Tag Archives: romance

An Unexpected Romance: Recommendations for Genre Fiction Fans Who Don’t Read Romance

If you’ve been around KJG Enterprises for a while, you might know that I have some struggles with the romance genre. Full disclosure: my honest, perhaps controversial opinion is that romance is most satisfying as a book sub-plot, rather than as the primary focus.

But this doesn’t mean I hate the romance genre!!! In fact, I’m eager for my aforementioned opinion to be proven wrong, which is why I’ve made it my mission this year to dive deeper into the romance genre as a whole and do my best to discover some authors whom I really connect with. I want this, truly I do, and I’ll probably have a post going up this Thursday that may surprise you! (And me!)

So in honor of fast-approaching Valentine’s Day, I offer you my top suggestions for fans of genre fiction who don’t read romance. All of these are five-star books for me, and each one is completely different from the others.


Sirena by Donna Jo Napoli

This 210-page book is perfect for anyone looking for a quick, moving read with a Greek mythology focus. It’s YA, but YA from before Twilight exploded the scene. If you’re looking for a book with a small cast and intimate atmosphere, you should definitely pick up a copy.

Plus there are beautiful mermaids. Need I say more?


Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

If you want a master class in character voice and slow burn, read this book. First published in 1975, Crocodile on the Sandbank sparked Peters’s cozy Egyptology mystery empire. It reads as an older book, but a hilarious older book. Amelia and Emerson are two of the greatest characters I have ever read, and, and, and… It’s just the best. Get it. Read it. The End.



Green Rider series by Kristen Britain

Is it too mean to include the Green Rider series in this post? It’s been a long while since I read the first book, but if memory serves correct, then heed this warning: I believe there’s hardly any hint of the true romantic pairing in the first book. If you want the slowest of burns (and I’m talking thousands of pages), then read this series.

But it’s worth it. I have never cared so much about two people ending up together so much as the MC Karigan and her beau. (Trying to avoid spoilers here.) Twilight got nothing on this. But again, it takes forever for any real pay-off, so… Yeah. You’ve been warned.

Sunshine by Robin McKinley

Consider this a last-minute addition to the list. Sunshine is not so much romantic as sexy, but I do think it deserves to be here.

First up, you gotta like vampires. If you are a fan of paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and hilarious stream-of-consciousness 1st POV, then this is one for you. Perfect atmosphere, excellent world-building… If any of this is calling you, buy this right stat now.




So those are my unconventional Valentine’s Day picks. I’d love to hear your own unexpected romance recommendations. Slow-burn Western? Sweet and tender sci-fi? Feel free to leave a comment down below with your own romance picks.

The Queen’s Wing by Jessica Thorne

You know when you read a fantastic first chapter and you get that sinking feeling? That the rest of the book can’t possibly keep this up type of feeling? The Queen’s Wing keeps the momentum going. By the last few chapters, I was stopping every couple of pages to shake my head at my husband and mutter, “How is she doing this? This is just so good.”

He called me jealous. I’m just happy to have discovered a new favorite author.

I’ve seen some comparisons online between The Queen’s Wing and Sarah J. Maas. I actually don’t think that comparison is apropos. I’d pitch this as science-fantasy à la Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series, with voice and pacing similarities to Uprooted by Naomi Novik. Don’t let the cover fool you; this book doesn’t read as over-the-top, fluffy YA. It is NOT The Selection. Sure, there’s a princess and a love triangle, but the MC has such a deep sense of duty and self-awareness that this really should be classed in that mystical “new adult” realm that never really materialized in the way we thought it would.

And the romance is perfect. If you want a love triangle done right, this is it. You won’t end up hating the MC for being a selfish asshole, and nothing feels forced.

Plus there are loads of crazy plot twists and surprises—surprises that actually surprise you. So many books like this are predictable; this one is not. Yet none of the plot twists broke my immersion.

Once again: it’s perfect. Read it. I’d be shocked if this isn’t a top book of the year for me. And by the way, Thorne is coming out with a sequel in a couple weeks, and she also writes under the names R. F. Long and Ruth Frances Long, so there’s a back list for fans of The Queen’s Wing to catch up on. Thanks to Lauregalie for turning me on to this book, and happy almost weekend, everybody!