Wednesday, January 7

Best and Worst of 2008

Before Christmas, I sent out an e-mail to Ames and Chantal. Knowing that the holiday season would be busy, I thought it'd be better if we got our Best and Worst of 2008 list ready early... The always well-organized Chantal had no trouble completing the task; however... let just say it took more time for Ames and me.

Sooooo, after much whip cracking from Chantal, Ames and I finally finished our Best and Worst of 2008 list... yesterday, LOL :) By the way, for those who are wondering about a comment I made on my blog, neither of us is a rotten egg, as we completed our list together :)

Number of books read in 2008

Chantal: How many books did you read last year, Ames?

Ames: 160-ish...there were a few I didn't finish, or I finished them in 2009 (so I'm counting those as 2009 books). What about you guys?

Nath: 207 give or take a few (I'm kind of forgetful... and I have difficulty remembering what I read a few days/weeks ago). That's not counting the re-reads and the mangas ^_^;

Chantal: 96. I'm not happy with that number.

Nath: You'll do better in 2009, I'm sure of it :)

Best Book Event of 2008

Chantal: What do you mean by best book 'event'? I don't know of any events...

Nath: What I consider book 'event' is anything that happened which is related to books or romance blogland. It can be a publishing deal, a release date delayed, etc. For example, last year, our best book event for Ames and me was our trip to Toronto, meeting other Canadian bloggers.

Chantal: Ah, I get it! However, there wasn't anything I was involved with at all that pertains to a book event.

Nath: We'll come visit you again this year, Chantal :) So you'll have a best book event for 2009! What about you, Ames?

Ames: Our trip down south for sure was a great event. That's the best for me.

Nath: Well, I have many best book events this year and I can't choose just one. So I'll list them all, LOL :) Of course, meeting the Southern California bloggers :D It's always sooo much fun to meet bloggers and I had a great time... Then, receiving Twisted Creek and Mine to Possess from Rosie who had them signed to me by the authors at RWA! That was just awesome!

Another event was the re-release of the Grace Valley trilogy by Robyn Carr. I finally got my hand on Down By the River after more than a year of searching.

There was another one... but all I have on my sheet is "starting"... so I'll try to remember LOL... Wait, I remember! Duh, starting Breezing Through with Ames and Chantal! LOL. Did I mention somewhere that I'm forgetful?

Disappointing Book Event

Ames: There was no disappointing book event for me this year.

Chantal: Me neither.

Nath: There wasn't going to be any for me... till I remember Can't Take My Eyes Off You by Judith McNaught. This book was supposed to be released in 2007 if I remember correctly. Then, it was pushed off to 2008 and now, the release date is August 2009... Still, wonder if I should trust that information.

Surprising Book of the Year

Nath: All right, onto the surprising book category. This can be a good or bad surprise...

Chantal: I'd have to go with A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas. For the price (I paid over $13.00!) it was way too short! For the amount that it was I was expecting so much more. My first surprise came when I opened the box and saw how little pages there were, and my second surprise was that my expectations were not met. It was a good story, but not what I wanted or paid for.

Ames: My surprising book of the year was the Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly. I was so not expecting to get swept up into Donnelly's world and I was. I cried, happy tears of course, it was such an amazing story. I have to give honorable mention to Pinkerton's Secret by Eric Lerner and the Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson. Those books also surprised me, but not as much as the Winter Rose.

Nath: Hmmm, I have the Winter Rose and the Gargoyle in my TBR pile. Guess I should get to them soon :)

My surprising book of the year was Twisted Creek by Jodi Thomas. I didn't expect it to be sooo good. Sure, Dev enjoyed it and our tastes are very similar, but the back blurb sounds so unassuming and the book is somewhat different from most romance books out there. All in all, a very pleasant surprise :D

Disappointing Book of the Year

Chantal: I went back and forth on two books for this category, and I'm afraid that my choice is Mr. Cavendish, I presume by Julia Quinn. After loving The Lost Duke of Wyndham so much, I had very high expectations for Mr. Cavendish, I presume. It fell flat. If it had started off where the first book ended, then I'm sure I would have loved it, but reading the same book in a different POV wasn't fun for me.

Nath: Chantal, I think this is all a matter of expectations and anticipation. For me, quite frankly, it's a toss up between Fire Study by Maria V Snyder and Dagger Star by Elizabeth Vaughan.

Fire Study was actually quite good, but after waiting for more than a year, I was expecting excellent. I think that among the trilogy, Fire Study was the weakest... and I still wish that Valek had a bigger role. As for Dagger Star, this was another greatly anticipated book for me. It was an okay read, but really couldn't compare to any installments in The Chronicles of the Warlands trilogy. It's also a very subdued opening to a new trilogy.

