Friday, October 16, 2009

Top 16 Favourite Romance Books

Inspired by Maili, Jessica of Racy Romance Reviews offered up a challenge to come up with our top 16 romance books in honour of Kathleen Winsor's Forever Amber, a true pioneer of the romance books we read and love so well today. And yes, I read it many, many, many years ago. I don't remember much about it except that it made me sad.

I'm always up for sharing the books I've loved so I am happily accepting her challenge!!

1. Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas - first published in 1994
This one is a tough call as there is another book I love equally well. But when it comes right down to it, this one wins out by just a hair for sentimental reasons.

2. Broken Wing by Judith James - published in 2008
Now this one has come the closest to knocking DOY out of first place and while I'm reading or rereading it, it is number 1. But it gets a very close second place. It started A Quest!

3. Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase - first published in 1995
I consider this one a true classic. It's number one in many polls and often is used as the book to convert readers to the romance genre - for a reason!

4. Whispers of Heaven by Candice Proctor - published in 2001
It starts getting tough placing books now. But this one is an incredible journey and growth of the heroine and it book worthy of being in the top five

5. Ride the Fire by Pamela Clare - first published in 2005
I can think of no other book that is so vivid. While reading it, it is so easy to picture in my mind and both Nicolas, the hero and Bethy, the heroine are truly wonderful characters

6. The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie - published in 2009
It's rare - very rare - that a book published so recently can crack my top 10 list - but this is a book that can do it!! Lord Ian is such a well written, unusual character that I loved this one and read it back to back to back three times before I could move on.

7. Outlaw Hearts by Roseanne Bittner - published in 1993
And readers know, I love a good Western and when they ask for one to try, this one is always the first one I think of. I'm still waiting to see what Barbara thought of it *g*. It's an epic story - the kind we don't get much anymore.

8. Blue Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas - published in 2008
This book is an emotional roller coaster and in the end - a real triumphant journey for the heroine Haven Travis. She finds love out of the ashes with Hardy Cates and I am honoured beyond words that I have a mention in this truly wonderful book.

9. After the Night by Linda Howard - first published in 1998
This book is Linda Howard at her very best for me. What stands out most is the character of Faith Devlin. When I can remember a characters name eleven years after reading it for the first time, you know she has made an impact on me!!

10. Morning Glory by Lavryle Spencer - first published in 1988
There are probably many of today's readers who haven't read this book. I urge you - strongly urge you - to track down a copy somehow, somewhere and read it. It's a wonderful book that tells the story of the power of love between two lonely people.

11. One Summer by Karen Robards - first published in 1993
Now this one is unusual in that the mystery is mediocre at best. But the chemistry between Rachel Grant and Johnny Harris is off the charts and this one remains one of my favourite rereads of all time.

12. Fallen From Grace by Laura Leone - first published in 2003
Just like Broken Wing, Fallen From Grace has a prostitute for a hero. Ryan will break your heart and as this is one of my favourite themes - younger hero/older heroine it has it's place as one of my all time favourite books list.

13. To Die For by Linda Howard - published in 2004
The heroine in this one, Blair Mallory, seems to be a bit of a lightning rod for many readers. They either love her or she drives them bonkers. I adore her. There is rarely a heroine who makes a hero work so hard - and I love that about her!

14. See Jane Score by Rachel Gibson - published in 2003
I love a good sports romance - and for me this is the best one of all. Luc and his tattoo. For those who have read it - need I say more?

15. Take a Chance on Me by Susan Donovan - first published in 2003
It's not every book that can get an ear worm in my head, but this one does every time I think of it. This one is unique in that my favourite character is Hairy - a dog - when I'm a cat person. And I'm still waiting for Lea to read this one. Lea - the parent of her own Chinese Crested.

16. Naked in Death by JD Robb - first published in 1995
This one is unusual as it's just a representative of the whole In Death series. It took me three attempts to really get into this series - but once I did, there has been no looking back. This whole series could be and has been a post of it's own, so it's hard to encapsulate what is so good about it/them. But I love it/them beyond words.

As with any kind of list, there are so many more books that could have just as easily made this list and are ohsoveryclose to being here. But I tried to get a representation of many different types - funny, romantic suspense, western, historical 'cause I love them all.

So who else is up for the challenge. I always love getting more book ideas!!


Blanche said...

Great list of books and to be honest I've not read most of them but they are going on my tbb list!! I'm going to give this challenge a try and post my list on Saturday! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Kristie! Linda Howard and LaVyrle Spencer are in my top 5 authors of all time list and "Morning GLory" is my very favorite book by LaVyrle Spencer. What a wonderful sweet romance!

Great list!



Mary said...

Great post! I'm keeping it for a TBR list of "sure to love" choices.

Jill D. said...

Kristie! *frantically taking notes* Great list. I have read some of these, one even made my own list and others I haven't read yet. I love this idea!

Heather Long said...

Great list and some gems I'd not heard of that I definitely need to check out! Thanks hon!

Janet Webb said...

