Tag: romance

The Curious Abundance of Amish Romance Novels

Imagine a scene: the sun sets upon a little Amish community out in Lancaster, PA as a young man named Abram steers his horse and buggy back from the fields after a hard day’s work. His neighbor, Mary, sits next to him as she twirls the ribbons of her bonnet between her fingers. Suddenly, the front wheel of the buggy hits a rock on the path, and Mary is tossed over into Abram’s strong arms. She stares up into his deep blue eyes before recoiling from his grasp. He ducks his face beneath the bill of his cap in order to hide the scarlet blush that is emanating from beneath his beard.

That was my god-awful attempt at writing Amish romance—a multimillion-dollar genre that has been taking the romance world by storm for the past two decades. Although I am by no means a proficient Amish romance novelist, there is a clear formula that pervades these stories: quick glances, curls of blonde hair unfurling from beneath bonnets, long descriptions of hardworking men tending the fields, and convenient buggy crashes that toss the protagonists into each other’s arms (yes, buggy crashes are one of the most common tropes used in this genre).

 

A Wedding for Julia

image via vannessa chapman

 

Anyone looking for hot and steamy Amish trysts will have to look elsewhere. The characters that populate these books are as platonic as can be. There’s no kissing, no hand-holding, and certainly no sex. However, beneath the facade of chastity lies an unwritten lust that has romance readers devouring these books by the hundreds.

So who are these authors and consumers of Amish romance? Certainly not Amish folks. The truth is that these books are predominantly produced and read by Evangelical Christians. “These are readers who love romance but want a clean read they don’t have to hide from their kids,” Shannon Marchesea, a senior editor at evangelical publisher WaterBrook Multnomah, told Newsweek.

 

Image result for amish romance books the shunning

image via amazon

 

Perhaps there is a certain desire amongst Amish romance readers to escape the technology-saturated hellscape of the modern world. Following today’s current events can make anyone want to be a Luddite. One might imagine an idealized Amish community where men and women respect each other’s boundaries and sex-scandals are nonexistent. This utopic vision of an Amish community has a certain allure to it.

 

 

But is this belief in the purity of Amish communities legitimate? Authors of Amish romance typically cater to the preconceived notions that their readers have regarding Amish folk. The stereotypical Amish person, in all their chaste simplicity, provides a bastion of potentiality to romance authors with a talent for writing repressed sexual yearning. Since it’s not Amish writers who are creating these books, these Amish communities have no say in how they are being represented in this genre. The reality of the Amish experience is subsidiary to the biases of the reader who wants to see their own personal desires reflected from beneath the hood of a bonnet.

 

 

Featured Image Via Women.com

Webtoons and Where to Start

If you haven’t heard yet, WebToon is a platform for serialized graphic novels. Yeah, these are comics, and some are gorgeously drawn and deeply potted narratives that you don’t want to miss. Here’s our guide on how to get on board, starting by genre.

Webtoon has a website, if you want to see the art blown up, but it’s most alive on the app.

 

 

Best of the Best – Lore Olympus 

 

Lore Olympus 
Image via Webtoon

 

This comic tops the overall WebToon list with extreme regularity, and for good reason. The art is outrageously beautiful, the characters are complex and compulsively likable (or outrageously easy to hate), and the plotting is gorgeous. Persephone has left the mortal world to go to university on Olympus, but things get complicated almost immediately. This is a must read if you have any interest in myth, fantasy, or just really like fantastic graphic novels.

 

Paranormal – Krueger & Faust 

 

Krueger & Faust 
Image via Webtoon

 

Alice Kruger has been through a lot. No spoilers, but she’s had a bit of a bad year, and now, her cat knocks a pot off a windowsill and hits her on the head. This gives her the power to see supernatural beings, including the monster in her closet? Most people would be understandably put off, but Faust’s alright, and he certainly has problems of his own. Read this if you like a quality combination of paranormal silliness and dire peril.

 

 

Action – Phantomland 

 

Phantomland
Image via Webtoon

 

This comic has everything – an optimistic rookie paired with a cantankerous vet, a supernatural plague that erases your memories and makes you hard to kill, vaguely sketchy military organizations. The magic is seamlessly embedded in the world, the characters are compelling, and there’s plenty of running around stabbing and shooting people. It’s a classic model done in a very new and interesting way. And it has journalistic integrity.

 

Intrigue – My Dear Cold Blooded King 

 

My Dear Cold Blooded King 

Image via Imglogy

 

Mei is pretty normal. She’s been selling her family’s apples since her brother died in the Blood King’s army. Then she accidentally saves the life of the new Blood King’s young brother, and gets taken to the capital. It turns out her family is more connected to the capital than she thinks, and she’s suddenly on the radar of the Blood King, his chief generals, foreign royalty, and the most fearsome criminal in the empire. Mei is smart and tough and way out of her depth (or anyone’s).

