Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Top Ten Romances

by Christine Wells

Recently, the lovely Kate Cuthbert, editor of the fabulous romance-focused instalment of a monthly newsletter called Booktopia Buzz (go here to subscribe) asked me to list the ten romance novels that have influenced me the most.

This was a tough question to answer and no doubt I've missed some wonderful books, but here goes:

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen--unmatched wit, keen observation and a fairytale ending--my introduction to the Regency world

2. Venetia by Georgette Heyer--one of the best 'rake's redemption' stories, ever

3. Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase--no one does the battle of the sexes quite as well as Loretta Chase. An extraordinary romance..

4. Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale--exquisite writing, deep passion, magnificent storytelling. Sheer brilliance

5. Welcome to Temptation by Jenny Crusie--snarky, subversive, a fantastic community novel...and some of the hottest love scenes around

6. The Devil to Pay by Liz Carlyle--Carlyle marries sophisticated sizzle with wit, deep emotion and a feel for the period which few surpass. Her heroes are particularly fabulous.


7. Claiming the Courtesan by Anna Campbell--deep, dark, wrenchingly emotional, Campbell took a risk writing a courtesan heroine that paid off in spades

8. Shattered Rainbows by Mary Jo Putney--Putney can plunge a reader into the pit of human despair and then fling her to the skies in triumph.

9. A Summer to Remember by Mary Balogh--Mary Balogh's sensual story of a very proper and repressed young lady's slow awakening should be required reading for historical writers.

10. The Desperate Duchesses series by Eloisa James--I love the duality of James's novels. On the surface they are all wit and sophistication, but underneath is humanity--love and longing, desire and pain.

Now, I've just remembered approximately a dozen authors who should also be named here, not to mention a hundred more books!

But I'd love to hear your lists. What romance novels do you read over and over? Have any influenced the way you think or act? Have any given you particular comfort in tough times? If you're a writer, what authors or stories have influenced you?

I'm giving away a signed copy of WICKED LITTLE GAME to one lucky reader!

139 comments:

Lynz Pickles said...

Mine?

Lynz Pickles said...

Great post, Christine! You mentioned some of my favourites, and I'm impressed that you actually managed to narrow it down in the first place. If someone asked me for just ten, I'd laugh at the idea of limiting my list to that number.

Anyway, I can think of a couple I'd want to add off the top of my head:

Megan Whalen Turner's The Queen's Thief series, focusing on the second book onwards - when I first read The Queen of Attolia, I was young enough that the world was still largely black-and-white to me, so I didn't appreciate the subtle beauty of the romance in it. I just re-read it (and read The King of Attolia for the first time) and now, I get it. Turner's voice is stunning, and the romance she creates isn't shown outright, but despite that - or perhaps because of it - is one of the strongest I've ever read.

The Spymaster's Lady by Joanna Bourne - not for the plot at all, though. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the plot, but the fact that the balance of power was so skewed so often drove me nuts. No, what I love about this book is the way that Bourne deals with the rhythm of language. When her characters are speaking French, even though it's written in English, they sound French. When they're speaking German, they sound German. It's uncanny and absolutely brilliant.

The Secret Countess and A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson - they're by Eva Ibbotson. Need I say more?

Emmanuelle said...

Wow making a list of my top 10 romance wasn't easy. My keeper list is much longer !! I listed the 10 romances I love and thzt came first to my mind :

Welcome to Temptation
Bet Me
This heart of Mine
Nobody's baby but mine
Lady be Good
Dream a little dream
Again the Magic
Lord of Scoundrel
Tears of the Moon
The Duke and I

I know when I'll read someone else's list I 'll be like "oh I forgot that one too !!"

jo robertson said...

Lynz, yay you! Hope you have some work for the rooster to do!

Christine, great topic. I love to talk about favorite books and historical romances are among my favorite.

I know everyone mentions Gone with the Wind, but truly it's a remarkable story with such distinctive characters, that I have to add it to the list. Sadly enough, it's the only thing that's come down to us from Margaret Mitchell.

And, one of my all-time fav on which I cut my romance teeth is JANE EYRE. I will always love the brooding, angry, arrogant Mr. Rochester and his plain, smart, wise Jane.

Jane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Lynz.

My list includes Julie Garwood's "Saving Grace," Loretta Chase's "The Last Hellion," Lisa Kleypas' "Worth Any Price," Gaelen Foley's "The Duke," Linda Howard's "Midnight Rainbow" and her Mackenzie books. I don't think these books influence the way I think or act, but I have learned some history and how things are done during a certain time.

Blodeuedd said...

Have only read one of those, what a shame!
Not sure about my list...ok
Velvet Song by Jude Deveraux
High Hunt by Elizabeth Chadwick
Bridget Jones Diary by Helen Fielding
A book and now I can't remember the name or author, just what happens, and of course it's not in my shelves here.
Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

Some, different genres too :)

Christine Wells said...

Woohoo, congrats Lynz! Hope you have fun with the rooster today. I think you've mentioned The Queen's Thief series before. I must look for that, and of course I love Jo Bourne's The Spymaster's Lady, too.

I also have been meaning to read Eva Ibbotson. Everyone raves about her and I believe they're re-releasing her books now. Thanks for your list!

Christine Wells said...

Emmanuelle, the only reason I left SEP off the list was that I discovered her books fairly late, after I'd been writing a long time. But I agree, they are fantastic books. Similarly with Lisa Kleypas, whose books I love and admire also.

I know we do these lists all the time, but I love hearing about how certain books changed people or their view of the world or just helped them through a dark time. And I'm always fascinated to hear from writers where their 'roots' are in romance. I can usually tell the ones who will pick Jane Eyre, for example!

Christine Wells said...

Haha, I just said Jane Eyre and then read your post, Jo. Oh, and Gone With the Wind is one that a lot of people will cite--mainly because who didn't want a HEA for those two fabulous characters? I wonder if MM had given them one whether it would be the 'classic' it is today. There's something about happy endings...

Christine Wells said...

Hi Jane, great list! Linda Howard was one I'd put on a favourites list but I don't know if she has influenced me. Adding Julie Garwood to the list of writers everyone recommends to me and I haven't read yet.

So many books, so little time...

Christine Wells said...

Blodeuedd, I've only read Bridget Jones from that list, so I've got some more to keep an eye out for now. Thanks!

Christine Wells said...

OK, now today happens to be my 9th wedding anniversary and I'm shortly going out to dinner with my husband for some real life romance. LOL I will be back a little later to read all about everyone's top ten!

PinkPeony said...

Hola Christine!

