Top 5 Romance Novel Pet Peeves

heart-1610858_1920I’m addicted to romance novels. I can’t get enough of them. A well-written romance novel with a good plot and love story is enough for me to daydream about, giggle over, and read for the seventh time when I really need to get back to work.

But there are more than a few things that keep turning up in romance novels that I absolutely hate.

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1) Insta-Love

This is so common in romance novels but as far as I can tell, nobody likes it. Why? Because it’s a cheat and ruins otherwise good books.

I want to see how the characters fall in love. I need to be emotionally invested in the characters before the moment of love for me to give a damn about them.

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2) Awkwardly Weird Sex Scenes

I must admit, I do enjoy snickering at watching the man go apeshit and penetrate the woman’s sex essence with his rod. But it’s a huge mood killer for me. Not just for that scene, but for the rest of the book. How am I supposed to take the guy seriously as he declares his eternal love when I’m still snickering about his essence-penetrating rod?

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3) Unlikeable Main Characters

This is a no-brainer, but unfortunately, happens way too often, especially when the characters to hate each other at first and then fall in love. The characters are so busy battling each other, they lose all redeemable qualities.

I’ve read books where the main couple pulls malicious pranks on each other, publically shames each other, and even hurts each other physically before falling in love. Call me crazy, but I cannot picture a stable relationship blossoming out of violent destruction like that.

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4) No Plot

There is no love story without at least some sort of plot. After all, the characters end up falling in love through events that happen, whether that is stopping a serial killer or running away from a smothering family. Without a plot, everything is boring, including the love story.

Sometimes romance novels fall really flat because not enough is happening and there is a string of conflict-free events with a dash of sweet nothings thrown in for good measure. Then I start hoping one of the main characters is used in a ritual sacrifice because then at least something is happening.

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5) Too Much Sap

Don’t get me wrong; passion, intense gazes, and declarations of love are my jam. But when the characters are constantly calling each other soulmates and moving each other to tears with purple prose every other paragraph, then I start throwing up a little. Romance novels are a type of fantasy for sure, but let’s not overdo it with the fairy dust.

What romance novel pet peeves do you have? Leave in the comments below.

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Romance Mad Lib: Flirtatious Encounter

 

(Female name) wandered halfway down the hall then turned back again. How hard was it to find the right (type of room)? How many (type of room) did a building even need? At this rate she would never be on time for the interview.

She looked down at the piece of paper with the (adjective) map the receptionist had drawn her, turned the corner and ran into something very solid and warm.

She gasped and looked up at the (adjective) man she had just run into. “I’m so (adjective)!” She blushed. “I-I really should have looked at where I was (verb ending in  -ing).”

He grinned at her. “It’s all right,” he said. “There are worse people to fall into my (body part).” He gave her an (adjective) once-over and Charlotte blushed (color).

“I-I I’m (adjective),” she stuttered. “I don’t suppose you could (verb)? I have an interview to get to. ”

“I’m happy to (verb). My name is (male name), by the way.”

(Female name). Nice to meet you.” she said, smiling (adverb). If only her (body part) would stop (verb ending in -ing) so fast she would be able to (verb) clearly!

“I’ll show you where to go. After all,” he (flirtatious gesture), “I would hate it if you didn’t get the job. Then you couldn’t (verb) into me here anymore.”

How did you like the Mad-Lib? Post your result in the comment below. Or you can create and submit your own mad-lib. 

Husband and Wife Write Letters to the Bitter End

Book Review: To the One I Love by Dawn Gena

to_the_one_i_love_cover_for_kindle00001Genre: Contemporary

Word Count: 3,880

Average Smashwords Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Through letters, Jonathan and Emily profess their love for each other. You can see snapshots of their lives as they meet and marry, and part ways. Time is fluid in this, with only the Chinese zodiac signs to give you an idea about how much time has passed.

This story was way too short and everything happened way too fast. It was like watching a television show for the first time and skipping entire seasons between episodes.

For instance, the mothers of the two main characters got into a fist fight at the engagement party and at least one of them was arrested for it. Why did the fight start? Do the mothers have a history of being violent? Maybe they have bad history.

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The ending was abrupt. It implied a violent ending that had no foreshadowing in the previous letters.  The story is a series of romantic snapshots into these people’s’ lives, but I would have preferred a little more reality with some context to what was happening.

The writing drove me crazy at times, too. Mostly it was witty, passionate and made me smile.

What other lovers? Whoever came before you fell out of existence at your first caress. You are my only…for now through eternity.

But sometimes it was pretentious and absurdly wordy.

“Fleeting and cold is my opinion of email, text and phone calls. I make no apologies for my old fashioned views on modern technology. It may not be instant, and might take a bit more effort (of which you are more than worthy!), but I prefer to sit and put pen to paper.”

It wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t great, either. Bascomville and Grind are both better literary romances.

You can find it for free on Smashwords.

