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Top 100 Romances: The Two Ja(y)nes’ thoughts

The Top 100 Romances list compiled by AAR in 2004 has been floating around the ‘net these past few weeks. We thought it might give readers a better idea of whether she would correlate well with Jane or Jayne. Also, we have conscripted another friend to write reviews here with us. Wouldn’t you just know that her name starts with a “J” too? Janine will be offering up two reviews this week in lieu of Jane.

 

Book

Jayne

Jane

1

Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase

Great

one of my faves

2

Flowers From the Storm by Laura Kinsale

Very Good

struggled with the language. Thought Maddy as a bit
prosy and sanctimonious

3

Welcome to Temptation

Have not Read

one of my fave contemps

4

As You Desire by Connie Brockway

Very Good

love it

5

Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

Have not Read

got tired of the Krispy Crà¨me references.

6

Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas

Eh

loved it

7

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Good

does it count that I listened to this on tape?

8

Over the Edge by Suzanne Brockmann

Have not Read

My fave Brockmann

9

All Through the Night by Connie Brockway

Good

loved it

10

Sea Swept by Nora Roberts

NR

Have Not Read

11

It Had to be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Good

My fave SEP

12

A Summer to Remember by Mary Balogh

Awful

loved it, but had I known it was the start of the
Bedwyns, maybe not so much

13

Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer

Very Good

loved it

14

The Proposition by Judith Ivory

Very Good

Hmm, not my fave Ivory. OK

15

A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught

Have not Read

Ugh, no way. I hated Jennifer, the lying, deceitful
bitch

16

Ravished by Amanda Quick

Have not Read

Not my fave Quick. Liked Scandal and Reckless better.

17

Frederica by Georgette Heyer

Have not Read

loved it but liked Grand Sophy better

18

Mrs. Drew Plays Her Hand by Carla Kelly

Great

Have Not Read

19

MacKenzie’s Mountain by Linda Howard

Terrible

loved it. Wolf is like the father of alpha heroes. Oh,
he is the father of alpha heroes

20

Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard

Have not Read

didn't think it was as funny as the characters thought
they were

21

The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer

Very Good

Very Good

22

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Very Good

Very Good

23

The Bride by Julie Garwood

Awful

Very Good, sorry Maili

24

Devil’s Bride by Stephanie Laurens

Awful, couldn’t even get halfway through it.

my fave Laurens before I got sick of her writing style

25

To Have and to Hold by Patricia Gaffney

Have Not Read

Very Good

26

Born in Fire by Nora Roberts

Have not Read

Read it but can’t remember it.

27

Winter Garden by Adele Ashworth

I’ve never tried another Ashworth after My Darling Caroline. That one left such a bad taste in my mouth.

Liked it. A lot.

28

Gone Too Far by Suzanne Brockmann

Have not Read

Major letdown. Sam was an ass, Alyssa a patsy and too many plots going on at once.

29

The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn

Very Good

Liked Duke and I better.

30

Saving Grace by Julie Garwood

Have not Read

OK

31

My Dearest Enemy by Connie Brockway

Good

Love epistolary romances

32

In the Midnight Rain by Barbara Samuel

Very Good, love the atmosphere

my favorite Barbara Samuel. Started my love for Southern Bad Boys. Blue, Blue, Blue

33

The Windflower by Laura London

Good, but Cat should have been the hero.

Have Not Read

34

Naked in Death by J.D. Robb

Have not Read

Read them all but can’t distinguish one from another

35

Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught

NR and never plan to

loved it when I read it as a teen and hated it when I revisted it

36

Nobody’s Baby but Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Good – cereal killer!

Jane was pretty deceptive but I loved the end.

37

A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux

Very Good, and the ending made the book for me.

The ending robbed me of an HEA

38

Paradise by Judith McNaught

Have not Read

OK

39

The Shadow and the Star by Laura Kinsale

Very Good

My favorite Kinsale

40

Dream Man by Linda Howard

DNF

Loved this one! Scared me to death.

41

Out of Control by Suzanne Brockmann

Have not Read

Funny. Loved Kenny.

42

Silk and Shadows by Mary Jo Putney

Have not Read

This was wonderful. Very unique hero.

