Thursday, April 1, 2010

AAR Top 100 2007: Challenge, or Quest?

All About Romance is a website for Romance readers, with a ton of reviews, a forum, a newsletter, lots of author interviews and a poll that appears to be maybe bi-annual where readers submit their favorite romance novels, and the votes are tallied and a list is born.

The AAR Top Romances for 2007 follows. I decided to try to read all (or most?) of them, and have been slowly whittling away on them. Currently, I have read 88, and have eliminated some of them because I either don't like the author or the genre. I may read those anyway.

A more formal challenge has come about through the Readers of Romance Challenge group on Shelfari, and so there are several of us "keeping track" and trying to read them all before the next list is polled in 2009. I figured for me it's an interesting way to see what others think are great books, and to find new authors and sort of stretch my reading wings a little. I marked the ones I've read in Red; the ones in my TBR pile in Green and the ones I don't plan to read will be marked through thusly. I've also put my own personal rating - * = did not like it to ***** = loved it - after the ones I've read. The year it was originally published is also included.

1 - Lord of Scoundrels - Loretta Chase - Eur Hist - 1995 - *****
2 - Dreaming of You - Lisa Kleypas - Eur Hist - 1994 - ***
3 - Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen - Classic - 1813 - **
4 - Outlander - Diana Gabaldon - Time-Travel - 1991 - *****
5 - Flowers From The Storm - Laura Kinsale - Eur Hist - 1992 *****
6 - Slightly Dangerous - Mary Balogh - Eur Hist - 2004 - TBR
7 - Devil In Winter - Lisa Kleypas - Eur Hist - 2006
8 - Bet Me - Jennifer Crusie - Contemporary - 2004 - *****
9 - Welcome to Temptation - Jennifer Crusie - Contemporary - 2000 - *****
10 - The Viscount Who Loved Me - Julia Quinn - Eur Hist - 2000 - ****
11 - Lover Awakened - J.R. Ward - Paranomal - 2006
12 - Mr. Impossible - Loretta Chase - Eur Hist - 2005 - ***
13 - The Duke and I - Julia Quinn - Eur Hist - 2000 - ****
14 - It Had To Be You - Susan Elizabeth Phillips - Contemporary - 1994 - ****
15 - Lord Perfect - Loretta Chase - Eur Hist - 2006 - ***
16 - Romancing Mr. Bridgerton - Julia Quinn - Eur Hist - 2002 - ****
17 - The Bride - Julie Garwood - Medieval - 1989 - ***
18 - Mr. Perfect - Linda Howard - Contemporary - 2000 - *****
19 - Naked In Death - J.D. Robb - Futuristic - 1995 - ***
20 - A Summer To Remember - Mary Balogh - Eur Hist - 2002 - ***
21 - Nobody's Baby But Mine - Susan Elizabeth Phillips - Contemporary - 1997 - ****
22 - Dream Man - Linda Howard - Romantic Suspense - 1995 - *****
23 - The Raven Prince - Elizabeth Hoyt - Eur Hist - 2006 - *****
24 - Paradise - Judith McNaught - Contemporary - 1991 - *****
25 - As You Desire - Connie Brockway - Historical - 1997 - *****
26 - MacKenzie's Mountain - Linda Howard - Contemporary - 1989 - ****
27 - Dark Lover - J.R. Ward - Paranormal - 2005 - ****
28 - The Secret - Julie Garwood - Medieval - 1992 - ****
29 - Son Of The Morning - Linda Howard - Time-Travel - 1997 - ****
30 - Lover Eternal - J.R. Ward - Paranormal - 2006
31 - Devil's Bride - Stephanie Laurens - Eur Hist - 1998 - *
32 - A Knight in Shining Armor - Jude Deveraux - Time-Travel - 1989 - ***
33 - Heaven, Texas - Susan Elizabeth Phillips - Contemporary - 1995 - ****
34 - To Have and To Hold - Patricia Gaffney - Eur Hist - 1995 - ***
35 - Almost Heaven - Judith McNaught - Eur Hist - 1990 - ***
36 - Match Me If You Can - Susan Elizabeth Phillips - Contemporary - 2005 - ****
37 - The Shadow and The Star - Laura Kinsale - Historical - 1991 - *****
38 - Cry No More - Linda Howard - Contemporary - 2003 - *****
39 - A Kingdom of Dreams - Judith McNaught - Medieval - 1989 - *****
