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Thursday News: 10 best romance novels; 10 best romance novel loving...

Lists like this make me think Dear Author needs to get its act together and do another top 100 romances ever list. Publishers Weekly

Lehrer isn’t the only plagiarist to be rewarded despite multiple acts of plagiarism. The Story Siren was caught lifting content from two fashion bloggers. While publishers have publicly stated that they wouldn’t continue to work with a plagiarist, The Story Siren continues to receive every new release (and then some) that is being put out there in the Young Adult market. Her bounty is posted every week in her In My Mailbox feature. Other bloggers are frustrated by publishers’ continued support of The Story Siren and that her actions have left her with little negative effects. Huffington Post

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. ShellBell
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 05:00:43

    I’ve only read 3 of the books on Bella Andre’s list – the two Jude Deveraux stories and Wild Card but none of them would make my top 10. I have to admit to not being the slightest bit interested in reading the other seven books listed.

    My top 10 would include:
    Jude Deveraux – The Black Lyon
    Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice
    Johanna Lindsay – Secret Fire
    Georgette Heyer – These Old Shades
    Kathleen E Woodiwiss – The Wolf and the Dove
    JL Langley – My Fair Captain

    The remaining four books would depend on the mood I was in when asked as I can never select my definite top 10!

    Definitely time for another top 100 from DA!

  2. Liz H.
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 06:06:21

    Yes yes, another top 100 please! Or a top 20(? or some other number) in a variety of subgenres?

  3. Brie
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 07:07:40

    What’s up with people and A Knight in Shining Armor? It has the worst ending ever, and you all better agree with me or else! My two favorite SEP book is Ain’t She Sweet. And yes, I know lots of humiliation on that one, but all her books are like that, so no need to judge. And, hey, at least I didn’t pick Dream a Little Dream *grins*.

  4. Lorenda Christensen
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 07:20:16

    Isn’t This Heart of Mine Molly and Kevin’s story? I don’t remember a rape scene? Maybe I’m just confused.

  5. Dabney
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 07:38:09

    @Lorenda Christensen: Molly has sex with Kevin while he’s asleep and dreaming. It’s non-consensual.

  6. Cindy
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 07:42:51

    Why is Comcast being allowed to further their monopoly? It’s their fault there’s no choice in cable providers (and thus, probably the rates). USA Network, which is part of this deal, you can’t even watch their shows online until 30 days later…I assume as a punishment from Comcast for not having cable (we are not allowed satellite dishes where I live).

    Now watch…once they have complete control, none of the channels that they control (and I don’t think a cable company should have control over any network except local access) will be pulled from satellite as well.

  7. Lorenda Christensen
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 07:45:59

    Oh, wow – I really need to re-read. I don’t remember that part at all.

  8. Lada
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 07:56:34

    @Brie: I never agreed with the critics of Ain’t She Sweet either and it’s also my favorite SEP. I always read it as Sugar Beth facing her past and making amends with a good dose of classic SEP wackiness thrown in.

    I’m not much for historicals any more but my top romances would have to include Mary Balogh’s Slightly Dangerous which was one of the most satisfying conclusions to a series I’ve ever read. I think Bewcastle and Christine are the perfect modern day Darcy and Elizabeth (please don’t stone me!) and it has my favorite epilogue, too.

  9. cleo
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 08:33:38

    I think I’ve read 5 out of the 10 – I’m not completely sure that I read 9 Rules to Break, but I’m pretty sure that I read it (and didn’t get what the fuss was about). Of those, only Bet Me would go on my top 10, but I’d include some of the same authors.

    I’m most surprised by the love for The Duchess, because I really hated the hero. That was the book that began my break up with Jude Devereaux (not that she seems to have suffered much from my boycott).

    I have to confess that I still like This Heart of Mine, despite the non-consensual sex and WTF set-up. It’s maybe a guilty pleasure favorite. My fave SEP is probably Breathing Room.

  10. cleo
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 08:38:36

    I read the article about uStar:

    uStarNovels offers personalized romance novels for adults: Plug in your name, your partner’s name, some fun details like your favorite perfume or celebrity crush, and voila! You’re starring in your own romantic tome.

    Um, yeah, I’m not sure what to say about this service. I’m kind of curious about the writing quality – but not enough to buy one myself.

