If you read paranormal romance, you’ve heard of (and probably read) JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series, and her other books set in that world. These books are fairly universally loved, usually garnering thousands of glowing reviews and ensuring the author will pretty much live on every bestseller list for weeks (or months) following each new release. (The hype is warranted, too. The series is fabulous. But I digress…) So when I found out that JR Ward had a new release, I checked out Blood Fury on Amazon eagerly and immediately. That’s where I noticed something weird. Something I’m not used to seeing on JR Ward books.
Tattooed heroes seem to be polarizing in romance. Readers either love ‘em, or hate ‘em. Here at Romance Rehab, we LOVE them. We love artists, too—so why not do a combo for this week’s list and share our favorite tattooed tattoo-artist heroes in romance today? Pretty freakin’ cool right? We thought so. So, here it goes:
Back in the old days (sometime after dinosaurs roamed the earth, but before Amazon had a stranglehold on the book selling market—back when I was a teenager, in other words), the difference between porn, erotica, romance and romantic erotica was vividly clear. Erotica was relegated to a tiny back corner of the local indie bookstore, while porn inhabited a small little back corner of the Books and Company (my medium-sized town’s only mainstream bookstore). Meanwhile, romance took up half of both stores.
But today, the lines between porn, erotica, romance, and romantic erotica are so blurred that it’s nearly impossible to separate the categories on Amazon. Folks looking for good old-fashioned romance have to sort through page after page of misclassified porn and erotica to find it, and folks looking for porn and erotica have to filter out all the romance to find what they want. It’s frustrating and confusing, and readers everywhere are asking, what’s the difference? What constitutes porn, erotica, romance, and romantic erotica? We’re glad you asked. Here’s our take on it.
I blame Pride and Prejudice for our collective love of the enemies to lovers trope in romance. But I suppose that the “why” doesn’t really matter in this case. The fact is that the enemies to lovers trope has always been one of the most popular tropes in romance. (And the Star Wars universe these days. #Reylo #IWillGoDownWithThisShip. *clears throat* But I digress...) And with great books like the ones on this list, I don’t see that changing anytime soon…
When I first watched The Force Awakens, I told my husband about the crazy-sexy chemistry I noticed between the Big Bad, Kylo Ren, and Rey, the last-nameless junk dealer who is just brimming with raw Jedi talent. He looked at me like I was nuts. (Not exactly a rare occurrence in our house, but still, it was mildly insulting) He pointed out that the film was clearly setting up a relationship between Finn, the Stormtrooper turned rebel hero and Rey, to which I said, Pfffttt. Those two will never be anything more than friends. There’s no chemistry there. (Now, Finn’s chemistry with fly boy Poe...well, that’s another story entirely. But I digress…) Then just last week we went to see The Last Jedi, and I came away from it feeling pretty darn smug. This time around, there’s NO denying that the real relationship in this film series is between Kylo Ren and Rey. (Known from this point forward as “Reylo”) And I doubt there’s a romance novel lover out there who would disagree with me. Let me prove it.
****Contains spoilers for The Last Jedi*****Proceed at your own risk*******
If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times: I can’t tolerate TSTL heroines. And I believe I also might have mentioned a time or ten that I adore nothing more than ultra-smart, science-y/math-y/tech-y heroines. So, with that in mind, here are our top 12 picks for STEM heroines in romance today.