Backgroound Image

Explanation of Genres

FanGrrrl Romance Recs has TWO Facebook reader groups! Here’s the explanation of the most popular genres in the groups!

In a nutshell…

For all of y’all needing a cheat sheet… here it is! (However, more detailed explanation is below!)

Takes place in our modern world, romance is the main plotline (usually more steam,) has characters that are non-human (like fangy immortals!)

Takes place in our modern world, romance is the sub-plotline (so more action packed & typically less steamy,) has characters that are non-human (like fangy immortals!)

Does NOT takes place in our modern world and has characters that are non-human (like the FAE!) Romance was specifically not mentioned in this short description because there are several different ways this genre is referenced (Romantic Fantasy, Fantasy Romance, Romantasy) and therefore, the romance varies in each. It’s labeled here as “Romance Fantasy” because that is how Amazon categorizes these types of books… Best Sellers -> Books -> Romance -> Fantasy. However, the key here is that this genre takes place in a world that is not our own and therefore, lots of worldbuilding usually occurs (think maps!)

Takes place in our modern world (post WWII) and has subgenres such as Mafia, Rockstar, Motorycycle Club, Billionaire, Gothic, Stalker, Gothic (Dark), & Sports Romance. Romance is the main plotline.

Let’s Dive into the Deets (by Rebecca)…

🧛‍♂️ Explanation of Genres 🧚‍♀️

OK! First off! This is an extremely SUBJECTIVE opinion on the differences between genres and it’s constantly changing as authors get better & better at what they do best 🏆! Also, authors are combining genres more & more every day!

This is just what I, Rebecca (FanGrrrl Romance Recs Founder & Admin,) have learned over time with all of my reading and it’s the backbone to recs & genres discussed in the FanGrrrl Romance Recs Facebook Groups! I’ve put this together because it’s something that is asked frequently and also, the better we understand genres, the better we can recommend books to exactly what the reader is seeking! For example, if a member in the OG Facebook Group (the one with supernatural, paranormal, or fantasy elements AND romance,) posts “I really loved ACOTAR, what is a great book like that?!” Well! ACOTAR is a Fantasy Romance… which means, the reader probably leans towards that specific genre. The probably prefer more worldbuilding (maps!), descriptive flourish, and a story that takes place in another world. So recommending a Paranormal or Contemporary Romance, may not hit the mark for them!

So let’s get started!

Romance is the main plotline. Takes place in our modern world. Known for vampires / werewolves / witches, but has broken off to be all kinds of creatures. Recent books of this genre is typically first person point of view with a straight, forward modern writing style. A lot of these series have a different romantic couple every book. This means you get a romantic HEA in each book and you don’t have to wait the entire series for the main characters to get together. If you want to try this genre, then I would personally recommend Flagship series such as Black Dagger Brotherhood by JR Ward, Immortals After Dark by Kresley Cole, or Sookie Stackhouse by Charlaine Harris. Twilight is also considered Paranormal Romance. There are a lot of amazing series in this genre, but I recommend these series specifically because they’re great ones to get a feel for the genre. Paranormal Romance is generally steamier reads. Book covers are typically sexy with bare chested men or a couple being affectionate.

Urban Fantasy is very similar to Paranormal Romance, but the main difference is romance is the subplot and not the main plotline. UF also takes place in our modern world. This genre also has similar creatures as a PNR. However, the main storyline is typically a bada$s main character that is the good, hero type. The plotline is more action based. For Flagship series in this genre with a great romance plotline, I personally recommend either Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews or Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs. Covers typically have an action-type figure on the front and usually the female main character is sassy and kicka$s.

Typically books that take place in other worlds or other realms. These genres may take place in the world that is similar to ours, but not our world. They also often feel like they are not set in modern times and are higher/epic fantasy (world-threatening problems.) They tend to have more flourish and description in the writing style. Not as straightforward reading. They usually have a lot of world building at the start (people often refer to it as a data dump early on.) A lot of these books will have glossary of terms and maps at the front. Some people confuse these with Urban Fantasies because there’s a lot of action in them (but UFs are set in our modern world and have smaller scale problems.) These books are also written in first person POV, but many are third person POV. Series I personally recommend to try as Flagship Romance Fantasies are ACOTAR by Sarah J Maas and FBAA by Jennifer L Armentrout. Covers are more romantic typically with flowers, swords, and no people.

Key differences between the three: Romantic Fantasy is a fantasy story with a romantic subplotline. Fantasy Romance is a romance story set in a fantasy world. Romantasy is where the romance and fantasy aspects of the story are equally important. I refer to all three of these under Romance Fantasy, as Amazon houses them all under Best Sellers -> Romance – > Fantasy.

Takes place in our modern world, post WWII. Although there is a genre that is a combination Paranormal & Romance… referred to as Contemporary Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Romance is typically known as “human-only” characters where romance is the main plotline. There are many subgenres of Contemporary Romance, including Mafia, Rockstar, Motorcycle Club, Billionaire, Gothic, Stalker, & Gothic (Dark), & Sports Romance. Therefore, there is a huge range of books in this genre- where romance is the main plotline. Some well known books in this genre are 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James, The Words by Ashley Jade, Den of Vipers by KA Knight, & Haunting Adeline by HD Carlton (check your triggers.) The books discussed in the FanGrrrl Romance Recs Edgy Contemporary Romance Facebook Group have some spice and are what I consider “cutting edge” romance! I personally recommend The Puck Secret by GN Wright or the Why Choose Poison Roses by Tate James/ Jaymin Eve, if your looking for an enemies-to-lovers vibe & to get a feel for Contemporary Romance.