  11. Shannon
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 08:43:47

    Ain’t she sweet is in my top 5 of all time. Love the part when the hero realizes that she’s not the villain, she’s just a little misunderstood. ;)

  12. Carrie G
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 08:45:25

    Nine Rules to Break was just okay. I opened Wild Card once and read a few pages and gagged. I do like this Heart of Mine although not that beginning. I guess I just enjoy SEP’s writing and the wonderful narrations by Anna Fields. Bet Me is the only book on the list I’s consider close to my top 10.

    My top 10 would include titles like:
    Morning Glory by Spencer
    The Iron Duke by Brook
    Envy by Sandra Brown
    Arabella by Heyer
    The Corinthian by Heyer (actually several by her)
    Reforming Lord Ragsdale or something else by Carla Kelly
    A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold
    Cry No More by Linda Howard
    Fallen From Grace by Laura Leone

    But I hate making “Top 10” lists because tomorrow I might write a completely different list after thinking about it for a while.

  13. Isobel Carr
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 09:21:02

    I always find it fascinating to see lists of favorite books (whatever the genre). It’s pretty rare for me to agree with them though. So far none of the books listed would make my top 10:

    Persuasion by Jane Austen (yes, I like it more than P&P *ducks*)
    Venetia by Georgette Heyer
    Devil’s Cub by Georgette Heyer
    The Wicked Lover by Julia Ross
    The Edge of Impropriety by Pam Rosenthal
    Something Wicked by Jo Beverley
    Confessions from an Arranged Marriage by Miranda Neville
    Mistress by Amanda Quick (my first modern romance, so it makes the list)
    Dragonflight by Anne McCaffery (not tech rom, but it was for me as a kid)
    Anne of Green Gables series (again, not rom, but Anne/Gilbert is a great romance)

  14. Angela
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 09:46:07

    So far, not a single book listed here would make my Top 10 romances. Tastes vary so much. Though it is pretty hard for me to nail down a top 10 list. I’d love to see a new DA list – like Liz H. said, maybe even broken into sub-genres.

    @cleo: I’ve bought a personalized romance for a friend once – though from BookbyYou. While the story isn’t fantastically awesome, it was fun for her and she got a kick out of it. I thought the quality/enjoyment was well worth the money I spent on it for her.

  15. Rosario
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 09:52:03


    My fave SEP is probably Breathing Room.

    I thought I was the only one! :)

  16. LeeF
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 10:04:39

    I just started reading lots of romance 3-4 years ago. Having lists like the DA Top 100 gave me a jumping off point, introducing me to authors and titles I might not have considered. At the time, the library and used book stores were my main sources. I admire people who are willing to put their opinion out there by posting a top 10 list. Good or bad, agree or disagree, it always makes for interesting discussion- plus I have more names and titles to add to my ever growing list of TBR.

  17. Ducky
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 10:10:21

    To Have And To Hold by Patricia Gaffney would have to be on my list.

  18. Ridley
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 10:42:26

    Oooh! I’ll play!

    The Duke’s Wager – Edith Layton
    Black Silk – Judith Ivory
    Simple Jess – Pamela Morsi
    Morning Glory – LaVyrle Spencer
    Flowers From the Storm – Laura Kinsale
    A Bed of Spices – Barbara Samuel
    My Dearest Enemy – Connie Brockway
    One Good Reason – Sarah Mayberry
    Silver Lining – Maggie Osborne
    The Devil You Know – Liz Carlyle (because Bentley.)

    Funny how this list is 90% historical, yet I read almost almost all contemporary now.

  19. Darlynne
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 10:44:33

    @Dabney: I started SEP with Natural Born Charmer and Match Me If You Can, and was completely horrified when I went on to This Heart of Mine and whichever one is Phoebe’s story; didn’t see any of that coming.

    OTOH, Jane, I’d love to see DA’s 100 best.

  20. Moriah Jovan
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 10:59:36

    Shanna – Kathleen Woodiwiss
    Wolf & the Dove – Kathleen Woodiwiss
    Kiss an Angel – Susan Elizabeth Phillips
    Beast – Judith Ivory
    Butterfly – Kathryn Harvey
    Tregaron’s Daughter – Madeleine Brent
    The Portrait – Megan Chance
    The Serpent Prince – Elizabeth Hoyt
    Mistress of Mellyn – Victoria Holt
    Countess Trilogy – Alison Richardson

  21. Ridley
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 11:03:38

    @Moriah Jovan:

    Countess Trilogy – Alison Richardson

    I nearly added that to my list too, but I decided it was cheating to include a trilogy as one book. They were great stories.

  22. Moriah Jovan
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 11:33:26

    @Ridley: I read them all in one shot, and so I think of them as one story.

