The Best and Worst of 2012

After much deliberation and consideration, I have picked out my top 10 books of 2012.  The five best and the five worst.  It wasn’t as easy as I expected it to be.  Only two or three books jumped out at me as belonging on these lists and the rest were all most equal and needed to be thought over very carefully.  Finally, I reached a consensus.

The Five Best


renegade1. Renegade by J.A. Souders.

This book stood out to me by a mile when I considered my best books of the year.  I read it a little over a month ago and I still catch myself thinking about it and pondering over it.  I have recommended it to every person I know and will await the next book with bated breath.  It was a creepy and amazing book that was so much more than I ever expected it to be and created a fan out of me.

daughter of smoke & bone2. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor.

This is another book that swept me off my feet and enticed me into its world and didn’t want to let me go.  It is a beautifully written book and I expect a lot of great things for the author in the future.  A masterfully woven tale that I couldn’t put down.

nocturnal3. Noturnal by Scott Sigler

While I may not have reviewed this on the blog, it was one of my favorites all the same.  For anyone who doesn’t know, I am a gigantic fan of Scott Sigler.  I can only think of one thing I have read by him that I didn’t absolutely love.  Now this book does have a few moments where even a die-hard junkie like me rolled my eyes, but the overarching story was spectacular.  It was creepy, fun, and interesting for all the right reasons.  Sigler’s horror novels aren’t the kind that will scare you and make you check under the bed, that’s not his style of horror.  His style of horror is the kind that has you wrinkling your nose and thinking, “Oh my God!”

and all the stars4. And All the Stars  by Andrea K Host

This book was a surprise.  I had seen a lot of good reviews for it but wasn’t sure what to expect.  But it was a joy and a pleasure to read.  The characters were real, the story was interesting, and I couldn’t put it down.  Without a doubt one of the best books I picked up this year.

the lost prince5. The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

Before last year I had never read a Julie Kagawa book.  I had heard a lot of great things and when I got offered the chance to read this beginning of a new series, I jumped at it to see what all the fuss was about.  The fuss was well deserved because this book was fantastic.  The world building was some of the best I have read and the characters were well-developed and rounded.  I will be reading from his author again and hope to be just as pleased.



The Five Worst

the rook

1. The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

This book earned its place as the worst book of the year.  It was boring and amateurish.  The interest premise it established was squandered at every opportunity with boring nonsense.  I wanted to quit on this book so many times and probably would have if it wasn’t a book club read.  The long swathes of gibberish that had nothing to do with the plot made this the most annoying book I read all year.

the twelve2. The Twelve by Justin Cronin

POVs that switched and swapped every few pages and a convoluted plot that made everything about as clear as mud are the primary reason this book sucked.  Add in religious references being shoved in your face as nauseum and in the most annoying way possible and I wanted it to be over.  560 pages of purple prose later this book succeeded in making me fall asleep repeatedly and made my eyeballs shoot blood spontaneously to prevent any more pain.

ScarletUS.indd3. Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

This book made me angry.  It has such a great story and it just pissed it away with typical boring YA garbage.  The heroine was embarrassing to all young girls on the planet and the heroes should be locked up to protect the women of the world.  I didn’t find a single redeeming quality about this book.

immortal city4. Immortal City by Scott Speer

If ever there was a book that should be destroyed for the protection of humanity, it’s this one.  Yet again, another fascinating premise that they author mutilated and destroyed until it was unrecognizable.  I hated the characters, the plot, the villain, and everything in between.  I sincerely hope Mr. Speer goes back to screenwriting, it’s a certainty that he’s more talented at that than novels.

breed5. Breed by Chase Novak

Ugh, what a waste of a tree.  The characters were so irritating that I really didn’t care if awful things happened to them.  The plot dragged on and on and on but yet we never got anywhere.  There was no point to any of it and no resolution in the end.


So that’s it ladies and gents.  These are my favorite and most hated books of 2012.  I’m interested in knowing what yours are.  Add a comment and tell me!


Review: Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

Published February 12th, 2012 by Walker Childrens

Picture and Synopsis from the Goodreads book page

This book can purchased from B&N or Amazon


Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance.

Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in.

It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.
Rating (out of 5):


To start off this review I want to warn you, this is not going to be a nice review.  I always try my hardest to be even-handed with my reviews, pointing out the good AND bad in every book I read.  But every now and then a book comes along that I dislike so much I cannot be fair or even-handed.  Scarlet is one of those books.  I have been looking forward to reading this for months!  I love fairytale retellings, I love the story of Robin Hood, and I was intrigued at the idea of “Will Scarlet” being a girl.  I was so excited about this book that when I saw it on the library shelf I practically pole vaulted over a group of people to get to it before anyone else saw it.  It was almost something out of Mission Impossible.  Unfortunately, it was a HUGE waste of my time and I ended up finishing it and then practically throwing the book back at the library’s book drop just to get rid of it.

