19th Annual Reader Poll Analysis
Thanks yet again to all the voters for taking part in AAR’s Annual Reader Poll. We appreciate all who posted on their websites, on Facebook, on Twitter or other social media, or just told friends, co-workers and family about the poll.
Julie James is now officially the go-to author for readers looking for a great contemporary romance, winning the Best Contemporary Romance category outright for the 5th straight year. For the first time since 2007, a Contemporary Romance – Ms. James’ It Happened One Wedding – captures a win in the Best Romance category. Mary Balogh makes a comeback after a five year absence with her title Only Enchanting winning Best Historical Set in the UK. And Jayne Ann Krentz makes her first appearance in AAR’s Annual Poll since 2001 by winning for Best Romantic Suspense.
Honorable Mentions were awarded in seven competitive categories; this happens when a second (or third) place title receives within 20% of the votes cast for the winner.)
Several of this year’s winners have won in the past, as recently as last year, but we also have a few new winners.
The winner for Best Romance Book of 2014 is Julie James’s It Happened One Wedding. Since 2011, Ms. James has dominated the Best Contemporary Romance category, but this year she also takes home the wins for Favorite Funny and Best Romance Couple while tying Meredith Duran’s Fool Me Twice for Best Love Scenes (in a mainstream romance).
Sherry Thomas (who won last year for Best Historical Romance Set in the UK) picked up the win for Best Historical Romance Set Outside the UK and Favorite Tearjerker for My Beautiful Enemy. She also received Honorable Mentions for Best Kick-Ass Heroine (Catherine Blade in My Beautiful Enemy) and Best Young Adult Romance for The Perilous Sea.
Courtney Milan continues to be a favorite of AAR readers. She wins Best Romance Heroine and Best Kick-Ass Heroine for the character of Frederica “Free” Marshall in The Suffragette Scandal. That book also wins an Honorable Mention for Best Romance Set in the UK.
Nalini Singh wins Best Paranormal for Shield of Winter which adds to her previous wins for Best Paranormal in 2010 for Branded by Fire and 2014 for Heart of Obsidian. Ms. Singh also wins an Honorable Mention for Best Love Scenes (in a mainstream romance) for Rock Addiction, the first entry in her new contemporary romance series.
Meljean Brook’s The Kraken King is definitely a Steampunk romance but many readers felt the setting best fit the Science Fiction category in this poll and in the end it won straight up for Best Science Fiction Romance. Ms. Brook is not new to AAR readers as she won for Best Paranormal and an HM for Best Romance in 2011 for The Iron Duke and an HM for Best Paranormal Romance in 2013 for Riveted.
Sarah MacLean wins Best Romance Hero for Duncan West in Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover. Her female character in the same book, Lady Georgiana Pearson, wins Honorable Mentions for Best Kick-Ass Heroine and Favorite Heroine.
Mary Balogh wins the battle for the very competitive Best Historical Romance Set in the UK for Only Enchanting. Ms. Balogh also won an Honorable Mention for Most Tortured Romance Hero for her character Flavian Arnott.
Meredith Duran wins for Best Love Scenes in a Mainstream Romance for Fool Me Twice as well as Best Tortured Romance Hero for the character of Alaistair de Grey.
Veteran author Jayne Ann Krentz’s River Road wins the Best Romantic Suspense category. Ms. Krentz (aka Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle) has been around and well known since the late 1980s but this is the first time in over 14 years that she has been recognized in the Annual Reader Poll.
Cecilia Grant won Best Debut Author in the 2013 poll and this year her title A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong wins for Best Short Story/Novella.
Standalone winners were Jessica Hart’s Mr. (Not Quite) Perfect for Best Category Romance; Jackie Ashenden’s Having Her for Best Erotica/Romantica; Kristen Callihan’s The Hook Up for Best New Adult Romance; K.J. Charles’s Think of England for Best LGBT Romance; Anna Lee Huber’s A Grave Matter for Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements; C.L. Wilson’s The Winter King for Best Fantasy Romance; and Stephanie Perkins’s Isla and The Happily Ever After for Best Young Adult Romance. Congratulations also to Sonali Dev who won for Best Debut Author.
Honorable mentions are no small stuff either and Eloisa James won two such honors for Three Weeks with Lady X for Favorite Historical Set in the UK and Best Romance Hero (for Thorn Dautry). Standalone Honorable mentions were received by Joanna Bourne (Favorite Historical Romance set in the U.K. for Rogue Spy) and Ilona Andrews (Best Kick-Ass Heroine for Kate Daniels in Magic Breaks).
As in years past, we look forward to reading your comments about the winners in the AAR Forums. Here are some questions to get the conversations rolling: Did the wins by any titles or characters surprise you? Did any of your choices win? Will you read any winning titles if you haven’t already done so? Were you happy with the new separate categories of Paranormal, Fantasy and Science Fiction?
AAR’s Pollsters – LinnieGayl, LeeB, and CindyS
Post to the Let’s Talk Romance Novels Forum