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Old 05-21-2008, 10:23 PM
Cisco is offline
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Best Romance novels


I can't believe I'm writing this . . .

I've read 2 romance novels in my life - not Danielle Steele, Fabio topless on the cover, old lady porn - but found in the romance section nonetheless. They were Kane and Abel and The Healer.

I've got to admit, I really liked both of them. No, they're not Tolstoy, or Hemmingway, or - let's be honest - even Grisham, but I liked them for the same reasons I like Desperate Housewives: they're fast-paced, mindless, easily digestible entertainment. I found myself, in both books, reading 100+ pages in a sitting, where I normally read 40-60 pages per sitting in a good regular novel, and maybe half that in a good non-fiction book.

As embarassing as it is to ask, I don't want to miss out on some good fun for the sake of being a manly man or a literary snob. So bring 'em on, cheap paperbacks - "Romance" novels for lack of a better term, but I'm not going to be nitpicky about it.

Last edited by Cisco; 05-21-2008 at 10:26 PM.
  #2  
Old 05-22-2008, 09:10 AM
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No one's going to own up to reading romances except me?

I took a look at the two you linked, to see what kind of romances you had liked (as the genre actually covers about about 20 genres). The first one... that's a romance? I totally didn't get that from the description. It's probably a contemporary, I guess, which isn't something I read a lot of. So no suggestions for another one in that style.

The second one, as a paranormal, I'm on firmer ground with. I would try out Christine Feehan's Ghostwalker series, which is up to six or seven books. She's best known for her vampire series, but I'm finding that this one is holding together better, and her writing is showing more maturity.

The series is about a scientist who experiments on orphaned girls to develop methods to cause psychic powers. The Ghostwalkers are the soldiers that he later applies the same techniques to. After his murder, the truth about his human experimentation comes out to his daughter and the Ghostwalkers, and the series turns into a mystery about the elaborate governmant conspiracy around his work. And of course, along the way the Ghostwalkers rescue various former victims of his from a variety of situations, and of course as happens in these things, one of the soldiers and one victim fall in love per book. (Particularly gruesome, I thought, was the girl who was repeatedly given cancer and cured, just because the evil scientist didn't like her.)
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Old 05-22-2008, 09:44 AM
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You consider Jeffrey Archer a romance novelist? This was in the romance section? Huh?

I guess I have a totally different perception of what "romance" is...

Last edited by Skara_Brae; 05-22-2008 at 09:45 AM.
  #4  
Old 05-22-2008, 11:44 AM
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I'm not one for the bodice-rippers, but if you want a fiesty heroine, a red-headed Scot, time travel, a healthy dose of Scottish history during Jacobean times, and scenes that will make you laugh and cry...then you need Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.

I've seen her books in both the romance and sci-fi sections, but she's more romance. Trust me...read Outlander, and you'll be hunting for the rest of the series.
  #5  
Old 05-22-2008, 11:52 AM
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Would The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough, 1978) be considered a RN? Romance fiction perhaps, but it was a good, and at times 'lusty', read. Other than that, I soooo got nuthin'.

Last edited by lieu; 05-22-2008 at 11:52 AM.
  #6  
Old 05-22-2008, 11:55 AM
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Neither of the books mentioned in the OP are traditional romance. I've read Kane and Abel and other books like that, but I don't know how to describe them. Maybe "family saga"? Healer sounds like a coming of age story with paranormal overtones.

But since you liked Kane and Abel, you'd probably like Celebrity by Thomas Thompson, or anything by Irwin Shaw and John O'Hara. Or The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough -- lots of romance there, and a meaty story.
  #7  
Old 05-22-2008, 12:45 PM
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Top 100 Romance Novels


I read Romance novels for cough 20 years. All genres with Regency being my home base overall quickly followed by contemporary story lines. ( Westerns, US Civil War and anything set in Scotland...blergh!!!) There is some very good writing out there and there is some utter crap. 90% is meh.

The above list is a good place to start.




Strangely enough, I cannot even pick up a book in this genre anymore. I've reached my saturation point and I've been all over the freaking book map since trying to find my reading identity.


I fully expect to fall off the wagon any time soon now that I've written this.

Last edited by Shirley Ujest; 05-22-2008 at 12:47 PM.
  #8  
Old 05-22-2008, 12:46 PM
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2007 Top romance books.

Jane Austen is still kickin' ass after all these years.




Schweet!
  #9  
Old 05-22-2008, 12:56 PM
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What, no one's owning up to reading romances of the traditional bodice-ripper variety? (ETA: Except Shirley!)

