The Fourth Quarter of 2008

And the end is in sight!  I may actually finish my 2008 Review posts before the end of January.

 

October

I was on holiday for most of October, which explains the massive total of 20 books read during this month.

I had never quite managed to understand why Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series (urban fantasy) was so popular, having read the first book “Storm Front” a while back and not being too impressed.  Nath convinced me to give the books another go, and restart the series from Book 4 (“Summer Knight”) instead.  That made all the difference and I’m now an official Dresden Files fangirl.  Proved by the fact I read the next seven books in this series during the month.  I will say that I’m unlikely to go back and read the second and third books in this series though.

I got my hands on Kristin Cashore’s novel “Graceling” (YA fantasy, first of three linked books) and discovered why there was such a buzz around this debut.  One to appeal to Tamora Pierce fans (of whom I am one), with good storytelling, a strong heroine, and a touch of romance.  Although in hindsight, I could have done without the cutesy names.

Mercedes Lackey released a new Valdemar book (“Foundation”, fantasy and first in a trilogy, I think), the first one in years, and despite it not really being up there with the Arrows and Last Herald-Mage trilogies, I loved revisiting her world and reading more about the founding of the Heralds’ Collegium.

And I started Richelle Mead’s “Vampire Academy” series (YA urban fantasy), reading both “Vampire Academy” and “Frostbite” (Books 1 and 2 respectively), and found it an engrossing and entertaining series.  I’ve enjoyed her Georgina Kincaid books, so I don’t know why it took me so long to get around to reading the VA books.

 

November

It was back to work, and I managed to read ten books this month.

Karen Chance is one of my favourite UF authors, and I enjoyed her “Midnight’s Daughter” (urban fantasy, Book 1 of a Cassie Palmer spin-off series).  While probably not one for new readers to the series, I liked seeing her world from the viewpoint of a different protagonist, and as always, I love the plotting and non-stop action.

I only read nine historical romances throughout 2008 and my favourite by a mile was Eloisa James’ “When the Duke Returns” (Book 3 of the Desperate Duchesses series).  On the face of it, the series premise doesn’t sound that much different from that of other historical romances out there – the duchesses and their recalcitrant, indifferent men – but as it is, I can’t remember when I’ve last enjoyed a historical romance series so much.  The opulent Georgian setting, the characters, their chemistry, the angst – it all came together in this one to make an excellent book.  I have very high expectations for the final two books out in 2009. 

And oh, Juliet Marillier’s “Daughter of the Forest” (fantasy, Book 1 of the Sevenwaters series).  I’ve had this book sitting in my TBR pile forever, and was finally moved to read it following the glowing reviews of the new book “Heir to Sevenwaters” set in this world.  And I loved.  Adored.  Passed the book on with a you-have-to-read-this-now recommendation.  Ordered the next two books from Amazon.  You know, on paper, this wouldn’t be a book that I’d enjoy.  I never was keen on retelling of fairytales or Celtic settings or the fey.  But Ms Marillier is a wonderful storyteller, and I’ve fallen in love with her Sevenwaters world.

It may have been only ten books read this month, but there were some very good ones there!

 

December

A very good reading month to end the year with.  I liked practically all the books I read this month and I’m finding it tough to narrow it down to the ones I liked best.

I finished Juliet Marillier’s Sevenwaters trilogy (“Son of the Shadows” and “Child of the Prophecy”) and immediately ordered “Heir to Sevenwaters” (no, I don’t know why I didn’t order them all in one go either).  I always start the year hoping to come across a new-to-me author with a marvellous backlist that will capture my imagination, and Juliet Marillier was probably my 2008 author (previous years being Elizabeth Peters, Lois McMaster Bujold, and Georgette Heyer in 2007, 2006, and 2005 respectively).

I read Josh Lanyon’s “Death of a Pirate King” (mystery, m/m romance, fourth in the Adrien English series) and “The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks” (mystery, m/m romance, standalone), and wasn’t disappointed.  I’m completely hooked on the Adrien English series and the Adrien/Jake relationship (think dysfunctional yet sooo right at the same time).  And Mr Lanyon’s writing is beautifully sparse yet descriptive.  I love the way he sketches in the background and atmosphere so easily, and his strong characterisation – his stories are the type where you never want to reach the last page.  M/M romance is a new subgenre for me this year, and I’m glad I decided to try something new.

And honourable mentions must go to Jenna Black’s “The Devil’s Due” (urban fantasy, Book 3 of the Morgan Kingsley series), Jim Butcher’s “Princeps’ Fury” (fantasy, Book 5 of the Codex Alera series), and Julie Hyzy’s “Hail to the Chef” (cosy mystery, Book 2 of the White House Chef series), all three of which were latest installments in ongoing series, and which I enjoyed very much.

 

So that’s my month-by-month review (previous parts one, two, and three linked here)… and err I’m not finished yet with 2008.

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8 thoughts on “The Fourth Quarter of 2008

  1. I really enjoyed reading the reviews of your 2008 reading year. I have some new books on my reading list as a result. I love finding new authors and books to try. I’m especially interested in Juliet Marillier’s books. I bought Daughter of the Forest awhile ago and haven’t read it yet–so that’s definitely heading to top of my TBR pile.

    I haven’t read many blogs lately so I missed signing up for your reading challenge–but I’ll try to do my own re-reading informally! I do have some favorite books I’ve thought of re-reading so this will spur me on!

  2. Jan – I’ve had fun writing them so thanks! Daughter of the Forest sat on my own TBR pile for over a year, so I was kicking myself for not reading sooner!

    I’m sure Nath’s re-reading challenge is still open to new sign-ups, so if you’re up for regular monthly re-reads, please do join!

  3. Hi Li 😀

    Yay, you’re done!! LOL 🙂 and congrats on posting them all before the end of January 🙂 seriously, that’s awesome 🙂

    Glad you enjoyed the Dresden Files series. I’m now a fangirl as well 🙂 and yeah, don’t bother reading book 2 and 3.

    Did you review Graceling? I’ve been tempted… Read somewhere that it was a bit similar to Poison Study by Maria V Snyder…

    Finished Daughter of the Forest yesterday 🙂 Thought it was okay… It was a bit hard to get into… Going to start Son of the Shadows soon 🙂

  4. Sorry, nath and Li, about the blog mix up! Boy, is my face red! I had been reading both of your blogs and just sort of combined them, I guess!!

  5. Nath – I finished writing these when I was still on holiday, they’re all scheduled posts 😉 Am so not liking the return to work.

    No, I didn’t review Graceling, but I think Angie did. Here you go:
    http://angieville.blogspot.com/2008/09/graceling-by-kristin-cashore.html

    I’m trying to think if it’s like “Poison Study” (bearing in mind that I didn’t really care for the Study series), yes, there are similarities in the storyline – young female protagonist, discovering her powers, some romance, an evil tyrant… umm, the overly-cute names! LOL. But I enjoyed Ms Cashore’s writing so much more.

    And just okay for DotF?! Noooo…. I hope you enjoy the latter ones more. I actually found it really easy to get drawn into the story.

  6. Pingback: 2009: Recap of My Reading Year Part I « Me and My Books

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