My top 30

When I first began commenting on the results of AAR’s Top 100 poll, CindyS asked me for my top 10, since I didn’t think I could come up with a ballot of 100. 

Without consulting LibraryThing or my bookshelves, just my own memory while sitting in a deadly dull meeting, here are the books that I would put on a ballot.  There are probably some that I’ve forgotten.  In no particular order but for the very first one.  The purple ones also appear on AAR’s list.

  1. Persuasion by Jane Auste.  n.  1818I know that P&P is the much more popular Austen romance, but Persuasion just thrills me from beginning to end. As I’ve said before, Wentworth’s letter slays me:  You pierce my soul.  I am half agony, half hope.
  2. Naked in Death by JD Robb.  Futuristic romantic suspense.  1995.  Back when I first read this book (when it was first released), I had no idea that JD Robb was Nora Roberts — when she first began writing this series, the pseudonym was not widely known to romance readers.  But I LOVED Eve Dallas.
  3. With This Ring by Carla Kelly.  Trad Regency.  1997.  I would actually put almost anything written by Carla Kelly on my keeper list, her trad Regencies, her Harlequin Historicals, her American Western short stories in Here’s for the Ladies.
  4. Collision Course by K.A. Mitchell. M/m contemporary.  2009.
  5. No Souvenirs by K.A. Mitchell.  M/m contemporary.  2010.
  6. Off the Record by Matthew Haldeman Time.  M/m contemporary.  2006.
  7. A Summer to Remember by Mary Balogh.  European historical.  2002.  I love how Lauren learns to love herself as much as she learns to love Kit.
  8. Over the Edge by Suzanne Brockmann.  Contemporary action/adventure.  2001.  While I like Jules/Robin’s love story better, this installment of the Troubleshooters stands alone better than the Jules/Robin story arc.
  9. A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold.  Trad Regency set in space, with Miles, that hyperactive little git as a hero.  1999.
  10. The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn.  2000.  European historical.  The humor in this book wins.
  11. Vows by Lavyrle Spencer.  American western historical.  1988.  Tomboy heroine, blacksmith hero who loves her as she is.
  12. Remembering Blue by Connie Mae Fowler.  Contemporary. 2000.  Sort of women’s fiction-y, it’s a love story told by a young widow to her unborn child.
  13. My Lady Notorious by Jo Beverley.  Georgian historical.  1993.  Chicks in pants and men in drag, plus sword fights and political intrigue.
  14. When Venus Fell by Deborah Smith.  Contemporary, verging on women’s fiction.  1999.  It was hard to choose between WVF and Smith’s A Place to Call Home, which is also excellent but loses steam in the second half of the book.
  15. Finding Laura by Kay Hooper.  Romantic suspense.  1998.  Fated mates, lovers across time, plus a mysterious hand mirror.
  16. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery.  1926.  Marriage of convenience with a scoundrel + rebelling against conservative family + expectation of early death = melodrama but also a sweet romance for Valancy Jane.
  17. Beauty by Robin McKinley.  Retelling of Beauty and the Beast fairytale.  1978.
  18. Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie.  Contemporary.  2000. "I knew it.  She’s the devil’s candy….She just fucked me six ways to Sunday."   "She beat you at pool, too, " Wes said, looking at the table.  "That’s what I mean," Phin said.  "It’s going to take me years to recover from this."
  19. Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie.  Contemporary fairytale.  2004.
  20. Tigers & Devils by Sean Kennedy.  Gay contemporary.  2009.  Australian-set romance between football player and film festival organizer. 
  21. Almost Like Being in Love by Steve Kluger.  Gay contemporary, told via memos, emails, letters, etc.  1997.
  22. Bad for Each Other by Kate Hathaway.  Category romance. 1997.
  23. Bad Case of Loving You by Laney Cairo.  Gay medical romance.  2007.
  24. Thunder and Roses by Mary Jo Putney.  European historical.  2002.
  25. Luring a Lady by Nora Roberts.  Category romance. 1991.
  26. A Forbidden Desire by Robyn Donald.  Category romance. 1999.
  27. Sushi for Beginners by Marian Keyes.  Chick lit. 2005.
  28. The Cubicle Next Door by Siri Mitchell. Chick lit with inspirational tilt.  2006.  It’s hard for me to believe there’s an inspy on my list, but loved the storytelling style of this book, and the religion is very lightly done.
  29. It had to Be You by SEP.  Contemporary.  1994.
  30. Born in Fire by Nora Roberts.  Contemporary.  1994.  Proto-type of Roarke — Irish businessman + brusque

There are a few more that I’m tempted to add, but they aren’t strictly genre romance (Bitten, the Anne Shirley series, the Sharing Knife series).

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “My top 30

  1. Wow, is the Laney Cairo that good? I have to check it out. That and the Steve Kluger. And OMG yay for Off the Record. Adore that book.

    • I don’t know that the Cairo book is objectively great, but it reads well for me, and has become a comfort re-read that I’ll skim at random when not in the mood for something new.
      The Kluger book is one that I would recommend reading in paper. The presentation really matters, and the e-book formatting detracts from it a little. You don’t get the full effect of some of the journal entries or emails via ebook unless you read on computer rather than small-screened e-reader.

  2. Your list covers everything!
    That quote from Welcome to Temptation – have to seriously read that book! I think I had Over The Edge on mine also because of the same reason – all three arcs worked in that story. I have yet to read Jules/Robin – I needed her to get ahead of me as my angst between books was too much. Now I can’t figure out where to re-start because I just want to jump to Jules and Robin’s story and skip the angst.
    I can see you can handle bittersweet stories – the story from a widow to her unborn child – uh, no. I’m not strong enough!
    And I’m sure I read Vows but I can’t remember it. I was going to put Years on my list but I had some issues with the hero near the end of the story – but it may have been my own age of 20 blocking my judgement. Morning Glory made my list because I remember everything about it and I loved it.
    Thanks for doing up a list!
    CindyS

    • That bittersweet book makes me cry like crazy, so I don’t reread it often. And my description was a serious spoiler — the love story itself is beautiful, and the setting (Florida gulf coast) is a character in itself.
      That WTT quote is one that I know by heart, the best lines of the book IMO.
      Doing the list was my pleasure 🙂

  3. I am scared to contemplate how much of my list would be Carla Kelly.

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