Romance novels are my addiction. I gobble them up as quickly as I can get my hands on them, and am always more than willing to add a new book boyfriend to my ever-growing list. But there are some recurring themes that tend to come up that drive me bonkers!!! Let me know if any of these strike a chord with you too! Let’s begin…
Can we please STAHP IT with the love triangles!? I understand that it makes for an interesting story, pitting a woman in between two men, and letting them duke it out for her love. Let it be known that I will always root for the underdog, the obvious non-winner of the two men. Every. Time. Underdogs deserve love too dammit! Maybe it makes it easier to write a romance novel when you have such a big theme to flesh out. I know love triangles have been around in novels and movies since like the beginning of time… but seriously, enough already!!
Repetitive Book Titles
Must we use the SAME words in every romance book title?! I mean, there are like over 100,000 words in the dictionary and yet we see the same words in every other book title: desire, kiss, dark, night, vampire, shadow, lord, fire, dead, city. I’m going to title my very first book: City of Shadow: Dark Lord’s Dead Kiss. It should definitely make the best seller’s list, amirite?
180-Degree Female Protagonists
So she had a bad childhood and is squeamish around men, or she is timid and shy and alluvasudden she meets this guy and BOOM she’s oozing with self-confidence. Not because she learned to love herself on her own, but all because of this really gorgeous, swoon-worthy fella dripping with sex appeal. I know that sometimes you need a little nudge from someone to get you to open your eyes to your own strengths and overall awesomeness, but… I dislike the idea of their confidence being ONLY because of the guy they JUST met. Meh.
Boy Saves Girl
Yes, we all love it when Prince Charming shows up to save the day, but must it always be the guy saving the girl?? I mean all girls can’t be that defenseless. Maybe she was doing JUST FINE up until the hero showed up and she was about to kick some villain butt until she was so rudely interrupted. Okay, so maybeeee it’s really swooneriffic to get saved by a hot guy. But I don’t think we see enough of the girl coming to the guy’s defense. Let’s get some more of that!! Who’s with me?!
Awkward Pose Covers
My favorite part of going to the book store is taking a stroll down the romance aisle and amusing myself with the latest book covers. It is an unwritten rule that in any one romance series you must have 2:5 ratio of awkward poses on your book covers. It is known. Also, lots of naked drool-worthy male torso, but I’m not complaining about that.
Cheesy “Sexy Part” Names
I love great sexy time scenes as much as the next girl, but some of the lady/man bits descriptions make me giggle and snort simultaneously. I’ll try and keep this PG-13, but words like: velvet, steel, silky, rod, lance, lamp post, canal… you get the drift. So is sexy time happening or are we making curtains and re-decorating my living room?? Let’s not even get into terrible/awkward sex scenes in general. I hear there are a great very many in Fifty Shades of Grey, one in particular involving a tampon (disclaimer: I have not read the book). *shudders*
Love At First Sight
This is a too common cliché in romance for me not to mention it. My favorite is the scenario where they knew each other like years ago, childhood friends or he was her best friend’s brother, etc. etc. And of course the guy never paid attention to her. But now, they meet at a party and have one dance and three chapters later they are planning their wedding and their life together, and have a baby on the way. So you both knew within ten minutes of seeing each other again that you were in love and were meant for each other?! Um… okay… sounds totally legit.
Those Awful Cover Blurbs
So besides the book cover art, the other way that publishers try to get your attention are those one-liners on the front of the covers. Some of them are actually quite good, but yet others… well, see for yourself:
“Fighting is what he’s good at. Now he fights for love.” – *major eye roll* cue Pat Benatar’s ‘Love Is a Battlefield’
“The heart wants what it wants, and sometimes it wants something bad.” – I can relate heart, I love junk food too.
“And this time the bed is just right…” – It must be a Tempur-Pedic. I heard those are fabulous.
“Feel the heat…” – *lifts eyebrow* Well… if you insist…
Male Hotness Factor
Okay so this isn’t something I dislike about romance novels, but I thought I’d throw the male population a bone here. The female love interest in a book can be plain Jane, petite, curvy, lanky, voluptuous, drop dead gorgeous, or just average… this varies and it’s probably because let’s face it, most romance authors are female. They want the reader to identify with the female protagonist in some way. But the men, oh boy, the men are ALWAYS superbly built, muscular, tall, handsome, sexy, tan, incredible lovers and impossibly perfect (at least physically). I’m sure it is damn near impossible for most average men to live up to these standards. Its fiction right so who cares! I agree, but I’ve heard my guy friends complain about this and their opinions count too…. well, sometimes. Heh.
So after boy meets girl and their relationship starts making some progress and I notice that I am only at 50% of the book, this means that there is some “plot twist” coming up within the next few chapters. Low and behold! There is a huge misunderstanding that occurs, either the boy decides that she is better off without him… or feels that she doesn’t love him… and he takes off. But of course it’s all a big miscommunication because OF COURSE she loves him, I mean he’s got abs of steel after all. *snort* OR She walks in on him and another girl… but it’s all a huge misunderstanding you see, he was just showing the girl a painting he wanted to sell, or giving the girl a tour of the house because he wants to sell it and surprise her with a bigger/better house. If only she JUST WAITED around for an explanation instead of falling into her own insecurities and running away. But don’t worry… this will all get resolved by the end of the book and they both live happily ever after. *grin*
Does any of this sound familiar? If so… let me know in the comments!