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#1 Nov 17 2009 at 12:53 AM Rating: Good
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I know that some of the posters on Allakhazam read romance novels (Namely women, if I remember right from some Asylum threads. Catwho? I dunno.) and I was wondering if you could point me in some direction to one that I am looking for.

Having tired of other genres, romance is one of the last for me to try. Seriously, these days I can't finish a book, much less a series. But maybe a new genre will help that, I used to read alot, and kind of miss the quiet feelings that came with it, a pleasing sensation in some sort of odd way.

But anyway. I was wondering if there were any good romance novels out there that aren't quite 'normal' or 'average.' I guess something more along the lines of Fantasy Romance? Is there such a genre? Anyone read anything in it? Maybe the main characters aren't human, or there's a better twist than a typical 'Macho man meets dainty woman, they fall deeply in love and have rough, greatly detailed intercourse'? Elves? I dunno, I'm open to anything at the moment really, just looking for suggestions.
#2 Nov 17 2009 at 1:55 AM Rating: Good
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I know there are a lot of supernatural/paranormal romances out there these days, but honestly, I haven't really been reading new romance for some time.

In another thread asking for fantasy book recommendations, I pimped a series of trilogies by Jacqueline Carey that starts with the novel Kushiel's Dart. It's not a romance, per se, but there is romance in it, and no matter what genre you're seeking, it's a **** GOOD SERIES.

Check out this post for more information. Then read the books, because they're truly, truly excellent and if at least the first novel can't keep your interest, then your interest simply cannot be held by anything. Seriously. I loved these books so much my son was almost named Joscelin after one of the characters.

If you want something that is actually found in the romance aisle among the bodice-rippers, check out the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. It's got time travel, and it's pretty epic. I personally have found my attention wandering with the last couple books in the series, but other people I know can't put them down, so that could just be my ADD at work.

Now, to dig into some older stuff, check out the following novels by Jude Devereux: Wishes, A Knight in Shining Armor, and Remembrance. The first two are very light, fluffy reading, just about the perfect size for a cozy evening in, nothing too hefty. The last one is a bit weightier and actually packs a little bit of an emotional punch toward the end.

I also recommend Sweet Liar by Jude Devereux as well, but I can't truthfully claim it has any sort of supernatural stuff going on. It's just a good read. Devereux has some other stuff with a supernatural flavor, but I'm not as familiar with her more recent work. Her non-supernatural novels are fun as well. If you enjoy Wishes (and if you have any sense of humor whatsoever, you really can't help but enjoy it) also check out Mountain Laurel and Eternity for more of the same brand of light-hearted hilarity.

For straight-up well-written romance without any supernatural stuff, read some Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, particularly Ashes in the Wind. The book is 30 years old, but it still holds up. There's a reason Woodiwiss (R.I.P.) was hailed as the "queen of historical romance." Some of her more recent stuff doesn't live up to the epic quality of her earlier works, but up through So Worthy My Love, which was published in 1989, they're all worth reading. The list, then, would be:

The Flame and the Flower
The Wolf and the Dove
Shanna
Ashes in the Wind
A Rose In Winter
Come Love a Stranger
So Worthy My Love
Petals on the River
(not as good as the rest of the list, but still enjoyable.)

Her VERY early works (up through Ashes in the Wind, I believe) employ the "heroine is raped/seduced but ends up falling in love anyway" device that was common in most historical romances written in the 70s and early 80s, before someone in the publishing industry decided it would be all right for a woman to have *** without having to be raped the first time. See, there's a reason they're called "bodice rippers," yo. Read at your own risk.

And now to take you out of the realm of romance, I know you've said you've exhausted other genres, but have you yet read the Honor Harrington series by David Weber? If not, you may want to consider checking it out. Usually military sci-fi isn't my cup of tea, because it tends to be mostly boyfic and frequently misogynistic, but Honor Harrington is different. It features a strong female protagonist and is written by a man who actually does respect women and isn't afraid to explore the softer side of his characters once in a while, in between the epic space battles.

