February 17, 2014

18th Annual Reader Poll Results

We’re pleased to announce the results of AAR’s Annual Reader Poll for Romance Books Published in 2013. This poll only works if readers vote and they did. So, a big thanks to everyone who entered a ballot. (Please note: Honorable Mentions (HM) are awarded when a second (or third) place title receives within 20% of the votes cast for the winner.)

Sherry Thomas

The Luckiest Lady in London

(AAR Grade: A)

Best Romance
Best Historical Romance Set in the U.K. Best Love Scenes
Best Romance Couple (tie)

“What a tremendous honor! I am so grateful that readers have embraced Felix and Louisa’s story. It was a risk rewriting from scratch a book that my publisher had already agreed to publish more or less as-is, but I felt I had outgrown the version I had written almost a dozen years ago. I had tons of fun writing the first version. I had unbelievable fun writing this new version. And as I cackled to myself in glee at various points during the revision, I hoped rather fervently that my delight in the story would carry across to readers. It is absolutely marvelous to have that hope fulfilled and to be recognized by a group of readers as widely read and discerning as the AAR community. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and thank you again!”

“I’m honored that Violet and Sebastian have received so much love and appreciation from the readers at All About Romance. This was a difficult book in many ways and the reader response to this story has definitely made it worthwhile. Thank you to everyone.”

Courtney Milan

The Countess Conspiracy

Best Romance Hero
Best Romance Heroine
Best Historical Romance Set in the U.K. (HM)
Best Tearjerker (HM)

Julie James

Love Irresistibly

(AAR Grade: B+)

Best Contemporary
Best Romance Couple (tie)
Best Romance Heroine (HM)

“Okay, confession time: I just did a little dance in my kitchen after hearing this news. (Yay!) Thank you so much to everyone who voted for Love Irresistibly, and also for Cade and Brooke. I so enjoy writing contemporary romance, writing the stories of two people navigating real-life situations while facing–to quote one of my favorite romantic comedy films–“the total agony of being in love.” I’m truly thrilled and honored by this!”

Nalini Singh

Heart of Obsidian

(AAR Grade: B)

Best Paranormal Romance
Most Tortured Hero

“I’m incredibly honored and excited that so many of you loved Heart of Obsidian and Kaleb Krychek. This was a book that was a long time in the making, Kaleb’s character an enigma we saw throughout the series. I’m so delighted that AAR readers feel I did him and his story justice. (And yay for dark and very dangerous heroes!) I’m also thrilled that Elena and Raphael [from Archangel’s Legion] came in for an Hononorable Mention in the Best Couple category. Writing their journey is an exhilarating, fascinating ride, and one I hope you’ll all continue to enjoy. My thanks to every one of you who voted for my books and characters.”

Nalini Singh

Archangel’s Legion

(AAR Grade: B+)

Best Romance Couple (HM)

Pamela Clare

Striking Distance

(AAR Grade: B)

   Best Romantic Suspense

Best Romance Couple (HM)

Striking Distance was a tough book for me as a rape survivor to write. It was a very important book for me personally, a story I needed to tell. It has been immensely gratifying to see how moved readers have been by Laura and Javier’s tale – both parts of it, First Strike and Striking Distance. I’m so grateful for everyone’s support. Thanks to all of you who voted, whether you voted for my books or not. And thanks to All About Romance for running this fabulous annual contest. You just made my day!”

Pamela Clare

First Strike

Best Short Story

Laura Florand


Biggest Tearjerker

“Writing this story was almost like a huge bout of weeping itself-impossible to stop the flow. I think I cried all the way through writing it, and through every single edit. (And since I edit stories dozens and dozens of times, that’s saying a lot.) My stories aren’t usually heart-breakers in this way! So to have it named Best Tearjerker-I feel both very honored that it spoke to others, too, and very guilty for putting people through that. At the same time, I felt that the story really needed to be told, and that it’s a story about the true power of love and endurance and hope, in all the bad times. So I want to thank readers, above all, for opening their hearts to this couple, because I know that agreeing to cry is not always easy to do. Thank you so much for being willing to embrace them and their story, and for the honor of this award.

I would also like to give a shout-out here to author Elyssa Patrick, whose invitation to participate in a snowbound-themed Christmas anthology sparked this story. I turned down the invitation, due to deadline pressures, and then, of course, the next morning, woke up with the first scene of the book in my head and a need to know what that granite counter between the couple was, keeping them apart. If Snow-Kissed makes you long for something lighter and cozier-but with lots of heart-check out her duology with Maggie Robinson, Holiday for Two.”

“Thank you AAR readers for voting for The Lotus Palace! This is my first time being recognized in the AAR Annual poll, which makes this news extra special for me. Some of my favorite historical romances have been recognized in this very spot and I’m honored and humbled to see my book there. Though I had written several other romances set in the Tang Dynasty, The Lotus Palace set out to further explore that world with deeper romantic conflict as well as a mystery element. Needless to say, this left me very, very frightened! I am relieved, encouraged and absolutely thrilled that readers have enjoyed this story.”

Jeannie Lin

The Lotus Palace

(AAR Grade: B+)

Best Historical Romance Not Set in the U.K.


Sarah Mayberry

The Other Side of Us

    Best Series Romance

“Writing – especially novel writing – is one of those things you necessarily do on your own, spending a lot of time with the blank page and a bunch of imaginary characters bouncing around in your head. Sending those imaginary people out into the world is always never-wracking, and learning via your poll that readers have connected with my work was cause for much dancing-with-underwear-on-my-head. Thank you All About Romance, and thank you everyone who participated in the poll.”

