questions2 It’s hard to believe but we’re now into the eighth month of the 2013 reading year. This means there are only four months left to read the best of romance novels published in 2013 before voting begins for AAR’s Annual Reader Poll. As one of the three pollsters at AAR (along with LeeB and CindyS), I find myself thinking early about books I might vote for in the Annual Reader Poll.

Over the last few years one of my favorite categories has been the Best Chick Lit/Women’s Fiction. I tend to favor Chick Lit (lighter, less angtsy) over Women’s Fiction, but have enjoyed a number of Women’s Fiction titles as well. Many AAR readers express confusion about what the difference is between Chick Lit, Women’s Fiction, and Contemporary Romance. Last year I wrote a similar piece here and provided some links to descriptions of just what makes a book Chick Lit or Women’s Fiction as opposed to Contemporary Romance. But this confusion comes through each year in the votes for “best” Chick Lit and/or Women’s Fiction, as titles generally categorized as contemporary romance (such as those by Kristan Higgins, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Rachel Gibson) garner votes in this category.

While it’s one of my favorite categories, I’ve suddenly realized that so far I haven’t read any memorable Chick Lit or Women’s Fiction published in 2013. So, I decided to do a power search at AAR for some great Chick Lit and Women’s Fiction published in 2013. The results weren’t very encouraging. So far this year only one Chick Lit title published in 2013 has been reviewed at AAR, A Perfect Proposal by Katie Fforde, and it received a B- from Maggie. I’ve read and enjoyed some of Katie Fforde’s books in the past so will probably give this one a try. But that’s just one book! Where are all the great Chick Lit titles? Or has Chick Lit finally died the death that so many readers have predicted for years?

Sometimes a review of recent winners at AAR can provide ideas for good future reading. Recent winners in this category have been Sophie Kinsella (2012, I’ve Got Your Number), Jill Mansell (2011, To the Moon and Back), Kristan Higgins (2010, All I Ever Wanted) and Pamela Morsi (2010, The Bikini Car Wash). While the print version of Sophie Kinsella’s 2013 publication, Wedding Night, hasn’t been reviewed at AAR, I reviewed the audio version and found it a miss and definitely not a title I’d vote for as best of Chick Lit/Women’s Fiction. According to Amazon, Jill Mansell’s 2013 release Don’t Want to Miss a Thing will be available in the U.S. this November; I’ll definitely pick it up and read it before voting begins in early January 2014.

AAR’s reviews for Women’s Fiction are a bit more promising. So far this year 10 Women’s Fiction titles published in 2013 have been reviewed here. Two – Meet Me at the Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan and Home Front by Kristin Hannah – received B+ reviews. Both sound interesting to me and I’m going to try and read them over the next few months.

But other than that, the pickings seem pretty slim. Have you read any great chick lit or women’s fiction published in 2013? What would you recommend as “must reads in this category?”

– LinnieGayl Kimmel