Only the most recent posts pop up on the HOME page. For searchable lists of titles/series reviewed on this Blog, click on one of the Page Tabs above. On each Page, click on the series name to go directly to my review.

AUTHOR SEARCH lists all authors reviewed on this Blog. CREATURE SEARCH groups all of the titles/series by their creature types. The RATINGS page explains the violence, sensuality, and humor (V-S-H) ratings codes found at the beginning of each Blog review and groups all titles/series by their Ratings. The PLOT TYPES page explains the SMR-UF-CH-HIS codes found at the beginning of each Blog review and groups all titles/series by their plot types. On this Blog, when you see a title, an author's name, or a word or phrase in pink type, this is a link. Just click on the pink to go to more information about that topic.



     If you are directed to this page      
               through a linked term,                 
                 just scroll down through                 
     this alphabetical list to find the definition.    

BFF: an acronym for Best Friends Forever—refers to an extremely close friendship.

CH (Paranormal Chick Lit): Paranormal chick lit features attractive, hip, career-driven female protagonists, typically in their twenties and thirties, with some type of supernatural traitfrom psychic to succubus. The heroine, who generally lives in an urban area, is frequently obsessed with her appearance and loves to shop (especially for shoes). As a rule, the plot follows the heroine's live life and her struggles for professional success (often in the publishing, advertising, or fashion industry). The tone is breezy and irreverent. The narration and dialogue frequently include profanity as well as current slang. The heroine's close relationships with her friends are very important to the stories. Sensuality levels are frequently high).

COZ (Cozy Mystery): Paranormal cozy mystery series are relatively rare. In these novels, protagonists are intuitive men or women with some type of supernatural abilities who see themselves as amateur detectives. The story generally involves one or more murders that take place in a small town or village where the protagonist is a popular member of the community, members of which may or may not know about the protagonist’s magical talents or supernatural status. The local police department often views the protagonist as a nuisance—at first. Cozy mysteries generally have no profanity and no overt sexual activity. The reader usually gets no graphic details about the actual violence of the murder(s) to be solved: the dead body just turns up. Plots tend to have several false trails, with lots of misleading clues (aka red herrings). The protagonist generally uses his or her magical abilities to solve the crime(s). Notable examples of non-paranormal cozy mysteries include Agatha Christie's MISS MARPLE novels, Lilian Jackson Braun's THE CAT WHO series, Rita Mae Brown's SNEAKY PIE BROWN series, and the syndicated TV series Murder, She Wrote.  

Dystopian is the opposite of utopian (which means "good place"), so a dystopian culture would literally be a “bad place.” Dystopian novels generally tell the stories of characters either trying to survive within or rebel against a government or leadership that employs some type of societal restrictions in order to create a “perfect” society—at least perfect from the point of view of the government or leader. Usually that perfect society relies on the suppression of human and civil rights to attain its ends. THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy (books and movie) is a modern example of dystopian fiction. Other examples are Lois Lowry’s The Giver (book and movie), Margaret Atwood’s MADDADDAM trilogy, Veronica Roth’s DIVERGENT trilogy (book and movie), Marie Lu’s LEGEND series, Samantha Shannon's The Bone Season, and Lauren Oliver’s Delerium. Click HERE for a longer list of dystopian novels.

Gaslamp Fantasy (aka Gaslight Fantasy): This is a subgenre of Historical Fiction that is generally (but not always) set in Regency, Victorian, or Edwardian London (the 19th and very early 20th century). It may be identical to the real world of that time period, or it may be an alternate history. Gaslight Fantasy is recognizably different from Steampunk Fantasy. While Steampunk focuses on alternate developments in technology and may not have any magic at all, Gaslamp plots focus on supernatural elements and frequently draw on elements of Gothic romance and/or Gothic horror fiction. Click HERE for more information about Gaslamp Fantasy. (See the "Steampunk" definition below for more information about that contrasting subgenre.) 

