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Romance Reads   Tags: read_alikes, readalikes, readers_advisory, romance, sapl  

A guide to Romance books and literature.
Last Updated: Apr 21, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Cristine Mitchamore
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Web Sites of Interest

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    *The* place to visit online for reviews of romances.
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Welcome to Romance. . .

      Every romance novel has two basic elements:  

  • A Central Love Story: The main plot centers around two individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work. A writer can include as many subplots as he/she wants as long as the love story is the main focus of the novel.

  • An Emotionally-Satisfying and Optimistic Ending: Usually the story ends with the lovers living "happily ever after". The reader is left with the belief that whatever else happens the two lovers will remain together and happy with their relationship. (So while Romeo & Juliet may be romantic it's not a Romance.)

     Romance novels may have any tone or style, be set in any place or time, and have varying levels of sensuality—ranging from sweet to extremely hot.


Sweet or Sexy?

   Do you prefer a chaste love story, with nothing more explicit than holding hands? Or do you prefer something more sensual, even erotic? Or perhaps you prefer something in-between depending on your mood.

   Most readers have a definite preference regarding the explicitness and development of the physical relationship in a Romance. So, sensuality ratings for suggested titles are provided on this guide. The rating system is based heavily on the system created by a website called All About Romance

   Below is a complete explanation of each level of rating from All About Romance:

Kisses Kisses only. Many of these books are quite simply "sweet." Most traditional Regencies fit this category, as well Harlequin Romance and Silhouette Romance titles. Authors who tend to write "Kisses" romances include Betty Neels, Nicole Burnham, Lisa Wingate, and Donna Simpson.
Subtle No explicit sensuality. Kissing and touching, but physical romance is described in general terms or implied. The emphasis is on how lovemaking made the characters feel emotionally, and not on graphic description, although this does not equate to the use of euphemism or only "petting." Rather, if lovemaking occurs, it is alluded to rather than described, so that the reader's imagination becomes paramount. Many Harlequin American Romances are written with "Subtle" sensuality. Authors who write at this level of sensuality include Pamela Morsi, LaVyrle Spencer, Debbie Macomber, and Deborah Smith. Traditional Regency authors who tend to write books with "Subtle" sensuality include Patricia Oliver and Karen Harbaugh.
Warm Moderately explicit sensuality. While our lovers do make love, and the reader is there with them, physical details are described, but are not graphically depicted. Much is left to the reader's imagination and/or possibly the use of euphemistic "code words." But what's most important are feelings and emotions, not body parts. While there is sexual tension, there may not be more than one or two love scenes in the whole book. The vast majority of single title romances feature "Warm" sensuality. Series lines that are generally "Warm" include Harlequin American Romance and Silhouette Special Edition. The vast majority of single title romances fall in either the "Warm" or "Hot" category. Authors who often write at this level of sensuality include Nora Roberts, Susan Wiggs, Rebecca York, Judith Arnold, Mary Balogh (trads and single titles), Edith Layton, and Candace Camp.
Hot Very explicit sensuality. There is an expanded focus throughout the book on sexual feelings and desires. The love scenes are longer, and there are at least two or three of them. The characters often think about their sexual feelings and desires, and making love is graphically depicted, and there may be strong use of euphemistic "code words." Both the emotions of the hero and heroine and the physical feelings of both are important during love scenes. Most Harlequin Temptations and Blazes, as well as a good number of Silhouette Desires, are "Hot." Authors who tend to write "Hot" romances include J.D. Robb, Leanne Banks, Stephanie Laurens, Gaelen Foley, Karen Marie Moning, Linda Howard, Lisa Kleypas, Susan Andersen, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and pre-romantic suspense Julie Garwood
Burning Extremely explicit sensuality - these books are often considered "romantica," a hybrid between erotica and romance.. Sexual feelings and desires are strongly focused on and some books in this category have sex as the primary focus. The details are thoroughly graphic, and may include what some readers might consider kinky. Many Harlequin Blaze titles are "Burning," as are many of Kensington's Brava line. Authors who are writing Burning romance include "old-line" authors such as Susan Johnson, Thea Devine, and Bertrice Small (who never met a manroot she didn't love), and newer authors to romantica such as Alison Kent, Emma Holly, Cheryl Holt, and Angela Knight

Sub-genres of Genre

    Lords and Ladies, Sheiks and shapechangers, Witches and Warriors, Romance offers a little for everyone no matter what time or place interests you.

    Ancient Scotland, Regency England, modern-day Colorado, and Victorian Egypt offer the settings for our lovers. The challenges to True Love? Feuding clans, corporate spies, demons, and each other!


Genre Giants

      So many authors, so little time! Here's just a sampling of popular authors to get you started:

Suzanne Brockmann Christina Dodd
Christine Feehan Georgette Heyer
Sherrilyn Kenyon Debbie Macomber
Julia Quinn Nora Roberts

Perennial Favorites

     With so many options, choosing a romance novel can quickly get overwhelming. Here are several titles that are perennial favorites of Romance Readers:

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Romancing Mister Bridgerton - Julia Quinn
Penelope Featherington has secretly adored her best friend's brother for . . . well, it feels like forever. After half a lifetime of watching Colin Bridgerton from afar, she thinks she knows everything about him, until she stumbles across his deepest secret . . . and fears she doesn't know him at all. Colin Bridgerton is tired of being thought nothing but an empty-headed charmer, tired of everyone's preoccupation with the notorious gossip columnist Lady Whistledown, who can't seem to publish an edition without mentioning him in the first paragraph. But when Colin returns to London from a trop aboard he discovers notyhing in his life is quite the same—especially Penelope Featherington! The girl haunting his dreams. But when he discovers that Penelope has secrets of her own, this elusive bachelor must decide . . . is she his biggest threat—or his promise of a happy ending?

