Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Best of 2008 List: Reviewer Jayne

Jayne, one of the founding members of Dear Author, is our resident explorer. She goes out and finds the most unusual settings, the most unknown authors, in all different genres, and brings them to our attention. She’s also one of my dearest reading friends. Without her, this blog probably would have died a slow and uninteresting death a long time ago.

  • PEOPLE OF THE BOOK by  ¬†Geraldine Brooks, Grade A
  • THE END OF THE ALPHABET by C.S. Richardson, Grade A-
  • THE SPYMASTER’S LADY by Joanna Bourne, Grade A-
  • THE TENTH GIFT by Jane Johnson, Grade A-
  • YOUR SCANDALOUS WAYS by Loretta Chase, Grade A-
  • HIS SECRET PAST by Ellen Hartman, Grade A-
  • SHAKEN AND STIRRED by Kathleen O’Reilly, Grade A-
  • A LADY’S SECRET by Jo Beverly, Grade A-
  • MYSTIC HORSEMAN by Kathleen Eagle, Grade A-

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.


  1. Keishon
    Dec 16, 2008 @ 11:57:51

    My reading twin. I have maybe half of that list but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love that you go out and find some of the more “quieter” books that are worth reading and bringing it to our attention.

  2. Ellen Hartman
    Dec 16, 2008 @ 12:16:16

    Ah, Jayne likes unusual settings. Is New Jersey not the go to setting for romance? Who knew? :-)

    Kidding. I still have my original Dear Author review on the fridge with my kids’ math tests. Seeing my book on this list made my day. Thanks!!

  3. Jen Drake
    Dec 16, 2008 @ 12:25:48

    Ah a list like it was made for me lol, i have at least half those am and slowly *eep the holidays* but surely making my way thru the list.

  4. Janine
    Dec 16, 2008 @ 12:57:43

    I’m waiting for People of the Book to come out in paperback. I can’t wait to read it. I loved Brooks’ earlier book, Year of Wonders. And Jayne giving out a straight A is as rare as a lunar eclipse.

  5. Sunita
    Dec 16, 2008 @ 15:11:05

    I absolutely loved His Secret Past. Ellen Hartman’s earlier book, Wanted Man, is in my TBR pile. It isn’t in ebook form in the US, but we can buy it through the new Mills and Boon website.

  6. orannia
    Dec 16, 2008 @ 16:20:48

    Thank you Jayne! I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t read any of the books on your list, but I have recently discovered Kathleen Eagle and am slowly working my way through her back list :) I’ve been sitting on This Time Forever for a while…time to bring it out!

  7. Jayne
    Dec 16, 2008 @ 16:32:23

    orannia, Kathleen Eagle’s backlist is something to behold. TBH, her foray into women’s fiction lost me but with her last two books, she appears to be back in the saddle again. But she’s one of the first romance authors who lured me back into the genre after a long hiatus so she’s got a special place in my reading heart.

  8. Jayne
    Dec 16, 2008 @ 16:34:13

    Sunita, does Mills and Boon offer ebooks yet? I’ve been checking their website off and on to see if they’ve started. I adore for the fact that I can go and buy books there long after the print versions would have been pulled from bookstores.

  9. Jayne
    Dec 16, 2008 @ 16:37:36

    Yeah Ellen, New Jersey is such an exotic place. And I’m tickled pink that you enjoyed the review that much. Wow, a place of honor on the fridge. I’ve arrived! ;)

  10. Jayne
    Dec 16, 2008 @ 16:43:14

    Keishon, long time friend, are you doing a top 2008 reads list?

  11. Jayne
    Dec 16, 2008 @ 16:47:38

    Jen, I hope you enjoy the books.

    And if anyone is interested in reading the actual reviews, just click on the author’s name in the ‘tags’ list and you should be taken to a screen with it (and all other reviews of that author) on it.

  12. Sunita
    Dec 16, 2008 @ 16:58:03

    Jayne: Yes, it does, finally! They don’t have that many ebooks yet, probably only six months’ worth, but everything new is issued in paperback and ebook format. The nice thing is that since release dates differ in the UK and the US, there are books that we can’t get yet, like the Medicals before this month, some historicals, and some Modern Heats (which show up as Presents Extra here, but not in any systematic way that I can figure out). For example, some of Jessica Bird’s SSEs are available at M&B in ebook form but not at eHarlequin.

    The downside is that they are only doing Adobe PDF (with DRM, of course) right now.

  13. Jayne
    Dec 16, 2008 @ 17:32:38

    Yes, it does, finally! They don't have that many ebooks yet, probably only six months' worth, but everything new is issued in paperback and ebook format.

    Yeah! Of course with the current exchange rate….

    The downside is that they are only doing Adobe PDF (with DRM, of course) right now.

    Boo, pbbbbt. Sigh, at least it’s not Mobi.

