Alternate Reality

The benchmark book is Night Pleasures by Sherrilyn Kenyon, plus another  alternative reality romance title of your choosing. Alternative Reality Romance, as defined in Romance Fiction: A Guide to the Genre by Kristin Ramsdell:

“Alternative Reality Romance–Romance novels that include supernatural, fantasy, paranormal, science fiction, time travel, magic, or other elements that may be labeled as “unreal.””

Please comment on this post with your second title choice to avoid duplication.

Some resources for finding a second title:

25 Great Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy Books
Top 10 Paranormal Romance Series
38 Paranormal Romance Books That Are Spookily Sexy
10 Paranormal Romance Novels You Should Read (An Opinionated Opinion)

Excerpted from the NPR list:

Science Fiction and Fantasy
Psy/Changeling (series), by Nalini Singh
The Iron Seas (series), by Meljean Brook
Kate Daniels (series), by Ilona Andrews
Ember, by Bettie Sharpe
The Inheritance Trilogy, by N.K. Jemisin
A Civil Campaign, by Lois McMaster Bujold
Archangel, by Sharon Shinn
Warrior’s Woman, by Johanna Lindsey

Charley Davidson (series), by Darynda Jones
The Black Dagger Brotherhood (series), by J.R. Ward
Immortals After Dark (series), by Kresley Cole
Fever (series), by Karen Marie Moning
The Winter Sea, by Susanna Kearsley
Cry Wolf, by Patricia Briggs
Vampire Huntress (series), by L.A. Banks
Dark Hunter (series), by Sherrilyn Kenyon

BookPage Reviews Paranormal Romance

RITA Awards: Best Paranormal

Notes from our meeting:

RA Genre Study
Alternate Reality Romance
8 March 2016

In attendance: Molly, Dylan, Lisa, Ben, Frank, Kat, Jill, Josh, Faith, Alene, Julie, Janet, Susan, Paula, Steven.

Appeal terms from Novelist!!!  Check out the list via the left hand menu in Help.

Our last romance meeting! You’re welcome.

Romance areas we did not cover:

Inspirational romance: very chaste, kisses and hand brushes. God is usually involved. Faith. There is a range of spirituality involved. Beverly Lewis – Amish. Lori Wick, Karen Kingsbury.

Category romance: harlequin silhouette

Mostly hetero, mostly white. There are non hetero, non white romances out there.


Night Pleasures is #2 in a series of thirty, among five series that Sherrilyn Kenyon writes.

Barbie doll as a weapon

Reading vs. listening: listening can be very visceral, and can be challenging with romance. Listening, the reader can do voices and accents (vampire voice, southern accent).

We can see how this genre/subgenre shows the range of foibles and strengths and limitations of characters. Bringing gods into the mix with immortality and superhuman powers increases the intensity and strangeness.

Ben was not interested in the characters, plot, or sex, which left little to enjoy. The way it was borrowing from mythology was similar to Neil Gaiman (one of his favorite authors) and while he wasn’t interested, he could see the potential crossover appeal.

It took Kat a very long time to get into the story but she felt the fantastical outlandish stuff works with the romance genre. Things being unlikely can work together even though you don’t think they will.

Susan found two elements that are hyperromantic, he loves her from thousands of years of existence, which is intense, and also the sense of power he has and is holding in check, creating incredible tension.

The ways the characters were commonplace felt really weird to Ben, but might be part of the appeal to the reader.

Josh noticed that the description of his torture before he became a dark hunter was a bit of S&M lite and brought him through his trauma when she revisited some of those experiences on him in a pleasurable way (is that a thing? I’d guess no).

Steven mentioned Venus in Furs by Sacher Masoch

There is a whole Dark Hunter community online, this is a big deal for its readers (also a book).

Second titles:

Indigo Moon by Gil McKnight: Lesbians and werewolves. Deliberately paced, detailed characters (pertaining to the romance)

Soulless by Gail Carriger: first in Parasol Protectorate series. Steampunk, victorian, werewolves, vampires, ghosts, it’s all real, you can turn science toward it, forces of evil must be combated, and you can also fall in love and have lots of sex. Written engagingly. Entertaining and light. Funny, Quick-Paced, Good World-Building.

Innocence by Dean Koontz. Strong on and the beast type story, second chances and going back in time, deep, thought provoking, funny, gripping

Widdershins by Charles de Lint. Sequel? Set in present day US but there is a thing called The Between. Fairies came from Europe, the cousins who have always been here in the US. Romance was a small part of it. Widdershins. Has an ability diverse character. Intricately plotted, mildly sensuous, anthropomorphic.

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. Zombies! Pockets of humans still alive in sports arenas and such, with zombies in outlying areas trying to eat their brains. Zombie eats guy’s brains and remembers the guy’s girlfriend and saves her. (basis for the movie) slow paced. Zero sex. Zombie basically is restored to humanity through the transformative nature of love. Awkward, funny, heartwarming.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Character building, descriptive, world building, believable, complex.

The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff. Doesn’t start with sex. Women in family have magical powers (teleportation, spell casting). Complex, strong female characters, Canadian, fast Pzced, Funny

De Piaget series by Lynn Kurland. Family epic, Time travel, not too sensual.

Miles in Love by Lois McMaster Bujold, two novels and a novella. Starts off slow. Fast paced, large cast, subplots, sabotage/terrorism, strong characters.

Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton. Tough, cynical, hard-edged woman. Hates vampires. Parallel universe in which vampires are part of society.

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley. Psychic, character can read scenes from things she touches. Traces an art piece from the period of Peter the Great. History, Jacobite Revolution, Mild Romance, Russian, Psychic.

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris. Set in the south, paranormal creatures are part of society. They softened some of the violence. Homespun, banter driven

Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire (writes horror as Mira Grant). Family tree. Cryptozoologist. World building, fast paced, snarky, woman character.

Our next Genre Study will be Literary fiction. We will transition from romance to Literary fiction via women’s lives and relationships. Our benchmark is Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner, meeting in June. Molly will send out a doodle poll for the date, and the website will be updated accordingly.

We will also do a session on Literary Fiction, books that have had high acclaim and have won awards (probably white men), and world literature.

Romance, in review: Happily Ever After, Strong Female Characters, Comes In All Stripes (not as many as we might like).


9 Responses to Alternate Reality

  1. Ben says:

    I will read Soulless by Gail Carriger.

  2. Joshua says:

    I will read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

  3. Joshua says:

    I will read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

  4. Jill says:

    I will read Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion.

  5. Kat says:

    I’ll be reading Widdershins, by Charles de Lint

  6. Paula says:

    I’m going to read The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley.

  7. Lisa says:

    I’m going to try to sink my teeth into Indigo moon by McKnight, Gill (pun intended)

  8. Faith says:

    the Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff

  9. Lisa says:

    I’m reading Indigo Moon by Gill McKnight

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