40 - Over the Edge - Suzanne Brockmann - Contemporary - 2001 - *****
41 - Sea Swept - Nora Roberts - Contemporary - 1998 - *****
42 - Ravished - Amanda Quick - Eur Hist - 1992 - *****
43 - Then Came You - Lisa Kleypas - Eur Hist - 1993 - **
44 - To Die For - Linda Howard - Contemporary - 2005 - *****
45 - Something Wonderful - Judith McNaught - Eur Hist - 1988 - ***
46 - This Heart of Mine - Susan Elizabeth Phillips - Contemporary - 2001 - ****
47 - The Serpent Prince - Elizabeth Hoyt - Eur Hist - 2007 - *****
48 - Suddenly You - Lisa Kleypas - Eur Hist - 2001 - **
49 - The Proposition - Judith Ivory - Eur Hist - 1999 - *****
50 - Honors Splendour - Julie Garwood - Medieval - 1987 - *****
51 - Saving Grace - Julie Garwood - Medieval - 1993 - *****
52 - Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte - Classic - 1847 -
53 - When He Was Wicked - Julia Quinn - Eur Hist - 2004 - *****
54 - Persuasion - Jane Austen - Classic - 1818 -
55 - All Through The Night - Connie Brockway - Eur Hist - 1997 - ****
56 - It Happened One Autumn - Lisa Kleypas - Eur Hist - 2005
57 - Born In Fire - Nora Roberts - Contemporary - 1994 - ***
58 - Thunder and Roses - Mary Jo Putney - Eur Hist - 1993 - **
59 - Kiss An Angel - Susan Elizabeth Phillips - Contemporary - 1996 - *****
60 - Out Of Control - Suzanne Brockmann - Contemporary - 2002 - *****
61 - After The Night - Linda Howard - Contemporary - 1995 - *****
62 - Lady Sophia's Lover - Lisa Kleypas - Eur Hist - 2002 - ***
63 - The Secret Pearl - Mary Balogh - Eur Hist - 1991 - *****
64 - Once and Always - Judith McNaught - Eur Hist - 1987 - *****
65 - More Than A Mistress - Mary Balogh - Eur Hist - 2000 - *****
66 - Untie My Heart - Judith Ivory - Eur Hist - 2002 - *****
67 - See Jane Score - Rachel Gibson - Contemporary - 2003 - ****
68 - The Rake - Mary Jo Putney - Eur Hist - 1998 -
69 - Dragonfly in Amber - Diana Gabaldon - Time-Travel - 1992 - *****
70 - Perfect - Judith McNaught - Contemporary - 1993 - *****
71 - Whitney, My Love - Judith McNaught - Eur Hist - 1985 - ****
72 - The Duke - Gaelen Foley - Eur Hist - 2000 - *****
73 - One Perfect Rose - Mary Jo Putney - Eur Hist - 1997 -
74 - Shattered Rainbows - Mary Jo Putney - Eur Hist - 1996 -
75 - The Windflower - Laura London - Historical/Pirate - 1984 - *****
76 - Dream A Little Dream - Susan Elizabeth Phillips - Contemporary - 1998 - *****
77 - Frederica - Georgette Heyer - Classic - 1965 - ****
78 - Passion - Lisa Valdez - Eur Hist - 2005 - 9/14/08 *****
79 - Voyager - Diana Gabaldon - Time-Travel - 1994 - *****
80 - The Lady's Tutor - Robin Schone - Eur Hist - 1999 - TBR
81 - Morning Glory - Lavryle Spencer - Amer Hist - 1990 - *****
82 - Worth Any Price - Lisa Kleypas - Eur Hist - 2003 - ***
83 - Winter Garden - Adele Ashworth - Eur Hist - 2000 - ***
84 - My Dearest Enemy - Connie Brockway - Eur Hist - 1998 - *****
85 - Where Dreams Begin - Lisa Kleypas - Eur Hist - 2000
86 - Devil's Cub - Georgette Heyer - Classic - 1932 - **
87 - Gone Too Far - Suzanne Brockmann - Contemporary - 2003 - *****
88 - Anyone But You - Jennifer Crusie - Contemporary - 1996 - *****
89 - For My Lady's Heart - Laura Kinsale - Medieval - 1993 - ****
90 - Rising Tides - Nora Roberts - Contemporary - 1998 - *****
91 - Lover Revealed - J.R. Ward - Paranormal - 2007
92 - Open Season - Linda Howard - Contemporary - 2001 - *****
93 - Born In Ice - Nora Roberts - Contemporary - 1996 - *****
94 - Ransom - Julie Garwood - Medieval - 1999 - ***
95 - Venetia - Georgette Heyer - Classic - 1958 - ***
96 - Miss Wonderful - Loretta Chase - Eur Hist - 2004 - ****
97 - Ain't She Sweet - Susan Elizabeth Phillips - Contemporary - 2004 - ****
98 - The Notorious Rake - Mary Balogh - Eur Hist - 1992 - ****
99 - The Prize - Julie Garwood - Medieval - 1991 - ***
100 - Slave To Sensation - Nalini Singh - Paranormal - 2006 - ****

