5 Things I Like:
1. Friends First - I love when authors have friends fall in love like When Harry Met Sally style. I love when romance is based on a strong friendship first. To me, there's nothing better. My faves: Jamie and Claire in Outlander, Anne and Gilbert in Anne of Green Gables and Macallan and Levi in Better Off Friends. *Swoon!*
2. It's Not Just About Looks - I like when a heroine is strong, outgoing, and uses her brain. She doesn't simply rely on tossing her hair and batting her eyelids to get what she wants. I'm looking at you Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice, Katniss from The Hunger Games, Celaena from Throne of Glass and Elisa from Fire and Thorns series….love these strong heroines!
3. Incredible Settings - Of course the romance is always better when it's set in places like France, Scotland, the beach, etc. One of my favorites: Paris in Anna and the French Kiss.
4. Summer - I am a true summertime girl through and through. I love everything about summer and when authors combine summer, the beach and romance, I am sold. Nobody does a summertime romance better than Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han in her Summer series.
5. Love Triangles….Done Well - Sometimes love triangles make me cringe and seem like the easy way out, but when they are done well, I am a sucker for them. Seriously. It's bad. I will admit it. I love a love triangle, but like I said, only if they are done well. (Gone with the Wind or Jenny Han's Summer series comes to mind as two books with love triangles that work.)
5 Things I Dislike:
1. Insta-love - I mean obviously, right? I hate those books where the girl or guy has met her new obsession for a hot second and is already planning their wedding. It's not even love at first sight. It's straight up infatuation, but just done poorly. (Like how the contestants on The Bachelor cry after they aren't given a rose and it's only week two. Seriously? You don't even know him. Don't get me started on this!)
2. Disrespect - I am not a fan when the male love interest is disrespectful to the female. Whether it be straight up rudeness, sexist behavior, or perhaps him belittling her in a more passive way, I am not a fan.
3. Bella Swan Syndrome - Ok, so I know it worked for Bella, but I am over it. Girl, you have got to save yourself. Don't wait for Edward to come around or some white knight. I hate to get all Abby from Scandal on you, but she's right.
4. Cheating - Ok, so I do enjoy some drama in my "romance" from time to time, but the whole cheating part really leaves me uncomfortable. I try to avoid a book if that is the its only focus or if authors glorify the situation.
5. Changing - Just like in real life, I hate when characters will morph into someone they aren't just to please a moronic guy. Or when they drop their college plans and pull a Felicity by moving across the country for a boy they barely know. I hate when I see that in young adult literature, because I really don't want girls to think that is something they should do. I sort of want to grab them through the book and yell, "Make your own path in life! Don't follow this guy around like a little puppy!"
Oops. I just had to add one more. Sorry. I couldn't resist!
6. Baby Talk - Oh, man! This is a deal breaker when the male love interest just met the protagonist and he is already gushing things like baby or sweetie or ridiculous pet names like angel or doll or something even more cringeworthy. It's a no for me. At least not until they know each other better and if the author incorporates it too much, I close the book for good.
So, now that Valentine's Day is almost upon us, let me know what you like/or dislike when it comes to romance in books. Which books do it well and which books are guilty of some of your no-nos when it comes to romance. Let me know! This Happy Valentine's Day!