Topic: Top Ten Things I Like/Dislike When It Comes To Romances In Books (can do a full list or split it up in likes/dislikes or even things you want to see MORE of in romances in fiction)
1. Alternating POV's - This is one of my general pet peeves but it seems to be one of the new trends in YA/NA romance books and I loathe it so much. Romances are predictable at the best of times...you know they'll usually end with the couple together, the fun is in how they get there. I like not knowing what the love interest is thinking and feeling, I like being as in the dark as the main character is and taking that journey with them. Dual narration trashes some of the best parts of reading romances, it kills the suspense and makes them more annoying.
2. Insta-love - There are rare exceptions, but in general, I hate it. I hate when the main character (usually female) is totally obsessed with a guy she has barely exchanged two words with. I hate when they've only known each other for five minutes (and not even talked about anything meaningful about themselves, only about them as a couple) and yet they're proclaiming their undying love for each other. It's awful.
3. Excessively sappy - I like my romances with lots of banter and sarcasm. I don't like it when every single conversation the characters have revolves around how much they love each other, written in horribly flowery prose.
4. Controlling love interests/emotional abuse - I can't stand when I read a book and the love interest is excessively controlling of the main character, and yet she swoons away and his behaviour is glossed over. I hate seeing abusive relationships romanticized. Fifty Shades of Gray, for example, is not romantic, the relationship is emotionally abusive (and I'm not even talking about the horribly inaccurate attempt at portraying BDSM). Any kind of abuse being romanticized is not okay.
5. Rapist love interests - Like above, seeing this romanticized is just sickening. Love interest and rapists should be mutually exclusive qualities, never found in the same character. In the past year or so I've read four or five books that sounded good only to then have them turn all rapey... that's four or five books too many.
Likes (and these ones come with recommendations):
6. Love/hate relationships - I lovelovelove romances that start out all Beauty and the Beast ("Barely even friends, then somebody bends unexpectedly [...] bittersweet and strange, finding you can change, learning you were wrong."). I appreciate the cutesy lovey moments so much more when they're peppered in between lots of snark and playful banter (see: no. 3).
Rec: Onyx by Jennifer L Armentrout, Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
7. Forbidden romances - I don't know why exactly...I guess it's just interesting to read when it's done right. And I guess I kind of like the whole love conquers all aspect of those types of romances.
Rec: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma (probably the most forbidden romance I've ever read)
8. Bad boy love interests - I can't help it. I guess the appeal is that it's nice to believe that people can change if they find someone worth changing for, someone they want enough. I like when the characters become the best versions of themselves when they're together.
Rec: The Duff by Kody Keplinger, Carter Reed by Tijan
9. The nerd and the popular one - I don't even know why...it's just freaking adorable really. I guess it's maybe the way they tend to subvert stereotypes.
Rec: Nevermore by Kelly Creagh (well, the love interest is a goth but it has the same popular/unpopular element to it)
10. War - It's just...I like that little bit of light shining through, even in the darkest of times. It's the love conquers all thing again--like, people are dying and bombs are falling and the world is going to hell and yet everything will be okay, because they have each other and that gives them hope, that tiny bit off hope amongst all the rubble.
Rec: The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, and Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
- Fierce female characters who kick ass and do their share of the saving instead of it always being left to the dudes (and the dudes are okay with being saved...and they're concerned about the safety of the main character but only because they care, not because they don't think she's tough enough to handle herself).
- Princesses working with princes/thieves/assassins/[or something] to save a kingdom for some bad person and falling in love along the way. If one or both of them is in disguise so much the better.
- And the whole "I refuse to ever fall in love-Ohai! Hi! I like you! No, I LOVE you! But, alas, I'm to be alone forever...because I said so. So we shall now proceed to angst it out for a hundred or so pages before we marry and live happily ever after" stories.
- Kidnapping stories...but only if they're done right. I find the whole Stockholm Syndrome thing weirdly fascinating, so I like seeing if the author can overcome that and actually make it seem like a genuine romance has blossomed in this tense, extreme situation (note: if it gets rape-y, the author is not getting it right).
- The whole "We used to be friends but something happened and we haven't spoken in years but now we're thrown together again and SO MANY SPARKS!" kind of romances.
- Friends becoming something more. Often with one or both of them currently with someone else and there's so much angst.