I will! I'm not ashamed! I read worse shit than this, believe me!

I'm not usualy into paranormal romance, but I really enjoyed the early books in Christine Feehan's Carpathian series, starting with Dark Prince. After a dozen books, though, she really seemed to be reaching for new heroes, heroines, and plots. (No surprise, I guess.) Plus the profusion of characters just became too convoluted. I thought the last one but one, Dark Celebration, was complete shit, and it's the last of the series I personally will read. But I would still recommend the series (or at least the first part of it) to a person who was new to it.

Same exact comments and caveats for Sherrilyn Kenyon's Darkhunter series.

I really like the Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn. It's a Regency series, quite fizzy and humorous, not purporting to be terribly historically accurate yet she still refrains from having the characters say jarrringly inappropriate things like "Okay!" The Bridgertons are a set of eight siblings that she marries off in mostly chronological order, one per book. My favorite book is Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, despite the crappy title, though you really should read them in order.

I also like Mary Jo Putney, though she can be kind of hit or miss IMO. Some of her stuff is great, and some is not so. My favorite is The Rake.

There are a number of authors I used to really enjoy (Catherine Coulter, Julie Garwood, Amanda Quick, and Elizabeth Lowell, to name four), who have followed the publishing trend and moved away from writing classic light sexy romance to writing harder-edged "suspense" romance with more violence -- government agent hero teams with beautiful scientist heroine to track down serial killer who is out to kill her, strewing bodies through the book in the meantime. That sort of book is not my cup of tea, so I can't recommend anything by those authors after, say, 2000. But if you like that type of thing, you might check out their newer stuff as well.

As far as I can tell these are the current trends in romance:

1. Moving to the light fiction: "madcap modern single woman in the city"-type book, a/k/a Chick Lit.
2. Moving to sci fi: so-called paranormal romance -- vampires are big, pyschic powers are big, dragons are big.
3. Moving to erotica: harder core sex with less plot -- really a new breed of women-targeted written porn masquerading as "romance."
4. Moving to suspense: more violent "damsel in distress" books and/or "hero and heroine team up to catch a murderer" books.

As it happens, none of these are my personal genre faves, so I'm reading less romance than I used to, but I'm always in the market for a good one if anyone has any recommendation.

Last edited by Jodi; 05-22-2008 at 12:58 PM.
  #10  
Old 05-22-2008, 01:09 PM
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Crap.


I'm off the wagon.

I just ordered a couple of books via my library that looked good.


Currently, I am doing a vanity search for epistalatory goodness that I have rambled on about ReaLLy G00d Romance Novels....eleventy One!

I've gummed up the search here, so I apologize.
  #11  
Old 05-22-2008, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jodi
What, no one's owning up to reading romances of the traditional bodice-ripper variety? (ETA: Except Shirley!)

I will! I'm not ashamed! I read worse shit than this, believe me!


I also like Mary Jo Putney, though she can be kind of hit or miss IMO. Some of her stuff is great, and some is not so. My favorite is The Rake.

The Rake is excellent.
  #12  
Old 05-22-2008, 01:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jodi
What, no one's owning up to reading romances of the traditional bodice-ripper variety? (ETA: Except Shirley!)
I OD'd on them in my 20's -- gothics, mostly -- hundreds of gothics.

I have fond memories of the Angelique series by Sergeanne Golon. Angelique went through it all -- Barbara pirates, royalty, the Americas, witch hunts, all of it. I'd like to reread them to see how they hold up, but they're OOP, my library doesn't have them, and Amazon sellers are asking collector prices for the paperbacks.
  #13  
Old 05-22-2008, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jodi
As far as I can tell these are the current trends in romance:

1. Moving to the light fiction: "madcap modern single woman in the city"-type book, a/k/a Chick Lit.
2. Moving to sci fi: so-called paranormal romance -- vampires are big, pyschic powers are big, dragons are big.
3. Moving to erotica: harder core sex with less plot -- really a new breed of women-targeted written porn masquerading as "romance."
4. Moving to suspense: more violent "damsel in distress" books and/or "hero and heroine team up to catch a murderer" books.

As it happens, none of these are my personal genre faves, so I'm reading less romance than I used to, but I'm always in the market for a good one if anyone has any recommendation.
1. Chick Lit is not romance.

