borninfire On Monday, Dabney Grinnan took a look at the 23 different Top 10 lists the AAR staff had submitted over the summer, determining which books were consistent favorites. With 201 unique titles, it’s clear that tastes varied widely amongst our staffers, with only twenty-two books appearing on more than one staffer’s list.

But which authors do AAR staffers tend to prefer? Is there a consensus on who the favorites are? When the list is compiled, 121 authors penned the 201 unique titles that were listed as staff favorites, and while there were a handful of surprises, for the most part, AAR staff favorite authors seem to reflect that of the romance reading population as a whole.

If you look at the data, it appears that Nora Roberts is by far and away the staff favorite. She has eight unique titles out of 201 (4%). However, a single AAR staffer listed three of those 8 titles on her list. In other words, Nora is a big favorite of a couple of our staff reviewers, but since only seven of us listed any of her books at all, that’s still 60% of the top ten lists that didn’t include one of her books, so what she wins is more of a plurality.

Conversely, J.R. Ward gave us our most popular book, Lover Awakened, which appeared on five different staffer lists. However, that is her only title to make any of the lists.

Likewise, Loretta Chase had only two unique titles, but she appeared on six different staffers’ lists. The books that staffers loved were loved by many staffers!

So where does that put us as far as the best of the best? If we look at each author and assign her a point for a unique title and a point for appearing on a staff person’s list – meaning the least points any author could get would be 2 – the list below reflects AAR Staffers’ top eleven authors. Note that only one point is given to an author who appears more than once on the same staffer’s list.

These 11 ladies are responsible for 57 out of 201 titles, or 28% of the books on our lists.

Nora Roberts in first with 15 points – 8 titles/7 lists

Linda Howard tied for 2nd with 13 points – 6 titles/7 lists

Mary Balogh tied for 2nd with 13 points – 7 titles/6 lists

Lisa Kleypas tied for 4th with 12 points – 6 titles/6 lists

Susan Elizabeth Phillips tied for 4th with 12 points – 6 titles/6 lists

Suzanne Brockmann tied for 6th with 10 points – 5 titles/5 lists

Julie Garwood tied for 6th with 10 points – 5 titles/5 lists

Julia Quinn in at 8th with 9 points – 4 titles/5 lists

Georgette Heyer tied for 9th with 8 points – 4 titles/4 lists

Susanna Kearsley tied for 9th with 8 points – 4 titles/4 lists

Loretta Chase tied for 9th with 8 points – 2 titles/6 lists

Other solid authors who appeared on multiple lists or had multiple titles mentioned include:

Anne Stuart with 7 points – 4 titles/3 lists

LaVyrle Spencer, Rachel Gibson, Mary Jo Putney and J.D. Robb, each with 7 points – 3 titles/4 lists

Carla Kelly, Jennifer Crusie, Kresley Cole, Laura Kinsale and Sherry Thomas, each with 6 points – 3 titles/3 lists

Up And Coming Authors

It’s interesting to note that of the Top 11 writers listed above, all but two (Lisa Kleypas and Julia Quinn) have several titles that were published in the 1980s or 1990s. Only two of Nora Roberts’ 8 favorite titles were published after 2000, in fact. When you realize that Georgette Heyer’s four “favs” were published between 1925 and 1965, it seems that AAR staffers are fairly loyal to their favorite rereads from the past. I wonder how high the classics are setting the bar for newcomers on the scene.

Looking at the lists, it would appear that AAR staffers still recognize new classics in the making. These ladies have all appeared on multiple lists with titles that have been released just in the past five years (2008-2013), earning them the designation of authors to keep a watch out for: Anne Stuart(still going strong), Sherry Thomas and Susanna Kearsley all have 3 titles listed that were published in 2008 or later. And Julie Ann Long, Kresley Cole, Kristan Higgins and Meredith Duran all have 2 2008 or later titles on staffer favorite lists.

So, what about your favorite authors? Do they tend to be oldies but goodies or brand new on the scene? We hope you’ve had as much fun perusing our lists as we’ve had creating them. Please jump in on the comments section to discuss your favorite authors!

– Jenna Harper