“I can’t begin to say how thrilled and honored I am to have Tangled named Funniest Romance and myself Best Debut Author. There’s no greater joy than knowing I’ve made readers smile, and that so many have come to love the irreverent, charmingly unrepentant Drew Evans. Thank you AAR and all the wonderful readers who voted, from the bottom of my heart.”

Emma Chase


Funniest Romance
Best Debut Author

Anne Calhoun

Uncommon Passion

   Best Erotica/Romantica

“Dear Readers: Wow, wow, WOW! I’m so delighted you chose Uncommon Passion as Best Erotica/Romantica of 2013. When I was writing the book I was worried that readers wouldn’t respond to Rachel, who chose a very unusual path from virgin to a woman experienced in both sex and love, or to Ben, who is troubled in so many ways and working so hard to hide his flaws. I’m so glad you all loved their journey as much as I did! Thank you to AAR for their continued support of the romance genre, and thank you to readers who voted for books they love – mine, included. I’m truly honored and so very, very grateful! Thank you! Anne”

“This is such an great honor! Wow! Wow! Wow! Foreplay was my first new adult novel and a real passion project for me. This is the best affirmation for my decision to make the jump in new adult! Thank you AAR readers for loving the book (and yes, Reece!) as much as I loved writing it! You can expect more new adult books from me in the future. Promise!”

Sophie Jordan


 Best New Adult Romance

Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Project

(AAR Grade: A)

Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements


“I’m delighted, honored, and pleasantly surprised that my comedic love story narrated by a middle aged male academic (and written by a middle-aged male author!) has won a prize for romance. My thanks to All About Romance for introducing this new category that recognizes that romantic stories can come in a variety of shapes.”

18th Annual Reader Poll Analysis

Thanks to the voters for again supporting AAR’s Annual Reader Poll. Thanks also to those who posted on their websites, on Facebook, on Twitter or just told friends, co-workers and family.

As you know, this year we added some new categories: Best New Adult Romance, Best Young Adult Romance and Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements. We also split the Paranormal category into two categories: Best Paranormal/Time Travel and Best Science Fiction/Fantasy. Unfortunately, there were not enough votes to declare a winner in the latter category. And there were also not enough votes to declare a winner in the Best Chick Lit/Women’s Fiction category.

But all the other categories had winners, and some honorable mentions. In fact, the most competitive category was Best Romance Couple, which ended in a tie with three honorable mentions. (Note: Honorable Mentions are awarded when a second (or third) place title receives within 20% of the votes cast for the winner.)

As is usually the case, some authors published two or more books a year so their votes were split among various titles, but fortunately some of those authors pulled out standalone wins. Some winners have won previously but this year, we have quite a few new authors to congratulate.

The winner for Best Romance Book of 2013 was Sherry Thomas’s The Luckiest Lady in London, which also won for Best Historical Romance Set in the UK, Best Love Scenes and tied for Best Couple for the characters of Louisa Cantwell and Felix Rivendale. In 2012, Ms. Thomas published three books, but managed to win the Best Tearjerker award (and an Honorable Mention for Best Historical Romance Set in the UK) for Ravishing the Heiress. AAR readers clearly enjoy her writing.

Best Romantic Suspense Book went to Pamela Clare for Striking Distance and the characters of Laura Nilsson and Javier Corbray received Honorable Mention for Best Couple. First Strike, Ms. Clare’s prequel to Striking Distance, starring the “Best Couple” characters, won Best Short Story.

For the fourth year in a row, Julie James won the Best Contemporary Romance Book with Love Irresistibly. And the main characters from that book, Brooke Parker and Cade Morgan, tied for Best Couple. Also, Brooke Parker received an Honorable Mention for Best Heroine.

For the second year in a row, Sarah Mayberry won for Best Category Romance. This year, the winning title was The Other Side of Us.

For the second year in a row, Best Kick Ass Heroine went to an Ilona Andrews’ character – this year it is Kate Daniels in Magic Rises. Andrea Nash won last year in this same category for Gunmetal Magic.

Back in the winner’s circle for Best Paranormal is Nalini Singh for Heart of Obsidian. (Ms. Singh’s 2009 release, Branded by Fire, won this category in 2010.) And Heart of Obsidian’s hero, Kaleb Krychek, won Best Tortured Hero. Also, by Nalini Singh, the characters of Elena and Raphael in Archangel’s Legion won an Honorable Mention for Best Couple.

Courtney Milan’s Violet Waterfield and Sebastian Malheur in The Countess Conspiracy were voted Favorite Heroine and Favorite Hero. The Countess Conspiracy also won Honorable Mentions for Best Historical Set in the UK and Best Tearjerker.

And now for the newbie (to the AAR Poll) authors:

Emma Chase not only won Best Debut Author but also for Funniest Romance for Tangled.

Best Non-UK Historical went to Jeannie Lin for The Lotus Palace set in the Tang Dynasty of China in the 800s. This truly is a competitive category, as books set everywhere except the United Kingdom have to battle it out.

Chocolate lover Laura Florand won for Best Tearjerker for Snow-Kissed.

In one of our new categories, Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements went to The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.

The New Adult and Young Adult categories also had newbie authors winning. Foreplay by Sophie Jordan for Best New Adult and Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell.

Best Erotica/Romantica went to Anne Calhoun for Uncommon Passion.

An Honorable Mention also goes to One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean for Best Love Scenes and another Honorable Mention for Best Couple (Philippa Marbury and Cross) from the same book.

Last but not least, J.D. Robbs’ character, Eve Dallas, won an Honorable Mention for Best Kickass Heroine in Calculated in Death and Thankless in Death.

As usual, we look forward to reading your comments about the winners in the AAR Forums. Here are some questions to get the conversations rolling:

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:

Any huge surprises?
Did any of your choices win?
Will you read any winning titles if you haven’t already done so?

Post to the Let’s Talk Romance Novels Forum