Heads Up! The Annual AAR Reader Poll is Coming

winteriscoming Can you believe that in less than a month we will be celebrating a new year? Before that, we hope that many of you will have lots of free time during the holiday season with more time to read. So, with those wonderful thoughts of time to yourself running through your head we would like to remind you that on January 13, 2014 we will open AAR’s Annual Reader Poll for romance books published in 2013. That’s right, it’s time to buckle down and read those “to be read” books of 2013.

This year’s poll will be a bit different from previous years as we lay to rest a few categories that AAR readers have shown little interest in (Guiltiest Pleasure, Best Inspirational and Most Disappointing) while adding/changing categories that we hope will spark some interest.

First we are going to split the Paranormal category into two new categories: Best Paranormal/Time Travel Romance and Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Romance. The paranormal romance has come to encompass so many different creatures, magical abilities and types of world building that we wanted to try and give our readers more room to vote for their favorite books.

The next additions are for our readers who read just as happily outside the romance genre. First we are adding Best Young Adult Romance AND Best New Adult Romance as the crossover appeal of these books has drawn many new readers from the romance genre. Finally we will poll for Best Novel (non-romance) with Strong Romantic Elements.

Listed below are the categories that will be polled for including the new ones:

* Best Romance

* Best Contemporary Romance

* Best Romantic Suspense

* Best Paranormal/Time Travel Romance

*Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Romance

* Best Historical Romance Set in the U.K. (this includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)

* Best Historical Romance Not Set in the U.K.

* Funniest Romance

* Biggest Tearjerker

* Best Love Scenes (in a Mainstream Romance)

* Best Category Romance (this means series category books published by Harlequin, Mills & Boon, Entangled, etc..)

* Best Chick Lit/Women’s Fiction

* Best Young Adult Romance

* Best New Adult Romance

* Best Erotica/Romantica

* Best Romance Short Story

* Best Debut Author (an author who was first published in 2013. This will exclude writers who have been previously published and are now writing under pseudonyms).

* Best Romance Hero

* Best Romance Heroine

* Most Tortured Hero

* Most Kickass Heroine

* Best Romance Couple

* Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements

Overwhelmed by all the categories? Don’t be. As always, you will only need to vote in six categories to make your ballot count.

Are you ready to vote now? Do you have some books you “must read” before voting? Then get busy. January 13 is going to come faster than we imagine. We look forward to counting your ballots in January.

We realize the new categories won’t please everyone, but we’ve listened to your comments over the past years and have tried to accommodate your recommendations. Please feel free to comment below on the new categories or any aspect of the Annual Poll that might interest you.

– Cindy, LeeB, and LinnieGayl

27 thoughts on “Heads Up! The Annual AAR Reader Poll is Coming

    • The date confusion over that has me shuddering. We thought about adding an audiobook category several years ago but instead there was a separate poll.

  1. Can we get some clarification on the differences in the paranormal category split. I thought I had a handle on it last year, but feel cluless again.

    Where do shifter books fit? Are all furturistic books considered SciFi? If someone votes a book in the Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Romance category and others vote for it as Best Paranormal/Time Travel Romance will the votes be combined?

    What if a book is a paranormal historical? In the past I would have voted for it as paranormal. Not that I read many paranomal historicals, I’m just wondering which element takes precedence.

    • Here is a link to blog on Paranormal Classifications written earlier this year:

      http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=9077

      Shifters are paranormal and Futuristics are considered Scifi. We have never combined voting within categories as there are so many different ways to fit in books that we read.

      As to books that have everything you, the reader, has to decide what the overall theme of the story is. For example, werewolves in a future time – what is the primary focus of the story – the shifters and their lives (so it could be in any time) or the future (you could put humans in story and it would remain the same).

      Oh and the paranormal historical would be paranormal because again, if the story is about vampires then it’s paranormal.

      Hope this helps.
      CindyS (pollster)

      • In terms of broad divisions, I evaluate the differences based on setting.

        Sci-fi romance=stories in a technology based setting (e.g., genetically enhanced hero, android heroine)

        fantasy/paranormal=stories in a magic and/or horror based setting

        Of course, many books mix genre elements, like a book featuring steam-powered technology and characters with magical abilities or books featuring vampires in a far future world. Or lost colony stories that look like fantasy, even if the colonists arrived on the planet in space ships.

        So you could ask the question, how are things powered most often in a particular world? If a story has both tech and magic, which came first? Did the magic come before the steam-powered technology?

        Sometimes we want stories that are either/or and sometimes we want a story wherein both magic and technology co-exist. Categorizing the latter kind may be something of a toss up, however.

  2. What about Urban Fantasy books? I always get confused with UF series books being included in other categories. Example: Kate Daniels, Mercy Thompson, Alpha and Omega, Dresden Files, etc.

    • Wouldn’t these be “Novels with Strong Romantic Elements”? All of them are ongoing fantasy series without any HEA (at least not in one book).

      • I would have thought so, but then you have something like “Gunmetal Magic” which I would consider Paranormal Romance thrown in the mix. Every year I have some books that I vote for in one category and then see others voting for in another one entirely. I would like to not have the vote diluted because of confusion, mainly mine!

        • I still would consider Gunmetal Magic urban fantasy although I agree as a standalone book it’s arguable, but it’s part of a larger world and the world is at least as important as the romance and probably more. And it isn’t the end of Andrea and Rapheal’s story. It’s perfectly possible, even likely, that they will have ongoing problems in later books.
          But I guess in the end it’s up to how every votes as to how the majority of people define it. You could always vote for it in both categories!

  3. The categories are already set for this year, but we can definitely consider an LGBT category for next year, especially if interest and demand continues to grow. However, LGBT books are certainly all eligible under the existing categories. There’s no reason your favorite contemporary romance can’t be M/M, F/F, etc.

    Blythe

  4. I’m fine with the elimination of the “Most Disappointing” category. However, I would suggest adding a DNF category to the next round. Often when I’m disappointed that is exactly what happens. It would also be helpful to have a space for people to say why they gave up on a book

  5. I am so upset over Most Disappointing. And there are no bad categories? Considering how much crap is written in this genre…
    I also am disappointed no Inspirational…
    That being I don’t think guiltiest pleasure is a loss.

    I also don’t understand the difference between Fantasy and paranormal. How is being a vampire not a fantasy?

    • Emily, while as a reviewer I always had more than enough titles to enter in the “Most Disappointing” category, it was eliminated because we simply didn’t get enough votes for any one title. And the same is true of the Inspirational category.

      When we eliminate categories it’s because readers simply don’t vote for enough titles in the categories.

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