Top Ten Things I Like/Dislike When It Comes to Romance

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Leading up to Valentine's Day, the Broke and Bookish ladies picked the perfect topic. Today we're talking about romance in books - specifically likes vs. dislikes. I do have some specific dislikes, but really I think if the story is cute enough or I like the writing, anything can be overcome. Because of this I had trouble coming up with some topics and feel like those I do write about below I've rehashed before.

That being said, let's get into today's Top Ten Tuesday:
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)

Con: Many romance novels - or any genre, sort of just... end. I'm not sure how to explain my feelings on the trend of endings. It's tough to end a story, I do get that, but sometimes it feels a bit incomplete or as if the reader is being cheated out of that memorable ending. Some books take the couple through a lot presumably to build up to a better ending, and it'd be nice to have an ending that is, well "complete." I guess I feel like a book should either be more "certain" in its outcome or leave the reader to write their own ending, which will sort of tie into my "sincere romance" topic.
Pro: I love a male character who is the definition of a gentleman, yet sometimes novels forget to make their male leads gentlemen. That's not to say there aren't LOTS of characters who are, it would just be nice to see more of them. They seem more lacking in the YA market. 

Pro: If you're confused by why "hashtags" is a topic or what it means, I'm right there with you. I try and get ahead of Top Ten Tuesday by working on the posts ahead of time and as was the case with this week when I sat down to finish this, I was confused by my own pre-work. (This is a very bad thing methinks.) I'm thinking when I started working on this, my mindset about "hashtags" was a pro. Pretty sure I was thinking of fandoms that are created for memorable romances. So many of them even get merged names (thinking of you, #Olicity) and it allows us to gush about favorite romances and the like. Yep, that's all I've got for this topic. Deep I know. *insert sarcasm*
Con: Too many stories have that "light bulb" moment rather than solidifying a good friendship and building up to that moment when two people realize they are truly in love. Often times the romantic relationship will be too convenient rather than genuine and that creates problems.
Con: This is definitely a topic I will overlook. Much as I don't care for it - because it's used far too often, I can deal with it. The one thing I don't mind about love triangles is if the girl in the middle of them weren't wishy-washy - that's what really bugs me. If she jumps back and forth between the guys, it's more annoying than crafting suspense. If it's just the guys vying for her affections, and the one who doesn't hold her heart tries to win her, it's fine. Not sure if that's making any sense, but yeah...

Con: Unless it's very much in the background, I don't care for additional romances in novels. I've read books that don't say anything (in their synopsis) about an additional romance yet the reading of the book reveals another romance (in addition to the publisher blurb couple) that is nearly as prevalent as the couple we were led to believe the book was about.

Pro/Con: In novels, I look for romance that really feels sincere. Yes, this is the opposite of Insta Love and just so happens to tie into my "better endings" thought. I feel like if an ending for romance is merely going to be so-so - the couple kisses and end credits, then the better way to conclude a romance is to let the reader write their own ending. Let a friendship be born (I love it when the couple feels like best friends first) in the novel and the couple (at the end) want to pursue something more. This can especially be a problem in suspense romances, not so much novels that are strictly romance. Though I have to say, I've read some fabulous suspense books of late. 
Con: Okay, I should specify this one. I don't mind small-town settings, but it's sort of a "habit" now for stories to feature a heroine who leaves the city and returns or comes to a small town, finds love and decides to stay.  (There's nothing wrong with cities as the setting and in fact, that can be quite exciting!) For example, I watched two back-to-back movies not long ago that featured this plot and while I thought the first one was cute, when I saw the second I felt like I'd seen this story done time and again, which lessened my enjoyment of the second movie.
Yep, I knew this was likely to be a mess... and it was. But, hey, it was still fun and I'll aim for better next week.
What about you! What are some likes/dislikes you have regarding romance novels? I'd love to hear them and the reasons why they made your list. ❤


  1. I agree with you on the love triangles. Like you I can overlook it, but it's done too much.

    1. Definitely! I had to laugh at myself when I realized today the book I'm reading now has a kind of "love triangle." But it's too good to complain about! :)

  2. The insta-love concept in books or movies is a major turn off for me, too! It's so annoying when a couple who barely knows one another is all-of-the-sudden head over heels in love. We definitely need more than that - as readers and viewers!

    Also, I agree with your dislike of washy-washy girls who can't make up their minds in a love triangle... where the perfect guy is completely obvious and the other guy, is typically a jerk! Thankfully, there are many wonderful romances who avoid these pitfalls!

    1. Yes, it is. I feel like it isn't true to the genuine and beautiful nature of love. But then, there is "instant attraction" in many relationships. Still... attraction and love are not the same thing.

      Wishy-washy girls in a love triangle is the WORST. I had to laugh at myself after adding that in because the book I'm reading now is a love triangle (three guys, one girl) and the girl is a bit wishy-washy... but not in a negative way. It's more showing her progression of falling in love since she's the definition of an innocent and it's really sweet.

      Glad you stopped by, Net! :)

  3. I can overlook the interruption of a love triangle in the story if I do know that they will indeed live happily ever after the book ends. ;)

    1. I can overlook almost any of these things so long as the story is good. In fact, I often DO overlook them to be honest. Guess that shows you want a good story can do.

