A hero who is a bit dominant, in charge, knows what they want and goes out to get it.
An alpha (see above) who has crossed the line from being strong and in-charge, into just being a domineering asshole.
Alpharoll / Alpha Roll
A hero who is, at least on the surface, an alpha male. Inside, however, he’s as sweet and kind as a cinnamon roll. Alpha + Cinnamon Roll = Alpha Roll.
An angsty or angst-ridden book is one where the characters go through the emotional wringer during the course of the story. Lots of emotion, heartache, heartbreak – just a lot of emotional chaos before our HEA.
Author of Colour
A book that focusses in or around food. A play on bodice ripper.
Advanced Reading/Reader’s Copy – an early copy of a book/e-book that is sent out to reveiwers/bloggers/other authors.
Amazon Standard Identification Number. A 10-charcter alphanumeric unique identifier used for product-identification. For books, the ASIN is the same as the ISBN number. E.g.
An author whose books/writing you like so much that you will buy their books without reading the blurb, looking at the price etc. E.g. Nora Roberts is on my autobuy list.
A character’s life before the start of the book. Can include their life story, childhood and romantic history.
Big Beautiful Woman. The heroine of the novel is a curvy goddess.
Bondage and Discipline (B&D), Dominance and Submission (D&S) and Sadism & Masochism (S&M)
Behind closed door / bedroom doors
Where the couple’s sexual relationship happens behind closed doors and therefore off the page. We hear, see and read nothing!
A hero that’s perhaps more sensitive and approachable than a traditional alpha male. May be more geeky or less typical than your standard romance hero.
Someone who test reads an author’s work, usually when it’s in the early stages. They can be friends, family, industry professionals or people hired specifically for the task.
The big problem that our couple will encounter, and have to overcome, on their path to happily ever after.
Binge / Binge Read
When you read all the books of an author or series in a row, often in quick succession.
Black, Indigenous and / or a person / people of colour
Because I talk about it so often, Blaze was a category/series romance published by Mills & Boon / Harlequin until 2017. It featured sassy heroines and irresistible heroes embarking on sizzling sexual adventures.
A short description of a book, outlining the story. The back cover text.
Battery operated boyfriend aka a sex toy, vibrator or dildo
Usually depicts historical romances from the 70s/80s with bare chested Fabio and heaving bosom covers and consent wasn’t as much of an issue as it is now.
The day an author’s book is released – and sometimes the anniversary of that date.
Book Boyfriend (sometimes written as BB or BBF)
The perfect man/boyfriend. He’s hot, sexy, loyal, romantic – everything you could ever want in a partner. But – dammit – he’s fictional.
As above but she’s the perfect woman/girlfriend.
When you’ve been so invested in a book that finishing it leaves you feeling emotionally drained and unable to move on.
Instagram as used by book-lovers. Pictures of books and all that other loveliness.
TikTok for the book community.
YouTube for the book community.
Bromance (also known as BRO-TP)
A close but non-sexual relationship between two men. Really good friends or, perhaps, someone that another admires or looks up to. Bro-TP means Bromance/Brother True Pairing much like OTP.
Two or more people reading the same book at the same time so that they can discuss it as they go.
A shorter book, usually approximately 50K words, that fits a publisher’s line or series. E.g. Harlequin Blaze, Mills and Boon Dare etc.
The journey of a character from the beginning to the end of the story. Often where there’s a large change or growth such as reformed rake, previous bad boy etc.
Cinnamon Roll Hero
A cinnamon roll hero is one that is super sweet, kind, loving, warm, supportive and deliciously good – much like a cinnamon roll. You can also get Alpha Cinnamon Rolls aka Alpha Rolls.
A controversial term denoting a book that doesn’t contain profanity or sex. (Controversial because some feel it implies that the opposite of the clean romance is an un-clean romance which sounds judgey AF). This article over on Book Riot is a good read on the issue.
