What’s going on in the wonderful world of book review tags at All About Romance? I’m so glad you asked!
Updating: Based on commenter feedback, I’ve revised my process for checking and/or updating the tags on new reviews.
For most categories, I don’t search for books which received a grade below B-. This is so that when you, the site users, click through on the tag, you can find books you might actually want to read without having to wade through the Cs, Ds, and Fs. I’m not saying you won’t find lower-scoring books in the tags, but I’m not going to extra effort to add/update them.
The main exception to this is tags for our Diversity and Representation categories. We use those tags for data purposes (such as our annual check on review diversity) so it’s important to have these books recorded even if their grades are low.
Cleanup: I removed duplicate tags and consolidated them. For instance, we had both “Victorian” and “Victorian Period”; those books are now all under Victorian. We had “vampire” and “vampires” and “dragon” and “dragons;” those are now all under the plural. We are working to change Christmas romances from Holiday to Christmas because anything non-Christmas gets lost in the deluge of tinsel and holly.
Adding and Reorganizing tags: New tags can be found in the list below after the bullets. I also, for reasons which I definitely can’t remember, thought it would be a good idea to do a tag for each of the 50 states… are any of you going to use this? (Please say yes). I also took existing tags related to sex and pulled them out into their own category, Sex and Sensuality.
So here are the tags as of June 2021!
Diversity and representation: AoC (author of color), PoC (protagonist is a person of color), male/male romance, f/f romance, LGBTQ+ romance, Tropical Romance Book Club, disability, older couple, older heroine, Muslim, Amish, LDS, Jewish, neuroatypical, Mental illness, blind, chronic pain, deaf, HIV and AIDS
Content tags: Christmas romance, tearjerker, funny, dogs, horses, sports romance, hockey romance, addiction, tech romance, virgin hero, dystopian romance, working class historical, film/tv making, environmentalism, Football, reality tv, suffrage, working-class contemp, adoption, baseball, rugby, motorcycle club romance, mafia, National Parks, PTSD, age gap
Sex and Sensuality Tags:
Plot types: shipboard romance, road romance, Pygmalion, Jane Austen adaptation, fairy tale, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, amnesia, Cyrano plot, shipwreck, gothic, unplanned pregnancy, Cabin romance, epistolary,
How the protagonists know each other: mail-order bride (or groom), enemies to lovers, childhood friends, childhood sweethearts, troubled relationship/troubled marriage, second chance romance, friends to lovers, roommates, coworkers, bodyguard,
Career and character tags: archaeologist, spy, doctor, nurse, journalist, photographer, actor/actress, law enforcement, artist, Olympian heroine, Olympian, cons and frauds, bakery, veterinarian, royalty, dancer, clergy, thief, thief heroine, designer, STEM heroine, sex worker, immigrant, paleontologist, model, midwife, British navy, wedding planner, athlete, ice skaters, athlete heroine, pilot, firefighter, private investigator, genius, single dad, single mother, writer, teacher, librarian, barbarian, pirate, Viking,
- FBI, criminal record (for characters who have been convicted of a crime, rightfully or wrongfully), businesswoman
Supernaturals: mermaid/merman, shifter romance, dragons, fairies, vampires, zombies, ghost, gods and goddesses, Angels, demon, witch, medium, alien
Countries and Regions: Scotland, Canada, China, Australia, India, Caribbean, France, New Zealand, Mexico, Italy, Eastern Europe, Pakistan, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, the Philippines, Egypt, Russia, Scandinavia, Ireland, Germany
- Middle East, the Netherlands, Africa (non-Egypt)
Cities: Chicago, New York City, Toronto, Paris, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Venice, Washington D.C., Vancouver, Detroit, Boston, New Orleans
Fifty States So Far: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
US Regions: Southern, Southwest, Appalachia
Canada Settings: Maritime Canada, Western Canada,
Time Settings: Ancient Rome, Arthurian, The Anarchy Matilda of vs. Stephen, Norman Conquest, Dark Ages, 1100s, 1200s, 1300s, Renaissance Italy, 1400s,1500s, Tudor, Elizabethan, 1600s, English Civil War, Georgian, Colonial US romance, American Revolution, Young United States era (Revolution to Civil War), Napoleonic Wars, American Civil War, Reconstruction Era, Victorian, Gilded Age, 1900s, 1910s, World War I, 1920s, 1930s, World War II, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, Modern Historical (any novel set after World War II but not written at the same time)
Non-US/Europe Time Settings: Ancient Egypt, Tang Dynasty, Qing Dynasty, Australian Historical Romance
AAR tags: DIKlassic, Top 100 Romance, novella, mini review
Have you used our tags? What do you find useful or not useful about the way we’re managing them? Do you have a tag we should add, or books which are missing from the tags that are in place? Please let us know!
