Tag Archives: romance commentary

Meh books and Alphaholes

25 Feb

Reaper's Legacy Knight

I’ve been really disappointed with all the books that I’ve read in the past few weeks. It’s been a good long while since I’ve read any that made me want to write about it squeeing in delight… and I want to squee my way through a book, dammit.
I think the problem with me this past month is that I have gone for the free books and the .99 cent (or so) books on Amazon thinking to save myself some money. What HAS happened is that I have bought heaps of books that I then skimmed and then promptly forgot about or simply did not finish (DNF). This resulted in me spending more than I would have if I had just bought a few really good books at a higher price point that I could really enjoy. It’s like when you’re eating at a buffet with a lot of not-so-good food and you keep eating and eating and eating looking for that taste you’re looking for, not finding it and then feeling slightly ill afterwards. That is how the past few weeks have been for me in terms of reading- too much meh stuff that has left me feeling vaguely dissatisfied.
(This is not to say that you can’t find some really amazing books out there for free or cheap, I’ve just had really crappy luck with them these past few weeks)
The other thing that I am seeing with some of the books that I am reading is the emergence of a breed of heroes I call the alphahole. I know that the whole imperfect, grittier hero is a hot trend at the moment but I find myself getting exasperated with it. What the heck is so wrong about a nice guy? You know, one who does NOT have a stable of prostitutes that he makes his money with or one that does NOT call women bitches or whores?
I’m a HUGE fan of alpha heroes. I love their take charge attitude, absolute belief in themselves and their need to take care of their women. LOVE. THEM. However, lately I’ve found that some authors disturbingly blur the line between an alpha and an alphahole (which is basically an alpha asshole). I get that there is this movement towards realism and angst. I get that they’re trying to portray heroes that are in stark contrast to sickeningly perfect, gorgeous, intelligent, billionaire, philanthropist heroes of the past. For me though, there’s imperfect and tortured and there’s just being an abusive, misogynistic pig.
I’m learning that there are certain things that I just will not accept in a hero. Salty language and dirty talk? No problem. Being derogatory to a woman and calling her a whore, slut etc and then justifying it to the heroine saying it’s okay because I’d never do that to YOU? Not okay. A man hitting a woman? Never okay.
I read a book recently where the hero was absolutely APPALLING to women. He had no respect for them aside from them being receptacles for his magic wang. He would call them bitch and forcibly evict them from his house, throwing their clothes out- after taking them home with him the night before! How in the world is a man like that hero material? This hero THEN goes on to say that yes he would hit a woman if she was “asking for it”. Arrrgh. Just typing that made me so mad! And it makes me even more mad because he then says he would never treat the heroine like that because she wasn’t a slut like all the other sluts he slept with. Given that he actively participated in the aforementioned activity this would make him a hypocrite of the highest level.
Being imperfect, sleeping around, having a tragic past, being surly and not too good with social situations- these are all fine and I can live with those. Being in any way abusive even if that abusive behaviour is not targeted towards the heroine, I’m sorry I simply cannot stomach. As a psychology major the whole “Oh baby I treat OTHER people like shit but I would never treat YOU like that” really pisses me off. I get that some of the romance heroes of old may have been a little too perfect but do I really want to read about a hero who is a pimp? Uh, NO.
There are authors who push the envelope of the alpha male but manage to pull them back right before they cross over that invisible line for me into alphahole. A really good example of this would be Kristen Ashley’s Chaos MC boys who are really rough around the edges but never cross over this line for me versus those in her Unfinished Hero series (Knight, ugh!) and Joanna Wylde’s Reaper’s Legacy which was a good book overall, but there were moments with the hero that left a really bad taste in my mouth. He is SO never going to be one of my book boyfriends. Although that cover is admittedly really nice to look at.
What do you think about this new trend in alphahole heroes?

More Sex Scene Funnies

29 Jan

Late last year wrote a blog entry about some things that I found strange, disturbing and hilarious about sex scenes: https://romancefangirl.com/2013/08/ . One of my absolute favourite romance blogs, Smart Bitches Trashy Books recently published an article on sex scenes that had me rolling-on-the-floor-oh-my-goodness-I’m-going-to-wet-my-pants laughing. I then read all the comments that other romance fan girls like me made on the article and there commenced another round of undignified snorting and snickering. Any long time reader of romance novels is sure to have her (or his) particular pet peeve when it comes to these scenes.

Anyway, here is the link to the article:  http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/blog/10-things-i-hate-about-sex-scenes. Enjoy y’all. If both these articles left something out that has you rolling your eyes when you read it, I’d love to hear from you!

