Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly Revisited

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Back in 2012 I used the famous movie title for my year-end wrap-up post. I'm in the mood to hand out similar prizes this let's see what kind of critic's awards are on offer for my reads in 2014.

The Train Wreck Book Award goes to...Undead & Unpopular by MaryJanice Davidson. Or as I titled my blog post: Undead & Unpopular [& Unbelievably Bad]. This was billed as a fun, delightful little bit of chick lit...witty and funny--a romantic comedy (which I'm totally claiming for a challenge because that's one of the reasons I read it....even if I couldn't find much evidence of wit, fun, or comedy lurking amongst the pages). I didn't care for it...but I just couldn't stop reading it.   

The But I Said I Wanted A Pony Award goes to...Copper Gold by Pauline Glen Winslow. The blurb on the back of the book sounded promising--a nice British police procedural. Right up my alley. But I got 100 pages in and decided that this is just not in any way, shape, or form a compelling story. This one was so not my thing that I didn't even finish it--a rarity for me. 

On the flip side, The Oooh, You DID Get Me A Pony Award goes to...Mind Fields: The Art of Jacek Yerka/The Fiction of Harlan Ellison by Yerka & Ellison. I fully expected this art project book to be a delight and I was not disappointed. One of the few books to earn a full five stars this year, Yerka's provocative artwork and Ellison's masterful story-telling combine for an extraordinary collection that is very special indeed.

The Making Historical Magic Award goes to...Sinners & the Sea by Rebecca Kanner. Kanner whips us back to Biblical times for the story of Noah and the flood...only this time we experience the events through the eyes of Noah's wife. A compelling story about identity-- what it is about us that makes us who we are and carries us where we need to go. 

The Poetry in Motion Award  and Whole Ball of Wax Awards go to...Then Gone by Romayne Rubinas. The shortest book on my reading list is also the most powerful. I give you my entire mini-review for a mini-book: "But--a mini-book in size only. Then Gone is Romayne Rubinas's gorgeous, hand-stitched petite book of poems. Her words are achingly beautiful and heart-breaking in their raw honesty about the ravages of cancer and its treatment. Short and poignant, ringing with lovely poetry about a very ugly disease."  Her book of poems is the undisputed overall winner on the Block this year.

And, finally, the overall P.O.M. Award Winner for best mystery of 2014 [excluding rereads] goes to....Relic by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child*.

This is a hair-raising, edge-of-the-seat thriller.  Weighing in at 468 pages, I managed to finish this book in less than 24 hours--and that's allowing time for sleeping at night and working a full 8 hours. That's not meant as a brag. I'm simply underlining the fact that, despite thrillers being NOT my thing (and only reading this one because I had to have something in the horror-line for a challenge), I only put the thing down when I absolutely had to. Preston and Child know exactly how reel you in and keep you reading even when you're being scared out of your wits. 

*The over-all P.O.M. Winner is chosen based on many criteria--not just over-all point total (if that were the case then a collection of non-canonical Holmes stories would be carrying this award off). Relic wins based on sheer readability, its power to keep me hooked despite being severely out of my comfort zone, interesting characters, and an intriguing, research-oriented puzzle.


Anonymous said...

Well, I really will have to get RELIC - thanks Bev!

Red said...

Relic is one of those books I've read a couple times and am entertained each time. Good choice!