It had been a LONG time since I read a romance, and I was pretty sure things had changed over the years. I was a big fan of Georgette Heyer, but Regencies take too much research. I love to read them, but I'd never know enough details to write them. So when I want a Regency, I turn to Julia Donner's Friendship Series instead. And yes, the new Regencies have the same basic mannerisms and wit as the old ones, but everything changes over time--including writing styles.
For contemporary romance, I read Catherine Bybee. And I picked the right author to study. Her Weekday Brides series has just the right mix for me. Characters with depth. Solid plots. And good writing. I just finished Single by Saturday, and I was suprised by the serious subplots and unique twist she added to the good, old, basic romance plot. I highly recommend that book. And if you're a writer, remember that what authors did ten or fifteen years ago might be wonderful, but they might not sell today. Be sure to read what's out there now, too.