reading the Fforde, but I’m still WORKING on getting him into sf, so the other two might be a bit of a struggle.

These are books that make me wish I knew more kids in their target age group so that I could hand them a bundle of awesome reading material this holiday.

If you have teens that like reading and you want to get them something that isn’t full of icky love triangles and stupid girls that need to be rescued every five seconds, buy them these books.

Best MG

httyd

How to Train Your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell

OKAY, YOU CAUGHT ME!

  1. I haven’t reviewed these here, only on goodreads.
  2. I haven’t actually finished the series, I have only read the first six books (but I do have the next 2, I’m just missing 9 and 10).

So, forgive me for that, but ZOMG WHY HAVEN’T YOU READ THESE YET?!  I know you’ve probably all seen the Dreamworks movie that claims to be based on the first book, but they ARE NOTHING ALIKE.  And, as my husband informed me last night, I’m not allowed to talk shit about the movie retroactively since I saw it before I read these, but…

I’m kind of going to anyway.

Sorry, husband.

It’s really unfair to compare the two.  They’re both set in the same place, and the characters (some of them) have the same names, but other than that they really don’t have a whole lot in common.  The books are a lot funnier than the movie was, and you won’t LOVE TOOTHLESS in the books like you did in the movie…unless you love him for being a little asshole all the time.  Because he totally is, but it’s hilarious.  Instead of getting Hiccup OUT of trouble, he’s usually the CAUSE of the trouble, and he shows zero remorse for it.

Adults, you’ll like these if you still retain your childish whimsy.  Parents, get them if you have little boys and girls that like Vikings and dragons and can appreciate a well-told fart joke.

Best Urban Fantasy

best uf 2012

The Collector series (reviewed June 19 and Aug. 26) by Chris F. Holm and the Miriam Black series (reviewed Jul. 16 and Jul. 23) by Chuck Wendig

Oh, look!  We could easily call this “sj’s ZOMG FAVOURITE Covers of the Year” or “Angry Robot Really Outdid Themselves With These Titles” or “Just Take My Money For The Next Twelve Books Already.”

I don’t know if there will be that many more with either of these series, but a girl can hope, yeah?

Anyway, the only thing these books have in common with each other (other than the things mentioned above) are their publisher and that they’re awesome.

The Collector series follows Sam, a basically good guy who made a few bad decisions and now works collecting the souls of the damned.  Both books are great, but I like the second a bit more.  It expands on the first (it’s not really necessary to read both, but you’ll catch cool little references if you read them back to back), but doesn’t get mired in further backstory than is necessary.  They’re both incredibly fastpaced and difficult to put down.  I really can’t wait to read The Big Reap in July.  CAN’T WAIT.

Miriam Black is not for the faint of heart.  If you’re adverse to swearing, or…well, just some gross out imagery, you should skip these.  Seriously.  There are a ton of really bad reviews by people who went in thinking they were getting another YA UF novel with a pretty cover and hated it because this wasn’t what they were expecting.  Kate told me after she read Blackbirds that she wanted to take a bunch of showers, and that’s pretty accurate.  You’ll feel a little dirty after finishing.  Carpet Noodle.

~o~

Next time, I’ll talk about my NEW FAVOURITE AUTHOR and a new book by one of my CURRENT FAVOURITES.  In the meantime, talk amongst yourselves.  What did you lovelovelove this year?

The Snobbery’s Naughty and Nice List 2012 Edition (Part III)

The other day was all full of warm fuzzies for music that I loved.  I can’t really post about music that I hated because I don’t listen to music I hate.  I DO, however, force myself to slog my way through books I can’t stand.  Let’s take a look at some of those, shall we?

Since I was forced to write a post about music I hate, that original paragraph doesn’t matter anymore.  I was going to do nice/naughty/nice, but now you get two naughty posts in a row.

Here are some books I think should DiaF.

Mrs Claus with the Naughty List

~o~

sj’s Worst Books Read in 2012

~o~

fifty-shades-of-grey-trilogy

Fifty Shades of WTS IS THIS ISH I’M READING?! by Stephenie Meyer EL James

I know you all know about these, so there’s not much I can say that hasn’t been said a billion times everywhere else on the internet, but dude.  I thought the first one was bad enough (and really, the sex wasn’t sexy so I feel bad for the people who think this not-all-that-kinky kink is truly hot, BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT HERE) with our virgin Ana losing her flower to multi-gazillionaire Dom Christian Grey, but they just got worse as they progressed.  Stalker sexually-harassing ex-boss?  I CAN TOP THAT WITH A HELICOPTER CRASH!  No, I am not joking.  And then it turns out that the harassing ex-boss was actually supposed to be adopted by the Greys, but was passed over in favour of Christian? ZOMG, SO MUCH DRAMZ.  Ridiculous.  I hated these.  And the worst part for me is that if something fanfic was going to be pulled to publish (don’t get me wrong, I have major problems with that, this is a total just sayin’ moment here), I can find you 20 pieces of fanfic right now that are better than this crap.  AT LEAST 20.  Full of typos, full of wonky sentence structure, the worst dialogue you’ve ever read.  Just don’t even bother, please?

