Reading, Category Romances, and Chatter

I need to start taking notes or drafting posts before they go live. Obviously I’m pre? post? scheduling this; as in, putting the publishing time as something earlier than when I physically typed it up. Ah, the magic of the internet.

I actually had some substantial things to discuss today, and had wanted to write a review. But I’m not in a review-writing mindset. I have however, actually been reading. You have no idea how exciting this is! I’ve read at least 52 books this year! Pathetic when compared to my “post slump” reading, but… I’m excited! October especially has been kind. I raved about a Helen Brooks category romance I read online, and have been glomming her back list since.

I’m a category romance reader. I always have been, and I see nothing wrong with it. I know a number of other discriminating and well-respected (as well as well-known) romance readers who enjoy them as well. I also know that category romances are looked down upon. The whole “yes, I read romances, but at least I don’t read those romances. You know, the trashy Harlequin ones.” I’m quite fond of the Desire, Blaze, and Presents line. Helen Brooks in fact writes for the Presents line and I think she’s fast becoming one of my favorite category authors. She’s up there in the ranks of Anne McAllister, and India Grey.

What’ve I been reading? A Boss in a Million. The Billionaire’s Marriage Mission. The Parisian Playboy. The Italian Tycoon’s Bride. And I’ve started The Greek Tycoon’s Bride but set it aside to mix things up a bit. No, I don’t love the titles. In fact that’s one thing I often rail against. The covers… on that I’m torn. They’re so clinch. A bit hokey, but so branded. In a way you have to respect that, even as you groan looking through them.

You can have too much of a good thing, though, because after reading four+ books by the same author in a row… you notice things. Of course, I don’t mind many of the tropes. But, the heroes just seem so very even keel to me. So actually, after I read A Boss in a Million I actually read two novels by Anya Bast back to back. Jeweled and Jaded. Both are most excellent. (Pst, Jeweled is only $6 right now – go buy it!) Lately, I read a few Jasmine Haynes shorts. I’m… going to be less effusive about those books, sadly. I’m disappointed as well. I did like her newest full length novel more, but but I’m wondering where the “series” is going. (The first is Past Midnight – I do plan on reviewing it… but we know how that goes.)

I’m contemplating jumping back into more novels, but then again I’m just not sure. I’ve always taken to watching psychological thrillers again, obviously because I hate myself… and even some horrors. Nothing too too bad, but the whole “American Horror Story” ads got my attention. And I don’t even watch horrors! I’m a total pansy. Can’t read them either. I think because I keep thinking “the makers of Glee made this show too! What?!”

I love category romances though because they pack such a punch. They seem to get shorter and shorter (though hopefully that’s changing? At least in some of the lines?) – but you know there’s going to be a happy ending. The heroes are tycoons and otherwise incredibly, intimidatingly successful. But what I love, is that the Presents titles that I read, at least, have equally impressive women. They might not have the power jobs and shatter glass ceilings, but they’re kind, generous, resourceful, smart, practical, and bring these men to their knees. There’s something powerful about that too.

And the emotional aspect of a couple working though a myriad of issues to form a lasting bond and relationship. I like that the category romance puts that at the forefront. It’s a romance, straight up, end of story.


So what do you love about reading romances? Have you found what I’m talking about in category romances? Ever give one a try? Believe me – I’m picky about what books I read. I wouldn’t say “oh just jump in” for any of the lines. In fact I have strong opinions of where to start and what to read. I’m always happy to discuss and offer opinions. (You’re not surprised, she said dryly.) In fact I can happily recommend any of the Helen Brooks titles I mentioned.

And, if you love category romances, or would like to give one a try, remember to enter the Olivia Gates giveaway where you can win the backlist book of your choice. *NB I’m done with the contest whore-type answer. I want substance, so to enter you must answer my questions. I know, I’m such a picky bitch.

0 thoughts on “Reading, Category Romances, and Chatter

  1. carly m.

    Do you ever get the feeling with categories that the emotional punch could have been even more satisfying if it were a full length novel. I only read two category authors: Sarah Morgan and Liz Talley. They are both wonderful writers and make me want to try other categories. But what holds me back is feeling that if they had more space the back stories could be more fleshed out, that the depth of the characters wouldn’t have to rely on the he’s a “greek tycoon,” i.e. you fill in the emotionally stunted, business driven blank.

    1. Limecello Post author


      Good point. I do agree sometimes I think a category romance suffers from the length, or lack of it. Like… there’s the story and it’s so great and then BAM you turn the page and all the conflict is resolved and we’re supposed to believe everything is hunky dory but really we’re all “O_o.”
      I think categories are much more difficult to write than many people give them credit for. A few though, do it perfectly. I’m also – probably unrealistically – hoping the category books get a tiny bit longer. At least back to how they used to be…
      Oh and that’s interesting – yes the character trope crutches. I’d almost posit, however, that all romance heroes are such – or the majority. Not just category ones. I would, however, again strongly recommend Helen Brooks. I’m curious what you’d think ofh er books!

  2. Diane Sallans

    I had already responded on the Olivia Gates post, but I’ve had another thought on reading “category romance”. I so enjoy reading them, but so many people seem to stick their noses up at them (but I think many actually read them, but do so in secret – after all sales are great).

