Random Thoughts of a Romance Blogger: Genre Definitions

Posted October 7, 2016 by Under the Covers Book Blog in Random Thoughts, Under the Covers / 22 Comments

randomthoughts

GENRE DEFINITIONS

This seems like an obvious thing, but a lot of times while in conversation about books and genres we often see people have issues with classifying books in certain genres and usually getting them in the wrong ones.  A few genres are repeat offenders.  So here’s a quick guide on genres and how you can tell where a book should fall under.

Paranormal Romance

Paranormal Romance can be, but not limited to, urban settings. This means that there is such a thing as Historical Paranormal Romance but the most popular ones you read about are usually set in present time. They feature paranormal beings ranging from vampires, fae, werewolves, etc or perhaps a hybrid of all.  Paranormal Romance typically features a different couple in each book and the focus is the HEA and connection between the two characters.

Popular Paranormal Romance series include the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward and the Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole.

Dark Lover warlordwantsforever

 

Urban Fantasy

Urban Fantasy is very similar to Paranormal Romance in that it also features paranormal creatures. However, this has a bigger emphasis on the urban setting. The best indicator of an Urban Fantasy book is when the series follows one or one set of characters throughout the entire series and the focus of the books is not as much on the romance.  Romance is usually a small element of these books but takes a secondary place to the world development and overall story arc. 

Popular Urban Fantasy series include Kim Harrison’s the Hollows and Patricia Brigg’s Mercy Thompson series.

Dead-Witch-Walking Moon-Called

Side Note: There are some series out there that are a hybrid of both Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance like Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series and Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress.

Angels'-Blood Halfway_to_the_Grave

 

Fantasy

The Fantasy genre consists of the most mythology than any other genre and we find this is the one most commonly mistaken.  Books from one of the two previous genres we mentioned often end up classified as Fantasy. Fantasy novels are typically long and highly descriptive. They are also (but not always) set in an alternate time or universe that are governed by their own rules.  They don’t necessarily feature paranormal creatures of any kind.

Popular Fantasy series include the Captive Prince series by C.S. Pacat and Kushiel’s Legacy by Jacqueline Carey.

captive prince KUSHIELSDART

 

LGBT

LGBT is an initialism that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. This is a large genre that has many sub genres within it such as Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense, Fantasy, etc.

Popular LGBT series include the Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux and the THIRDS series by Charlie Cochet

Cut-&-Run hell and high water

 

Steampunk

Steampunk is a sub genre of science fiction that blends together technology and history. It’s most popular characteristic is its steam-powered machinery.

Popular Steampunk books include the Iron Seas series by MelJean Brooks.

Iron Duke, The

 

Erotic Romance

Erotic Romance is a subgenre of Romance that focuses on or emphasizes sex.  There’s an age-old question of how does an erotic romance differ from a contemporary romance.  Many readers have different parameters by which they measure this.  For some is a certain sexual act, if included, crosses over to erotic romance.  Others feel is the amount of sex.  But the rule of thumb is if the sex is integral enough to the plot and that if it is taken out, the story loses some of its allure, then it’s an erotic romance.

Popular Erotic Romance series include the Rough Riders by Lorelei James and Roni Loren’s Loving on the Edge.

longhardride crashintoyou

Side Note: There can be various sub genres of Erotic Romance such as Sci Fi Erotic Romance and Paranormal Erotic Romance, etc.

 

Romantic Suspense

Romantic Suspense has an emphasis on the action and suspense in the plot. Military books often fit under this category. Fast paced and lethal are words that typically describe this genre.

Popular Romantic Suspense series include the One-Eyed Jacks by Cindy Gerard and Killer Instincts by Elle Kennedy. 

Killing-Time Midnight-Rescue

 

Contemporary Romance

Contemporary Romance is a love story that occurs in a Contemporary setting, which means takes place in our current world now. It must play by our societal rules.

Popular contemporary romance series include Lucky Harbor by Jill Shalvis and The Sullivans by Bella Andre.

Simply-Irresistible lookoflove

 

Sci Fi Romance

Sci Fi Romance is often bunched together with Fantasy (and if you see the description above they’re quite different) but the most telling characteristic of Sci Fi is that it often deals with futuristic science, space, parallel universes or extraterrestrial life.

Popular Sci Fi Romance series include Gini Koch’s Kitty Katt series and Lauren Dane’s Phantom Corps series.

Touched-by-an-Alien Insatiable

 

Historical Romance

As you can guess, Historical Romance is set in the past. You’ll find lots of Victorian or Highlander fiction in this genre.

Popular Historical Romance series include the Wallflowers and Hathaways by Lisa Kleypas, and Spindle Cove by Tessa Dare.

Secrets-of-a-Summer-Night A-Night-to-Surrender

 

Historical Fiction

This is different from Historical Romance in that the focus of this story is not romance.  There may not even be any.  It is set in the past and it doesn’t have to follow history accurately but it often has a base there.

Popular Historical Fiction novels include The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah and America’s First Daughter by Laura Kamoie and Stephanie Dray

thenightingale America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

Young Adult

Young Adult and Teen Fiction are synonymous with one another. These books feature young teens from the age fifteen to eighteen or nineteen. While they are mostly targeted for young readers, you can definitely read them even if you’re older. Again, Young Adult can have many subgenres such as Contemporary or Paranormal.

Popular Young Adult series include the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead, the Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green for the contemporary.

vampireacademy City-of-Bones the fault

 

New Adult

New Adult is the newest genre from this list and it’s most telling characteristic is the age range. Consider this the gap between Young Adult and Adult Fiction. It is often angsty (but not always) and typically features first person point of view, and often set during college.  It’s all about the coming of age, first experiences such as first love, first time living alone, first time going through heartbreak, etc.

