I downloaded a bunch of romance novels and I have thoughts

I have been enjoying romance a lot more lately than I have in years and a while ago I downloaded a bunch of very different romance novels off NetGalley to figure out what might work for me. While I did choose the books partly because of their titles (some of that will become clear once you see the actual titles), I did also try to download a variety of typical subgenres to get a better feel for what I might like – and in that sense this was a success. I also read some truly, truly awful books, but I did really enjoy the process. I am at a point in my life where I just want to read whatever strikes my fancy and as it turns out, right now that is very often romance books – there is just something soothing about the genre that works as an antidote to my ridiculous worklife. It is so wonderfully predictive!

I will only be writing the miniest of mini reviews for these books because I don’t have all that much to say about these books individually.

The Bastard by Lisa Renee Jones

43518466This book is absolutely compulsively readable in a way that I found stressful but also entertaining. I bought the second book in the series the second I finished this one but then DNFed this at the half-way point, once I woke from the fugue state the book caused. I do very much not like books that play with consent apparently. The main couple were angsty and horrible to each other and I don’t want to read about this type of relationships when I am supposed to root for them. The book does what it sets out to do but just is not for me whatsoever.

The Sheikh’s Pregnant Lover by Leslie North

44153436I admit it, I only requested this because of the title – and because apparently this is a big subgenre, this “pregnant by a super rich man after a one-night-stand”. This one was hilarious but not on purpose and super did not work for me. I have many thoughts on the fetishization of cultures the author isn’t part of but would like to leave that to other people more qualified to write about this. But god, what a perfect title.

The Playmaker by Cathryn Fox

41561680If somebody had told me I would enjoy a Hockey romance I would not believed it. But I really really enjoyed this. It’s hilarious, the main character has a wonderful best friend, the consent is always explicit, and the writing style is readable. I thought the ending was way over the top but in general I had a lot of fun with this one.

 

Lady No Says Yes by Jess Michaels

42766253I used to read a lot of historical romance when I was a bit younger but haven’t in years. I enjoyed this for what it was but I don’t think I will be making a proper return to the genre. Again, I appreciate the explicitness of the consent and the way in which these two characters communicated. The book is a tad short and as such I didn’t really build any deeper connections to the characters. It is however well-written enough that I am sure my lukewarm reaction has more to do with who I am as a reader than with anything else.

A Son for the Texas Cowboy by Sinclair Jayne

45436223This is one where I can see that it is objectively ok-written but just a subgenre I do not appreciate at all. Apparently cowboys don’t do it for me (I cannot say that I am surprised) and I also did not enjoy that the main character kept her son with her ex a secret from said ex.

 

Distracted by Belinda Wright

45416669I do not like books about people pretending to be something they are not (as a general rule, not only in romance) and given that the main female character lied about her job the moment she met the main male character, this book was never going to impress me much. I did not find it very well-written either and I skimmed a lot of it in the end. The endless descriptions of the main characters’ work days did not help my boredom much.

So, what did I learn about my reading? I need consent to be explicit and cannot deal with characters that are properly awful to each other. I enjoy reading romance more when the main storyline is a SFF one, something I assumed before but now know for certain. I do not want to read about cowboys, but apparently can deal with hockey players as long as the book is well-written enough. I like the men cocky but nice and have no patience when they try to tell the women what to do with their lives. I like romance novels that are funny a lot more than those that are angsty. Apparently I should stay away from books with grumpy looking dudes in suits on the cover but half-naked men are fine. Nobody uses their words and it drives me insane. I am glad I don’t live in a romance novel.

 

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10 thoughts on “I downloaded a bunch of romance novels and I have thoughts

  1. I have so been waiting for this post! You’re kind of inspiring me to give romance a try. Aside from a friend’s self-published romance novel I’ve never read anything from the genre and it feels like a HUGE market that I am writing off by just assuming I wouldn’t like it, and I usually pride myself on being more of an open-minded reader than that. Also, I am sorry to hear that The Sheikh’s Pregnant Lover wasn’t the standout here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Since writing this post I have read 6 more romance novels. There really are some lovely books in the genre but also some really, really awful ones. For me, when romance novels are bad, they are REALLY awful and make me feel super icky. (If you want to read one romance novel, I would currently recommend Act Like It by Lucy Parker; it’s hate-to-love in a way that was charming (the guy is grumpy rather than awful to her) and SUPER funny. Also, it’s set in London’s West End and you know, combining theatre and books seems to be your jam)
      Also, The Sheikh’s Pregnant Lover WAS the standout here: it was by FAR the worst book I have read in years.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If there was ever going to be a romance novel that’s up my alley I think Act Like It is it. Hate-to-love AND theatre???? I really want to read this now.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t read a ton of romance, but I completely agree with the things that you like/dislike! Consent cannot be iffy for me, or I definitely won’t like the book. And I hate when the characters are horrible to each other, too. I’m always like “why are you with this person if they’re so terrible to you??? I don’t understand??”

    But I’m glad you found what works and what doesn’t!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is enough iffy consent in real life – I want it to be explicit and enthusiastic in my fiction!
      And yes, I really do not want to read about awful people – again, enough of that in real life.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It is so bad! Why does nobody just talk to each other? That would make things so much easier!
      The hockey one was really really fun – but the ending was seriously cheesy.

      Like

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