Monday, September 18, 2006

Ignorant Me

I started reading romance in 1999 and almost immediately jumped into reviewing. This means there are many (and I mean many) "classics" and beloved authors I've never read. So don't be too shocked while you're going over my commentary on AAR's Top 100 Romances Poll (last done in 2004). Since a lot of other bloggers have been doing it, I thought I'd join in - but it really highlights the holes in my romance reading background. So I'm looking for advice. Which books do I have to read? Keeping in mind that you'll probably never convince me to try some of these authors (but I promise to listen to your opinion for what that's worth). Here it goes:

1) Lord Of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase - Uh, I think I might have this in the TBR.

2) Flowers From The Storm by Laura Kinsale - Gave up after 150 pages. Frankly, watching grass grow would have been less boring.

3) Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie - Never read this author (pick yourself up now), don't own any of her books.

4) As You Desire by Connie Brockway - In the TBR.

5) Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie - See #3.

6) Dreaming Of You by Lisa Kleypas - Hold yourself back KristieJ. Haven't read it, don't own it.

7) Outlander by Diana Gabaldon - Will never read. Besides the fact that it's 7000 pages long, I hear Gabaldon suffers from verbal diarrhea. Hey, if I wanted to learn about Scotland's flora and fauna I'd pick up a botany book.

8) Over the Edge by Suzanne Brockmann - Never read author, don't own any of her books. I make no apologies for this. Brockmann is a very nice lady but her "fans" scare the crap out of me.

9) All Through the Night by Connie Brockway - In the TBR.

10) Sea Swept by Nora Roberts - Haven't read it, not in the TBR.

11) It Had To Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips - Never read author, don't own any of her books.

12) A Summer to Remember by Mary Balogh - Haven't read this one, not in TBR.

13) Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer - Le sigh, I've never read this author and have none of her books in my TBR.

14) The Proposition by Judith Ivory - In the TBR.

15) A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught - Never read this author, none of her books are in the TBR.

16) Ravished - Never read this author (OK, I have as Jayne Ann Krentz), this book not in TBR.

17) Frederica by Georgette Heyer - Yes, I've never read Heyer. No, I have none of her books in the TBR.

18) Mrs. Drew Plays Her Hand by Carla Kelly - In the TBR.

19) MacKenzie's Mountain by Linda Howard - Haven't read this one, not in TBR.

20) Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard - Listened to on audio and frankly didn't get the sheer majesty of it. Enjoyed the beginning with all the women bitching over happy hour, but after that? Eh.

21) The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer - See #17

22) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - Haven't read and frankly never will. If I wanted to spend my free time reading Austen I'd go back to college.

23) The Bride by Julie Garwood - Have never read this author (I know, I know). None of her books are in the TBR.

24) Devil's Bride by Stephanie Laurens - Have never read this author, none of her books are in the TBR.

25) To Have and To Hold by Patricia Gaffney - Have never read this author, none of her books are in the TBR.

26) Born in Fire by Nora Roberts - The heroine got on my nerves more than once, but yummy hero. Rated it a B.

27) Winter Garden by Adele Ashworth - In the TBR.

28) Gone Too Far by Suzanne Brockmann - See #8

29) The Viscount Who Loves Me by Julia Quinn - Another author I've never read and I have none of her books in the TBR. And is it just me or are her fans starting to resemble Brockmann's fans? As in, more than a little rabid?

30) Saving Grace by Julie Garwood - See #23

31) My Dearest Enemy by Connie Brockway - I read this one ages ago and remember zilch about it. I do vaguely recall liking it well enough though - so probably a B.

32) In the Midnight Rain by Ruth Wind - In the TBR.

33) The Windflower by Laura London - Never read this author, this book not in TBR.

34) Naked in Death by J.D. Robb - Listened to it on audio and found it pleasant enough. Just not enough to slog through the next 75 books in this series.

35) Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught - See #15

36) Nobody's Baby But Mine by SEP - See #11

37) A Knight In Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux - Read this one in high school (that's dating myself) and wasn't pissed off over the ending. In fact, I liked it.

38) Paradise by Judith McNaught - See #15

39) The Shadow and the Star by Laura Kinsale - Have it in the TBR, but not anxious to get to it due to #2.

40) Dream Man by Linda Howard - Haven't read it, don't have it in TBR.

41) Out of Control by Suzanne Brockmann - See #8

42) Silk and Shadows by Mary Jo Putney - Haven't read it, don't own it.

43) See Jane Score by Rachel Gibson - Haven't read it, don't own it.

44) Shattered Rainbows by Mary Jo Putney - Haven't read it, don't own it.

45) Thunder and Roses byMary Jo Putney - Haven't read it, don't own it.

46) The Duke and I by Julie Quinn - See #29

47) Heart Throb by Suzanne Brockmann - Le sigh, see #8

48) For My Lady's Heart - Haven't read it, don't own it.

49) Honor's Splendor by Julie Garwood - See #23

50) Lord Carew's Bride by Mary Balogh - Haven't read it, don't own it.