Ames: Ooh, I enjoyed Fire Study, but yeah, not quite as much as Poison Study. I can see why you'd be disappointed. My disappointing book of the year was Reckless by Saskia Walker.I've never read SW before so I don't know why I was expecting to be wowed. The book wasn't bad (I gave it a B-/C+), it just wasn't what I was expecting, thus my disappointment.

Books that met your expectations

Ames: Books that met my expectations were... well there was one big one that started a whole quest in blogland. LOL Broken WingKristieJ has not steered me wrong and I expecting to be wowed and I was. Despite all you naysayers out there, LOL.

Chantal: Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I had high hopes, and high expectations. Both were met.

Nath: I'll go with A Virgin River Christmas by Robyn Carr and Scream for Me by Karen Rose. A Virgin River Christmas, although short, was able to capture the atmosphere of Virgin River. It was a quick, enjoyable read and a great addition to the series. Ohhhh, and another book that met my expectations is Down by the River. After waiting more than a year to read it, I thought it was a great ending for the trilogy.

As for Ms Rose, all I can say is that she's delivering and Scream For Me is no exception.

Ames: The thing with me and Scream for I compare all of Karen Rose's books to Count to Ten, which I love love love beyond all others. LOL So that's my bar when it comes to KR books for me, and Scream For Me didn't reach it. I enjoyed Scream for Me, but it didn't meet my expectations. But I did enjoy it Karen Rose!!

Nath: Yeah, well surpassing Count to Ten, that is going to be hard... but I get what you're saying... it's exactly the same for Maria V Snyder and Elizabeth Vaughan.

Best New Series to me

Nath: That would be the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. I really love it... it's intriguing and funny at the same time :)

Ames: The Tairen Souls series by CL Wilson and Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs.

Series I've given up on...

Nath: Dark-Hunters and Dream-Hunters by Serrilyn Kenyon. I might pick up another book based on the main characters (Fang!), but that's it for me. Time to wean myself from that series.

Ames: I can't say I've given up on anything because I'm stockpiling books in my massive TBR. LOL So everything gets plunked down into there.

Chantal: The Anita Blake series by Laurell K Hamilton. I got up to book 10 or 11 before I gave up. I have one word for the series since Anita went through her big change. Trash.

Best Comeback Author/ Redeeming Author

Ames: Ok now best come back or redeemed author. I'm going with Charlaine Harris. It's really not even a comeback, LOL, just that her last Sookie book, From Dead to Worse was more enjoyable than All Together Dead. So she improved, which is always a good thing.

Nath: Should we do a different category then? Best improved? Maybe next year...

For me, best comeback goes to Kay Hooper. Her last two FBI SCU books were okay... but I feel that Blood Sins is more like her earlier books in the FBI SCU series even though there wasn't much romance in it.

I know that best comeback and redeeming sounds similar, but to me, there is a slight difference. Anyway, best redeeming author to me is Laura Lee Guhrke... The Wicked Ways of a Duke was a major disappointment for me... and I was a bit worried for the next installment in the series... but she came back really strong with Secret Desires of a Gentleman.

Chantal: Damn, this is another one that I have no reply for.

Best New Author to me

Chantal: Julie Garwood. I'm mad at myself for waiting so long before reading any of her work.

Ames: This is another toss up – I read so many good authors this year. Let's see, there's CL Wilson, Patricia Briggs, Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen.That's not too bad.

Nath: Jodi Thomas for sure. I went back and read all her contemporaries backlist. Honorable mention goes to Kristan Higgins and Jana DeLeon.

Best New Author 2008

Chantal: Hmm, I can't think of any authors who came out in 2008 that I am jumping up
and clapping for.

Ames: Hmm…I read a lot of older books this year, so the standout in this category for new author would be the Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson.

Nath: I think this one is between Starr Ambrose (Lie to Me) and Julie James (Just the Sexiest Man Alive) True, both didn't have me jumping up and clapping for; however, their books were very enjoyable and I can see the potential...

Best Historical

Chantal: The Prize by Julie Garwood.

Ames: Pride and Prejudice!! No one can compare to Fitzwilliam Darcy.

Nath: Best historical is between Secret Desires of a Gentleman by Laura Lee Guhrke and The Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn.

Best Contemporary

Chantal: Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard

Ames: There's a few for me with this one. And I read a lot of contemporaries, just not that many that were released in 2008. Still, there's The Trouble with Paradise and Smart and Sexy, both by Jill Shalvis, All Through the Night by Suzanne Brockmann, Just the Sexiest Man Alive by Julie James, Flat-Out Sexy by Erin McCarthy and Sex, Straight Up by Kathleen O'Reilly. The last one really stands out for me because it's a category, which I'm not fond of.

Nath: Hands down to Twisted Creek by Jodi Thomas. Honorable mention goes to Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins, Lie to Me by Starr Ambrose and Addicted to Love by Lori Wilde.

