Best & Worst of 2008

Since The Hope Chest Reviews is not dedicated to the latest book releases, most of the books on this list did not come out in 2008. Instead the list is compiled from the books that were read and reviewed during the 2008 calendar year.

Author of the Year - Winner

Stephenie Meyer (4 - 5 star keepers in a row)

Author of the Year - Runner-Up

Gaelen Foley (3 - 4 ½ -5 star keepers in a row)

Best Overall Romance

The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer (5 stars)

Best Contemporary Romance

The Real Deal by Lucy Monroe (4 ½ stars)

Best Erotic Romances

Caine's Reckoning by Sarah McCarty (4 ½ stars)
The Man Within by Lora Leigh (4 ½ stars)

Best Historical Romances

Always to Remember by Lorraine Heath (5 stars)
Lord of Fire by Gaelen Foley (5 stars)
Beyond Seduction by Emma Holly (4 ½ stars)
The Duke by Gaelen Foley (4 ½ stars)
Lord of Ice by Gaelen Foley (4 ½ stars)
Red Roses Mean Love by Jacquie D'Alessandro (4 ½ stars)

Best Alternate Reality Romances

Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon (5 stars)
Lover Awakened by J. R. Ward (5 stars)
Lover Unbound by J. R. Ward (5 stars)

Best Romantic Short Stories

Beautiful Gifts (from the anthology The True Love Wedding Dress) by Catherine Anderson (4 ½ stars)
Let's Talk About Sex (from the anthology Big Guns Out of Uniform) by Liz Carlyle (4 ½ stars)
Something Special (from the anthology The True Love Wedding Dress) by Casey Claybourne (4 ½ stars) 

Best Young Adult Books

The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer (5 stars)

Best Non-Fiction Book

Amazing Gracie: A Dog's Tale by Dan Dye & Mark Beckloff (5 stars)

Best Children's Book (Fiction)

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder (5 stars)

Best Children's Books (Non-Fiction)

Barack Obama: Working to Make a Difference by Marlene Targ Brill (4 ½ stars)
Heroes of the Revolution by David A. Adler (4 ½ stars)

Most Surprising Winners

Lover Unbound by J. R. Ward (5 stars) - This one had so many negative reviews, I thought it wasn't going to be very good, but it ended up being one of the best books I read all year.
Beyond Seduction by Emma Holly (4 ½ stars) - I didn't care for the first book in the series, so I wasn't expecting much with this one. It turned out to be a wonderfully romantic and steamy read.

Biggest Disappointment

Sam's Creed by Sarah McCarty (3 stars) - I really liked the first book in the series, and this one had some great reviews. It ended up being a rather disappointing read for me though.:-(

Funniest Read

The Very Virile Viking by Sandra Hill (4 stars) - This one made me laugh so hard, I cried.:-)

Biggest Tear-Jerkers

It is very rare for a book to actually make me cry, but these did.
Amazing Gracie: A Dog's Tale by Dan Dye & Mark Beckloff (5 stars)
Lover Unbound by J. R. Ward (5 stars)

Best Christmas Story

Some Enchanted Season by Marilyn Pappano (4 ½ stars)

Sweetest Romance

The tenderest, most innocent and touching romance I read this year.
The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer (5 stars)

Steamiest Romance

For me, the steamiest romance doesn't necessarily have the most erotic content. Instead it is the book(s) that best combine hot, sexy scenes with a deep emotional connection that really make the pages sizzle.
Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon (5 stars)
Lover Awakened by J. R. Ward (5 stars)

Worst Reads

The books I had the hardest time finishing.
Love Come to Me by Lisa Kleypas (2 stars)
When a Man Loves a Woman by Alina Adams (2 stars)
Captives of the Night by Loretta Chase (2 ½ stars)

Best Overall Hero

Edward Cullen (The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer)

Best Overall Heroine

Jane Whitcomb (Lover Unbound by J. R. Ward)

Most Tortured Heroes

Both suffered from a level of physical and emotional torment deeper than any I've read to date. They don't get much more tortured than these two.
Zsadist (Lover Awakened by J. R. Ward)
Vishous (Lover Unbound by J. R. Ward)

Most Tortured Heroine

Desi Allen (Caine's Reckoning by Sarah McCarty) - If being kidnapped, beaten, loosing both parents and a twin sister and being sold into sexual slavery isn't the most tortured a woman can get, I don't know what is.

Most Frustrating/Annoying Hero

Gryphon Meridon (The Hidden Heart by Laura Kinsale) - I normally love angsty, tormented heroes, but this guy took the meaning of those words to a whole new level and didn't let up until the last chapter.

Most Frustrating/Annoying Heroine

Leila Beaumont (Captives of the Night by Loretta Chase) - An abrasive heroine prone to fits of rage and childish temper tantrums. I was not sure what any man would see in her.

Hottest Hero

Simon Brant (The Real Deal by Lucy Monroe) - This guy may be a geek, but he's physically gorgeous with a brain the size of a planet, and when he's not being forgetful, definitely knows how to romance a lady.

Most Perfect Couple

Vishous & Jane (Lover Unbound by J. R. Ward)

Best Child Characters

Magnus Ericsson's entire brood of 11 (The Very Virile Viking by Sandra Hill)

Best Animal Character

Buddy (Summer Breeze by Catherine Anderson) - It doesn't get much cuter than a "talking" dog.

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