Tag Archives: Romance

Romance Readers’ Advisory

Romance is one of the biggest genre in fiction. You got historical, thrillers, horrors, werewolves, vampires, cozy mysteries, fairies, modern-day, futuristic. The variety is simply endless. Romance novels follow the classic structure: lovers come together, they must overcome obstacles and then live happily ever after. Apart from that, anything goes. This immense diversity makes romance readers’ advisory quite challenging and interesting. But fear not, here are some resources to the rescue!

 

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Romance Readers’ Advisory: The Librarian’s Guide to Love in the Stacks by Ann Bouricius

This is a nice intro into the genre and its’ diversity.

 

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Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels by Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan

Funny, smart, and throughout. This is a great examination of the genre.

 

The RITA Awards

The RITAs are given every year to those romance novels judge to be the best of best in their categories. For romance novels, this is THE AWARD.

 

Smart Bitches Trashy Books

Great blog dedicated to discussion on romance novels. Make sure to check out their podcast too!

 

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Another fantastic blog dedicated enterally to reviewing romance novels. It’s Power Search is particularly brilliant! You can search by author, title, book type and more.

 

Goodreads Romance tags and Book Lists

Goodreads never disappoints and it’s a great resource to check out read-alikes as well as book reviews.

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New Historical Romance Releases

Springtime is just the time of year to fall in love with some new romance novels. I have a fondness for historical romances, and luckily a number of my favourite historical romance authors have recently released new books!

Cover of Listen to the Moon; a half-naked couple embrace

 

Rose Lerner, Listen to the Moon

This author focuses mostly on working class characters in the Regency era, and this book features a very proper valet-turned-butler and a happy-go-lucky house maid who enter a marriage of convenience to get employment at a local vicarage. Third in the Lively St. Lemeston series, but can be read as a standalone. Fun, sly, and steamy!

What else from this author: The rest of the Lively St. Lemeston series are refreshingly grounded in local politics rather than high society; try True Pretenses, which features a Jewish con man and a Tory heiress.

 

Cover of A Seditious Affair; a young man lies provocatively on a bed

KJ Charles, A Seditious Affair

A romance between a seditionist, radical bookseller and a conservative, privileged Tory, who both look forward to their weekly anonymous rendezvous – until they unexpectedly meet outside of the bedroom. The second in Charles’ early 19th century historical m/m romance series, Society of Gentlemen, and can be read as a standalone. Featuring power play, politics, revolution, and falling in love.

What else from this author: The third book in Society of Gentlemen was just released this month! It’ll be next on my list. Also check out The Magpie Lord, a historical fantasy m/m romance series.

 

Cover of Her Every Wish; a young woman in a green dress looks longingly into the distance

Courtney Milan, Her Every Wish

I will read anything Milan writes! This novella is part of her new Regency series, the Worth Saga, but can be read on its own. Our heroine enters her local parish’s competition for the prize for the best new business proposal, but she needs a bit of coaching on her presentation. Luckily, her old flame is just the man for the job. Featuring a bisexual mixed-race hero, working-class romance, entrepreneurial spirit, and a warm and sexy second chance romance.

What else from this author: The Suffragette Scandal in her Brothers Sinister series is one of my favourite historical romances, and her upcoming contemporary romance, with a transwoman as the heroine (Hold Me), is one I can’t wait to read.

 

Cover of Because of Miss Bridgerton; a young woman in a ballgown glances at herself in a mirror

Julia Quinn, Because of Miss Bridgerton

There’s probably no need to recommend Julia Quinn to anyone who’s already familiar with historical romances, but just in case: this is Quinn back on form and back with the Bridgerton family. This one features a heroine who is most comfortable outdoors managing her father’s estate and wearing breeches, and who clashes with the stuffy boy (well, okay, Earl) next door. Witty banter, smart characters, and a slow-burn romance.

What else from this author: Quinn’s prolific series of regency romances are popular for a reason! Try The Duke and I or Romancing Mister Bridgerton, both from the Bridgerton series.

 

A few other new(ish) historical romance releases:

The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Romance Anthology, featuring stories by Kianna Alexander, Alyssa Cole, Lena Hart, and Piper Huguley

Jeannie Lin, Clockwork Samurai (Gunpowder Chronicles #2)

Sarah MacLean, The Rogue Not Taken (Scandal and Scoundrel #1)

Theresa Romain, A Gentleman’s Game (Romance of the Turf #1)

What historical romances are you looking forward to?