  23. LauraB
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 11:34:12

    I’d love to see a top 50 list of books from the past 10 years rather than an all time list. :)

  24. Brie
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 11:37:25

    @LauraB: I like this idea!

  25. Lynn S.
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 12:44:44

    I can’t take a ten best list with Lora Leigh on it seriously, but Caressa’s Knees is definitely the most romantic, least traumatic book by Annabel Joseph.

    My top ten:

    All Through the Night by Connie Brockway
    The Duke’s Wager by Edith Layton
    Persuasion by Jane Austen
    Devil’s Cub by Georgette Heyer
    The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne
    Sex Straight Up by Kathleen O’Reilly
    Knave’s Wager by Loretta Chase
    A Summer to Remember by Mary Balogh
    By Possession by Madeline Hunter
    Mistress of the Groom by Susan Napier (because crazy people need love too)

  26. CK
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 13:09:21

    @Isobel Carr: I’ll duck with you and will probably have to run because I like Wentworth more than Darcy >.<

    Interesting list by, but I have to second LynnS, 'I can’t take a ten best list with Lora Leigh on it seriously' and I was so traumatized by the one SEP book I read that I shudder every time someone rec's her to me. But I always love to see top 10 lists.

  27. Ani Gonzalez
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 13:29:52

    I love all the top 10 lists. So many good books are included. I have to confess that my top 10 would include Secret Fire. What can I say? It’s a guilty pleasure.

  28. Jane
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 13:50:10

    I love the idea of doing a genre specific best of as well as a best of by decade, starting with the 80s.

  29. Dabney
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 13:53:18

    @Lynn S.: I love Sex Straight Up. I never see it on anyone’s list so I’m happy to see it here.

  30. LJD
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 13:59:54

    Bet Me is the only book on that list that I’ve read, though I’ve read some of the other authors on that list, just not those specific titles. Bet Me is also the first romance novel I ever read. I didn’t pick up another for another four months. I really don’t get the love for that book.

    Some day I’ll try SEP again…

  31. Mandy
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 14:21:49

    My top ten (and I’m sure I’ll kick myself for forgetting one or two of my faves):

    Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
    Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night by Kresley Cole
    To Die For by Linda Howard
    These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer
    Trade Wind by M.M. Kaye
    Promises by Marie Sexton
    The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley
    Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward
    The Mane Event by Shelly Laurenston
    Demon Bound by Meljean Brook

    I’d also enjoy seeing some genre specific best of lists on DA

  32. Moriah Jovan
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 14:36:19


    I really don’t get the love for that book.

    Don’t feel bad. I really don’t get the love for that author.

  33. cleo
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 14:40:10

    @Jane: By decade. I love that idea. I’d read that list.

  34. Liz H.
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 14:44:00

    @Jane: Best of by decade is a great idea.

    I think top 10 is too restrictive unless you’re counting fingers and toes. I think it’s either got to be the #1 best ever, or top 20 or so because once you move past number one there are so many different reasons to appreciate different books (or whatever you’re counting, although I suppose there is a limited amount to appreciate about toes).

  35. Tabs
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 16:54:05

    @Isobel Carr: Ditto! Persuasion is actually my favorite romance novel ever.

    @cleo: I’ve read every book SEP has ever written and Breathing Room is my absolute favorite.

    My top few would be:
    Persuasion – Jane Austen
    Welcome To Temptation – Jennifer Crusie
    Breathing Room – Susan Elizabeth Phillips
    Heaven, Texas – Susan Elizabeth Phillips
    Private Arrangements – Sherry Thomas
    Prisoner Of My Desire – Johanna Lindsey
    Branded As Trouble – Lorelei James

  36. Susan
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 18:25:32

    I’d love to see a DA list. I’m fascinated by lists even tho (because?) I so rarely agree with them.

    But I stink at these kinds of lists myself. I have a hard time remembering my favorites when put on the spot, plus my tastes are changeable depending on what’s going on in my life. That said, I think my list would need to include Kleypas’s Love in the Afternoon and Thomas’s Not Quite a Husband and His at Night.

  37. Laura
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 18:30:37

    Maybe showing my age, but a top ten without The Windflower just isn’t justifiable. ;)

  38. JenniferH
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 19:08:07

    Like Susan, I am hopeless at making lists, but I love reading other people’s lists, as they are great ways of finding new authors. Thanks for all the comments and list.

  39. Evangeline Holland
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 19:39:15

    I love Deveraux’s The Duchess! It’s on on my keeper shelf and I can re-read it and never find it old.