43

See Jane Score by Rachel Gibson

Good

really, this is on the list? I would have said that Deidre Martin's Body Check was a better book

44

Shattered Rainbows by Mary Jo Putney

Eh, I really don’t see what the fuss is about.

oooh, Michael and Catherine. What an awesome love story.)

45

Thunder and Roses by Mary Jo Putney

OK

can't remember what I thought of this one

46

The Duke and I by Julia Quinn

Good

my favorite Quinn. Thought Daphne was so refreshing

47

Heart Throb by Suzanne Brockmann

Have not Read

it was okay

48

For My Lady’s Heart by Laura Kinsale

Great, it’s my favorite Kinsale

can't remember if I have read this one

49

Honor’s Splendor by Julie Garwood

Have not Read

so low? My favorite Garwood I think. Can't ever forget the scene where she warms the hero's feet

50

Lord Carew’s Bride by Mary Balogh

Very Good

liked it

51

Untie My Heart by Judith Ivory

Good

liked it

52

Dream a Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

OK

okay

53

The Secret by Julie Garwood

Have not Read

loved it. I love her faux Scotsmen

54

This is All I Ask by Lynn Kurland

Have not Read

liked it

55

Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh

Good

Way disappointed. hated the heroine

56

One Perfect Rose by Mary Jo Putney

Have not Read

liked it

57

To Love and to Cherish by Patricia Gaffney

Have not Read

liked it

58

Kiss an Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

OK

Good

59

Heaven, Texas by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Very Good

my second fave SEP. Bobby Tom gives good grovel

60

Venetia by Georgette Heyer

Have not Read

Have Not Read

61

Daughter of the Game by Tracy Grant

Good

Excellent

62

The Prize by Julie Garwood

Have not Read

eh. not her best effort

63

Reforming Lord Ragsdale by Carla Kelly

Great

liked it

64

Prince Joe by Suzanne Brockmann

OK

liked it

65

The Notorious Rake by Mary Balogh

Have not read

Have Not Read

66

Heartless by Mary Balogh

Did not like martyr heroine

Did not like it

67

Son of the Morning by Linda Howard

Have not Read

Good

68

Sleeping Beauty by Judith Ivory

Very Good

Good

69

Where Dreams Begin by Lisa Kleypas

Eh

OK

70

The Devil’s Cub by Georgette Heyer

Have not Read

Good

71

The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons

Have not Read

Excellent. Read it in Italy on the Spanish Steps covertly so my traveling companions wouldn't see that I was reading instead of sightseeing. ITALY! I mean, come on now, that's a good book

72

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegar

Have not Read

Liked it but it was so sadddddd

73

With This Ring by Carla Kelly

Great

Can’t remember. Maybe I haven’t read it.

74

The Lion’s Lady by Julie Garwood

Have not Read

OK

75

The Rake by Mary Jo Putney

Have not Read

Can’t remember what I thought of it.

76

Fallen from Grace by Laura Leone

Good

Good

77

Always to Remember by Lorraine Heath

Have not Read

Have Not Read

78

Castles by Julie Garwood

Have not Read- And can everyone tell I’m never going to be a Julie Garwood fan?

No. It was one sequel too many.

79

One Good Turn by Carla Kelly

Great

Liked it. A lot.

80

Chesapeake Blue by Nora Roberts

Have not Read

OK but not my fave. Where the heck is Carnal Innocence?

81

By Arrangement by Madeline Hunter

Very Good

Loved it. Where have you gone Ms. Hunter?

82

Perfect by Judith McNaught

Have not Read

OK

83

My Darling Caroline by Adele Ashworth

Awful, I can’t believe you like this one, Jane

Loved it much to Jayne’s chagrin

84

The Defiant Hero by Suzanne Brockmann

Have not Read

No. Hated the TSTL who was constantly putting others in danger.

85

The Unsung Hero by Suzanne Brockmann

Good

OK.

86

Guilty Pleasures by Laura Lee Guhrke

Very Good

Um, can’t remember

87

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Good

Loved it more when I was a maudlin teen than I do now.