*breathes deeply* The ending of a book that doesn’t finish the story, meaning you have to buy another book (maybe more) to finally get to the end. A cheap marketing tactic for those lacking discipline or an editor.
A cover featuring a hot couple in a sexy clinch pose. Very reminiscent of the early romances of the 90s. See Fabio.
A book where the sex or sexual situations take place behind closed doors, don’t appear on the page and aren’t talked about (in descriptive terms).
Consensual Non-Consent. A mutual agreement between partners to act as if sexual consent has been waived. Role Playing. See also DubCon.
A romance set in this world as if it’s happening on the current date. No fantasy, paranormal or other elements.
Content Warning. Informing potential readers of contents in a book that might be objectionable, upsetting or triggering. See also TW.
Kindle Unlimited. A book borrowing subscription programme from Amazon. You pay a monthly fee and can borrow books included in the KU programme for no further cost. Not free. You pay for the subscription so the books aren’t free.
A science fiction romance. So aliens, werewolves, a story set in space etc. See also Speculative or Paranormal
Science Fiction Fantasy / SFF
Science Fiction and / or Fantasy
Second Chance Romance
A trope where a couple get a second chance at love. They’ve been together at some point in the past but for some reason have broken up.
An author who publishes their book/story on their own, without a traditional publishing house. The author controls all parts of publication including marketing, graphic design, sales, editing etc. See also Indie.
A continuation of a previously published book or story, usually with the same main characters.
Single Title Romance
Traditionally published romance novels around the 75k word mark. Different from Category Romances.
A picture of photo of your bookshelves.
A shapeshifter. Often taking human form and another form such as a bear or wolf.
Ship / Shipping
Where you want / advocate for a couple to be together e.g. “I ship Buffy and Spike”. Comes from the word relationship.
Single Title Romance
A traditionally published novel not part of a category romance line. Usually approximately 75K words.
A story that takes a while to build up to the steaminess or big romantic payoff.
A collection of subgenres such as fantasy, sci-fi, dystopian and paranormal. Think faes, aliens, shifters, vampires etc.
A story or series that is connected to a previous book or series. Often a secondary character or second generation that fans asked for the stories of.
Info that reveals crucial details about the plot that may ruin the story if you know before you read.
A book that is not part of a series or doesn’t need you to read any other book to enjoy and understand it.
A stepback is another book cover inside the main cover. The main cover is usually slightly narrower allowing a peek into the second cover underneath which tends to show the same couple from the main cover but in a slightly different pose. Hugely popular in historical romances.
Shut the fuck up and take that dick like a good girl.
A group of readers who help an author promote their book by reading it, promoting it. Often open by invitation only.
Book related goodies such as bookmarks, book plates, pens and all types of delicious merchandise.
A romance where there is little to no sex or physical intimacy written in the story. Some kissing and hand-holding may occur.
A romance between two people who probably shouldn’t be sleeping together – whether that’s because of a professional relationship, age difference or personal relationship. E.g. professor and student, step-silbings etc
To be bought. A wishlist.
To be continued…
TBR / TBRPile
To be read. A pile/list of books that you want to read.
To be re-read. That pile of books you want to re-read once you’ve cleared your TBR pile.
Triple penetration – sex where someone is being penetrated (orally, vaginally and anally) at the same time by one or more partners.
A book larger in size than a mass market paperback (usually closer in size to a hardback book) and usually slightly more expensive.
A book published by a traditional publishing house. They purchase the rights to an author’s book then prints, publishes, and sells it, paying the author royalties from the sales.
A commonly used plot device, situation or storyline. See my list of tropes here.
Too stupid to live. A character that acts like an airhead.
Often at the end of author emails. It means Too Lazy; Didn’t Read. A long bit of text that is summarised because you just couldn’t be arsed to read it.
Trigger Warning. Informing potential readers of contents in a book that might be upsetting or trigger a reader’s anxiety, fears, memories of past experiences etc . See also CW.