What I have in common: Naked in Death, it's on my list too. There are a few book there I haven't read but you can be sure they'll migrate to my Must Read Someday list!

Maybe some statistician will comply a top TOP 16 list. I love that you annotated yours :)

Leontine said...

Hi kristie,
Lord Ian macKenzie, I loved that book because I loved Lord Ian so much. He is just one of those memorable characters! Many of your novels are not on my shelves *eek* save Broken initial chapter and wow. I think Gabriel is very much a character who will memerize me.

I love reading such lists, thanks for sharing ;)

Stacy~ said...

A lot of these would make my list too! Of course that's because you rec'd them :)

Have a great weekend Kristie!

Wendy said...

Fallen From Grace.


That was a great book.

Should have included it on my own list.

Penelope said...

Kristie...this is a great list and a great "challenge"--I, too, adore Lord of Scoundrels, Dreaming of You, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie and Take A Chance On Me (I just loaned my copy to a friend with a Chinese Crested and her dog nibbled the front cover! hee hee)--I have not read Morning Glory yet but one of my critique buddies absolutely loves this book. I am going to search for it...thanks for the recommendation. Have a great weekend!

Patti said...

Wow, great list - the only one I've read is LOS and I loved that one...*scribbling list onto TBR*

Phyl said...

I put up a list too. It was hard! I can't believe I left Whispers of Heaven off mine. I remember reading Ride the Fire because of your recommendation and though I loved it, I couldn't quite let it crack my top 16. It was darn close, though.

Here's the link to my list:

Mollie said...

Thanks for sharing! I added several of those to my TBR list! LOVE DoY and RtF!!!!!

Kati said...

*pats couch*

Kristie, you come sit by me. I can't believe how many of your books are on my list as well. LOL! I'd switch out the Kleypas historical (Again the Magic for me), the Kleypas contemp (Smooth Talking Stranger), the Howard (Shades of Twilight), and the Robb (Witness in Death), but you and I are SO on the same page about so many books!

And I love that you mention Fallen From Grace. It's such a lovely, poignant romance. One that resonates with me so.

Awesome list!

Anonymous said...

I'm going to have to :headdesk: with Wendy because I forgot to include Dreaming of You on my list!

I am also taking notes to add to my wish list as I peruse your favorites. And thank you for reminding me of One Summer! I remember the scene with the twinkies, and her skirt with strawberries, and how HOTT Johnny was so vividly! I loved Karen Robards and need to reread her!

nath said...

Very nice list, Kristie :D You have a great mix in that... LOL, I'm surprised there's not more western...

Leslie said...

Wonderful list Kristie. :) Count me as one of the Blair Mallory fans. Loved her!

I've added the Laura Leone book to my list - never heard of her but I'll give her a try. Thanks!

Katie Mack said...

Several books I haven't read on the list, but of the ones I have read I've enjoyed them all. Fallen From Grace, See Jane Score, Lord of Scoundrels, and the In Death series (as represented by Naked in Death) are all favorites. I also really enjoyed Take a Chance on Me, which I think is about due for a re-read. ;)

And apparently I really need to read Dreaming of You. I've been hearing great things about that book every day for about 2 weeks straight now. Which is kinda weird since it's not a new release.

Rowena said...

What a great list of books. I'm one of the readers that adores Blair Mallory. I thought she was fun and the right amount of quirky to keep me interested in reading both of her books.

I also adored See Jane Date, how can you not with that tattoo? LOL.

Dreaming of You is a given and Lord of Scoundrels should be on everyone's favorite list, seriously!

You're making me want to reread some of these and I can't, I don't have the time but I'm going to try sometime soon!

Love the list!

SonomaLass said...

I'm impressed that you could put yours in order -- I had to go alphabetically and limit to one per author just to get down anywhere close to 16! Just goes to show how many great books are out there. Several on your list are on my TBR list, too.

Erotic Horizon said...

You have one of my all time favourite author on your list - LaVryle Spencer... Everything she writes is pure magic...

Have you read THE GAMBLE or THE HELLION...

I have tried a few of the others on the list - Hoping to get to the others sometime this century..


~ames~ said...

Excellent list Kristie!! Some of those books I've read and some I'm going to be on the lookout for!!

Lord of Scoundrels would be #1 for me though. LOL

Carolyn Crane said...

Great list! And look, you have Fallen From Grace! I came so close to buying that the other day, now I for SURE will!!

Anonymous said...

Fab list Kristie. It must have been really really hard for you to choose! I almost put Dreaming of You on mine, and switched at the last minute.

After the Night is my fave Howard as well.

Thanks for joining in the fun!

Julia said...

I love Linda Howard older books. They are really great read. And I believe I have read ONE SUMMER by Karen Robard as well, but it has been an awful long time ago. So I can't remember what it was about. And me too, I loe anything with a good sport romance theme. Been reading few authors with sport theme. Wish there were lot. But I adore SEE JANE SCORE by Rachel Gibson. AND of course I'm a big fan of JDRobb's books. Been up to date on all the books except few of the latest one. Gotta get back to it

I have BLUE EYED DEVIL by Lisa Kleypas as well as SUGAR DADDY in my TBR pile. Would you believe, I never read any books by Lisa Kleypas before? *grin* I also have BROKEN WING by Judith James in my TBR pile too. Can't wait to start reading these books :)

Great list of books!