88

Kill and Tell by Linda Howard

Have not Read

loved it. Marc Chastain and his ability to keep a woody is unparalleled

89

After the Night by Linda Howard

Have not Read

um, hello, sex in the bathroom at the courthouse? one of the most memorable scenes

90

More than a Mistress by Mary Balogh

OK

loved it and really appreciated the online epilogue I
didn't have to pay $1.99 for

91

Born in Ice by Nora Roberts

Have not Read

again, I have read this but cannot remember what I thought of it

92

Miss Wonderful by Loretta Chase

OK

not my favorite but very entertaining

93

The Charm School by Susan Wiggs

OK til end and it lost me totally

OK

94

Scoundrel by Elizabeth Elliott

Have not Read

loved it. Where have you gone, really, Ms. Elliott

95

How to Marry a Marquis by Julia Quinn

Good

can't remember what I thought of this one

96

Angel Rogue by Mary Jo Putney

Good

OK, but I liked others better in the series

97

Trust Me by Jayne Ann Krentz

Have not Read

Love this but I would have ranked others before it: Grand Passion, Family Man, Golden Chance, Perfect Partners

98

Dancing on the Wind by Mary Jo Putney

OK, but the final scene was like the 60s Batman shows.

can't remember what I thought of this one

99

Once and Always by Judith McNaught

Have not Read

(okay but where is Almost Heaven? My fave McNaught

100

This Heart of Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Good

No, no, no. This is the one where Molly rapes Kevin at the beginning of the story? I hated this one

Next week: Why NY Publishers haven’t gotten it right with erotic romances by Bookseller Jolie

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She 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

23 Comments

  1. Jorrie Spencer
    Sep 11, 2006 @ 08:47:31

    Fun to read through! I probably fall slightly more in line with Jane’s tastes than Jayne’s tastes. Maybe.

    Thoughts as I read through:
    -Maddy of Flowers From the Storm improved on second reading
    -I could have done without all the Krispy Kremes, too, but still good
    -LOVED Gone Too Far, also loved Kenny
    -Seaswept my fave NR; It Had To Be You my fave SEP
    -For My Lady’s Heart is great though I rate it after The Shadow and the Star and Flowers from the Storm
    -have loved some LH books (A Game of Chance) but not MacKenzie’s Mountain
    -must try Daughter of the Game again; must try Devil’s Cub
    -what is this book The Bronze Horseman?
    -I forgave Molly because she was a mess and SEP handled it right for me; I couldn’t fogive Sebastian in To Have and To Hold although I found it an interesting book (I know, not really two books that should be compared in this sense, but it just struck me)

    ReplyReply

  2. Rosie
    Sep 11, 2006 @ 12:07:48

    This was fun to read. My only regret is that no one thought of this sooner when the list was making the rounds. It would have been great to see everyone’s mini-reviews. I’m always curious to see what other people thought of a book and why.

    For instance, if I created a 100 list I’d have to include all books from all genres. Even though I read far and away more romances, it would just be too hard to throw out other favorites because they weren’t a romance.

    ReplyReply

  3. Tilly Greene
    Sep 11, 2006 @ 14:01:03

    Oh dear, I’ve only read 2 out of the first 10, and have never been tempted by the others…hmmm, I guess it’s time to dig deep and try a few titles that may not instantly tug my interest strings but might once I finish them.

    ReplyReply

  4. romblogreader
    Sep 11, 2006 @ 14:25:46

    Intersting take on the list, and I appreciate seeing the contrasting opinions. I’ve wanted to catch up on some of the “classics” of the genre, and this helps me decide which to track down first. :)

    And I’m really looking forward to future column you mentioned at the bottom.

    ReplyReply

  5. seton
    Sep 11, 2006 @ 15:10:34

    I liked the differing opinions between Jane/Jayne. Obvious agreed with some, disagreed with other.

    Some comments of my own-

    1. FOR MY LADY’S HEART is my favorite Kinsale too.

    2. I believe I read that AAR will be redoing the list in 2007. I cant wait. I want LORD OF SCOUNDRELS toppled. It’s a very good novel but I really cant see what the hoopla is all about. . . . .And this is from someone who had been writing Loretta Chase fanmail when she was still doing short regencies.

    ReplyReply

  6. Tilly Greene
    Sep 11, 2006 @ 15:27:07

    I just realized…no Kathleen E Woodiwiss! Georgette Heyer is there whose books go way back but no Shanna or Wolf and the Dove or Ashes in the Wind, oh and A Rose in Winter…am I the only romance reader left who has her books ready for a guaranteed great read?