Top ten, huh?
1. Pride and Prejudice
2. Bridget Jones' Diary
3. Always (Judith McNaught)
4. Whispers of Heaven (Candace Proctor)
5. Heart of the West (Penelope Williamson)
6. Claiming the Courtesan (Duchess Anna)
7. Sunset Embrace (Sandra Brown)
8. Worth Any Price (Lisa Kleypas)
9. Wicked Little Game (Christine?)
10.Nobody's Baby But Mine (SEP-I think I've read it seven times)

Honorable Mention: Slow Heat in Heaven (Sandra Brown)
and A Town Like Alice (not exactly a romance but it was romantic)
My brain is fried.
Jen

Llehn said...

I haven't really read any pure romance books but I have read a few chick lits that I love. The Diary of Bridget Jones comes to mind. I love her!

Helen said...

Congrats Lynz have fun with him

Christine this is a wonderful post and one of the hardest questions to ask me I have loved so many over the years and I really hate to leave any of them off but here goes I will try.

1.The Wolf and The Dove Kathleen Woodiwiss
2.All of the Mallory books by Johanna Lindsey
3.Lady Vixen Shirlee Busbee
4.Claiming The Courtesan Anna Campbell
5.Whitney My Love Judith McNaught
6.Wicked Little Game Christine Wells
7.The Wild Sight Loucinda McGary
8.Lily and the Sword Sara Bennett
9.Captain Jack's Woman Stephanie Laurens
10.Caressed By Ice Nalini Singh.

There really are lots more I could add I truly have loved everyone of the Bandits books.
I do have some of the ones you have listed on my TBR pile Christine I think I need to move them up.

I just know my TBR pile is going to grow again after reading everyones Lists

Have Fun
Helen

Kate said...

what's that about bad writers stealing, but good writers borrowing? :)

How can I resist answering my own question?

1. Romancing Mr Bridgerton - Julia Quinn: truly one of the best best-friends-becoming-more stories and a great example of how light-hearted doesn't have to mean shallow

2. Mr Impossible - Loretta Chase: oh how I love a smart heroine! (part of the reason I love your books, Christine!) Team her up with an incorrigible hero (I'm sure I spelled that wrong) and I'm sold.

3. The Perfect Rake - Anne Gracie: One of my favourite heros, and a lovely way of turning the ugly ducking story on its head. Love is in the eye of the beholder, and Gideon exemplifies this.

4. Psy-Changeling stories - Nalini Singh: This is the way a paranormal series should be written! Each story is a complete love story in of itself, but the complex world building that flows through the series is flawless.

5. Bitten - Kelley Armstrong: Anyone who thinks romances can't be told in the first person would do well to read this story. Evocative and lovely (and written by a fellow Canadian ;) )

6. The Smoke Thief - Shana Abe: The first of the 'mash-ups' I read, exploring paranormal elements in a historical setting. Just beautiful, beautiful writing.

(I was going to keep this list to 5...oops!)

7. North and South - Elizabeth Gaskell: I'm ducking as I admit this, but I prefer this story to Pride and Prejudice. I love the social commentary, and the heroine fighting for both her place and others.

8. Passion for the Game - Sylvia Day: Perfect example of erotic romance. The sex is hot, hot, hot, but never gratuitous.

Finally, (I promise!)

9. Rachel Gibson - See Jane Score: It breaks my heart that contemporaries are so rarely published these days. Gibson is a master of creating tension between characters, ... and it's about a hockey team, so I couldn't resist!

Oh make it an even 10

10. Goddess of Spring - PC Cast: a lovely older heroine, a touch of mythology, and a truly dark, dangerous hero hiding a heart of gold. My very favourite winter warmer!

Whew! Now I know why you said that was hard!

:)

Kate

Emmanuelle said...

I knew it !! I'm reading everyone elses's list and I want to add more books to mine, grrrr ;-)

Buffie said...

Great post, Christine!!! Love the topic. But the first thing that popped into my mind when I read your list was where's Julie Garwood? She was instrumental in pulling me into the romance novel world. Her historicals are written beautifully, and I just love her medievals! The book that got me started was THE WEDDING. Wonderful, fabulous, sweeping, love story. Two strangers married in the woods with heather everywhere. Ah, makes me want to go read it again. I do usually read it at least once a year.

Emmanuelle said...

I'm back again. I just realised I've forgotten to add Outlander to my list. I can't believe it !! It should have come first, I read this big thing about 20 times...;-)

Helen said...

There are so many I have forgotten yes Julie Garwood any of them

Have Fun
Helen

jcp said...

I reare reread, but if I did it would be Morning Glory or Separate Beds or Romancing Mr. Brigerton Romances do help me in times of great stress.

AvonLadyJerrica said...

It was Julia Quinn's Bridgerton series that made me want to start writing three years ago. I love the levity and humor in her books - I find that I can't put them down!

Another major influence has been Lauren Willig and her Pink Carnation series. I was reading the first one when I got my very first rejection, and it was that book that got me through that horrible day!

I also LOVE Lisa Kleypas's Devil in Winter. I still think of it as if I had watched it in a movie. Absolutely brilliant writing!

Great post! I'll have to check out some of your suggestions that I've yet to read!

Jerrica :)

Laurie said...

Top Ten:
Judith McNaught- Once & Always
Sandra Brown-Tempest in Eden
Karen Robards- Walking After Midnight
Elizabeth Lowell- A Woman Without Lies
Catherine Coulture's -The Devil's Embrace
Sharon Sala- Always a Lady
Linda Howard -White Lies
Nora Roberts -Born in Fire
Julie Garwood -Ransom
Boris Pasternak -Dr Zhivago

Susan Sey said...

Oh, Christine, this is a wonderful post! I won't go the full top ten, just give you my top three:

#1) Welcome To Temptation by Jenny Crusie. I had no idea contemporary romance could be so much fun & so rich in community at the same time. Plus, I'm kinda half in love with Phinn still.

#2) Breathing Room by SEP. It was the first time I'd read a contemporary with an episode of such spectactularly bad sex right at the beginning of a book. Especially between the hero & heroine. Historical authors can pull it off as an arranged marriage sort of thing, or because women were so sheltered from their own sexuality, but it's tough to write a modern heroine having horrible sex with the guy who's eventually going to be her HEA. But SEP pulls it off, & it's such eloquent proof of the power of love to transform something primitive & vaguely shameful into something amazing.

#3) Ransom by Julie Garwood. Nobody does humor & charm like JG writing historicals, & this is her master work as far as I'm concerned. It's a classic, in terms of the warrior/alpha male falling for the feisty-but-good-hearted heroine, & she did the reluctant tumble-into-love thing with such a light & masterful hand. Plus I seem to remember an adorable subplot involving pairing up their best friends, too, which is one of my very favorite plot devices. I've read this book so many times its cover is falling off.

So there are my three.

And bonus! Here's one more: Nora Roberts' Pagan Stone trilogy. She breaks all JC's rules--prologues, dream sequences, etc--and I adore every word of it anyway. It's dark, it's scary, people reject their destinies, sacrifice everything for the families of their hearts & are rewarded with a HEA that looked nothing like what they'd always expected for themselves.

