Last week, I outed the romance heroes I wanted to nut-punch. This week, it’s the heroines’ turn. (Only, you know, without the nut-punching). So, without further ado, here are the heroines I pretty much never want to see again. Like, ever:
I’m not going to call out anyone specific here. The point of this post is not to shame any one particular character or author. I’m just listing out my biggest pet peeves with romance novel heroes today, and hey, if a few authors take note and decide not to write these guys into their stories, that’d be cool, too. (And just to be clear, these are not few-and-far-between romance heroes. These are guys I’ve seen in WAY too many romances.) So, without further ado, here are the top 9 romance heroes I want to see nut-punched. (Listed in no particular order)
I discovered that male pregnancy romance (yes, really) was an actual thing by complete accident. I was just scrolling along through Amazon, minding my own business, when POW...male pregnancy romance. I had so many questions!! I immediately took to our Facebook page and asked my friends if this was new to them, or if I’d just been an extremely sheltered reader. But they were just as shocked as I was! And the information I found online about the subject was less than satisfying. (And in some cases, it was downright freaky and disturbing) So, seeing no alternative, I downloaded the first male pregnancy romance I found and started reading. Why? Because by this time, all of our Facebook readers had the same questions I did, and I didn’t want to leave everyone hanging. That’s right: I read male pregnancy romance for y’all. You’re welcome.
Now, let’s get down to it…
Take a look at any of your favorite romances on Goodreads and you’ll see a wide array of varying opinions. Books that you thought were brilliant, others thought were crapola. So, one of the questions I get asked most here at Romance Rehab is: What makes a book hit your 5-star keeper shelf? For me, it’s really pretty simple:
Whenever I see a woman out in public with her skirt tucked into the back of her panty hose, or a man with a comb-over, I always think, why didn’t someone not love them enough to tell them they looked ridiculous? Well, sometimes when I’m browsing Amazon looking for my next read, I see book covers that make me wonder the same thing. Why didn’t anyone love these authors enough to tell them their covers were awful?
No, it isn’t a cheesy pick-up line. I’m talking about romance novel cover models. I’m starting to see the same faces on the romance novels I’m reading over and over again. Now, I’m not unsympathetic to the plight of indie romance authors. I realize that there are only so many stock photos and cover models in the world, and that sharing models is often necessary. A truly “exclusive” image of a hot dude that hasn’t been on a million other covers is tough to come by. But...is it getting out of hand? For example, there’s THIS guy…
I used to be an incredibly open-minded reader. I’d read just about anything and not much bothered me. But as I’ve gotten older, I’m finding that I have way more “line in the sand” moments while reading now than I ever had in the past. And by “line in the sand”, I mean stuff that I just will not tolerate. There are a few things that’ll make me DNF a book so fast your head will spin. (And if I do somehow manage to finish the book, you can bet it won’t be getting a 5-star rating from yours truly) Listed in no particular order, those things are:
I’m a voracious reader. I read probably 5 or 6 books a week, and most of them are romance. So, when I say I never want to read a certain phrase again, I REALLY mean it, because I’ve probably seen it approximately a gazillion times before. If all you fabulous romance authors out there could help me out with this, I’d really appreciate it. Please and thank you.
So, we all know about those unsavory pirate sites that take an author’s hard work and give it away for free (along with all manner of computer STDs) to naive readers who don’t realize they’re stealing, right? Then, of course, there are those of you who might realize you’re stealing, but think that the use of pirate sites is justified because you’re poor. But these days, there are really no excuses that justify stealing a Kindle romance when there are TONS of places to get totally legit copies at no charge (and without all the nasty computer syphilis you pick up from the pirate sites). Don’t believe me? Well, you’re in for a real treat:
If you want to get a group of authors to argue about something, ask them what they think about trigger warnings. Trust us: the debate will get feisty, and at least a few authors will storm off in disgust.
If you’re at all like us, you take a quick peek at book reviews on Amazon and Goodreads before buying a book. Now, of course, reviews aren’t the only factor to consider when choosing a read. There are also covers, blurbs, and sample chapters to consider. But we’d be lying (and you probably would be, too) if you said you weren’t ever influenced by online book reviews. The sad thing is, fake book reviews have become a real thing these days. And we’re not even really talking about the fact that authors can pay for fake reviews and often get their friends and family members to write reviews for them. (Amazon is working on that issue, so we’re not really going to address it here) We’re talking about reviews that were written by trolls who probably haven’t even read the book and are only reviewing it out of some kind of malicious intent. Who are these people who have nothing better to do than savage authors online in the hopes of making themselves feel more important? Well, we’re glad you asked.
I did a little experiment the other day. Nothing too scientific, because, you know, science is very...science-y and mysterious. But I took a somewhat non-scientific stroll through the best selling romance novels on Amazon and found that romance novel covers can be divided into a few very distinct categories:
Look, we’ve made it clear that we’re not big fans of Kindle Unlimited. It’s great in theory, but the system is broken—so broken that it’s unclear at this point if it can even be fixed. And one symptom of the broken system that keeps popping up over and over again is the “stuffed” book.
What’s a stuffed book? Glad you asked.
I’m a proud romance reader. Have been since the olden days when Fabio was all over the place and consent wasn’t always as...consent-y as we’d like it to be. (OK, I wasn’t as proud of reading those novels as I am of the novels that are out today, but you get my point.) And romance novels have come sooooooo far since then. There are so many great examples of empowering romance reads that I could talk all day on the subject and never run out of material. So imagine my surprise when I read a study showing that in 2017, the romance genre actually got LESS diverse than it was in prior years.