A New Project

I am announcing a new project.  Hopefully it will work out, but if it is going to, I am going to need a great deal of help from readers.

I would like to start reviewing some books.

I know.  You’re all shocked!  A writer’s blog reviewing books.  That’s something new, different, exciting . . . .

All right.  You can drop your sarcasm.  I know it’s not a new and exciting idea.  What’s different about it is the TYPE of books I will be reviewing.   I have tried to craft a catchy phrase that can catch on and yet simultaneously explain without doubt what I am looking for, but, well, I sort of failed.  The best I can come up with at the moment is NSRs.   Does that roll off the tongue?  I’m not sure, but I’m going with it.  Subject to change, of course, if something better comes along.

But I can hear you asking, what is an NSR, then?  Non-Smutty Romance.  Yep, that’s it.  Not much to ask for, really.  But nearly impossible to find.

It seems like in today’s world, the key word for romances is “smutty.”  In fact, the more smut you can stuff in your manuscript the better.  As an author of (as yet unpublished but getting there soon) romances, I can tell you that many of the classes offered for  romance writers include phrases such as “how to sex up your manuscript,” “how to write hot, hot, hot love scenes,” etc.  Not that I have anything against a well-written love scene.  But when it involves 15 people and small forest animals, I get slightly queasy.

My novel is not going to be smutty, but I hope it is seriously romantic.  Like the kind of romantic that makes you tingle and go back and reread parts because you want that tingling feeling again.  So, I’ve tried to find other recently-published novels that fit that same mold.  Guess what?  I’ve had a really hard time finding them.  Really hard.

Oh, there are YAs where the romance is sweet and clean.  But that’s not what I really want.  Then there are science fiction, fantasy,  or paranormal where romance is sort of secondary and is fairly tame.  But again, not what I am looking for.  What I want are actual adult-oriented romances, where the characters have that sort of chemistry that just makes me swoon.   The type you can read without embarrassment and recommend to your mom, if not your teenage daughters.   The kind that you love to think about and talk about with friends and don’t have to hide when you have company, because you don’t have to feel like you are breaking 6 of the 10 commandments when you are reading it.  Yeah.  That kind.

But at the same time, I’m not interested in the “inspirational” romances that I know are available.  The people in those, as far as my limited experience with them goes, don’t even think about sex.   Or if they do, the book fades to black.  No, not what I’m looking for either.  I want characters that know about sex and are drawn to each other with that powerful magnetic force, but manage to resist because they know it’s wrong.  Until they’re married.  Then I think tastefully written love scenes are fine.  Still no small forest animals, though.  That’s just sick and twisted.

Yeah, I know.  I’m not asking for much, am I?  Maybe it’s too much and I’m doomed to disappointment.   But I think some people are looking for that kind of romance.  And I did manage to find at least one to start with.  And I am going to review it today.  And hopefully within the next week, I can find another one, and so on and so on.   I will happily take any suggestions from anyone who knows of such a book to recommend.


  1.  No YA, for the moment at least.  The main characters should be adults.
  2.  The book is actually published as a romance, not another genre with romantic undertones.
  3.  The characters have serious sexual  chemistry, at least that’s the author’s intent.
  4.  If there is sex in the book, it has to be between a married couple, man and wife.
  5.  The sex has to be non-graphic, although it can be somewhat detailed.

I will rate the books on a “tingle” scale and give my opinion on whether it’s a good read or not.  That doesn’t mean you have to necessarily agree with my comments.   In fact, I hope you don’t.  I would certainly welcome open debate, as long as it’s civil.   But if a book is reviewed, that means you can be assured that the sex is appropriate and tasteful.  Beyond that, I might or might not get that tingly feeling.  You’ll have to read the reviews to find out.

About susannahsharp

I'm pursuing a life-long dream of writing now, something I am really enjoying. My first book should be out by Christmas. I want to blog about all things Irish; offering some book reviews for romantic, not smutty, books; and also things pertaining to reading and writing.
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12 Responses to A New Project

  1. Ivy says:

    Have you read any Marcia Lynn McClure books? She is pretty romantic. I really enjoy reading them sometimes, BUT at the same time…the characters are always the same. The kissing is usually the same. It happens too soon and maybe even too much. (Can’t believe I just wrote that since I always crave more.) The men are all virile and dominating, the girls young and sort of stupid, always wondering if the man likes her (when he’s been practically attacking her every time they meet). The man always rips off his shirt. It’s so cheesy! Lots to roll your eyes at, but DANG IT, I still read them. I crave that tingly feeling so I’m all for more romances out there that don’t have to talk about the gritty parts. I mean, really, I don’t want to hear about every anatomical detail. Ew. I wish she would change up some of the characterization, make the reader wait for “it” more, more sexual tension instead of indulging us with a kiss at every chance she gets.

    Marcia initially wrote them for fun for her friends and now she still does only she has a huge following. A lot of her cliche things and themes are inside jokes with friends (ie. shirtless men). It gets a bit old. And I wouldn’t say she’s the best writer ever. I’d love to see a really well written NSR.

    I read the inspirational romances. I like them sort of, but agree whole-heartedly… do they EVER think about sex? I just read them because it’s all that’s out there that isn’t …well…gross. And the teen fiction is just not what I want to read. I’m not a teen. I’m a mother of a teen. I don’t want to read about teenagers thinking about sex.

    Those descriptive, smutty romance novels are porn for women and we need to be careful what we pick up and what we recommend. So I’m excited to see what you come up with! Happy reading!

    • There are a lot of authors like that, unfortunately. They hit on a formula and they reuse and reuse and reuse ad nauseum. Of course, sometimes I think their editors force them into those narrow little boxes, but think of poor Barbara Cartland. Her novels were all basically the same with interchangeable titles and fair maidens. It can be frustrating. And I also agree that there seems to be no middle ground between absolutely no sex until the complete smut fest we see so often in the contemporary stuff. So that’s what I’m looking for, all the romance without all of the queasy-making details. Hopefully I can find quite a few worth reading and recommending. I’m sort of hoping that if we show there’s a market for such things we might get more of them. Viva la revolution!!!

  2. Ivy says:

    Uh…sorry for a second comment. Have you read any Lynn Kurland books? There’s some time travel and ghosts and romance. Clean romance, but maybe a bit more tingle than the inspirational ones. Wondering how these would rate on your tingle scale… ???

  3. Jamie VanBeekum says:

    I’ve been hearing good things about Marcia Lynn McClure’s books as clean romance. I’m considering “The Pirate Ruse” or “The Highwayman of Tanglewood” as my first venture.

  4. Marlo Moncur says:

    A few years ago I read “Petticoat Ranch”. It’s the first in a trilogy by Mary Connealy. Honestly, I can’t really remember much about the book. I DO remember it being a fun read and do NOT have any glaring memories of smut!

    • Thanks, Marlo. I appreciate your taking time to read and comment. I will definitely look it up and give it a read.

    • Ivy says:

      I’ve read those Mary Connealy books. I like them. They aren’t going to score high on a tingle scale, though. 🙂 They fall into the inspirational romance category, I think. Very clean, but sweet and some nice mild romance.

  5. I can’t think of any definate books right now, but i just had to give a HURRAH for your idea here! I love the clean tingle without feeling the guilt or too much eye rolling when it’s too far out in the unbelievable! Can’t wait to read your book!

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