Good luck and enjoy!

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"Is it wrong for me to long for the simpler days of yesteryear when performers weren't so confusing? Jagger, Bowie...you KNEW they were women. But nowadays, this internationally ranked cheerleading coach just can't figure it out. Neil Patrick Harris? You confuse me. I HEAR you're ***, but there you are on my TV playing a normal, womanizing, cardigan-wearing straight. That's confusing. And then I heard a rumor you're not actually a doctor. So much sneaky *** deception!" --Sue's Corner
#3 Nov 17 2009 at 2:09 AM Rating: Decent
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Not really my genre, though I will say it seems like most fantasy books are little more than romance novels with dragons flying around somewhere in the background. What kind of books have caught your interest before and why did you like them? Otherwise it is kind of stabbing in the dark with suggestions.

Off the top of my head there is Archangel, by Sharon Shinn. The world is kind of interesting and there are two kinds of beings, normal humans and winged humans. Or Daughter of the Forest, by Juliet Marillier. This one is loosely based on the fairy tale The Wild Swans.

Though I have to say checking out some classics is a good way to winnow your selections down to well written books. Or try young adult / children books. You can really tell that a lot of authors for normal fiction are padding their books. Other age groups don't seem to get that as much.
#4 Nov 17 2009 at 4:40 AM Rating: Good
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SeraphOwl wrote:
Or try young adult / children books. You can really tell that a lot of authors for normal fiction are padding their books. Other age groups don't seem to get that as much.

Nice to see I'm not the only one who thinks that. I though I was alone in that opinion.
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#5 Nov 17 2009 at 8:39 AM Rating: Excellent
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#6 Nov 17 2009 at 10:10 AM Rating: Good
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My favorite fantasy/sci-fi romance authors are Teresa Medeiros, Susan Kearney, and Jayne Castle (who is another pen name for Amanda Quick.)

I look for authors that invested in world building, and didn't just have hunky space barbarians come to Earth for *** (a major issue I had with Johanna Lindsey's scifi attempts.)

Teresa Medeiros - Her primary genre is comedic romance, but many of those dip into fantasy. She tends to do oneshots or two book pairs. Her best work is probably Breath of Magic, in which a time traveling Salem witch ends up with a more handsome Bill Gates clone.

Susan Kearney - Does action Sci Fi. Look for The Challenge, The Dare, and The Quest for a very nice trilogy set in the not so distant future. The Dare is probably the best of the three, in which a sentient computer falls in love and builds herself a body based on his fantasies (which she had access to. Ahahah.) Sort of like The Ship Who Sang only with more ***.

Jayne Castle has some books even I need to catch up on(she's a pen name of a pen name and stupidly prolific), but she has an interesting trilogy out there called Amaryllis, Zinnia, and Orchid. It's set on a parallel earth that was colonized when "the curtain" opened up between dimensions, and after hundreds of years has more or less turned into modern day Washington and Oregon, only with everyone having some form of psychic talent.

My good real life friend Rachel Bach is supposed to have her first books coming out this fall, but I don't know what her pen name is >_>; I need to bug her on livejournal about that.

Edited, Nov 17th 2009 11:23am by catwho
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#7 Nov 17 2009 at 10:37 AM Rating: Good
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catwho, pet mage of Jabober wrote:

I look for authors that invested in world building, and didn't just have hunky space barbarians come to Earth for *** (a major issue I had with Johanna Lindsey's scifi attempts.)


*cough*Warrior's Woman*cough*

Ugh. That book came out when I was 16 and even then I had the sense to recognize it was a stinker. I don't think I ever tried anything by Lindsey after that.