I'm a history geek and educator, and I've lived in five different countries in North America, Asia, and Europe. In addition to the usual subgenres, I'm partial to YA, Sci-fi/Fantasy, and graphic novels. I love to cook.
A bit off topic, but related to indexing – is it possible to have a not search? For example contemporary romance not male/male romance?
Again, Contemporary Romance is a category and not a tag, so you can search for it using the Power Search. LGBTQ+ romances are tagged (male/male. f/f) but if they’re historical or contemporary, then that is the category used (Historical Romance, Contemporary Romance) as those still apply regardless of the sexual orientation of the protagonists.
Thanks! I get it, Categories are broad designations (I.e. Contemporary) and searchable through Power Search.. Tags are more specific, not searchable in Power Search and therefore cannot limit search results.
Exactly. It’s a long-term dream to be able to do a tags search field but like we’ve said further down it’s technically hard and expensive
Yes, categories are very broadly siimlar to what you might find at Amazon (although they have loads more of them and I sometimes wonder if whoever has added them has any actual knowledge of the book in question!) – maybe think of them in terms of book genre or type.
Is it possible to have a tag for a love triangle and unrequited love?
Yes! We will add that in.Thanks for the suggestion.
Thank you for your hard work on this, Caroline. You must have spent hours and hours going through the reviews. I have noticed that most reviews are for books, but occasionally I’ve seen an audiobook review. I am wondering if you have tags for those?
Audiobook reviews have their own category, so you can find them using the Power Search by selecting Audiobook from the “Book Type” dropdown menu.
When you go to the home page at AAR, and look at the new reviews, you’ll see “contemporary romance”, “historical romance”, etc. below the snippet of the review that shows up – those are the categories.
The other thing about audiobooks is that we try to tag the narrators so you can navigate the DB by people you like to listen to. I didn’t add them here because there are too many, and I’ll say honestly the data isn’t great (many narrators only appear once). But it’s still worth checking the tags if you enjoy an audiobook narrator to see if that person has recorded any others.
Ok, I understand a little better now. So I just tried to find reviews for audiobooks narrated by Rosalyn Landor, for an example. It seems like one way to do that is to find a book I know she’s narrated, get that review pulled up, and then click on the tag for her? And that will pull up her other books. Is there any other way of finding her narrations that I’m missing?
Yes, that’s one way. Another way is to open ANY tag, and then replace the last section with Firstname-Lastname (with the hyphen in the middle) of the narrator you’re looking for. For instance:
(capitalization doesn’t matter).
This actually works for any of our tags, as long as you know what we called them. Changing “Mississippi” to “Ohio” is pretty easy, but if you don’t know what we’re calling Civil War (Civil War? Civil War Era? Civil War Romance? American Civil War? English Civil War?) then you could be in for a lot of guessing and it’s probably easier to use the tags index page, which lives under the Vox Populi tab in the top menu bar. (The more recent update, Finding Tags Part 2, will be replaced with this post soon).