    1. Limecello Post author

      Ooohhh Diane, you’ve got a great point there. Category romances – the secret shame?! ;X
      No but seriously – you’re right. I know HP numbers are consistently fantastic. If I were at all a writer I’d love to be an HP one. 😛

  3. Liz

    I don’t read purposely pick out the categoy romances but after reading your post I think I should re-think that. It’s nothing against them. I grew up stealing my grandma’s harlequins and reading them under the covers at night with a flashlight. It’s just there are so many, many good things out there to read that I really don’t pay attention to the publisher per se. I like romance novels. I’m proud of it, too! What I love about romances are surprises. I don’t mind the cliche formula at all, but when an author takes a sudden left turn just before the HEA…well…that just makes it that much better for me.

    1. Limecello Post author

      Liz! Yes! Yes you should read them! Do you have particular story lines that you enjoy? I always want people to enjoy what I do 😉 heh and I’d love to find suggestions for you, or direct you to people who could give great suggestions!
      And… yes. There are a lot out there. Tons. Gads. I’m so behind. But I love it. 😀 If only I could make a career out of this…

      1. Liz

        I’m always up for suggestions from other readers! I think paranormal is probably my favorite category, but I will pretty much read anything with a hot lead male, a feisty female and a lot of loving. I know, I know, I’d love to earn a living reading books and doing reviews. I think it would be just the best! Would love to hear your thoughts!

  4. Aemelia

    I love category romances. I call them my “popcorn” reads because they take about the same amount of time for me to read as to watch a movie, I love finishing a book in one sitting. 🙂 I also think of them as great stress relievers as I really don’t have to think much while I’m reading them, but that isn’t a slam because some of them are just as if not MORE emotional than some full-length romances.

    1. Limecello Post author

      Aemelia – ah yes! A popcorn read I think fits nicely. They are totally emotional, aren’t they. Packing quite a punch in a tiny package. I think there’s also something satisfying – aside from reading the romance itself, in finishing a book. And generally in such a short period of time. Like “oh lookit me! I’m a rockstar! And I’m jazzed because I just read a fantastic romance!”

  5. Fiona Lowe

    So thrilled you think category romances are a jam-packed emotional read:-). Good things come in small packages and women read these books for the emotion. Plus, you can choose your read so if Tycoons are not your thing, you can find a ‘closer to home’ read in Sweet or Medical romances.

    New twists on beloved themes is what I enjoy along with the HEA after an unpredictable ride.

    1. Limecello Post author

      Fiona, I’ve always loved category romances! And can’t figure out why people look down on them other than… some sort of … societal I don’t even know what. (I’m actually for a loss for the word.) But… a need to sneer to appear intellectually superior? Thankfully I’m generally secure in my brains. And if not at least I’ve got the paperwork to put me in the upper bracket. 😛 [Guess I’m not so secure? And that I *really really* should be avoiding the internet today?]

      But I agree wholeheartedly – Harlequin offers so much in its categories. I can only claim any sort of “expertise” in three. And passing familiarity with one or two others.

  6. Laurie G

    Cats I remembered some more authors I’ve enjoyed over the years:Nancy Warren, Ann Voss Peterson, Emilie Rose,Tessa Radley, Jane Porter, Vickie Lewis Thompson, Sheryl Woods…

    I do agree with Helen Brooks. I don’t know how I forgot her.

    My all time favoritse would probably be Helen Biachin in the Presents line and Jill Shalvis in the old Temptation and now Blaze line. I love her sense of humor and sexy scenes!

    I like Presentscats because you can have a desert Sheik, a Greek shipping Tycoon, a Wall Street Executive, a English Formula One driver, a French Count all in one month

    In the Blaze lineup you can have a rancher, a rodeo star, a bank manager, a construction executive people from all walks of life connecting in some intense chemical reaction situations.

    Cats offer every theme every time period. I’ve been a fan since the mid 80’s. I started out with Nora Robert’s Sandra Brown (Rachel Ryan, Margaret Way, Penny Jordan, Betty Neels…

    I’ve always found them to be great romances with wonderful HEAs! They helped hook me on romance.

    1. Limecello Post author

      Laurie! Yes! I have a question – what’d you think of Emilie Rose’s books for say the past two years? I haven’t read her *newest* but… there were some – the Hightowers? I think? That I sadly didn’t like as much as her previous ones. I love Nancy Warren and Tessa Radley as well. I’m quite fond of the Down Under Desire authors, as I call them. 😀
      Ooo I recently got a few Helen Bianchin so I’m going to have to read those, thanks! And I agree. I’d never been much for racing. Totally don’t get NASCAR, for example, but really enjoyed… it was Day Leclaire, maybe? Who wrote the Formula One family? It’s so glamorous!

  7. Tricia

    I love romance novels, but I enjoy reading other things as well. I do call romance novels “fluffy,” but in a good way. After I read something more emotional for me (like Nicholas Sparks or Kristin Hannah) or I just feel emotional, I need to read something “fluffy” to make me feel better or to straighten me out. Romance novels are my therapy. I don’t think I’ve read any of the books you mentioned, Lime, but I love books by Jill Shalvis, Kristan Higgins, Carly Phillips, Nora Roberts, Susan Mallery, etc. When I’m in the mood for a romance novel, I want the happy ever after ending. I like that the characters have issues/struggles but still manage a happy ending.

    I also enjoy reading John Grisham, some Christian Fiction, & some YA books as well. A lot of times, I’m a mood reader; I pick certain books to read based on what mood I’m in.

  8. Pingback: Winners Out the Wazoo « Limecello

Join the conversation!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.