Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ringing in the New

2009 definitely had it's ups and downs. New job, new friends, new personal losses. All of it combining into year that I could have never seen coming. What I am exceedingly grateful for are the people in my life who make it worth living and the surprising joy I've gotten through writing here. It started out as an idea in high school, an idea that my friends could go to a website, see a list of the books I've read with possibly a thumbs up or down, all to help them make their own new book choices. It's evolved into Reading Amidst the Chaos, where I steadily keep my reading alive and out there for other people. I don't have to know you personally to want you to read the best of what's out there - and I hope that, at least a little, this site helps you find it. With over 100 posts and counting I feel like I finally have a rhythm and purpose with all the feelings that I have about books. I look to 2010 and hope to see this expand even more, with guest writers and contests, video chats and more. We'll just have to see how that goes though...Either way - HAPPY NEW YEAR! And I hope that you spend 2010 with the best books you can find!

To end the year on a high note, I'm going to try and do a not Bible length post about the
Worth It and Not Worth It picks of 2009. I can't say that this covers everything, apparently my Google Calendar didn't start until March 2009, but I think all in all this covers most of the year so it should still be helpful.

Worth It: This was the year for sequels. Throughout 2009 I saw a lot of authors come forward with incredible additions to well loved series. Whether it was Magic Strikes by Illona Andrews,
the 3rd in her series, or Turn Coat by Jim Butcher, the 11th in his, sequels just roared to the forefront with power and substance. They stood on their own with story lines and characters twists, making the whole series that much more powerful. Whether the author was old or new, sequels totally grabbed my heart this year, with ones like The Mane Squeeze by Shelly Laurenston and Burning Wild by Christine Feehan being read over and over again. Here's the final list of what really caught my attention in 2009:

Magic Strikes – Andrews
Turn Coat – Jim Butcher
Lover Avenged – JR Ward
Burning Wild – Christine Feehan
Dead and Gone – Charlaine Harris
Skin Trade – Laurell K. Hamilton
Mastered by Love- Stephanie Laurens
What a Dragon Should Know – G.A. Aiken
The Mane Squeeze – Shelly Laurenston

Not Worth It: There weren't many books this year that were completely and totally not worth my time. Even the 3 that made this list weren't complete losses, just ones that I wish I'd gotten from the library because they weren't that good and now I'm going to feel compelled to complete the series. Nora Roberts' Vision in White was just not that good. It was typical and mediocre and not an example of the type of eye catching romance that she usually writes. That's what really puts it in this category - I know she can do better and I refuse to accept that this is how she chose to start a new series (especially a trade paper series). Anthologies are always tricky, so Never After's appearance on this side wasn't a surprise, and Covet by JR Ward was just strange. I understand that it was series opener, and thus had a lot of world building and character explanations to do, but I still feel like it could have done better. So the short but sweet Not Worth It list looks like this:

Vision in White – Roberts
Covet – JR Ward
Never After - Laurell K. Hamilton, Yasmine Galenorn, Marjorie M. Liu, Sharon Shinn

Biggest Fake Out: Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss.

I did this final part not to blame Patrick Rothfuss, but to mourn the book that could have been. I was SO READY for his next book to come out, and to find that it wasn't even through being edited was a bit of a shock. I'm still excited, I'm still waiting with bated breath for the book to be released, but in 2009 there was no bigger fake out than Wise Man's Fear.