Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: My picks for 'Things I Like/Dislike In Romance'.


I think that this is the question that I have been waiting to answer, because I have been asked so many times why I'm not a big reader of romance novels. Now I finally get to say why! Of course there are things I do like about romance in books and I'll include those too!

1) Predictability.

Come on, even big lovers of romance have to admit that most romance plots are so predictable. If two characters instantly hate each other then the chances are, they'll be in love by the end of the book. If any other character has the slightest hint of affection towards one member of the main couple, they are obviously going to do something to mess things up along the way. I like it when romances surprise me in some way. When I think to myself "Oh wow, I didn't see those two ending up together!" or "I'm so glad that the jealous third party actually ended up being a nice person in the end." Romance cliches just bug me.

2) The romance to plot ratio.

Ok so here, for me, there has to be a good balance. Do I want to pick up a big that claims to be a Fantasy with a touch of romance and find that actually 95% of the book is the main heroine unable to keep her mind from drifting to the handsome Prince she just met? No. Even books that are purely romance books should have some kind of plot in them that doesn't involve smooching and soppy messages. Other wise I just get bored! A good romance as a plot element should not dictate the plot, but compliment it instead. On the flip side, I do want more than just a couple of sentences please.

3) Lack of communication/Misunderstandings.

This is one of the most annoying romance tropes for me. It's such a common plot device and when it's used, I tend to find myself getting pretty angry. It goes a little like this: Person A walks into a room to tell Person B she's in love with them, only to find Person B being kissed by Person C who Person A also happens to hate. Rather than sticking around for one second more to see Person B push Person C off in disgust, Person A proceeds to dramatically run from the party and ignore poor, clueless Person B for days. Even worse, sometimes Person D (normally a known stirrer) will tell Person A that she saw B & C together and A won't even investigate. Because Person D is obviously a reliable source. Ugh. JUST TALK TO EACH OTHER!

4) Secrets.

This is another common trope, involving our mysterious but love-struck male lead (sometimes female) having some kind of back-story that means he has a terrible secret that he can't share. Of course the lead then finds out and it all leads to some terrible misunderstanding (see above) that if there had only been a bit of honesty to begin with, could have been avoided. Sure it's a plot device, but it's an over-used and annoying one.

5) Love triangles.

This is probably going to appear on a lot of lists this week. It's a commonly used trope, and for the most part I hate them. Why on Earth an Author would undermine a romantic couples relationship by introducing a third party just for a plot boost is beyond me. There are rare moments where you actually see a good one that is introduced at the right moment and actually holds all of the pain and confusion that I can imagine that situation having. But most of the time it just feels like the Author saying "Hey guys, pick a team!". 

6) Insta-love vs. Natural progression.

There are far too many cases of insta-love in books. And yes, there is a difference between insta-chemistry (where two people instantly are drawn to each other but don't fall in love) and insta-love (where two people take one look at each other and suddenly want to get married and have children). Be reasonable Authors, you must know this sounds ridiculous. I admire books that take romance at a more natural pace. Why not have the couple in question sit down and get to know each other first?

7) Constant sex.

This is a big no for me. I like books to have a small amount of sauciness in them, don't get me wrong. It is satisfying when the couple you have been rooting for finally overcome all of that tension and get on with it. But do they really need to do that every page afterwards? Seriously, some books take it too far, and it completely makes the relationship feel lusty rather than special. all of the development before hand goes completely out of the window the moment they don't know how to have a good time other than when they are having sex.

8) Sad endings.

This is more of a me thing but sad endings that make me cry, I avoid. It's why I've never read a Nicholas Sparks book. Because I can't imagine anything worse than finding a couple that I actually root for, seeing them develop and fall for each other, only to have one of them die or leave suddenly and shatter everything. It would just upset me!

9) Power couples.

Everyone loves power couples, myself included! The couple in question need to have the right amount of chemistry, and compliment each other well. Sometimes I'll read a book and just think 'Meh.' about a certain couple, and I have no idea why! It's just in my opinion, some authors have the knack for writing a decent romantic plot-line that gives you all these feelings, and some just don't.

10) Personality switching.

Bad boys are a common trope in romantic story-lines and I don't mind them so much I suppose. What I do mind however is when a total jerk can suddenly transform into the sweetest, kindest person just because he fell for a pretty girl. People don't just change. Character development like that takes both time and work and it irks me no end when Authors think it's an instantaneous process.