A few months ago, there was a meme going around the blogs in which everyone and their dog commented on All About Romance’s poll of Top 100 Romances done in 2004. Might as well start with that to give a sense of what I like and don’t like.
Note: My comments are in bold. DNR=Did Not Read.
1. Lord of Scoundrels Loretta Chase I love Chase; I was reading her when she was still writing traditional regencies but give it a rest with “the most perfect romance” thing already.
2. Flowers From the Storm Laura Kinsale Not my favorite Kinsale but the grandstand at the end just kills me. The empty tissue box tells me that it did its job.
3. Welcome to Temptation Jennifer Crusie DNR and don’t want to either.
4. As You Desire Connie Brockway Just as good as Lord of Scoundrels, if not better. Why is this #4 and LoS #1?
5. Bet Me Jennifer Crusie The hell? Plodding, badly paced, repetitious novel. Step away from the bong, people!
6. Dreaming of You Lisa Kleypas Derek is a great character but the story itself really sags in the middle when Derek and Sarah are seperated too long.
7. Outlander Diana Gabaldon Don’t know if we need a retelling of how Jamie’s father died three different times but otherwise very good.
8. Over the Edge Suzanne Brockmann DNR
9. All Through the Night Connie Brockway Very good.
10. Sea Swept Nora Roberts DNR. I refuse to comply with Roberts’ plan to take over the world.
11. It Had to be You Susan Elizabeth Phillips Did nothing for me. I don’t understand the author’s appeal.
12. A Summer to Remember Mary Balogh Meh. I like old-style Balogh, not this more steamline, generic version for mass consumption.
13. Morning Glory LaVyrle Spencer Good.
14. The Proposition Judith Ivory Fabulous, but Judith Ivory at her cutie best felt kinda. . . weird.
15. A Kingdom of Dreams Judith McNaught It was okay but I was already getting sick of the McNaught formula when this came along.
16. Ravished Amanda Quick This one has the cravat bondage, right? It’s the only way I would be able to differentiate it from any other Quick novel.
17. Frederica Georgette Heyer Dont remember it too well.
18. Mrs. Drew Plays Her Hand Carla Kelly Good
19. MacKenzie’s Mountain Linda Howard Good, but MacKenzie’s Pleasure was the best one in the series IMO.
20. Mr. Perfect Linda Howard Very good
21. The Grand Sophy Georgette Heyer Meh
22. Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen If you’re gonna have P&P on the list, you gotta put it up higher. This is Jane Freakin’ Austen!
23. The Bride Julie Garwood My favorite Garwood, I think. If I can differentiate it from any other Garwood, that is.
24. Devil’s Bride Stephanie Laurens Good
25. To Have and to Hold Patricia Gaffney The redemption of Sebastian didnt ring true to me but the writing is lovely.
26. Born in Fire Nora Roberts DNR
27. Winter Garden Adele Ashworth Unbelievably overrated. Terrible pacing.
28. Gone Too Far Suzanne Brockmann DNR
29. The Viscount Who Loved Me Julia Quinn The series still had juice when this came out.
30. Saving Grace Julie Garwood No comment
31. My Dearest Enemy Connie Brockway Good
32. In the Midnight Rain Ruth Wind DNR
33. The Windflower Laura London Good
34. Naked in Death J.D. Robb DNR
35. Whitney, My Love Judith McNaught Ewww. I cant get over the fact that the names of the H/H are brother and sister in real life.
36. Nobody’s Baby but Mine Susan Elizabeth Phillips Was okay.
37. A Knight in Shining Armor Jude Deveraux I dont care what anyone else says. The ending is perfect.
38. Paradise Judith McNaught Like the names dropped in this novel — Kevin Costner and Meg Ryan — this novel is a has-been.
39. The Shadow and the Star Laura Kinsale Startling and elegant. Very good.
40. Dream Man Linda Howard Not bad
41. Out of Control Suzanne Brockmann DNR
42. Silk and Shadows Mary Jo Putney Putney in high melodrama mode. Gotta love her.
43. See Jane Score Rachel Gibson DNR
44. Shattered Rainbows Mary Jo Putney Technically, very good but I never forgave Michael for betraying Nick, even if he did.
