Course since then I've come to realize just how much on those shelves could very well be in the general fiction population and fit quite well. But romance fans are rabidly loyal and they are continuing to buy books in droves, so I think romance is a good place to be right now. And who doesn't some steamy escapism once in a while?
And, they make perfect beach reads!! You knew it was coming.
Eve Kenin's Driven is a perfect example. Here's my review from the BB archives to hopefully spark your interest:
In the bleak and icy landscape of the Northern Waste, Raina Bowen has only one hope for securing the future of a sister who has been kept a secret from her until now. Raina has never known the warmth or security of a loving family or friends, but it is her hope that her own young sister can know better life. Raina’s only hope is to win a dangerous long haul trucking race that would earn her enough money to ensure both of their futures. The race involves carrying a large shipment of genetically enhanced grain across the frozen tundra. Raina contacts one of her father's old acquaintances, a mysterious figure who calls himself Wizard, a man who may be able to guarantee her win. Raina is drawn to Wizard in spite of his strange demeanor and soon finds herself teaming up with him against ice pirates set on hijacking her shipment and corporate killers out to collect the bounty on her head. This steamy futuristic romance works on so many different levels. For one, it’s a complete surprise, readers may think they know what’s coming, but they can’t possibly predict where the story will lead them. Driven also takes readers directly into Kenin’s latest release, Hidden. It’s a fantastic premise and Kenin, aka Eve Silver, pulls it off with amazing skill. It’s romance on steroids.
Driven earned a starred review in PW (no small achievement) and won the RT reviewers' choice award for Best Futuristic Romance. And Hidden was nominated for the same the following year.
Kenin, aka Eve Silver, writes both paranormals and historical suspense. She's got an upcoming gothic romance under the Silver name, Seduced by a Stranger, due out in September and then, according to her website, she's got a new "dark urban paranormal romance" trilogy due out next year (yay!). Until then, you can get both Driven and the sequel Hidden in addition to the other Eve Silver titles, in bookstores now.
The Junior Junkies are particularly fond of the Kenin (and other Shomi) titles as well, so that should tell you something. I'm going to have to keep the new ones a secret from them, because they'll be nagging the hell out of me until they come out next year.