Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Things I Like/Dislike in Romances

Today's Top Ten Tuesday Topic from The Broke and the Bookish is the Top Ten Things I Like/Dislike in Romances.  I was in college when I started reading romances but I inhaled them for a solid year and have been on a fairly steady diet of them ever since.

Things I Dislike:

1.  The "Secret" -
 the "secret" drives me crazy because 9 times out of 10 it's a big nothing and at worst would've caused a minor tiff if mentioned at the appropriate time.  I spend a lot of time wanting to shake whichever character has the "secret".

2.   The Accidental Pregnancy -
 with contemporaries you know if there's a mention of not having birth control you know you're facing at the very least a pregnancy scare.  I have read some where it does work but there are several series I've given up on because every book centered around pregnancy.  Maybe I'm doing it wrong but pregnancy doesn't equal romantic to me.  Pregnancy for the most part equals no ankles and an aching back.

3. The Oh So Proper Heroine who has no problem being not so proper in the library/conservatory/garden/etc.
This is really just for historicals but it's always struck me as strange when you have a main character who is very aware of keeping up her reputation or knows she has to marry well or what have you and yet she messes around with an unsuitable man during a ball.  Seriously, we're in a time period where being caught kissing can ruin you and we're stripping down in the garden?  I don't care that he's devilishly handsome or what have you.  It still seems like a terrible idea.

4. The Immature Heroine -
This is the equivalent to nails on a chalkboard for me.  When the heroine acts like an idiot and refuses to see reasons or wants a certain response out of the hero and pouts when she doesn't get it.  Some scheming is okay but acting like a 12 year old to try and get a certain reaction drives me crazy.

5. Cheating -
this is a deal breaker for me. If there's the slightest hint of cheating it definitely diminishes my enjoyment.

Things I Like:
There's so many more things I like than dislike!  I'm going to be book specific in the like column though.

1.  Humor - In Julia Quinn's What Happens in London Harry in the hat made me giggle and the scenes where Sebastian reads aloud from Miss Butterworth made me laugh until I cried.  Quinn is the master of adding in humor without making a book funny without making it slapstick.

2.  When the bad guy turns good and it feels realistic.  Viscount St. Vincent was thoroughly untrustworthy in It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas but when Evie shows up at his house in Devil in Winter we start seeing him change and oh what a change it is.  I want to go reread this book right this minute!

3. Characters that bring out the best in each other.  They're normally very different - rule maker/rule breaker like Chole and Sawyer in Jill Shalvis's Head Over Heels by Jill Shalvis, or almost flat broke single mom Eliza and wealthy CEO Aidan in Snow Angel Cove by RaeAnne Thayne.  Or my absolute favorite Rootless and discontented Jude with deep-rooted Aidan in Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts.

4. Friends turning more.  This works great for novellas because the characters already have a foundation to start a relationship from but it's also one of my favorites in a full length book.  Shawn and Brenna in Nora Roberts' Tears of the Moon, Colin and Penelope in Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, Tyler and Brenna in Sarah Morgan's Maybe This Christmas.  Just love this!

5. A dash of history.  This is really any book in general but give me a dash of history - especially if the main characters are trying to figure something out and I'm in! The House on Blackberry Hill by Donna Alward, The Beekeeper's Ball and The Apple Orchard both by Susan Wiggs and Dream Lake by Lisa Kleypas are all great examples!

So what are your deal breakers or must reads?

39 comments:

  1. Immature heroines really great on me too, especially when they fall for the guy that no one likes (i.e. the bad boy). Sometimes miraculously in the end he turns out to be a great guy and then sometimes he really is a bad boy. In real life though...
    http://youmeandacupofteablog.blogspot.com/2015/02/top-ten-things-i-likedislike-when-it.html

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    1. The bad boy is iffy for me. When it's well done it's fabulous but so often bad boy = jerk!

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  2. I agree that humor and a dash of history makes a book much more interesting!

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    1. Definitely! That's really for any genre!

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  3. You have a great list, Katherine. I didn't focus on romance books since I'm not reading many romances these days, But I totally agree with your list.

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    1. Thank you! I'm pretty phase-y on romance as well but I'm just coming off a romance phase so I had plenty of ammunition!

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  4. Secret identity. I will never voluntarily pick one up and then if I start one on accident I usually quit. The exception to this was Courtney Milan, because I believe she could pull it off like a grownup.

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    1. Oh I hate secret identity! That's loosely under the secret category for me. I've got a few authors I trust for that but it's a very short list!

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  5. 1,2 and 5. Gah! Same here. The not so impressive secret drives me batty. Now I have read a few that when it's finally revealed I'm sitting there going whoa. Okay. Yall win on that. Damn! I love when that actually happens.

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    1. I've had a few authors blow me out of the water with good secrets (Sabrina Jeffries even got a secret child by my!) but for the most part I just want to give everyone a shake! Talk to each other!!!

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  6. Seriously cheating! I'm seeing this everywhere today so why these scenarios end up in romances is beyond me!

