Reader's Corner: A Look Back at 2008

There were some notable reads for me this year, mostly in mystery and suspense. I didn’t read as much as I would have _liked_ but the books I did read and enjoy are worth pimping again.

The grades range from A’s to B’s. I’m hoping next year I will be able to read more than I did this year. I had a lot of stuff going on that kept me quite busy. But enough about that – here is my year end list, after the cut.

Mystery

“Fractured” by Karin Slaughter (2008) featuring Will Trent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in Atlanta, Georgia. The first book in the series, Triptych, first introduced Will Trent and he is one of my favorite heroes. He has a disability that he compensates for very well working as a cop. I love Will and Slaughter has once again sucked me into another series. The woman can write and I plan to follow this series to the finish. Solid A read.

“Sweetheart” by Chelsea Cain (2008) featuring detective Archie Sheridan and “Beauty Killer” aka Gretchen Lowell and the story is set in Portland, Oregon. Sweetheart is the second book in the series, following Heart Sick, which was a NY Bestseller. Archie Sheridan is a damaged cop who was once a victim of Gretchen Lowell’s. She’d tortured him in her basement before letting him go free. The books in the series thus far are very good and well paced. I enjoyed the follow-up just as much as her debut. B read.

“Angel’s Tip” by Alafair Burke (2008) featuring homicide detective Ellie Hatcher and the story is set in New York. The first book in the series, Dead Connection (2007) first introduced her. Ellie Hatcher was a breath of fresh air. She’s smart, she does her job very well and can take care of herself, too. The writing is very polished and the characters well fleshed out. This is another series I plan to follow. B+ read.

“I Shall Not Want” A Claire Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne Mystery by Julia Spencer-Fleming is the sixth entry in this well written series. The publisher really promoted her books this year by giving away free ebook copies of the first two books in the series. I hope a lot of readers got a chance to read her work because for me, this series is one of the strongest out there. There is a strong romantic subplot in them and in this entry, some things were actually resolved and the ending had the characters at a crossroads. This series has been consistently strong, well written and one of the best out there. B+ read.

“The Serpents Tale” by Ariana Franklin, the second book in the series featuring Adelia Aguilar, the forensic investigator living in 12th Century England, is yet another strong medieval mystery series with a subtle romantic subplot. I love this author’s writing style and have enjoyed many of her books under her real name of Diana Norman. A- read.

Urban Fantasy or Fantasy

“Cry Wolf” by Patricia Briggs introduced us to two new characters from the Mercedes Thompson universe, Charles Cornick, the son of the Marrok and Anna Latham who is a new wolf and an Omega. Cry Wolf was a strong entry that was precluded by the novella in On the Prowl, which was excellent as well and introduced us to these characters. Briggs is a solid writer and it’s no surprise that I and many other readers enjoyed Cry Wolf, the first book in her new series. B+ read.

“The Host” by Stephenie Meyer. Say what you want about her vampires but she penned a really good story here. Sure, there’s no original storyline here and this is not a literary masterpiece but this book was a good read and a lengthy one, too. I debated adding it to my list but what the hell, why not. It was good, not great. B read.

YA novels

“The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman. This was a fun read and my first introduction to Mr. Gaiman’s work. I plan to tackle some of his adult novels next year, starting with “Stardust” which resides in my eLibrary at the moment. Anyway, the story follows Bod, a young kid who is raised by the dead. He spends most of his formative years with the denizens of the graveyard and has many adventures about life, people and growing up. This was a quick read with illustrations. B read.

Manga/Graphic Novels/Comics

“Burn Out” by Rebecca Donnor and illustrated by Inaki Miranda was one of the more interesting graphic novels released under the MINX imprint. The story tackled a serious issue: ecoterrorism. B read.

“Token” by Alisa Kwitney and illustrated by Joëlle Jones, is a coming of age story about a rebellious teen who goes on a shoplifting spree in order to get her father’s attention. Fun story and a B read.

“Vampire Knight” by Matsuri Hino, continues to move strong and it is one of my favorite manga series right now and it has almost all the elements I love: angst, suspense, forbidden love, love triangle, etc. Yes, it’s really, really good. B/B+

“Kin: The Good Neighbor” by Holly Black, her first graphic novel about a subject matter she’s written about often: faeries. The graphic novel is dark, suspenseful and a coming of age story. It’s nowhere near as violent as her YA novels like Tithe. Kin is the first in a new series. Even though I wasn’t blown away by the story, I thought she did a good job overall. B read.

Well, that concludes my list of favorites for 2008. What’s yours? I’m always in the market for taking recommendations as I’m sure I overlooked a lot of good reads this year. Thanks.

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About Keishon

Voracious reader of just about everything.
This entry was posted in Avid Musings. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Reader's Corner: A Look Back at 2008

  1. Tee says:

    Totally agree with you on your first three picks in the Mystery department–Fractured, Sweetheart and Angel’s Tip. I’ve not read the other two you mentioned. I would like to add some favorites of mine in this genre for 2008. They are:

    Twisted – Andrea Kane
    Guilty – Karen Robards
    Scream for Me – Karen Rose
    Say Goodbye – Lisa Gardner

    I don’t read the other genres you listed, although I do read different genres besides mystery. I discovered, then began, reading your website, Keishon, about the middle of this year for the first time and have continued catching it on a regular basis. I look forward to seeing it again in the coming year.

  2. Kailana says:

    I don’t think I am going to be able to do a year end post this year because I did a really bad job keeping crack of what I read! I did read Cry Wolf, The Host, and The Graveyard Book off of your list and enjoyed those three! I also read The Hobb’s Bargain by Patricia Briggs. That was good. And then way back in like February there was Iron Kissed, the third Mercedes Thompson book. Oh, and I read the Serpent’s Tale too. That was a good book! I might be able to do a sort of list, I guess….

  3. Kailana says:

    er, not keeping crack… keeping track… lol

  4. Avid Reader says:

    @Tee: I’ll have to track down Andrea Kane’s stuff. I’ve never read her. A friend of mine actually read and reviewed SCREAM FOR ME for my blog but I plan to tackle it next year. I think most of my reading will continue to be mystery or romantic suspense unless a really good romance comes out by Laura Kinsale or Judith Ivory.

    @Kailana – you do have a year end list, starting with those three! *g*

    Thanks for sharing your favorites!

  5. Brie says:

    Glad to see the Chelsea Cain novels up there. I have them both, but haven’t given them a read yet.

    I have started on the Mistress of the Art of Death and it’s shaping up to be a really good book. I’m anxious to see how it ends and what the followup has in store.

    By the way, I’ve given you an award.

  6. Janicu says:

    Interesting, you seem to be backing up some people’s recs for me (Vampire Knight and The Host). My best friend has been hounding me to read Vampire Knight especially. Of the two here I’ve read I agree with you on Kin and Cry Wolf. Good list.

  7. Jayne says:

    I love that you have so many different genres listed. Everyone ought to be able to find something to please them here!

  8. Lisa says:

    Cry Wolf will be on my best of list too. I think. I don’t rate my books any more, but it sure did make it easier to pick the best.

  9. I agree with your statements about Cry Wolf. I thoroughly enjoyed that book and hope it’s the first in a long series. Also on my “best of” fantasy book list are:

    -Staked by J.F. Lewis
    -Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs
    -Storm Born by Richelle Read

    As you can see, I primarily read urban fantasy.

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