45. Thunder and Roses Mary Jo Putney THIS is what romance is all about. Sigh.
46. The Duke and I Julia Quinn My favorite Quinn
47. Heart Throb Suzanne Brockmann DNR
48. For My Lady’s Heart Laura Kinsale As a Chaucer and Romance fan, this is da bomb! My favorite Kinsale.
49. Honor’s Splendor Julie Garwood Excellent
50. Lord Carew’s Bride Mary Balogh Fabulous! Great, great beta hero.
51. Untie my Heart Judith Ivory The “hero” scared me. I dont like stories about confidence artists anyway (unless it’s by Thomas Mann).
52. Dream a Little Dream Susan Elizabeth Phillips DNR
53. The Secret Julie Garwood Jeez, enough with the Garwood already.
54. This is All I Ask Lynn Kurland I don’t like Cute.
55. Slightly Dangerous Mary Balogh Kinda boring
56. One Perfect Rose Mary Jo Putney Good
57. To Love and to Cherish Patricia Gaffney Good
58. Kiss an Angel Susan Elizabeth Phillips DNR
59. Heaven, Texas Susan Elizabeth Phillips Good
60. Venetia Georgette Heyer Good.
61. Daughter of the Game Tracy Grant DNR
62. The Prize Julie Garwood What? Garwood again? Ugh!
63. Reforming Lord Ragsdale Carla Kelly Not bad
64. Prince Joe Suzanne Brockmann DNR
65. The Notorious Rake Good
66. Heartless Mary Balogh Did not like.
67. Son of the Morning Linda Howard Interesting change of pace by Howard
68. Sleeping Beauty Judith Ivory Good
69. Where Dreams Begin Lisa Kleypas Was okay
70. The Devil’s Cub Georgette Heyer Good
71. The Bronze Horseman Paullina Simons DNR
72. The Time Traveler’s Wife Audrey Niffenegar Interesting read. Good.
73. With This Ring Carla Kelly Very Good
74. The Lion’s Lady Julie Garwood No. Comment.
75. The Rake Mary Jo Putney Eur Hist Romance One of the all-time greats
76. Fallen from Grace Laura Leone Meh
77. Always to Remember Lorraine Heath Not bad
78. Castles Julie Garwood Did I say that Roberts wanted to take over the world? Maybe it’s Garwood after all.
79. One Good Turn Carla Kelly Good
80. Chesapeake Blue Nora Roberts DNR
81. By Arrangement Madeline Hunter Hunter is a must-read who needs a hell of a lot more love and recognition
82. Perfect Judith McNaught No comment
83. My Darling Caroline Adele Ashworth Was okay
84. The Defiant Hero Suzanne Brockmann DNR
85. The Unsung Hero Suzanne Brockmann DNR
86. Guilty Pleasures Laura Lee Guhrke Very Avon. Not bad.
87. Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte Um, okay. Marrying a bigamist is not romantic!
88. Kill and Tell Linda Howard No comment
89. After the Night Linda Howard Was okay
90. More than a Mistress Mary Balogh Probably Balogh’s best historical.
91. Born in Ice Nora Roberts Contemp Romance
92. Miss Wonderful Loretta Chase Good
93. The Charm School Susan Wiggs Amer Hist Romance
94. Scoundrel Elizabeth Elliott Eur Hist Romance
95. How to Marry a Marquis Julia Quinn Blech. Cuteness.
96. Angel Rogue Mary Jo Putney Good
97. Trust Me Jayne Ann Krentz Good
98. Dancing on the Wind Mary Jo Putney Very good
99. Once and Always Judith McNaught Would be McNaught’s best if it wasnt for the fact that I felt sorry for the other guy at the end.
100. This Heart of Mine Susan Elizabeth Phillips Contemp Romance