AAR Mini-Polls: Top Tens

AAR Mini-Polls

Top Ten Funny Romance Authors | Top Ten Funny Romances

April 5, 2007

The top ten funniest authors you chose are a mix of the tried and true with a sprinkling of newcomers.  With the exception of just a few, most of the authors in this year’s top ten have been published for at least a decade. The exceptions are Rachel Gibson, whose first book was published in 1998, Linda Howard – who didn’t start writing “funny” until 2000 – and MaryJanice Davidson, who exploded onto the mainstream scene in 2004.

Jennifer Crusie earned a decisive win, coming in 1st place 84 points ahead of 2nd place author Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Although published in category romance since 1993, it was her 1996 title Anyone But You that broke through. An older woman going through a divorce, a younger man falling head over heels, and a dog with a hankering to chew on expensive lingerie had many of us exuberant over a new voice in romance.

Anyone But You won in the Favorite Funny category for books published in 1996 and earned a B+ here at AAR.

Crusie placed again with an honorable mention in the 2001 Annual Reader’s Poll with Welcome to Temptation, another honorable mention in 2002 with Fast Women, and a win with 2003 with Faking It. Her 2004 contemporary, Bet Me, won in six categories, Best Funny, Best Romance, Best Contemporary, Best Chick Lit, Best Heroine, and Best Romance Couple of 2004. To date eight of Crusie’s books have earned DIK status.

Like Crusie, eight of Susan Elizabeth Phillips’s books have earned DIK status. This author of contemporary romance has been a member of the Funniest Author club for many years. Her first stand-alone win in AAR Reader’s Poll for Favorite Funny was Nobody’s Baby But Mine in 1998. The following year Phillips won in the Most Hanky Read category for Dream a Little Dream, which also landed an honorable mention for Best Romance. In 2000 she won Favorite Funny for Lady Be Good and again, found an honorable mention in the Best Romance category. SEP proved her longevity when Match Me If You Can won as Favorite Funny and Best Contemporary in 2006. Nine of SEP’s titles have earned a spot in AAR’s DIK section.

Although Loretta Chase had been published for several years as an author of traditional Regencies, the release in 1995 of her European Historical Lord of Scoundrels brought her into the mainstream. Lord of Scoundrels has remained so popular that in the last two Top 100 Romances polls we’ve conducted, it’s earned the number one slot…it’ll be interesting to see where it lands when we re-poll for your top 100 later this year. Chase’s last book, Lord Perfect, just won as Favorite Funny and garnered an honorable mention for Best Romance. While the year before’s Mr. Impossible didn’t win as Favorite Funny, it did win as Best Romance, Best European Historical and its lead couple won as Best Couple. So even though Chase, with five DIK’s to her credit, can be counted on for a laugh, she also has the chops to write at a deceptively deeper level so that even those who aren’t necessarily fans of the funny romance love her books.

Julia Quinn, best known for her Bridgerton series, landed in 4th place for Favorite Funny author a good 80 points ahead of Julie Garwood, an old favorite, but one who moved less successfully into romantic suspense some years ago. In addition to earning DIK status four times at AAR, Quinn has been a long-time reader of the site, contributing a Write Byte and a guest column in 1997, as well as two interviews over the years. While Quinn is most known for her pitch-perfect light touch, she earned a Best Hanky nod for When He Was Perfect.

Julie Garwood earned DIK status thirteen times and placed 5th as Reader’s Favorite Funny author. The vast majority of her DIK’s – 11, to be exact – came from the era when she wrote Medieval and European Historical romances. Readers were thrilled to learn from one of our 2006 RWA Conference Reports that Garwood is once again writing a Medieval. In 2004 seven of her titles landed spots in our Top 100 Romances poll, matched only by Suzanne Brockmann andMary Jo Putney. It’ll be interesting to see how she fares when we re-do that poll later in the year, particularly given that many of her earlier supporters either didn’t make the move with her into romantic suspense or stopped reading her altogether in the past few years.

Linda Howard took 6th place, and though her first foray into the lighter side with Mr. Perfect was a hit with readers, recurring characters Blair Mallory and Wyatt Bloodsworth (To Die For and Drop Dead Gorgeous) proved that was no fluke. To Die For earned one win and four honorable mentions and Drop Dead Gorgeous earned another win and two more honorable mentions. Over the years seven of Howard’s books have earned DIK status.

Janet Evanovich may have gotten her start writing series romance, but her claim to fame is the Stephanie Plum mystery series, which has earned the author DIK status four times over the years. Lean Mean 13 was just released. Evanovich’s humor is more slapstick than many of the authors you voted onto this list.

