2016 Book Reports (Issue #1)

Disclaimer: A quick note about my "grading scale" (see right). I try to be as objective as possible when I read. But I am a writer, and sometimes I can't help but critique just a little bit. My grading scale is based on my own personal opinion of the book itself, including the writing, story, flow, and even presentation - I mean, really, don't we all agree that an inordinate amount of typos might possibly suggest the book could have used at least one more once-over? I also try not to up-mark a book just because I know or have met the author. I want anyone who reads my books to be honest about what they think, positive or negative. Constructive criticism is a good thing. It makes us better writers. It makes us better, period.

So, as I mentioned in my most recent post, I read 72 books in 2016. In this series of reports, I'll list the books I read and the grades I gave them. You know, in case you're interested.

At some point in keeping my spreadsheet up to date last year I completely lost track of which books I read when. I finally settled on a list that included title, author, series (if applicable), grade and notes. For the purposes of these reports, I sorted the list by grade, from A+ down to C. Today's Book Report starts at the bottom of the list.

It's rare, really, that I read a book I'm not crazy about. Two of the 72 on my 2016 list rated in the "C" category. It's not that I really didn't like them, it was just that they weren't the best books I read last year. She Sins at Midnight by Whitney Deneen earned a C+, narrowly edging out Daisy McDare and the Deadly Directorial Affair by K.M. Morgan, which I gave a solid C. Both books were fairly promising on the jacket, but didn't quite meet my expectations. Both had rather cartoonish characters and kinda clunky, cheesey plots, but one of the reasons I thought She Sins at Midnight was just a tiny bit better was that I thought it could've been salvaged with some sharper editing.

The one book I gave a B- was Ann Patchett's Commonwealth. I'd not read one of Patchett's books before, and I liked her style, but the problem I had with the story (our book club December selection) was that I read the book jacket, then read the book, then had to read the book jacket again before I got it.

The remaining 9 books on today's roster each received a B:
  • Helen Conrad's Destiny Bay Romance-Forever Yours series #1-3 (My Little Runaway, Wife for a Night, and Too Scared to Breathe)
  • Return of the Dragons (Teddy Jacobs)
  • The Housewife Assassin's Handbook (Josie Brown)
  • Elements of Chemistry Part 1: Attraction (Penny Reid)
  • The Blind Date (Delaney Diamond)
  • Reckless (Susan Kiernan-Lewis)
  • The Valentine Circle (Reinaldo DelValle)

With the exception of Commonwealth, all of these books were electronic. While I love holding an actual book in my hand, I've discovered that I actually read ebooks a little faster. Maybe it's the smaller screen, and the fact that it only takes a little swipe of my finger to move to the next page without having to worry about ripping paper or breaking the spine (I hate that, by the way). But let's not start that discussion. Has anyone else read any of the books listed in today's Report? If so, do you agree or disagree with my ratings?

Next time we'll take a look at the B+ books - of which, coincidentally, there are 12. No, I didn't plan it that way. That's just the way it turned out. Really. You should see my crazy spreadsheet.

In the meantime, read a book. It's good for you!

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