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Romance recs?

Since I am sort of looking for a new project, and I know one thing I'd like to finally incorporate into a book more fully is a romance, I've been considering examples of romance in books that I like as inspiration.

What I'm finding is that there aren't a whole lot of examples of romance in books I like, or examples of romance I like in books I've read. :P

Most of the romances I really love, there's very little actually *in* the book. It's just hinted at here and there and I want more! Which is good, but since I'm trying to write a book where the romance is more present, those examples are not very helpful. (Most of my favorite more-present romances are in TV shows and movies, which are useful to some extent... but I still want book examples.)

So, people, I need your recs! Your favorite books with a strong romantic subplot (i.e., not the main plot, but an important part of the story)! YA or adult, any genre, it's all good.



( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 14th, 2008 07:03 pm (UTC)
Patricia Briggs:
Moon Called
Blood Bound
Iron Kissed
When Demons Walk
Nov. 15th, 2008 03:19 am (UTC)
I've heard of that series--will have to look for it. Thanks!
Nov. 14th, 2008 07:05 pm (UTC)
Graceling has this for certain, as does The Hunger Games to a lesser extent.
Nov. 14th, 2008 07:46 pm (UTC)
What I liked about Graceling was that the romance part of the story was so not run-of-the-mill. That whole book was so not run-of-the-mill.

Hunger Games - I know that there is an attraction element to the story, but I have to say, that is not what stuck with me after I finished. *shivers with ick*
Nov. 15th, 2008 03:19 am (UTC)
Yes, I keep hearing about the relationship in GRACELING--that's at the top of my to-get list. Thanks! :)
Nov. 14th, 2008 07:10 pm (UTC)
Well, you probably know that my favorite romances are Mary Stewart's books. :) For more modern ideas, ...hm, it's hard to think of any! Like you say, it's hard to find books that have enough for my taste, as well. I do like many of June Foley's books (also on the older side, in terms of when they were written), however. Even the sillier ones, like SUSAN SIEGELMAN GIVES UP BOYS (I think that's the title). Those are YA, btw. Ellen Conford's YAs are also nice romances, imo. (Very teen -- but not too angsty.) I'm not a huge Sarah Dessen fan, so these aren't much like her books.
Nov. 15th, 2008 03:20 am (UTC)
What are your favorite Mary Stewart books? There are a bunch at BookMooch but I'm not sure where to start.
Nov. 15th, 2008 04:53 am (UTC)
That's a tough one, because it often depends on my mood...but when I want really sappy, mushy (not graphic, however) romance, I like TOUCH NOT THE CAT. And when I want tension and danger, I like either THE IVY TREE or MADAM, WILL YOU TALK. But the ones I've read most (can you see how much I like her books?) are WILDFIRE AT MIDNIGHT, which is a great mystery blended with tthe romance, and THIS ROUGH MAGIC, which has more chemistry in the romance.

Gee, I bet I helped a bunch there, didn't I? :) Btw, I'm going to start Loki's Boy soon -- I'm excited!
Nov. 14th, 2008 07:14 pm (UTC)
Favorite romance ever would have to be Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Sooooo good :)
Nov. 15th, 2008 03:20 am (UTC)
Will have to see if I can pick that one up! Thanks!
Nov. 14th, 2008 07:43 pm (UTC)
Whatever one thinks of Stephenie Meyer's books, I think most have to agree that she knows how to write that romantic tension. Actually, that's probably all she knows how to do.
Nov. 15th, 2008 03:22 am (UTC)
For sure! That's what I enjoyed about TWILIGHT. I've only read the first book, though, and I found it was mostly romance with just a little plot... I'm trying to figure out how to balance a romance with a lot of plot. :)
Nov. 14th, 2008 07:52 pm (UTC)
Nora Roberts is generally categorized as a romance writer, but her more recent offerings (and by recent I guess I mean within the past 5-10 years) are, as a general rule, much more mainstream or suspense or fantasy stories with a romantic sub-plot. My recommendations for her stand-alone stories would be Brazen Virtue (1988 -- 20 years old, and I haven't read it in a few years so I'm not 100% sure how it holds up (aside from what I remember as some fanTAStic descriptions of '80s decor), so take this one with a grain of salt), The Villa (2001), Three Fates (2002), and Birthright (2003).