3. I really have to take exception to this. I strenuously object to this point all fronts, in fact. First, "women-targetted written porn" is so demeaning to the authors, the readers, and the publishers. I more or less completely disagree with the classification, but even if it were true, there's a certain moral judgment you're making here that isn't fair. Even if it were porn, what's wrong with it? And why modify that with "women-targeted"? Because that's another way to completely dismiss it? I mean, I could write pages and pages about why I find that troubling, and it's an ongoing debate in the romance community, but ultimately, I don't even think it's accurate. It is extremely possible (and common) for a book to have explicit sex (and a lot of it including kink) while still having characterization, plot, and the romance. There are more erotic books out there that don't claim to be romance, but erotic romance novels do meet all the requirements of the romance genre. I'm not saying they're all well written. I'm not saying this should be your cup of tea. I'm just saying it's rather harsh and unnecessarily judgmental to dismiss an entire subgenre as "just" porn for women--as though you can't get any more worthless than that.

4. Damsel in distress books? Not in my experience. I think that the current trend is towards "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" style action-heroines. Sure there are still some "too stupid to live" heroines and moments, but generally it's no longer popular to have the heroine be a helpless damsel.

I'd offer suggestions, but lately I pretty much only read gay erotic romance.

Last edited by pepperlandgirl; 05-22-2008 at 01:16 PM.
  #14  
Old 05-22-2008, 01:38 PM
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Found it

And a previous vanity search gushing about the genre







I'm such a spaz.
  #15  
Old 05-22-2008, 01:41 PM
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Jane Eyre. Seriously. It's a great romance. Pride and Prejudice, too.
  #16  
Old 05-22-2008, 01:45 PM
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I don't read a lot of romance, but like ivylass, I adore Diana Gabaldon. I've also recently been reading Georgette Heyer's Regency romances, and those are great.

I've read several paranormal romances (Sherrilyn Kenyon, Lynsay Sands, Karen Moning, Katie McAlister) and they're very formulaic. When I was new to the formula they were entertaining, but they got old pretty fast, and I didn't really enjoy the last few that I tried. I need to look over Shirley's list for something new.
  #17  
Old 05-22-2008, 02:02 PM
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You know, it kind of pisses me off when people presume to "correct" my opinion with their own.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pepperlandgirl
1. Chick Lit is not romance.
Sorry, you'll have to show me your credentials as Grand Decider Of What Falls Into What Genre. Besides which, my point was not that one is the other, but that AFAICT the trend in romance (as a genre) is to be edging into other genres, cf. Romance edging into Chick Lit.

Quote:
3. I really have to take exception to this. I strenuously object to this point all fronts, in fact.
Object away; I don't really care. I never said you had to share my opinion.

Quote:
First, "women-targetted written porn" is so demeaning to the authors, the readers, and the publishers.
Since you don't know what specific books I'm talking about, I fail to see how you could possibly take it upon yourself to be "demeaned" for the authors, readers, and publishers. If you disagree that books with less plot and more hardcore sex are not in fact edging into porn, that's of course your perogative, but once again your opinion does not make mine incorrect.

Quote:
I more or less completely disagree with the classification, but even if it were true, there's a certain moral judgment you're making here that isn't fair. Even if it were porn, what's wrong with it?
I'm fairly sure I never said there was anything wrong with it. I never said it was "demeaning." I never said it I "dismissed" it. I never presumed to make a "moral judgment" of it. I guess I don't care if you want to import a big bunch of baggage into the discussion from someplace else but I will insist that you own it as your own baggage, instead of assigning it to me, and that you carry it yourself.

Quote:
It is extremely possible (and common) for a book to have explicit sex (and a lot of it including kink) while still having characterization, plot, and the romance.
And it is also extremely possible (and common) for a book to have explicit sex while NOT having very good characterization, plot, or romance -- or sacrificing one or more of those elements for more, and more explicit sex. So what is it you're objecting to: My characterizing at least some of those books as "porn"? If you find that term particularly pejorative -- I do not -- feel free to substitute "erotica." The fact that some of it is aimed at women? I think that's pretty much beyond argument, and I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing. Why should the boys get all the good porn? But you are are not effectively rebutting my argument that some romance -- SOME, not ALL -- is trending in that direction; you're making it.

