Hmm. There are an awful lot of categories there, yet somehow there are a lot of good books from 2008 that don’t appear on the list. Paranormal romance, shapeshifter romance and vampire romance? Aren’t the latter two subsumed in the former? Plus a paranormal subcategory in the contemporary section, and in the historical section. Fourteen historical romance categories, plus an overall historical of the year? Why do that for historicals but not for any of the other groups? Eh, whatever.
I don’t know what the nominating criteria are, and it doesn’t really matter, since the magazine is not representative of my reading or interests in genre romance. Skimming the nominees is enough to remind me of that: of the 66 categories [!!!], there are more than 45 for which I haven’t read any of the nominees. In many cases, I’ve never heard of any of the authors or titles. Also unclear is why some categories have four nominees, while others have as many as eleven.
Let’s see, of the ~350 books nominated, I have read…14 books. That’s less than 5%. Given the huge volume of romances published annually, that isn’t a big surprise. On the other hand, though, I am (I think) the sort of reader that romance publishers should be targeting, since I am willing to spend up to $100 per month on my reading habit, in addition to books borrowed from the library and swapped via PBS and other groups. Yet I haven’t read or even heard of most of these books. Is it a failure of market? A lack of curiousity on my part? I don’t know, but something isn’t working, I think.
The books nominated that I have read were not my favorites, for the most part, with a few exceptions:
- Flat Out Sexy by Erin McCarthy (contemporary) (okay)
- Shades of Dark by Linnea Sinclair (Futuristic/Fantasy) (very good)
- Countdown by Michelle Maddox (Futuristic/Fantasy) (meh)
- A Lady’s Secret by Jo Beverley (British-Isle set historical) (very good)
- Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas (First historical) (bored by the selfish and whiney hero and heroine)
- Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran (First historical) (hated the second half of the book)
- Phyllida and the Brotherhood of Philander by Ann Herendeen (Historical fiction) (found the "romance" to be…less than believable)
- The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne (Historical romantic adventure) (beautifully written but not a keeper)
- The Seduction of the Crimson Rose by Lauren Willig (Historical romance mystery — gothic) (okay, reaching the end of my interest/patience for the series, though)
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (YA) (loved it)
- Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews (UF) (very good)
- Magic to the Bone by Devon Monk (UF) (meh)
- Accidental Mistress by Susan Napier (Harlequin Presents) (okay)
- Sealed With A Kiss by Mary Daughtridge (Small Press) (DNF — wall banger)