Thursday, September 8

Pet Peeves, Likes and Hates

I love blog hopping. One of the things I find most interesting are peoples pet peeves, likes and hates...

Love them or hate them secret babies, long separations and books with children get lots of attention. Secret babies isn't a favorite plot device, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I feel the same way about books with children that are amazingly bright for their ages. Long separations don't bother me as much. If it's a favorite author or a book that sounds interesting I'm not going to avoid them because these story lines.

I wish I could work up the indignation some find over book covers. So many bloggers love to talk about covers. I'm lucky I even notice what's on the cover, maybe because so often it doesn't match what's in the story. I'm starting to think there's something wrong with me, why don't I find Johanna Lindsay's Fabio covers so offensive I need to rant about them?

I have friends who prefer brunette heros or Latino heros or blond heros. I'm lucky I notice what the hero and heroine look like. Unless the hair and eye colors change from page to page, I'm not likely to even care what they look like. Though, I would probably notice if the hero was fat with a comb over.

A couple of weeks ago I mini ranted about heroine who was a "vegan virgin who had never been kissed." I actually don't have a problem with a "vegan virgins who have never been kissed," I had a problem with this particular heroine, but there are some readers who prefer virgins and others prefer experienced heroines. Neither bother me one way or another, as long as it seems realistic to the story line and plot, I don't care about experience.

I've never understood the need to have sexually repressed widow heroines. Is there some unwritten law that says a widow in a historical has to have been married to a cheating dog, an up tight puritan, an abusive impotent idiot or a closeted homosexual? Why can't these heroines have happy marriages with good sex lives? Is it the need to have the hero awaken their sexuality? Hey, I guess this qualifies as a pet peeve, but it's still not going to keep me from reading a book that sounds interesting.

I really don't have very many pet peeves. There is really only one plot device I avoid--the dreaded "amnesia" story. For some reason these NEVER work for me, even when favorite authors use it. I've never met anyone who has suffered from amnesia, I'm sure that it happens, but it never seems realistic. Why this should be important I'm not sure, how realistic are most romance novels?

Since I have completely sworn off amnesia stories, there are really only 2 things that are going to kill a book for me:

  1. A TSTL heroine, we all know who she is and why she's really annoying.
  2. Bad or unrealistic dialogue will take me out of a book faster than even a TSTL heroine. I'm always amazed when an author creates a hero that sounds like my best girlfriend. I don't have a problem with men showing a soft side, but I can't see men talking to other men the same way women talk to other women.

One more mini pet peeve, really a minor irritations, villains. I hate when "Mother/Mom" is the villain. I know there are plenty of lousy moms out in the world, but for me mom is one of the good guys.

I used to be much more obsessive about things, in the past I would compare the cover art to the character descriptions, I needed the history to be accurate, why include it if it's not correct, I'd prefer it to be correct, but it wont kill me if it's not. Dialogue needed to fit the time setting (I still like it to fit the period, I probably should add this to "bad or unrealistic dialogue.")

But, I've decided, for me, this is all window dressing. Several months ago I broke out of my comfort zones and by doing that I stopped obsessing about these things. All I want is a good book, it doesn't matter what's on the cover, or what's driving the plot (except for the aforementioned amnesia thing). As long as it's well written and I believe in the HEA, I'm happy.

Have a great day and happy reading.

One more thing, I just finished Susan Spencer Paul's Touch of Night, it's a historical paranormal and it has a very similar tone to Susan Carroll's Bride Finder books. Maybe I'll blog about it later or tomorrow.


Anne E. said...

You hit on one of my real pet peeves: the widow whose former husband(s) was/were [a] clod in the sack. The only author I know of that doesn't follow this romance novel convention is Bertrice Small -- most of her heroines were married to more than once and the nice men whom they loved were all good in bed (this is what makes it a fantasy...LOL!). Diane Gabaldon suggests that C.R. early on had a good sex life with husband #1, but that after she returned to the 20th century, their whole relationship went south, including the sexual part of it.

But most romance novelists strictly follow the convention that good sex and the true love of one's life are one and the same. But it is so predictable that I find it a yawner as well.

And I am concerned about Amanda -- where is she? She hasn't updated her blog for 10 days & hasn't posted over at the RT board either.

Tara Marie said...

Hey Anne, I'm concerned about Amanda too. Perhaps she's been busy with the kids going back to school.

erika said...

For years and years I had no pet peeves and no one to talk about likes and dislikes of books too. And then I found romance book message boards and discovered that I had pet peeves aplenty. I think that I've become too nitpicky and so with future books I'll try not to over analyze everything.

Sam said...

I've got tons of peeves - one I really hate is thinly disguised moralizing. Another is predictable plotline...You just know what's going to happen. I can't stand bad writing either. It pulls me out of a book when the author writes woodenly or too if the prose is too flowery. (peeves, peeves, peeves, lol.)

CindyS said...

My newest pet peeve has come about with the over abundance of trilogies or on-going story lines.

For example, I noticed it with Brockmann's book about a man named Cosmo. He was built up as this really intense person but when his story was told he turned out to be, well, blah.

Kathy Love - her last book in a trilogy about sisters had the last one paired with a tried and true as*hole. I was so looking forward to how Love would find his heroic side but I felt she cheated - He had a head wound that changed his personality completely.

So my new pet peeve is having a character that is incredibly appealing get his or her own story and discovering that they are not really a charming rake or a cynical b*stard. Bah.


Jenster said...

Tara!! I miss you!! Where have you been??

Anyway, I'm pretty easy. (Spare me the jokes) I'll even do the amnesia route as long as it's not too incredibly unbelievable. That said, I think I've only ever read one amnesia book and I don't even remember what it was. Must not have made a huge impression on me. Or maybe it's a touch of amnesia. LOL

I do have a problem with poor writing, however. It's very difficult for an unknown author to get a book published. How is it that some authors don't have any problem and their writing is horrible?

Also, the whole yes-he-was-cruel-and-raped-me-repeatedly-but-it's-not-his-fault-and-I-love-him-now-that-I-know-the-real-him trick sends me to the moon and back! Puhleeeeeeeze!!!!

And since Susan Carroll's Bridefinder series is one of my favorites, I'll have to give your new recommendation a try.


Bernita said...

Very well and clearly put.
Wish more writers and publishers read reader's blogs.

Anne E. said...

FYI: TBR challenge for Sept. is going on over on RT Reader's Roundtable board.