Best Erotica

Chantal: Tempted by Megan Hart. This one made me spin in all different directions. It was sexy, had a great plot and made me think.

Ames: This category for me has Tempted by Megan Hart (thanks Rosie), My Prerogative and Sexy Devil by Sasha White. Also She's on Top by Susan Lyons. And I cannot forget Charlene Teglia's Wicked Hot.

Nath: Well, I only read one and it was pretty good, LOL. The Fortune's Hunter by Jasmine Haynes.

Best Paranormal

Chantal: From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris.

Nath: Anything by Meljean Brook this year. You have the choice between Demon Night, Demon Bound and even her novella, Thicker Than Blood.

Ames: Hands down Meljean Brook for me too. Although I only read Demon Moon and Demon Angel this year, they still stand out for me.

Nath: LOL, that's like the whole Guardians series!

Chantal: By the way I plan to start the Guardians series this year.

Nath: Yay!! You won't regret it, Chantal :)

Best 3 Books of the Year
in no particular order


1. A Virgin River Christmas by Robyn Carr
2. Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard
3. The Prize by Julie Garwood


1. Twisted Creek by Jodi Thomas - is this a surprise?
2. Demon Night by Meljean Brook - I have to admit, I did like Demon Night better than Demon Bound :) Charlie made the difference.
3. Scream For Me by Karen Rose - Wow, that's two years in a row that Ms Rose has a book in my top 3!


1. The whole Mercedes Thompson series – I'm counting them all as one book (cause I'm sneaky that way). LOL
2. The whole Tairen Soul series – again, I'm sneaky and I loved them all.
3. The Winter RoseJennifer Donnelly. Again, people, read it!

Worst book

Chantal: Toss up between The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss and Goldilocks by Kimberly Zant. Hm, okay, I'll say that Goldilocks was the worst of the two. At least TFATF had a plot. Most erotics can be saved if they at least have some good sex scenes, but Goldilocks didn't even have that.

Nath: Hmmm, worst book is complicated. I have a few DNF... but I don't know if it would the worst books. Among those I finished, I'm thinking Sweet Talk by Susan Mallery, Heaven, Texas by Susan Elizabeth Phillips or Grimspace by Ann Aguirre.

Ames: Oh wow, that's really harsh. LOL Isn't there another book you didn't like even more than those three? Did you go through your blog to see your reviews?

Nath: LOL, of course! Those three were my lowest graded with Ds. What about you?

Ames: Although I didn't finish this book until a few days ago, the majority of it was read in 2008. And that book would be Untouchable by Linda Winstead Jones.

So that's it, our best and worst for the year 2008 :) What do you think?


Jill D. said...

Nice job ladies!

Chantal, you should definitely read more Linda Howard. I think you would enjoy her if you liked Mr. Perfect. Try Open Season or To Die For.

Oh my Gosh! LOL! Nath, your worst book of the year Heaven Texas is one of my favorites from this year :) How on earth can we have such different, yet similar tastes?! I really like Karen Rose too and need to read more of her books. Plus, I am almost caught up with Kelley Armstrong's series. Have you read Living with the Dead? If so, did you like it?

Also, I am reading the Lord of the Fading Lands right now and enjoying it.

Rowena said...

Great post ladies! I really enjoyed reading your best and worst lists of 2008!

Ames, I have The Winter Rose to read in the next couple of weeks and I remember reading your review and wanting to read it so I'm really anxious to start it.

Nath, I saw online just last night that Can't Take My Eyes Off of You by JM has a release date of January 2010.

Chantal, you must read more Linda Howard, seriously, she rocks my socks!

Lori said...

Wow, so much I agree with!

Chantal, Mr. Perfect. Lovelovelove it!! I discovered Linda Howard last year (2007). Read Kiss Me While I Sleep. You'll like it, I bet. I put it on my Best of 2007. I dug it.

And I agree that Mr. Cavendish, I Presume was disappointing when compared to TLDOW. Cause that book rocked my socks.

And again, Chantal, I agree about Wallflower Christmas. A lot of money to spend on a really short book, even though I enjoyed it. I thought it was pretty ballsy of the publisher to ask hardcover pricing for a tiny book. Even if she is Lisa Kleypas.

And Ames & Nath - I loved meeting you guys, too! Wasn't it nice of Holly to get married?

Chantal, I'm glad I'm not the only one who hasn't read Julie Garwood yet. She's on my to do list for 2009.

Oooh, and I loved Secret Desires of a Gentleman, too, Nath! Yuppers. Agree with much of your choices, guys.

Ames, I don't know if Count to Ten is my favorite Karen Rose. Hmmm.... Have You Seen Her really rocked, too. Dang, she's so good, isn't she? I hate that she's jumped to hardcover so quickly. But it's well-deserved.

