RBA’s Best Reads of 2008: The Yearbook Edition (Part 1 of 4)
I really struggled with how to organize my best of 2008 reads. As I’ve said before, I’m hesitant (and maybe too indecisive) to organize things strictly by category. So, this post is more or less the romance edition, tho’ some of these could be considered cross genre. (See what I mean? lol)
(ETA: At this point, this week will very roughly be:
- Part 1-Romance
- Part 2-Speculative Fiction & M/M fiction
- Part 3-YA & Mystery
- Part 4-Urban Fantasy)
So. I thought I’d have a little fun, and do this in yearbook “Superlatives” style.
Oh yeah, these books weren’t necessarily published in 2008. Rather, they were books I read this year. These books were new to me. I figure, if they were new to me, they might also be new to someone else, and I love the opportunity to share a great new book or author! <g>
I read lots of amazing books this year, so I’ve broken it down into 4 posts.
Couple Most Likely To…
Run away with the Gypsies: Cam Rohan and Amelia Hathaway
Mine Till Midnight by Lisa Kleypas
Amelia shoulders the responsibility for taking care of her family, and has decided that she will never marry, devoting herself to making sure her siblings are taken care of.
Then, Cam walks into her life. He is jaded by the fast, sophisticated women he encounters in London. Half Irish/half Roma, he yearns for the freedom of the Roma (Gypsy) life he was taken from when he was a child.
Neither of them are looking for love, and both of them are forced to re-evaluate what it is they truly want. I love how Cam is really forced to explore what it is he is truly searching for: freedom? family? independence? belonging? Once he decides what he truly wants, he moves forward with fearless intensity.
Amelia clings stubbornly to her ideas of the path her life will take. When Cam shakes that up, she doesn’t let go without a fight. She is also very independent.
I loved seeing the two come together, working thru their personal challenges and becoming a couple.
Most Likely To…
Steal you blind and leave you smiling: Derek Craven
Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas
Here’s a brief description from the author’s site:
I think Derek Craven is my favorite LK protagonist. (And that’s saying something!) He’s a street smart cockney who has done it all. She’s an earnest bookish miss. I think what a love most about this, my favorite historical Kleypas is what Sarah brings out in Derek.
He’s so world weary by the time Sarah comes into his life: jaded and cynical. In Sarah, he sees all the goodness and kindness he has never experienced. He yearning, hidden by his streetwise attitude, is palpable. LK does angst like no other writer I know.
I also loved Sarah. She is so hungry for life and love. I just adored how she was so accepting of the “girls” at Craven’s.
Couple Most Likely To…
Succeed: Devil Cynster and Honoria Wetherby
Devil’s Bride (Cynster series, book 1) by Stephanie Laurens
Talk about a power couple!
Honoria is very independent and confident, with a great sense of who she is and what she wants out of life (and it isn’t marriage to a titled gentleman.) Devil is very straight forward with his wants, and he wants Honoria. Circumstances bring them together in what appears to be a compromising situation, and the result is that they must marry. As soon as Devil realizes this, he sees how this is a good thing for him and his family.
Usually in this kind of book much of the action revolves around the hero coming to the conclusion that he wants the heroine. With Devil’s Bride, he arrives at this point early in the novel and most of the action is spent convincing Honoria to marry him.
Another thing I really enjoyed about this novel was the mystery elements. The murder of Devil’s cousin brings them together at the beginning of the novel, and while who did it isn’t much of a surprise, their discovery of who did it and why is very entertaining.
The family loyalty in the Cynster men is irresistable, and the camraderie and strength of the Cynster women plays out so great in this series.
Best Smile and Most Popular…
Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas
Who doesn’t just love Liberty Jones? Usually, it’s the hero I fall for in a romance (Cam, Derek, Jamie), but while I loved Travis and Gage, Sugar Daddy is definitely Liberty’s story.
Here is some of the back cover description:
This book really sucked me in and held me there till the last words. Liberty was such an empathetic character, I couldn’t help cheering for her when she, bit by bit, built a life for her and her sister, Carrington. Her early scenes with Hardy are filled with yearning that really touched me. When I finally finished the audiobook, all I could think was, “WOW. What a great book.”
The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
It’s all about the kilt, baby! (I know this guy isn’t a redhead, but he looked good in a kilt.)
I chose the entire series, because I couldn’t pick just one book. This epic saga of Claire and Jamie Fraser just blew me away. The series really has it all: rollicking adventure (pirates! ship wrecks! duels!), steamy love, witchcraft, time travel, and did I mention kilts?
Actually, I was a little leery about the whole time-travel thing, but it worked really well in the story. Claire is such a fish-out-of-water, but that’s what makes it easy to identify with her.
Here is the book description for book 1, Outlander:
I’ve always enjoyed historical fiction, and the research DG puts into each book is apparent, without feeling didactic. 18th century Scotland (and France, Carribean, America in subsequent books) really comes alive. Also, I think that it is so history rich, that it would appeal to a broad audience. I’ve actually loaded the audiobook onto my husband’s iPod, and can’t wait to see what he thinks.
I listened to the audiobooks for this series, and they were excellent. Davina Porter is amazing, and this is actually one of my top 3 all time favorite audiobook productions.
I know that the movie (if it really gets made) will take years to produce. If you’ve already read this series (or even if you haven’t) I highly recommend giving it a listen. I was able to locate all the audiobooks in the series at my local library.
Most Likely To…
Be the top story on the 11 o’clock news and Class Clown: Stephanie Plum
The Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich
Janet Evanovich’s hilarious series is about my favorite bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum. I listened to the fabulous audiobooks, and often while I was listening to them, my husband would know which books I’m listening to because I’d be laughing out loud.
The books are zany roller-coaster rides, funny and fast-paced. Stephanie and her side-kick Lula are truly “the gang that couldn’t shoot straight” and the chaos that follows is always entertaining.
I may have mentioned once or twice, that I love Ranger, Stephanie’s mysterious mentor. Ranger is dangerous, but always willing to help bail Stephanie out of a jam. His mystery makes him alluring, but he never takes himself (at least when he’s around Stephanie) too seriously. Ranger is cagey about emotional entanglements, and seems more than happy to let Joe Morelli, Stephanie’s on and off boyfriend, handle the “boyfriend” obligations like Friday dinners with Stephanie’s family.
My favorite books in the series have been those in which Ranger has played a central role, and I can find out a little more about him. Ten Big Ones and Twelve Sharp, which reveal more about Ranger are among my favorite installments of this series.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Best Reads of 2008, coming tomorrow!
Entry filed under: Adventure Romance, Best of 2008, Contemporary Romance, Fantasy Romance, Historical Romance. Tags: Best reads of the year, Cynster series, Devil's Bride, Diana Gabaldon, Dreaming of You, Hathaways series, Janet Evanovich, Lisa Kleypas, Outlander series, Stephanie Laurens, Sugar Daddy.