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AAR Staff Top Ten Favorites – Jean's Picks

See, I knew that signing up for this blog would cause me a headache. How are you supposed to choose the top ten romances that rock your world? How? How? (At the back of my mind I have the Baha Men singing along, except it’s “How do you choose now? How, how, how, how?” Great. Hence the headache.)

Anyway, I figured the only way I can keep sane is a) recognize that I won’t hit them all, and b) acknowledge that if I am actually stuck on a desert island with only ten romance novels, I’d go crazy anyway, no matter what I chose. (Unless I chose, like, the Koran, Paradise Lost, and Journey to the West. Then maybe I’d not go all loopy.)

I decided that what I’d probably crave the most is variety, a little bit of every genre to suit every mood. It actually turned out to be relatively easy once I’d decided on this, looked at my Top 100 list, scanned my shelves, and sliced through the different categories. I’m happy with my choices – they’re all different in setting, subgenre, writing style, and character. I’ve also read each of them at least twice – I’m a serial re-reader, so I know when something works for me, when it doesn’t, and (most of important of all) when it stands up to the test of time. I don’t want to be stuck in the Pacific reading about, like, cell phones the size of bricks and silk printed dresses with palm trees adorning our benighted heroine. (Or something like that. That comes from the incomparable Judith McNaught, and I remember being completely horrified. Ghastly, truly ghastly.)

frederica So without further ado and in no particular order, here are my Top Ten Romances to Prevent Jean from Standing Under a Coconut Tree and Kicking It.

Frederica, by Georgette Heyer (Regency)

For good old light hearted Regency fun. Honestly, if I have Georgette Heyer, I’m good to go in the Regency department.





spymasterslady The Spymaster’s Lady, by Joanna Bourne (European Historical)

For the French road trip and a heroine who can remind me to suck it up, cause you ain’t got it as bad as she does.








Angels Fall, by Nora Roberts (Romantic Suspense)

For a romantic suspense that is funny, sombre, atmospheric, and completely enjoyable.











Bet Me, by Jennifer Crusie (Contemporary)

For the funniest, most heartfelt straight contemporary I’ve ever read. Bonus: a couple that never has babies.






The Last Renegade, by Jo Goodman (American Historical)

For the moments when I need a slightly depressing read leavened by a hero’s kookiness.








Second Thyme Around, by Katie Fforde (Chick Lit)

For the modern kind-of ditz who finds herself, balance, and love, in that order.






dragon bound


Dragon Bound, by Thea Harrison (Paranormal)

For the times when I really need a mega alpha paranormal male who has been bored since time immemorial, only to fall at the feet of our snarky, spunky heroine.







Bound by Your Touch, by Meredith Duran (British Historical)

For the couple who end up in Canada! And, of course, for the angsty story preceding Canada.








The Windflower, by Sharon and Tom Curtis (Shipboard)

Come on. I’m stuck on a desert island. I have to have at least one shipboard romance to get me through this.








Nine Coaches Waiting, by Mary Stewart (Gothic)

Maybe if the heroine is running around France and wondering if her beloved is a murderer, it will make me feel better about my current situation.





That’s it for me. What do you think about variety versus quality in your top ten? What’s on your list?


– Jean Wan

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