Edited, Nov 17th 2009 8:40am by Ambrya
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"Is it wrong for me to long for the simpler days of yesteryear when performers weren't so confusing? Jagger, Bowie...you KNEW they were women. But nowadays, this internationally ranked cheerleading coach just can't figure it out. Neil Patrick Harris? You confuse me. I HEAR you're ***, but there you are on my TV playing a normal, womanizing, cardigan-wearing straight. That's confusing. And then I heard a rumor you're not actually a doctor. So much sneaky *** deception!" --Sue's Corner
#8 Nov 17 2009 at 12:53 PM Rating: Good
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Yeah, I read the other two in that trilogy half heartedly, then rotated them out on the romance book shelf. They were not keepers, nor were they re-readables.

I can see why some people like Lindey's stuff, but I've never been too fond of her. Nor Nora Roberts or Danielle Steele for that matter. I prefer comedy, not melodrama.



Edited, Nov 17th 2009 2:05pm by catwho
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#9 Nov 17 2009 at 2:15 PM Rating: Good
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catwho, pet mage of Jabober wrote:
Yeah, I read the other two in that trilogy half heartedly, then rotated them out on the romance book shelf. They were not keepers, nor were they re-readables.

I can see why some people like Lindey's stuff, but I've never been too fond of her. Nor Nora Roberts or Danielle Steele for that matter. I prefer comedy, not melodrama.


How...that...um....there were MORE books like that one?

Seriously?

I think my faith in humanity just died a little. And no, I don't mean in the nice le petite morte sorta way. It's not so much that Lindsey would produce more of such dreck, but that enough people read and enjoyed the first one for there to be a demand for more (I guess the fact that some of the reader reviews on Amazon were declaring it the best book ever should have been a clue, but I'm slow like that.)

As for the rest, I agree. I don't know if I've ever read any Nora Roberts, but I've tried a couple Danielle Steele novels and they made me want claw my own eyes out before I was halfway through. I prefer books that could not actually be written by a computer with a fill-in-the-blank form.

Devereux is about as fluffy as I get when it comes to reading romance, and that's only because she's genuinely witty at times. The modern-day incarnation of the (oft-reincarnated) heroine of Remembrance is quasi-autobiographical of Devereux herself, in that she's a romance author and the descriptions of some of the character's books sound like books Devereux wrote. She makes a point of taking on critics of the romance genre, and particularly literary critics who review romances, and in doing so manages to be genuinely funny.

Remembrance by Jude Devereux wrote:
For all the joy of my life, there is one aspect of it that is really truly quite awful. Shockingly awful. And that is the way the world looks at romance novels, at romance readers, and above all, at romance writers!

Isn't the world a weird place? I saw a man on Oprah who was admitting that he'd had *** with his daughter several times when she was a child. Nearly ever actor/singer tells the world he/she has done every drug known and hurt or driven away most of the people in their lives.

And how are these people greeted? With love, that's how. With love and understanding and sympathy.

But here I am and what do I do? I write funny little romantic stories about men and women who fall in love with each other. The wildest thing they do is make a baby or two. No drugs, no incest. No one boiling anyone and doing heaven only knows what else to them. I don't even have people plotting clever ways to kill someone. I just invent stories about what we all dream about: having someone to love, who loves us in return.

You'd think that the very thought of a romance writer would bring a smile to people's lips. Ah, how nice. Love. Making love. Laughter. Kissing.

But no, the world is upside down as far as I can see, and romances and their writers are ridiculed, hissed at, and generally spat upon.

And for what reasons? One of my favorites is that women who read them might get mixed up about reality and imagine a man is going to rescue them from Life. According to this theory, women are so stupid that they can't tell a story from reality. Is anyone worried that the men who read spy thrillers are going to go after their neighbors with an automatic weapon? No, I don't remember anyone thinking that. Nor do I remember anyone worrying about murder mysteries or science fiction. It just seems to be dumb ol' women who might think some gorgeous, thoughtful, giving hunk is going to rescue them.

Honey, if any woman thought a gorgeous hunk was going to rescue her, romance novels wouldn't be forty percent of the publishing industry.

