Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Book Goggles' best and worst of 2012

Hi all! I figured that I should detail some of the best stuff I've read this year. Some of the things I'll mention here are books, others will be things in slightly different formats. Not all of these were released this year, but are books or things that I've just recently discovered.

First off will be the best:

2012's best

1.  Jeanine Frost's Vampire Huntress series

I recently started this series this year and already I'm hooked on the audiobooks. The series is entertaining enough to where I think I'd like it even without the audio narration, but Tavia Gilbert really is one of the most talented narrators I've ever listened to as far as audiobooks go.

2. Trish Milburn's Coven series

While I admit that the series felt more compressed than I'd like, partially hampering my enjoyment of the trilogy's finale, this was an incredibly fun series to get into. I liked the characters and I especially liked that there wasn't that much of a love triangle in this as there could've been. Such things can be fun, but it's also nice to see things get more quickly resolved. 

3. The Infinite Wait by Julia Wertz

If you're not aware of her, Julia Wertz is the insane mind that brought you Fart Party, a fun and fairly random webcomic about her life. In Infinite Wait Wertz talks about how she came to discover that she had lupus. It goes over her life in general as well, but all in all it's a sometimes sad, sometimes funny look into what was a pretty tumultuous time in her life. Not only does she dig into her feelings over the diagnosis, but she also touches upon her realization that she had become an alcoholic.

4. All things Junko Mizuno

Love the weird? The really, really weird? Then you'd probably like Mizuno's work. It's candy-colored bizarreness wrapped up in what has to be some of the cutest artwork I've seen in a while. If we were to mix Bjork with the Birthday Massacre, then crack them open to see what makes them tick, I think the resulting imagery would probably resemble Mizuno's artwork.

5. Saga by Brian K. Vaughan

This is the comic book series that has pretty much taken a lot of people by surprise by how popular it's gotten. Not only is the artwork freaking amazing, but the story line is just as good. It's your basic space saga mixed with a war between rival planets, with a pair of lovers caught in between it all. Definitely one of the stronger series out there. 

Worst of 2012

1. Becca Battoe's narration of Fifty Shades Freed

Out of all of the audiobook narrations I've heard this year, Battoe had to have been one of the most ill fitting narrators out there. She's not completely talentless, just a poor choice to narrate such a sexually charged book. Sure, sure, you could argue that it wasn't helped along by the book being completely repetitive, far too long for the story it tried to tell, and that the writing itself wasn't all that great. The thing about narrations though is that a good narrator can make any book 500% better. Battoe just made Ana seem like more of a vapid moron than what she actually was. She's probably great in her YA and kids books, but putting her to work reading an erotic novel is like getting Clay Aiken to play quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys: it's just not going to work.

2. The Revealing Eden fiasco

Here's the thing about the whole Save the Pearls scenario: I honestly don't believe that Foyt meant to come across as racist, clueless, and inept as she came across. If she'd done more research for the book, worked out the inconsistencies more (of which there are many), and taken the criticism from various ethnic groups more graciously, much of the scandal and outrage would never have developed. It's just that in trying to insist that she was right, that her book wasn't offensive to many different people, and that everyone else had the problem and not her, she made more people upset because if she couldn't see where her book was being offensive, she pretty much missed the whole point her book was trying to make in the first place. What pushes this up into the "worst of 2012" is that some readers didn't act much better, with at least one person trying to publish her personal information on the internet.

3. Shenanigans by Ian Shaughnessy

I think this has to have been one of my least favorite comic books of the past 3-4 years, let alone of 2012. An unbelievable plot (even for fiction) is further ruined by characters that are so unlikable and annoying that you just wish that a blimp would fall on them or that a zombie would come across and eat someone. It doesn't help that the romantic paring in this series is fairly unhealthy. Even Edward "Red Flag" Cullen and Bella "blank stare" Swan had a healthier relationship than these guys do.

4/5. Online Bullying

I'm not going to name names or point anyone out in specific because most could probably find this information out fairly easily. There are entire blogs and groups out there that covered most of the online author and reviewing wankery this year. What makes this worthy of two entries is that occasionally you had some poor behavior on both ends. While it's never OK for an author to go onto a review and bash someone's opinion for not liking it, it's also not cool to go around publishing their personal information and habits online. That goes for everyone, not just the people who claim to want to "stop bullying" by putting out information that people wanted to keep private. (And yes, there are screencaps out there with this info!) Even if you disliked her, putting out Foyt's home address and phone number is a pretty dick move. If you want to comment on something you view is unfair, comment on it nicely and step away if you think you're going to get heated. Don't go overboard by doing stuff like that. Even if all you don't intend to do that person any harm, that doesn't mean that someone else will share those same sentiments. We're readers. Not freaking Encyclopedia Dramatica. 

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