Big happy sigh.

Thanks, Christine, for the opportunity to wander through my keeper shelf this morning!

Deb Marlowe said...

Okay, we're really getting spooky her, sister of mine!

My top ten is remarkably similar to yours. Venetia is my absolute fave Heyer. LOVE it! And sigh, Dain. I just converted a friend to a Loretta Chase fan!
I also love The Last Hellion. Vere's transformation was wonderful!

Plus, you know I love EVERYTHING Liz Carlyle writes, and that's not just cause she's my cp! She blows me away every time.

I'd add Outlander to the list. I devoured the first 3 books in that series!

Lois said...

Heck, I just read two of my biggie rereads this weekend -- after all, it's probably been a really long 6 months since I had last. LOL Anyway, they were

Dara Joy's High Intensity and High Energy. Both have the same hero/ine, so more time with them! :)

Others are --

my JQ book of choice for rereading is my first, How to Marry a Marquis, and plenty of times I read the other one in that small series, How to Catch an Heiress too.

I was going to put down an Amanda Quick one, but I realized I sort of don't have a favorite (kind of, Ravished LOL), but there, I go with mood, I'm in the mood for AQ, so I go pick one out. . . that makes no sense. :)

Oh, Marianne Stillings, love hers! For one, I think I'll go with The Damsel in This Dress.

Well, if I have to narrow it down for Lisa Kleypas, hmm, I'll go with my wonderful Marcus's. . . Ah, I mean It Happened One Autumn. :)

Oh geez, almost forgot about Teresa Mederios's Yours Until Dawn. :)

I won't list them because I'll be here forever if I do, but I also am someone who loves Christmas themed books, and I look for new ones every year, but I also have my favorites that I reread as well ever December. Well, I'll put one, because this way I can narrow Vicki Lewis Thompson down to one book (LOL) -- Tis The Season. It was one of my first Christmas themed books that I remember picking up, so it's my oldest and oldest favorite. :)

And now I'll shut up. ;)

Lois

Rose Lerner said...

Oh man, I can't possibly list ten or I'll be here all day explaining how each of them is THE BESTEST EVER. So I'm choosing four almost arbitrarily:

1. "The Black Moth" by Georgette Heyer. There are certain scenes in this book that have stayed with me over the years. I am incredibly envious of the way she sets up characters and conflicts so that when a dramatic moment occurs between two characters, you know EXACTLY what they are thinking and feeling with almost no introspection or narration at all. She is a master of having one character say something innocent that the reader knows will hurt the hero's feelings horribly, and even though he doesn't say anything, I just want to give him a hug!

2. "Pride and Prejudice," for the banter and the clearly delineated minor characters, even though I've never been in love with Mr. Darcy.

3. "Jane Eyre" for the incredible sexual tension and affection between the characters.

4. "The Oracle Glass" by Judith Merkle Riley. This book is one of my favorites EVER for the lush historical detail (the heroine is a fortune-teller in the court of Louis XIV) and for the amazing hero and heroine. She's the plain, bookish sister and he's the snarky-but-sincere-law-student-turned-galley-slave-turned-professional-gambler who always preferred her. (As a plain, bookish girl, this is one of my favorite set-ups. :) I love how well they work together, and how over the course of the book she realizes that she's outgrown her childhood crush on his handsome, charming friend and that he's the guy for her after all.

jo robertson said...

Wow, Lynz and Emmanuelle, thanks for your lists. Now I have more authors to add to my TBR list.

Ha, ha, Christine, yes, dark and ominous, that's the way I like them. I still hear Bertha Mason walking around upstairs, gnashing her teeth with her madness!

I think that motif of a young, reckless hero making an error that blights his life is very interesting.

jo robertson said...

Interesting about GWTW, Christine. In many ways it's not a romance at all. Scarlett's not a sympathetic heroine; she's selfish and self-centered, but we still admire her pluck. I think the historical background is what captured readers.

jo robertson said...

Happy anniversary, Christine, hope you have/had a wonderful day!

catslady said...

I'm afraid I'm not a rereader (too many books out there) except the occasional series to remember past books. I think Kathleen Woodiweiss left the most impression on me though - she was my first real romance that got me hooked. Although I did love some of the older authors like Stewart, duMaurier, Eden, Holt, Lindsey etc. Oh and I love Julie Garwood too. (I couldn't possibly list them all lol).

Suzanne Welsh said...

Love your list, Christine!

Here's some of mine:

1. SAVING GRACE, by Julie Garwood (was there any doubt that would head the list?)

2. THE FLAME AND THE FLOWER, by Kathleen Woodiwiss. While many modern day writers feel this is a "rape book", it really did open doors for romance readers and writers that hadn't even been visible before its release.

3. THE STORY OF O. Uhm...yeah

4. MR. PERFECT by Linda Howard. It made me laugh even though it was a mystery.

5. The obscure American historical that made me think, "I can write that story better." yep, made me take up writing.

Beth said...

Wow, I love reading everyone's lists of favorite books! Great topic, Christine *g*

I'm going to be a rebel and list the books that got me hooked on my favorite authors (not counting my fellow Banditas' fabulous books!):

The Magic of You by Johanna Lindsey

The Bride by Julie Garwood

Courting Catherine by Nora Roberts

Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie

Get Lucky by Suzanne Brockmann

All A Man Can Do by Virginia Kantra

All American Girl by Meg Cabot

:-)

Nancy said...

Lynz, congrats on taking home the rooster.

We read a lot of Eva Ibbotson when the boy was younger. She's great!

I'm not familiar with the Attolia series you mentioned. Will have to take a look at it.

Nancy said...

Christine, that's a fabulous list! It's hard for me to come up with particular choices. If a book is on my keeper shelf, it has been or is probably going to be read again and read more than once.

I've read several of Heyer's over and over--Regency Buck, Frederica (my favorite), Charity Girl, The Unknown Ajax (my second favorite), and The Conquerer (my third favorite).

I've read several bandita books twice, including Wicked Little Game.

One of my projects before school is to weed the romance shelves, something I haven't done in about 10 years. Lots of books on there have been read more than once or twice.

Genella deGrey said...

Great post!
My list grows everytime I read a book that touches me - I don't think I could choose only ten.

:)
G.

Nancy said...

Jo, I use Margaret Mitchell in the unit on women writers I do for my 1920s class. GWTW was mostly written during the '20s, while Mitchell was laid up with an injury. Before that, she was a feature reporter, and her columns make for a fascinating contrast with modern women's lives. They also contain some surprising similarities.

And Mitchell was a crusader for better health care for African Americans in Atlanta.

Can you tell I took the tour of her house when RWA was in Atlanta? *g*

Minna said...

Oh, there are so many:
Sharon Sala: Sara's Angel
Nora Robers: The Circle Trilogy
Maggie Shayne: Miranda's Viking
Karen Whiddon: One Eye Closed

Nancy said...