    Humor is definitely the best. And those scenes you were mentioning about What Happens in London has made me want to re-read that right now. I actually recommended it to someone yesterday who was saying she likes books that make her laugh.

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    1. I know! This list has made me want to reread all my old favorites! The cheating thing bugs me. It's basically the exact opposite of romance.

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  7. I agree about the immature heroine definitely! And humour definitely increases the enjoyment.

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    1. So many historical a have immature heroines I actually stopped reading them for awhile. I just can't stand them!

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  8. Those minor "big" secrets are rather annoying, aren't they? I agree with you about in the inconsistency issue between character and time period. I've wondered about that too.

    I'm so with you on #3. I love it when characters bring out the best in each other.

    Great list, Katherine!

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    1. I hate the secrets when they're just dumb. It kills the book for me. I've started really loving the bring out the best in each other relationships. They're just so nice!

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  9. Haha! Oh my God, accidental pregnancy is such a "thing". I don't even understand. Some authors will just not even justify it and than the others that write in a really weak reason why it happened piss me off even more. I can't even with those.
    Also, "the secret" is a huge UGH! I could go on a huge rant here. But you get me.
    Humor and banter is a must with the lovers. I love me some sexual tension, but without the banter and fun outside the bedroom I can't get behind their relationship.
    Happy reading!
    Brittany @ This is the Story of My(Reading) Life

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    1. I definitely need some outside the bedroom banter and just fun or it doesn't work. If I just wanted bedroom I'd read erotica. Oh the pregnancy thing. It makes me want to scream! Why is that romantic?? Yeah and the "secret". So many rants!!!

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  10. Humor and friends turning into more are two of my favorite things!

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    1. Oh definitely mine too! It's even better when you have both together!

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  11. Great choices and great examples! I agree with all of your likes and dislikes. (Can't think why I didn't put humor in my likes!) And your "secrets" is very similar to my "misunderstandings" - the difficulty in both cases is that the characters aren't being open and honest with each other.

    And oh, you mentioned some of my very favorite romances: The Devil in Winter -one of the best "redeemed villain" books I've read (it's normally hard to convince me with that trope.) Romancing Mr. Bridgerton - humor, nice hero, friends-to-lovers all in one package! I really enjoyed the two Susan Wiggs books, too.

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    1. I put in #2 just for Devil in Winter. I love that book and now I want to go dig up Romancing Mr. Bridgerton too. I think your misunderstandings and my secrets are very similar. Both drive me crazy!

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  12. Nice list. You've nailed all of my pet peeves for sure. Good likes as well. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

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    1. Thank you! There's definitely some pet peeves that drive me crazy!

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  13. I just love it when characters bring out the best in each other. Even if they are complete opposites, the fact that they can compliment each other so well is a huge selling point for me.

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    1. I've really been loving a bring out the best type romance. That definitely what I've been more drawn too lately!

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  14. Miscommunication is what drives me in sane, similar to the secret. Where one conversation could rid them of all of the drama!

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    1. Yes definitely! I think secrets and miscommunication definitely overlap. Yes just talk to each other people! One conversation!

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  15. All of these!! Just...all of them...we are on the same page here. I really hat the secret...especially when they keep alluding to it cryptically and then just refuse to talk until they have the pointless breakup just to angst at being apart before declaring their love and living HEA. *insert heavy sighing here*


    My TTT is here.

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    1. I hate those pointless break ups especially when all is good suddenly at the very end! Aaagghhh!!

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  16. I'm so with you on your list, especially the immature heroine. That just annoys me so much.

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    1. I'm reading a book with an immature character right now and it's driving me nuts! Luckily it's an ensemble cast or I'd really be crazy!

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  17. When I was in high school I spent a year reading romances. I used to buy them by the bushel from a used book store - there'd be a box outside, 2 for a dollar or some great price like that. I had a science teacher who was really quite oblivious and I can still remember sitting there in class with a Harlequin romance inside my science text book. Never got caught. I haven't read very many romances since, but all your dislikes were the same dislikes I had!

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    1. I did a lot of reading in class too. Probably why my grades could've been better! I remember those dollar bins! Heaven to the broke book lover!

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  18. I could not agree with this list more! I am extremely picky about the romances that I read.

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  19. I strongly dislike the grunting and groping "love" scenes. I don't find that romantic at all. I agree with the friends turned more, I do love that scenario. I abhor the books where the female MC says no, but either easliy gives in, or gives the impression that her no meant yes, especially in YA. I feel it is giving a bad example to teen girls.

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  20. I did so love this post. I am not a fan of romance - it seems there are just so many ways the tale can be told, and everyone I've read has either been too graphic or too coy. I'm now faced with writing a "love/sex" scene in my next book and am blushing trying to figure out how to hit the happy medium.

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  21. Girl, I'm always adding books from your posts. I've added the apple and the snow cove ones. I have most of the series you have mentioned already marked, but I like to read series in order. I don't like Harlequin books, those skinny, barely any content reads.

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  22. I *hate* immature heroins, they're so frustrating ! That and miscommunication, it makes me want to break my tablet even if I love that thing so much I consider naming it !

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