Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Penny's Favorite Themes In Romance

I realized this week that I am gravitating towards certain kinds of stories. There are certain themes that really rock my boat, and certain themes I can't stand. Here's a run-down....I'm sure I'll think of more later.

Favorite Stuff:

1. Older Couples Rekindling Their Spark

2. Big, Curvy Girls

3. Funky Stuff....such as autistic characters, etc.

4. Amazing Paranormal Stuff

5. Beauty and the Beast

6. Redemption of Tortured Heroes

7. Brotherhood-Style Books

8. Humor in Romance

9. Highly Romantic Stories (think Balogh)

10. Super Loving Alpha Male Heroes...I love this combo!

11. Alternative Families

12. Bearded Heroes (I know...that one's a shocker, right?)

13. Shapeshifters

14. Metamorphosis....girly-girl turns kick ass, etc.

15. Raw, Lusty Historicals....another great combo!

16. Intellectual Hero/Heroine

17. Foodie-Style Books

18. Snappy Chemistry Between Hero/Heroine

19. Beautiful Prose

20. Symbolism

21. Ethnic Themes...gypsies, etc.

22. Unique Voice

Here are some themes/issues that drive me nuts:

1. Contemporary Romance

2. Too Much Deep POV

3. Too Much Mundane Detail (what the characters ate for breakfast, lunch, dinner....blah blah)

4. Eroticas Where The Characters Fall In Love After 50 Pages of Boinking Their Brains Out

5. TSTL Characters

6. Hardcore BDSM....don't like pain and suffering

7. Big Misunderstanding (aka Three's Company problem)

8. Cougar Stories (older woman, younger man)

My new favorite is the more mature couple theme...I am searching out more of these books. Any suggestions?

How about you....anything really rocking your boat lately? Driving you nuts? Let me know!



KT Grant said...

I'm all for imperfect heroines, but would love to see more imperfect heroes, perhaps with less than 8 packs abs and less hair on their head?

Would that work as well as imperfect heroines?

I second the raw and lusty!

Penny Watson said...

Hey KB...totally agree about the imperfect heroes, too. I like mature men....and mature men have salt and pepper hair, bald spots, etc etc. Works for me!

Lindsay said...

Right now my mood is...something historical that doesn't suck and isn't completely oblivious to the fact that airplanes weren't around in 1820, if you catch my meaning. I hate it when I'm reading along and I KNOW that something is historically inaccurate.

It is an obvious recommend but Jane Austen's Persuasion is one of my favorites and Kleypas has a rekindled romance with Again the Magic that I enjoy too.

The Romance Girl said...

Right now I'm really loving the friends to lovers thing. For some reason I used to not go for that, but currently it's my favorite theme.

Penny Watson said...

Ha, ha Lindsay.....I am VERY forgiving about historical inaccuracies..in fact, I love "wallpaper" historicals. Thanks for the recommendations! I have not read that Jane Austen book, but I think I did read the LK book a long time ago.

Penny Watson said...

Hey DL....that's another one I like, too! Especially if they have been separated for a long time....good one!

Lindsay said...

Penny-I am a recent History graduate, if that helps explain some things. I let a few slide but one new book I read last month had three HUGE plot points that were all inaccurate, most off by 40 years, one off by a century! ...and the romance wasn't very good either. I guess if the romance was good I could look the other way.

Penny Watson said...

Hi Lindsay! I am working on a historical right now (botanical historical mystery/romance!) and I am amazed by how much work it involves...even if it's a "wallpaper" historical....I wonder how much research a lot of these authors actually do themselves, and how much they depend upon their editors to fix the slip-ups. I am mostly interested in the botanical history, which is super fun for me.

That's so cool you are a history major!

Smokinhotbooks said...

I'm learning to slowly accept may/dec romances, buuuuut the relationship has to be more than just I'm older blah blah. I read one I really liked, Liberating Lacey.

Penny Watson said...

Hi Smokin! I have seen a lot of good things about that book....what is the age difference? Is the younger guy experienced? (I don't like a young, inexperienced guy with an experienced older woman...for some reason, that totally skeeves me out!).

Isabel Roman said...

Penelope, I love your list! I didn't realize how many I gravitate to vs how I don't until you laid it out. I'll have to give this more thought.

Lindsay, as a fellow history major (BA in American History) I feel your pain. Even if they just look at Wikipedia (which I do NOT advocate, mind you) it's better than nothing.