UPDATE October 12, 2008:

I decided to get a little more organized about getting these books - see, I have to read series in order, so if they are part of a series, I try to find them all and read them before moving on. I guess I shouldn't be so surprised that SEVERAL of them are Wish-listed at PBS, and some of those are truly Hard To Find. I've marked the Hard To Find ones above, and have wishlisted them myself. Plus, I did some searching on eBay and Half.com and Amazon marketplace (with a nod to Barnes & Noble's Authorized Sellers, who cannot even begin to compete). I guess I should have started looking for all the books a little sooner! I may have to break down and try the library as well.

I'm still not completely organized - I have to do some research on Mary Jo Putney, plus I haven't even attempted to get the older books (Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Georgette Heyer) yet.

Some random observations:

I think when I started this quest I had read almost 30 just on my own, not being aware of this list.

(1) I don't like Lisa Kleypas' writing. I read 6 books by this well-loved and -lauded author, and they are not my cup o'tea. So I stopped. Too many books, too little time. (Of course I'm still reading them, it's an obsession to finish this Quest!) [edited to add: I actually read another one, so I've read 7 - still not impressed.] [edited Nov 2009 to add: I actually do like her contemporaries! shock!]

(2) I may have lost all interest in vampire romance after listening to the first 2 audio books in Christine Feehan's Dark series. In my oh-so-very-humble opinion, the narration was awful. Dreadful. The worst. Shouldn't have been paid. Really, the woman needs a dictionary for pronunciation, not that it would have helped her lack of narrating talent. So for the time being I've summarily stopped reading vampire books - but maybe I'll try, later, someday, to read them.

UPDATE OCTOBER 20 2008

I have also added a post for The Romance Reader's Top 109 Romance Novels, and included in that which ones appear on both lists, and which ones I have read. I, uh, actually plan to include any on that list that do not appear on this one to my quest.

UPDATE January 2009 : it occurred to me to add the links to my own reviews here on the blog. Duh! So I'm working on it, however, I did read several of them before I started the blog and don't have reviews.

3 comments:

Heather's Books said...

Okay I totally understand why you have crossed out Lisa Klyepas, as she is a hit an miss author for me, and I get why you crossed off the J.R. Ward books. However I SOOOOO don't get why you have dismissed Nalini, her books are unlike anything I have ever read when it comes to paranormals.

aunt rowena said...

Heather, it's the PARANORMAL thing. I'm probably going to end up reading it anyway, but I have been mostly avoiding paranormal since my bad, bad, bad experience with the audio books of Christine Feehan's Dark series. I know, I'm a wuss!!

Heather said...

I found Laura Kinsale's Flowers from the Storm at Amazon. I plan on reading it before the end of year. If you still have not found it by the time I have read it I can let you know when I post it on PBS if you are interested.