 

 

Slice of Life – True Beauty

 

True Beauty
Image via AuthGram

 

After being bullied in middle school, Jugyeong decides she’ll learn how to do ‘beauty’ and become popular at her new school, which kind of works. It’s an interesting examination of the weird contradictions of beauty standards, without getting too philosophical or stepping on the story. This comic is funny, heartfelt, and relatable, but watch out for the cliffhangers! This also regularly tops WebToon lists, which it deserves.

 

Fantasy – Muted

 

Muted
Image via Twitter

 

Camille’s whole family died in a fire when she was young, and she had to live with her very severe aunt, now head of the Severin witch family. Everything goes (more) wrong when she tries to summon a demon for a rite of passage, and can’t summon a bird like she should. The art is beautiful, and the setting, a manor house in Louisiana, is elegant and immersive. Alligators, gal pals, and family secrets make this a must read.

 

 

Romance – Ms. Abbott & the Doctor 

 

Mrs. Abbot and The Doctor
Image via Anime Planet

 

This is not your standard romance. Cati Abbott is the orphaned daughter of idealists who died in ‘Amazonia’. Taken home to some more industrialized country by her anthropologist mentor, she’s considered charmingly eccentric, at best. Enter the town’s tight laced doctor. Chaos ensues, and they realize all this petty conflict might be something else.

 

Crime – Purple Hyacinth 

 

Purple Hyacinth 
Image via 41a

 

Lauren has always been able to tell when people are lying to her. After losing someone close to her, she becomes a police officer, but never stops trying to find out what happened. Her power makes her an effective officer, but when an assassin offers her information and help in stopping his boss, and maybe even with her mystery, it’s hard to turn down the opportunity to save lives and find answers.

 

 

Comedy – Cursed Princess Club

 

Cursed Princess Club
Image via Webtoon

 

Gwendolyn is a bit of an ugly duckling compared to her anime eyed sisters, but this doesn’t bother her or her family. Her very caring father decides that his three daughters will marry his BFF’s three sons, easy as it gets. The only problem is that Gwendolyn’s suitor is terrified of her. Running into the forest so her sisters don’t see her crying and boycott the whole thing, Gwendolyn meets a bunch of other princesses under strange curses.

 

Foreign Language – Flawless 

 

Flawless
Image via PicDeer

 

WebToon also publishes foreign language stories translated by fans. Flawless is a strange, philosophical examination of relationships, blindness, and how we treat others. Mostly it’s just fun though. Elios grows up in an orphanage, and when his foster sister gets in trouble, he ropes in Sarah, a local girl who gets into a ton of fights, in order to retrieve his sister. They somehow become friends, and end up going to the same high school. A fun read. (originally published in Indonesian)

 

 

Featured image from ComicsBeat

Finest Twitter Flash Fiction to Lighten Up Your Feed

From puppy pics to political news, Twitter is a wonderful place. It’s also home of a wave of flash fiction writers. Here are a few to follow to add some fiction to your feed, even when you don’t have time for short stories.

 

1. T. R. Darling

 

Image via Twitter

 

The absolute best Twitter flash fiction has to offer. Fantasy, mystery, and magical realism combined and intertwined in full stories under two-hundred-eighty words, with a philosophical bend that’ll make you contemplate the combination of genres.

Soon to be a book even.

 

 

2. Mythology Bot

 

Image via Twitter

 

This little bot may not know much, but it certainly has bizarre and whimsical grasp of mythological elements. At the risk of feeling like you’ve thrown a bunch of fantasy books in a blender, follow this bot for some strangeness on your feed.

 

3.The Ghost of M.

 

Image via Twitter

 

Ominous and dare I say emo, this twitter provides story snippets of only a few lines. If you like horror or even just vague unease, follow for these tiny ghost stories.

 

 

4. Ritter Coldriss 

 

Image via Twitter

 

For moody magical realism, look no further. Brief character sketches build strange and unlikely worlds, sci-fi flare, and elegant prose that are sure to have you excited for these stories on your feed.

 

5. King Talib

 

Image via Twitter

Here, moody landscapes combine with strange stories, told one line at a time in a threaded feed. Moody and atmospheric, these stories will leave you questioning their reality and even your own.