    ReplyReply

  7. seton
    Sep 11, 2006 @ 16:39:25

    [quote comment="3822"]I just realized…no Kathleen E Woodiwiss! Georgette Heyer is there whose books go way back but no Shanna or Wolf and the Dove or Ashes in the Wind, oh and A Rose in Winter…am I the only romance reader left who has her books ready for a guaranteed great read?[/quote]

    More problematic for me was no Jo Beverley. Not even MY LADY NOTORIOUS which won a RITA (IIRC). The AAR wenches are a cliqueish bunch anyway.

    ReplyReply

  8. Jorrie Spencer
    Sep 11, 2006 @ 16:49:12

    Lady Notorious is my standout favorite when it comes to Jo Beverley, too.

    But, if I recall correctly, Beverley the author got a good number of votes (she actually posts fairly regularly at AAR). It’s just that the votes split up among so many books that they didn’t make it into the top 100. Going on memory here and I could be wrong, but I think that’s how it went.

    ReplyReply

  9. Keishon
    Sep 11, 2006 @ 18:01:08

    Both of you should really read Lorraine Heath’s Always to Remember. Very good. I don’t really care for Julie Garwood – her only historical that I really, really, really liked? Saving Grace. Couldn’t get through LOS by Loretta Chase as I see you both enjoyed it. It was meh for me. This is a 2004 list? I thought they did another top 100 list. There are quite a few not on the list that hey, only I think they are great and that’s fine :-)

    ReplyReply

  10. Jayne
    Sep 11, 2006 @ 18:33:28

    Keishon, I have a copy of ATM but got put off reading any more of Heath’s older stuff by a few “eh” books. Now I have to see if I can find it!

    I tried two Garwood historicals and hated them. I just don’t see her appeal.

    Maybe next year LOS will be toppled. I love it but agree that it’s not my favorite book either.

    ReplyReply

  11. Jayne
    Sep 11, 2006 @ 18:45:32

    Oh dear, I’ve only read 2 out of the first 10, and have never been tempted by the others-hmmm, I guess it’s time to dig deep and try a few titles that may not instantly tug my interest strings but might once I finish them.

    Oh God, Tilly, thank you. I knew I hadn’t read some books on the new Top 100 but had no idea how many til Jane and I started doing this. I kept going down the list and typing “NR” over and over. There are a lot of authors I don’t care for who have multiple books on the list and then others I’ve just never gotten to.

    When I first got back into reading romance books, I found AAR and began collecting as many DIK books as I could. I figured that if the books made that list, they had to be great. Right? Well, as I began reading them, I found that my tastes didn’t coincide with a lot of reviewers who’d written lots of DIK reviews. That’s when I stopped forcing myself to read books just because they made a “Top” or “Best Beloved” list. Yeah, I have people who tell me, “I can’t believe you’ve never read ‘Love’s Wicked Mighty Fury’ by Famous Author” but life’s too short and I have way too many books. ;)

    ReplyReply

  12. Janine
    Sep 11, 2006 @ 18:45:36

    More problematic for me was no Jo Beverley. Not even MY LADY NOTORIOUS which won a RITA (IIRC).

    I’ve noticed that the books that end up on the poll are frequently the books that AAR’s reviewers have given A’s to. My Lady Notorious was not even reviewed by AAR, so it probably didn’t come to many of the AAR readers’ attention.

    ReplyReply

  13. AAR Rachel
    Sep 11, 2006 @ 20:10:39

    Cool idea! I’m going to do mine too. There aren’t actually that many DIK’s for me out of this list. I haven’t read all of them, but I think I’ve tried all of the authors at one time or another.

    ReplyReply

  14. seton
    Sep 11, 2006 @ 20:26:06

    [quote comment="3830"]
    I’ve noticed that the books that end up on the poll are frequently the books that AAR’s reviewers have given A’s to. My Lady Notorious was not even reviewed by AAR, so it probably didn’t come to many of the AAR readers’ attention.[/quote]

    I think the official explanation was that JoBev had so many good titles that the votes were too divided for ANY OF THEM TO MAKE IT but notice that Mary Balogh had quite a few of her crappier novels in the Top 100 even though she has written double the amount of titles as JoBev.

    I do know that MY LADY NOTORIOUS did make their Top 100 in 2000.

