I found This List, from the Romance Reader, but it seemed to be more "Old Skool" romance and I was disappointed by the absence of the New Guard. Nary a Lani Diane Rich or a Kresley Cole in sight. And paranormal was woefully underrepresented.
A couple weeks back, the Smart Bitches were in People Magazine, plugging Bosoms and romance novels as a whole. They sent along to the people of People a list of their favorite romances and the people of People distilled that list down to these five:
1. Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
2. The Shadow and the Star by Laura Kinsale
3. Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
4. Magnate's Make-Believe Mistress by Bronwyn Jameson
5. Naked in Death by J.D. Robb
I have to say, this is a nice list. Diverse, high quality stuff. But it isn't my list. I doubt you're ever going to get romance readers to agree on a top five (or even a top fifty), but that's part of the beauty of this business. There is marvelous variety and plenty of readers who love every inch of the romantic spectrum.
(And if you're interested in Candy from SBTB's Favs you can find that list HERE.)
Anyway, here's my nit-picking of the SBTB list, along with a list of my very own:
1. Bet Me is not my favorite Crusie. Not by a long shot. (Though of course, I still love it, because it's still brilliant.) I also wouldn't say it's the most universal. I would definitely have a Crusie on my list (no question about that), but mine would have to be Welcome to Temptation. The book that popped my Crusie cherry, so to speak.
2. What? No paranormal? No vamps? No shifters? Say it ain't so! My #2 slot has to have a paranormal slant. Shana Abe? Kresley Cole? This is a hard one to choose, but I think I'm gonna go with Jacquelyn Frank's Nightwalkers. Jacob.
3. Okay, I like Loretta Chase and all, but if I only have to pick one historical, of all the historicals out there, it's gotta be Julia or Eloisa. Quinn or James? How to choose? There is a glut of Regencies, so I'm going to go Georgian on this one. Desperate Duchesses, baby
4. Honestly, I am not a big fan of category romances. I just don't have one of these on my list. I'm afraid I'm going to fill this slot with, ahem, the rather hot side of the spectrum. My favorite naughty romance would have to be an Emma Holly guilty pleasure: Prince of Ice.
5. J.D. Robb. It wouldn't be a romance list without a listing from Dame Nora, eh? I did really like Naked in Death, but as romantic suspense go, not really my fav. I tend to veer more toward the action edge than the darker side. I like my romance fluffy, thank you very much. So my list is going to showcase the lighter, adventure-ier edge of the rom-suspense genre: Roxanne St. Claire & her Bullet Catchers. Kill Me Twice.
What would be on your top five? Which books would you give to a genre-newbie to try to turn them into a lifelong card-carrying romance-reading addict?