You Want Me to Read What?!

My love affair with the romance novel started at age 14 and, decades later, I rarely stray from that when reading fiction. Sometimes, though, books are well-recommended or friends are so persuasive that I decide to venture out of my HEA world. In doing so I have discovered some books that I just adore, even if I don’t adore their genre.
A few years ago I was having a physical and the doctor asked what I was reading. I said “romance” with the little guilty look I used to flash when saying that (no more- romance is an awesome genre and deserves recognition as such). She responded that I had no reason to feel ashamed- her reading choices were mostly steampunk. I thought steampunk was clothing. I had no idea it was a literary genre. Am I the only one living under a rock there? She recommended Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series. While I missed the relationship building that is my favorite part of romance, I did enjoy the humor and historical feel of the series.

IMG_0762When book club chose Gill McKnight’s The Tea Machine I picked it up with much less trepidation and the knowledge that I was going to be in for a fun ride- and it certainly is.
Radclyffe’s Justice series was another departure from my usual reading. Sure, there is romance in the books, but there is a lot of violence and blood. I don’t do so well with violence- in books or on the screen. I had, however, enjoyed many Radclyffe novels and there were a lot of recommendations out there for the Justice Series. It turns out that I can get past the violence to enjoy the story, many times, in fact, even on audiobook. IMG_0766The same thing happened with the Cantor Gold series. Crime novels are still not my favorite- but I will happily recommend Cantor Gold’s story to anyone. The characters will keep you enthralled and the plot is excellent.


Requiem for Immortals by Lee Winter. I was absolutely not going to read about an assassin. I like happy endings, not violence and mayhem, especially not when the heroine is perpetrating the violence. But there were some awesome reviews of the novel. IMG_0764I decided if it was too much I could put it down. Natalya was such a fabulous character, though, that I was compelled to continue. I swear half the time I was reading through squinted eyes because I didn’t want to look, but I had to know what happened. The next thing I knew I was through the novel and wanting to read it again. It’s on my list of favorite novels.

IMG_0765Then I ran into Tread Lightly. It’s an urban fantasy. What even is urban fantasy? Demons and such? No thank you. I will have nightmares for weeks. But Catherine Lane is a fabulous author. I love everything she has written. Of course I read it. It turns out I can get past the demons. The book turned out to be engaging and funny- and even has a bit of romance! Also, the wand is adorable.

Another genre I rarely read is science fiction. My son loves it. For over 20 years he has tried to get me interested. Sometimes I acquiesce. The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell, turned out to be everything good. Mostly, though, I find science fiction dull. It was with trepidation that I opened The Caphenon. I had heard great things, but I was expecting the usual sci-fi. I was wrong. I can say that. IMG_0763This book fixed my issues with science fiction- the characters were dimensional, the world was real, the language didn’t sound made-up. The story was exciting and the conflict intriguing. I have eagerly read the entire series more than once.



What about you? What has pulled you out of your usual genre, if you have one? What makes you take a chance on a book? What are your favorite out-of-the-comfort-zone books?


  1. Oh Ann, you have picked a list of some of my favourites there. The Caphenon, Cantor Gold and the Justice series in particular. Interestingly, I have done the opposite to you and so I read the first in Cass Sellars Lighting series, a romance (butch/femme) and really enjoyed it – in fact one of my favourites for 2017. Sometimes a walk on the wild side can be good for you!

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  2. Thanks for the great rec, Ann! It takes a strong woman to admit she was wrong. [wink] Though to be honest, I also find most science fiction pretty simplistic and hugely lacking in relatable female characters — or too often, any female characters at all other than androids, damsels in distress, or service workers — so I understand your hesitation. That’s partly why I write the Chronicles of Alsea — we need more women in our science fiction and fantasy who take the top roles.


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