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3 Must Read Fantasy Romance Authors

I cannot get enough of fantasy romance novels lately. I don’t know what it is about mythological wars and magical powers that make me fall in love with the characters, but lately fantasy romance has been hitting the spot. Here are three must-read fantasy romance authors.

92000000341379241) Maggie Shayne

Author of the By Magic series, Maggie Shayne knows how to let you escape into fantasy. The love stories in both By Magic Enchanted and By Magic Beguiled were wonderfully addictive and deliciously sweet. By Magic Enchanted took me by surprise and became even better than I thought it would be.

Both stories feature two sisters, descendants of royal fairy blood. One grows up homeless on city streets The other imprisoned by an enemy prince. Their magic and their wits keep them alive as they try to reclaim their destiny and their place in their kingdom.

Read my review for By Magic Beguiled.

2940152405729_p0_v1_s1200x6302) Elise Marion

Elise Marion is an exceptional world builder and an amazing storyteller. She has the ability to sweep you into the world in Chained, where two very different regions are on the brink of war. Little do they know the war is orchestrated by a third party, one that is very dangerous.

I’ve read three books in the Chained series, and I loved all three. The characters are really well developed and the cultures well crafted. Marion is an amazing writer and I highly recommend them.

Read my interview with Elise Marion. 

btphcoveroff3) Chani Lynn Feener

Author of Bad Things Play Here, which tells the tale of Piper, a descendant of Pandora. Her family has been guarding Pandora’s box for millennia, but Piper wants to just have a normal life and more importantly a connection with someone, something she was denied her entire childhood. But when Pandora’s box is stolen by a malicious spirit, she needs to team up with Reece, the god of Lust, to stop more Sins from escaping. Reece wants nothing to do with Piper’s family, but Piper makes him feel things he had long forgotten. What starts out as one night of pleasant distractions from Pandora’s Box becomes something more. But as much as Reece wants to, could he really be with Piper, a mortal?

Disclaimer: the links in this post are affiliate links which means I get a small commission at no additional cost to you. Half of my commission from these links is donated to the Malala Fund to help women and girls get education. 

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Woman Surprised When Neighbor Waits For Her When Coming Home Late

Book Review of “Ride of Her Life” by Kimberly Dean

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Get it free on Smashwords

Genre: Contemporary, Erotica

Word Count: 3,830

Average Smashwords rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Warning: quotes below are certainly rated R.

When Andrea’s car breaks down and she gets a ride home with a coworker, the last thing she expects is her sexy yet scary-looking neighbor, Bo, waiting for her and livid. Worried out of his mind, Bo is done flirting with Andrea without action. Tonight, he’ll show her exactly what he wants with her.

Ride of Her Life is a hot little escape, but it’s like daydreaming about the stock photo of a tattooed macho man. True, it has some great sexy time.

He was fucking her hard and fast, but it was too much. Too raw. Too intimate. She felt too vulnerable, and she tried to lower her legs.

“No.” Keeping her legs close together, he leaned forward. “I like it this way. It makes you tighter. Makes you pay attention to me.”

The increase in pressure startled her. “Bo!”

He bucked at the sound of his name, and Andrea could hardly stand the pleasure. It felt naughty, exhibitionistic, and so damn good.

“That’s right, sweet thing. Give it to me. I’m the guy who’s meant to be your lover, not your handyman.”

But Bo has no character whatsoever. For that matter, Andrea isn’t much better with her inconsistent weirdness.

Bo is a jerk. He was mad that his neighbor didn’t call him when she was going to be home late or ask him to drive all the way to the college just to give him a ride. He was even more irritated that the coworker who dropped her off was male. Bo is her next door neighbor! Sure, they’re closer than most neighbors, but that doesn’t mean she needs to call him when she is a little bit late.

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There’s an inch of depth that flickers beneath Bo’s otherwise boring flatness. His anger stems from worry and he’s insecure around Andrea. He doesn’t think he’s smart enough for her and in a moment of vulnerability asks her what he means to her.

It’s clear the two of them have history together. They have been neighbors for a while and Bo is always there to help with lawn mowing, giving her takeout, and doing repairs around the house. Andrea fantasizes about him at night but is scared to acknowledge her attraction to him. Bo seems to know it anyway and basically takes her on a picnic table with Andrea barely getting a consent out.

The lack of real consent is a huge turn-off for me. Just because he mows her lawn doesn’t mean he gets to, well, mow her lawn. There’s a difference between dominating and borderline-raping, and I wish that was much clearer here.

Andrea’s character is all over the place. She goes from caring to femme fatale in less than four thousand words.

At first, she’s slightly scared of Bo. She’s nervous and innocent for most of the story.

The tingle was back. Her entire body vibrated with anticipation and nerves. She’d never done anything like this. A thrill of uneasiness and excitement rushed through her

By the end, he’s just a fuck for her.