JCP, is Morning Glory, a LaVyrle Spencer? I remember a wonderful book of hers with a title something like that.

Virginia said...

Congrats Lynz on getting the rooster!

Great post, Chritine! You have really pick out the best of the best here. I have a lot of books on my keeper shelf to many to name. Gone With The Wind is one I use to read over but I don't have a copy any more. Reble Temptress by Constance O'Banyon is one I have read several times. I don't seem to have the time to reread books anymore, because there are som many new books to read. But I still have my keepers.

Barbara Monajem said...

I couldn't possibly narrow it down! I have dozens of favorites.

Yes! re Heyer, my all-time comfort read. Venetia's great, as is Devil's Cub, another reformed rake story. I loved The Toll-Gate (love at first sight) and Sylvester (so many funny bits). And many more...

Loretta Chase - Lord Perfect, an absolutely perfect book.

Jenny Crusie - Faking It is my favorite.

Anna Campbell - Claiming the Courtesan - Yes, a chance well taken. I heard about this book because of all the controversy.

Some of my favorite romances are in mysteries -- the Wimsey/Vane romance in the books by Dorothy Sayers, for example. There's a really poignant romance that spans two or three books by Ngaio Marsh. I forget the characters' names, but they're a detective and an artist. I read some of those scenes over and over... And the romance between Campion and Amanda in the Margery Allingham books. I like how some of these mystery romances are so understated -- you might never see an "I love you", but you don't really need it. It's totally obvious from the characters and how they relate.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Lynz, one rooster coming to visit for the day! Batten down the hatches - and the hatchlings! Congratulations!

Anna Campbell said...

Wow, Miss Christine, I'm shocked and flattered and extremely grateful to be included in such a stellar list. THANK YOU! And I notice Miss Jen included CTC too - mwah to you, m'dear!

Actually I love doing lists like these although they're always works in progress, aren't they?

I listed my top 22 romances (yeah, I was greedy. It's actually two lists of 11) way back when I first started doing my favorite things on the website. Here's the link:
http://www.annacampbell.info/fave%20things%20content.html#nov%2006
http://www.annacampbell.info/fave%20things%20content.html#dec%2006

I notice Christine and I share a lot of favorites - mind you, they're the absolute classics so I think they'd appear on a lot of lists.

Anna Campbell said...

Helen, thank you for the mention too! Big sloppy mwah to you too ;-)

Christine, Venetia is my favorite GH too. It's the first one I read after a long break from her - I read her in high school and then didn't pick her up again until I was in my early 30s. I was hooked immediately. He really is the most wonderfully written rake out there!

Anna Campbell said...

Christine, you HAVE to read Eva Ibbotson. She's amazing - and so subtle.

And happy anniversary.

Nancy, I think the Unknown Ajax is my second-favorite Heyer too. Although there's a long line of candidates for that spot!

Anna Campbell said...

Barbara, you're a woman after my own heart (and not just because you mentioned CTC - thank you!). I adore the Harriet and Wimsey romance. It's so beautifully done. Gaudy Night gets a mention on my list. You're thinking of Troy and Alleyn in Ngaio Marsh - lovely books. And it's lovely to see the relationship mature over their many years of marriage - you don't usually get to savor that with a romance but you do with these mystery stories.

Donna MacMeans said...

I'd almost rather list favorite authors rather than favorite books as I love everything some writers write.

I wanted to be the first to add Outlander by Diana Gabaldon to Christine's list - but I see Deb beat me to it (grin). Flame and the Flower - most definitely. Whitney, My Love - one of my all time favorites. But those have all been mentioned.

Let me add - Lion's Lady by Julie Garwood, Candle in the Window by Christina Dodd, Crystal Flame by Jayne Ann Krentz, Tender Rebel by Johanna Lindsey, Fancy Pants by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

Becke Davis said...

I'm with Donna -- it would be far easier to come up with ten favorite authors than ten favorite books, but even then I'd want to break it down by genre and sub-genre!

Christine Wells said...

Hi Jen! Oh, wow, I'm so flattered you put WLG on that list. You are lovely! Thank you.

Christine Wells said...

Llehn, I really enjoyed Bridget Jones, too. I listened to the CD of it when I was pregnant with my first child and thought it was hilarious. I didn't think the movie really captured her character properly, though. She was not fat, she was just obsessed about her weight, and she was actually very witty and sharp even if her neuroses made her do silly things. In the movie, they made her into a buffoon which I didn't think she was in the book.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Helen, I'm so overwhelmed that you listed WLG among those others. Thank you!

Oh, yes, if you have any of mine on the pile please do move them up. You won't regret it!

Christine Wells said...

Hello, Kate! Hey, the great writers borrow and acknowledge.LOL

Sorry to steal your idea but I thought it would be a fun exercise.

Actually, Julia Quinn should be in my list but I'd choose When He Was Wicked. I really loved that book. And you're right, JQ's books are light but never shallow. I think it's the secret of her appeal, besides the witty dialogue, etc etc.

I know you've recommended Goddess of the Spring before and I must read it! Also, The Smoke Thief is one of the most beautifully written romances I've ever read. That should be on my list, too!

Christine Wells said...

LOL, Emmanuelle, so am I! Feel free to make another list, we don't mind!

Christine Wells said...

Buffie, I've never read Julie Garwood. I'm not sure why that is. So many books, too little time! She's definitely on the list of must reads!

Christine Wells said...

Oh, yes, and WUTHERING HEIGHTS should be on that list. Loved that book!! I know that I left off Jane Eyre, too, but it was tainted because I studied it at school and I never grew to like it as much as WH.

Christine Wells said...

Emmanuelle and Helen, I think I'll be doing that all along! Feel free to mention more.

PJ said...

I don't know that I could ever do a consistent Top 10 list. Mine is fluid, changing from month to month. Sometimes day to day! :)
A lot of my favorites are on your list, Christine - Flowers from the Storm, Welcome to Temptation and Shattered Rainbows, just to name a few. To that I'd add:

Saving Grace - Julie Garwood
The Magic of You - Johanna Lindsey
Virgin River - Robyn Carr
Candle in the Window - Christina Dodd
The Duke and I - Julia Quinn

A few exquisitely written, recent releases that I think will stand the test of time on my keeper shelf are:

Untouched - Anna Campbell
Wicked Little Game - Christine Wells
Goddess of the Hunt - Tessa Dare
A Duke of Her Own - Eloisa James

Christine Wells said...

JCP, I re-read old favourites in times of stress, too. There's something very comforting in *knowing* you're going to enjoy a book, isn't there? SEP and Jenny Crusie are great for that.

PJ said...

Happy Anniversary, Christine! I hope you've enjoyed your celebration. Wishing you and your hubby many more years of happiness together.

Christine Wells said...

