February 21, 2011

15th Annual Reader Poll Results

We’re pleased to announce the results of AAR’s Annual Reader Poll for 2010. This poll only works if readers vote and they did. So, a big thanks to everyone who entered a ballot.

Loretta Chase
Last Night’s Scandal

(AAR Grade: A)

Best Romance
Best Historical Romance Set in the U.K.
Best Romance Heroine
Best Romance Couple

“When I wrote Lord Perfect, I knew that Peregrine & Olivia’s book would follow . . . eventually. For four years they sat in the back of my mind, spending a fictional ten years growing up. During that time, quite a few readers contacted me, asking me to give the two kids their own book. This told me the characters had made a strong impression and were well loved-which also told me I had a bigger-than-usual opportunity to screw it up and tick off a lot of readers. Thank you, AAR readers, for letting me know, in no uncertain terms, that I did not screw it up.”

“What a thrill and an honor to win in this category! I love creating happily-ever-after romances for modern-day heroines and heroes, and I’m so pleased to hear that readers enjoyed Something About You. Thanks to all who voted!”

Julie James
Something About You

(AAR Grade: A-)

  Best Contemporary Romance

Pamela Clare
Naked Edge

(AAR Grade: B+)

 Best Romantic Suspense

“Thanks to AAR and all the readers who voted for Naked Edge. When I got the news, I was utterly stunned. Naked Edge was a tough book to write and took a lot of risks, in part because I wanted Kat, the heroine, to be authentically Navajo. When I turned it in, I told my agent, in tears, that it was the worst thing I’d ever written. She told me I was crazy. For the book to be voted Best Romantic Suspense by AAR readers – I can’t tell you how gratifying that is. Ahèhee! Thank you.”


“It’s difficult to express how astonished and honored I am by this. I’ve been reading romance since I was eight years old, but it wasn’t until the mid-90s and discovering All About Romance that I’ve ever felt a part of a romance reading community (even though I lurk most of the time.) I found so many wonderful books through the reviews and boards here, and I’ll always be grateful for those, but I also fell in love with the spirit of debate and discussion. It was a revelation. Not only were there readers who loved the genre as much as I did, but they were talking critically about it! I was blown away. The quality of reviews at AAR set my standard for romance reviews everywhere, and when I began writing, I’ll admit that one dream I had was getting that DIK at All About Romance. I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll be lucky enough that my writing will just click with one reviewer at AAR.’ Taste is so subjective, but I had hope that just one of my books would reach a reviewer who loved it.
“Since then, I’ve gotten three DIKs, and each was just as amazing as the first. But I have to say: Never in a million years did I even dream of a Reader Poll win. That’s a lot more readers than I ever imagined my book clicking with, and so I’m just … astonished and honored.
“The astonishment might eventually subside, but the honor never will. Thank you, readers and AAR, so much.”

Meljean Brook
The Iron Duke

(AAR Grade: A)

Best Paranormal Romance

Joanna Bourne
The Forbidden Rose

(AAR Grade: A)

Best Historical Set in the U.K.

“Thank you very, very much. I am honored beyond words that folks nominated Forbidden Rose.
“This book was hard for me to write.  I’d already pictured my hero and heroine as a happily married couple. I had to delve back into the past and imagine them much younger. See them at the moment they met. There was this also – their love story was set in a grim era of history. I wasn’t sure anyone would want to join me in an adventure there.
“Thank you so much for following my Doyle and Maggie back into their dark and dangerous past. I am so delighted you liked the book.”

“It’s always a thrill to be honored in All About Romance’s Annual Poll. There is something incredibly special about receiving an award from readers–thank you thank you thank you!”

