suddenly you For years one of the more difficult categories in the AAR Annual Reader Poll was the Best Category Romance. It was never a certain thing that we would be able to announce a winner. Why? Because readers split their votes among a lot of different titles. Not surprising given how many category romances get published in a year. Last year, we were delighted when the category not only wasn’t a problem but was included on many readers’ ballots. We’re hoping things stay that way for the 2013 poll as well.

We pollsters (Cindy, LeeB, and myself) figured out that one of the problems with the category was that on the ballot (prior to last year’s poll) it had been labeled “Best Series Romance.” Well, many readers voted for things like the In Death series by JD Robb, and JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series, and….you get the idea. No, this category in the Annual Poll is designed to feature the best of category romance; series category books published by Harlequin, Mills & Boon, Entangled, etc. So we changed the name on the ballot last year with a brief definition and believe that helped.

But we don’t think it was just the change in title that helped. It seemed as if a whole flurry of category romance authors caught the attention of AAR’s readers last year, chief among them Sarah Mayberry. Not only was Ms. Mayberry the ultimate winner in the category for Suddenly You, but two of her other titles – Within Reach and Her Best Worst Mistake – also received numerous votes. We’re hoping the trend in increased voting for this category continues in the Annual Poll for 2013 romances that opens on January 13. A power search at AAR under the Book Type “Series Romance” reveals that 11 titles published in 2013 received a grade of B or higher:

* An Invitation to Sin by Sarah Morgan (A)

* A Prior Engagement by Karina Bliss (A-)

* The First Move by Jennifer Lohmann (A-)

* Must Like Kids by Jackie Braun (B+)

* Deadly Contact by Lara Lacombe (B)

* In From the Cold by Mary Sullivan (B)

* The Paris Assignment by Addison Fox (B)

* Tactical Advantage by Julie Miller (B)

* Platinum Promises by Zuri Day (B)

* The One that Got Away by Kelly Hunter (B)

* Relentless Seduction by Jillian Burns (B)

I’ve read several of these and really enjoyed them, but there are so many category romances published each year that AAR can only review a small percentage. Now I’m wondering if I’ve missed out on even better category romances. Have you read any great 2013 category romances that don’t appear on the above list? If so, I’d love to hear about them, because truthfully, I can read a great category romance in a day and would hate to miss out on a potential winner for the 2013 Best Category Romance.

– LinnieGayl Kimmel