Look, we realize our audience is probably 90% women, and this post might not reach a ton of dudes. That’s OK. Because we still want to help the men out there. Just because the majority of them aren’t in our reading audience, doesn’t mean we like the thought of them blindly stumbling through this holiday season, making gifting faux paus that could haunt them for years to come. If we can help only a handful of dudes make smart buying decisions this year, so be it. With that in mind, ladies, we’re asking that you pass this one along to the men in your lives. (Subtly, of course. Let them think they found this one all on their own.) So, without further ado, here is our list of gifts you should NEVER give the woman in your life:
So, not too long ago, we posted our thoughts on romance tropes we never want to see again. And we had a few people ask, well, if you don’t want to see those tropes, what DO you want to see? Glad you asked. We have a few things we’d LOVE to see more of in Romance Land going forward.
You all know how to play, right? Only let’s not make this a drinking game, because here at Romance Rehab, we’d end up with alcohol poisoning…
So, this weekend, I was reading a book that I should have liked. I say “should have” because it had a good cover (super hot guy...who doesn’t love that?), a good blurb, and a ton of good reviews. I went into it with every confidence that it’d be great. Well, I made it to 4% of the story before I gave up on it. Why? It was all about one of my least favorite tropes in romance history: the secret baby.
My biggest problem with the secret baby in this particular romance was that there was absolutely NO REASON for the heroine to have kept this baby from the father. The hero wasn’t an abusive drug addict, he wasn’t some deadbeat loser. He was an upstanding, nice guy who deserved to be a part of his kid’s life. Why did the heroine keep the baby’s existence from the father? Well, she’d had a rough life and didn’t trust people easily. Oh, boo freakin’ hoo, lady! Lots of people have had sad lives and they don’t vow to do everything all by themselves, even when the father has billions of dollars and the heroine is in debt to a loan shark to pay for the baby’s heart surgery. (I’m not even making that up. I wish I was.)
After all this, I thought it might be a good idea to list out some tropes that I never again want to darken my Kindle. (Other than the secret baby baby thing. I think I’ve made myself clear on that one) Maybe authors will take pity on me and stop writing these things once and for all:
I’ve watched every episode of Supernatural. Through the good and bad, the deaths and rebirths, the tears and laughs, I’ve remained loyal to the show and to (my future second husband) the incredibly talented Jensen Ackles (aka: Dean Winchester). And as a fan of the show who is also a HUGE fan of romance novels, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that Dean Winchester would make a phenomenal book boyfriend. But in real life...well...not so much. Now, before all you Dean fans jump on me with both feet, hear me out:
Here at Romance Rehab, we love self-published authors. For starters, they release books faster than traditionally published authors. (More books + Less time waiting = happy book bloggers) They’re also able to express their creative visions without having to first filter them through the lens of the traditional publishing industry. (And let me tell you executives in the publishing industry something: you guys don’t always know what all readers want. So, when you say that paranormal romance is dead? Yeah...not so much. We can find you thousands upon thousands of romance readers looking for new vampires, shifters, and other supernatural characters to read about.) On a whole, self-published authors are fast, flexible, and fearless—and we respect the hell out of them.
But… (There’s always a but, isn’t there?)
Think romance novels are just for entertainment? Well, think again! There are plenty of solid life-lessons to be learned between the pages of your favorite romance reads. For example:
An open letter to Mr. Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, Inc.
First of all, just like we started our last post about Kindle Unlimited (KU), we’re going to start this letter by reiterating how much we love Amazon and the KU program. Getting instant access to millions of good books has never been easier than it is today, and Amazon is a HUGE contributing factor. It is truly a golden era for book lovers, and for your part in that, we genuinely thank you.
But let’s be really honest for a moment. The KU program, while awesome in theory, is broken and in desperate need of repair. How is it broken? Let us count the ways:
We want to make one thing perfectly clear. We love Amazon. Like, a lot. We’re firm believers that if something isn’t sold on Amazon, we don’t really need it. So, this post is not—nor will it ever be—an attack on Amazon. What it will be instead is a polite call for change to a policy that has recently been brought to our attention and troubles us deeply—and that policy is how authors are paid for their work that is downloaded through the Kindle Unlimited (KU) program.
Here Romance Rehab, we love the romance genre. Heck, we even wrote a defense of the genre to shut down all the small-minded critics out there who so enjoy slamming our choice of reading materials. But no genre is without its faults. With that in mind, here are our picks for the top 12 things we never again want to see in romance novels:
(Listed in no particular order)
So, I’ve been wondering lately if it’s time to call it quits with romantic suspense. You know, have the standard “it’s not you, it’s me” conversation and go our separate ways. It’s a tough decision because we’ve had some good times, romantic suspense and I. And there’s no denying that Cynthia Eden, Shannon K. Butcher, Kaylea Cross, and Katie Reus—just to name a few—are masters who’ve provided me with hours and hours of sexy, alpha book boyfriends, feisty heroines, and scary, sicko serial killers worthy of their own guest spots on Criminal Minds. But for every great romantic suspense I’ve read from the masters, I’ve read five more that featured crap that just irked the bejesus out of me. Stuff like:
Guest post from author Isabel Jordan.
I watched Batman vs. Superman last night. (There was nothing else on, and my husband wanted to see it, OK? Don’t judge.) As I expected, it was one of the worst films I’ve ever seen. And just to put this into perspective: I sat through Australia, all the Highlander movies after the original, and Catwoman, people. I have seen things that can’t be unseen.
Writing is hard work, and it doesn’t always pay as well as you might assume. (Unless you’re Stephen King, or JK Rowling. Then we’re sure it pays just as well as you might assume.) The last thing in the world we want is for our favorite authors to lose hope and quit writing, particularly before that next book in our favorite series is finished. So, with that in mind, here are a few things readers can do to help their favorite authors and keep them motivated to write more books, faster:
The official list of words and phrases we NEVER want to read again in romance novels
We get it. In the writing world, few things are harder (Ha! Get it? See what we did there?) to create than an engaging sex scene. As authors, particularly you romance authors out there, you are forced to walk a dangerously thin tightrope when it comes to writing these scenes. Write a classy, “fade to black before penetration” sex scene and some readers feel cheated. Write a realistic sex scene using clinical, accurate terminology and it ends up reading like an instructional manual.
The sweet spot (Ha! We did it again. We’re on fire over here) is somewhere in between the two extremes. But in the quest for realistic and titillating sex scenes, some authors get a little too creative (in our opinion) with terminology, causing things to get...weird. Since we read a lot (like, seriously, a lot) here at Romance Rehab, we’re pretty sure we can help you authors find that sex scene sweet spot. Here is a quick cheat-sheet of words and phrases we’ve come across that we’d be happy to never see again in books (or anywhere else for that matter):