      I'm all for that happy ending. It's a must! :)

  4. This isn't a mess! *I* understand most of your thoughts! I do!

    The ''Insta-Love'' thing bothers me, too. I'll say 95% of the time since I've read authors that were able to (somehow) make a romantic relationship ''feel'' natural even though it happened quickly.

    Second romances are indeed, more often than not, annoying (unless the main romance plot is boring). Abrupt endings are not satisfying at all and, yes, there are too many romance novels out there with small town settings.

    For me, it all comes down to how realistic, well-written and ''original'' a book is, in general. But I'm pretty sure you know that already ;-)

    1. LOL, it felt like one as I put it together, Ganise. But then, that's what I get for putting it together last minute. ;)

      That's awesome! I probably would agree that most authors make things come across naturally and the progression feels right. Probably it's the YA market that really suffers from insta-love.

      Yes, secondary romances don't gel with my reading habits. They take away from the main plot in my opinion, unless as you say, we're bored with what's meant to be the main plot. In that case, a second story is a small blessing. ;)

      Well said! Books/stories are subjective, meaning each reader will interpret them differently. So long as the individual finds something to champion or enjoy or feels the sincerity of a story, that's what counts. :)

  5. I like secondary romances, though only if they are well developed and don't take away from the main story. Perhaps I relate better to secondary characters though.;)
    Great list!

    1. Nothing wrong with that, Amanda. We all get something different out of a book and that's awesome. :)

      Thanks for reading!

  6. You made perfect sense to me, Rissi, and didn't say a thing that I don't agree with.

    I love these top ten lists, but just don't have time to take part every week. My main thought about this theme is a con - and that's when the lead characters don't spend much time together in the book. Kind of related to your "insta" one, I guess. I want to see them interact, spar with each other, and gradually grow close, so that's a big disappointment for me when it doesn't happen.

    And like we talked about in your Hallmark post, endings seem rushed so often! I recently read a book by Kim Vogel Sawyer that had one of the most complete, satisfying endings I've ever read - I'll have to look up the title later. Anyway, I made a big point about that in my review. So is this the way authors choose to write, or do they reach their word count limit? If they reach their limit, there's usually previous material that could be cut to allow for more time at the end.

    I also recently read a book - totally can't remember the name - where the couple got together in the last paragraph. That was followed by an epilogue that took place almost a year later, with a lot happening in the time between, and I'm going "What?!!" I also noted that in my review!

    Sorry to go on so long, Rissi, but I couldn't resist!

    1. Well, thank you, Carole. It was late at night and I wasn't convinced of my words. I appreciate your reading this. :)

      I agree. Your first con would fit into that "insta love" parameter. I think I find this theme more prevalent in YA fiction. Most inspirational books have a great handle on it. Or that's what I've found. :)

      Yes, those endings are a pesky thing! Especially in Hallmark movies. I did like So You Said Yes for an ending (at least it was more complete) and I Do, I Do, I Do worked nicely. I've not read any of Kim's books that I recall, but it's good to know she has a good way with endings! I don't know how authors determine their "limits." I'd imagine once the story feels complete - provided it's not 400 + pages or something. ;)

      Ugh. Nope, not a last paragraph ending!? Those are not fun. It not only feels as if it's cheated us out of an ending, it cheats the couple out of a good ending. *Sigh*

      No apologies! I'm glad you shared, Carole. Feel free to do so anytime. :)

  7. I'm totally with you on the insta-love and love triangles! They both drive me nuts especially the wishy-washy girl in the love triangle! Fun list!

    1. *high five* I'm glad I'm not alone, Abbi. Those wishy-washy girls... drive me nuts, they do. :D

      Thanks for reading.

  8. I completely agree with you that romances should have better endings, more gentlemen, and less insta-love (that is a great term and I never thought about it?!). And I usually don't like secondary romances as well. This is a perfect list, Rissi. :D Personally I couldn't think of ten, so I just skipped this week. Haha ;)

    1. Better endings is something my mom and I have actually talked about for a long time. I think I've found rom-com movies have better endings (for example I adore 27 Dresses). Books sometimes just... end without any really good conclusion. That doesn't mean I don't still enjoy and love them. Because I totally do. :)

      Secondary romances aren't my thing. Especially if they overtake the primary or get their own point-of-views.

      Come to think of it, I didn't come up with ten either. Ah, well. It was fun. ;) Thank you for reading, Bekah - and I'll look forward to future TTT's lists from you. :)

  9. I so agree that we need more endings! Like I so want more Eleanor & Park for sure!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

    1. Yes! Those endings can be a letdown. Though there are LOTS I'm happy with. :)

  10. Like the secondary romance one. I don't mind them when they play a much smaller role. Otherwise, I feel like they're too distracting.

    And why can't heroines go back home to the big city and it not always be a small town? I do tend to still like these stories, but they are overused.

    Good thoughts, Rissi. :)

    Tressa @ Wishful Endings

    1. I probably don't mind a secondary role either, Tressa. But one book was split right down the middle and while the story was good, I'd have rather it been its own book.

      Same here. I don't mind small-town stories, but they're used SO much it wears thin. :D

      Thanks for commenting, Tressa!


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