Unfortunately, tags are not searchable. I think Dabney looked into it once and it would have cost squillions of dollars. That’s one reason I do these posts – to make sure people actually have information about what our tags are, and a place where they can find them.
I am still interested in doing that. It’s currently beyond my skill set but maybe some day!
That worked for me! No need to spend squillions of dollars— it’s just a little typing, and even my limited computer skills can handle that. Thank you so much for all you do, Caroline.
At the risk of getting told off for plugging another site, I also review for AudioGals – http://www.audiogals.net – we only review audiobooks, and you can search by author and narrator etc. Of course, AG hasn’t been around as long as AAR so our database is nowhere near as extensive, but if you’re after romance audio reviews, come over and check us out.
I will, that sounds great! The more romance review sites, the better, IMO.
I hate to be pushy, but you’ve reviewed two of my books, but they don’t have any tags on them. They’re Victorian and one is set in Germany, the other in the Middle East. (I’d love to be found.)
We have about 14,000 reviews in our db () so I do my best but I guarantee there are tons of untagged books! I’m happy to prioritize yours if you want to post them here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, if they were reviewed prior to the site revamp in 2016, they may not be tagged or correctly tagged.
They probably fall before that date. Thanks.
Wow, this is what I call comprehensive. Good work, Caroline!
I confess I haven’t used the tags a lot because I visit the website frequently to read the newest reviews. Plus, my TBR list is big enough as it is, and continually increases in size. But I sometimes click on the tags included inside the review pages to view comparable titles. If I ever make a dent in my reading list, I’ll definitely try to use them more often.
One suggestion: I don’t see any tags for “science fiction,” “future romance,” or “aliens.” Maybe that’s not a big draw here, but I think a SF tag would be helpful for classifying such works as Winter’s Orbit and A Conspiracy of Whispers, which have been reviewed at AAR. Maybe there have been others, but without a sci fi tag, I wouldn’t know. (Loved Winter’s Orbit, BTW)
Science Fiction and Science Fiction Romance are categories, so you can search for those via the Power Search by selecting whichever one you’re looking for from the “Book Type” dropdown menu there.
Winter’s Orbit is categorised as Science Fiction Romance (I just checked!).
Ah, thanks! You’ll get me trained to use the system yet. :-)
Whoops! There is a very lengthy tag for Aliens: https://allaboutromance.com/review-tag/alien/ I just forgot to add it to this list! Glad you mentioned it!
We have a Power Search category that is “futuristic romance” but honestly it’s like 40% just the In Death series. It may not be a category worth keeping.
For what it’s worth, I also tag US states on Goodreads. Mainly because if I’m looking for a book I want to re-read but can’t remember the title, I might remember that it took place in Texas, eg.
Thank you for all the tagging you’re doing! Definitely makes it easier to find stuff of interest.
You’re so welcome!
Something funny to me is unexpected patterns in states. I mean, we all think of Texas and cowboys, but I didn’t anticipate so much supernatural/magic/witchcraft in West Virginia. And who knew Idaho was so popular with romance authors?
I usually tag locations in my reading log, such country, state or city, and I also note years over which main story takes place.
I also tag certain narrative styles, such as 1st person or present tense.
I thought about doing a first person narrator tag, but unfortunately it’s very hard to tell from our reviews (there’s no easy key phrase to search for because many reviewers don’t even mention it).
Well done, you!!! I used the tags a few Blogs ago to find the book/author of a sports agency. Baseball related. It worked wonderfully well. I’m looking at the tags now with that in mind and see two Baseball tags.and no Basketball. ?? I do watch your tags in each review to check the topics and they help guide my interest. Again, great job!
Fixed it, thank you! And no, we don’t currently have a specific tag for basketball. I can look into adding it!
Caroline – I spent over an hour this morning looking through books with your various tags and found some that I overlooked the first time around. Result: 2 books ordered today!! The tags are a great resource and I will use them much more in future.
Oh, I’m so glad! I hope you get some great reads!