    My top 10 (historical romance) list would have to include:

    1. The Duchess by Jude Deveraux
    2. To Dream Again by Laura Lee Guhrke
    3. The India Fan by Victoria Holt
    4. Dance by Judy Cuevas
    5. Passion’s Treasure by Betina Krahn
    6. Vice by Jane Feather
    7. The Devil’s Delilah by Loretta Chase
    8. Shadows and Lace by Teresa Medeiros
    9. The Valentine Legacy by Catherine Coulter
    10. Fair is the Rose by Meagan McKinney

  40. ShellBell
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 19:58:15


    Love that idea too! Perhaps even a top 5 or top 10 by author because there are some authors that deserve lists of their own as they have such extensive backlists e.g. Georgette Heyer; Jude Deveraux; Johanna Lindsey; Mary Balogh etc

  41. Sirius
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 20:33:55

    I want to play top ten too :-). My top ten romance list changes often enough – I read a new book, think I like it a lot, some time it stays on the list, sometimes it does not.

    Anyway, here it is – mostly mm, because this is what I mostly read in romance.

    1. Tamara Allen “Whistling in the Dark”
    2. Tamara Allen ‘The Only Gold”
    3. Ann Somerville “Kei’s Gift’
    4. Ann Somerville “Pindone files” and ‘Unsettled Conditions”
    5. Steve Kluger ‘Almost like being in love”
    6. Jordan Castillo Price – eh so many, but let’s say ‘Magic Mansion”
    7. Ginn Hale ‘The Lord of White Hell” (and everything she wrote :-))
    8. Rose Christo “Gives Light” (series, but who is counting :-)))
    9. Tamara Webber “Easy” – I never expected to love this book as much as I did, will be forever grateful to DA for introducing me to it.
    10. Ilona Andrews “Magic” books – I know of course that especially earlier books just have romantic storyline and mostly urban fantasy, but their romance is just so very special to me, because for years it was literally the only het romance couple I swooned over :), yes that special :)

    11. Yes, I know it is number eleven, but again who is counting? I tend to get a little eh, uncontrollable when I start doing lists.

    “The one that got away” by Kelly Hunter. Again, I just read it because I wanted to participate in book club discussion and I think it will be a reread for me and multiple reread too. Swoon! and Thank you. Shutting up now.

  42. LJD
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 20:44:29

    @Moriah Jovan: I’ve read another of her books and sort of figure she’s just never going to work for me, but I’ll give her one more shot. She’s funny, but I feel absolutely zero emotional connection.

    I’ve only been reading romance for a bit over 2 years, so I don’t feel qualified to make my own top 10 list, especially since I haven’t read so many of the big authors. But I just don’t like so many of the big names I’ve tried. (Mainly in contemporary; I’ve had more success in historical.) I would say this was a lot of my problem when I first started reading the genre–I kept trying to read authors like Jennifer Crusie, SEP, Rachel Gibson…and I just don’t like them. But I so wish I did.

  43. Keishon
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 22:37:34

    Love reading everyone’s top ten and a few might not exactly be *strictly* romance:

    The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons
    Heart of the West by Penelope Williamson
    Bliss by Judy Cuevas
    Dance by Judy Cuevas
    Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer
    Flowers From the Storm by Laura Kinsale
    Prince of Midnight by Laura Kinsale
    Shadow and the Star by Laura Kinsale
    Heartless by Mary Balogh
    The Notorious Rake by Mary Balogh

  44. Michael
    Feb 15, 2013 @ 00:03:33

    Delurking to throw my top ten in.

    the Shadow and the Star by Laura Kinsale
    Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas
    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
    Tapestry by Karen Ranney
    No Rest for the Wicked by Kresley Cole
    A Precious Jewel by Mary Balogh
    Beast by Judith Ivory
    Heaven, Texas by SEP
    Lover Awakened by JR Ward
    Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion (and the movie is good too!)

  45. SonomaLass
    Feb 15, 2013 @ 01:58:35

    I love lists, even though I’m bad at them. Not a “hierarchical thinker.”

    Taking from others:
    Persuasion is my favorite Austen.
    A Summer to Remember is my favorite Balogh.
    The Shadow and the Star is my favorite Kinsale.
    Something by Heyer for sure, although I vacillate over which one.
    Scandal by Carolyn Jewel.
    Loretta Chase, but I can’t pick a favorite.
    Jo Goodman, same problem.
    Sarah Mayberry for contemporary.
    The rest of my favorites are probably NWSRE, including Susanna Kearsley, Voyager by Diana Gabaldon, a whole lot of SF-F (too many to count, my first, best genre)and Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers. That’s more than 10; I suck at this

    I’d love some new DA top lists; by genre and decade sounds like a lot of fun AND a lot of work.

