Tag Archives: romance

Contemplations on Romance as a Genre

I did a book review a while back on a Nora Roberts book. Someone left a rather snide remark on the shared post on my Facebook page, basically saying I was wrong for enjoying the book. I’ve thought about it a lot since then.

Romance as a genre is often thought about as smut for lonely moms that’s poorly written. I’ve caught myself thinking the same as I read for research. (Despite my passion for dragons and fantasy, most of my freelance work involves ghostwriting romance.) I’ve got plenty of books on the shelf from library book sales or that have been passed on by friends, and I dove into them expecting them to be terrible. I’ve actually found there are some really great stories between those cheesy covers.

Obviously, there’s got to be sort of appeal to the boy-meets-girl story. Even in action movies, the guy has to get the girl at the end, right? I personally find Die Hard to be an incredibly romantic story.

Perhaps the problem isn’t with romantic notions but in marketing. Current romance covers have changed quite a bit, no doubt in an effort to be appealing as a thumbnail for digital purchases. Shana Galen‘s books are an excellent example. I admit I always found the classic covers to be pretty amusing, with Fabio’s hair blowing in the wind and a simpering woman in a gauzy dress groveling at his feet. It’s corny, and it invites potential readers to judge the book by its cover. But hey, if you’re looking to get swept away by a romantic story, I guess that cover says it all!

I think we could also tackle the rather unhealthy relationships that are, well, romanticized in the genre. A couple who doesn’t communicate well enough to admit they’re crazy about each other can’t really have a happily-ever-after, can they? And why wouldn’t any reasonable woman run screaming for the hills when the man who’s so interested in her is known for being dangerous, either physically or mentally? I’ve thought a lot about whether romance creates unrealistic expectations. It might, but I think it’s also important for us to consider that real-life people aren’t perfect. You’ll find any number of people in the world who are bad with money or lose their temper or who suck at communicating or who leave their dirty socks on the floor, and yet they still manage to find The One. Maybe the romances we’re reading about are just far more relatable than we’d like to admit.

If you’re offended by the romance genre because of the sex, then I suggest you sell your television, cut up your library card, and trade your smartphone in for an old-fashioned flip phone. It’s everywhere. I’ve seen ‘worse’ stuff in music videos than I’ve read in some novels. In fact, most romance novels are about the emotional connection instead of explicit bedroom scenes. Sex is used as a marketing tool for men all the time, so what’s the problem if it’s marketed toward women? Would a cheap romance novel be an unacceptable marketing tool for a woman who has a lot of cooking and cleaning to do?

I certainly don’t have all the answers on this, but it’s something to think about. If you think romance novels are terrible, you might want to read a few and give them a fair shake. (Suggestions below) If you have read them and still hate them, then maybe just scroll along and let someone else enjoy the genre. It isn’t as though romance is going away any time soon!

For historical romance, try Shana Galen and Susie Murphy.

For something more modern, Nora Roberts is always a good start.

For fantasy romance, try Susan Carroll or J.R. Ward.

Who’s your favorite romance author, book, or series? I’d love to know!

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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Filed under Book Reviews, On Writing

A Class Forsaken by Susie Murphy

If you’ve been reading Susie Murphy’s A Matter of Class series, then rejoice! A Class Forsaken is now available! I’m thrilled to be helping such a talented author get word of her latest release out into the world.

Since A Class Forsaken is the third in the series, I don’t want to give away too many spoilers. I do have to say that Murphy must own a time machine, or else she couldn’t possibly do such a good job of sucking a modern-day reader completely back into 1800’s Ireland. The story of Bridget and Cormac comes vividly to life in this sweeping tale of romance and the societal boundaries that make it so difficult.

If you’d like to read an excerpt of A Class Forsaken, you can download it here. You can also check out my reviews of A Class Apart and A Class Entwined.

And can we take a moment to appreciate these beautiful covers? I see so many that are just thrown together, but that’s absolutely not the case with this series! They say you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but in this case you’re safe to do so!

If you’re interested in checking out the rest of the book tour, here are the links:

Monday 24th August

Book Reviews for U 
The Writing Desk 

Tuesday 25th August
Between My Lines 

Wednesday 26th August
The Lit Bitch 
Lisa Reads Books 

Thursday 27th August
Pursuing Stacie 
Coffee, Books and China Cups 

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois.  She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University.  Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keepingand The Graveside DetectiveHer short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous.  Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world.  You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Books

Book Review: Charmed and Enchanted by Nora Roberts

A beautiful, fantastical pair of stories, Charmed and Enchanted by Nora Roberts was my latest choice for my bookshelf cleanout.

From the Cover:

Charmed

Her legacy had been as much a curse as a blessing, so Anastasia Donovan had learned to keep it hidden. But when single dad Boone Sawyer swept into her heart, she longed to reveal everything despite her fear of the consequences. Then fate stepped in….

Enchanted

Lovely, guileless Rowan Murray was drawn to darkly enigmatic Liam Donovan with a force she’d never imagined could exist. But before Liam could give Rowan his love, he first had to trust her with the incredible truth about himself…and his family.

What I Loved:

Both of these stories incorporate magic and fantasy into the real world, or perhaps it’s more that there’s a little bit of real world among the magic and the fantasy.  The third-person omniscient viewpoint provides a lot of head-hopping even within scenes, but it serves to really show how the characters are thinking and feeling about each other.  There’s a very real sense of who each character is, even those that aren’t all that important to the story.

What I Didn’t Love As Much:

When I skimmed over other reviews for this book on Amazon, I noticed there were several that criticized these stories for being too warm and gooey and too predictable.  I thought it was interesting that some of these reviewers were upset that the two main characters should meet, feel that they were supposed to be together, have some sort of falling out, and then get together at the end.  That’s a pretty normal romance trope, and that’s exactly what we read romance for!  We all want to see them live happily ever after, right?

I do have to say that one scene in Charmed was pretty cheesy, with rainbows and billowing curtains and birds outside the window.

Rating and Review:

If romance, witches, magic, and loads of great descriptions are your thing, then Charmed and Enchanted is for you. 4 stars.

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Ashley O’Melia is an independent author and freelancer from Southern Illinois. She holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University. Her books include The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping and The Graveside Detective. Her short stories have been published in The Penmen Review, Siren’s Call, and Subcutaneous. Ashley’s freelance work has spanned numerous genres for clients around the world. You can find her on Facebook and Amazon.

Note:  I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.  I will always give you my honest opinion on something before linking to it.

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Filed under Book Reviews