My take on the AAR Top 100 (1-10)

The idea of putting my favorite 100 romance novels of all time in order and voting on them was too much.  Instead, I’ll just comment on the results now that AAR has post them.

1.  Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase.
European historical published in 1995.  I have read this book.  It was sort of ~meh~ for me.  Generally speaking, I don’t get the Chase-love that Romancelandia seems to feel and voice so ferociously.  Was this ground-breaking?  If I had read it when it was first published, would that have made a difference?  Frankly, this one wouldn’t have been anywhere on my list.

2.  Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas
European historical published in 1994.
This one is KristieJ’s favorite, I know, because she adores the hero, Derek Something, who is a commoner (I think?).  A pleasant enough read, a wallpaper historical, but not a keeper.

3.  Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas
European historical published in 2006.
Another Kleypas book.  This may have been the last Kleypas historical novel I read.  The Evil Hero who is redeemed and the Spineless Heroine who loves him.  Again, me.

4.  Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
Classic fiction published in 1818.
Not my favorite Austen, but I do approve of it being high on the Top 100 list.

5.  Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Time Travel romance published in 1991.
I’ve said repeatedly that I do not get the Gabaldon and Jamie Fraser love.  This was an okay book, a beach holiday read, but I’ve never felt an urge to either re-read it or pick up the rest of the series to read more about Claire, the biggest Mary Sue ever, or Jamie, the total stud that everyone wants.

6.  Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale
European historical published in 1992.
Haven’t read it, although I do have a copy TBR.  Somehow, whenever I pick it up, I never get past the first page, maybe because it is so loaded with expectation because of the praise I’ve read about the book in Romancelandia.

7.  Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh
European historical published in 2004.
This is Wulfric Bedwyn’s book, the culmination of this particular series.  Can’t remember if I read it or not.  While I enjoyed early Balogh trad Regencies, I didn’t follow her to hardback, which I think happened at some point in this series.

8.  The Viscount Who Love Me by Julia Quinn
European historical published in 2000.
This is the only book other than Pride & Prejudice in the top 10 that I would have selected.  Yes, it’s a wallpaper historical, but the humor made the book for me.  The Black Mallet of Death!

9.  The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt
European historical published in 2006.
Have not read it.  Do not feel compelled to do so.  Hoyt is a so so author for me.

10.  The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley
European historical published in 2009.
Read this one.  According to my notes at LibraryThing, it was a B-/C+ read, with a heavy handed mystery and series bait but an enjoyable relationship development.  

So, two of the top ten are books that I would consider keepers.  

The European historical heaviness of this top ten list reminds me that my tastes are really out of sync with the average AAR reader, because while I’ve read these books, most of them were nothing more than pleasant diversions at best.



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13 responses to “My take on the AAR Top 100 (1-10)

  1. The Viscount Who Love Me is my favourite in the Bridgerton series ♥
    i love the humor. and i just love how riled Anthony is whenever he’s with Kate!

  2. We were talking about this list over on the Cafe, and saying how clearly it shows the readership of AAR members: they’re all about Quinn, Chase, Kleypas, Howard, and SEP. Some “newbies” like Hoyt and Thomas have crept in. And overwhelmingly historical!
    Of the 100, I read 70. Many are keepers, but my top 10 would be vastly different.

  3. I like Hoyt, but I don’t think THE RAVEN PRINCE is her best one.
    IIRC, SLIGHTLY DANGEROUS was the first Balogh in that series to go hardcover first.

    • I read the emerald book of Hoyt’s first series. And the book with the disfigured hero in the second series, I think. Would you recommend her other books?

      • I’ve enjoyed them, but you’ve already read my favorites! Her newest is interesting – it didn’t feel quite baked, but I had a good time thinking about the tropes she chose and wondering where she would go with it.

  4. Several of these would actually be on my list, too (LoS, P&P, Sligthly Dangerous and The Viscount Who Loved Me – bring on the Mallet of Death!). I’m not too surprised at the composition of the list (except for some particular books, such as 9 and 10 above)- it’s not so much about which are the best books, but about which widely read books are best.

  5. Anonymous

    How about a top ten? Please!!!???
    I put up my ballot on my blog – I am like many AAR and then I’m not.
    I don’t get SEP, Chase is hit or miss (mostly miss but then there is Mr. Impossible), and I have yet to read Outlander. I’m also not nearly as much of a historical reader as I used to be – unless it’s an author I love then I’ll read it.j
    I did notice how nostalgic my ballot seemed to be so I’m considering making 2011 re-read year.

    • Okay, I’ll put together a top ten romance list. I may have done it before, so I’ll do a new list and then hunt up the old one (if possible) to see if my tastes or opinions have changed 🙂

  6. Anonymous

    The only Kleypas I’ve ever almost read was, I think, Dreaming of You – I read about three pages, decided I couldn’t stick the hero, and never read her again. And I positively disliked Lord of Scoundrels, and The Madness of Lord Ian, and wasn’t keen on Outlander.
    So yes, Pride and Prejudice and the Viscount who loved me – they’d be my picks from the top ten as well. But also the Kinsale: she’s a hit-or-miss author for me, but I did enjoy that book.
    I’m not really sure that the top ten tells you much about AAR readers’ tastes – I love looking at lists like this, but I don’t think they tell you much about what people actually like to read.
    Marianne McA

    • Oh, my comment about the European historical-heaviness of the list was geared toward the entire list, not just the top ten. Although, yes, ten is too small as sample to be significant.
      If you could recommend only one Kinsale book, which would it be?

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