Monday, June 09, 2008

The first half of the reading year

Well, we are almost midway through June and that means midway through the first part of the reading year. Katie and I thought that rather than just list our favourite books published in 2008, we would have a discussion.

So with that thought in mind, here's what we had to say, along with our favourite books so far.

Without further ado - our thoughts so far.

KatieBabs: so should we talk about our favourite reads of 08?

KristieJ: LOL I was just going to ask you the same thing

KatieBabs: See, great minds!

KristieJ: So Kate - they year is half over - what have been some of your best reads so far, keeping in mind we are going to post this discussion

KatieBabs: of course!

KatieBabs: Many of my favourites have been paranormal and fantasy, much like last year, the majority of my list is mainly paranormal with a few historical thrown in and one contemporary romance, which we all know what that is.

KristieJ: I never really asked you - do you grade books?

KatieBabs: I am a big fan of the A-F grading system.

KristieJ: I'm a 1 - 5 girl myself

KatieBabs: so easy to give those grads checks and minuses

KristieJ: same with the number system

KatieBabs: All my top books I give B+ or higher in my mind

KristieJ: And me between a 4 and 5. So - what have been your highest graded books so far? And why? What stands out about them for you?

KatieBabs: Well, one on my list is a bit below a normal "B+" grade that may surprise some:

The Host- A+

Blue Eyed Devil- A+

One Foot in the Grave A

Three books I have on my list haven't been published yet but are one of the best I have read this year

How about you?

KristieJ: well - I keep an excel spreadsheet - and loving the filter system on it, I'm down a bit in my reading - I blame blogging for that, but I've read 32 books so far this year - 16 of them published in 2008. I think I give out more higher graded marks then you do *g*. The books that got 5's:

The Spymaster's Lady

Unlawful Contact - Pamela Clare

Blue Eyed Devil - Lisa Kleypas - twice - I read that one twice

KatieBabs: Blue Eyed Devil is definitely a re-read

KristieJ: It is - and a re-re-read. And one more that's not out in stores yet - but I blogged about it - Countdown by Michele Maddox

KatieBabs: and The Spymaster's Lady is a worthy book

KristieJ: The Spymaster's Lady too. I'm kind of surprise that there are a number of readers who didn't really like it. The book you sent me - Love Letters to a Stranger got 4.75

KatieBabs: I was just blown away by Bourne's skill as a storyteller. She writes incredibly strong heroines and her writing is so intelligent and lyrical in some ways

KristieJ: She did come in with all guns blazing didn't she? A lot of new authors build in talent - but Joanna's was there right from the start of page 1

KatieBabs: Her next book, My Lord and Spymaster is another great book by her. Her heroine Jess is almost like Annique in many ways. It’s a good sophomore effort, also on my list but not released yet. I think you will enjoy it. Two great characters, with tension and wonderful bantering back and forth

KristieJ: I have it on pre-order from Chapters!! I can hardly wait until it comes in.

So - what did you find so special about Blue Eyed Devil that it got an A+ from you (and a 5 from me)

KatieBabs: Well, Blue Eyed Devil was such a big read for me more on a personal level.

I am ready to say The Host is my number one read of 2008, but Blue Eyed Devil hit so many personal and internal emotions

KristieJ: She did such a wonderful job with making Hardy and Haven come alive didn't she? We really felt drawn into Haven's world I thought. And so we could really experience the journey

KatieBabs: I saw myself in Haven because at one point I was where she was and that shook me to my core by the time I finished reading. If I ever see Lisa, I must give her a hug for writing such an incredible book.

KristieJ: I think so many of us are 'people pleasers' like Haven - that in so many ways we can identify with her. I know I did too

KatieBabs: Was there any new authors introduced this year that are on your list or just the usual suspects?

KristieJ: Well - for me three author really stood out - Joanne Bourne who we already discussed, Jean Johnson and for me Toni Blake – they were all new or new to me authors and I was especially pleased with the new to me authors since at times I didn't think there were any previous published authors I would find

KatieBabs: The only new authors I have on my list so far are Joanne Bourne and Ann Aguirre. Everyone else is well known

KristieJ: Have you discovered any new-to-you authors this year so far?

KatieBabs: Ilona Andrews is one. I just finished reading Magic Bites, also Cherie Feather

KristieJ: I don't think we can have a discussion of 2008 books without mentioning Cheryl Brooks and Slave

KatieBabs: How could we forget Cat and Jack? LOL

KristieJ: Even though neither of us gave her the highest of marks on her debut, I think we both agree she's an author worth keeping an eye on.

KatieBabs: Definitely. She will keep people talking.

