Best of 2008 and New Year’s Resolution for 2009

A lot of people are posting a year end post for 2008. It's nice to see people looking back at the books they read for the year and picking out their favorite reads, and it's interesting to see what they picked. I thought it would be a good thing to try myself because with it recorded, I can look back in later years and see what my tastes were like.

Out of a total of 77 books read this year, very few got into my best list, but book ratings are highly subjective.  I just went with my gut and rated them according to how I felt about the book as soon as I finished reading them. These lists are compiled from ratings I put down in my private notes.

All the links to my reviews here are to my Livejournal.

The Books that Blew Me Away  – These books are those I gave top marks to when I first read them. It's a very hard list to get onto because I have to feel like I'm falling in love and cannot be parted from the book for it to get on this list. Only three got on it this year.

Books that Came Close to Blowing Me Away – These came very close to getting top marks from me. This is a personal thing, but the books above I would put down and then obssessively think about when I could pick them up again. The books below, I didn't feel as consumed by the book, but still felt really impressed by them.

  • Games of Command by Linnea Sinclair (my review)
  • Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready (my review)
  • Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (I need to review this when I have the book in my hands)
  • The Outback Stars by Sandra McDonald (review coming soon)

Books I Really Liked/ Keepers. These each had several moments where I loved the book and overall I think these are books that deserve to be loved and read by others, but for some reason or other these didn't get into the top 7. I still consider these keepers, and all these authors are pretty much autobuys/ must read backlist authors. There are 19 of these books this year (Linnea Sinclair's name comes up a lot here, I was reading her backlist in 2008):

  • The Down Home Zombie Blues by Linnea Sinclair (my review)
  • Exit Strategy (Nadia Stafford, Bk 1) by Kelley Armstrong (my review)
  • Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas (my review)
  • Grimspace by Ann Aguirre (my review)
  • An Accidental Goddess by Linnea Sinclair (my review)
  • Urban Shaman by C. E. Murphy (my review)
  • Wanderlust by Ann Aguirre (my review)
  • Cry Wolf (Alpha and Omega, Bk 1) by Patricia Briggs (my review)
  • Easy Freedom by Liz Berry (my review)
  • Jinx by Jennifer Estep (my review)
  • Finders Keepers by Linnea Sinclair (my review)
  • Gabriel's Ghost by Linnea Sinclair (my review pt 1, pt 2)
  • The Good Neighbors by Holly Black (my review)
  • The Nanny by Melissa Nathan (my review)
  • Grave Sight (Harper Connelly, Bk 1) by Charlaine Harris (my review)
  • Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler (my review)
  • Burndive by Karin Lowachee (my review)
  • An Ice Cold Grave (Harper Connelly, Bk 3) by Charlaine Harris (my review)
  • The Decoy Princess and Princess at Sea by Dawn Cook (my review)


And for my New Year's Resolution – it's the same resolution as last year , to read 100 books.

  • 2006 – 103 books
  • 2007 - 99 books
  • 2008 – 77 books
  • 2009 – let's get it back up to 100!!

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Contests up the Wazoo

EVERYONE seems to be giving away things this week! If you surf around, most of the group blogs seem to have something for the holiday season. Here are some of the ones I thought were interesting:

1) Books on Board is giving away a red Sony eReader.. Man, I would love to have an eReader but the price seems way too much for me right now to justify it or even ask for it as a gift. Especially since I don't read many ebooks right now. If I won one, that wouldn't be too bad. To enter you have to write a short essay about why you like reading ebooks and books on board, or you can link about the contest. Details here.

2) AustenBlog has a signed copy of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict. I've reviewed this book here (LJ) and here (vox) and I do recommend it for Austen fans. Info on that contest is here.

3) Ann Aguirre (one of my favorite authors right now) is giving away a few books on her blog. They all run until this Sunday at midnight. I've entered a couple:

4) Linnea Sinclair (another fav) has Hope's Folly swag over at The Book Smuggler's blog. I am looking forward to Hope's Folly coming out soon. Information on the book and the contests are over on the blog – link is here.

5) Jeri Smith Ready is over at Harlequin's Paranormal Romance blog and giving away the winner's choice of an Aspect of Crow book. This is a good series I'm in the middle of right now. My review of Eyes of Crow is here (LJ) and here (vox)

6) Finally Paperback writer is still giving away prizes every day on her blog. Prizes vary. She put up a free ebook on there for everyone today.


OK I'm tired now. 🙂

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Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler

I saw this book recommended by Jane Austen fans because the author apparently spent a lot of time researching properly (six years working on the book is what I read). She is also a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA).

With credentials like that I was a little afraid this book was going to be somewhat dry and rely more on facts than plot, but I was quite happy to find that this was not the case. There is quite a bit of humor in here and an enjoyable heroine, and the research is reflected in the descriptions of the surroundings, but doesn't bog down the story.

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict is about an L. A. woman, Courtney Stone, who after a bad breakup with her fiance, and a big fight with her best friend, drowns her sorrows in a Jane Austen novel, then wakes up in the Regency era in the body of someone named Jane Mansfield. The writing is in the first person present tense so the reader experiences Courtney/Jane's confusion at the same time she does.

Overall: This is a time travelling story involving Jane Austen, but the author doesn't attempt to put the heroine into one of the original stories to meet Mr. Darcy or any of the other heroes in the Austen novels (like the recent miniseries Lost in Austen). In this case the author Courtney discovers the lack of woman's rights and hygiene, along with the clothes, manners, and customs of the time. The era is not romanticized, and Courtney reacts in a believable way to her situation, sometimes acting anachronistically, but also realizing she has to blend in to survive. Being put into a mental institution in those times would have been a horror, so Courtney/Jane doesn't do supremely idiotic things. Instead, she pretends to be Jane and goes about her days in which Jane would have – meeting her friends and suitor, dealing with her parents, and also remembering the life she left behind. Courtney has no idea what happened to the real Jane, but as time passes she begins to pick up her memories, which sit next to her other memories in L.A. Along with episodes in the courtship of  Mr. Edgeworth, Courtney remembers feelings for her best friend Wes, who she thinks betrayed her. It felt like there were two love stories playing out even though the focus of the book is in England, which I guess is the one problem I had with the book. Courtney is in Jane's life and interacting with Mr. Edgeworth, while also thinking about her past life in California, and I felt sort of torn about where she should be. I wasn't sure she should be in Jane's life, so that was my one quibble with the novel that kept me from enjoying it as much as I could have. It made me a bit sad! However, I just found out that there is a companion book coming out – with Jane taking Courtney's place in modern day L.A – Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict (more info at the author's website here). That book comes out May 2009 according to Amazon.


Author Interview at Booking Mama

Dear Author Review

The author's website is great – lots of Jane related videos and links, worth spending some time there – .

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