HEA: an acronym for Happily Ever After—the typical ending of a paranormal romance in which the hero and heroine overcome a myriad of obstacles and go off into a blissful future.

HIS (Historical Paranormal Fiction): Historical paranormal fiction (including steampunk) takes place in the past, usually in the nineteenth century, but sometimes earlier. Historical stories that are also SMR or CH are labeled as such: (HIS, SMR) or (HIS, CH). Historical fantasies are frequently set in medieval times.

Paranormal Fiction: On this blog I use a limited definition of paranormal. Included here are works of paranormal romance, fantasy, mystery, and suspense that are set, for the most part, in a relatively realistic modern world—a world inhabited by both humans and paranormal beings. Although some historical books and series are included, most of the works included here take place in real time in the late twentieth or early twenty-first century. Some may include a separate fantasy world, but characters generally move between that world and the real world. All include human characters. This blog does not include works set totally in fantasy worlds in a dimension apart from human society, and it does not include extraterrestrial, futuristic, apocalyptic, dystopic, intergalactic, or technology-based science fiction. It also will not include horror fiction (i.e., fiction with the primary intent to scare or horrify the audience). The works included here have been published, for the most part, in the twenty-first century and are definitely meant for adult readers. In some series, early books were written in the 1990s. If a series is discussed, the titles in that series are listed in the order of publication, unless otherwise noted.    

Post-Apocalyptic Fiction deals with the end of human civilization as we know it. It focuses on the attempts of characters to survive in the wake of a major, culture-destroying catastrophe (for example, pandemic plague, zombie infestation, nuclear war, alien invasion, ecological collapse). The story lines follow the characters as they try to stay alive and keep their families together. Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (book and movie) and Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead (graphic novels and TV show) are perfect examples. Other examples include Max Brooks’ World War Z, (book and movie), Jeanne DuPrau’s CITY OF EMBER series (books and movie) Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend (book and movie) and the TV series Falling Skies. Click HERE for a longer list of various types of post-apocalyptic fiction.  

     Some novels combine both dystopian and post-apocalyptic elements to point out that society can make different choices as it rebuilds. The TV series Revolution 
(9/20125/2014) is an example. The action in that story takes place 15 years after a worldwide power blackout (the post-apocalyptic element). Even since the power went out, various people have been forming, defending, and/or rebelling against governments, each of which promotes itself as the best, but each of which oppresses its citizens, forcing them to conform to repressive laws and totalitarian military authority (the dystopian element).  

Soul Mate: the one and only true love of one's life. In paranormal fiction, supernaturals frequently mate for life with their soul mates. If one dies, so does the other. In many cases, the couple must go through a specified process in order to officially become bonded mates. In Lora Leigh's BREEDS series, the soul-mate status is so important that it drastically affects the love-making process. Here are some examples of other names that authors use instead of "soul mate": bond mate, life mate, breed mate, true soul pairing, beloved, jun tan, and cónyuges. In Leigh Evans' MYSTWALKER series, the heroine calls her hero her "one true thing." Click HERE for a discussion of the various plot types found in paranormal fiction, including a definition of SMR (Soul Mate Romance) and a list of SMR authors, titles and series.

SMR (Soul-Mate Romance): Soul-mate romances are closely related to traditional romance fiction. In SMRs, the focus is on the heroine as she falls in love (lust) at first sight with her future mate, who is generally a paranormal being (usually a vampire or a shapeshifter). Their romance is definitely the center of the story, and by the end of the book, they marry, or at least head off into a happy future together. There may be bumps along the way (ah, those stressful second thoughts and annoying plot intrusions!), but these books concentrate on the romantic relationship and end with the feeling that the couple will live happily ever after. Despite their similarity to regular romantic relationships, SMR bonds are much stronger than in traditional romances In fact, the soul-mate bond is a bond for life; if one dies, the other will also die, almost immediately. An SMR novel generally take place in an alternate world with a mythology that has been carefully constructed by the author (aka world-building).       