Two other authors I just thought of is Colleen Gleason and Josh Lanyon.

Did you read any ebook authors that caught your eye?

KristieJ: no - I don't read ebooks . How many have you read so far this year? I mean total books - not just ebooks?

KatieBabs: Well, there are some that have made the jump from ebook to print like Sarah McCarty, Shiloh Walker, Lisa Marie Rice. These are all ones to look forward to. I need a minute to calculate... If I include print and all ebooks, probably close to 80.

KristieJ: Lisa Marie Rice I certainly agree with you on. I love Sarah McCarty's on-line presence - I think she's a great person - but her books don't work for me sadly

KatieBabs: Well Sarah has a certain way with her books, alpha cowboy men who like the butt-butt, if you know what I mean.*wink* She is one I am definitely looking forward to this year.

KristieJ: yep - I know what you mean - that's why they don't work for me

KatieBabs: But there is one author who does not work for me at all! Jacquelyn Frank! I just can't get into her Nightwalkers series, so boring, goes on and on and nothing really happens!

KristieJ: I haven't tried her books - haven't really been tempted too

KatieBabs: you are not missing anything. I like her concept, about a paranormal series dealing with all legends from vampires to werewolves and demons but her writing is just not for me. She has very long paragraphs that go on and on and on...

KristieJ: How about Nalini Singh? I think we've both read all her books including her latest one

KatieBabs: Mine To Possess is in my top 10. She delivers every time and I am very excited for Hostage to Pleasure, her September release.

KristieJ: I gave it a 4 which is a very good grad

KatieBabs: Also C.L. Wilson has another book coming in September for her Fading Lands series. Well, we all know her two books where my favourites for 2007. King of Sword and Sky comes out this September

KristieJ: yes - but she hasn't had one in 2008 so far. And you are the only one of the two of us to talk about JR Ward since I haven't read past Rhage’s story yet

KatieBabs: That would be me and Lover Enshrined is in my top 10, for the moment. Lover Enshrined is quite the topic of conversation in the blog world at the moment. And who had the first blog review... hmmmm?

KristieJ: Any other books of 2008 that you want to spotlight - that are out now?

KatieBabs: Gena Showalter has a great new series with her Lords of the Underworld. and I cannot forget to mention Kresley Cole's Immortal series and last but not least Meljean Brook

KristieJ: I have all those you just mentioned - just not read yet

KatieBabs: just some more to add to the good old TBR list. 2008 so far has been amazing overall for books!

KristieJ: It has for me too! - starting with The Spymaster's Lady

KatieBabs: She sets the standard!

KristieJ: Some of my favourites this year are Unlawful Contact by Pamela Clare, Hot by Julie Harper, To Taste Temptation by Elizabeth Hoyt - so she had 2 this year and finally a tried and true - Strangers in Death by JD Robb

KatieBabs: Er, To Taste Temptation is my bottom feeder along with Damien by Frank

KristieJ: heh heh - I know - we disagree on that one

KatieBabs: Yup, my first unhappy read by Hoyt. Is there one book you haven't read from 2008 yet that you want to?

KristieJ: that's been published or that I'm waiting for?

KatieBabs: that has been published

KristieJ: LOL - yep quite a few. I think the top ones are Demon Night by Meljean Brook and The Seducer and the Scorpion by Bonnie Vanak. Fortunately for me I have both of them already – its just a matter of reading them. And you?

KatieBabs: It just came out, but Scandalous ways by Loretta Chase

KristieJ: Um - I have that one too. See what I mean? Too many books - not enough time!

KatieBabs: I know!

KristieJ: So list your top 2008 books so far

KatieBabs: even the one that haven't been published yet but I have read?

KristieJ: no - I think we should stick with published - that way people won't want to throw rotten apples at us yet

KatieBabs: *ducks*

KristieJ: 'cause I kind of want to throw a rotten apple at you for having read Linnea Sinclair’s latest – even if you’re my partner - heh heh heh - in a nice way of course. Cause I will be reading it - no doubt about that - when it comes out

KatieBabs: Linnea Sinclair's next release? Whatever do you mean? *whistles* maybe you will get it earlier. *wink wink* My top books for 2008 are:

Blue Eyed Devil- Lisa Kleypas
The Host- Stephenie Meyer
One Foot in the Grave- Jeaniene Frost
Grimspace- Ann Aguirre
The Spymaster's Lady- Joanna Bourne
Demon Night- Meljean Brook
Mine To Possess- Nalini Singh
Lover Enshrined- JR Ward
Dark Needs on Night's Edge- Kresley Cole
The Darkest Kiss- Gena Showalter

KatieBabs: Tah Dah!