So What About Those Sex Scenes?

9 Aug

I love romance novels. I love them sweet, but I especially love them steamy. Give me a virile man hungry for his woman and I am one happy romance fan girl. Sad to say though that some sex scenes can be WTFery fodder like no other. There are plenty of stock standard sex scenes that have me shaking my head and thinking ugh, no. There are others that really just defy the laws of gravity and biology. Here are a few of my (not-so) favourites:

Everyone goes on and on about morning breath in morning sex scenes. I on the other hand think about having to wee. Because really people, isn’t that the first thing that you do in the morning?! I can’t think of anything worse than being bounced on with a full bladder. Shades of Gray aside (and oh my, will THAT series get another little entry of its own) I can’t see how a full bladder is conducive to sexy feelings. Enough said.

Speaking of bathrooms… how about the shower sex scenes? Now well written shower scenes can be romantic and (pardon the pun) steamy. But I have to admit that when the scene isn’t written particularly well my undisciplined mind does take a wander down the practical path and thoughts like ‘don’t the tiles hurt their knees?’ and ‘How does that work if the girl is a whole foot shorter than the massive 6’4 man pounding into her from behind’ start to intrude. And Oh my God, how about the one where the poor girl had to hold her breath underwater to pleasure her man in the tub?

The whole getting out of the shower without drying off and then getting rowdy soaking wet, in the bed, IN THE MIDDLE OF A SNOWSTORM without feeling cold at all because hey, heat of passion and all that also elicits snorts of disbelief from me. And isn’t it funny that the hot water runs out and turns icy cold JUST when the deed is done? Because no one has ever had hot water run out on them in the middle of a sex sesh. Really.

All this talk of soaking wet sheets does bring to mind another thing that can bring me out of a great story- the implication that there will be a lot of very annoying housework to do after the fun is finished. You know, it’s the soaking wet sheets that have to be changed, the sex play with chocolate syrup on the carpet (!!!) and some people’s favourite- the big dramatic sweeping of crockery/paperwork/other breakables off the table so that they can have very energetic sex ON said table. I know that these are all supposed to be swept away by passion type moments but sometimes all I do is wince through these scenes thinking of the hellish clean up afterwards.

There was one book where the hero and heroine spent the whole day tromping around in boots all day and then at night the hero sucked the heroines toes as foreplay after removing aforementioned boots that made me cringe. There was also that one book where the hero and heroine made love on a moving horse. ON. A. HORSE. As it was galloping along. Need I say more?

And then there are the ménages. If done well a ménage scene can be seriously hot… and there are the other ones where I actually catch myself tilting my head and book to the side while reading as if that would help me figure out who was touching what and where! Cirque de Soleil anyone?

A really good love scene can make my heart flutter in my chest, cause tingles and generally adds to the overall experience of the book. Even though the scenes above take me out of the story more often than not, a really skilful writer can get me so into a story that I don’t care about the hows and the whys. One of my favourite books of all time had the hero and heroine making love “in Spirit only” and underwater (and no they were not mer people of any sort). Another one had two angels making love in the sky, WHILE FLYING. How’s that for improbable? But that particular author wrote the scene so well that my mind didn’t wander off to what in the world would happen if a 747 should pass by. Talk about in flight entertainment.

What are your favourite/ least favourite sex scene tropes?

The beginning of the love affair

2 Oct

Hello world! Here I am having my first go at blogging about one of my absolute favorite things in the world, romance books!

I started reading romance books at a pretty young age after being more fascinated with the relationship between Ned Nickerson and Nancy Drew than with the mysteries that the girl detective from River Heights was solving.

I remember reading the short romance novels that were published in my mom’s Good Housekeeping magazines. After catching me reading all her magazines (and realizing that banning me from reading romances was futile as I was sneaky and determined) my mom gave me a few Mills and Boons books that she had and a Judith McNaught book and that started my love affair with love affairs.

Since then I have literally read hundreds (if not thousands my poor beleaguered husband must be thinking) of books. Getting a kindle two years ago has just made the habit worse as storage space is no longer a problem (whee!!!).

Romance books are my escape, my treat to myself, my drug of choice. They have helped me survive graduations, the first job, the first boyfriend, the inevitable first break up, migrating to a different country and now being married and having 2 children under the age of 3.

My favorite authors for now (the list continually grows) are Nora Roberts, Nalini Singh and CL Wilson. I want to write a blog that will help other romance fans like me discover the books and authors that I absolutely love. It was a couple of other romance review sites (thank you Dear Author and Smart Bitches) that helped me discover 2 of my all time favorite authors and I hope to be able to do the same.