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

A guide to Romance books and literature.
Last Updated: Jul 17, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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    Readalikes? Check. Lists of recommended reads? Check. Ability to search by subject, writing tone, pace, storyline and so much more? Check.

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Web Sites of Interest

  • All About Romance  
    *The* place to visit online for reviews of romances.
  • Romantic Times Book Reviews  
    The magazine for Romance fans. Read news about Romance authors and their series, including sneak peaks of some titles.
  • Smart Bitches, Trashy Books
    To put it mildly, these folks are plainspoken, but they are often laugh-out-loud funny in their opinions and don't pull any punches in their book reviews (if they like it, they like it and if they don't you'll darn well know why by the end of the review).
  • Affaire de Coeur  
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  • Dear Author  
    Reviews with attitude! These reviews are in the form of letters to the Author. The Archives break the reviews down by grade (and the grading scale is cheerfully explained in the site's FAQ).


  • The RITA Awards  
    Presented annually for best first novel, best contemporary, best historical, best paranormal, best inspirational, and many *many* more!
  • Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award  
    Best romantic suspense, best contemporary & paranormal, best erotic and erotica, and best mainstream and chick lit fiction are some of the annual awards.

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:

Cover Art
The grand Sophy - by Georgette Heyer
*KISSES* (1810s) A comedy of manners with strong, complex characters. Heyer invented the Regency genre, and this is one of her most popular works. Heyer prefers to show the reader rather than tell, and relationships and feeling are understated and inferred.

When Lady Ombersley agrees to take in her young niece, no one expects the young lady they get. Sophy sweeps in and immediately decides her aunt’s family needs help. Her cousin, Cecilia, is in love with a poet while her cousin Charles is well on his way to being a tyrant, abetted by his fiancée, and her younger cousins desperately need some fun. By the time she’s done, Sophy has commandeered Charles's horses, his household, and finally, his heart.

Cover Art
Natural Born Charmer - by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
*WARM* (Contemporary) When starting quarterback Dean Robillard happens across Blue Bailey, walking alongside the road wearing a beaver costume, he can't resist stopping to learn her story. Broke and stranded thanks to a former boyfriend, Blue badly needs both a ride and a job.

After some fast talking on Blue's part, the two travel together from Colorado to Dean's new farmhouse in east Tennessee. Along the way, both struggle with trust and familial issues. Things get more complicated when they arrive at Dean's farm and find his mother.

Cover Art
The secret - by Julie Garwood
*HOT* (Early 1200s Scotland) Four year olds Judith (an English girl) and Frances Catherine (a Scots lass) don’t realize they’re supposed to hate each other when they first meet at a border fair. Instead of the expected animosity they become fast friends and over many years share their deepest secrets. Knowing Frances Catherine’s terror at the prospect of childbirth, Judith studies midwifery and makes a solemn promise to travel to France Catherine’s home when necessary.

Frances Catherine’s brother, Laird Iain Maitland, travels to England to fetch Judith but doesn’t expect Judith to keep her promise. (After all, she’s English!) His surprise when he finds Judith packed and waiting on her doorstep is just the beginning of Garwood’s tale of love amongst the prejudices of race, religion, custom and gender.

Cover Art
Dream man - by Linda Howard
*HOT* (Contemporary) Romantic suspense. Explicit violence. Six years ago a traumatic experience cost Marlie Keen her psychic abilities, but she hasn’t missed her visions into others’ thoughts. Unfortunately, that peace ends as her visions return full-force, making Marlie an involuntary witness to a brutal, evil murder. The killer is a stalker and a serial killer who’s sure he’ll never be caught.

Dane Hollistar, a detective for the Orlando Police Department, considers Marlie his number-one suspect when she approaches him with information only the killer could know. But Marlie has dealt with skeptics like Dane for years; she’s not about to accept his behavior. And Dane finds his skepticism wavering as they dance around their mutual attraction while trying to solve the case.

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Romance in eBook

Cover Art
The Duke and I - by Julia Quinn
Call Number: Downloadable eBook
Quinn writes Regency-era Romances with appealing characters, emphasizing humor and family relationships. She is best known for her series featuring the eight members of the Bridgerton Family.

*WARM* (Regency England) First in the Bridgerton series. Daphne Bridgerton and Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings, come from very different backgrounds. Daphne Bridgerton grew up as one of eight children in a loving family. Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings, lost his mother at birth, and his father rejected him because he had a stutter.

Our story opens as Simon returns to England after a six-year journey around the world, which he undertook to avoid his recently deceased father.

Simon is determined to never marry, and he has no desire to participate in the activities of the London season. But when invited to a ball by an old friend, he accepts. There he meets Daphne.

The two pretend to be courting for different reasons. Simon figures this will keep the match-making mamas at bay, and Daphne figures Simon's attentions will make her more attractive to other suitors. The only problem is that soon they only have eyes for each other.


Romantic Movies

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You've got mail
Starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. A sweet romantic comedy that explores the relationship possibilities offered by the Internet. Kathleen and Joe build an anonymous relationship in cyberspace while they are business rivals in the “real world”.

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10 things I hate about you
Call Number: DVD MOVIE 10
Based on the play The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare.


Upcoming Book Groups

     Currently the library does not sponsor any Romance Book Groups.

     We do offer Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and even Nonfiction!

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