Friday, September 16, 2011

The 2011 Lists Begin

Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, is always the first with their top ten of the year announcement. Yesterday the journal announced its top ten romances of 2011. In fact, there are eleven novels on the list, including three contemporaries, four European historicals, two American historicals (one of these an Inspirational), one fantasy, and one time travel. Eight are part of a series. According to the announcement, all eleven novels “feature smart, strong, and witty women . . . falling in love with men who truly cherish their wonderful, authentic selves.” [I think the antecedent of there is intended to be “women.”] Congratulations to all the authors who were recognized.

I’ve read seven of the books on the list and reviewed one. (The ones I've read are marked with an asterisk.)Since these lists are of necessity subjective, I was interested in what reader review sites thought about these books. I lacked the time and inclination to do an exhaustive search. I checked only sites that I visit, and some books were reviewed more widely than others. I did check for reviews of An Unlikely Suitor beyond my usual review range, but those I found did not use an alphanumerical rating system.

The List

Animal Magnetism* by Jill Shalvis (Berkley Sensation, contemporary)

All About Romance—B; Cheeky Reads—4 hearts; Dear Author—C; GoodReads—4.03/478 ratings; The Season—8; Smexy Books—C.

Call Me Irresistible* by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Morrow, contemporary)

All About Romance—B+; Dear Author—B; GoodReads—3.92/2168 ratings; The Romance Reader—5 hearts; The Season—4 stars; Smexy Books--B

Cloudy with a Chance of Marriage* by Kieran Kramer (St. Martin’s, European historical)

All About Romance—D+; Dear Author—C-; GoodReads—3.33/184 ratings; Mrs. Giggles—70; Night Owl Romance—3.5; Smexy Books--C

The Counterfeit Bride by Nancy J. Parra (Avalon, American historical)

All About Romance—B-; GoodReads—3.57/7 ratings

How to Marry a Duke* by Vicky Dreiling (Hachette/Forever, European Historical)

All About Romance—C; Dear Author—D; GoodReads—3.87/306 ratings; Night Owl Romance—4 stars; The Romance Reader—4 hearts; The Season--9

The Lady of the Storm by Kathryne Kennedy (Sourcebooks/Casablanca, Fantasy)

GoodReads—3.76/123 ratings; Night Owl Romance 4.5 stars

Lord Langley Is Back in Town* by Elizabeth Boyle (Avon, European historical)

All About Romance—C; GoodReads—3.67/123 ratings; Night Owl Romance—4 stars;

The Naked King by Sally MacKenzie (Zebra, European historical)

All About Romance—B; GoodReads—3.75/118 ratings; The Romance Reader—3 hearts; The Season—7.5

Only Mine* by Susan Mallery (HQN, contemporary)

All about Romance—C; GoodReads—3.96/381 ratings; The Romance Dish—4 stars

The Return of Black Douglas by Elaine Coffman (Sourcebooks/Casablanca, Time Travel)

GoodReads—3.96/28 ratings;  Mrs. Giggles—80; Night Owl Romance—2.5; The Season—6.5

An Unlikely Suitor* by Nancy Moser (Bethany, American historical-Inspirational)

GoodReads—3.83/80 ratings

I made a note of this list. I’ll be looking for those that will appear in the weeks and months ahead. My personal list has a top thirty-two right now, and there’s still three and a half months of reading left in 2011 plus a goodly number from earlier in the year that are still on a TBR shelf.

How many of the Booklist Top Ten have you read? Do you compile your own top ten list? If so, what’s #1 on your list as of today?


MsHellion said...

I think I would have had "What I Did For a Duke" and "One Night to Surrender" on my list, if we're talking about strong, likable heroines and the men who adore them.

But I have read some of these and agree with some of them being on the list.

Janga said...

Hellie, What I Did for a Duke is still my top read of the year. I also loved Tessa Dare's A Night to Surrender.

I enjoyed all the books I read on the Booklist list, but I don't think any would make my top ten. But differing points of view is part of what makes talking about romance fiction such fun.

MsHellion said...

I enjoyed all the books I read on the Booklist list, but I don't think any would make my top ten. But differing points of view is part of what makes talking about romance fiction such fun.

That's what I was thinking. None of the ones listed were necessarily ones I'd ever have listed. *LOL* Reading and writing is definitely a subjective business, isn't it? *LOL*

Manda Collins said...

Janga, you know I love lists as much as you do so I was curious to see your take on it.

I've only read the SEP and the Mallery from this list. I enjoyed them both, though I prefer the third of this Mallery trilogy. And though I enjoyed the SEP I don't know that it's my favorite of hers.

It bums me out that Booklist has to do their list so early. I think that has as much to do with A Night to Surrender being left off as anything else.

I'm not sure what will go on my best list for this year yet. WIDFAD will definitely be there and A Night to Surrender but not sure about the others. I need to check my Goodreads account.

Vanessa Kelly said...

It is odd that they're doing this so early. What happens to all the books coming out this fall?

I haven't read many of the books on the list (yet!), but it's interesting to see how many of them got less than stellar reviews from certain sites. Just show how widely divergent opinons can be!

I did read the Jill Shalvis book, which I loved.

irisheyes said...

Wow, Janga. I've only read one - Call Me Irresistible by SEP. Like Manda, it wouldn't top my list of favorites, of the year or of SEP's.

It is kind of odd that they would come out with this when the year isn't over yet. LOL

I just checked my list and I thought I'd have a lot more new releases read for 2011 but only had about 17. The ones that jumped out at me were Julie James A Lot Like Love and Laura Lee Guhrke's Seduction of the Year.

Janga said...

Hellie, they are definitely subjective, as I am reminded every time I read a dreview. LOL

Janga said...

Manda, my fellow list-lover! I feel the same way about both the SEP and the third of Mallery's Only books.

I think Booklist times their list for their issue that spotlights Romance. There's a good article on Eileen Dreyer in the same issue.

Janga said...

Vanessa, the Shalvis book got lots of love. :) All these lists serve to remind us how subjective reading is, as Hellie said. But even when I would have made different choices, I enjoy reading the lists. I'll be paying careful attention to see if there are repeats when the other lists are released in a couple of months. I'll wait until late December to post my list.

Janga said...

Irish, I've lost count of the new releases I've read, but I know it's well over 100--and that's just romances. I liked both the Julie James book and Gurke's Scandal of the Year a lot too. I also loved CM's Unclaimed, those I've already mentioned, and many more.