Quote:
There are more erotic books out there that don't claim to be romance, but erotic romance novels do meet all the requirements of the romance genre. I'm not saying they're all well written. I'm not saying this should be your cup of tea. I'm just saying it's rather harsh and unnecessarily judgmental to dismiss an entire subgenre as "just" porn for women--as though you can't get any more worthless than that.
Again, you are reading dismissiveness and judgmentalism into my post that pretty obviously was not there. "Romance trending to erotica" was only one trend I cited, the others being romance trending to chick lit, sci fi, and suspense. Was I dismissive and judgmental in noting those trends as well, and in the exact same way? Obviously not. So whatever has your panties in a deep twist over merely asserting that at least some modern romance is trending towards erotica/porn, I don't think you can blame me for it. But that trend is based on personal observation and I will stand by it as my opinion. You're free to have your own of course, you're just not free to read so much into mine before informing me I'm wrong.
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Old 05-22-2008, 02:23 PM
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What as my panties in a "deep twist" is the fact that, whether you meant to or not, your post reflected the sort of language routinely used to dismiss authors, publishers, and readers in several circles and for the past several decades. People don't read romance novels, even if they might enjoy them, because they're all viewed as "just" bodice-rippers for lonely or frustrated housewives. The implication being that romance novels have nothing to offer a thoughtful person because A)there's no thoughtful content because it's just "wank" material and B)it doesn't matter because it's not targeted to a thoughtful audience. I'm sure all readers of romance are aware of those stereotypes--it is right at the bottom of low culture. Now, take that exact same language and apply it to a specific subgenre--it doesn't automatically lose its baggage or implications, just because you may not have intended it.

I won't (and can't) substitute "erotica" for "porn' because they are not the same genre (or subgenre) of literature. For one thing, porn is almost always used to indicate that the work has nothing except sex--gratuitous, random body parts, fill in your own blanks about the implications of using the word "porn." Erotica is not considered porn by its authors and audience, though people still insist on lumping the two together, which is just problematic because there's no way to say where that line should be drawn. What if a book is 80% explicit sex, but it's all character driven and is used for characterization?

It might seem really ridiculous to you--hell it probably is really ridiculous--but this is a hotly debated, hotly defended, ongoing issue in the romance community, and in the larger literature community. It's an issue that affects what is written and published, how it is promoted, how authors are treated, and the reputation of publishers, and how the entire community is dealt with in broader literary circles.

You didn't add anything about "women targeted" fantasy, or "women targeted" suspense--even though women are the presumed and intended audience for the other subgenres (and that does affect how books are written as well as promoted). Why not make that distinction there? Why make it only in relation to sexually explicit material?
  #19  
Old 05-22-2008, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jodi
What, no one's owning up to reading romances of the traditional bodice-ripper variety? (ETA: Except Shirley!)

I will! I'm not ashamed! I read worse shit than this, believe me!

I'm not usualy into paranormal romance, but I really enjoyed the early books in Christine Feehan's Carpathian series, starting with Dark Prince. After a dozen books, though, she really seemed to be reaching for new heroes, heroines, and plots. (No surprise, I guess.) Plus the profusion of characters just became too convoluted. I thought the last one but one, Dark Celebration, was complete shit, and it's the last of the series I personally will read. But I would still recommend the series (or at least the first part of it) to a person who was new to it.

Same exact comments and caveats for Sherrilyn Kenyon's Darkhunter series.

I really like the Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn. It's a Regency series, quite fizzy and humorous, not purporting to be terribly historically accurate yet she still refrains from having the characters say jarrringly inappropriate things like "Okay!" The Bridgertons are a set of eight siblings that she marries off in mostly chronological order, one per book. My favorite book is Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, despite the crappy title, though you really should read them in order.

I also like Mary Jo Putney, though she can be kind of hit or miss IMO. Some of her stuff is great, and some is not so. My favorite is The Rake.

There are a number of authors I used to really enjoy (Catherine Coulter, Julie Garwood, Amanda Quick, and Elizabeth Lowell, to name four), who have followed the publishing trend and moved away from writing classic light sexy romance to writing harder-edged "suspense" romance with more violence -- government agent hero teams with beautiful scientist heroine to track down serial killer who is out to kill her, strewing bodies through the book in the meantime. That sort of book is not my cup of tea, so I can't recommend anything by those authors after, say, 2000. But if you like that type of thing, you might check out their newer stuff as well.

As far as I can tell these are the current trends in romance:

1. Moving to the light fiction: "madcap modern single woman in the city"-type book, a/k/a Chick Lit.
2. Moving to sci fi: so-called paranormal romance -- vampires are big, pyschic powers are big, dragons are big.
3. Moving to erotica: harder core sex with less plot -- really a new breed of women-targeted written porn masquerading as "romance."
4. Moving to suspense: more violent "damsel in distress" books and/or "hero and heroine team up to catch a murderer" books.

As it happens, none of these are my personal genre faves, so I'm reading less romance than I used to, but I'm always in the market for a good one if anyone has any recommendation.

