What subgenres do you read?

I flip around a great deal between the subgenres that I love, and I was curious what you like to read. If you’re so inclined, would you share with me what subgenres you like? Please click all that apply – and thank you!


Random Musings

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  1. 1
    joanne says:

    Before someone comes along to pile grief on your Saturday morning bedhead: F/F Romance should probably be listed.

  2. 2
    Juliana says:

    I’m a little uncertain by Paranormal versus Urban Fantasy, since I’m assuming we’re talking about Romance subgenres?

    I always thought Paranormal was a Romance marketing classification, whereas Urban Fantasy was a SF/Fantasy marketing classification.

    (I’m also assuming SF/Fantasy listed refers to the Romance subgenre, and not the SF/F main genre.)

    …So, I’m not sure. Some clarification? Have I made it unnecessarily complicated for myself?

  3. 3
    Anony Mousse says:

    COuld someone recommend some well-written M/M and F/F novels?

    I’d like to try them, but they’re difficult to find at bookstores and I don’t want to waste my money ordering a DNF from an online store.

  4. 4

    I read regular urban fantasy and regular sci-fi, the stuff that’s shelved in the Sci-Fi section of the bookstore, but I don’t read them (or paranormal) in romance, so I didn’t mark them.  Granted, many of the UF/SF/F books have a romantic element, but they’re not romance-focused, so I don’t count them.  (I read the plain jane subgenres, I guess –  historical, contemporary, romantic suspense!)

  5. 5
    Nadia says:

    I’m not sure what the official difference is, but in my head I think of Paranormal Romance as including psychics, time travel, ghosts, that sort of thing.  Nora Roberts’ Three Sisters and JAK’s Arcane Society, for example.  When I think UF Romance, I think more vamps, shapeshifters, etc., with lots of ass-kicking involved, like J.R. Ward, Lara Adrian, Showalter’s Alien Huntress, Larissa Ione.

  6. 6
    Lindsay says:

    I pretty much like to bounce around from sub to sub (while trying to avoid “contemporary romance” that is really “chick lit” and also romantic vampires. I used to love them, but now I’m drowning in ‘em). My go-to and always favorite is definitely historical. Particularly ones set in little used time periods.

  7. 7

    I also read Futuristics.

    @Anony Mousse I recommend you go to Dear Author, where Sarah Frantz has lots of reviews on said novels. You might also look at the GLBT finalists at DA BWAHA. http://dabwaha.com/2011/03/glbt-finalists-for-2011/ Hope this gives you a place to start. :)

  8. 8
    Sarah W says:

    Urban Fantasy always seems like those series focused on one character, that may have a romantic element, but doesn’t always follow romance genre requirements. The relationships may develop over a series, or there may no one relationship.

    Captcha parts22, there may be parts of UF I like, but not enough to not get my HEA

  9. 9
    TaraL says:

    I was a little uncertain about paranormal and urban fantasy, too.

    When I hear urban fantasy, I think more of a sci-fi, futuristic feel to the stories. When I hear Paranormal, it seems it can mean anything from vampires and weres, which I mostly avoid like the plague, to ghosts and psychics, which I’m always looking to find good examples of.

    So, based on that, I marked that I don’t read urban fantasy, but do read paranormal.

  10. 10
    AgTigress says:

    Many genre definitions are very modern, they are changing all the time, and they have huge areas of overlap, so they can never be exact.  Our own tastes change (I read a lot of erotica and pornography in my youth, but find them comparatively boring these days, and prefer sex in its place, rather than dominating the landscape), and many of us will read the work of specific authors regardless of genre. 

    Having said that, and also echoing what TaraL has said above, I think that ‘paranormal’ may encompass rather too wide a range, and at the same time, may overlap too much with ‘fantasy’.  Like her, I often enjoy stories with elements like psychic powers, but I heartily detest the fairy-story/magic/pseudo-mythology genre.  Vampires and shape-shifters and such make my eyes glaze over, but human characters whose perceptions, intuitions and communication go beyond what is actually humanly possible, an exaggeration of reality, rather than a total negation of it, can be intriguing.