51) Untie My Heart by Judith Ivory - In the TBR.

52) Dream a Little Dream by SEP - See #11

53) The Secret by Julie Garwood - See #23

54) This Is All I Ask by Lynn Kurland - Would have been a keeper if it had been 100 pages shorter. As it is, I found it too repetitive and the heroine started getting on my nerves. Final grade was somewhere around the C+ range.

55) Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh - Haven't read it, don't own it.

56) One Perfect Rose by Mary Balogh - Haven't read it, don't own it.

57) To Love and to Cherish by Patricia Gaffney - See #25

58) Kiss an Angel by SEP - Enough already. See #11.

59) Heaven, Texas by SEP - Do I really have to say it?

60) Venetia by Georgette Heyer - See #17

61) Daughter of the Game by Tracy Grant - Haven't read it, don't own it.

62) The Prize by Julie Garwood - Deja vu, see #23

63) Reforming Lord Ragsdale by Carla Kelly - I think this one is in the TBR. Maybe. I'm missing a couple of Kelly's and this might be one of them.

64) Prince Joe by Suzanne Brockmann - See #8

65) The Notorious Rake by Mary Balogh - Haven't read it, don't own it.

66) Heartless by Mary Balogh - Haven't read it, don't own it.

67) Son of the Morning by Linda Howard - Haven't read it, don't own it.

68) Sleeping Beauty by Judith Ivory - Haven't read it, don't own it.

69) Where Dreams Begin by Lisa Kleypas - Haven't read it, don't own it.

70) The Devil's Cub by Georgette Heyer - See #17

71) The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons - Haven't read it, don't own it, no interest.

72) The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegar - Haven't read it, don't own it, no interest.

73) With This Ring by Carla Kelly - In the TBR

74) The Lion's Lady by Julie Garwood - See #23

75) The Rake by Mary Jo Putney - Haven't read it, don't own it.

76) Fallen From Grace by Laura Leone - Loved it, although I traded my copy to Sybil. Really need to buy another copy.

77) Always to Remember by Lorraine Heath - In my TBR. I know, I know.

78) Castles by Julie Garwood - OK, I'm sick of seeing her name already. See #23.

79) One Good Turn by Carla Kelly - In the TBR.

80) Chesapeake Blue by Nora Roberts - Haven't read it, don't own it.

81) By Arrangement by Madeline Hunter - Haven't read it, don't own it.

82) Perfect by Judith McNaught - Shoot me already, see #15

83) My Darling Caroline by Adele Ashworth - Was I the only one annoyed by the appearance of the kid? Knocked my grade down to an A-.

84) The Defiant Hero by Suzanne Brockmann - Argh, see #8

85) The Unsung Hero by Suzanne Brockmann - Now honestly.

86) Guilty Pleasures by Laura Lee Guhrke - In the TBR and scared as hell to read it since it's the first book she wrote after getting eaten alive by the Avon monster.

87) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - See #22

88) Kill and Tell by Linda Howard - Haven't read it, don't own it.

89) After the Night by Linda Howard - See #88

90) More Than a Mistress by Mary Balogh - In the TBR

91) Born in Ice by Nora Roberts - Loved this one. Best in the trilogy although I have an extreme soft spot for the hero of Born In Shame.

92) Miss Wonderful by Loretta Chase - Haven't read it, don't own it.

93) The Charm School by Susan Wiggs - Hey, I liked it but nowhere near her best historical (that would be The Firebrand - although I still have oodles of her books in my TBR).

94) Scoundrel by Elizabeth Elliott - Haven't read it, don't own it.

95) How to Marry a Marquis by Julia Quinn - See #29

96) Angel Rogue by Mary Jo Putney - Haven't read it, don't own it.

97) Trust Me by Jayne Ann Krentz - Listened to it on audio. It was OK.

98) Dancing on the Wind by Mary Jo Putney - Do you think she's on this list enough times? Geez. Haven't read this one, don't own it.

99) Once and Always by Judith McNaught - See #15

100) This Heart of Mine by SEP - Again, see #11

Is it just me or is list comprised of like 4 authors? I really need to dig through my own private keeper stash and highlight some of my favorites. Seriously, while I haven't read Guilty Pleasures by Laura Lee Gurhke - the fact that her early books Breathless and To Dream Again aren't on the list is just plain wrong. But that's just me.


Rosie said...

Wendy, I chuckled when I read your list. Alot of these books are early early or mid 90s books. I've read a few of the books on the list and didn't find them to be all that.

However, if I were to recommend anyone one author from the list it would be Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I really enjoy her books and they stand up when being re-read.

From the list NOBODY'S BABY BUT MINE would be my pick. However, I really liked her book HONEY MOON as well.

Kristie (J) said...

LOL at the number of them you haven't read. The first book I'd recommend is just to obvious to mention *g*. Now let's see what else
Lord of Scoundrels - most excellent choice
In the Midnight Rain
Morning Glory
See Jane Score - since I know you like sports (I'm not a big fan of SEP - that's why I don't recommend her that often although I know a lot of people love her)
Always to Remember - since that's the closest there is to a Western. And what's up with that that there aren't any???
Thunder & Roses
Those would be my picks for you to try

C2 said...