I became such a paranormal romance fan, it's not even funny. I have dozens of them so I consider myself sort of an expert. The best ones are The Blackdagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward and the Breed series by Lara Adrian.

I'm so ashamed to admit that. I read other books too, I promise! Like I'm currently reading Duma Key. It's not all just smut .
  #20  
Old 05-22-2008, 02:42 PM
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I don't think anyone has listed my favorite romance books (besides Outlander which really does transcend the genre):

The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss. I also love The Wolf and the Dove and A Rose in Winter by the same author.

Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught.

Something Shady by Pamela Morsi.

Mistress by Amanda Quick.

Dazzling Brightness and Shimmering Splendor by Roberta Gellis.

I also read a ton of Jude Devereux, LaVyrle Spencer, Julie Garwood and Nora Roberts, but it's all kind of a blur.

I went through a huge phase of reading romance books in high school and college - but I can't seem to get into them at all anymore. I don't know if the books have changed, or I have changed but I haven't read a true "genre" romance in over 10 years.

Oh, romance author shout out! I sat next to Catherine Coulter on a flight. She was a very lovely, tailored blonde woman and her assistant let me know I was sitting next to THE Catherine Coulter! Thank goodness I had worked in a bookstore and had read at least one of her books (the Cove) and was able to speak to several others. She was a very nice lady but both Catherine Coulter and her assistant were a little too impressed with her Catherine Coulterness.

Last edited by Glory; 05-22-2008 at 02:43 PM.
  #21  
Old 05-22-2008, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pepperlandgirl
What as my panties in a "deep twist" is the fact that, whether you meant to or not, your post reflected the sort of language routinely used to dismiss authors, publishers, and readers in several circles and for the past several decades.
Again, please have the intellectual honesty to address your complaints to whoever the hell merits your snit-fit. I am not "several circles;" I haven't been talking about this "for the past several decades;" I have not been "dismissive;" and I frankly don't give a good goddam if you agree with me or not. Your disagreement -- based on what others have said in "several circles" for "decades" past -- does not negate my opinion.

Quote:
People don't read romance novels, even if they might enjoy them, because they're all viewed as "just" bodice-rippers for lonely or frustrated housewives. The implication being that romance novels have nothing to offer a thoughtful person because A)there's no thoughtful content because it's just "wank" material and B)it doesn't matter because it's not targeted to a thoughtful audience. I'm sure all readers of romance are aware of those stereotypes--it is right at the bottom of low culture.
And some of that reputation is deserved. A lot of Romance is badly written, pandering crap. A lot of it is good for what it is, but really has very little literary value: it's delicious, entertaining, mostly forgettable, and not particularly good for you, a written candy bar, IOW. That has NOTHING TO DO with the point I was making, which is that modern romance is trending towards other genres -- a point I still stand by. But as far as it goes: I read romance and I'm not ashamed of it, or of anything else I may choose to read. People who choose their reading material based on other people's opinions deserve to be stuck in Chapter 3 of Ulysses for the rest of their lives as they carry it around to impress others.

Quote:
Now, take that exact same language and apply it to a specific subgenre--it doesn't automatically lose its baggage or implications, just because you may not have intended it.
The hell it doesn't! I meant what I said and you ACKNOWLEDGE that my intent was not as you have construed it, so if this is some fight you want to have, you'd better start having it with some one who intended to pick it.

Quote:
It might seem really ridiculous to you--hell it probably is really ridiculous--but this is a hotly debated, hotly defended, ongoing issue in the romance community, and in the larger literature community. It's an issue that affects what is written and published, how it is promoted, how authors are treated, and the reputation of publishers, and how the entire community is dealt with in broader literary circles.
None of which has fuck-all to do with me, and make no mistake: I do find it ridiculous, deeply so. Which is simply another reason to stop acting like your position and/or your objections have anything at all to do with anything I said. I'm serious: You want to make this some industry-wide battle taking place is "the romance community" or "literary circles," you had better leave me the fuck out of it. It is intellectually dishonest of you to misrepresent what I say in order to use my post as a strawman for you to air your personal pet grievances on this topic.

Quote:
You didn't add anything about "women targeted" fantasy, or "women targeted" suspense--even though women are the presumed and intended audience for the other subgenres (and that does affect how books are written as well as promoted). Why not make that distinction there? Why make it only in relation to sexually explicit material?
Oh, I don't know: Probably because I consider porn and/or erotica to be male-centered genres, and having highly sexualize material aimed specifically at women to be a relatively new trend. Or possibly because I wasn't thinking that some poster with a huge honking chip on her shoulder was going to come along and attempt to nitpick my post to death in order to find it objectionable.

