16th Annual Reader Poll Analysis
We appreciate the time everyone takes to fill out a ballot and we thank you for your continued support of the Annual Poll. We would also like to thank all the authors who tweeted, blogged, sent newsletters, posted on your websites and/or posted on Facebook about the poll. We were happy to see a substantial increase in votes this year from last year.
This year’s AAR Annual Poll for Best 2011 Romance Books had many tight contests. Both veteran authors and newly published writers received wins and Honorable Mentions. (Note: Honorable Mentions are awarded when a second (or third) place title receives within 20% of the votes cast for the winner.)
The Best Romance Book of 2011 goes to Joanna Bourne’s The Black Hawk, which also won for Best Historical Romance Not Set in the UK and tied for Biggest Tearjerker. Its lead characters won or tied in four of the five character categories, a first for the Annual Poll. It missed a win only in the Tortured Hero which was won by Nalini Singh’s Dmitri from Archangel’s Blade.
Ms. Bourne also won for Best Historical Romance Not Set in the UK last year with The Forbidden Rose, which also won two honorable mentions. Her 2008 release, The Spymaster’s Lady, took home four wins for Best Romance, Best Historical Romance (Set in the UK), Best Heroine and Best Couple.
Julie Anne Long’s What I Did for a Duke won for Best Historical Romance Set in the UK and Best Love Scenes (in a Mainstream Romance) with an Honorable Mention for Best Romance. These mark Ms. Long’s first two wins in the AAR Annual Poll having received two Honorable Mentions before in 2006 for Best Buried Treasure (Beauty and the Spy) and 2009 for Funniest Romance (Like No Other Lover)
Eloisa James’s When Beauty Tamed the Beast tied for Best Tearjerker. Surprisingly, this book also received many votes for Funniest Romance. Although she has received many votes in the past, this win is Ms. James’s first showing in an AAR poll.
Several other authors made their first appearance in AAR’s Annual Poll.
Thea Harrison’s Dragon Bound won Best Paranormal Romance hands down and received numerous votes in other categories.
Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James and The Perfect Play by Jaci Burton tied for Best Erotica / Romantica.
Jill Sorenson’s book, Stranded with Her Ex, won for Best Series Romance while Best Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit went to Jill Mansell’s To the Moon and Back.
Reclaiming their 2010 wins with their latest releases: Julie James won for Best Contemporary Romance with A Lot Like Love, and for Best Romantic Suspense, Pamela Clare won outright for Breaking Point.
Julie James’s A Lot Like Love also tied with Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Call Me Irresistible for Funniest Romance. Readers laughed a lot while reading this year as there were also two honorable mentions: Julia Quinn’s Just Like Heaven and Shannon Stacey’s Yours to Keep. This was Ms. Stacey’s first appearance in an AAR Poll while Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Julia Quinn each have four previous wins in this category.
Courtney Milan’s Unlocked was one of the few runaway wins for the category of Best Short Story and received an Honorable Mention for Most Tortured Hero (Smite Turner) who appeared in another of her 2011 releases, Unraveled. Ms. Milan won for Best Short Story two years ago for This Wicked Gift in The Heart of Christmas anthology.
J.R. Ward’s Lover Unleashed took the top prize for Guiltiest Pleasure Romance. Unfortunately it also tied with Julia Quinn’s Just Like Heaven for Most Disappointing Romance.
The Best Debut of 2011 went to Jessica Scott, with Honorable Mentions to Tawna Fenske and Darynda Jones. The Best Debut category proved problematic this year. A number of previously published authors — such as Thea Harrison, formerly published as Amanda Carpenter — wrote a popular romance under a new pseudonym. Cecilia Grant also received many votes for A Lady Awakened, which has a 2012 copyright, making her ineligible for best 2011 debut.
Now that you have had a chance to check out the winners, we are eager to read all your thoughts about the results in the AAR Forums. We also want to say “Congratulations!” to all of the winners.
AAR’s Pollsters – LinnieGayl, LeeB, and CindyS
Again, we look forward to reading all your thoughts about the results in the AAR Forums. To get the conversation going here are a few questions to consider:
Are you surprised by any of the results?
Did any of the books, authors and/or characters you voted for win?
Have you read most of the winning books?
If you haven’t already read the winners, will you do so now?
Post to the Let’s Talk Romance Novels Forum