best ofWith the blush of the New Year still hovering in the air, we are pleased to announce, for the 18th year in a row, the AAR Annual Reader Poll is now open! We hope you will help us take a look back to find the best romance books the year 2014 had to offer.

The AAR Annual Reader Poll began in 1996, and each year many readers find new and exciting reads as a result of your votes. But how can you possibly decide what’s the best of 2014? Well, some AAR readers keep spreadsheets, Goodreads/Librarything shelves, or charts in some form or another. If you do, hopefully those will help you complete your ballot. If you haven’t kept a spreadsheet or reading chart (and there are just as many readers who don’t), you can always use the Power Search function at AAR to search for reviews from the 2014 reading year. In Power Search you can search by genre, reviewer, year published, grade, and other categories which should help you in filling out your ballot.

The poll will be open for just two weeks starting today, Monday January 12th and will close at 12:00 midnight U.S. Eastern Standard Time on Sunday, January 25th, 2015. We encourage all our AAR readers to participate in this poll. Once again, the poll will be hosted offsite at surveymonkey.com (see the end of this post for the actual link).

There are now 24 different categories listed on the ballot but remember, for your ballot to be valid, you only have to vote in a minimum of six (6) categories. The average AAR reader votes in about 10 categories but some readers vote in all categories.

With 17 years worth of polls under our belt we can safely say that almost every year we make changes to the poll and this year is no different. The romance genre has an ebb and flow that opens up new categories and leaves behind themes that were once popular. After many successful years, we are eliminating the Best Chick Lit/Women’s Fiction category as reader response has fallen until we couldn’t get enough votes in the category to declare a winner. Second, thanks to reader comments after last year’s poll (and on the forums this year), we’ve split the paranormal/sci-fi/fantasy from two categories to three: (1) Best Paranormal Romance (ghosts, witches, weres, vamps, shapeshifters); (2) Best Fantasy Romance (genies, fairies, dragons, and elves); and (3) Best Science Fiction Romance (other planets, aliens, futuristics, dystopian, and genetic mutations). Finally, we are adding a new category, thanks to reader comments, for Best LGBT Romance.

In the past, many people have posted on the boards that the winners don’t reflect their favorites. Keep in mind, this poll can only be successful with your participation, so please take the time to vote to make sure your favorites get tallied!

Look for the results to be posted at AAR in February. Ready to vote? Click here.

CindyS, LeeB, and LinnieGayl