Friday, December 19, 2008

Favorite Novels of 2008

To round out my lists of favorites this week, I present my favorite novel length reads of the year.

4th Runner Up
A Greater Art by Ainsley Davidson

Certain genres have to try harder for me to engage with it. Science fiction is one of them. So when I find a truly fabulous story, I get excited. A Greater Art has dense world-building, sympathetic leads, and a complex plot. I read this in a single sitting, much to my family's chagrin, but I absolutely couldn't put it down.

3rd Runner Up
I Bid One American by Amy Corwin

Guess what another genre is that has to try harder with me? Yep, historicals. And yet, this charmer made me laugh and smile more than any other book in my top 5 this year. The vast majority of the cast is quirky and fun, and the story rolls along at such a brisk pace that you don't even realize it's over until you've turned the last virtual page.

2nd Runner Up
Death of a Pirate King by Josh Lanyon

It's no secret I'm a fan of the Adrien English Mysteries. I reviewed all four books this year, but this is the one I think is the best of the bunch. Not only is this the one with the most complex emotional map, but it's also the one that took my sheer dislike for Jake and turned it on its ear. I have serious problems with abusive characters, and Jake's actions in the previous book had - I thought - cemented my feelings for him. Lanyon's talent is such that I was wrong. And I'll gladly be wrong again.

1st Runner Up
Highlander's Challenge by Jo Barrett

This sat on my TBR pile for far too long. When Teddypig recommended it, I should have bumped it up my list. This one thrives because of its powerful leads. Colin is one of the best alpha heroes I read all year, and Tuck epitomizes the best of what makes a good heroine. Their chemistry is through the roof, so much so that I absolutely had to order a print copy of this as soon as I finished it.

And my favorite novel of 2008 is...
Border Roads by Sarah Black

I give out few 10s when it comes to the entertainment value of my scoring system. To me, those are the best of the best, the keepers that have pushed me to react in ways other stories haven't quite done. Border Roads not only has exquisite details as it builds its world, but it also has a wealth of memorable characters, men and women who leap off the page and tug at every single heartstring I have. There is power in this story, in the raw depths of the angst, in the rich descriptions of their interactions, in the sheer number of chances that the author takes that could have backfired. I love this story to pieces. I only wish Loose Id would release it in print so that I could have a physical copy for my keeper shelf.


Josh Lanyon said...

Sorry -- posted in the wrong place earlier -- but thanks again for your reviews this year, and for choosing Dark Horse and Pirate King among your favorites.

I'm so happy you chose Sarah's Border Roads. It was indeed an amazing work.

Teddy Pig said...

Yep, I have a print copy of Highlander's Challenge and all of Josh Lanyon's books in print as well.

Just had to have em.

Book Utopia Mom said...

Josh - You know how I feel about your work, so I won't gush even more. But I have you to thank for the recommendation of Border Roads. If you're ever in contact with Ms. Black again, please tell her how much it moved me.

Teddy - And you're the one I get to credit for introducing me to Jo Barrett's work. I was a little surprised when my print copy arrived. I've gotten used to seeing tradesize books from e-pubs and this was slightly smaller. Easier to hold, though, so I'm not complaining. :)