Jerrica, as I keep bemoaning, DEVIL IN WINTER is one of my keepers that I've lent to someone and never had returned. I hope to be reunited with St Vincent one day:)

Must get the Pink Carnation series. I've always wanted to read that and not got around to it.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Lauire, great top 10! I need to collate these lists. The benefit of doing posts like these is you get so many wonderful recommendations.

Nora should also be on my list. Loved her Blood Brothers series and a hundred others. Also JD Robb--what a power couple in Eve and Roarke!

Christine Wells said...

Susan, thank you for such a beautiful exploration of your influences. I know what you mean about the bad sex. It is very tough to keep a hero looking sexy after that but SEP's hero in Breathing Room is utterly delicious, isn't he? And I agree with you about Phinn!

Yes, I just lapped up the Pagan Stone/Blood Brothers, in fact I was waiting avidly for the next book in the series, which is unusual for me because I'm always so far behind in reading!

Looks like I am going to have to read Julie Garwood, doesn't it?

Christine Wells said...

Woo woo music here, Deb! Why am I not surprised at this? I enjoyed Outlander but I don't think it influenced me as a writer.

And have I mentioned how jealous I am that Liz is your crit partner? Of course, I'm jealous of her that she's yours, also:)

Emmanuelle said...

One of the my "forgotten" favorite romance is The Time traveler's wide. A real tear jerker, I swear I couldn't stop crying with that one. I remember being in bed reading AND crying when DH came in and saw me that way. He got very concerned and asked what was wrong with me. I just said "you can't understand". How right was I !!! He said "you're crying over a BOOK!!!". He keeps teasing me about it btw.
Anyway, although the book in on my keeper shelf I've never been able to bring myself to read it again... way to painful !

Christine Wells said...

Hey, Lois, chat all you want about your favourite books. It's what we're all here for!

Actually, I find lists very hard to make because I'm a Libran and I like all different books for all different moods and reasons, so I understand your dilemma about the Quick books.

Christmas books have never really fallen on my radar. I must try some!

Cassondra said...

Oh, Christine, nooooooooo! I can't do it. Don't make me!

Narrow it to ten? No way.

Lemme try: These are going to be stuff off the top of my head. Some of them are years old and actually influenced me to choose this genre.

1)Suz Brockmann--Prince Joe. This was an early one for her. One of the first SEAL Team Ten, I think.

2)SEP: Ain't She Sweet

3)Anna Campbell: Claiming The Courtesan

4)Jennie Crusie Faking It

5)Catherine Mann, with her Anything, Anywhere, Anytime series

6)Susan Crandall, On Blue Falls Pond

7)Beth Patillo, Princess Charming

8)Celeste Dyer, Fallen

9)Patricia Coughlin, Tall, Dark, and Difficult

10)This is not fair, but I'm going to say it..All the old Silhouette IMs--when the word count was longer. I devoured those books. I think they made me who I am as a writer in this genre.

I could name ten more individuals easily of course. I don't think I'll ever be able to answer this question. I'm the sum total of everything I've ever read, good or not-so-good.

Cassondra said...

Congrats Lynz!

PJ said...

Oh Christine, you definitely need to try some Christmas romances. They're wonderful!

Christine Wells said...

Rose, thanks so much for your thoughts. Did you know Heyer was 17 when she wrote THE BLACK MOTH? 17!! A lot of people don't like it as much as later books, but that scene in the rose arbor when he tells her he has to leave always makes me cry. Love it!

snarky-but-sincere-law-student-turned-galley-slave-turned-professional-gambler

OMG you have me sold on this book already! LOL Another one for the list:)

Christine Wells said...

I think that motif of a young, reckless hero making an error that blights his life is very interesting.

Exactly! I'm writing one of those heroes next.

Christine Wells said...

Jo thanks for the happy anniversary:)

I don't really think it was the historical background of GWTW that grabbed people. I think it was Scarlett. Personally, I am not at all interested in that particular period but her guile and determination and sheer bloody-minded courage had me riveted. I was just amazed and flabbergasted every time she took the selfish path. I was frustrated with her, but I couldn't wait to see what she'd do next. She's one of the best heroines of all time, IMO. Anyone can write a heroine who saves the orphans and make her likeable. It takes real skill to write a heroine like Scarlett and keep readers engaged.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Catslady, wow, I can't imagine not re-reading books. No doubt you are far better at catching up on your TBR pile than I am!

Loved Stewart! I read every book of hers I could get my hands on as a teenager. Must revisit them.

Christine Wells said...

Suz, I have yet to read THE FLAME AND THE FLOWER. I came to romance reading in my twenties, well after the 80s 'old school' romances. I think you're right. The 'rape' books were the first stage in liberating the romance genre. We couldn't possibly have a heroine who *wanted* sex but we let her enjoy it without actually asking for it. The first step toward empowerment. And I say that not having read the book, but I can see the logic in the theory.

The obscure American historical that made me think, "I can write that story better." yep, made me take up writing.

LOL, love it. This is what's so interesting to me about writers' influences. Who do you want to write like and who *don't* you want to write like? Glad you didn't mention any names there.

Christine Wells said...

Thanks, Beth, great list! More reading matter for me.

I think Julie Garwood has been mentioned most often by all the readers here. I really have to get hold of some of her books.

Christine Wells said...

Nancy, it's almost impossible for me to come up with a list, too, but I found it easier to think about what books influenced me as a writer, rather than just a simple top ten and I also limited it to one from each author to make it more interesting.

I'm so flattered you've read WLG twice!

Fascinating about Margaret Mitchell, too. Is it horrible to think she needed a fan like Stephen King's Misery to keep her incapacitated and writing those wonderful books?

Christine Wells said...

Ha, Genelle, I wouldn't have chosen except that Kate asked:) I find it very difficult to compile these lists.

Christine Wells said...

Sorry, that should have been Genella. Sheesh! I need more coffee.

Christine Wells said...

Minna, thanks for the recommendations. I haven't read those so I'm adding them to my list.

Christine Wells said...

Virginia, thanks for commenting. I think I've read GWTW twice. The movie is now more vivid in my mind than the book, which is a bit sad.

Nancy said...

Christine, Happy Anniversary!

The Pink Carnation books are great fun. The present tense narration has a bit of snarky bite to it that I love, and the historical narrative has a milder tone.

I love Christmas books, especially Christmas anthologies. A short story or a novella makes a perfect way to relax between hectic errands.

AvonLadyJerrica said...

Okay, I do have to add one more to my list. Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors. Emmanuelle's comment about The Time Traveler's Wife reminded me of this one. I, too, was bawling my eyes out by the end. Good heavens it's a powerful love story!

-Jerrica

Nancy said...

Christine, I think Mitchell had a broken leg--much less dramatic than an obsessive fan. *g*

I'd look it up, but my school books are boxed for another week or so.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Oh MY God! Christine, do NOT tell me you haven't read at least one JG book? Sighhhhhh, my poor heart is breaking!