“Can we go inside now?” she asked, her lips brushing against his ear.

“On one condition. Tell me what I am to you.”

She smiled softly. “Oh honey, you’re the man I call when I need a ride.”

Where is this new found confidence of hers and when did she start calling him honey? Did her orgasm compel a man-eating ghost to possess her for the sake of reliving glory days?

We’ll never find out, because that’s where the story ends. There’s no real conclusion and just the flippant line to half-heartedly tie the ending and beginning together. It left me wholly unsatisfied. You can read the story for free on Smashwords.

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Book Review: Of Mice Not Men by Donald L. Canterbury

33386633Genre: Science Fiction, Non-Romance

Page Count: 350 pages

Average Goodreads Rating: 4.75 out of 5 stars

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

After manmade natural disasters wiped out most humans and life around the world, war breaks out among the remaining humans. The faction called the Developers want to take the resources from Earth and leave the dying planet behind to join the stars. The Harmonizers want to stay and restore Earth’s resources. Both factions race to stop the other, using deadly, even sadistic measures. After all, the fate of the planet and the human race lies in the balance.

I had my ups and downs with this book to be sure. Aside from the book badly needing a proofreader, the writing itself is well done, only dipping into preachiness about human’s greed a couple of times. The brain curdling torture scenes were deliciously awful and made me stop reading a couple times to look up pictures of pet pigs until I calmed down enough to continue.

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Look at that face. It makes everything seem better.

I thought I had a stomach for violence. I read Stephen King books and have watched plenty of horror movies. In middle school I reveled in shocking my classmates with presentations of General Sherman’s March to the Sea and torture practices from the Spanish Inquisition. In high school I was the only one who could watch the video of a shark eating a turtle without looking away ( but I ended up crying about shark fin soup later that year).

The point is, violence in books usually doesn’t bother me. But Canterbury takes it to a whole new level in a few of the torture scenes. It wasn’t just the twisted sadism in the scenes that bothered me, however. It was the fact that both sides are tooth achingly aware of the finite resources left and yet they both spend resources making inefficient weapons. The Developers do it in the name of sadism and the Harmonizers end up with weapons that are less effective than gun powder guns. I guess it shows that humans don’t make sense.

There are a lot of characters in this book, but Jasmine is the main character. I didn’t like her at first. I found her too cold-hearted and hot-headed. Granted, she’s in deeper and darker shit than I’ve ever seen in my lifetime, but despite her parents dying, she isn’t a sympathetic character for most of the book. Her relationship with Thomas feels as forced as a cheap jigsaw puzzle. Mostly she is indifferent to him or pushing him away. For awhile the only reason she was still with him was out of fear of being alone. And then suddenly she loves him? I never really bought it. Cynthia’s relationship with an alien artificial intelligence robot feels more real and she thought she was hallucinating it.

But I ended up really liking Jasmine in the end, and even Thomas.  The plot was fascinating, even a couple of parts I was skeptical about at first and this book turned out to be entertaining, even though I guessed two of the biggest plot “twists” (if you can even call them that) as soon as the foreshadowing again. But one plot twist I didn’t see coming at all, which was great.

I do wish the sides were not so black and white. The Developers were clearly evil with practically no human sides in any main characters while the Harmonizers were clearly peaceful with no dark streaks to be found. It ended up making what could have been a great story about needless conflict and saving the world sound a little like anti space exploration propaganda. That being said, it is still entertaining.

While Canterbury’s writing skills are rough, he has the potential to be a great science fiction/horror writer.

You can get Of Mice Not Men on Amazon today.

Book Spotlight: Of Mice Not Men by Donald Canterbury

33386633
Amazon

Genre: Science Fiction, Non-Romance

Page Count: 350 pages

Average Goodreads Rating: 4.75 out of 5 stars

In the near future, mankind has exhausted the last of their fossil fuels and a new energy crisis holds the world in its terrifying grip. In a desperate gamble, it turns to geothermal energy and taps the Yellowstone caldera. It’s a success and the entirety of humanity benefits…for a time. Following the devastating eruption that ensues, mankind is forced to pick up the pieces of their shattered world and forms two factions.
The Developers, those of humanity set on stripping the Earth of it’s remaining resources and leaving it behind to colonize first the moon, then the stars beyond.
The Harmonizers, stalwart defenders of what they believe to be humanity’s one true home, dedicated to being more self-sufficient and eco-minded.
As it’s been from the dawn of time when two groups can’t agree, there is strife, chaos, and eventually war. From the ashes of the conflict later to be known as the Great Division, a new species shall rise to see the world that was not of their making.
It all begins here, in the first installment of the Of Mice Not Men universe

 

Of Mice not Men got a spotlight because Donald L. Canterbury was generous enough to donate to the Borgen Project, a nonprofit fighting global poverty. Look out for my book review and author interview with Donald L. Canterbury in the coming weeks.