If you’re looking for kinky erotica, try Anne Rice’s Sleeping Beauty books.  They’re miles beyond this.

~o~

Grave “Not really about assassin nuns at ALL” Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Some of you weren’t around when I wrote about this book for Trashy Tuesday, so maybe you should all go read that post before continuing?  Oh, and then read this, which was a FOLLOW UP post.  Okay, done reading those?  Good.

I know this book is going to end up on ALL the BEST OF 2012, ZOMG lists, but it was SO BAD.  So, so, so bad.  Seriously.  I don’t understand how someone can take an exciting premise like ASSASSIN NUUUUUUUUUUUUNS and make it stupid and boring.  Boring!  ASSASSIN NUUUUUUUUUUNS!  They should never be boring!  I made this audioboo for Meg while I was reading it (it was my first boo, so ignore how quiet I’m talking and how loud the fan on my laptop is) of a section of the book.  You can hear both my random pirate voice and the sound of me dying laughing at the end.

~o~

The Mortal Instruments

“I stole from every series anyone ever loved” by Cassie Clare

I read all of these this year, but only wrote about the first four for Trashy Tuesday.  By the time the fifth came out, I was pretty much deep in “Oh, who the fuck CARES?!” mode about them.  If you visit that first post, you’ll see that I said the author put Harry Potter, Buffy, X-Men, Lord of the Rings and Star Wars in a blender and poured this mess out.  I stand by that statement.  It also pisses me off to see people say “oh, she used to write fanfic, but she never PUBLISHED any of it!”  Um…really?  Cos I have a PDF of the Draco Trilogy (from when she still spelled her last name ‘Claire’) on my hard drive right now that begs to differ.  Whole passages lifted, just changing the names (cos she can’t have everyone knowing that Jace is really just leatherpants!Draco, can she – IT’S NOT OBVIOUS AT ALL), so…don’t try to tell me that she didn’t publish her fanfic.  She did.

I still need to write up the most recent, but I have ALREADY FORGOTTEN most of what happened and I don’t really feel like subjecting myself to that again.  Except I remember something about Jace being bound by evil and a TARDIS-like apartment that took them all over the world and was bigger on the inside.  Stupid.  Don’t read these.  Please.  Don’t let my hours spent reading them so you don’t have to be in vain.

~o~

Socialpunk by someone who doesn’t care enough to put their name on the cover

Monica Leonelle (the author, even if her name isn’t on the cover, you can trust me on this) came onto my radar because I (and 999 other people including Meg) won one of her books in a First Reads giveaway.  Not one of us ever received the book.  Why?  BECAUSE IT STILL HASN’T BEEN WRITTEN.

Let that sink in for a second.

Yes, 1000 people won a copy of a book that hasn’t been written at all.  Fun, right?  Yeah, but not really.

Anyway, this book was free on onlyindie.com (which apparently doesn’t exist anymore) and I like free things.  Except when I don’t.  And I didn’t.

It only took me a few hours to read, but it was so bad, those hours felt like I was being dragged naked across rusty nails embedded in shattered glass that was set on fire.

Maybe I exaggerate, but seriously.

Take The Matrix (which I already hate), cross it with every other dystopian teen story in existence, mix in a stupid cliffhanger where it turns out the boy she’s been sleeping with is gay, and you have this book.

I’m at a loss as to how it has any decent ratings at all, but maybe people like boring and predictable?  [shrug]

~o~

I Have Daddy Issues, So Will Write a Book About Myself by Charles Yu

As I already said in my mini-review of this book, I had expected something like Thursday Next meets Doctor Who.  You know, a time travel machine repairman that lives in a fictional universe where you can go hang out in Star Wars any time you want?  Where you can go back and forth in time at the press of a button?  It should have been cool, but IT WAS A LIE.

I told you all during my non-reviews of Justin Cronin’s Passage series that I’m not a fan of literary/genre fiction.  This could have been a lot of fun, but it wasn’t.  It was SO DEPRESSING.  I had to force myself to keep reading, and put it down several times.  It was just…ugh.

