Top Ten Tuesday: Things I Like and Dislike in Romance Novels

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme run by The Broke and The Bookish!

I really like a good romance, be it trashy or classy as anything. I’ve read some spectacular romances over the years and I really don’t care what anyone has to say about them not being worthy of attention! I think that deep down, everybody loves a bit of romance… you just have to find what floats your boat, that’s all.

If I’ve reviewed the example book on my blog, I’ve linked it, the others link to Goodreads!

Things I Like

1. Characters that feel real

I really like my characters to feel like people you could meet in real life. I like them to have issues and authentic reactions to situations. I really love it when you could picture yourself or your best friend in that situation.

Example: A Town Like Alice by Neville Shute (gorgeous, relatable characters in a fantastic setting- horrific but touching and sweet)

2. Elements of the supernatural

I’m a sucker for paranormal romances. I don’t really care what anyone says! I prefer ghosts, but I’ll go for a well written vampire or werewolf too.

Example: The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James (It had so much win!)

3. A really cute romance 

I like my romances to be cute but not sickly sweet. I really love having an “awww!” moment, especially when I’m literally saying it out loud! I love the feeling of my heart bursting, my tummy being in knots and wanting to leap into the story and put myself there. That, to me, is a fantastic romance.

Example: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows (eternal love for this romantic ending!)

4. A swoon worthy male character

I don’t have a “type” of male character that I like best, but if he’s a swoon worthy guy, I’ll love him forever.

Example: Persuasion by Jane Austen (Oh, Captain Wentworth! You could sail my ship.)

5. Highlanders

I do love me a good highland romance!*

*no, not Cross Stitch/Outlander.

Example: Claiming the Highlander by Kinley McGregor (I bought this as a joke and really liked it!)

Things I Don’t Like

1. Insta-love

I don’t like insta-love and I don’t like a huge amount of love/hate. There’s a fine line between getting the balance right and completely screwing it up. No one falls in love and leaps into bed immediately, swearing their undying glittery eternal love. Nope, just does not happen.

Example: Ghouls Rush In by H.P Mallory (HAHAHAHAHAHA)

 2. Overly domineering male love interests

I don’t mind a strong alpha male… I do have a problem when this goes over into abuse territory. There’s a huge amount of debate around certain books and what constitutes abuse in them, but I tend to find the super domineering men to easily be abusive.

There seems to be a trend for romance novels having their “heroes” like this, and it’s really troubling considering the levels of domestic violence and abuse in western society. It’s not sexy in real life and it’s not sexy in literature- believe me, I’ve been there. A really domineering partner is nothing to aspire to have- they don’t have to hit you to be abusive.

Example: Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L James (don’t even get me started)

3. Cheating

Cheating really bothers me in real life, so I get angry when I see it in my romance novels. Not cool guys!737559

I’ve also seen instances where the female protagonist slut shames the love interest’s partner, simply because he’s with her. They continue to fool around behind his partner’s back, but she’s portrayed as the bad person for totally getting in the way of true love. BLAH.

Example: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (my second point is strong in this book)

4. Protagonists who change for the love interest

THIS really upsets me. Sometimes it’s linked to the domineering male of #2, but sometimes it’s caused by the girl’s friends, society or her perception of what the guy wants. In all those cases, it bothers me. Again, been there, done that, it’s not okay.

I’ve only seen it the other way round a couple of times, but they’re equally as problematic and awful.

Example: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (I’m increasingly bothered by how much Don tried to alter himself to fit Rosie’s expectations. Yes, he initially had the project, but she has no excuse of autism to tell Don why he needs to change himself so dramatically)

5. Way too much sex

I like sex. Hell, everyone likes sex! I like reading about sex too. But there comes a point where sex becomes too much sex and the story is completely overrun by it. It might be that it’s not written well too, but usually I find authors go overboard with it and it gets in the way of the story. I find myself skimming pages and pages of the book just to get away from the sex scenes! This is especially annoying when the book isn’t even intended to be erotica, but somehow turns into an enormous sex fest.

Example: The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons (which has about 70 pages of sex scenes smack bang in the middle of it. I liked the story until that point, but gave up then!)

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19 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Things I Like and Dislike in Romance Novels

  1. Paranormal romances are my favorite too! And I agree- I appreciate realistic intimacy in the novels I read but I hate when it’s too heavy handed because then it just gets silly. Hence why I will never read Fifty Shades of Grey!
    My TTT

  2. I laughed out loud at the majority of your ‘Dislike’ comments, and that GIF is hilarious. 😀 Could not agree more with this: ‘Example: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows (eternal love for this romantic ending!)’. I think I may have to re-read it soon! Great post, lovely!

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