February 9, 2010
14th Annual Reader Poll Results
Below you can see the book-by-book results with attached author comments, and a complete listing of the winners can be found here.
The results in our 14th Annual Reader Poll are in! Once again, we want to thank all the AAR readers who voted our Annual Reader Poll. We love seeing so much enthusiasm by readers/voters; it makes tallying the ballots quite a lot of fun. We were sure a shorter voting window would work out well for all, and you all did us proud as we received even more votes than last year.
Continuing in 2008s trend of historical romances dominating many of the poll categories, 2009 was a memorable year for readers who love well-written and cliché-free stories with intriguing characters. A trio of authors who wrote historicals received many of the wins and honorable mentions. For all those readers who bemoan Why dont they write them like the used to? it is clear that Jennifer Ashley, Sherry Thomas and Meredith Duran offer an answer to that question.
Jennifer Ashleys The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie was the ultimate winner, earning Best Romance, Best Historical Romance Set in the U.K., Most Tortured Hero, and Best Love Scenes (in a tie). Her story also earned an honorable mention for Best Romance Heroine. Readers who haven’t yet read Ms. Ashley’s books have a nice backlist to discover. Out of Ms. Ashley’s 14 single title books reviewed at AAR, 11 have earned a grades of B or higher.
Best Romance is the category that appeared on the most ballots with 90% of AAR Readers filling in this slot, though Favorite Historical Set in the UK was just behind, with 89% of voters naming books in that category.
Bound by Your Touch by Meredith Duran won for Best Romance Heroine and Best Romance Couple, as well as scoring honorable mentions for Best Romance, Best Historical Romance Set in the U.K. and Best Love Scenes. Ms. Duran’s other 2009 title, Written on Her Skin, also received votes in several categories.
Sherry Thomass Not Quite a Husband won for Best Historical Romance Set Outside the U.K. and Biggest Tearjerker and also received honorable mentions for Best Romance and Best Romance Heroine. Ms. Thomas was voted Best New Author in 2008 and she has definitely lived up to that honor.
It was a knock-it-out-of-the-park year for Ashley, Duran, and Thomas. Other multiple winners were:
- Lisa Kleypas – who repeated her wins in 2008 for Best Contemporary Romance and Best Romance Hero, this time with Smooth Talking Stranger and its hero, Jack Travis. Although historical romances seem to dominate the awards, 83% of the ballots cast this year listed a favorite contemporary romance andSmooth Talking Stranger garnered a whopping 23% of the votes. Ms. Kleypas also won for Best Love Scenes (in a tie). Smooth Talking Stranger also received votes in the Chick Lit/Womens Fiction category, which shows that readers tend to have a hard time categorizing Ms. Kleypass contemporary books by genre, but obviously have no trouble enjoying what she writes.
- Nalini Singh – who won for Best Paranormal with Branded by Fire as well as Best Kick Ass Heroine (Elena Deveraux) for Angels’ Blood. Voting this year was split for many categories due to authors releasing more than one book during the year. This held true for Nalini Singh as Angels’ Blood and Branded by Fire fought it out until the very last ballots to be in the winners circle. Branded by Fire also received an honorable mention for Best Love Scenes.
Other winners are:
- Tessa Dare – who won Best Debut Author handily. Ms. Dare had three books (Goddess of the Hunt, Surrender of a Siren, and A Lady of Persuasion) published in 2009.
- Suzanne Brockman – whose Dark of Night won for Best Romantic Suspense. Ms. Brockmann is no stranger to winning in AARs Reader Poll, having won Honorable Mentions in Romantic Suspense in 2006 for Hot Target and 2005 for Flashpoint. Ms. Brockmanns best year was 2003 when she won Best Romance of the year for Gone Too Far. It has been three years since Ms. Brockmann won an award, but we welcome her back with her latest DIK, Dark of Night, which continues Ms. Brockmanns tradition of writing stories with lots of action and engaging characters.
- Carla Kelly – who remains a reader favorite, had two books published in one year and obviously gave voters a difficult time in choosing their favorite.Marrying the Captain won for Best Series Romance, and its follow-up, The Surgeons Lady, received an honorable mention. Both titles received DIK reviews.
- Julia Quinn – who writes lighthearted historicals containing witty dialogue and personable characters. Its not surprising then that What Happens in London captured a win for Funniest Romance. Ms. Quinn previously won for Favorite Funny in 2001 for The Viscount Who Loved Me and received honorable mentions for Funniest Romance in 2003, 1999 and 1998.
- Pamela Morsi – who has moved from writing historicals to chick lit/womens fiction, won in the latter category for Reds Hot Honky-Tonk Bar.
- J.R. Ward, for an unprecedented third year in a row, won the Guilty Pleasure category with Lover Avenged. That title also received an honorable mention in the Best Paranormal category. With the honorable mention this year, J.R. Wards books have won or placed in the Best Paranormal Romance category in 4 out of the last 5 years.
- Newcomer Courtney Milan – who eked out a win for Best Short Story, for This Wicked Gift in the anthology The Heart of Christmas.
- J.D. Robb – who received honorable mentions for Best Kickass Heroine and Best Romance Couple. This is Eve and Roarke’s 10th win or honorable mention for Best Couple and Eve’s 8th win or honorable mention as Best Romance Heroine and Feistiest/Kickass Heroine. Ms. Robb has missed out only twice for wins or honorable mentions, in 2005 and 2009.
- Loretta Chase who received an honorable mention for Best Romance Heroine for Dont Tempt Me.
Congratulations to all of our winners!
There are no winners for Best Erotica this year as not enough titles received votes. That said, this year there was a 20% increase in the number of titles submitted over last years poll. However, the votes were spread out among several authors who published more than one book in 2009. For example, 2008s winner, Beth Kery, had four different 2009 titles appear on readers ballots. If we polled for Best Erotica Author, the outcome would have been quite different. Unfortunately, there were not enough votes for any single title.
We are sure authors are quite happy not to have won Worst Romance. Apparently many readers had many specific titles they didnt like but there was no large consensus for any one book.
When you are done reviewing the results, we’d love for you to answer some questions (via our message board) about our Annual Reader Poll :
- Did your favorite authors, titles and/or characters make a good showing?
- Which results really surprised you?
- Did you prefer the shorter voting period?
- Interim results were not provided. Do you think this was a good idea or not?
- Are there any categories you didnt vote in? Why not?
- Should any changes be made to the categories, e.g., Worst Book renamed Most Disappointing?
Once again, our heartiest congratulations to the winners of 2009’s best romances as voted by All About Romance’s very discerning readership.
AAR’s Pollsters – LinnieGayl, LeeB, and CindyS
Multiple Award Winners