Either way, at this point, you'd better climb the fuck down off of me or I'll be seeing you in the Pit.

Last edited by Jodi; 05-22-2008 at 02:47 PM.
  #22  
Old 05-22-2008, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ivylass
I've seen her books in both the romance and sci-fi sections, but she's more romance. Trust me...read Outlander, and you'll be hunting for the rest of the series.
While I have to agree with this specific sentiment, I have to admit that despite owning the sequels, I haven't read them. I got about halfway through the second one and set it aside in boredom, and haven't picked it up again. That was years ago so I'd probably have to start from the beginning of the first book again...
  #23  
Old 05-22-2008, 02:52 PM
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I didn't think Jodi's description sounded demeaning or judgmental. In fact, when I read that list I wanted some recommendations for examples of #3, because it's the only one that really interested me.

The romance community reminds me of the hardcore comic book geek community, in that they could use a massive chill pill.
  #24  
Old 05-22-2008, 02:53 PM
OpalCat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jodi
you'd better climb the fuck down off of me or I'll be seeing you in the Pit.
Just to clarify, does this qualify as erotica or porn?

















  #25  
Old 05-22-2008, 03:00 PM
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Speaking of "bodice-rippers," there's actually a very funny scene in one of the Outlander books...our feisty heroine is now a doctor and is waiting on a patient to get out of surgery. To pass the time, she picks up a rather tattered paperback in the doctor's lounge and starts reading it. She bursts out laughing at one of the "love" scenes, and that's how she meets one of her best friends...he's also a doctor, waiting on a patient to get out of surgery, and he guesses which part made her laugh, because she wasn't far enough into the book to read the other "infamous" part.
  #26  
Old 05-22-2008, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbawlmer
I didn't think Jodi's description sounded demeaning or judgmental. In fact, when I read that list I wanted some recommendations for examples of #3, because it's the only one that really interested me.

The romance community reminds me of the hardcore comic book geek community, in that they could use a massive chill pill.
I don't disagree that it could use a massive chill pill (anybody interested in a giggle might want to look at the massive drama surrounding the latest Romance Times convention--just google it, it'll show up on a bunch of blogs). I don't even disagree that I could use a massive chill pill--especially because I know I see this issue different from most casual readers of romance and most writers due to various reasons. But I saw reflected in Jodi's original description the same sort of language that typically sends up red flags in other venues. I tried to further explain why I saw those red flags in my second post, though judging from Jodi's response, I did not make my intention/words as clear as they should have been or could have been (that is, describing why I read her description the way I did, not a further attack or demand that Jodi defend herself).
  #27  
Old 05-22-2008, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by OpalCat
Just to clarify, does this qualify as erotica or porn?

I'm thinking it depends on who you ask!

For the record, I think Jodi is entirely correct that romance novels in general have been trending away from pure romance and into essentially novels of other genre-types with romance elements. I'm personally all for the change. I've found that that trend has pretty seriously increased the number of "romances" I find readable. I used to read the odd romance novel (primarily when I was in the mood for mindless escapism that required little-to-no involvement on my part), but in the last few years, I've found myself reading a lot more of them - and the ones I've been reading are largely the ones that are what I mentally refer to as "courtesy romances" - the ones that are basically a mystery, or a police-procedural, or a sci-fi fantasy novel in romance-novel drag. I'll hold up as examples the J.D. Robb "In Death" series that are in the romance novel section (and marketed that way) but are basically mystery/police procedurals in romance novel drag, or the previously-mentioned Sherrilyn Kenyon Darkhunter books (at least the first few - they got a little tedious at the end) that are essentially paranormal thrillers (although with a clear romance component). I almost never run across a book in the romance genre that's a pure romance novel anymore - the vast majority of them I run across are pretty much just using the romance-novel as a framework to tell another sort of story.

I'm theorizing that this is largely because a lot of publishers read the metric that "romance novels are the fastest-growing and most profitable genre of fiction" and started shoving anything that could even remotely fit into romance-novel drag. I know that I'm finding some of my favorite fantasy authors (like Robin McKinley and Patricia Briggs - really, WTFBBQ on that one) in the romance section, even though they're still writing the same books they've always written (and which were previously to be found in sci-fi/fantasy).
  #28  
Old 05-22-2008, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glory
Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught.
Really? The rape scene bothered the hell out of me, and not in a "hot and bothered" way. I thought the man intended to be the hero was villain throughout.
  #29  
Old 05-22-2008, 04:40 PM
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"Outlander" would definitely be on my list, though I really, really wish Gabaldon would have stuck with her original plan to condense the storyline to 6 books. The amount of plot that is covered in the first book is staggering compared to subsequent books, most especially "Fiery Cross" which was one of the most disappointing, tedious books I've ever read. At this point, I'd just like resolution.