My recommendations:
SAVING GRACE
THE BRIDE
THE GIFT
RANSOM
THE WEDDING
PRINCE CHARMING
THEY LYONS LADY

Nancy said...

PJ, I recently read Goddess of the Hunt (like, finished yesterday). While the cover is gorgeous and the title intriguing, what made me pick it up was the sheer volume of raves that have come across in comments on various posts here.

It really was excellent. Lived up to its hype totally. Except now I'm grumpy. Here's another author I'll have to keep watch for, add to my TBR pile, and wait between releases for. So it's a good kind of grumpy but involves much heavy sighing. :-)

Emmanuelle said...

I agree, Julie Garwood medievals are among the best of the genre. If you love medievals she's like... what?... yes a classic !!lol

Christine Wells said...

Hi Barbara, thanks for sharing your favourite Heyers. You mentioned mine, too. I can never decide which I love best, but Sylvester ranks up there, as does Devil's Cub. Vidal is an incomparable hero and gets away with things heroes probably wouldn't today.

I think anyone who likes Heyer would also like Loretta Chase. She has that same kind of wit. And I love the subtlety of romance in those mysteries, too. There is something to be said for the 'show not tell'.

As for Anna Campbell, it isn't easy to remember now a time when courtesan heroines were pretty much verboten. I think some very well-established authors might have done it and I know Diane Gaston's wonderful The Mysterious Miss M was quite groundbreaking -- that came out after Anna had already written CTC, though. For a first time author it was a huge risk to write an unabashed courtesan heroine and such a very tortured very alpha male. Anna and I have been friends for some years now, and I can't tell you how much I admire her talent and her professionalism. She never, ever lost her cool during that horrible controversy. Not once. Now that is a true professional.

Nancy said...

Cassondra, I actually hunted down Prince Joe because I liked those early Brockmanns so much! Catherine Mann is a recent discovery for me, and I went out and bought a boxload of her out of print IMs. Like you, I enjoy the longer books.

Princess Charming was wonderful, and Anna Campbell's CTC really is unique and gut-wrenching.

PJ said...

Nancy, the best part about Tessa Dare's books is that they are being released back to back so you only have to wait until the end of August for Book #2 and the end of Sept. for Book #3. Of course, then we'll have to wait until next year for the next trilogy and that won't be fun at all! lol

Nancy said...

Anna C. and Barbara--Count me among the Wimsey and Campion fans. Lord Peter came into his own for me with Strong Poison. In the earlier books, he was a bit silly for me.

Campion seemed to be in the same vein and also softened around the edges.

Anna, the order of my favorite Heyers changes frequently.

Janga said...

Happy Anniversary, Christine!

For me, the list of books that influenced my writing is easier than my list of favorite books. I have a hard time narrowing the latter to a top 100. :)

Here are the books whose influence I am conscious of in my writing:
1 & 2--Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery and Betsy and Joe by M. H. Lovelace
I read both books when I was 8 or
9,and I loved the family and community connections in both. Even the stories I made up as a child had these two elements, and they still continue to be significant in my writing today.

3. Emilie Loring—Pick any book.
Hers were the first romances I read. I read dozens of them the summer I turned ten, and I unconsciously picked up all kinds of lessons on conflict and sexual tension.

4. The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer
After reading thousands of romances, I still find Sophy an inspiration as an intelligent, assertive heroine, and H/H repartee doesn’t get any better.

5. Nora Roberts’ MacKade and Quinn brothers books
These remain my textbooks for guy talk.

6. Till the Stars Fall by Kathleen Gilles Seidel
This book taught me that pieces of ordinary life could be used in extraordinary ways.

7 & 8. Shattered Rainbows by Mary Jo Putney and Dream a Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
One a historical and one a contemporary, these books assured me that a writer can write about people of faith in romance fiction without writing inspirationals.

9. In the Midnight Rain by Ruth Wind (Barbara Samuel)
This is another of my textbooks, one I study to learn how time and place, past and present can be woven together in complex and compelling ways.

10. Potent Pleasures-A Duke of Her Own (and the fifteen books that come between them) by Eloisa James
These books teach me to trust readers’ intelligence. And I have learned so much about series structure from the Desperate Duchesses series.

Christine Wells said...

Anna, I have to laugh because you would be the one person I know who actually likes making these lists (as opposed to reading other people's) and you would also have a firm hierarchy in your head about which books you included!

I must go back and read THE UNKNOWN AJAX. It's not one I've returned to a lot but tastes change over the years. I was pre-teen when I started reading Heyer.

Actually, that's a great point about getting to see the relationship grow and mature over successive books in the mystery series. I've enjoyed that with Dalgliesh in PD James, too, and I think that's also the appeal of the JD Robb mysteries. I do like my HEAs though!

Nancy said...

But PJ, they're back to back right as I start the school year! *whine* Then, as you say, a year wait for the next. I foresee TBR pile growth, frantic holiday reading, and another author to be impatient about. Still, it's nice to have authors whose books I actually care enough about to watch for.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Donna, isn't it funny the way some reader lists are like Venn Diagrams and others don't collide at all? I don't think I've read any of those books you mentioned except Outlander and Fancy Pants. Must go hunting for more books!

Janga said...

I think the most interesting bit of GWTW trivia is that Mitchell's heroine was first named Pansy. I wonder if the book would have enjoyed such enormous success had MM not changed her heroine's name to Scarlett.

Christine Wells said...

Oops, I've been having too much fun. My 6yo is going to be late for school. See you in a bit!

Maureen said...

I have to agree with many of your choices. I would add By Arrangement by Madeline Hunter, Mrs. Drew Plays Her Hand by Carla Kelly and Winter Garden by Adele Ashworth.

Pat Cochran said...

I agree with selecting authors in
place of books! I find myself liking
all the books by some authors. In fact, I could list all the books
by an author as my "ten favorites"
on one day. Then I could turn about
and list ten by another favorite
on the next day. And that's mainly
authors with a long writing life.
Not counting newer authors like
Anna Campbell, Christine Wells,
Annie West, Olivia Gates, Jenny Lucas, Donna MacMeans, just to
name a few!!

Pat Cochran

Anna Campbell said...

Wow, feelin' the lurve, guys! THANK YOU! I'm wrestling with some sticky rewrites today. This has been so well timed. I'll have to give Madame back one of her kidneys! Thank you so much for that lovely post about me being professional!

Thanks, PJ, for mentioning the green monster! Can't wait to read Tessa's debut. It's had such great buzz.

Hey, thanks, Cassondra, for including CTC on that stellar list!

Janga, love In the Midnight Rain. What a marvellous writer she is.

Thanks, Nancy! Lovely to see you mention CTC too.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Pat, thanks for the mention. That's a pretty starry line-up you're including me in there!

Louisa Cornell said...