Tanya Thiessen on the New Adult Genre

Surrey Libraries’ Tanya Thiessen gives audience members an education on the new “New Adult” genre at our 2013 RA in a Half Day workshop at Vancouver Public Library:

“New Adult” Romance Resources

Description & History of Genre:

  • So what is “New Adult”? Developed by St. Martin’s Press in 2009, “New Adult” (NA) is essentially a marketing term for the post YA reader, a hot subgenre of the larger Romance category. Some say this genre signals an intermediate step for readers between YA and adult fiction because the protagonists/main characters are in the 18-25 age range tackling issues of “new adulthood”. Often placed in a contemporary college setting, these characters deal with issues of identity – exploring their sexuality, often experiencing peripheral issues stemming from family/childhood abuse, substance abuse, suicide, sexual assault. And these titles are usually heavy on romance, sometimes bordering on erotica – many e-titles come with explicit sex warnings, so how much they are actually an intermediate step post-YA literature is somewhat debatable.
  • Storylines are compelling, as the authors work to translate the intensity and passion of new adulthood into their stories. Often these novels will follow a formulaic theme of “Good Girl” meets “Bad Boy” with anger management issues. Many titles told from both the male and female POV, which is one of the reasons why the genre is so popular, as readers are hungry for the male voice (for example, Walking Disaster is the sequel, male “answer” story to Beautiful Disaster, and Charade alternates chapters told by the male and female main characters).
  • Another reason why these titles are so poplar is because of accessibility – most titles are available in e-format, if not exclusively as an e-title. There’s a lot of “word of mouth” advertising for these titles – New Adult book groups and NA booklists on Goodreads, blogs (Maryse’s Book Blog is often cited for reviews), websites, etc. Replacing the old Harlequins, titles are cheap, or free (you can find a lot of free books in the New Adult or Adult Contemporary Romance in iBooks) and read your guilty pleasure in private on your phone/ereader/tablet. In fact, the development of the genre has come from titles that were originally self-published online, for example, Colleen Hoover’s NA novel, Slammed, was originally self-published on Amazon. Slammed was on the NY bestseller list and the author was still getting rejection letters from print publishers. Readers are driving demand – Cora Carmarck wrote her first novel, Losing It, about a college girl desperate to lose her virginity, in 3 weeks. Carmarck’s goal was to make $1000 – at a price point of $3.99, she ended up making about $200,000, and landed a six-figure deal with HarperCollins.
  • From a publishing perspective, the New Adult genre developed from a desire to continue a relationship with all those voracious YA readers who got interested in the YA genre by reading The Hunger Games and Twilight – just like E.L. James’s inspiration for Fifty Shades… was Twilight. (Ah, yes, Twilight – like a gateway drug!) Readers seem to crave this new genre, and it’s creating a new source of revenue in an industry that is looking for an injection. A Publisher’s Weekly article talks about how the avid YA readership is getting older, and there is a hole in the larger Romance genre that NA fills with its more mature themes. Publishers are keen to keep this group of readers happy, and I think that these themes of identity, not to mention the heavy romance, attracts older female readers…after all, who doesn’t want a little romantic escape in their life?
  • Just as with Romance generally, there are lots of New Adult titles that offer the paranormal aspect. Jamie McGuire of Beautiful Disaster/Walking Disaster fame is working currently on a NA zombie/post-apocalyptic novel. There is so much potential in this category that some YA authors are dabbling with the NA genre – Meg Cabot’s new book features a young college woman and more sexually explicit themes.
  • Abbi Glines’s The Vincent Boys & The Vincent Brothers books were self-published in YA, but she recently released uncut versions of these titles that are labelled appropriate only for ages 17 and up. And a NY Times article on the NA boom notes that publishers are looking seriously at the idea of titles coming in 2 versions in the future so that they can be marketed to both YA and Adult audiences – the double dip, so to speak, to include older readers as the majority of book buyers are over 18.

Considerations for Libraries

  • Content and classification. How do we catalogue 2 versions of the same title? How will this impact readers? Sometimes it is unclear whether the title is YA or Adult Romance – the New Adult subgenre essentially covers everything from John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars to the Fifty Shades… trilogy and a lot in between.
  • It’s unclear at this point if the “New Adult” tag will mean anything to readers – online, readers seem to see it more as a sub-genre of Adult Romance than YA. I don’t think we’re going to need to create another pull-out genre of our larger fiction collection at this point, but given the popularity of these titles, you will want to be aware of this sub-genre for those coming in for readalikes.
  • While sex and coming of age themes are not new in YA, the more explicit sex in NA makes it important for us to make sure we can discern readers looking for fast-paced stories in the New Adult age range and those looking for more descriptive/explicit content (erotica).
  • Looking to purchase New Adult titles for your library? The “Romance/Erotica” sub-section of “Fiction” in Publisher’s Weekly lists New Adult titles.
  • Note that many titles are part of a series, often a trilogy.
  • Many titles are self-published, in e-format exclusively, so can be hard to purchase. Although as the genre grows, these will likely be available in print depending on e-sales.

Helpful Resources:

Charles, John. “Core Collection: Adult Romances for New Adults.Booklist, 15 Sept 2013, pg. 46.

Driscoll, Molly. “Is a ‘new adult’ genre the step between YA and adult books?The Christian Science Monitor, 3 Jan 2013.

Hunter, Sarah. “Core Collection: YA Romances for New Adults.Booklist, 15, Sept 2013, pg. 76.

Kaufman, Leslie. “Beyond Wizards and Vampires, to Sex.The New York Times, 21 Dec 2012.

Rosen, Judith. “New Adult: Needless Marketing-Speak Or Valued Subgenre?Publisher’s Weekly, 14 Dec. 2012.

Wetta, Molly. “What is New Adult Fiction, Anyway?Novelist, Aug 2013.