  11. 11
    hollygee says:

    ‘…while trying to avoid “contemporary romance” that is really “chick lit”’
    I go more toward women’s fiction or hen-lit. I like the senior citizen or peri-menopausal protagonists. Life isn’t over at 30.

  12. 12
    Tina M. says:

    I don’t normally read this subgenre myself, but I’ve dowloaded freebies that fall under medical romance.

  13. 13
    AgTigress says:

    I’ve dowloaded freebies that fall under medical romance.

    That used to be a MAJOR sub-genre of romance.  In British Mills & Boon books it used to be a specific line, with distinctive cover designs.  I have the impression that it is no longer a specific sub-genre, though I suppose there must still be plenty of contemporaries around that have medics as major characters or hospitals as the settings.

  14. 14
    michellekcanada says:

    I’m not exactly sure what Steampunk is since I haven’t really read any. I do have the Iron Duke on my TBR list but there seems to be a following with that genre.

  15. 15
    Tee says:

    Another popular category used to be Time Travel, which I am not as much a fan of so I didn’t listed it.  Another is Paranormal, which used to be ghosts, charms, or general psychic stuff like warnings/omens/telepathy.

    I am a big fan of Vampire Romances, but they seem to be mixed up with werewolves, demons, and other stuff like Urban Fantasy now.

    Is Inspirational supposed to cover all religious romances?  I think there is a Christian Romance sub genre, and another for Amish Romances.

  16. 16
    ReganB says:

    I’m always a little confused when people say “historical” vs. “Regency” are they now all lumped into one category?  It seems to be the case…  Once upon a time Regency had it’s own category, set in the time of the Regent (early 1800’s) and were relatively light on the sex as well as light in content, whereas “historicals” tended to be deeper in content (and history) and spanned any where in time and generally contained some steamer scenes.  Is this no longer true?


  17. 17
    Tee says:

    Read some more of other people’s comments – Medieval used to be one of my fav’s!  I still pick them up when I see them although a lot fewer of them published, like Laura Kinsale, Jude Devereaux, Julie Garwood, etc.

    An few more categories – Westerns (related to westward expansion of US into the territories after Civil War 1860s-1890s),

    REGENCIES – how was this not on the list!! This is beyond historical, this is a major genre lol..  1810-1820s in England or former British Empire.  I like the full length romance novels like Judith Ivory or Julia London, lot of little grittier romance novels that are regencies that have less erotic situations too, some published more like series where less brand name authors.

    I’ll make a small case for revolutionary war romances, as these were published in fairly large numbers when i was reading them 10 years ago or so.  Based in 1770s US and British Empire areas.

  18. 18
    Kristen A. says:

    @Anony Mousse:

    If you like (or are at least open to) historicals, try Alex Beecroft’s books.

  19. 19
    AgTigress says:

    The assumption that romances set in the Regency have to be light, witty, upper-class drawing-room comedies is based only on the influence of Heyer (and ultimately Austen).  American authors simply followed Heyer’s lead, some more blindly than others. But there is no reason at all why a book set in England in 1816 should not be full of danger, squalor and dark deeds:  there were plenty of them about.  The period that took in the Napoleonic Wars, the early Industrial Revolution, the rise in numbers of the urban poor, the struggle over the abolition of slavery and many other important social changes was no more dominated by witty drawing-room conversation than any other. 

    I should say that ‘historical’ should cover any book set in a period that was before the lifetime of the author, which would mean anything from ancient Egypt to the 1930s for today’s writers.  Consequently, there are infinite numbers of historical sub-classifications, and any of them can use the historical setting in either a cheerfully sanitised way or with gritty realism.