K, ramble over.

Chantal said...

I am reading To Die For right now :)

We had fun writing it. Even if I did have to let out my inner dominatrix to get Ames and Nath to finish.

Your ramble posts are the best :)
Let me know when you plan to read a Garwood, I'd love to do a buddy review with you.

nath said...

Jill - Thanks :)

Sorry, I just can't bring myself to like Bobby Tom and overall, yeah, didn't dig Heaven, Texas at all.

Karen Rose is excellent. Perhaps I should re-read her for the challenge :)

I did read Living with the Dead... it was not was I expected. What to say, I'm happy that Ms Armstrong is continuing Hope and Karl's relationship. It's nice to see how it's developing. However, the whole storyline with Robin... hmmm, I felt like we didn't get the chance to know her very well and also, I think her storyline was a bit rushed. Plus, it really wasn't what I expected. However, the ending was great :) Can't wait to see where it'll lead us! :)

Rowena - Glad you enjoyed :D Like Chantal said, it was fun to make it... even if Chantal was scary, LOL :)

As for Can't Take My Eyes Off of you... I think we'll never going to see it. Chance is when it's going to be released, it'll have a different title! and what is it with them choosing a release date when the book is not ready?!?!

Lori - Well glad we echoed your opinion! :)

You know, seriously, St. Martin's Press is probably the most ballsy of all the publishing house. Not only was the Lisa Kleypas a rip-off, but remember a few months ago, they released a Dream-Hunter book by Sherrilyn Kenyon... it was supposed to be a novella, but they printed it as a full length novel by increasing the font size? Seriously, I really don't like that publishing house (they haven't come down with their CDN price either!!), but they have good authors!! That's the worst...

I'm so glad I got to meet you guys! It was way fun!! and hey, I might come over again next October :) My cousin in LA is getting married... LOL, I love marriage!! :)

Glad you enjoyed Secret Desires of a Gentleman. I really enjoyed it!! However, it didn't get much of a buzz in blogland :(

Isabel said...

Love your list! Have to say I've given up on the dark hunters too. That one and the troubleshooter series.

Holly said...

How can you list Goldilocks by Kimberly Zant as one of your worst reads? It was like 10 pages long. LOL

Great lists ladies! You really did a good job of outlining everything all across the board. =)

PS. Still really like the new look!

Chantal said...

Holly, it was a waste of what could have been a great 4.5 minutes of my life. Hehe.
I should change my answer to both Goldilocks and The Flame and the Flowers. For some reason I thought we could only pick one book, but my cohorts often picked more than one, so I'll follow their lead :P
TFATF was another waste of my life. Ugh.

Zeek said...

Great list ladies!

the Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson- I really really want to read this one. Been seeing it everywhere!

Kristie (J) said...

I always have a hard time coming up with worst book - 'cause if I'm not enjoying it, I just won't finish it. But if you are saying most disappointing, then I think it would be either You Don't Know Jack by Erin McCarthy or Sweet Talk by Susan Mallery. Though I finished them both, they only got a 2.5
Best three would be
Broken Wing *g*
Seduce Me at Sunrise
Blue Eyed Devil
and cause I just HAVE to get it in - Unlawful Contact by Pamela Clare/

C2 said...

Excellent job, ladies!

And I just finished the first Grace Valley book - I swiped it off my mom's shelf over Christmas. My first Robyn Carr. :o)

~ames~ said...

I'm not being a snob - I'm here! LOL

Rowena-I can't wait for your thoughts on the Winter Rose. It really is an excellent book that makes that time period interesting. LOL

Lori-It was fabulous meeting you guys, and that's not just the great cheesecake clouding my memories. LOL I can't wait until I can make my way south again. I have only read a few Karen Rose's, but I look forward to reading more.

Zeek-That book is awesome and I'm so proud the writer is from my hometown. LOL

Kristie-I plan on reading Unwanted this year. I feel bad I haven't gotten around to it yet, but this year for sure.

C2-My first and only Robyn Carr so far is Virgin River. I really enjoyed it and can't wait to read the rest of the series.

nath said...

Isabel - Glad I'm not the only one :)

Holly - Thanks, I'm glad people like the look :) I'm really like it as well :)

Zeek - Thanks Zeek :)

Kristie - I usually try to finish the books I read... those that get a DNF are either books I couldn't get into because of my mood or something really didn't work for me. Not necessarily bad though.

I totally agree with you on Sweet Talk... Ms Mallery has a new series coming out this year, not sure if I'll get it.

and LOL, seems like Lisa Kleypas wrote two winners for you this year :D

C2 - Thanks C2 :) so, what did you think of the Grace Valley trilogy? did you enjoy it?