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  1. This mirrors many of my own thoughts on romance novels, though in far more pithy and elaborate explanation.

    To be honest, I have never read any ‘pure’ romance novels. Very recently, some publishers have been trying a new fusion – combining romance novels with fantasy novels. I have had the pleasure – and pain – of reading a couple of these.

    The first of these was ‘What Do You Say to a Naked Elf?’ by Cheryl Sterling. This was, perhaps, far more romance than fantasy, with the book being liberally strewn with various conflicts, moments, trysts, and outright sexual encounters between the main characters. This book sadly, did not do it for me. While I admit to some titilation, the book did not feed my interest for interesting and engaging plots. Moreover, the heroine was extremely irritating in that she seemed far too focused on seducing her would-be elven paramour, considering how much danger her life seemed to be in! Perhaps one of these days I might go back to it, and try to read it in it’s entirity, and review it, but…well, we’ll see.

    The second foray was far more satifying, in that it was heavy on interesting plot, and very light on the ‘romance novel’ aspects…the first book had no sex whatsoever, as it was meant to build up the background of the world, it’s creatures and magic, the power players, and most importantly, the relationship between hero and heroine (mostly focused on the heroine, in satisfying ‘Buffy’ style). In the second book, the relationship flowered to the point where there was a total of *one* explicit sexual encounter…and this had a far more *real* feel to it, highlighting many aspects covered in your above blurb (human, silliness, occasionally uncomfortable). It even pokes fun at the typical language used for genetalia in romance novels. In fact, were it not for that one sexual encounter, you likely would not be able to differentiate the novel from any other fantasy work that just happens to have adult themes and romances in it.

    The books in question, “Staying Dead” and “Curse the Dark” by Laura Anne Gilman, in my opinion, are good reading, because the stories are interesting, and the romance aspects only add flavor to a most enjoyable read.

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