Yes. These puns are terrible!
But they illustrate exactly what I like in my romance books : some cuteness, some wit, some sass, some fun and some nerdy references.
I’m all for the happy feels and the expected HEA, I’m hoping for the steamy scenes in my romance, appreciated but not mandatory, I see the sex in my romance novels like the cherry on top of my sunday. The hot fudge in you’re more receptive to that.
Smart romance, for me, doesn’t have to be smart in a literal way. It doesn’t have to be about sciences, politics, or an obvious display of intellect but rather address subjects of a deeper nature. Human nature mostly.
I just love to read about the psychological and dynamic aspects between people, when an author pushes the characterization enough to focus on the tiniest idiosyncrasies, the quirks and kinks. In short? The imperfections.
So this smart aspect I’m referring to? It gives my romance another dimension, something else to reflect on beside the main basic plot. It adds another value to the story and it makes me appreciate the romance even more!
And yes, I especially adore stumbling upon a nerdy hero or heroine, all proper like, attached to manners and rules, and witness them unravel and reveal their flaws.
And while we’re on the subject of characters, there’s nothing I like more than reading about empowered women in my romance. It’s double my treat when the heroine is a brainiac but lacks some social skills.
Smart Romance for me is also authors who aren’t afraid to break the mold and say fuck off to conformism by delivering us from the well known clichés of the genre. Romance, just like women, is constantly evolving, and I’m seeking more and more stories featuring social progress. It’s not quite looking out for feminist reads, nothing like that, I would say it’s just a desire to read about women I can identify myself to better.
Another thing I would qualify as Smart Romance is wickedly sharp banter. The importance of good genuine dialogues!
Here are a few books coming to mind when I think of “smart romance“, I’ll have to make a round up and a proper list later though! What is smart romance for you? Do you have books to recommend?
Love your blog, reviews and recs, Alleskelle, but this post snagged my attention due to so many of my favorites on this list and new ones to check out. Huge, huge, HUGE fan of Penny Reid and I’ve never been disappointed. She’s nothing if not consistent in her creativity of plot. My least favorites of hers are no less than 4.5 stars. My other all-time faves from your list of recs are Bet Me (I need more Jennifer Crusie! Where did she go?), The Hating Game, The Rosie Project, and Eleanor and Park. My favorite romance sub-genre is romantic comedy and I am truly picky about it. You defined why I’m picky so well, “I just love to read about the psychological and dynamic aspects between people, when an author pushes the characterization enough to focus on the tiniest idiosyncrasies, the quirks and kinks.” When an author does that, I’m in serious reading nirvana.
A few books/authors not mentioned above that make my “Smart List” (or kinda’ smart) are Tawna Fenske’s line of women’s fiction/rom-com from Montlake Pub. – Now That It’s You and At the Heart of It. I might not have given all of Tawna’s books 5 stars, but the banter and dialogue are some of the most quick-witted, unique and fun. Also Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta (YA), What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty, and The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (YA).