I second (well, third, actually) suggesting Susan Elizabeth Phillips. :o) My faves of hers are Heaven Texas and Lady Be try HT since it's on the list.

I'll also second Kristie on recommending Dreaming of You (I'll be obvious for her) and Lord of Scoundrels.

I would also recommend giving Suzanne Brockmann a try - don't let the SUZealots scare you off! They're scary because her books are so good. Over the Edge is a good one to start with, even though it is a few books into the series. And try Welcome to Temptation - it is my fave of Jenny's books. Finally, to balance out a bit, I really liked The Proposition and The Windflower is wonderful.

Amie Stuart said...

I won't rag over the fact you haven't read some of my fave authors since I, too, haven't read Jenifer Cruise or Lisa Kleypas. I have to agree w/Rosie, SEP gets a huge recommendation from me too--she's one of my few auto-buys.

I actually have Lord of Scoundrels in my TBR pile but I also have some of these in my "glommed but decided never to read so I'm giving away" pile. And some I read so long ago (Kinsale) I don't remember reading. As for AKISA, I read it in HS too and I still have my first edition, first printing hardcover.

Tara Marie said...

Holy god, what the heck have you been reading??--LOL

Must try authors/books:

Lavryle Spencer, I think you'll like her books, she writes Americana.

Nora's Chesapeake series

Linda Howard, fangirl here at least give her a try.

Wintergarden, great gook, if you liked My Darling Caroline you should like this one.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Garwood's Honor Splendor

Mary Jo Putney's older stuff, my favorite is The Rake.

I say attempt them, some may surprise you.

Tara Marie said...

yikes, great gook--LOL.

Wendy said...

Holy god, what the heck have you been reading??--LOL

And Tara says what everyone else is thinking. I've been reading a ton of midlist and debut authors - that's what I've been reading. Also, I tend to read by plot description first - so a lot of these books I haven't tried because for one reason or another the back cover blurb didn't grab me. For instance, I've read Putney & Balogh before - just none of the titles on this list, LOL.

The more I think about it the more I'm not surprised that I haven't read more of these. After all, the same 4 authors appear on this list over and over again. It's not like this list is terribly ecclectic (that's just me though). Like Kristie said, where the heck are the westerns? You can't tell me that at least one book in Lorraine Heath's Texas trilogy shouldn't be on this list somewhere.

And Linda Howard - you're really going to have to sell her. I found Mr. Perfect merely "OK" and most readers tend to gush over that one. And I gave up on Dying To Please due to lack of interest.

redwyne said...

morning glory! Read that! Sez I!

I like garwood but I am a flake like that... Haven't read SEP or Brockman either... hmm no crusie but I do have some tbr!

LOL maybe I will do the list now that even I look good next too you ;).

But I agree there should be a cap on the number of times an author can appear. And FFtS? blech...

Amie Stuart said...

Wendy I loved Old Linda Howard but I never had any luck with New Linda Howard (though I do have the first perosn chick litty one sitting in my tbr pile)

Zeek said...

Old Linda Howard, I pimp her old stuff all the time. (And the others on the list are older than Mr. Perfect so you're clear with any of those!)

I totally agree with #2. I don't get the fangrrrl love on this one. Boooring.

And I too was not annoyed with the ending of A knight in shining Armor. You know some stories get lost after I close the book, THAT one will always stick with me.

cam said...

I'm also a librarian who began reading romance in 1999, but I've read almost everything on the list. You should definitely read the Mary Balogh and Carla Kelly titles, as well as those by Judith Ivory, Jennifer Crusie and Ruth Wind. Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase and Ravished by Amanda Quick are both in my all time top five. I don't think Ruth Wind has written anything that is not worth reading, but I have mixed feelings about SEP. Kiss an Angel is great, and some of her football stories (I love Nobody's Baby but Mine), but her later books get very preachy. I've never really enjoyed Suzanne Brockmann or Nora Roberts.

Jean L. Cooper said...

My recommendations:

The Devil's Cub, The Nonesuch, and The Unknown Ajax by Georgette Heyer (I LOVED these. Heyer's books are so rich in detail that I read them again and again.)

Manhunting & Strange Bedpersons by Jennifer Crusie (Strange Bedpersons has the single funniest scene I've EVER read in a novel)

Match Me If You Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

I preferred Mistress by Amanda Quick (Jayne Ann Krentz) better than Ravished.

Evanne Lorraine said...

Given that you don't enjoy Regency - Peek at Heyer someday when you're feeling super tolerant - IMHO she does it best.

Brockmann deserves those rabid fans at least some of the time - SEP deserves her status even more of the time.

Morning Glory is my favorite of Spencer's work and that's a giant recommendation.

Rachel Gibson makes me smile the whole way through her stories.

Lorraine Heath does deserve to be on the list.

Nora Roberts did a western - Lawless - I liked it.

My favorite Crusie - not on this list - Anyone But You.

Hours of happy reading.