Popular New Adult series include Game On by Kristen Callihan, and most of the work by Colleen Hoover.

thehookup hopeless

Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic

This is a subgenre that we see featured in a lot of different books.  It can be under an erotic romance, or young adult, as well as romantic suspense, etc.  It refers to a world that is often been destroyed by some event and left with bare minimum resources.  Life can be unpleasant and tough, and comes with its own set of rules.

Popular Dystopian books include Divergent by Veronica Roth for the young adult genre and the Beyond series by Kit Rocha for erotic romance.

Divergent beyond-shame

 

**Note: All the books mentioned in this post are recommended reads by UTC.  If you would like to read our reviews, simply use the search bar on the sidebar to find the review you’re looking for.

 

Did we leave any genre that you want us to clarify out of this list?
Have you classified a book under the wrong genre before?
Let us know in the comments below!

spacer

spacer

 ♡ Don’t want to miss any of our posts? ♡ 
Follow Under the Covers: Facebook | Twitter | Tsu | GoodReads | Email 

Under the Covers Book Blog

Books have the power to unite people and that is exactly what happened with us! Our love for books have brought us together and we’ve become good friends in a short amount of time. We “met” online through Goodreads and decided to share our passion of books with fellow book lovers. And that is how Under the Covers came to be…
Under the Covers Book Blog

Related Posts

Tags:

releasecalendarbanner

Under the Covers Book Blog Comment Policy
Please read our comment policy here.

22
Leave a Reply

avatar
18 Comment threads
4 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
8 Comment authors
Tanya @ Rantings of a Reading AddictAmy RSophia RoseElizabethUnder the Covers Book Blog Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Timitra
Guest
Timitra

Thanks for sharing

Melanie Jayne
Guest
Melanie Jayne

Thank you– I learned something. I did not know that about Urban Fantasy. I seem to be writing an Urban Fantasy!!!

Kristy Petree
Guest
Kristy Petree

My understanding is that urban fantasy (versus other fantasy) includes paranormal/magic/fantasy elements, incidences, or creatures in a real, non-fictional setting (like Twilight or Mortal Instruments, for example, where these events or creatures take place or exist around humans who are typically, completely unaware). An author friend of mine claims she writes urban fantasy, but all of her books are set in fictional, other-wordly type settings. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think she writes “regular” fantasy. I tried to explain this to her, but she’s a lost cause lol.

Amy R
Guest
Amy R

Before I started reading a lot of PNR & Urban Fantasy I would lump them together but after reading a large number of them this year I now know the difference. I would say the PNR, Urban Fantasy and Fantasy categories are the most confusing for people. What I want classification on is what books are considered Mary Jane tropes? I’ve seen readers ask for books with Mary Jane tropes but the responses are always so varied I’ve have no clue what’s an actual Mary Jane book.

Elizabeth
Guest
Elizabeth

Urban fantasy and pnr are the trickiest for me

Sophia Rose
Guest
Sophia Rose

That is a great concise list. I used to get them confused, but I’ve been doing pretty good lately. I struggle with the blend ones.

Tanya @ Rantings of a Reading Addict
Guest
Tanya @ Rantings of a Reading Addict

I found a lot of PNR really close to Erotic minus the paranormal creatures. But at the beginning I lumped everything paranormal into just one genre because anyone that asked had no clue what I was talking about when I broke down the genre. LOL

trackback
Genre Guide for Beginners: Chapter 1, Paranormal Romance – Under the Covers Book Blog

[…] have previously done a very concise guide about genres giving an overview of each, but we decided to take each genre and do a more general and indepth […]

trackback
Genre Guide for Beginners: Chapter 5, Urban Fantasy - Under the Covers Book Blog

[…] have previously done a very concise guide about genres giving an overview of each, but we decided to take each genre and do a more general and indepth […]

trackback
Genre Guide for Beginners: Chapter 6, Young Adult - Under the Covers Book Blog

[…] have previously done a very concise guide about genres giving an overview of each, but we decided to take each genre and do a more general and indepth […]

trackback
Genre Guide for Beginners: Chapter 7, Fantasy - Under the Covers Book Blog

[…] have previously done a very concise guide about genres giving an overview of each, but we decided to take each genre and do a more general and indepth […]

trackback
Genre Guide for Beginners: Chapter 8, Erotic Romance - Under the Covers Book Blog

[…] have previously done a very concise guide about genres giving an overview of each, but we decided to take each genre and do a more general and indepth […]

trackback
Genre Guide for Beginners: Chapter 10, Sci Fi Romance - Under the Covers Book Blog

[…] have previously done a very concise guide about genres giving an overview of each, but we decided to take each genre and do a more general and indepth […]

trackback
Genre Guide for Beginners: Chapter 9, New Adult - Under the Covers Book Blog

[…] have previously done a very concise guide about genres giving an overview of each, but we decided to take each genre and do a more general and indepth […]

trackback
Genre Guide for Beginners: Chapter 11, Steampunk - Under the Covers Book Blog

[…] have previously done a very concise guide about genres giving an overview of each, but we decided to take each genre and do a more general and indepth […]

trackback
Genre Guide for Beginners: Chapter 12: Women's Fiction - Under the Covers Book Blog

[…] have previously done a very concise guide about genres giving an overview of each, but we decided to take each genre and do a more general and indepth […]

trackback
Genre Guide for Beginners: Chapter 13: Historical Fiction - Under the Covers Book Blog

[…] have previously done a very concise guide about genres giving an overview of each, but we decided to take each genre and do a more general and indepth […]

trackback
Genre Guide for Beginners: Chapter 14: Romantic Suspense - Under the Covers Book Blog

[…] have previously done a very concise guide about genres giving an overview of each, but we decided to take each genre and do a more general and indepth […]