Steampunk Fantasy: This is a subgenre of Historical Fiction, usually an alternate history set in Victorian London, but occasionally set at other times and places (e.g., the Old West, the 1930s or 1940s). Steampunk is rooted in the writing of Jules Verne, Mary Shelley, and H. G. Wells. Although Steampunk characters tend to stick with the social mores and mannerisms of their time period, women are generally very independent—at least the heroine is. The primary difference between Steampunk fiction and true Historical fiction is Steampunk relies heavily on alternate developments in technology (e.g., steam-powered airships, clockwork weapons, gear-driven gadgets). If Steampunk had a slogan, it would be "Gears, Goggles, and Gadgets!" Click HERE for more information on steampunk. (See the "Gaslamp Fantasy" definition above for more information about that contrasting subgenre.) 

TSTL: an acronym for Too Stupid to Live—a mental and social disorder—usually temporary and sometimes fatal—whereby an individual—usually the heroine—goes off on her own into a dangerous situation or takes on responsibilities way beyond her abilities. The archetype is the lone female in a horror movie who walks into a dark and spooky situation in the middle of the night, hears a noise in the basement or out in the woods, and immediately goes straight toward the noise, inevitably falling into the hands of the villain. Click HERE to read a humorous analysis of TSTL heroines on the "Heroes and Heartbreakers" blog.

UF (Urban Fantasy): An urban fantasy (UF) novel is generally set in a dark and gritty cityscape in an alternate, but contemporary, world that has a mythology carefully constructed by the author (aka world-building). The UF protagonist is generally an insecure loner with some type of developed or undeveloped supernatural power (e.g., necromancer, wizard, witch, empath, psychic, shapeshifter). He or she lives in an urban environment, usually in the contemporary world but sometimes in a fictional, but realistic, world, and faces life with a cynical attitude. The protagonist is often adopted, with birth parent(s) who deserted or died during his or her infancy. The mysterious parentage is an important ingredient in most UF fiction. One or both of the missing parents is usually a supernatural being and provides the genetic background for the protagonist's own magical powers. Female protagonists frequently have red hair and green eyes. Frequently, the protagonist tells the story in a first person narrative, and the story arc extends over several books—or over the entire series. Modern UF stories/series can contain elements of mystery, horror, and romance, but to varying degrees.

Unicorns and Rainbows: This phrase refers to a Disney ending—a feel-good situation with impossibly perfect conditions where everyone is happy, nothing goes wrong, and all the good guys and gals get their wishes granted. Click HERE for a deeper analysis of the term. (Alternative forms of the phrase include rainbows and butterflies, rainbows and kittens, and butterflies and unicorns)

Young Adult (YA) Fiction: The age of the audience targeted by YA fiction writers ranges from 12-18, although the books aimed at the younger end of the scale are sometimes tagged as "teen" or "middle grade" fiction. YA for the older demographic (which includes LOTS of adults—see graph at right), deals frankly with sexual issues, adult relationships, and challenging events. Relatively high levels of profanity and violence are common. At the heart of every YA novel is an adolescent protagonist who faces significant difficulties and crises, growing and developing as he or she struggles along the rocky road of life. These heroes and heroines, frequently feel like outsiders among their peers and family members as they struggle with their need to "belong." YA novels can vary greatly in tone, with many of them being quite dark. For an intelligent, entertaining, and somewhat profane discussion of YA fiction, click HERE to go to Chuck Wendig's "25 Things You Should Know About Young Adult Fiction" on his TerribleMinds blog. To take a look at the wide diversity of YA fiction, click HERE to go to Rolling Stone's "When Holden Met Katniss: The 40 Best YA Novels." (Note: You can find many, many "best of" lists by googling "best YA fiction.") Click HERE to read the article—"The Dudes Who Read YA Fiction"—from which the graph above was taken.