Romances That Don't Belong On My TBR

April 12, 2019

I love romance! I honestly can't get enough of reading romance. Not every book has a happy ending, but sometimes my love stems from the journey. Or I'm in it for the smut. Whatever it is, I love it. However, I know I can't be the only one who sits there to contemplate what they WILL NOT read. I have lists, people. There are tropes that are much loved by many readers that I cannot handle. Subgenres that give me pause. Authors will send me books and wonder why I won't take the time to read them. Or they'll request a review and I have to explain the reasons for my refusal. Some authors are super sneaky and hide the need-to-know details and I find out too late and then have to irately inform them that it will be a DNF or a poor review because of the deception. I won't read certain books and here's why...

⭐ Ménage

It really doesn't matter how well written the story is. It could be written by one of my go-to authors (M. Never to name one), but it will be one of their books that I'm going to miss. I don't mind if there's maybe ONE scene in the book, however, if it isn't integral to the story, I'll be pissed. I just don't see the need for this type of book unless you're going for the smut factor. And I can and have read some pretty freaking good smut between two characters with no need for a third.

I'm not one to judge another's lifestyle and I actually have a friend who engages in a ménage relationship in real life. Good for her! It doesn't mean I want to be a part of it or witness it or hear all of the juicy details. I'm sure it's hot (and really why wouldn't it be?), but I've realized, after reading quite a few books with this theme, that it's one I just don't care for. My biggest reason, and the one I'm going to share, is that one person ALWAYS misses out. One person WILL get more than the other. And that shit just hurts. I'm not signing up for that pain. I do love reading the reviews though 😜

⭐ Love Triangle

Here's the thing... I've recently rediscovered my love for Young Adult books, which seem to use this trope as a staple. It's so commonplace that finding a YA story that doesn't have it is like a rare discovery. It is so prevalent that it might as well be part of the genre title. If you pick up a YA book, expect a love triangle and tons of angst.

But when this trope is found in my romance books, I'm always hesitant about adding it. Like dipping my toe in the bathtub, I'm not sure if I'll get burned. I've read some that I loved, where the author didn't allow the triangle to rule the entire book. Then there are the books that have the triangle running rampant throughout a series (I'm looking at you, Pam Godwin). I'm just not a fan. Although I have the strange habit of being able to pick the winner, the journey to that point is painful. I get driving the angst, but that is some other level bullshit. Especially when I fall in love with the 'loser' and they're left picking up the pieces. Even when the author is willing to gift us with the 'loser's' own book, it doesn't completely sway me.

⭐ Reverse Harem

This trope may be pretty new, but I see it everywhere now. Authors that I never saw even tackle a ménage trope are now pushing these bad boys out like they're going out of style. Much of what I said about ménage books can be said here. But wait, there's more! I won't lie and say that I haven't read any of these books. I'd be a real ignorant S.O.B. if I tried to talk about something I have no experience with. So yeah, I've read some. And with every one of them, certain factors were in common. 1) I hated the heroine, 2) the plot led to nowhere but more sex, 3) the relationships between the main party and individual members of the harem were superficial and one-dimensional, and 4) the 'love' seemed pretty stretched thin.

I'm not going to pretend to know if these elements apply across the entire reverse harem trope. Unless I read them all, I wouldn't know. But these factors, among others, are just some of the reasons why this trope is a no-go for me. It's hard enough to find a connection with one person in this world. It's also hard to have a strong enough belief in that connection to withstand doubts and insecurities. It's also hard to find the time to dedicate to one person, much less several. When I read romance books, whether they're based in reality, like most contemporary romances, or involve some imagination, like PNR or fantasy, I need to believe in the realistic possibility of the relationship between the characters. And I find it impossible to suspend my belief for this trope.

⭐ Chick Lit

Now I can't say I'll never read this type of story because I have and I probably will. But I have to limit how much of this cheesiness I ingest because I'm allergic. I get that a romance story can still be an amazing read even though it's a clean read. I get it. HOWEVER, the last thing I want to do, IN LIFE, is make this category my go-to. Nope. Never.

However, to be clear, there are some shining and gleaming exceptions. Those heartwarming stories that touch you in places that other romances just can't reach. But they are so few and so far between everything else that holding out for that 'one' isn't worth the process of weeding through the rest. That's just me. I'll read the reviews and cheer on my fellow readers for giving each book a shot. But after years and years of reading, I know what I like... and what I don't. I know what I will tolerate and what will aggravate the shit out of me. And rather than punish myself and in the end punish the author, I'll just stay away from those books. Be them about a hot and sexy ménage, an angst-driven love triangle, a powerful and mystical reverse harem, or a story that gives Hallmark its purpose, I know they're not my cup of tea. I don't love 'em... that's what I said!

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