62 books later and my reading for the year has come to an end. Now comes the fun part. I get to dole out rewards for the best, the worst, and honourable and dishonourable mentions.
First up, fiction category:
Best re-read (tie): Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield and The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
Best mystery: Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann (although best shirt ripping goes to Emerson in The Last Camel Died at Noon)
Best new to me author/best romantic mystery: And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander
Most disappointing: The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
Book that everyone else loved, but made me go "meh": Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen
Best menage-a-huit: Enchanted by Nancy Madore
Funniest book that made me depressed about my job: Free for All by Don Borchart
Most disappointing: Heavy Words Lightly Thrown by Chris Roberts
Funniest overall: Notes from a Big Country by Bill Bryson
Topic literally made me feel ill: The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson
Best book published in 2008 (fiction and non-fiction): By Hook or By Crook by David Crystal. Runner-up: Fabergé's Eggs by Tony Faber
And now, the top five best and worst overall!
5. Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann
Sheep detectives: brilliant. Flipbook sheep in the corner: genius.
4. By Hook or By Crook by David Crystal
Like the author, this book was all over the place but never uninteresting. Readers were taken for a ride in the best way possible. I'm still not sure if this is a real word, but unputdownable just about describes it.
3. The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susannah Clarke
I've said it before and I'll say it again: the actual, physical book was so beautiful I wanted to marry it. And oh yeah, the stories were fantastic, especially the title one. It may not have been sexy or romantic, but every time it surpassed my expectations, I felt like screaming, "How did she do that!?" This book messes with your head in every possible way and then hands it back to you gently.
2. And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander
For a book that I just found mouldering in my library's back room, it sure was a glorious read. I'm a big fan of a book that does several genres well, and this one hit all the high notes in history, romance, intrigue, comedy and drama.
And the best book of the year goes too...
1. The Devil's Delilah by Loretta Chase
This book couldn't get any more perfect. I laughed so hard I cried, yet it was the sexiest romance I've ever read. I mean, check out the pistol in her hand on the cover. Please. That says it all.
And now for the bottom of the barrel:
5. The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
A beautifully written book with unlikeable characters that you wanted to give a good smacking to.
4. Heavy Words Lightly Thrown by Chris Roberts
A book about nursery rhymes shouldn't be this bad. Heavy words, indeed.
3. The Blue Roan Child by Jamieson Findlay
Maybe you have to like horses to appreciate this book. But shouldn't it be able to stand on its own without any prerequisites? A complete yawnfest.
2. Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler
Yes, the book was cheesy and bad. What really made me dislike it, though, was the author's constantly pimping it over and over on every Regency blog out there. Yes, you wrote a book. You're the world's biggest Jane Austen fan. We get it. Here's hoping things improve with Rude Awakening of a Jane Austen Addict, the sequel.
And now we come to the absolute nadir of the year, the "winner" of my first ever Kiss of Death, aka the book I wish I could kill with just a kiss. I'm sure it will come as no surprise to you that this book surpassed all the others by miles in its awfulness, and I didn't even have to think twice before giving it its just reward:
What can I say about this book I haven't already said in my review? Even looking at the title of this book still gives me chills ten months later. I keep half expecting that Wayne is going to come after me with a machete as I write this.
So that's it for another year! What books will top the list in 2009? Only time will tell...