9.19.2010

TSS - Love is (not) in the air

"Rah, rah, ah, ah, ahRoma, roma, maGaga, ooh la laWant your bad romance" ~ Lady Gaga


I don't read a lot of romance novels. Generally. Even my contemporary fiction doesn't center around romance. In fact, I think that the last book that I read that was romantic, must have been a Jane Austen book months back. (This might not be entirely true as Memory is not entirely awake yet; the coffee is still brewing).

And yet, I woke up yesterday morning feeling the urge to read a romantic novel. One that would pull at my heart strings; one that might even allow for an escaped sigh. But where to look?

I did the first thing that came to mind: a google search. Viola! "Best Romance Books" (Evahr?!)

I came upon this list of the Top 100 Romances. Outlander shone at number one - and I seem to recall hearing bits about this book (did someone just review it?). But then the compiled list went where romance books always seem to go. And quite honestly this becomes a deterrence for me in the genre.

Number Two on the list? Dream Man. Number Five? Knight in Shining Armor. Number Nine? Nobody's Baby But Mine.

Does anyone else feel where I am coming from? Why must romance books have this hokey titles. Titles that actually make me cringe.

I go to Goodreads and check out their list. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon again followed by Gone with the Wind. And then, the list takes a turn into Sparksland. Forgiveness is asked to all of the Nicholas Sparks fans out in blogger land. He just doesn't do it for me.

So, now's I got to thinking. . . Since I seem to know what makes me cringe and roll my eyes at in the romance world, what exactly am I looking for?

(1) A heroine who is not looking for a man to complete her. This theme (whether hidden or blatant) makes me want to hurl. And here's the thing, sometimes the author tries to be clever. Sometimes the woman will come across independent and all "I-don't-need-a-man" only to realize how much she really does. Still the same theme. Different clothing.

(2) The relationship does not have to be the central focal point. Last year I read Loved Walked In. I didn't rave about the book, but I was overall impressed with the plot line. The "love" that walked in was a child, the adult relationships were merely background to the child, but there were still warm fuzzies to be had. Would I consider Loved Walked In a romance book? Nope. Nada. No way Jose. But I liked the subtleties. It'd be great if there was a romance book out there that formed with such subtleties.

(3) Please no over-the-top luuurve. This is where I immediately think: Nicholas Sparks. Every single one of his stories the lovers are dealing with death or near death or war or death or . . . Really? Where is the simple love story.

I could probably come up with a couple of more but my coffee is ready and I plan on enjoying the rest of the morning reading everyone else's Sunday Salons.

Do you read romances? What are your favorites? If you don't, what are your reasons for opting out of this genre?


8 comments:

  1. My favorite romance is Crossed Wires, which is so simple and understated, and is not at all the tawdry romance you tend to see in American books (cough Nicolas Sparks cough).

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  2. I'm a fan of what I like to call the classic bodice ripper - the more cheese-tastic the cover the better. I completely agree with you but at the same time am vastly entertained by the ridiculousness. (Knight In Shining Armor is actually a favourite of mine - LOL)

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  3. I love movie romances but hate book romances. I wonder why....

    Probably for many of the reasons you have listed.

    I've only read children's books this week, but what wonderful children's books they were! I'd love to have you stop in at my blog:
    www.readerbuzz.blogspot.com

    (And don't panic....the post IS in English, despite all outward appearances!)

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  4. I had a similar urge a few months back, and I also checked out that Best Romance Books website. I gave Dream Man a try and made it to page 2, possibly 3. I also tried a book called The Lion's Lady (I think that was the title), and made it a bit farther, about 20 pages in.

    Though I didn't want to admit it at the time, I'm pretty sure that underneath my claim that I was curious about romance novels, all I really wanted was to read some steamy sex scenes. Alas, as I flipped through the books, the sex I found seemed hilarious and not sexy.

    That was the end of my romance novel curiosity.

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  5. I virtually never read romance novels. My very first job was as stock manager to an online bookstore that sold almost all bodice-rippers, and it put me off them for life. :p

    (I adored Love Walked In, though, and its sequel Belong to Me. I want Marisa de los Santos to write more books soon!)

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  6. I love a good romance. The Outlander series is awesome, one of my faves. And I've actually read and liked A Knight in Shining Armor and Nobody's Baby But Mine.
    As for a heroine that needs a man, well, just because she finds one that she wants doesn't mean that she would have settled for anything less. That's the difference for me.

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  7. I actually like romance novels, but I am very picky about them. The heroine has to have a mind and will of her own (no swooning at the mere sight of him please) and there has to be some plot that isn't just about the couple alone. Some authors that I like are Joanne Lindsay (love her Malory series), Julia Quinn and Lisa Kleypas (love her Wallflower series). If you are looking for more steamy, try Karen Marie Moning. If you want humorous romance - Katie MacAlister.

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  8. I read one years ago called Ransom and I liked it. But romance is generally a genre I steer clear of--at least the bodice ripping ones. I might consider Anita Shreve part romance? Guess it depends on the true definition of Romance.

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