    We don’t actually have a designation for books that were written as contemporaries, but which have now been around long enough for their setting to seem ‘historical’ to present-day readers.  If they have been around a really long time (like Austen) we tend to call them ‘classics’, but I am thinking of Heyer’s contemporary novels (1930s-1950s), Mary Stewart’s earlier titles (1950s-60s) and the like.

  20. 20
    diremommy says:

    @ anony mouse:

    try Amy Lane (Keeping Promise Rock is awesome), ZA Maxfield (Crossing Borders is my favorite, ignore the horrid cover) or Marie Sexton’s Coda series, starting with Promises.

    If you like mysteries, you can’t lose with Josh Lanyon, he is great and the Adrien English series is fantastic.

  21. 21
    m-m mouse says:

    @Anony Mousse

    Josh Lanyon, K.A. Mitchell, Ginn Hale, Harper Fox, Marie Sexton, Astrid Amara

    Can’t go wrong with these authors. They write contemporary, suspense, mystery, fantasy, sci-fi, slice of life m/m books.

    These authors know how to pen novels, and I’d consider them the top writers of the m/m genre.

  22. 22
    Lori says:

    There are very few subgenres that I don’t read at all. On the survey I only checked the ones that I actually seek out, like contemps, although I do wish there had been a way to indicate that for me contemps do not include ChickLit. Other subgenres I’ll read if I get a strong recommendation from someone whose taste I trust or if a particular book catches my eye, but I don’t seek them out.

    For me “Historical” is too broad a category. I love some historicals and others don’t interest me at all. I didn’t check it on the survey because as a broad category it seems to be dominated by Regencies and unless I get a very convincing recommendation I don’t even look at those.

    Other subgenres I’ve enjoyed in the past, but have sort of stopped reading. I love some M/M but others really bother me for a bunch of reasons I won’t bore people with. I’ve found that I have so much trouble avoiding the stuff that I don’t want that I’ve all but given up on the subgenre, which bums me out.

    I have the same issue with UF. I’ve loved some of what I’ve read and would read more if it weren’t for one thing—-I hate love triangles and they’re everywhere in UF. It’s a subgenre that seems to be virtually all series rather than stand alone books and it seems like no series gets to book 3 without introducing the love triangle. Yuck. If there’s good UF out there than doesn’t go the triangle route I wish someone would point me to it.

    I apparently have more Thoughts about subgenres than I realized, so I’m going to stop before this comment gets totally out of control.

  23. 23
    LG says:

    @ Nadia

    “I’m not sure what the official difference is, but in my head I think of Paranormal Romance as including psychics, time travel, ghosts, that sort of thing.  Nora Roberts’ Three Sisters and JAK’s Arcane Society, for example.  When I think UF Romance, I think more vamps, shapeshifters, etc., with lots of ass-kicking involved, like J.R. Ward, Lara Adrian, Showalter’s Alien Huntress, Larissa Ione. “

    I don’t think of Urban Fantasy as romance at all – it brings to mind books like Patricia Briggs’ Mercedes Thompson books, or Any Given Doomsday by Lori Handeland. Urban Fantasy might have sex in it, but I don’t see romance as being a big thing in books I’d categorize this way, so it was a little confusing for me to see it on the list.

    Paranormal romance, to me, is romance with any kind of paranormal/supernatural aspects. That runs the gamut from a Nora Roberts book with fairies or ghosts in it (where the “paranormal” is so light the book is almost a contemporary) to Sherrilyn Kenyon’s butt-kicking Dark Hunters.

    You know, I’m betting the way people define the subgenres listed would be just as interesting as the results of the actual survey.

  24. 24
    AgTigress says:

    I do wish there had been a way to indicate that for me contemps do not include ChickLit.

    On the assumption that the classes are all sub-genres of Romance, then I think that goes without saying, since Chick-Lit is surely not ‘romance’ in the current conventional definition.  There are plenty of contemporary romances which contain elements of Chick-Lit — e.g. a series of relationships, hopelessly unfunny attempts to be amusing, half-witted heroines with less emotional and intellectual maturity than the average 13-year-old —  but I have the impression that the typical Chick-Lit story does not have a HEA resolution.

