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:
- Moving to the light fiction: “madcap modern single woman in the city”-type book, a/k/a Chick Lit.
- Moving to sci fi: so-called paranormal romance – vampires are big, pyschic powers are big, dragons are big.
- Moving to erotica: harder core sex with less plot – really a new breed of women-targeted written porn masquerading as “romance.”
- 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.