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!!