AAR Staff Top Ten Lists – Who Was Our Favorite Author?

borninfire On Monday, Dabney Grinnan took a look at the 23 different Top 10 lists the AAR staff had submitted over the summer, determining which books were consistent favorites. With 201 unique titles, it’s clear that tastes varied widely amongst our staffers, with only twenty-two books appearing on more than one staffer’s list.

But which authors do AAR staffers tend to prefer? Is there a consensus on who the favorites are? When the list is compiled, 121 authors penned the 201 unique titles that were listed as staff favorites, and while there were a handful of surprises, for the most part, AAR staff favorite authors seem to reflect that of the romance reading population as a whole.

If you look at the data, it appears that Nora Roberts is by far and away the staff favorite. She has eight unique titles out of 201 (4%). However, a single AAR staffer listed three of those 8 titles on her list. In other words, Nora is a big favorite of a couple of our staff reviewers, but since only seven of us listed any of her books at all, that’s still 60% of the top ten lists that didn’t include one of her books, so what she wins is more of a plurality.

Conversely, J.R. Ward gave us our most popular book, Lover Awakened, which appeared on five different staffer lists. However, that is her only title to make any of the lists.

Likewise, Loretta Chase had only two unique titles, but she appeared on six different staffers’ lists. The books that staffers loved were loved by many staffers!

So where does that put us as far as the best of the best? If we look at each author and assign her a point for a unique title and a point for appearing on a staff person’s list – meaning the least points any author could get would be 2 – the list below reflects AAR Staffers’ top eleven authors. Note that only one point is given to an author who appears more than once on the same staffer’s list.

These 11 ladies are responsible for 57 out of 201 titles, or 28% of the books on our lists.

Nora Roberts in first with 15 points – 8 titles/7 lists

Linda Howard tied for 2nd with 13 points – 6 titles/7 lists

Mary Balogh tied for 2nd with 13 points – 7 titles/6 lists

Lisa Kleypas tied for 4th with 12 points – 6 titles/6 lists

Susan Elizabeth Phillips tied for 4th with 12 points – 6 titles/6 lists

Suzanne Brockmann tied for 6th with 10 points – 5 titles/5 lists

Julie Garwood tied for 6th with 10 points – 5 titles/5 lists

Julia Quinn in at 8th with 9 points – 4 titles/5 lists

Georgette Heyer tied for 9th with 8 points – 4 titles/4 lists

Susanna Kearsley tied for 9th with 8 points – 4 titles/4 lists

Loretta Chase tied for 9th with 8 points – 2 titles/6 lists

Other solid authors who appeared on multiple lists or had multiple titles mentioned include:

Anne Stuart with 7 points – 4 titles/3 lists

LaVyrle Spencer, Rachel Gibson, Mary Jo Putney and J.D. Robb, each with 7 points – 3 titles/4 lists

Carla Kelly, Jennifer Crusie, Kresley Cole, Laura Kinsale and Sherry Thomas, each with 6 points – 3 titles/3 lists

Up And Coming Authors

It’s interesting to note that of the Top 11 writers listed above, all but two (Lisa Kleypas and Julia Quinn) have several titles that were published in the 1980s or 1990s. Only two of Nora Roberts’ 8 favorite titles were published after 2000, in fact. When you realize that Georgette Heyer’s four “favs” were published between 1925 and 1965, it seems that AAR staffers are fairly loyal to their favorite rereads from the past. I wonder how high the classics are setting the bar for newcomers on the scene.

Looking at the lists, it would appear that AAR staffers still recognize new classics in the making. These ladies have all appeared on multiple lists with titles that have been released just in the past five years (2008-2013), earning them the designation of authors to keep a watch out for: Anne Stuart(still going strong), Sherry Thomas and Susanna Kearsley all have 3 titles listed that were published in 2008 or later. And Julie Ann Long, Kresley Cole, Kristan Higgins and Meredith Duran all have 2 2008 or later titles on staffer favorite lists.

So, what about your favorite authors? Do they tend to be oldies but goodies or brand new on the scene? We hope you’ve had as much fun perusing our lists as we’ve had creating them. Please jump in on the comments section to discuss your favorite authors!

– Jenna Harper

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12 Responses to AAR Staff Top Ten Lists – Who Was Our Favorite Author?

  1. Joane says:

    I think my personal favourites tend to be oldies, but I’m not closed to modern authors.
    My favourite of all times is Sandra Brown (from 1982 to this last September). I think I’ve read all her novels. I’ve also read everything by Kleypas, Kinsale, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Courtney Milan. I’d add to the list Jennifer Crusie, Rachel Gibson and ‘some’ Linda Howard (although her oldies are sometimes very outdated).
    Decades ago I would have said Jayne Anne Krentz, Karen Robards, Nora Roberts, Kathleen Woodiwiss or Joanna Lindsey, but nowadays… I’m not interested anymore, I cannot connect with them, although the’ve written some of my most precious re-reads. Surely it’s my fault and not theirs.