Kristie (J) said...

Blanch: I could have added so many more – but the list was 16 *g*

MsMoonlight: I read Morning Glory when it first came out and it’s stayed an all time keeper ever since! Will is one of the best Beta heroes isn’t he?

Mary: I’ve already gotten some great lists from other’s lists too!

Jill D: And I noticed some on your list too  that I’ll have to try.

Heather: All the ones I have here ARE gems for me. I hope they will be for you too.

Janet: Naked in Death isn’t my favourite of the In Death books – but I had to put it on as it represents all of them in a sense.

Kristie (J) said...

Leontine: Lord Ian is a wonderful book isn’t it? And I think you’ll love Broken Wing too!! It grabbed me from the first page and didn’t let go!

Stacy: I wish I could have added more. There is little difference between my 6th place book to my 16th place book to my 26th.

Wendy: *g* It’s ok – I added it for you *g*

Penelope: Sounds like we have very similar tastes!! And I think you will love Morning Glory.

Patti: Oh my – then you DO have some great reads ahead of you 

Phyl: We do indeed love many of the same books don’t we?

Kristie (J) said...

Mollie: Those 2 are great aren’t they? I think they should be on many a readers list.

Kati: You have no idea how much I wish we could sit on the couch outside my ‘library’ and compare books!

Lustyreader: *gasp* You forgot Dreaming of You? *chuckle* That’s always the very first one that comes to mind for me when coming up with ‘the best of’ lists.
And oh mama – that Johnny Harris is indeed H.O.T. – probably one of my ‘hottest’ heroes. Hmmm – now you’ve give me an idea!!

Nath: I could have easily added more westerns. They would have been 17 to 23 *laughing*

Leslie: I’m glad there are others who love Blair too. I just thought she was great. She knew what she wanted and she went after it. I admired that she had loads of self worth too. And Fallen from Grace is Well Worth tracking down!! I’ve read it quite a number of times and enjoyed it each and every time.

Katie: *chuckle* Yes, you should read Dreaming of You. It says a lot that a book published such a long time ago is still being talked about – it and Lord of Scoundrels are two Fabulous books published back in the 90’s with real staying power

Rowena: Isn’t it great being a rereader???? We can keep on enjoying some great books. It always makes me a bit sad that so many readers aren’t. I know that there are always lots more books to read, but there are also many that should be read more than once – or twice – or three times.

Kristie (J) said...

SonomaLass: The first five or six are certainly worthy of being numbered, but from 7 on down, the order could have been mixed up and still be valid. It is very hard listing them by number and the order changes easily if I happen to either think of them more or reread any of them.

Erotic Horizon: The only Spencer book I haven’t read it the last one she wrote – where the heroine was a nun. A couple of my other favourite books of hers – Years, Spring Fancy, The Endearment and *g* The Gamble

Ames: The top 3 are so close – in a different time and a different mood, LOS could be first for me too.

Carolyn: Oh YES!! You have to go back and get it!! It’s a wonderful book and the hero is to die for and the heroine is also great. Get it, get it, get it and let me know what you think!!

Jessica: It WAS hard to choose. And I think what puts After the Night at the top of my Howard list is Faith Devlin. She’s one of my all time heroines. I know a lot of readers don’t care for Gray – thinking he’s too over the top – but Faith stands up to him – which makes me adore her.

Julia: In One Summer, the hero, Johnny Harris was sent to jail for the murder of a young woman he had dated in high school. Rachel Grant had been his English teacher and never believed he was guilty. While still in prison, Johnny had contacted her and asked if she would hire him in her father’s hardware store and she agrees. Johnny comes back with a big chip on his shoulder and a Very Strong case of the hots for her which he has felt for years. When another woman that Johnny dated once released from prison is murdered, the town figures that he is guilty of murdering a second woman.
Does that ring any bells?
And you’ve never read Lisa Kleypas?? Well, you are in for a real treat then!! She’s a wonderful writer – of both historical and contemporary.
And I can’t wait to see what you think of Broken Wing!!

orannia said...

Fantastic list Kristie! I so need to find Fallen from Grace - it sounds amazing! And I'm hoping to start The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie tonight *happy dance*

Christine said...

Great list, Kristie!
I'm seeing some of the same books showing up on a lot of lists, so I'm definitely going to have to add those to my MUST READ list. Fallen from Grace sounds excellent!

Old Folkie said...

I picked up "Lord of Scoundrels" on a recommendation from the Book Smugglers, which as it turns out say they picked it up on your recommendation, so in a round about way I guess I have to thank you, too, for pointing that book out.
It's a pleasure to read.

I guess I should give one of the others from your list a try when I'm through with it.