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Flowers from the Storm - Laura Kinsale
The Duke of Jervaulx was brilliant and dangerous. Considered dissolute, reckless, and extravagant, he was transparently referred to as the ′D of J′ in scandal sheets, where he and his various exploits featured with frequency. But sometimes the most womanising rake can be irresistible, and even his most casual attentions fascinated the sheltered Maddy Timms, quiet daughter of a simple mathematician.

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Born in Fire - by Nora Roberts
*WARM* Nora Roberts remains a benchmark in Romance having written Contemporary, Paranormal and Futuristic Police Procedurals.

Irish Born contains all the three of the Born In trilogy. Glass-blowing, the international art world, and a wild Irish setting form the backdrop for the first Born in fire.

Margaret Mary Concannon is a brilliant and tormented glass-blowing artist who hides from her past in her work.

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Pride and prejudice - by Jane Austen
*KISSES* (1800s England) Pride and Prejudice touches on themes of class, social behavior, and family relationships. It's a peek into a world that in some ways is nothing like ours, but it contains truths which seem to apply in any world. Austen is considered one of the mothers of the Regency Romance.

Pride and Prejudice recounts the story of lively and rebellious Elizabeth Bennet, one of five unmarried daughters living in the countryside of 19th century England. In a world where obtaining an advantageous marriage is a woman's sole occupation, Elizabeth's independent manner threatens her family's future.

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Bet me - by Jennifer Crusie
*WARM* (Contemporary) Readers respond to Crusie's interesting characters and use of humor and witty dialogue.

Minerva Dobbs thought David Fisk might be "The One", until he dumps her three weeks before her sister's wedding because she won't sleep with him. Min realizes just *how* lucky she is to be rid of David when she overhears him at her favorite bar betting a handsome stranger, Calvin Morrisey, that Cal couldn't bed Min in a month.

Min debates giving them both a piece of her mind, but then she remembers she still needs a date for the wedding. Why not use the all-too charming Cal just like he was going to use her, and then dump him? Of course, Min never expected that Cal might turn out to be "The One".

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The unsung hero - by Suzanne Brockmann
*HOT* (Contemporary) First in a series. Lt. Tom Paoletti of the US Navy SEALs returns to his hometown of Baldwin's Bridge, Massachusetts while on forced 30-day leave after suffering a severe head injury while on a rescue mission. He suffers from debilitating headaches, dizzyness, and possible paranoia. No wonder his commanding officer doesn't believe him when Tom reports seeing one of the most-wanted international terrorists in Boston's Logan airport, and again in the local hardware store. Why would the man known as The Merchant be interested in a small town like Baldwin's Bridge?

Dr. Kelly Ashton is also returning home; but she's here to nurse her father, Charles Ashton, who has cancer and only has 3 months to live. Reunited with her one-time friend and would-be lover after 16 years, Kelly is determined that this time she'll go after who she really wants.


Romance in eBook

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Prince Joe - Suzanne Brockmann
Call Number: OverDrive eBook
ISBN: 9781426804847
Publication Date: 2007-08-01
*Subtle* (Contemporary) 1st in Brockmann's "Tall, Dark & Dangerous" series. Brockmann is well-known for writing Miltiary Romances that mix romantic elements with the excitement and suspense of the Thriller and War genres. Brockmann's novels offer fast-paced, multi-layered plots, and are written in a realistic, sometimes even graphic manner about the SEALs and the love scenes.

Veronica St. John is facing the challenge of a lifetime. The media consultant has two days to teach a rugged Navy SEAL to impersonate a European prince who has been targeted by terrorists. It's a tough assignment, but Veronica is sure she's up to the task--until she actually meets Joe.

Despite his physical resemblance to the handsome prince, Lieutenant Joe Catalanotto is nothing like the stuffy aristocrat. Everything about the combat-hardened Navy SEAL--from the arrogant gleam in his eyes and streetwise attitude to the New York accent--says regular guy, not royalty.

One conversation and Veronica knows nothing could turn this military man into nobility. Joe, on the other hand, is confident he's got what it takes to complete his duty. But neither of them expects their assignment to include falling in love.


Romantic Movies

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While you were sleeping
ISBN: 1558907920
A lonely young woman saves the life of a handsome stranger she has fallen in love with from afar. His family mistakes her for his fiancee, and she goes along because she likes his offbeat family so much. Matters take a hilarious turn when she meets and falls in love with her make-believe lover's brother.

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Kate & Leopold
Kate and her actor brother live in 21st century New York. Her ex-boyfriend, Stuart, has found a spot near the Brooklyn Bridge where there is a gap in time-- one can return to the 19th century. Stuart goes back to the 1870s and takes pictures, then is followed back to New York by Leopold. Leopold gets help with fitting into the 21st century from Kate's brother Charlie, and meets Kate herself. Kate is climbing the corporate ladder in advertising, but her growing feelings for Leopold cause her to reevaluate her priorities in life.


Upcoming Book Groups

     Romance Book Groups will be meeting at Igo.

     We also offer Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and even Nonfiction book groups!

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Romanctic? Certaintly. A Romance? Well, maybe . . .

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Outlander - Diana Gabaldon
ISBN: 9780553393699
Publication Date: 2014-07-01
While by the strictest definition Outlander is not a romance, the book nevertheless shows up on lists of favorite romances frequently.

*Warm* (Time Travel) Hurtled back through time more than two hundred years to 1743 Scotland, Claire Randall finds herself caught in the midst of an unfamiliar world torn apart by violence, pestilence, and revolution and haunted by her growing feelings for a young soldier, James Fraser.


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