What are your pet peeves when it comes to romance novels?

I don’t have to tell anyone who knows me how much I love a good romance novel – historical, suspense, contemporary, comedy. Some of the my favorite tropes are the rogue and the wallflower, the bad boy and the virgin, enemies-to-lovers, and best friends-to-lovers. I’m not sure which is my favorite. These aren’t the only tropes I like, but these are at the top of the list.

As much as I love reading about the rakish Earl of Wherever and Lady Too Shy, and as much pleasure as the tattooed biker getting a lesson for the reserved school teacher brings me, the premise alone is not enough to carry the story. The writing must be good, the characters believable, and the plot well-developed. But two things that totally ruin a book for me are cliche overload and total lack of originality.

It’s fine for the hero to be obscenely handsome, the heroine to be unbelievably beautiful, and the best friend to be snarky and/or irresponsible. However, it would be nice to match someone okay-looking with someone insanely hot and for the bad girl to turn the head of the reserved guy. A shake-up if you will. I’ve read many romance novels that leave me wishing for more. I anticipate the sequels with an almost shameful anxiety, and I’m proud of it. But I’ve also read some with quick fixes, unsympathetic characters, and insta-love without the proper development. It’s okay to have the MC’s fall in love within a week’s time as long as they spend a majority of that time together. Truth be told, when done properly, I don’t even pay attention to the time frame.

Now, none of this means the tropes should be done away with; it just means that some twists and turns and slight changes would be more than welcomed.

Here’s a list of my romance novel pet peeves.

1. The hero is young and filthy rich (and I’m talking billionaire, not just millionaire). I can deal with a young billionaire, but not when there’s no explanation of how this 25-year-old got so rich, and his behavior is not conducive to anyone who can actually run a corporation – he makes stupid comments and dumb decisions in his personal life, but his business thrives. That’s not realistic.

2. Immense physical attraction to the heroine is fine, but not when he’s a playboy and has turned down every other woman he’s been with who wanted a relationship, but for some reason he can’t say no to the heroine. Can’t get her out his mind, and “he doesn’t know why”. If you’re going to say he’s never wanted a relationship from any of the other beautiful women he’s dated, give the heroine some characteristic that none of the other women had, and I don’t just mean a different hair color. Maybe the hero secretly loves classical music and she’s a closet genius violinist whom he overhears playing and her music touches him to his soul. Okay, it may sound a bit far-fetched, but I’d go for it just because it’s something new.

3. If you’re going to do the bad with the good, at least make the girl bad and the boy good. Try to spruce it up. And stop with the rich parents who won’t accept the kid.

4. High school girls (and former high school nemeses) who only hate each other because they both wanted the same guy and he picked one and the other one is bitter. Find another reason for them to hate each other. Let one steal the other’s dress, I don’t care, as long as they’re not fighting over a guy.

5. When the kisses and sex-scenes are not properly led up to. They’re just thrown in in an attempt to make the hero seem so “hot”, and I’m left wondering “Where the hell did that come from? They don’t even like each other.” But then all of a sudden – because of the kiss – they do like each other, instead of kissing because they started liking each other.

And my biggest pet peeve……

6. The secret kid!

Why must it be that the girl got pregnant right before she left the small town after high-school graduation, and she didn’t want to ruin the guy’s life so she ran off with the kid? And what really gets me? She returns to the small town with the kid in tow, knowing good and well that everyone knows everyone else and the kid is the spitting image of the father, but then once the man realizes the kid is his, the mother “needs more time” to tell the kid? Really? She’s had years. And she knew what was going to happen when she returned, so why the hell did she return before she was ready to tell the kid about the father and vice versa? Why not tell the kid before they get to town? Why not tell then both beforehand? But what really gets me is the couple (even as teenagers) were madly in love, and now as adults have never gotten over each other, but yet this girl had no qualms about deserting the boy (now a man) without telling him she was pregnant? Without giving him the opportunity to decide what he wanted? To pass this off as some kind of chivalrous act bugs the crap out of me. How is this unconditional love? But what really gets me is how the man lets the woman decide everything instead of demanding to see his child immediately and telling her he’d take her ass to court if she tried to interfere (not in front of the kid, though)? The men just bow down as if they were the ones who’d done something wrong, and then they take the woman back because once again, he never got over her – even now knowing she’s a liar who made him miss the most formative years of his kid’s life.

That’s my rant for the day. What about you? Have anything to add?

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