Others:

"Pride & Prejudice"
"Gone with the Wind"
  #30  
Old 05-22-2008, 04:53 PM
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I don't read a lot of romance, but one author I like is Susan Johnson. Characters are well-developed, passions are always raging, and her historical settings are suprisingly well-researched for the genre. Brazen, set in late-Victorian Britain, actually had end notes.
  #31  
Old 05-22-2008, 04:59 PM
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[hijack]

Y'know what I'd like to see? A romance novel where it's not clear from the first chapter which two characters are going to be the lovers the story is about. Or one where we know who the heroine is, but it remains unsettled for much of the book which of several men she's going to end up with, or vice-versa. Something with more dramatic tension.

[/hijack]
  #32  
Old 05-22-2008, 05:09 PM
rocking chair is offline
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i'm a krentz/castle/quick, roberts, lindsey, gibson, civil-brown, howard, lowell, garwood, fan
  #33  
Old 05-22-2008, 05:25 PM
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Lately I've been on a Lyndsay Sands Argeneaux novels kick. I'm a vampire junkie and I like how she presents the history of the vampires (which also explains why they haven't overrun the earth..). It mainly involves Atlantis and nanos.. I gave up on Christine Feehan long ago but I haven't quite given up on Sherrilyn Kenyon (who also writes some interesting books with Arthur and his knights as Kinley MacGregor)

I also read, well lots of fantasy style. Just found a new author who has dragons, the second book comes out in August. Deborah Cooke.

Then of course there are the mysteries.. such as the aforementioned JD Robb books (which I am listening to on audiobook lately). There's the agency ones by Susan Sizemore and Amanda Quick and Sherrilyn has her BAD books also. What else do I read.. lately I've been reading the classics. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre..

There was one series I really enjoyed about spies in Regency England.. The Fox, The Lion etc.. well that was the newest ones. That's not the titles. I haven't read them and need to find/remember her name so I can get the ones I haven't. There was one series before it though, but the animal ones are supposed to be the upper level spies known only to the King sort of thing.. ETA: Celeste Bradley! That's it! Liar's Club and Royal Four series..

And of course I have an addiction to Nora Roberts. She gets totally formulaic, but I love her.

Last edited by Flutterby; 05-22-2008 at 05:28 PM.
  #34  
Old 05-22-2008, 05:47 PM
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Can I hijack a bit and ask for recommendations for good smutty romances? In other words, romance novels that are both good AND really hot? In college I dug Robin Schone, although I could do without the homophobia. I used to read them around finals time, when I wasn't up for the heavy stuff. I like historicals, but only if they don't make me howl with laughter and throw the book across the room. (That's why I used to read them for finals - I was a history major and almost went to grad school in it. My favorite is the Viking one with the talking whale.) I don't want just, you know, stroke books - I want to be into the story and have it not be stupid and eye-rolly, but I also want some hot action when I pick up a romance novel.

I think even big fans of romances can distinguish between "romance novels", which are put out by certain publishers and fit into certain subgenres (historical, contemporary, etc), and general fiction or literature with romantic themes. I love Pride and Prejudice, but I wouldn't call it a "romance novel", although I'd certainly call it a "love story" or "romantic fiction". In publishing and libraries, at any rate, "romance novel" has a specific meaning. When I ask for one, I'd be happy to get "general romantic fiction", but I want it to have certain characteristics.

ETA - I admit it. I keep reading Stephanie Plum (not a romance novel, but a romance novel cousin). I can't help it. I know she is never, ever going to sleep with Ranger again and I just can't stop reading them anyway.

Last edited by Zsofia; 05-22-2008 at 05:49 PM.
  #35  
Old 05-22-2008, 05:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zsofia
Can I hijack a bit and ask for recommendations for good smutty romances? In other words, romance novels that are both good AND really hot? In college I dug Robin Schone, although I could do without the homophobia. I used to read them around finals time, when I wasn't up for the heavy stuff. I like historicals, but only if they don't make me howl with laughter and throw the book across the room. (That's why I used to read them for finals - I was a history major and almost went to grad school in it. My favorite is the Viking one with the talking whale.) I don't want just, you know, stroke books - I want to be into the story and have it not be stupid and eye-rolly, but I also want some hot action when I pick up a romance novel.
Susan Johnson -- see post #30.
  #36  
Old 05-22-2008, 06:15 PM
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Heh. I looked up Brazen on Amazon and that cover is embarrassing. Maybe the genre as a whole would get a little more respect if they didn't do that sort of thing!

