Sunday, January 6, 2013

5 Books I Read in 2012 That Really Surprised Me

I have too precious time to waste on terrible books. I can be a really tough critic. I generally know what I'm getting into before I read a book, and I feel really bad when I say that I do judge books by their covers. But you know, some just fit the mold! The books below are books that I read this year where my first impressions of the book were completely wrong and I was surprised by what I found in them.


Most Surprising Fiction Read ........ Hell Train by Christopher Fowler

I know half of you are going 'what?!' but this wasn't even a hardcover release!' And I remind you what the category is.

Fowler wins this award with Hell Train because firstly, it's 'leisure horror' and my experiences with leisure horror have been terrible; second, it was only $3.00 for me at Walmart so honestly, I wasn't expecting a lot. But what I did read blew me away - four couples accidentally board a train bound for Hell and in order to get off and win their souls back they must overcome their vices - aka 'the seven deadly sins' - the storytelling is captivating and the demons and the trials are positively GRUESOME. Perfect for any horror fan! It well exceeded my expectations of it to become one of my favorite reads of 2012.

While this book didn't warrant a 5-star rating from me (I ended up giving it a 3-star), it was definitely the most fascinating nonfiction book I read this year. How do doctors declare people dead? What makes a person dead? What ethical issues are there over organ donating? - it turns out that the truth is stranger and creepier than fiction. My only issue is that Teresi seems terribly one-sided, arguing strong against medical practice in general, throughout the book which is not only unprofessional but makes this book a little untruthful. If you do pick it up, read it with a grain of salt.

Most Surprising Youth Read .......... Death Cloud by Andrew Lane

I got the tip to read this book from my friend Elyse. Normally, I avoid 'young Sherlock Holmes' series because they just borrow the name and then the character doesn't really match up, and no offense but most writers don't do the character Sherlock Holmes justice. He's absolutely brilliant and in all the 'young Sherlock Holmes' mysteries, he is less so. I kind of had my doubts this was going to be any better. I'm glad I decided to give it a whirl though because it well exceeded my expectations. Wow! - and it's the only 'yound Sherlock Holmes' series that the official Sherlock Holmes society (I forget what they are called right now) actually deems canon, it's so well-written. So if you are a Sherlock nut, or even just a lover of mysteries in general, you got to pick this one up. Very well-written!

Most Surprising Comic/Manga Read ........... One Piece by Eiichiro Oda

Anyone looking my thread will know that this was the year of the manga for me, because I was so desperate to catch up on a lot of popular anime/manga before the first official AMA-CON back in July 2012. Among the stuff I read, I picked up One Piece thinking it was going to be a typical shounen manga- a blaze through but forgetable. Well, 30 volumes later, and it remains as one of the best anime/manga that I have even partaken in. One Piece is about a rubber man named Luffy and a ragtag band of pirates who go after a legendary pirate king's treasure and all of the goofy people and adventures they encounter. I love this manga because it's just fun! It doesn't take itself so seriously like BLEACH and it doesn't rely on info. dumps like Naruto. One Piece has the action/comedy ratio perfect and the drawings are just out of this world. Oda is one creative guy :)

Most Surprising Completely Terrible Read ........... Halo by Alexandra Adornetto advertised this book all over the place this past year, and praised it as the next 'Twilight' saga for teens. Although I wasn't a big fan of Twilight, I decided to give it a try, and regretted it soon after. The book is basically Twilight for the Christian crowd, instead of vampires there are angels. Angel Bethany falls in love with Human Xavier and their love is forbidden. Bethany however is such a Mary-Sue and Xavier such a Gary-Stu, that the book is unbearable, and the books contradicts itself over and over just to make special exceptions for Bethany. Somewhere in the plot there's supposed to be a battle for Earth between God and Satan, but 98% of the time, it is Bethany creaming her panties over Xavier which makes this not only unbearable but uncomfortable to read. If you want to retain your sanity, just stay away from it. Any 'good' reviews you see on it, Adornetto probably paid them to do so.

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