One of the features I love most about AAR is the extensive, easily searchable review database. There are literally thousands of romance reviews at my fingertips and anytime I need a book recommendation, that’s where I turn.
If you’re new here (Hi!!), you’ll see we frequently use the term DIK or Desert Isle Keeper. These are our books receiving A grades, the ones we would want with us on a desert island where resources may be scarce and space limited. With a few clicks, you can access solid recommendations in a variety of subgenres.
The AAR staffers started wondering, “Who are our most reviewed authors? And how do their grades stack up?” A lively discussion followed as we tried to guess which authors would have a number of reviews and recommendations. Of course we felt there would be those who would be near the top based on how prolific and popular they are, as well as those who are known favorites around here. AAR has been online since 1996 and seen a number of changes as the publishing industry has evolved. In the early days the pool of books to review and number of authors producing those books was far smaller than it is today. Hence our results skew somewhat toward those authors writing during the late ’90s/2000s.
As you may imagine, Nora Roberts is near the top of the list with 97 reviews, 30 of which are DIKs. With an extensive backlist and titles in print, ebook and audio formats, La Nora is a perennial favorite for our reviewers. And she’s still going strong! The Obsession came out on April 12. If romantic suspense isn’t your thing, you might enjoy one of her much beloved trilogies/series such as the Chesapeake series beginning with Sea Swept or one of her series set in Ireland such as the Irish Born series beginning with Born in Fire. But if you’re not in the mood for contemporary romance, you might like her futuristic/scifi In Death series written as J.D. Robb (50 reviews, 16 DIKs.) You’ll want to read this one in order, so start with the first book, Naked in Death.
Carla Kelly is another author who is a favorite among reviewers here. Her historical novels depicting the lives of the non-aristocracy in Regency England as well as her American frontier romances have garnered praise from many of our reviewers. Her most recent release, Doing No Harm, received a DIK from Mary. With 20 DIK reviews out of 34 reviews overall, it’s clear that Carla Kelly writes books that resonate with many of us. My personal favorite is One Good Turn, followed closely by Marriage of Mercy.
Also among authors who consistently produce books that are much beloved by readers and reviewers here is Mary Balogh. Only a Kiss won Favorite Tear Jerker and Best Historical Romance Set In the UK in our 2015 Annual Poll. With 62 reviews, including 25 DIKs, her books are connecting with readers in a big way. Only Enchanting won the 2014 Best Historical Romance Set in the UK and Slightly Dangerous came in at #7 on our most recent Top 100 Romances Poll. Other favorite Balogh titles from the Top 100 Romances Poll (2013) include More Than a Mistress at #54, The Secret Pearl at #82, and Simply Love at #92.
What discussion of prolific, favorite romance authors would be complete without mentioning Linda Howard? Certainly not this one. We’ve logged 51 reviews of her books, including 13 DIKs. Her new release Troublemaker comes out on May 10. And there’s good news for those of us who are ebook hoarders collectors. Many of Howard’s backlist titles are being released in ebook format, which means I can replace my falling apart copy of Midnight Rainbow.
Other authors we love include Mary Jo Putney (38 reviews, 14 DIKs), Lisa Kleypas (37 reviews, 13 DIKs), Anne Stuart (37 reviews, 9 DIKs), Julia Quinn (34 reviews, 9 DIKs), and Nalini Singh (33 reviews, 10 DIKs.)
Are you surprised by our favorites? Which titles written by the authors mentioned here would you recommend? If a reader wants to try a Mary Balogh book, where should they start? Do you have to begin at the beginning with J. D. Robb’s books? What’s your favorite Carla Kelly? Let us know in the comments!