I’ve been blogging for 4 years now (I know….4 years!) and in that time, I’ve read a hell of a lot of romance books. My reading rate has increased since I began this site and I’ve tried tropes I never would have if I hadn’t been part of this community. I’ve now come to realise that, just because something is catagorised as romance, doesn’t mean it’s my kind of romance.
EDIT : As this is my blog, this is MY opinion. It may not be yours and that is fine. I am not “shaming” anyone else because they like Alpha-holes or dubious consent, I’m merely saying these don’t work for me.
When I began, I read everything. Literally anything and everything but, as I’ve been exposed to more romance, I’ve also been exposed to tropes and characters that have hit all my rage buttons and, now, I’ve become more selective. I know now what characters will annoy me to the point that I’d rather see them step under a bus than have a romance, I know which tropes will make my skin crawl and I know what literary acts I consider unforgivable. I know we all joke about these heroes being our book boyfriends but, let’s be honest, we forgive these characters more than we would a real life partner, as we want to see them crawl and redeem themselves, but there is a line and I’m now completely aware of where this line is for me.
Here’s a list of tropes, acts and characters I just can’t enjoy; I’m sure you’ll all have your own, and maybe disagree with all of mine, and I’d love for you to add them in the comments.
1.The Alphahole We all love an Alpha but this guy is different, this guy treats the heroine like shit and the author expects us readers to want to read his romance. Sorry author, I’m routing for your heroine to run for the hills. If the character is verbally abusive, mean and, in one case, feels he can pass around his heroine without her consent, he’s an asshole not a hero. This is one of the reasons I don’t touch motorcycle books…full of characters I class as assholes!
2. The idiot heroine I expect to like the hero but, if I hate a heroine, the book has lost me too. I’ve seen weak heroines who allow such acts as listed in the previous point, I’ve seen heroines allow themselves to be tied up in private settings by complete strangers (do they not watch the news?) and I’ve seen heroines also treat their nice guy heroes like absolute shit for the entirety of the book because they’ve been mistreated in the past and they now have relationship issues. I don’t want to read about heroines like this;I don’t care how realistic they are. I read romance to see love and to do that I need to care about the characters and I think these heroines are morons.
3. Non-consent/Dubious consent No, no, no, no, NO! It doesn’t belong in love stories or books classed as erotic romance. Unless it is part of a kink that is explicitly explained to me as the reader in the course of that book, it’s rapey. I will probably put it down anyway (it hits a few triggers) but I’ll hate the book if it happens before I even know it’s a characters’ kink.
4. Incesty-kinks I can’t. It makes my skin crawl. I know people like it, I don’t.
5. Abuse of any kind Yes, I’ve seen it. This is not an event that I will ever forgive either character for. Another reason for no motorcycle club books.
6. Cheating See above.
7. Multi-menage When I say multi, I mean 5 or 6 people. I get confused to easily for these books. I just can’t figure out whose appendage is doing what without a diagram and I don’t want a romance where I have to draw pictures to figure out a sex scene…’tis not sexy! Also, the other half gets a bit terrified when I start drawing stick figure sex scenes ….. 😀
8. The miracle sperm/uterus We’ve all seen this happen. The set up for the book is that the heroine/hero has been told by a medical professional that he/she can never have children. There is angst, oh so much angst. She/he can never love because she/he isn’t worthy of love if she can’t give a man/woman children (don’t even get me started on this particular trope!). The H/h sleep together anyway and, miracles of miracles, poof, there is a pregnancy. The doctors were wrong, they just needed to fall in love to have a child because no romance can be complete if there isn’t sproglets produced!! I hate this trope. Hate, hate, hate it. It makes me want to burn the book….repeatedly.
9. Shifted sex. I can deal with claws coming out to rip away underwear which then disappear. I can deal with eyes flashing wolf as characters get out-of-control turned on. I cannot deal with partial shifts during sex. It strays too far towards bestiality for me and turns me off completely.
10. Excessive violence In a classic romance, I expect very little or no violence. If a book is labelled romantic suspense or UF, I know what I’m getting. If a book is labelled romance and then there is scenes of battery, blood-shed and rape? I am immediately pissed. I am a mood reader; I read tropes and genres to fit my mood. If I went in for a sweet romance and came out with a head full of violent scenes I will probably never read that author again.