Not always romantic?

Goodreads wants me to classify books by shelves, but my own bookshelves are such a jumble, especially after returning from vacation. Is this one history or romance; paranormal or science fiction; contemporary drama or... well, or romance again. Yeah, romance seems to feature a lot, but it's not always romantic. Just like vacations maybe. So, while my husband and I endure the terrifying romance of World Cup Football, here are a few reviews of moderately romantic, sometimes terrifying books. And maybe I'll catch up enough to enjoy some non-football romance afterward with my long-suffering spouse.

There again, England's not been knocked out yet. Romance will be snacks and coffee on the sofa at seven in the morning to watch the next match!

In no particular order (except it seems to be the order I read these in):

First is Circled: Part of the Crime After Time Collection by Anne McAneny---crime, romance, mystery, murder, and some truly intriguing questions of how the past defines us, how past decisions dictate future cares, and how past betrayals don't have to last forever. Enjoy this one with some dark, intense five-star coffee.

Next is Ocean of Fear by Helen Hanson, a tale of a moderately unprincipled, wounded nerd, who meets up with some seriously unprincipled opposition. Slightly futuristic, intriguingly convincing, and told with just a light enough touch, it's darkly enjoyable tale and goes well with some easy-drinking two-star coffee. And yes, there's romance or failed romance hiding somewhere in the mix.

Spectre of Intention by Tonya Macalino is another moderately futuristic tale, set around the opening of the first space elevator. There's romance, for sure. But there are also intriguing questions of identity, security, independence and more. Enjoy with some complex four-star coffee.

Bull Demon King by J A Cipriano is short, sharp and exciting; a paranormal tale in the author's Thrice-Cursed Mage series, pitting a mage of unknown (but clearly limited) power against a monster whose limits are unknown. There's a girlfriend, but not much time for romance. The voice is convincing and strong, and the tale's best read with a good strong dark cup of five-star coffee.

Next is another novel blending present day and the future, normal and paranormal, every day people and tomorrow's mystery. Bob by Pat Bertram hasn't yet been released, but fans of the author, or of Hitchhiker's Guide, or of Lamb will be quickly enthralled. And yes, there's a touch of romance (and much much more)

Bruised Spirits by Alice Duncan is a mystery in a long-running series, with romance that grows gradually and fits the characters, time and location perfectly. Coolly evocative, cleverly narrated, the novels recreate LA of the 1920s while inviting thought about the present. Blending serious issues with entertaining action adventure, it's one to enjoy with some well-balanced, full-flavored three-star coffee.

Daybreak by Sherrie Hansen is romance and more. After all, the characters already married in the previous novel (Night and Day). Now they're dealing with the realities of family life, how to protect each other, how to communicate, and blended families. It's a heady mix and just might break them up again. But the author deals with each step of their trials in an honest convincing manner, making it a cool, enthralling read. Enjoy the rich blend (when it's released) with some richly blended four-star coffee.

And finally, here's one that's just for authors: 180 literary journals for creative writers by Emily Harstone It's good. I should make use of it! And it does have sections on romance (though I'm not sure I'm up to writing romance... I'll work on it).


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