So, then!  I get emails from Pantheon about THE NEW CHARLES YU! and I think “OH, HELL NO!  You are NOT fooling me again!”  It’s again described as a mashup of literary and genre fiction.  I think I’m putting him on my “Done with this author forever” shelf, just as a reminder.  In case I ever think “OOOOOOH, that sounds AWESOME!” again, I’ll know that it just won’t be.

~o~

Okay.  There you have my most hated books of 2012.  Anything you read this year that you’re feeling particularly ragey about?

The Snobbery’s Naughty and Nice List 2012 Edition (Part II)

I wasn’t even going to talk about music I don’t like because I DON’T LISTEN TO MUSIC I DON’T LIKE! But you guys (specifically Heather D and Jen Hartling) bullied me into it, and now I’m going to have to do this and be stuck with this crap in my head FOREVER.  I kind of hate you right now, I hope you’re happy.

Mrs Claus with the Naughty List

~o~

Songs/Bands sj HATED in 2012

1.  Train – 50 Ways to Say Goodbye

ZOMG, WTF IS THIS?!  I like mariachi guitars and horns, okay?  No, seriously, I do.  It comes of spending a lot of my youth in Southern California and having neighbours that blasted this ish on weekends.  I especially enjoy when they’re employed non-ironically by punk and ska bands.  I DO NOT, HOWEVER, like when Train uses them.  This is probably one of the worst things I’ve heard in recent years.  It makes me want to stick chopsticks into my eardrums so I don’t have to be subjected to it ever ever ever again.

Not even The Hoff can save this shitty song.

~o~

2.  Gifted but Twisted – Six Pack

I don’t even remember where I first heard this, I think it might have been posted by one of my nieces on facebook over the summer.  I wanted it to be a joke.  Hell, I STILL want it to be a joke.  Please, let this be a joke.  Notice that dude does not, in fact, have a six pack.  Also notice that all of the “beers” featured in the video are full.  No one is actually drinking or having a good time or  “get[ting] FUCKED UP” in this video.  I think because this guy is 14 and all of the strippers he hired for this video are having a hard time not laughing at him.  And they’re bored.  I didn’t even think this was funny enough to sit through the whole thing for mocking purposes.  It’s that bad.

3.  Muse – Madness

Look, any year Muse puts an album out, I’m going to listen to it and then hate on it.  I always subject myself to them because I think “Dude, sj – everyone you know loves this fucking band, what is your problem?”  Even Husband and 6y/o love Muse!  But no.  I just can’t.  I hate Matthew Bellamy’s voice, I hate their rhythm section, I hate…I just hate this band.  HATE.  THIS.  BAND.  …and I just realized I’m not going to make myself try to like them anymore.  I’m donezo.  So long, Muse – you won’t miss me with your millions of adoring fans.  But I still hate you.

4.  Gotye feat. Kimbra – Somebody That I Used to Know

I know this song came out last year.  And I even didn’t think it sucked the first EIGHT HUNDRED THOUSAND TIMES I heard it.  No, really.  Even if I didn’t think it was the best thing ever, I still didn’t hate it and think it should die in a fire.  HOWEVER!  It has now been covered to death, and 2012 was the year that the world ran a semi-decent song into the fucking ground.  Go to YouTube.  Type “Somebody That I Used to Know cover” into the search box.  EIGHTY SIX THOUSAND RESULTS!  Isn’t that a bit overboard, People of Zee Wurl?  DON’T YOU THINK THAT’S A BIT MUCH?!

Anyway, because of this song, I don’t care if he puts out the next best thing ever.  I’m over it.  Sorry, Gotye.  But not really.

Oh, and that brings me to the final item on today’s list.

5.  Anything sung by the cast of Glee.  Anything.

So, I thought this show sounded like a terrible idea when it started, and as a result I’ve never watched a single episode.  The commercials I’ve seen have convinced me that I made the right decision.  You know what else has helped me to know that I’m on the path of RIGHTNESS?  The fact that I CAN NOT ESCAPE THEIR HORRIBLE COVERS.  At all.

So, obvs, they covered Gotye.  That was terrible.  Then I was also subjected to their terrible renditions of RHPS songs.  Don’t forget Gagnam Style!  Because it wouldn’t be a viral sensation if these kids didn’t do a little song and dance to it, right?  Oh, and then there was the worst thing ever, when they covered CELEBRITY SKIN!  I’m pretty sure Amy was the one who told me about this one, and it is probably the WORST THING I HAVE HEARD ALL YEAR.

~o~

There you have it.  You asked for it, and you got it.  My most hated songs of the year.

What made you ragey this year, or wish you didn’t have ears?