Needless to say, Cade will be waiting another day for his post.
So, my top 5, alphabetical, not faves order:
- Dark Desires after Dusk by Kresley Cole
- Death of a Pirate King by Josh Lanyon
- Demon Moon by Meljean Brook
- The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne
- Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas
How did I determine these? Pure readerly experience.
By my system, a poorly written book can fare better than a well written one, just if I take a fancy to it. And if a book has something I personally hate, it can be the best book in the world and it will nevertheless get multiple vicious stab wounds which, as anybody who watches real crime TV knows, is not at all random, but a sign of strong feelings. I don't often assign the "ranks" below as grades when I discuss a book, but it's how I arrange them in my mind.
Book experience ranking levels:
Love affair: I crave it, it takes hold of my mind, it has me in its thrall. Very rare. The Spymaster’s Lady is the only one above that was a full Love Affair, even though it didn’t have the character interplay that makes a book perfect for me, described below in my last post. I didn't care. I loved it.
Passionate crave read: Almost a love affair, but not quite. A passionate crave read is full of excitement and magic, and when I’m not reading it I wish I was. Paradoxically, though, I often try to read slow to make the goodness last. I totally did this with Dark Desires.
Damn fine read: This is a rollicking good read that I look forward to. This might be a B+ for me. Most books I talk about here fall into the damn fine read range.
Serviceable: The book generally works, nothing special. Good enough to finish. Some serviceable books take me forever to finish, others are page turners but still, merely serviceable.
Hostage situation: I want to leave but it won’t let me go because I have to find out what happens goddammit! Extreme measures during a hostage situation may include skipping chunks, reading only dialogue or the first sentence of every paragraph.
ROI situation: (return on investment) This is where I force myself to finish a book because I invested a lot of time in the reading of it before I realized I wish I wasn’t reading it. Typically, a serviceable book will convert to an ROI situation when I'm pretty far along.
The cautionary tale: A DNF (did not finish) I still read a bunch of and get a lot out of, because it’s like a warning or lesson for me as a writer: don’t let this happen to your hero. Pay attention to the build up or you'll have this problem. This sex scene leaves me cold because of that problem. I read such a book with the sort of attention I give to scenes of car crashes or fires. A primal instinct forces me to look for a while, and then it’s like, enough.
The mercy kill DNF: This is a DNF due to boredom. Set gently on floor with a sigh.
The multiple vicious stab wound DNF: This is a DNF due to an intense negative reaction. If it’s a book I actually own, it usually involves some physical abuse, like hurling it across the room.
Speaking of top books of 2008, I still have my running list going here. Let me know if you have a list for me to post. I just added an interesting one last night: the best selling fantasy, which includes a lot of urban fantasy, from Best Fantasy Stories.
The two lower images from Wikipedia commons.