Meet Reviewer Mary Skelton
Mary’s Top 10 Romance List
About Me Favorite Romance Novels

I cannot remember a time when reading was not in my life. My mother read to me every day before teaching me to read around the age of 4. Before we went on any family trip, we had to go to the used paperback bookstore first where I and my 5 siblings would fill grocery sacks full of books to read in the car. My grandfather would chastise me for reading and watching television at the same time and was sure I would be blind by the time I was 20. One summer I read every single biography and autobiography in the children’s section of the public library. I read everything I could get my hands on in just about every genre. I discovered romance in high school with Rosemary Rogers and Katherine Woodiwiss. When I wore the romance books available at the time out, I went on to other genres. For nearly 30 years I did not pick up another romance. Then after glomming for Pride and Prejudice sequels/retellings, I happened upon Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I LOVED it and wanted more books like Gabaldon’s series. Through an internet search, I found All About Romance and this site is bookmarked on every computer I own. I have read almost every single DIK on the site and trust AAR to steer me in the right direction. In rediscovering the world of romance I was thrilled by the quality of writing in the genre and am proud to publicly proclaim myself a romance reader.

I grew up in the southern USA and have been married for 29 years. My husband and I have three grown (and almost out of college) children who are the most wonderful people in our lives. I have an undergraduate degree in History and a law degree. I practiced law for several years before becoming a stay at home mom. I became involved in education advocacy and through the multitude of boards I served on, was recruited into the non-profit world. I am now the executive director of a non-profit and I write grants for municipalities. When I am not reading, I like to refinish furniture and I am a closet romance writer. I am also a great college football fan and every Saturday in the fall will find me rooting for my Alabama Crimson Tide.

Absolute Favorites

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Night in Eden by Candice Proctor
The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt
By Possession by Madeline Hunter
After the Night by Linda Howard

Favorite Classic

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

Personal Reading Tastes Favorites by Sub-Genre

What I’m a sucker for in a book: Strong alpha male and bad boys, strong female characters who never fall into the helpless trap

What I don’t particularly care for in a book: preaching or an agenda, hero much older than heroine plots.

What drives me absolutely nuts in a book: Inaccuracies that jar me out of the story and authors who have not done sufficient research on regional characters

Favorite Romance Authors

All-Time Favorite Romance Authors

Linda Howard
Rachel Gibson
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Madeline Hunter
Karen Ranney
Jane Austen
Penelope Williamson
Loretta Chase
Diana Gabaldon

Best Discovery/Buried Treasure Authors

Ellen O’Connell
Kaki Warner

My Biggest Glom

Julie Garwood
Linda Howard
Rachel Gibson
Judith McNaught
Lisa Kleypas
Karen Ranney


Frontier or American Historical:

The Passions of Emma by Penelope Williamson
Sing My Name by Ellen O’Connell
Defiant by Pamela Clare
Pieces of Sky by Kaki Warner

European Historical:

Tapestry by Karen Ranney
To Love a Dark Lord by Anne Stuart
Flowers From the Storm by Laura Kinsale
Lord of Soundrels by Loretta Chase
The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt
Once in a Blue Moon by Penelope Williamson

Traditional Regency:

Marrying the Royal Marine by Carla Kelly


By Possession by Madeline Hunter
Almost Innocent by Jane Feather
Here Be Drgaons by Sharon Kay Penman
A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught
The Secret Swan by Shana Abe

Paranormal Romance:

Highlander series by Karen Marie Moning
Southern Vampire Mysteries series by Charlaine Harris

Favorite Characters Favorites by Plot Type

Favorite Hero

Jamie Fraser, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Favorite Heroine

Jessica Trent, Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
Bathsheba Wingate, Lord Perfect by Loretta Chase

Most Tortured Hero

Jered Mandeville, Upon a Wicked Time by Karen Ranney
Gideon Westbrook, Ravished by Amanda Quick

Strongest Heroine

Claire Randall Fraser, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Sookie Stackhouse, Southern Vampire Series by Charlaine Harris

Favorite Couple

Claire and Jamie, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Best Villain

Nicholas Blackthorne, A Rose at Midnight by Anne Stuart

Cabin or Road:

Lord Perfect by Loretta Chase
Perfect by Judith McNaught
Heaven Texas by Susan Elizabeth Phillips


Dream Man by Linda Howard
Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie
Rainwater by Sandra Brown


Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard
Lord Perfect by Loretta Chase


Passion by Lisa Valdez
Caine’s Reckoning by Sarah McCarty

Favorites by Mood

Comfort Reads:

The Bride by Julie Garwood

Guilty Pleasure:

Prisoner of My Desire by Johanna Lindsey


Most Disappointing Book

Ain’t She Sweet by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Worst Books

Desire and Duty by Ted and Marilyn Bader

Purple Prose-iest Book

Sweet Savage Love by Rosemary Rogers

Authors I Have Given Up On

Johanna Lindsey
Stephanie Laurens

Authors Others Love That I Don’t

I loved Karen Moning’s Highlander Series, but cannot get into her Fever Series

Non-Romance Favorites

Favorite Author

Stephen King
George R. R. Martin
Anne Rice
Jane Austen
Tom Clancy
Robert Ludlum
Leon Uris
Chaim Potok
J.R.R. Tolkien

Favorite Book

Too many to list

Favorite Classic Novel

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
Daniel Deronda by George Eliot
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Exodus by Leon Uris
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Dune by Frank Herbert

Favorite Mystery

Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris
The Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett
Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith
The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum

Favorite Women’s Fiction

Jamaica Inn by Daphne DuMaurier
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Favorite YA Book

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman
Narnia series by C.S. Lewis

Favorite SF/Horror/Fantasy

It and the Dark Tower series by Stephen King
The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

Book Most Often Reread

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

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