Oh now this is just TOO HARD, Christine !! I have entire SETS of top ten romances.

Let me see if I can do it.

1. The Quiet Gentleman - Georgette Heyer

2. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4. Flowers from the Storm - Laura Kinsale

5. Claiming the Courtesan - La Campbell

6. Devil in Winter - Lisa Kleypas

7. Slightly Dangerous - Mary Balogh

8. Untouched - La Campbell

9. The Mysterious Miss M - Diane Gaston

10. The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie - Jennifer Ashley


Okay, I can go on for another ten !!

11. The Dangerous Duke - Christine Wells

12. Simply Love - Mary Balogh

13. Dangerous to Love - Rexanne Bechnel

14. To Sir Phillip with Love - Julia Quinn

15. This Duchess of Mine - Eloisa James

16. The Marriage Bed - Claudia Dain

17. Her Master and Commander - Karen Hawkins

18. Seize the Night - Sherilyn Kenyon

19. The Education of Mrs. Brimley - Donna MacMeans

20. Charming the Prince - Teresa Medeiros

I'll stop at that, but I could go on ALL NIGHT !!

Thanks to all of you published authors who have provided me with hours of comfort and entertainment and kept me from ending up in the white jacket that fastens in the back!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Louisa, you Cadbury addict, you, I think TWO mentions of my opi (opuses?) deserve more Cadbury's next time we meet! Thank you! What a great list! Or two.

Caren Crane said...

Lynz, congrats to you!

JCP, I have re-read "Morning Glory" and "Twice Loved" at least 5 times each. Can't say enough about how deeply Lavyrle Spencer can move a reader. The woman made magic!

Annie West said...

Christine,

What a fabulous list. I've read the first 5 and of course Anna's CTC, which is so deservedly there.

No time for my list (I'm doing revisions, can't you tell?) but had to say how much I loved reading WICKED LITTLE GAME. From the moment you brought your hero and heroine together I was hooked. Marvellous stuff. I know there'll be Christine Wells novels in people's top 10 in years to come.

Annie

Christine Wells said...

Hey, Becke, yes, it is a difficult task. What authors do you think most influence you as a writer, though? I can think of a lot I've learned from each of the authors I listed.

Christine Wells said...

PJ, thank you. You are such a sweetheart to mention WICKED LG in such company!

I always enjoy your reviews so I'm going to have to look for all those books you mentioned. I've read the JQ but not the others. Thank you!

And thanks for the happy anniversary. We had dinner and went to the movies. A lovely evening!

Christine Wells said...

Emmanuelle, have to laugh at your dh not understanding why you'd cry reading a book! I saw they have the movie of THE TIME-TRAVELER'S WIFE coming soon. I think I'd be safer watching it because I can't deal with sad books at the moment!

Christine Wells said...

Hiya, Cassondra, thanks so much for giving me the top ten. It's a very difficult exercise, isn't it? Now I'm going to have to read all these. I've read Ain't She Sweet but that's all... shows you what a diverse genre this is, doesn't it?

Christine Wells said...

PJ, we have plenty of Christmas books and songs for the children but I've never really thought to go into the theme in adult books. I think one of Jo Beverley's books is set around Christmas but that's about all I've read.

Btw, we Australians grow up quite confused about the whole white Christmas thing!

Christine Wells said...

LOL, Nancy, it's just my dreadful imagination running away with me over MM! Don't go hunting for the info on my account:)

Actually, I had the chance to get a copy of Tessa's GOTH at the literacy signing but nobly refrained because I knew I had deadlines and no time to read it yet and she had a very limited number of copies. Many people went away disappointed! But it really is lovely to see a fabulous new writer join the historical ranks. Fresh blood keeps the genre fresh, IMO. I'm really looking forward to reading it once I've handed in my next proposal.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Jerrica, thanks for adding one more--we can never read enough good books. So does Beneath a Marble Sky have a sad ending? I don't mind either way but I like not to build up my hopes in vain:)

Christine Wells said...

Suz, it's an odd thing--maybe it's because of not being from the States, but JG just never fell within my radar, although I admit I've heard her name many times on this blog. Obviously, this must be rectified. I'm going to print out your list. Thanks!!

AvonLadyJerrica said...

No, not sad...more like The Notebook bittersweetness -truly beautiful! You will have to let me know what you think if you read it. :)

Christine Wells said...

Janga, loved your list. Thanks for putting so much thought into it. I know you like lists from reading Vagabonds, so I'm not surprised!

Actually, reading Anne of Green Gables is the first time I remember being conscious of liking romance. I loved Anne and the wonderful world of Green Gables and Avonlea but there was always that extra spark when Gilbert Blythe came onto the page.

And yes, Eloisa is amazing the way she weaves so many people's stories into her series. I love the sophistication of them, too, and that her heroines aren't all ingenues, but have their wits about them.

Sophy is a favourite heroine of mine, too! I love those females who can come in and organize everyone's affairs. I always wanted to be like Sophy.

Christine Wells said...

Oh, that is interesting about Scarlett being called Pansy. Not quite the same ring? But is a rose a rose? I still think the writing would have won out over the name.

Christine Wells said...

Maureen, I love Madeline Hunter's books, too. Not sure if they've influenced my writing in any direct way but MH would be up there in the top of my favourite authors.

Christine Wells said...

Pat, I'm honoured to be mentioned there. And I totally understand about your favourites changing. Thanks for commenting today!

Christine Wells said...

Hi Louisa, thanks so much for the mention. Really, I'm very flattered!

You have some interesting choices there. I would not have suspected THE QUIET GENTLEMAN to be one of your top ten. I understand, though, I think. It has an almost gothic feel to it, doesn't it? Not at all surprised to see Jane Eyre and Anna's books there. I think I can tell the kind of writer you are from that first top ten! Fascinating stuff.

Christine Wells said...

Posh, I'm adding La Vyrle to my list!

Christine Wells said...

Annie, you are a treasure. Thanks so much for the lovely words about WICKED LITTLE GAME and for stopping by when I know you have those revisions. Big hugs!

Christine Wells said...

Thanks, Jerrica. It sounds wonderful.

I should compile this list and put it up, shouldn't I? I might do that when I announce the winner, if I get the time...

Joan said...

Dear Lord...121 comments! Great blog.

Very quickly and off the top of my head....

Any of Nora's Trilogies...The Key, Born In, Irish (Tears of the Moon etc)

Karen Marie Moning's Highlanders series ESPECIALLY Adam Black's story..

Teresa Mederios

I agree with Shanna Abe's Dragon series

Lori Handeland's Moon series

Fantasy Lover (original cover, thank you very much)...the beginning of Sherri's Darkhunters

Oh heck, that whole box I have in my other room that the floodwaters did not get!!!

Christine Wells said...

Hey, Joanie, more great books for me to discover!

I have quite a few authors that people just look at me open-mouthed when I say I haven't read them.