Julia Quinn
Ten Things I Love About You

(AAR Grade: B)

Funniest Romance

Lisa Kleypas
Love in the Afternoon

(AAR Grade: B)

  Biggest Tear-Jerker
Best Romance Hero

“I can’t tell you how delighted I am about Leo Hathaway’s win in the hero category, and also by Love In The Afternoon as Biggest Tearjerker. I know that when Leo was introduced in the first Hathaway book, Mine Till Midnight, he was a complete wreck, and thoroughly unappealing. So I appreciate your patience in watching his rehabilitation and redemption for three books, and taking this journey with Leo until he finally became a hero in Married By Morning. Thank you so much to everyone who voted, and to my much-adored readers . . . it is such a pleasure to write for you, and I appreciate your encouragement as always.”


“I’m so honored that Wicked Intentions won Best Love Scene, especially since with every book I wonder if I’ve put too many love scenes in. ;-)”


Elizabeth Hoyt
Wicked Intentions

(AAR Grade: B+)

     Best Love Scenes

Carla Kelly
Marrying the Royal Marine

(AAR Grade: A-)

 Best Series Romance

“I’m surprised and pleased with this honor. One of the highlights of my writing life will be the Channel Fleet trilogy, and the Ratliff sisters. Above all, it was so satisfying to write a tribute to the Royal Navy, who kept England safe during such a time of national emergency. We owe a great deal to our men in uniform at home and abroad, in your country and mine.”


“Thank you so much, AAR Readers! I’m so honored that you liked Callie and Ian! And congratulations to all the other winners, too.”


Kristan Higgins
All I Ever Wanted

(AAR Grade: A-)

Tied For Best Chick Lit / Women’s Fiction
with Pamela Morsi’s The Bikini Car Wash

Lisa Valdez

(AAR Grade: B)

      Best Romantica
Most Disappointing

“I’m so thrilled and honored that Patience won Best Romantica! What a wonderful tribute to Matthew and Patience—two characters who really put themselves out there, in all their vulnerability, for the reader. It’s lovely to see them get this accolade, and I’m so proud of them. They, and I, couldn’t be happier! My sincerest thanks to all the readers who understand and love them so well. :-)
“I knew Patience would be a risky story before I even started writing it. But I also knew it was Matthew and Patience’s truth, and that to dilute their story would be a betrayal of these two amazing characters, whom I adore. I think, as readers, we take in every story through our own lenses–lenses colored by our unique experiences and understanding. I know this is true of me. I have things I like or don’t like in my romance—but there have been times when a marvelous author has won me over despite my prejudices. I wish I could have accomplished this for those readers who were disappointed. But I’m also grateful they cared enough to be disappointed. I can only hope to please them better with subsequent endeavors. :-)”

“I can only say thank you, again, to All About Romance and to every reader who took a chance on the steampunk series, and who talked about it, or lent the novella to a friend. I’m thrilled that you loved the story, and I’ll do my very best to keep any upcoming steampunk stories from hitting future “Most Disappointing” lists. Thank you!”


Meljean Brook

Here There Be Monsters
in the anthology Burning Up

(AAR Grade: B)

Best Romance Short Story

Rose Lerner

  Best Debut Author  

“I’m so thrilled and proud to be chosen by AAR readers, especially in a year with so many fantastic debuts! Like most romance authors, I’m a reader too, and one of my favorite things about the romance genre is how it functions as a community. AAR is in a class by itself when it comes to fostering that and keeping it going. I can’t even express how huge an honor it is that so many of you liked my book. Thank you to everyone who voted (even if it wasn’t for me)!”

“I’m so delighted that readers enjoy Elena as a character! I love writing her, seeing how she changes and grows from book to book. Thank you to all of you who voted for her in the poll – and I hope you’ll continue to travel with her as she finds her wings in her unexpected and extraordinary new life.”

Nalini Singh
Archangel’s Kiss

(AAR Grade: A-)

  Most Kickass Heroine

15th Annual Reader Poll Analysis

Watching the results come in over the two weeks of the poll is exhilarating and reminds us pollsters of just how much talent is out there in the romance genre. This year seemed like the year of the horse race. Titles for categories would easily swap in and out or we’d have one category in which a clear winner seemed imminent, only to have another title suddenly emerge the winner.

