Back in April, we began, on each Tuesday, publishing a reviewer’s Top Ten list. There were no rules other than the books be in the romance genre. Over the next five months, we published twenty-three lists. Out of the 230 entries, we listed 201 books. We hit every genre (although we have a definitive fondness for historical romance), and waxed upon the works of 121 authors. After every one had weighed in, only one book garnered five–the most–votes: J.R. Ward’s Lover Awakened.It’s safe to say AAR reviewers are not of one mind when it comes to choosing their favorite romances. There was only one book that appears on four lists: Loretta Chase’s Mr. Impossible. Two books show up on three lists: Bewitching by Jill Barnett and Bound by Your Touch by Meredith Duran.
Eighteen books got two votes each. The other 179 books each were chosen once. Once!
The oldest book on anyone’s list is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, published in 1847. The next oldest, published a century and a score later, is Georgette Heyer’s Cotillion. The most recent book is (I think–I judged this just by looking at all the titles) Sherry Thomas’s Ravishing the Heiress, published in July of 2012.
Of the twenty-two top books–those chosen more than once–twelve are historical romances, one is a paranormal, five are contemporary romances, and four are romantic suspense novels. Three of those twenty-two are written by Nora Roberts/J. D. Robb.
We’d like to thank our readers for all the enthusiasm you gave us for our lists. We’ve enjoyed reading the suggestions you have for your favorites.
A special thank you goes out to AAR’s Jenna Harper. She pulled all of our entries together and created a twenty-five page spreadsheet without which I could not have written this column.
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I did my own document “Top Picks (AAR Staff)” because you chose very interesting books, and I want to read the majority of them. But I have listed 195 books so I must have missed someone’s list.
As a matter of fact, there are at least three books from 2013. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Caz chose For the Love of a Soldier by Victoria Morgan (March 2013); Jane chose The Ashford Affair (Lauren Willig, April 2013) and Jenna’s list included The Best Man by Kristan Higgins (March 2013).
If it’s so, the youngest must be The Ashford Affair, by Lauren Willig, which was chosen by Jane.
I enjoyed the lists and looked forward to them every Tuesday. I also ended up buying some books that I would never have encountered without the lists—for example, Deborah Smith’s The Crossroads Cafe, The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen, and Rachel Gibson’s True Confessions.
Did each person do their lists at the same time without seeing the others’ lists? I ask because, if they could see what other people had already listed, there may have been a tendency to choose something different when someone was torn between a number of books (as was usually the case, it seemed), on the basis that all the good books should get a mention. That may explain why there were so few overlaps.
No, we didn’t do them at the same time. But speaking just for myself I started out with my ballot from the Top 100 in 2010, looked at how my feelings had changed, and went with it. I haven’t even read a lot of the books on some of my AAR colleagues’ lists, so some of the titles were never an option. And I didn’t like some of the books on other people’s lists. From my perspective, it was a very personal task.
I really enjoyed reading everyone’s lists. Thank you so much for doing it. Dare I make a request? Could all of the lists be collected in one place for easy reference access without having to go back through the blogs? Possible? Feasible?
I would love to see more, similar set of blogs from reviewers with any parameters y’all feel comfortable with, maybe like the best contemps or any other genres you choose, or perhaps your favorite new releases in the past six months or the reverse like older books you think form the canon for romance, and so on. Thanks for considering it if you can.
Actually, slight correction. I had Kristan Higgins “”The Best Man”” on my list, and it was published in February of 2013, so I think it qualifies as the “”youngest”” book on the list.
It’s interesting to see what books popped up on more than one list compared to the fact that the vast majority appeared on only one list. Goes to show that the old adage “”different strokes for different folks”” is certainly true, and it makes me thankful that there are so many books to choose from!
Whoops! Don’t know how I missed that!
As a matter of fact, the youngest is “”The Ashford Affair”” (see my message below.
I’m curious to see how well Lover Awakened does on the top 100 poll. Love the book, but if someone had asked what books I believed would place highly on our top 10’s it would not have been one of them.
I agree . . . will be interesting to see if/how this book (and series) will be listed in the Top 100. Have read all the BDB books and I really liked Lover Awakened but it is not an easy read – especially compared to other titles on peoples’ Top 10s and the various Top 100s. I’m currently debating if and/or where a BDB book might fit in my own Top 100 but it will likely be a different title . . .
OK, now I really have to read BEWITCHING! It’s the only one with 3+ votes that I haven’t read and loved. What is it about lists and comparing/sharing favorites that is so much fun? It just is.
And which are the most cited authors?
Stay tuned…we’ll have a post about Top Authors coming soon!