Right now I'm reading a lot of war romances. I don't know why, probably because the conflict is so inherent but I'm really love them.

Isabel Roman said...

BTW, I remember you working on that botanical historical mystery/romance book...how's it coming???

Penny Watson said...

Hi Isabel! I haven't worked on anything for a while...since my heart attack in August. I wrote just a bit of Sweet Adventure this fall. I'm getting back to "work" in Jan...first finishing Sweet Adventure, then back to Diabolical, the mystery.

Hope you are doing well!

Rita said...

Cool List!

I love a dark and tourtured hero! His redemption is wonderful to read.

One book that really does this well is 'Till Dawn With the Devil' by Alexandra Hawkins. Have you read it?

/ I HATE all that indepth POV. It's like REALLY, the story can't be played out COMPLETELY from your inner musings. GET TO SMOOCHING..and please don't think too hard while you're doing THAT!

I also hate the simpering miss who all of the sudden turns into some dominatrix in the bedroom. Like she's all shy in the beginining, but then she discovers this hidden side of her which is sometimes to contrived to believe. Uhhg!

Don't know too many mature couple romances. You've already read them for sure. Like Lisa Kleypas' 'Suddenly You' and Mary Balogh's 'Seducing The Angel'..<- maybe that mary b. book could be considered cougaurish. She was a bit older than the guy.(both are really great books though)

Penny Watson said...

Hi Rita! Thanks for the recommendation for Till Dawn With The Devil....gonna go check that one out now!

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

OMG! Look at all your comments! I think you covered about everything.
I third, fourth and fifth the raw and lusty!
Okay, pet peeves - reading the same story over and over and over again - only the characters' names have been changed.
TSTL heroines. Gag! Kill them off, please!
Sloppy writing - writing that sounds like stuff I wrote at the age of 12 only worse.
Rude, obnoxious, insensitive alpha males who never change but the heroine loves them anyway. Hello?
6'8" Highlanders - okay, some writers can get away with it...but from what I observed during my three weeks of hiking in the Highlands of Scotland, either all those brawny Highlanders died at Culloden or were shipped off to the Colonies because Scottish guys are maybe 5'8" on a good day - in general.
What I love - a good story!
Either beautiful, glorious, evocative prose or a spare, clean style.
Characters with brains who know how to use them.
Athletic heroes who are athletic without the bulky muscles.
Athletic heroines with small breasts because I don't have a clue what it feels like to have big ones!

I'm not 100% sold on Cougar-ish stories, but I thought I did okay with You Might Just Get It - I tried to keep the age difference reasonable. The thought of a woman my age hooking up with a man my son's age makes me nauseated. And I'm not all that big with young women marrying someone their father's age either. Hey, Hugh Hefner is engaged to a 24 year old woman...my husband had the temerity to ask me - Why do you think she's marrying him? Duh!

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

Oh, Katalina Leon writes about mature men and women. And she's a darn good writer.

Penny Watson said...

Hi Julia! I don't care if there aren't any 6'8" highlanders....I still want one! hee hee....

Also, I like heroines with "slight builds" too....

I loved your story You Might Just Get It....that was not "cougar-ish" is any way. It was great!

I'm gonna go check out Katalina Leon now....does she write romance? other genre?

Thanks for the rec!

Lydia Storm said...

I still adore the brooding, tortured hero. Jane Eyre pretty much set the standard - although I love Austen too!

Penny Watson said...

Hi Lydia....me, too! In romance, the 2 best ones are Zarek from Sherrilyn Kenyon's series, and Zsadist from JR Ward's series. (Z-names must be tortured!)

Katie O'Sullivan said...

Nice long list of "likes" from the woman who loves to read ;-)

Ellora's Cave has a series of "Cougar" books that get good reviews. I can't read those as I keep picturing my son and his friends - total eww factor there.

Am going to look up a few of the titles people have listed in the comments - nice suggestions. Happy reading to all in 2011!

Penny Watson said...

Hi KatieO! One of my critique partners writes those cougar books for EC! She is such a great writer, but the topic...ugh! For some reason, the opposite sitch (older man, younger woman) doesn't bother me as much. Although I still don't like it if the age gap is too big.

Happy 2011 to you!

Keira Gillett said...

Bearded heroes? Scruff yes, full out Paul Bunyan? No thanks! lol

Penny Watson said...

Oh, Keira, Keira, Keira...something tells me that Paul Bunyan was a bearded Casanova of love! hee hee :)