Her trilogies have the added bonus of being what I think of as good examples of crafting story arcs within larger arcs. I really like her latest (the final book comes out... soon?): Blood Brothers/The Hollow/The Pagan Stone -- they verge on horror, but again, with the romantic subplots. If you want to revisit ghosties, there's the Blue Dahlia/Black Rose/Red Lily trilogy. Her books are relatively formulaic just by nature, but I still find them plenty entertaining. I consider her books to be what mac 'n' cheese is to my diet, more or less. :)

Hope that helps!
Nov. 15th, 2008 03:22 am (UTC)
Hmmm, I'll take a look at those. Thanks!
Nov. 14th, 2008 08:00 pm (UTC)
For some very smart books with romance as a main ingredient try Elinor Lippman. She's not called the modern day Jane Austen for no reason. :)

And for fluffier fair that is very romantic, but not "erotic" I like the British chick-lit of Katie Fforde. Her heroines are more true to life than most romance novel women, and there's something about the writing style that appeals to me.
Nov. 15th, 2008 03:23 am (UTC)
Am attempting to BookMooch an Elinor Lipman right now! :D
Nov. 14th, 2008 08:28 pm (UTC)
For YA, I'd recommend Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr.

For adults, I'd recommend Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series. While romance isn't the main point - or may not even be considered that strong - Armstrong does the male/female relationship rather well.
Nov. 15th, 2008 03:23 am (UTC)
Have read WICKED LOVELY, have heard lots of good things about Amrstrong--will look for it. Thanks!
Nov. 14th, 2008 08:29 pm (UTC)
Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel series.
Kim Harrison's series, starting with Dead Witch Walking.

Both of those are fantasy - Harrison's is paranormal romance. Both have romance as a side plot, but it's exceptionally well done IMHO.
Nov. 15th, 2008 03:24 am (UTC)
I keep hearing about both of those; they're on the to-read list now. :) Thanks!
Nov. 14th, 2008 11:43 pm (UTC)
Stephen King's Lisey's Story has some of the deftest handling of romance I have ever seen.

Nov. 15th, 2008 03:25 am (UTC)
I'll check that out, thanks!
Nov. 15th, 2008 04:15 am (UTC)
You should read some romances. Nora Roberts is a romance writer, btw.

I really loved THE BOOK OF TRUE DESIRES by Betina Krahn. It's a romance set in 1900 and it's also a rollicking good archaeological adventure story. And also FLOWERS FROM THE STORM, by Laura Kinsale, which is a historical romance between a Quaker and a Lord.

I also adored the romance in Valiant, by Holly Black. Graceling is good too. I just finished Impossible, by Nancy Werlin, which has a very unusual romance.

(My books have romances as well...)

Nov. 15th, 2008 06:22 am (UTC)
I don't read a lot of romance myself, but I really enjoyed Iron Hunt by Marjorie M. Liu. She's a romance writer, but in this book the romance was very much a subplot but a great one. Both characters were very strong and very well-developed. Similarly, their relationship was complex and very believable.
Nov. 15th, 2008 09:36 am (UTC)
I love Emma Bull's War for the Oaks and Lois McMaster Bujold's Paladin of Souls - both fantasy novels (for adults) with strong romantic subplots.
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )

My Books

Earth & Sky
(Earth & Sky #1, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2014

The Clouded Sky
(Earth & Sky #2, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2015

A Sky Unbroken
(Earth & Sky #3, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2015

The Way We Fall
(Fallen World #1, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2012

The Lives We Lost
(Fallen World #2, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2013

The Worlds We Make
(Fallen World #3, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2014

Those Who Lived: Fallen World Stories
(Fallen World #3.5, apocalyptic YA)
self pubbed, 2014

Give Up the Ghost
(paranormal YA)
Henry Holt, 2009

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