A look into the different Romance Genres

I started reading romance when I was 12 or 13 years old. I was an avid reader prior to (and after) that and a regular library patron, and when I found the romance paperback section it was a whole new world that opened for me. The young adult books that I had read before – I was always drawn to any books that included a romance sub-plot or a love story. Finding out there were books based entirely around the romance piece was eye opening. I’ve read a lot of different types of fiction over the years, both before and after I discovered romance. But I am drawn back to romance novels time and time again because I love that the novels always have a happy ending, and that they’re always bringing a message of hope for those that are searching for true love. The stories, even though they’re not always realistic, give readers examples of true love and happiness. I think they also have some great lessons hidden in their plots – your partner should always treat you with kindness and respect being the foremost, but there are so many others that delve into other types relationships as part of their sub-plots, including familial relationships and friendships.

Romance is one of the highest-selling genres in the book industry, with sales consistently exceeding $1billion per year. It’s evident from the sales that romance novels are a wide-spread phenomenon that appeals to many groups of people. Even with that though, there is a stigma attached to the genre that has it labeled as “trashy”, “smut”, or “garbage.” There’s an assumption by many other readers that anyone who enjoys the romance genre is a “lesser-class” of reader. But I have found through my experience over the last few years that romance readers are some of the best community of people. They’re so supportive of new authors, of other readers, and of the overall fan base. And they are all such avid readers! These romance novels get devoured by readers, and they’re still always looking for the next great read. And the demand has started to make it’s way onto the big screen, with productions like The Bridgertons being such a huge success, as well as the increase in productions on upcoming releases, like The Hating Game and The Kiss Quotient.

Over the years I’ve read many romance novels across all different types of genres, and while there are some I like more than others, I like that the romance genre has something for everyone in the different types of novels that are produced. Even as a person changes through their different life stages and goes through different phases over time, there are so many choices that the romance genre can grow and change with the reader. So I thought for this month I’d do a feature post about the different genres and tropes and everything romance! I’ve been looking for a good poster that really illustrates the different branches of the romance tree. I haven’t found a good example yet, though there are some good resources online to learn more about the different genres.

To start with – romance is really a wide-spread genre that covers many different age groups and interests. Just like any other genre there are many different topics that can be covered and different fan groups to be a part of. Below is a picture of different genres under the general fiction umbrella, including the romance genre and examples of some of the subgenres:

Harlequin has some great guides of the subgenres with lots of examples of reads that you can pick up should there be a particular interest that catches your eye. RWA also has a great listing which would be a handy reference for those looking for additional information on both subgenres and some stats on the romance genre as a whole.

Romance as a genre appeals to multiple age groups, people are drawn to love stories no matter what their age is. The main age groups that books can fall into with romance included would be young adult, new age, and adult. New Age is a newer subgenre that has gained in popularity in the last few years I think that really focuses on adults in more of a college age group. Young adult usually is around 15 to 18 or 19, I’d say New Age is around 19 to 24ish, and then everything over that really is the adult group.

Beyond age groups, there are many subgenres of topics. Some tend to fall into a timeline in terms of years. I’ll get into some of the subgenres and even some specific tropes. There’s another romance blog that did a post on this topic also – All the Kissing did a post on the 7 Different Types of Romance Subgenres. They did a great summary so I’d recommend reading their post also if you’re interested in the topic. Beyond the types of subgenres too there’s stand alone novels and then there’s category romances. Harlequin is always the first thing I think of when it comes to category romance as they have different title series including Desire, Inspiration, Intrigue, etc that give the reader exactly what they’re looking for.

The subgenres that I consider to be the main ones are Contemporary, Historical, Erotic, Religious/Inspirational, Romantic Suspense, and Paranormal. These are fairly general labels for subgenres and really are somewhat subjective. As an example, I’ve heard many times on the Fated Mates podcast a discussion around whether or not Priest by Sierra Simone is really an inspirational novel because of the role that God plays in the book. There’s not necessary one right answer – some love the book and could agree with the assessment that it’s an inspirational novel, some really don’t like the novel and call it blasphemy. But the point is – there’s something for everyone! There are more beyond this too – either with less popular subgenres or kind of hybrids: chick-lit and gothic being two that I can think of.

I’ve included a list below with the 4 main subgenres that I tend to read and what I think are some great recommendation / examples for each:

Under these subgenres there even more layers, some having more defined sublayers than others. Historical romance for example, has multiple subgenres for different time periods – Regency during 1811-1820(ish), Gilded Age, Vikings/early Middle Ages, etc. Paranormal romance can delve into different subtopics: aliens, vampire, time travel, ghosts, etc. Inspirational separates into some of the different religious sects. I’ve found that with contemporary romance there aren’t necessarily too many sublayers, but within this subgenre there are many different tropes that can be featured.

Beyond the subgenres and their multiple subtopics beyond that, there’s also different tropes. Tropes can present themselves in any of the genres, although some are more popular in certain niches than others. Some examples include: forced proximity, arranged marriages, enemies to lovers, secret baby, kidnapping, first love, forbidden love, military, damsel in distress, brooding hero, and so so many more. This article has a list of over 100 romance tropes and I’m sure they haven’t even covered everything that’s out there.

And that’s some information for my readers out there on the romance genre! I’d love to be able to find an aesthetically pleasing poster that focuses on the Romance fiction genre as a whole, mapping out all the subgenres and the branches under the romance umbrella. I haven’t found one yet but if anyone knows of a good one, please let me know!