Rachel Gibson in 8th place seems like a relative newcomer compared to most of the other authors who made the list. In the 1999 Reader Poll Gibson won an honorable mention as Favorite New Discovery. In 2002 she won in the Favorite Funny category for True Confessions and the next year earned honorable mention for Lola Carlyle Reveals All. Gibson’s writing has earned her DIK status three times.

Amanda Quick slid into 9th place while Jayne Ann Krentz landed in 11th. Overall the author has earned DIK status thirteen times; four of those belong to her Quick aka, which she uses for her Medieval and European Historical romances (JAK is the name she uses for her contemporaries). Her heroines are usually bluestockings who don’t know their own appeal and are matched with heroes who fall in love despite themselves.

MaryJanice Davidson is another newcomer to the list and landed in 10th place. Her book Undead and Unwed featured a smart mouthed heroine named Betsy who discovers to her dismay that she is Queen of the Vampires. She is the only author in the top ten with just one DIK to her credit. Her bullet-quick style and snarky dialogue draw in legions of readers, although others who originally found her voice oh-so-fresh wish she’d add in a bit more depth…and story.

Following are ‘The Rest of the Best’:

Jayne Ann Krentz and Georgette Heyer came in 11th and 12th places. After these two authors the scoring (or votes) between authors reduced drastically. JAK and Ms. Heyer are 50 and 41 points ahead of the next author on the list Susan Donovan respectively. JAK’s other pseudonym, Jayne Castle also received votes and placed 30th.

The total points between Susan Donovan in 13th place and Kasey Michaels in 20th are 41 points.

Top Ten Favorite Funny Titles

We first polled for your top ten favorite funnies back in 1999, and were anxious to see how things had changed over the years. The voting this time for your favorite funny titles was incredibly close, with the lead changing back and forth between two titles throughout the voting period. Finally, on the last day, Bet Me, by your favorite funny author Jennifer Crusie, pulled ahead and landed in first place, followed very closely by Loretta Chase’s Mr. Impossible.

While you voted for 215 different titles in your ballots, the top two funny authors – Jennifer Crusie and Susan Elizabeth Phillips – wrote six of the top ten titles. In addition to Bet Me, Ms. Crusie’s 2004 release Welcome to Temptation, ended up in fifth place. Four of Ms. Phillips’s books ended up in the top ten, including a fourth place finish for Nobody’s Baby But Mine.

Contemporary romances dominate the list, holding down six of the top ten slots. Three of the top ten are European historicals, and the remaining title is Linda Howard’s light as a soufflé [in name only] romantic suspense novel To Die For.

AAR originally polled for top ten favorite funny titles in 1999. There have been considerable changes in the top ten over the past eight years. The two polls share only two common titles: Nobody’s Baby But Mine, which dropped from first to fourth place, and Lord of Scoundrels, which dropped from fourth to sixth place.

Five of the current top ten funnies have a publication date after the 1999 poll ended. Interestingly, three older books – Julie Garwood’s The Bride and Heaven, Texas and It Had to be You, both by Susan Elizabeth Phillips – placed in the top ten in the current poll, but did not place in the previous poll.

Top Ten Favorite Funny Titles
Bet Me, Crusie ’04 Nobody’s Baby But Mine, SEP ’97
Mr. Impossible, Chase ’05 How To Marry a Marquis, Quinn ’99
To Die For, Howard ’05 Lord of Scoundrels, Chase ’95
Nobody’s Baby But Mine, SEP ’97 Castles, Garwood ’93
Welcome To Temptation, Crusie ’95 Lady Be Good, SEP ’99
Lord of Scoundrels
, Chase ’95
The Lion’s Lady, Garwood ’90
The Bride, Garwood ’91 Anyone But You,Crusie ’96
Match Me If You Can , SEP ’05 Bewitching, Barnett ’93
It Had To Be You, SEP ’94 Knight of a Trillion Stars, Joy ’95
Heaven, Texas, SEP ’95 Ravished, Quick ’92

The best of the rest:

11 Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn, 2002
12 Undead and Unwed by Mary Janice Davidson, 2004
13 Ravished by Amanda Quick, 1992
14 Lady Be Good by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, 1999
15 Lord Perfect by Loretta Chase, 2006
16 The Duke and I by Julia Quinn, 2000
17 Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich, 1998
18 The Gift by Julie Garwood, 1991
19 Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard, 2001
20 Getting Rid of Bradley by Jennifer Crusie, 1994

We invite you to consider these questions and post about these poll results:

  • What do you look for in a favorite funny book – slapstick, dry whit, sarcasm, or something else?
  • If you ever re-read a book that was a favorite funny, does it generally stand the test of time?
  • If your favorite funny authors and/or titles didn’t make the cut, here’s your chance to share them with us.
  • Share your favorite funny scenes.

Lee Brewer, LinnieGayl, and Cindy Smith

Post to the Potpourri Forum Link to the 1999 Top Ten Funny Favorites Mini-poll