  25. 25
    m-m mouse says:


    It’s interesting re:categorizing sub-genres. I view paranormal romance as romance with paranormal elements. I’d expect the series to be 80% focused on the romance.

    Urban fantasy in my mind = chick lit + paranormal elements. After I thought of it that way, I can’t unsee it. I just don’t see a lot of guys reading books by Patricia Briggs or Karen Marie Moning – I could be way off base here, but that’s my general impression based on reviews and reader comments online.

  26. 26
    BevQB says:

    To me, PNR and UF ARE two very distinct subgenres. Yes, there’s a bit of crossover here and there, but I usually know which one I’m reading and in fact have found that I can get burned out on one while still actively seeking out the other.

    Easy way to tell the difference between UF and PNR?

    UF: When in danger, H/H openly admire each other’s fighting skills

    PNR: When in danger, H/H get IMPOSSIBLY harder and IMPOSSIBLY wetter.

  27. 27
    Cheryl says:

    Seconding, thirding, and fourthing any recommendation for Marie Sexton’s Coda series. I read Strawberries for Dessert first, but starting with Promises is a good plan.

    Heidi Cullinan is an extremely talented m/m writer. She writes both contemporary and fantasy. My favorite of hers is Double Blind, though you may want to read Special Delivery first, as the characters in that book are part of the story in Double Blind. Her stories tend toward the kinky, but with good character development.

    If you wants lots of hot manloving, you could try KA Mitchell’s Collision Course. Lots and lots and lots of action, but still has actual plot. For a little more character exploration, try Regularly Scheduled Life.

    I just started reading Josh Lanyon, and I love the unresolved sexual tension in the Adrien English series.

    There is a m/m reading group at goodreads that you might want to check out.

    There are also a lot of free reads out there if you want to just dip your toe in the steamy hot tub of manlove . Dreamspinner Press has a free short story anthology called Wishing on a Blue Star. I’ve only read a few of the stories there, but the ZA Maxfield story alone is worth the download. If you can stomach christmas stories in March, there is an anthology at goodreads called Stuffing my Stocking which features a lot of well known m/m authors. I’m saving it for next Christmas, but the two stories that I read so far are pretty kinky.  Also, Zathyn Priest has a free story available on his website that’s really fun.

  28. 28
    AgTigress says:

    You know, I’m betting the way people define the subgenres listed would be just as interesting as the results of the actual survey.

    Yes, It would.  The definitions are constantly changing and evolving, and they are not mutually exclusive.
    If you go back to Pamela Regis’s definition of romance, which is also the basis of the current RWA definition, the story centres on one or more relationships, and ends with the implication that it/they have become a permanent bond: a HEA, in fact.  If that core element is present, the story is a romance, whether it is populated by normal human beings or hairy entities with fangs and bloody great bat-wings.  Conversely, sensitive ‘women’s fiction’ soap-opera-like thingies that follow intricate family relationships, etc. etc. are not romances.

  29. 29

    @michellekcanada Just quoting here and not from myself:  “SteamPunk is what happens when goths discover the color brown.”

  30. 30
    AgTigress says:

    I view paranormal romance as romance with paranormal elements. I’d expect the series to be 80% focused on the romance.

    I agree on the romance.  But I don’t regard fantasy/fair-story/faux-mythology as ‘paranormal’.  A character with telepathic powers is not normal, but ‘beyond-normal’, which is what paranormal means, a human whose ability to ‘read’ other humans is of a different order than the normal levels that actually exist.  But shape-shifters and fairies and dragons and so forth have no relationship with normality:  they are fantasy inventions.
    I don’t think it is unreasonable to draw that distinction,  especially as there are people who find the former acceptable and the latter not.  This suggests a fundamental difference that is more than just semantics.

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