Happy reading everyone!!

Immortals After Dark series

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So this year I caught on to the Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole. I heard about this series because I started listening to the Fated Mates podcast (see my other post on how I fell onto the podcast – up later this week). I had no idea it was a read-a-long with a romance series but I decided to give the first book a try and see how things went.

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So the first book in the series is A Hunger Like No Other, featuring Emmaline and Lachlain. Amazon says it’s actually the second in the series but on Fated Mates this is the first one we read. The one Amazon considers first is really a novella that we read later in the podcasts. Anyways, this book was BANANAS. I was hooked on the series right from the start and I DEVOURED it once I started it. At first I tried to use it as a reward, like read 2 of my scheduled books and I get to read an IAD book. But then I gave up on that and just read IAD books because I couldn’t WAIT to get to the next person’s story. I read the whole series as it stands now (18 books) in less than 3 months.

Obviously there were some books within the series that I liked more than others. I mean the whole series is amazing, I think the lowest rating I gave any of the books in the series was like a 3.5, which means I still liked it. Most of the books in the series I rated a 4 or above. Some of my favorites are the ones below:

I didn’t post individual reviews of the books since the series was one that I was just reading for fun and not for my reading schedule. I did post individual reviews on my Goodreads page though. I wanted to do an overall post on the series though since I’ve loved it so much. It was especially enjoyable to read the books along with the Fated Mates podcast. The next book in the series, Munro, is coming out in the summer I think and I can’t wait. I would definitely recommend the whole series – it is so interesting and complicated and amazing. Go read it now!

2019 Book #71 – Immortal Born by Lynsay Sands

51BXdg0-nKLTitle: Immortal Born
Author: Lynsay Sands
Date finished: 9/17/19
Genre: Paranormal romance
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Pages in book: 384
Stand alone or series: Not sure exactly the number but its #30-something in the Argeneau family series
Where I got the book from: Edelweiss
NOTE: I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Nothing compares to the physical chemistry between an immortal and his life mate—or to the spellbinding thrills in a new Argeneau novel by New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands…

A simple promise to protect her friend’s infant son has turned Allie Chambers’ existence upside down. Caring for—and feeding—an orphaned vampire baby has been tricky enough. But as little Liam grows, so does his appetite. He needs more blood than she can personally supply. And when her attempts to steal from a blood bank go awry, Allie wakes up surrounded by doctors, cops…and the gorgeous, mesmerizing Magnus, who she can neither trust nor resist.

Magnus never expected to find his life mate breaking into a blood bank. Clearly, Allie is already entwined with his world—in deeper, more dangerous ways than she realizes. A band of vicious rogue immortals is in pursuit, and Magnus’ first task is to keep her safe. His second: to awaken her to mind-blowing pleasure, and hope she’ll accept the life, and the passion, that only he can offer.

My rating:  3.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I used to read this series a long time ago, it was probably one of the first paramornal series I read ever. I was excited to get back to the series and be able to read one of the newer novels! I’ve been reading Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series a lot lately so it was kind of hard to switch into this other author’s vampire world – each author does their own world-building and creates different quirks intrinsic to their own vampire group. That being said there was a lot of explaining in this novel so it was a good one in the series to pick up. The whole like first half of the book was plot and world-building, so much so that when we turned to look closer at Allie and Magnus’s characters I felt like they weren’t as well-developed as the plot was. They just didn’t leap off the page to me, though they were both fierce and loving and good people. The whole town atmosphere was a little cheesy / unbelievable for me but it’s nice that they had so many friends. Overall I liked it but didn’t really love it. (I think I like her Highlander novels a lot better lately) I’d still recommend it if you like vampire / paranormal romance! And especially if you like a “small town romance” which I think is pretty prevalent in this one too.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2014 – Book #106

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The hundred and sixth book I read in 2014 was Undead and Unsure by MaryJanice Davidson. This is the twelfth book in the Undead/Betsy Taylor series by this author. I finished this book on 12/28/14. I rated this book 4.25 stars out of a scale of 5. This book picks up a few days (I think) after the last book leaves off. Betsy has just killed the devil in front of her half-sister (the devil’s daughter). This causes a bit of family tension at the Thanksgiving 2.0 holiday that Betsy has planned. The Antichrist is pretty upset that Betsy got her into this situation, where she’s stuck being the devil’s replacement.

Sinclair is ecstatic that he can now go outside in the sunlight with his two puppies, Furr and Burr. Betsy is ashamed that he is acting so “cute” and not at all like the bad-ass vampire king that she has come to know and love. Betsy is trying so very hard to recover her fragmented relationship with her sister and thinks that Thanksgiving dinner will do the trick. However, Laura has other ideas and drags Betsy to hell and then ditches her there. Also this whole time Dr. Taylor (Betsy’s mom) is very worried about the fact that no one knows when Jessica got pregnant, no one knows when Jessica is due, and no one seems to be worried about these facts.

Overall I really liked the story line in this book. The Antichrist acts like a scared little girl in this book, which was a tad different from how we’ve seen her in the past. And I loved that we got to hear pieces of the story from Eric’s point of view in this book. I loved that Jess’s babies turned out to be weird and I think its hilarious that Marc ended up having to deliver them. (Oh yea, SPOLIER ALERT 🙂 )I can’t wait to read the next book in the series (the new one)!!!

Link to author website: http://www.maryjanicedavidson.net/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Undead-Unsure-MaryJanice-Davidson/dp/0425263436/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1419907889&sr=8-1