KristieJ: Very good! These are mine:

Joanna Bourne, The Spymaster's Lady 5

Lisa Kleypas, Blue Eyed Devil 5

Pamela Clare, Unlawful Contact 5

Toni Blake, Letters To A Secret Lover 4.75

Julia Harper, Hot 4

Nalini Singh, Mine To Possess 4

Robb, JD Strangers In Death 4

Gena Showalter, Savor Me Slowly 4

Elizabeth Hoyt, To Taste Temptation 4

KatieBabs: You don't list from 1 to 10?

KristieJ: I put my fives together, then my one 4.75, then 4.5, then 4's. That's as close as I can do it

KatieBabs: ah ha, I forgot one!! Arg! Duke of Shadows. I need to fix my list

KristieJ: I have that one too - on the TBR pile

KatieBabs: before this gets posted, I must rethink my list. See, I have problems already. lol

KristieJ: heh heh. Well, I'll copy it, fix it up and email it to you so you can add stuff

KatieBabs rethought list:

Blue Eyed Devil- Lisa Kleypas

The Host- Stephenie Meyers

One Foot in the Grave- Jeaniene Frost

Grimspace- Anne Aguirre

The Spymaster's Lady- Joanna Bourne
Duke of Shadows- Meredith Duran

Demon Night- Meljean Brook
Mine To Possess- Nalini Singh

Lover Enshrined- JR Ward

Dark Needs on Night's Edge- Kresley Cole


Ana said...

What an amazing convo ladies!

I don't dare to list my books yet, mainly because I am waiting for the new historical by Kleypas, Demon Bound by Meljean and of course King of Sword and Sky.

But If I were to be pressed, right now, my favorite reads of 2008 would be:

Duke of Shadows (totally agree with Katie on this one)
The Lost Duke of Wyndham
Your Scandalous Ways
Demon Night

and the book that you dare not mention by Linnea Sinclair. ; )

the other places are still up for grabs.

Kristie (J) said...

Ana: *g* well - this is only the first half of the year. Katie wanted to do some of the ones not out yet but I had to hold her back ;-)
And some we still haven't read yet - for example, I have Your Scandalous Ways - just haven't had a chance to read it yet.
And don't tell me you have the LS book too-oo. Oh the pain of it!

Kwana said...

I loved listening in on this talk. you two have totally blown up my reading list! Thanks.

Christine said...

You two are adorable. I love convo posts like this! I am in awe that you have read upwards of 80 books in barely a six month span, Kate!

I've been so good about *buying* the 2008 books I want to read. Just not so great about actually *reading* them! LOL I'm going to force my girls to read four hours a day this summer so that I can make some serious headway into my TBR pile. Seriously.

Great midyear recap. :)

Heather said...

Great list, and I'm right there with you about GRIMSPACE, katieBabs. The story is lead by such a strong voice. Sweet cover, too.

Sarai said...

Okay I am reading the Duke of Shadows right now and it is blowing my mind LOL! As far as teh others I don't have many that you have read yet I am catching up so the older books are getting read right now *g*

Tracy said...

I love your blog! You never know what you're gonna get! :) Great convo!

Aymless said...

Love your blog.

You are really sweet (for crack dealers ^_~). Glad to say that I'm about 50% on the your lists. So that's good. So it won't totally break my poor fatkittie bank.

I'm really looking forward to Nalini Singh's Hostage to Pleasure and CL Wilson's King of Sword and Sky and Queen of Song and Souls. I'm thinking they'll end up on my best of 2008 list.

There is so much to read *looks at TRB bookcase*. I really don't think I'll get to them all this year!.

Katie(babs) said...

You all didn't see what we cut out. heh heh.

Ann Aguirre said...

Wow, I'm so excited to be on this list! You listed some of my favorite reads of 2008 too.

I'd add Hidden by Eve Kenin to the roster, though.

Katie(babs) said...

Ann: I have Hidden, the sequel to Driven to be added on my top 10 but since it hasn't been released yet, I didn't put it on my first half 2008 in review.
Maybe someone's sequel *coughwanderlustcough* will appear on my top ten in a few months.

Julia said...

Always enjoy the convo between you two. And always enjoy coming back to this blog and find something interesting to read :)

I'm afraid my list of favorite book published in 2008 might be short. But since this only first half of the reading year, I hope to span it bit more before the end of the year hit *grin*

Amy C said...

Katie, I'm so glad you remembered The Duke of Shadows! I absolutely loved that book.

Top ten list for halfway through the year! Great idea :) I'll have to put me together one soon.