Anyway, back to the reviewers. These smart young people graduate from college with dreams of working on some magazine of intellectual merit, and what happens to them? Some old man who no longer has stars in his eyes decides to teach the young whippersnapper a lesson about life so he gives this child the lowest job in all the industry: reviewing romance novels!

Guess who bears the brunt of the newly graduated person's rage? Eighty grand spent on education and they are given a book to read that has a nursing mother cover (so called because of the size of the you-know-whats and the obviously about-to-be-lowered bodice [Quiz: do you think a man or a woman invented these covers?])
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"Is it wrong for me to long for the simpler days of yesteryear when performers weren't so confusing? Jagger, Bowie...you KNEW they were women. But nowadays, this internationally ranked cheerleading coach just can't figure it out. Neil Patrick Harris? You confuse me. I HEAR you're ***, but there you are on my TV playing a normal, womanizing, cardigan-wearing straight. That's confusing. And then I heard a rumor you're not actually a doctor. So much sneaky *** deception!" --Sue's Corner
#10 Nov 17 2009 at 2:27 PM Rating: Excellent
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Yep, it was daughter and son of **** space hunk from the first book that got their turn. Smiley: disappointed

In the second book of that trilogy, the hero doesn't take no for an answer and nearly rapes her, which is the Biggest No No in romance novel writing you can do. And she "comes around" later and realizes he didn't meant to hurt her, etc etc etc. WRONG. Bzzztzzz. Smiley: mad

I gave up on Lindsey after that myself.
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I can't understand anyone who skips the cutscenes of a Final Fantasy game. That's like going to Texas and not getting barbecue.

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#11 Nov 17 2009 at 5:12 PM Rating: Decent
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I'm not a big fan of romance novels à la Harlequin, I've read some fantasy romance novels, although I have to admit mostly by mistake though, but none that I really liked.

Out of the whole stack of science fiction books, there are some that do try to focus a bit on romance though, for instance Asimov tried a bit with "End of Eternity", very good book btw, but perhaps not exactly what you are looking for.

There's also "Hollow Man" by Dan Simmons I suppose, although more a tragic tale than a romance.
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#12 Nov 17 2009 at 5:45 PM Rating: Good
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catwho, pet mage of Jabober wrote:

In the second book of that trilogy, the hero doesn't take no for an answer and nearly rapes her, which is the Biggest No No in romance novel writing you can do.


Yeah, unfortunately that was pretty much the standard recipe for most of the genre (especially the Indian romances) for a couple decades. It was expected, because how else was the hot-yet-good-girl heroine supposed to be overcome by her passion for the hero? Smiley: rolleyes This WAS the era of Luke and Laura, mind you.

If the first book in the Lindsey trilogy came out in 1990, though, then the age where that was de rigueur for the genre was long past, and most of the decent writers--such as Woodiwiss--had done away with such devices. In Remembrance, Devereux's quasi-autobiographical heroine says that her first novel was rejected because the editor told her that if the hero doesn't rape the heroine, no one will think he's masculine, but that she took the book to another publisher and it became a best seller and now that editor edits for Penthouse.
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#13 Nov 18 2009 at 9:47 PM Rating: Default
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For me The Notebook.. That's the best book I ever red..
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#14 Nov 18 2009 at 10:23 PM Rating: Decent
I like Ann Rice's Beauty series quite a bit too. It's nowhere near as awesome as the Kushiel's Dart series, but it's still interesting and entertaining.
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#15 Dec 30 2009 at 4:59 AM Rating: Decent
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Just a quick update on this, and I figured I might as well use the same thread and not make a new one.

I ended up with Jayne Castle, but not any on the list. I received Dark light as a gift during the holidays and so far it seems very good. I like Jayne's writing style, the character progression is nice, there's a nice wrench thrown in the social dynamics right from the beginning and it'll be fun to watch the characters work around that obstacle. Thanks for the suggestion Catwho. <3

I don't know much about romance novels, but I would recommend this book or author to anyone who's looking for literature in this field.
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