 

 

 

Featured image via iStock 

 

7 Contemporary Adaptations of Classic Novels

Everyone likes an adaptation, and sometimes the best adaptations are underground. Here are seven picks from YouTube, perfect for marathoning, all based on classic novels and set in the modern era. No matter whether you’re a fan of Jane Austin, William Shakespeare, or Charlotte Bronte, there’s something for every classic book lover. Watch away!

 

1. Nothing Much To Do

 

Image via YouTube

 

If you like Much Ado About Nothing, get ready for Nothing Much to Do, an adaptation from New Zealand in vlog format, this time set at Messina High. All the accusations, the threats, and a few serenades on ukulele, this modern adaptation has all the humor and hatred you love, while also featuring a plastic flamingo. A must watch.

Based on Much Ado About Nothing, by William Shakespeare

 

 

2. Autobiography of Jane Eyre 

 

Image via Miss Daydreamer’s Place

 

Fans of Jane Eyre will appreciate the tragedy and measured pace of Autobiography of Jane Eyre. Filmed as a video diary, this series follows nursing student Jane as she leaves school, becomes a governess, and falls for the master of the house. Covering all the original beats of the story with inventiveness and heart, it has all the Gothic appeal of the original. Plus Adele is cute.

Based on Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

 

3. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries 

 

Image via The Hollywood Reporter

A classic, and for good reason. Thorough plotting, well paced character development, and silly costumes make this series compulsively watchable. Elizabeth is very much herself, lovable, judgmental, caringJane is sweet and decisive, Kitty is an actual cat, and Lydia is gleeful and wild. Set in California, Lizzie is a grad student with no interest in marriagemuch to her mother’s chagrin.

Based on Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austin

 

 

4. In Earnest

 

Image via Pinterest

Seriously, this web series is good. I’m not joking. You might say I’m Earnest, but honestly, who isn’t? Oscar Wilde’s classic is reimagined probably exactly as he would have wanted itwith everyone confused and overdressed. At just fifty episodes, it’s an excellent binge watch, and relatable, at least if you’ve ever wondered how to propose to someone you’ve given a false name.

Based on The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

 

5. Emma Approved

 

Image via Hollywood.com

In this adaptation, Emma runs a PR firm with her brother-in-law, George Knightly. Some great parties, some terrible decisions, and outrageous confidence make this a fun and lighthearted series, despite any low moments. Fans of Austin will be thrilled, and if you’re not yet obsessed, you will be.

Based on Emma by Jane Austin

 

 

6. Anne With An E 

 

Image via Kickstarter

If you can’t wait to return to Green Gablesor visit for the first timeGreen Gables Fables is a delightful and heartwarming take on the classic story. Never discouraged, Anne’s passion and creativity make this series sing, and even at one-hundred-fifty episodes (the longest on this list), it seems too short.

Based on Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

 

7. Jules and Monty

 

Image via YouTube

This adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy may have slightly less murder, but it has just as much tragedy as the original. The clash between two warring fraternities reaches new heights. Even with a lower mortality rate, this is still a tear jerker, so be warned. It’s also the shortest series on this list, with only twenty-one episodes.

Based on Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

 

 

Featured image via NegativeSpace

Romance Writers of America Announces the 2019 RITA Award Winners!

Exciting news for fans of literature! The Romance Writers of America (RWA), the trade association that gives out the highest honors for romance fiction. The awards recognize outstanding published romance novels and novellas, with the event itself unfolding at Manhattan on Friday, July 26th at a black tie awards ceremony. Up to 2,000 romance novels and novellas are judged each year by the judges, with the competition being narrowed down to 100 finalists after initial judging. Then, final round judges, also published romance authors, select one winner in each category from among the finalists.

Image via Wikipedia

This year, the RITA Award winners were:

Romance Novella: Bad Blood by M. Malone
Contemporary Romance Long: Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan
Young Adult Romance: My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma
Historical Romance Long: A Wicked Kind of Husband by Mia Vincy
Romantic Suspense: Fearless by Elizabeth Dyer
Paranormal Romance: Dearest Ivie by J. R. Ward
Erotic Romance: Three-Way Split by Elia Winters
Historical Romance Short: A Duke in the Night by Kelly Bowen
Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements: The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano
Contemporary Romance Short: The Bachelor’s Baby Surprise by Teri Wilson
Contemporary Romance Mid-length: Advanced Physical Chemistry by Susannah Nix
Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance: How to Keep a Secret by Sarah Morgan
Best First Book: Lady in Waiting by Marie Tremayne

Image via Amazon

 

Did any of your favorite romance books make the final cut? Are you excited to add anymore of these award winning books to your collection? Tell us in the comments! And let us know any thoughts you have on the RITA Awards in general.

Featured Image Via Amazon