February Romance Genre Discussion

For February 2016, we will be reading Romance.
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kio
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February Romance Genre Discussion

Post by kio » 02 Feb 2017, 21:58

Since it's February, I decided to go a bit out of the box (or in :) )and do romance.

Romance is defined as a genre where one of the primary focuses is on the relationship and romantic love between two people, and must have an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending. It can cross into pretty much any genre.

What book did you read? Would your recommend it? What stood out about the book? Did it cross into other genres?
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Post by Gnome » 05 Feb 2017, 23:02

I'm having trouble with romance books lately. Increasingly there seems to be something off about them. Mostly, I think, it's because romance is often looked at the "easy" genre for anyone to write who wants to make a few bucks with an ebook.

Recently I've read "Out of the Box: Awakening" and "Making Her His," both past BOTD. I had trouble finishing both due to characterization. Both authors fell into glaring pits (in my opinion) with their heroines - women who can do no wrong. Everything seemed to happen around them and the women were rocks to support their cast. I also had issues with both male protagonists but I don't want to start dissecting that far.

Over all I've found that if the protagonist is hard to relate to as a human with flaws then chances are it's going to be hard to believe the actual plot - an emotional journey that brings a couple together (and where appropriate, the sex)

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Post by JessicaB » 10 Feb 2017, 17:46

do you consider 50 shades of grey a romance?

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Post by Jennifer Allsbrook » 10 Feb 2017, 19:26

Gnome wrote:I'm having trouble with romance books lately. Increasingly there seems to be something off about them. Mostly, I think, it's because romance is often looked at the "easy" genre for anyone to write who wants to make a few bucks with an ebook.

Recently I've read "Out of the Box: Awakening" and "Making Her His," both past BOTD. I had trouble finishing both due to characterization. Both authors fell into glaring pits (in my opinion) with their heroines - women who can do no wrong. Everything seemed to happen around them and the women were rocks to support their cast. I also had issues with both male protagonists but I don't want to start dissecting that far.

Over all I've found that if the protagonist is hard to relate to as a human with flaws then chances are it's going to be hard to believe the actual plot - an emotional journey that brings a couple together (and where appropriate, the sex)
I love the romance genre so much that it is my go to genre when looking for new books to read. I also read Making Her His, but instead of having trouble finishing it, I gobbled it up like candy. I read it straight through and loved every minute of it. It helps that the main female character, Ellyn, was a total science geek just like me. I am a biologist and loved the mycology included in the story. It is unusual for a romance novel to have such an intellectual lead. It also helped that Alexandros Hanas, Greek business mogel, was a sexy-as-hell character not to mention a caring and supportive step-brother to Ellyn. I thought that Lucy Leroux did a wonderful job developing the relationship between these two characters. I knew Alex fell for the young, vulnerable Ellyn and he wanted nothing more than to protect and love her. I would recommend this book to others who love the genre. I am in progress in writing a review I plan to post on Goodreads and on Amazon.

In terms of other romance books that I have read lately...there are too many to name. Most of the books on my bookshelf both online here and literally are either romance or erotica. I enjoy paranormal romance like the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by JR Ward, thrillers with a romantic twist like the works of Allison Brennan, and just plain old great love stories like those written by Nora Roberts. Erotic romance favorites include the works of Lora Leigh, Lorelei James, Maya Banks, or Shayla Black.

-- 10 Feb 2017, 19:27 --
JessicaB wrote:do you consider 50 shades of grey a romance?
I would consider this series erotic romance since it leads to a lasting relationship and a family for Christian and Anastasia.

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Post by Gnome » 10 Feb 2017, 22:57

Jennifer Allsbrook wrote:It also helped that Alexandros Hanas, Greek business mogel, was a sexy-as-hell character not to mention a caring and supportive step-brother to Ellyn.
I think this is where I started finding the issues. Alexandros was pushing hard against the line between caring and stalker to me, especially when he reveals the number of eyes he had on her while she was (for lack of a better term) growing up. It didn't help that there were a few lines sprinkled in that made me feel that he was grooming her to his bride whether or not she would want to be (and that it was lucky she liked him by her own choice).

Reading your analysis of it makes me wonder if I would have enjoyed the book more if the point of view had been reversed. The story opens with Alexandros taking control and the reader seeing his need first. If I had seen Ellyn's first reaction, then seen the work she put into her degree, and her emotional struggles I think I would have felt differently.

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Post by dimes » 13 Feb 2017, 04:26

I haven't quite read any of the books that are up for discussion here, but I'd like to add my two cents to the table.

I've had my history with romance novels back when I was a teen and hormones were raging, but since then I've not touched the genre with a barge pole. The formulaic plots were one thing, but the awful characterization were quite another. However, very recently, I've had a romance novel binge and I tried out some of the more popular authors out there, such as Julia Quinn, Lisa Kleypas and so on. I randomly picked up a lesser known author, Tessa Dare, on a whim and I have to say I enjoyed her novels the best of all. Dare writes her novels with zest and her characters are always bursting out of their stereotype roles. I love that her heroines are always equally invested in the romance (both emotional and physical) as the males, rather than always being the one being chased after. For any readers wanting to give the romance genre another chance but shying away from it, I recommend Tessa Dare, especially her Castles Ever After series. I thoroughly enjoyed all 3 books in that series.

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Post by Gnome » 13 Feb 2017, 10:05

Just looked up Tessa Dare, most of her books looks like something I'd enjoy. Is there more you can tell us dimes? I just downloaded the book she's offering for free but I've got to finish my current book first.

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Post by dimes » 13 Feb 2017, 13:18

Gnome wrote:Just looked up Tessa Dare, most of her books looks like something I'd enjoy. Is there more you can tell us dimes? I just downloaded the book she's offering for free but I've got to finish my current book first.
I've only really read her Castles Ever After series, haven't yet had time to start on her much longer Spindle Cover series. Castles Ever After are 3 books that are very loosely linked - you don't really need to read them chronologically, each story is pretty much standalone but the story of how each of the 3 heroines managed to inherit their own castle is common between them. I enjoyed them all because her heroines aren't your typical slender, ubiquitously beautiful sort. They have flaws (both physical and personal), and the flaws don't magically go away a la Cinderella by the end of the story. Rather, the hero eventually learns to accept and love these flaws. The heroines are generally independent and with an opinion of their own.

They also truly own their sexualities in the books - perhaps anachronistically since the series is set in the 19th century, if I'm not wrong, but it was still a refreshing read. A lot of romance novels, even if their heroines were somehow curious about sex, or weren't entirely innocent about the idea, there was always an element of male dominance or coercion when it came down to it. Not so much in Castles Ever After. I found that in the series, every time I found myself thinking: "I can predict what romance genre trope is going to come up next!" Tessa Dare turns that on its head and proves me wrong.

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Post by elivia05 » 16 Jun 2018, 18:45

JessicaB wrote: ↑
10 Feb 2017, 17:46
do you consider 50 shades of grey a romance?
Most people would consider 50 Shades of Grey a Romance. It definitely has the majority of the same factors that are included in other romance novels.

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