Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme run by The Broke and the Bookish. The topic this week is: Top Ten Things I Like/Dislike When It Comes To Romances In Books.
My list is going to include things I like and dislike in bookish romances. I find it so hard to consistently say ‘I like this, but dislike this,’ as it all depends on how the topic is handled and how it’s written. In one book I could love a certain trope or occurrence, and in another, if it’s badly done, I could absolutely loathe it! Love-triangles are the perfect example of this, but I’ll chat more about that in a minute.
This list isn’t really in any particular order, but I’ve numbered it for convenience. :)
Respect is a HUGE thing for me. The characters need to respect each other, and each other’s opinions and beliefs. When this balance is there, I’m extremely happy. It doesn’t show up often enough for my liking, certainly not in YA, but when it does I will cherish it forever. (*cough* Morpheus.) If I get a whiff of a character trying to control or influence someone else’s opinions, potential hatred toward the offending character could, and usually does, soon follow.
Going down the secure and protected route is one thing… but there is a limit. I absolutely HATE overprotectiveness. This is the ultimate kiss of death for me. I can completely understand when a character wants to protect those they love and hold dear – that’s natural! But, when it becomes controlling and smothering… NOPE! I’m done, and I lose all respect for the perpetrating character.
Case in question: Jeb from the Splintered trilogy. (Grrrrr!)
Yep, I just had to include them! Ok, unpopular opinion time: I don’t mind love-triangles that much, and sometimes I even like them… as long as they’re written well. When two characters of equal merit are involved in the choice, love-triangles can be really entertaining and captivating to read. I think the Night School series, Throne of Glass series and The Artist’s Trilogy are perfect examples of excellently handled love-triangles. On the flip side, I hate badly written, just for the sake of the drama, predictable love-triangles.* It all comes down to subtlety, too. When they dominate the plot, they get annoying quickly.
*Unless my ship wins… then, of course I’ll make an exception and love ‘em!
4) Romance / Plot balance.
I’m a hopeless romantic at heart, and I LOVE when I read a well written romance. BUT - the balance has to be right! I love when a romance compliments and enhances a plot, but doesn’t dictate or overshadow the main story*. When the balance is right, those moments of banter and cuteness between a couple can nudge a book from four to five stars.
*There is a HUGE exception to this: When my ships and OTP’s are involved, I push everything else into the background, and the relationship/romance becomes ALL IMPORTANT… They. Better. WIN! Not that I’m obsessive about this… ‘Course not… *whistles*
5) Insta-love Vs Insta-attraction
Insta-attraction happens all the time, both in real life and in books. It’s natural to find another person attractive! I only have a problem when insta-attraction is skipped over, and becomes insta-love. I do believe in love at first sight… but not in books!! I want to read about the struggles, the ugly moments, the bickering and getting to know each other, as well as all the lovey-dovey cute moments! When two characters are declaring their eternal love, devotion and their entire futures to each other at the 100 page mark, I become very suspicious. Particularly if it’s the first 100 pages in the very first book of a TRILOGY, or worse, a five or more book SERIES!
6) Show me the Journey!
I want to feel like the relationship has progressed and grown. I love seeing where it all began and then enjoying the journey from Point Beginning to Point Ending, and all the points in between. There is nothing more heart-breaking than thinking back on a romance, and realising the characters relationship didn’t progress very much at all!
7) There’s More to Life Than a Relationship!
I love reading about characters that have their own identity outside of a relationship. I LOVE seeing two characters enhance and complement each other’s personalities when the romance eventually forms. They’re strong on their own, but they make each other even stronger whey they’re together.
8) Slow Burning Romance
I LOVE romances that build up over time! If it’s combined with fabulous banter between the people involved, I’m extremely happy. The build up to the romance is so important.
9) Natural Progression
I love when a relationship feels like it progressed naturally, and I hate when it feels forced. Some characters are a perfect fit… while others just seem like they should never have mixed in the first place! I want to root for a couple, and when the chemistry isn’t there, it’s excruciatingly painful to read. A romance-less story is a much better option! Also, the build up to sexy times! Getting the balance right and adding a smooch/sex scenes when they naturally should occur is something I love seeing. To me, like with point 6, the journey is so much more important! On the flip side, when every couple of pages has a sex scene… its overkill.
10) I Wanna Know!
I want to know if a book is all about the romance before I read it! Sometimes a nice fluffy romance is exactly what I want to read… but it can be very annoying when a purely romance book is disguised as, for example, a fantasy book, you know? If it’s 95% romance, and 5% fantasy, I’m not that interested! Think back to old school CD’s for a minute: imagine handing someone a Slipknot album, and when they press play, the CD is actually full of Taylor Swift songs…
It’s not a nice shock!