This year the percentages were very close in a number of the categories, leading to not only a winner, but also to an Honorable Mention that are awarded when a second (or third) place title has enough votes to place within 20% of all votes cast for the winner.

Best Romance of 2010 goes to Loretta Chase for Last Night’s Scandal with honorable mentions going to The Forbidden Rose by Joanna Bourne and The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook. Each of these titles also won in their own specific category. Last Night’s Scandal was voted the Best Historical Romance Set in the UK,The Forbidden Rose Best Historical Romance Not Set in the UK and The Iron Duke was named the Best Paranormal.

Several authors made their first appearance in AAR’s Annual Poll. Julie James’ Something About You was an outright winner for Best Contemporary Romance. And Pamela Clare’s Naked Edge won for Best Romantic Suspense. In addition to Meljean Brook’s win for Best Paranormal, she also won for Best Short Story forHere There Be Monsters from the anthology Burning Up.

Many of the other winners are familiar faces in AAR’s Annual Reader Polls. This is the second time that Loretta Chase has won Best Romance. She previously won for 2005’s Mr. Impossible. Ms. Chase has previously won for Best Historical Set Outside the UK (2008’s Your Scandalous Ways, set in Venice, Italy) and Best European Historical (2005’s Mr. Impossible, set in Egypt).

Readers also enjoy Joanna Bourne’s books, whether it is the winner for Best Historical Not Set in the UK (this year’s winner for 2010 books, The Forbidden Rose, set in France) or her 2009 title, The Spymaster’s Lady, set in the UK.

Julia Quinn continues her winning ways for Favorite Funny for Ten Things I Love About You. Ms. Quinn also won Favorite Funny (in a three way tie) for 1998’s To Catch an Heiress and stand alone wins for 2000’s The Viscount Who Loved Me and 2009’s What Happens in London.

While Ms. Quinn may tickle our funny bone, Lisa Kleypas’s stories can make us cry. Love in the Afternoon won this poll’s Biggest Tearjerker, Ms. Kleypas’ second win in this category. She previously won this category with her 2008 release Blue-Eyed Devil.

Kristan Higgans’ All I Ever Wanted and Pamela Morsi’s The Bikini Car Wash tied for Best Chick Lit/Women’s Fiction. Both of these authors have won in this same category in the past. Ms. Higgins won in 2008 for Just One of the Guys, and Ms. Morsi won last year for Red’s Hot Honky-Tonk Bar.

Carla Kelly won best series romance for the second year in a row, with Marrying the Royal Marine. She won last year for Marrying the Captain.

The winner for Most Kickass Heroine, Elena Deveraux, in Nalini Singh’s Archangel’s Kiss, took the title again this year, after winning last year when appearing inAngels’ Blood.

And we just have to mention the race for the win of Best New Author of 2010. Almost half of all the ballots entered had this category filled in meaning many of us are out there giving new authors a shot, with Rose Lerner coming in as the winner. Previous winners of this title, like Liz Carlyle (2000), Madeline Hunter (2001), and Elizabeth Hoyt (2007), have become many readers’ favorite authors.

We modified two categories in the poll this year, and as a result, were able to announce winners in every category. We changed one category from Best Erotica to Best Romantica, and a second from Worst Romance to Most Disappointing Romance. Ironically, the same book – Patience by Lisa Valdez – won in each of these categories. But truly, many of the books that garnered a win or honorable mention in another category also received votes for Most Disappointing. This was clearly a good change in categories.

Finally, we look forward to reading all your thoughts about the results in the AAR Forums, and would like to offer our congratulations to all of the winners.

AAR’s Pollsters – LinnieGayl, LeeB, and CindyS

Again, we look forward to reading all your thoughts about the results in the AAR Forums. To get the conversation going here are a few questions to consider:

  Are you pleased with the results?
Did any of your favorite books, authors and/or characters win?
Which winners surprised you?
Have you read most of the winning books?

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