  46. Kaetrin
    Feb 15, 2013 @ 05:51:48

    @Keishon another fan of Heartless by Mary Balogh here. :)

    I don’t think I can restrict my list to just 10. I’d get all funny about missing a beloved book out. But Heartless and Jo Beverley’s Devilish would be on there.

    Also No Souvenirs by KA Mitchell, Easy by Tammara Webber. The Search or The Witness by Nora Roberts. One of the Outlander books. Iron Kissed. Bet Me maybe, or Welcome to Temptation. No. I can’t do it! There are too many!

    Breathing Room is my favorite SEP too -possibly because it was my first.

    I would love to see a new DA list, by decade or any other way. I loved the post you guys did when you went through the AAR top 100 and gave brief thoughts on all of them too.

  47. Isobel Carr
    Feb 15, 2013 @ 10:03:14

    @CK: Ha! We can form a club for mutual defense.

  48. Ducky
    Feb 15, 2013 @ 17:57:11

    Okay, I have thought about it and I am going to try for 10 that have really stuck with me.
    In no particular order:

    Edith Layton, The Duke’s Wager
    SEP, Natural Born Charmer
    Jennifer Crusie, Welcome To Temptation
    Sherry Thomas, Not Quite A Husband
    Sharon and Tom Curtis, Lightning That Lingers
    Elizabeth Hoyt, The Serpent Prince
    Patricia Gaffney, To Have And To Hold
    Connie Brockway, All Through the Night
    Loretta Chase, Lord Of Scoundrels
    Madeline Brent, Tregaron’s Daughter – first romance I ever read when I was 12.

  49. Diana
    Feb 15, 2013 @ 20:42:29

    @Ridley and @Isobel Carr — love your lists! And everyone else’s too. Funny how a lot of the same authors keep popping up. ;) And…here’s my top 10 list, just for fun. It was a lot harder to compile than I thought it would be. In no real order:

    The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles
    Green Darkness by Anya Seton
    The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley
    Web of Love by Mary Balogh
    The Thief’s Mistress by Gayle Feyrers
    The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran
    Black Silk by Judith Ivory
    A Bed of Spices by Barbara Samuel
    The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klaus
    An Infamous Army by Georgette Heyer

  50. Carrie G
    Feb 15, 2013 @ 21:44:08


    I was so glad to see An Infamous Army on your list! I almost put that one and then wondered if I should stick to Heyer’s romances. I really loved that book, though. I listened to it on audio and it was fantastic!

  51. Ducky
    Feb 16, 2013 @ 00:55:16

    I also have a special romance section that is for comfort reading when I am stressed or sick. I tend to re-read the same books when I am in need of a “reading cuddle”.

    My cuddle books would be Lisa Kleypas’ Wallflower and Hathaway series. Jo Goodman “Season To Be Sinful” (I love the little “scoundrels”) and “Open Season” by Linda Howard.

    Those books are better than chocolate or chicken soup for me.

  52. barbara trumpinski-roberts
    Feb 18, 2013 @ 16:59:45

    @Moriah Jovan: Where’s Dorothy Eden and Frank Yerby????

  53. Stacey B.
    Apr 14, 2013 @ 10:58:02

    I am a self-professed chick-lit, romance novel addict I like to think of myself as a romance connoisseur :) I am always looking for something new in the romance department and I will definitely look into your suggestions.

    My most recent find that I must recommend is the book Shanghai Love, by author Layne Wong ( It is an unlikely love story between a Chinese herbalist and a Jewish refugee looking for safety from Nazi Germany. The herbalist, Peilin, was betrothed to a man who was killed before their wedding but tradition and honor forced the marriage along anyways. She is sent to Shanghai to manage his family’s herbal shop. Shanghai is also Henri’s destination as he has graduated from medical school as Hitler is rising to power. He flees to Shanghai where he’s befriended by Ping, Peilin’s brother. Through her kindness, Henri becomes fascinated with Chinese herbs as well as the exotic culture surrounding him. It is such a gripping story and I absolutely adore a romance novel that allows a relationship to slowly blossom and one that takes time before the two can ultimately be together :) I hope you will give it a read!

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