A few words about the plot.  The plot itself was not a bad one!  Scarlet is posing as a boy in the band of thieves and a thief-taker who she has had a previous run in with shows up in town.  Not only does she have to help the band protect the townspeople but has to worry about not being captured by this sadistic and evil man.  This was all good.  The plot moved a bit too slow and so most of the really good stuff was in the end, but I could have overlooked that.  It was also painfully predictable.  About page forty or fifty I remember thinking to myself, I know who Scarlet is, I know how she knows Gisbourne, and I know her back story.  Well, it took until page 230 but I was right!  I wish I wasn’t because it made it annoying and stupid.  The ending was also a major fail, but I’ll get to that when I go through the awful characters.
Now, let’s start off with Scarlet.  She is an infuriating character.  She is strong, smart, witty, and very clever.  Those are all fantastic things and I was so happy to see it after a run of being disappointed with YA heroines.  Unfortunately Scarlet was not only all those good things but also intermittently a complete idiot, selfless to the point of being suicidal, and her inner dialogue made me want to scream in frustration.  She runs around with two guys practically throwing themselves at her feet and insists on thinking “No, it’s impossible that they like me that way, impossible!”.  Wake up you moron!  She starves herself simply because she feels guilty that other townspeople can’t afford to eat.  Um, okay.  And you dying of starvation is going to help them how?  They already depend on you and the band to help put food on their table so again…starving is going to help them how exactly?  Yeah, that’s what I thought!  And I really don’t understand why her inner dialogue was always in “commoner” english….she’s a noblewoman in disguise, which wasn’t that hard to figure out, so why do her thoughts speak commoner too?  Irritating!  She also says more than once that she despises being a woman.  That’s a great message to send young girls!  Then at the end, my God the end.  She is the runaway fiance of thief-taker Gisbourne (which I completely called by the way), and decides that she has a great idea to save Robin from being killed by him.  Why, she’s just going to turn herself into Gisbourne and agree to marry him!  That sounds like a great idea!  He only cut your face up, was prepared to force you into marriage at age 13, and tried to kill you when you said no!  Wait, I smell more selfless suicidal behavior here.

On to the unnecessary love triangle.  I didn’t like the love triangle idea to begin with, it came across as forced and contrived.  But it got worse when I realized that both males in this love triangle are complete and utter pigs.  First there’s John.  He’s a typical playboy, flirts with anything that wears a skirt and takes more than a few to bed just because he can.  Suddenly, for no apparent reason except that he finally saw her in a skirt, John decides he’s in love with Scarlet.  He then proceeds to tell everyone in town that she is his girl, despite her saying absolutely not.  He consistently violates her boundaries without invitation and takes advantage of her in vulnerable states to kiss her, hug her, or cuddle up with her to sleep.  She continues to tell him that she is not interested in him, yet somehow he thinks that persisting will make him more attractive to her at some point.  Right, whatever.  Don’t like John at all.

But then there’s Robin.  What the hell happened to Robin?!  He starts of as gallant and brave and strong and all those lovely things we think of when we imagine Robin Hood.  Except where Scarlet is concerned.  He spends half his time trying to convince her that he’s interested in her, and the other half of his time ignoring her and treating her like trash.  Well, that’s attractive!  Then when John starts showing interest in Scarlet he loses his damn mind and turns into JealousRobinHood.  Jealousy, always so attractive in YA right?  But just to endear him to Scarlet further, he bosses her around and generally acts like he owns her.  Then the best part!  He calls her a tease repeatedly for “leading John on”, when she has done nothing but tell John to leave her alone.  Then he proceeds to call her a whore because John kissed her.  That’s right, John….kissed….her, but she’s the whore.  The innocent, no experience with men, girl is a whore because a guy kissed her, but let’s talk about all those girls you were with in the Crusades shall we?  Go to hell Robin, you’re a bastard too.

Much was the only good character because he was sweet, kind and did everything he could to be useful to the band despite only having one hand.  I loved Much!  Too bad he was a secondary side character at best.

As I think more on this book’s horrid characters, I have come to the conclusion that I blame Twilight for this.  I really do.  Because Stephenie Meyer became a HUGE bestseller all other YA authors are following her lead.  And thus we have a wave of pathetic, weak, stupid, selfless, depressing, self hating heroines who have zero instinct for self-preservation.  And all heroes in YA books suddenly have become controlling, possessive, hypocritical, judgemental, sexist pigs.  Twilight, my hatred for this book is your fault.