Anyway, his chest is totally unrealistic. There's no way his shoulders are that big and his waist that little unless he has a truly creepy-ass physique.
  #37  
Old 05-22-2008, 06:26 PM
ivylass is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zsofia
Can I hijack a bit and ask for recommendations for good smutty romances? In other words, romance novels that are both good AND really hot?
Judith Krantz , although she doesn't seem to be writing much lately.
  #38  
Old 05-22-2008, 08:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cisco
As embarassing as it is to ask, I don't want to miss out on some good fun for the sake of being a manly man or a literary snob. So bring 'em on, cheap paperbacks - "Romance" novels for lack of a better term, but I'm not going to be nitpicky about it.
My favoritest bodice-ripper ever is The Windflower by Laura London. (What can I say? There are pirates.)

I also really enjoy Georgette Heyer's works, which are decidedly not bodice-rippers.
  #39  
Old 05-22-2008, 09:02 PM
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Assorted thoughts:

1.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainGlutton
I don't read a lot of romance, but one author I like is Susan Johnson. Characters are well-developed, passions are always raging, and her historical settings are suprisingly well-researched for the genre. Brazen, set in late-Victorian Britain, actually had end notes.
I have to disagree with the "for the genre" bit there. The historicals have always had a large percentage based on lots of accurate research. This is probably because a surprising number of the writers have degrees in history, anthropology, etc.

2. pepperlandgirl's sudden freakout makes more sense in context: she's a professional romance novelist.

3. J.D. Robb is actually Nora Roberts, which is the primary reason why the In Death series ends up in the romance section these days. Though I agree that there's a general trend towards suspense in the section right now. By the way, completely aside from whether or not you like her books, La Nora is a completely awesome person and a master of the well-deserved smackdown.

4. Shirley Ujest, I'm afraid that I'm going to have to take exception to your description of Dara Joy as a genius. Honestly, I find her writing to be pretty poor. I still read her, though, because she writes the hands down hottest smut I've ever read in my life.
  #40  
Old 05-22-2008, 11:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Risha

2. pepperlandgirl's sudden freakout makes more sense in context: she's a professional romance novelist.

And a damned good one- I've read her stuff. It's good AND hot.
  #41  
Old 05-23-2008, 06:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Risha
Assorted thoughts:


4. Shirley Ujest, I'm afraid that I'm going to have to take exception to your description of Dara Joy as a genius. Honestly, I find her writing to be pretty poor. I still read her, though, because she writes the hands down hottest smut I've ever read in my life.

If you have read Dara Joy's latest works, which are out of an indy press and hard to get a hold of, her work is utter and complete shit. I mean, below the standards of a decent book no matter the genre. Fangirl stuff is better. I don't think she can recover from the past few years ( which involve some lawsuit she had with book company.)

I stand by the earlier mentioning of her first three big books tetter somewhere near excellence to above average. At least for me. And the re-reads have always held up. And yes, it is Smut. Lovely, lovely Schmut.



BOT,

JR Ward and the Black Dagger Brotherhood series sounds interesting. I'm always up for some deep meaningful brooding asskicking Vampire Pron. Which book is first? Dark Lover ? Can the books be read out of sequence?
  #42  
Old 05-23-2008, 09:13 AM
Risha is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirley Ujest
If you have read Dara Joy's latest works, which are out of an indy press and hard to get a hold of, her work is utter and complete shit. I mean, below the standards of a decent book no matter the genre. Fangirl stuff is better. I don't think she can recover from the past few years ( which involve some lawsuit she had with book company.)

I stand by the earlier mentioning of her first three big books tetter somewhere near excellence to above average. At least for me. And the re-reads have always held up. And yes, it is Smut. Lovely, lovely Schmut.
I had no idea that she went down in flames like that. I hadn't seen any new books in awhile, but she was never anyone I tracked, only someone I picked up when I spotted her in the store.

I agree, those first three books were the best - I still reread them sometimes too. She must have had an excellent editor at the time.
  #43  
Old 05-23-2008, 05:51 PM
rocking chair is offline
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okay, if you are looking for wild and crazy smut, try susan kearney. they are a bit spacy and the first one of her's i thought didn't johanna lindsey do this. it was very heavily based on j.l.'s "warrior woman" which also is wild and crazy smut.
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