  14. Sunita
    Dec 16, 2008 @ 17:51:17

    Yeah! Of course with the current exchange rate….

    It’s better than it used to be, though! From 2/1 down to 1.5/1. My handy currency converter widget tells me that my Ellen Hartman book cost me $5.70, which is a buck more than it would have on eHarlequin with the discount, but still manageable and way better than the $7 it would have cost last summer. Also, right now they are offering discounts on the previous months’ books (but not the Hartman b/c it’s a January 2009 release), so the prices are almost equivalent.

    Agreed on the PDF. Sigh.

  15. Jane
    Dec 16, 2008 @ 18:27:36

    @Sunita Blergh. I don’t like the Adobe only format. I suppose the good thing is that with Sony Readers you can port your ebooks off your laptop onto a regular reading device.

  16. Ellen Hartman
    Dec 16, 2008 @ 18:52:18

    I didn’t know about the eBook release for Wanted Man. Now Dear Author has made my day twice! Thanks for that info, Sunita!

  17. Sunita
    Dec 16, 2008 @ 19:59:17

    @ Jane: I hadn’t used DRM’d PDFs until I got the Sony Reader, and they are NOT my favorite format (I too prefer eReader). Reflow capability, my ass. But I like being able to read non-DRM’d PDFs on the Reader, and the various conversion software apps (Stanza and Calibre) do a pretty good job on other formats.

    @Ellen: My pleasure! I was so thrilled when I saw it; I rarely visit author websites, so I just kept looking for new books by you and found the M&B this week. May I say that the hero of His Secret Past is one of the most attractive (in every sense) heroes I’ve ever encountered? It’s a good thing my husband is as wonderful as he is, or he’d be in deep trouble.

  18. Ellen Hartman
    Dec 16, 2008 @ 21:06:13

    @Sunita–I’m glad you liked Mason. I had fun writing him. He did some admirable qualities. ;-) I even liked the picture they put on the cover.

  19. Jane
    Dec 16, 2008 @ 21:36:42

    I just went and bought His Secret Past from Fictionwise. With Micropay rebates, it was less than $3.50. Can hardly go wrong there.

  20. Keishon
    Dec 16, 2008 @ 21:41:26

    I also downloaded His Secret Past because it sounded pretty good. I missed the review of it I guess because I can’t recall seeing it. And affirmative- I’m working on a 2008 lists of books I read and enjoyed as we speak. It’s mostly mystery.

  21. Kate Pearce
    Dec 16, 2008 @ 21:49:56

    I definitely enjoyed The Spymaster’s Lady and I’ve loved Kathleen Eagle for a long time, so nice to see her up there!

  22. AAR Rachel
    Dec 16, 2008 @ 22:26:14

    I’ve heard really good things about Geraldine Brooks – my sister and mother raved over March – and People of the Book. I loved Spymaster’s Lady and just finished, and enjoyed, Shaken and Stirred.

    I just put His Secret Past on my Bookmooch wishlist.

  23. Joanna Bourne
    Dec 17, 2008 @ 09:14:50

    Oh My. Oh my. Whoop.

    I am delighted to be on your list.
    And in company like Loretta Chase and Jo Beverley.
    Most wonderful.

    I see books I have not yet read. I love it when that happens.
    I shall immediately zip out and buy People of the Book and The End of the Alphabet.

    There goes my last square inch of free time. Poof.

  24. Jayne
    Dec 17, 2008 @ 09:31:51

    Ah, but The End of the Alphabet only takes a little time to read. A little time spent for a wonderful experience. People of the Book will take longer but it’s also time well spent. Be sure to go online and check out pictures of the actual Haggadah – all the ones I found are exquisite.

  25. Kathleen O'Reilly
    Dec 17, 2008 @ 12:35:41

    Thank you, Jayne. You put a kick into what was otherwise a dreary, rainy day.

  26. Jia
    Dec 17, 2008 @ 19:28:51

    Oh no! I completely forgot about Shaken and Stirred. I loved that one.

  27. Janine
    Dec 17, 2008 @ 20:21:13

    Oh no! I completely forgot about Shaken and Stirred. I loved that one.

    As I said in the comments on your list, Jia, I don’t see why we can’t add titles to our lists retroactively, as long as they are 2008 books and we loved them.

  28. Brussel Sprout
    Dec 18, 2008 @ 07:16:31

    I did like A Lady’s Secret, but the other two I read on the list (the Brooks and the first of the Joanna Bourne books) were ‘meh’ for me. I think this is my fault – I’m just not in the same place. One of the best books for me this last year was Michael Chabon’s Gentlemen of the Road, but otherwise, the best books have been non-fiction, primarily history.

    ALS was lots of fun, but my favourite romances this year have been Ann Gracie’s Perfect series, which have been lovely, but are by no means new.

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