    Which means that its all about campaigning

    ReplyReply

  15. Jane
    Sep 11, 2006 @ 20:38:15

    I love those old Garwood books. I don’t know why but I do. There are definitely books that I was surprised to see on the list. And books I was surprised to see omitted. Having said that, a ranking of books from 1 to 100 would be hard for me to do.

    ReplyReply

  16. Jorrie Spencer
    Sep 11, 2006 @ 20:48:13

    Well I wouldn’t have a clue about the AAR poll and campaigning, but Mary Balogh? I have never seen her online.

    ReplyReply

  17. seton
    Sep 11, 2006 @ 21:07:32

    [quote comment="3838"]Well I wouldn’t have a clue about the AAR poll and campaigning, but Mary Balogh? I have never seen her online.[/quote]

    First of all, Balogh has a very active Yahoogroup that she participates in.

    Second, I am not saying that Balogh herself campaigns for votes. I think she has some very ardent followers among the AAR wenches who constantly keep her in the minds eye as evidenced that she is usually named year after year in their poll as the author most of them glommed.

    As someone who has read about 58 of her 60+ novels, I could safely say that HEARTLESS shouldnt even make among Balogh’s Top 25. LORD CAREW’S BRIDE and MORE THAN A MISTRESS I loved. A SUMMER TO REMEMBER — both Janes were on point there.

    ReplyReply

  18. Jayne
    Sep 12, 2006 @ 01:44:18

    I love those old Garwood books. I don’t know why but I do.

    Jane, are they comfort reads? I usually, at least, “like a lot” most of Julia Quinn’s books even though they break most of my rules for liking a book.

    ReplyReply

  19. Keishon
    Sep 12, 2006 @ 09:49:44

    However, looking at your tastes on some of the books that you all have read I correlate well with you both on some books but I find myself nodding a little more with Jayne’s list because JANE here loves Garwood -ewwww :-) I love Putney, too, so that redeems you a little. :-) Kinsale I adore and I was surprised as heck to see The Bronze Horseman on the list – loved that too. Maybe I should do my list and thoughts as well – much later. Let me get back to reading as I have been very remiss in that these days and it’s my first day off in a week. Later.

    ReplyReply

  20. elizabeth
    Sep 12, 2006 @ 18:41:17

    Tilly,

    this is the first 100 poll that “Wolf and the Dove” has not shown up. I almost gave up on the poll because of that fact alone. I don’t like anything that Woodiwiss has dones since a Rose in Winter, but Wolf and the Dove is a classic medieval. I think this poll is the 1st that many of the really older books are dropping off in favor of the newer books.

    I also think that authors like Nora Roberts and Beverley are getting alot of votes, but they are so spread out as to which are favorites, the votes are kinda canceling themselves out. I think Laurie said this in her poll results.

    I had several books that I wondered why this one and not an authors other book. Lynn Kurland comes to mind. IMHO her best two books were her first two, Stardust of Yesterday and A Dance thru time, yet ‘this is all I ask” was the one mentioned in the poll.

    While I know the results of the poll can be trusted, I don’t like to see any one author take up so much room on a poll. Suzanne Brockmann comes to mind. This is great for brockmann but since I don’t read her, its a lot of spaces filled by just brockmann. I really wish they would limit just the top 2 books for any one author or publish the full results so when this happens we can cancel out those authors that we do not like ourselves.

    ReplyReply

  21. spyscribbler
    Sep 12, 2006 @ 19:35:53

    I agree with Elizabeth: I think that the list might be a little skewed because favorite authors who’ve written many books get their votes spread out. It’s interesting how tastes vary!

    It would be interesting to see a list of Top 100 Romance AUTHORS ever. I know Nora Roberts would be at the top of my list!

    ReplyReply

  22. Sybil
    Sep 12, 2006 @ 22:06:08

    oddly enough I agree with Jane lots and lots ;)

    I have this saved in draft I think… should go look for it.

    ReplyReply

  23. ShellBell
    Jun 12, 2009 @ 15:27:11

    It’s nice to see Elizabeth Elliott on this list. Scoundrel is one of my favourite re-reads. The good news is that Elizabeth Elliott has finished her next book The Assassin, the bad news is there is no news on when it willl be released. It has been a long, long wait for me for her next book. The Assassin follows on from The Betrothed and is the story of Dante, Claudia’s brother.

    ReplyReply

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