    • Jonie says:

      I agree with you. Jayne Ann Krentz, Karen Robards, Nora Roberts, Joanna Lindsey have all passed their sell by date for me. I love to re-read the older books, their latest efforts have been rather painful.

      I even felt compelled to write to Jayne Ann, to tell her she was turning into Barbara Cartland. She was just churning out the same story with a different picture on the cover. (don’t think to badly of me, I did read BC in Jr. High, I moved from her to Georgette Hyre) Funny enough I did go to Jayne’s website out of curiosity and noticed a message she had posted about the fact that she was not going to be publishing anymore physic novels under Amanda Quick. All I could think was thank Goodness!

      I do still pick up Jayne at the library but I will not PAY money for anymore of her books. And even then I find I start reading it and put it down and next thing ya know it is time to take it back to the library. Unread. Maybe I should stop even picking them up from the Library.

      The best thing about the fav lists this summer is that I did find some new authors to read. For that I am very thankful!

  2. maggie b. says:

    I didn’t have any Nora Roberts on my list. I stand by that decision :-) I enjoy her books and she has received oodles of money from me over the years but I have books that I prefer to hers.

    I did vote for a Brockmann, a Kearsley a Howard, a Balogh and an SEP. It doesn’t surprise me they appeared on multiple lists as I think they are all outstanding authors. :-)

    My one surprise was the Robyn Carr didn’t make more of an appearance – she has been so popular in recent years and she has been around since the 80s.

    Thanks for putting the info together Jenna and Dabney. The top ten lists have been both interesting and enlightening. This compilation helps bring them into even better focus.

    • LinnieGayl says:

      :) Sigh…I’m sure I’m the staffer with the most Nora Roberts/JD Robb’s on my list, and I stand by my decision. Of course they’re all older Nora’s.

  3. Blackjack1 says:

    My authors are a bit all over the place in terms of “old” and “new”. I don’t put more value on older books as I respect my own appreciation of any book, regardless of when it’s written. Overall, I think I have a nice blend of books from a variety of years, and I have many that are recent publications.

  4. Deann says:

    LaVyrle Spencer is an author whose books I reread every year. I consider her books a comfort read. I wish she was still writing. If I go through a reading slump, I will pick up one of her books to reread. Mary Balogh, Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn and Loretta Chase are authors whose books I have reread and would make my list.

    Two newer authors who would make my list would be Julie Anne Long and Sherry Thomas.

    I’ve really enjoyed the lists and have purchased some new books to read as a result. Thanks for the great recommendations.

  5. TerryS says:

    Being somewhat of a statistic’s geek, I loved seeing this breakdown of the reviewers’ favorites. In looking over my own list (which I’ve already submitted), I realized that I am definitely not in the mainstream! I don’t have a single Nora Roberts in the bunch!

    My list includes – 7 of Carla Kelly’s books, 6 for SEP, 5 for Catherine Anderson, 4 Sherry Thomas, 3 each of Pamela Morsi and Lisa Kleypas. Additionally I have another 8 authors who are mentioned twice in My top 100 (well technically, if you count Barbara Samuel writing as Barbara O’Neal, she would be another author at the three count.) The rest of the authors only made the list once. My picks are definitely biased toward “comfort reads.”

    When I participated in 2010, I think I had a grand total of 22 that made the top 100. Somehow, I don’t think I will do quite that well this time!

  6. TerryS says:

    Oops – I overlooked the three picks of LaVyrle Spencer’s. I agree with Deann – I wish she was still writing.

  7. Emily says:

    I love Georgette Heyer even though I am a young reader. I love her so much!
    I also love Carla Kelly even though I haven’t read too many of her books. Lauren Willig and Eloisa James are also on my list as well as Jennifer Cruisie.
    I really love Julia Quinn on a bad day. I respect Nora Roberts.
    I really like/love Meljean Brook. Lisa Kleypas and Joanna Bourne.
    I still feel new to the genre and am learning to find new authors. I would also include Jane Austen and even though she is not considered romance L. M. Montgomery. Anne of the Islands and The Blue Castle are on my favorite romances of all time list!

  8. Lydia says:

    All I can say is Elizabeth Hoyt, Elizabeth Hoyt, Elizabeth Hoyt! She is superb.

  9. Ellie says:

    I agree with Lydia, Elizabeth Hoyt, Elizabeth Hoyt and my third would be Grace Burrowes

  10. Daphne says:

    I too had read every Sandra Brown pre ’95 but then she went to more Rom/Susp. Then I watched PBS’ Pride and Prejudice–bought an ebook (2010) and since then haven’t stopped reading. I must love Madeline Hunter as I have 17 of her books.

    After seeing JR Ward’s “Lover Awakened” again & again on “best” lists, I will definitely read.

    BTW, I love threads like this as it gives readers a chance to discover new authors. I’ll have to try Susanna Kearsley.

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