Suz Brockmann is one I'm going to glom, along with Sherrilyn Kenyon. These kinds of books aren't my usual cuppa as a historical gal, but I've heard such wonderful things about them, I'm going to have to give them a try.

Good luck with drying everything out over there, Joanie.

Louisa Cornell said...

I never really thought about it, Christine, but you are SO right. My first top ten does rather peg me as the gothicesque writer I am.

And I DO love The Dangerous Duke. The writing sparkles and the characters are just so real, so very moving.

I haven't read all of WLG yet, but EVERYONE I know is RAVING about it! I say I haven't read all of it because several of my friends are reading it and are constantly shooting passages to me in e-mails saying "You HAVE to read this!"

Christine Wells said...

Louisa, I find that so fascinating and I think it shows you are wonderfully self-aware as a writer. That's a great asset and it can help you hone your skills.

Lovely of you to say about The Dangerous Duke. I appreciate it.

As for the emailing back and forth over WLG, how cool is that? It was an amazing story to write, very emotional. I'm about to start another one in the same vein, having just finished Jardine & Louisa's story from TDD. Really looking forward to it!

Donna MacMeans said...

Louisa & Pat - Thank you so much for listing me in your lists. You know I can mention authors who influenced my writing (and yes, Christina - it was Outlander that got me to try my hand at writing so it was a critical influence), but it's difficult to think that Mrs. Brimley might influence another's. It's really a wonderful compliment. Thank you.

Lynz Pickles said...

Thanks to everyone who congratulated me. I made him listen to me talk about romance novels, since anytime I try to talk to the people I know in real life about them, they get an "I'm going to kill you if you talk about romance novels" look in their eyes. They're listened to me babble about them too many times to have any patience left at this point. He also watched SYTYCD with me - WOW, THE PASA DOBLE! (Just saying.)

Kate: Good job remembering Bitten. I can't believe I forgot it! It's one of the books I use as a standard for judging other paranormals.

Suzanne Welsh: Hey, The Story of O is a classic for a reason! And while I absolutely despise The Flame and the Flower I agree with you that it deserves credit for the doors it opened for writers everywhere. Also, I love you fifth point. I've read books I found inspiring simply because they ruined good ideas and made me think about how I would've written them and developed the characters myself.

Barbara and Cassondra: yes! Someone else who loves Faking It! Almost everyone else I've talked to thinks it's only so-so, but I love it to bits.

PJ said: A few exquisitely written, recent releases that I think will stand the test of time on my keeper shelf are:

Untouched - Anna Campbell
Wicked Little Game - Christine Wells
Goddess of the Hunt - Tessa Dare

Seconded.

Nancy: I'm happy you liked Goddess so much, especially given that I'm one of the ones who's been raving about it. And a true reason to rejoice is that Surrender of a Siren is really, really good, too!

limecello said...

Hm a top 10? Dreaming of You - Lisa Kleypas, Devil in Winter - LK, That Scandalous Evening - Christina Dodd, Lost in Your Arms, CD, Kiss an Angel - SEP, Heaven, Texas - SEP, Breathing Room- SEP, Bet Me- Jennifer Crusie. The McCloud brother books by Shannon McKenna, as well as her MacNamara novellas. :P That's more than 10. Ohhhh well :D

Of course the list goes on...

Christine Wells said...

Donna, it is a weird feeling, isn't it? But a good one:)

I never knew Outlander spurred you to write. We can all be doubly thankful for Jamie and Clare!

Christine Wells said...

Lynz, Faking It is probably my second favourite Crusie, I think. It's a novel that makes me remember that piece of writing advice that every character is the protagonist of their own story--everyone in that book is thoroughly motivated and acting to achieve their own goals, and it all ties up at the end brilliantly. I love that kind of book!

Christine Wells said...

Hey, Lime, we share a lot of the same favourites! I'm making a note of the couple I haven't read.

RachieG said...

How wonderful is it that I've read every book on the list except Ms. Well's? The Loretta Chase book is my favorite!

rachie2004 @ yahoo (dot) com

flchen1 said...

Man, I kept putting off commenting today, Christine, because I'm not sure I can get it down to 10, plus looking at everyone else's lists reminds me of all the books either on the TBR or that I need to add to the TBR! ;) (As if I'm not in danger of being crushed already!)

How about a handful that currently come to mind?
- SEP's Ain't She Sweet
- Jennifer Crusie's Welcome to Temptation and/or Faking It
- Sarah Mayberry's Anything for You and/or Can't Get Enough
- Julia Quinn's The Duke and I and/or To Sir Phillip With Love
- Loretta Chase's Mr. Impossible
- Tamera Alexander's Rekindled

Yikes--totally not easy!

Christine Wells said...

Hi RachieG. Thanks for dropping in. Sounds like we have similar taste. I love all of Loretta Chase's books but LOS is especially magical, I think.

Christine Wells said...

Fedora, it's the root-cause of all romance-related injuries, that tottering TBR pile:)

Thanks for your handful! I know it's a struggle to decide. Even there, you've listed 2 I haven't read, so I'm interested to read them.

Lynz Pickles said...

Something I probably should've mentioned earlier about The Queen's Thief: I've heard a lot of people say they had a hard time with the first book because it's written in a younger voice than the other two. I didn't have this problem at all, but I was in middle school the first time I read it, and by the time I started re-reading it I already loved it. The romance element starts in the second book, but the first one establishes the setting, characters, etc. without feeling like doing so is its only purpose - huzzah! - and as such, it's really rather important to read it. So if anyone says to themselves, Well, Lynz recommended this series, so I should read it (and you know you all will, because I'm just soooo fantastic) but ends up hating the first book and wanting to not finish it, SUCK IT UP AND KEEP READING! RAWR!

flchen1 said: Sarah Mayberry's Anything for You

Ooh, I forgot that one! It's the best contemporary friends-to-lovers I've ever read.

Christine Wells said...

LOL, Lynz, you have such a way with words.

Actually, that reminds me a little of the Harry Potter series. They get more complex as they go along. When I started the first in the series I really wondered what the fuss was about.

I've heard fantastic things about Sarah Mayberry. I'm a danger to myself, aren't I, seeking all these recommendations.

Lynz Pickles said...

I'm a danger to myself, aren't I, seeking all these recommendations.

Only if you want to be able to move around in your house. Because if you're okay with spending the rest of your life just sitting in a comfy chair and slowly lowering the height your TBR pile until it's safe to walk again without worrying the books will fall down and knock you out, it's not a problem at all! I had a friend in high school whose father sold second-hand books (or something, I don't quite remember) and her house literally had piles of books higher than your head. Many of them. It was both thrilling and terrifying to visit her.

Christine Wells said...

Lynz, my CP's husband is a wine reviewer for our state newspaper and they have the same problem with bottles of wine!

She's a great friend to have...hic!