Oh WOW!! I love this question… and we’re always weighing the pros and cons of the latest and greatest reads. Some really connect with us and we’re trying to figure out what it is about the ones that we love, that make us love them so hard.
While we all have different books tastes, or book “catnip” (books with a subject that we just can’t resist), and maybe even just different moods, it’s always fun to pin down exactly what we want. What we’re looking for, or what we’ve realized about the books that we just… LOVE.
bev started us off!
“Ok, so I know everyone is off reading or hiding or reading and hiding but curious. I have seen post about what trends, sub genre etc people want to see in romance this yr.
For myself, as we talked about, different eras in historical.
More true blue collar h & h.
More mature characters in NA.
More slow burn.
What about you?”
That’s easy for me!! For awhile, what I wanted was obviously “bad boys and rock stars” which is what got me hooked on NA and contemporary romance. I loved the social rebel that didn’t have the “look” that was perfect for our parents, our families, our employers. And usually those guys… had that unattainable feel, so to finally break through their barriers and have them love us as much as we loved them (no matter the personal price of such a connection)? Priceless. I LOVED that! Having read a few traditional, dare I say… formulaic contemporary romance novels, bad-boy and even “bad guy” characters, like vampires and other paranormals gave me that jolt of adrenaline. That touch of forbidden. The ultimate thrill.
But even some of the paranormals ended up having that “formulaic”feel to ‘em, when it seemed to be the only thing everyone was reading. Suddenly these “bad guys” became perfect heroes in their paranormal mold. Disguised as bad (via the author’s descriptions), or unacceptable (for book-thrill and genre purposes), but so obviously… not.
I didn’t want the good guy, or the perfect guy. I didn’t want a knight in shining armor. I wanted a REAL guy. Someone that had his own set of life issues, “damages” and social struggles and scars inflicted on him from a dark past. Maybe even not so “dark”… but the things real people struggle with, that I could relate to (or suffer through it, with him). I wanted him to be a protector, a good guy in his own right (maybe even if he is a bad guy in everyone else’s eyes) sure, but i didn’t want him to be “the perfect man” because while I read for escape, I escape best, when I can believe it. When I can live it. When I can truly feel it.
Mostly? I wanted something out of the ordinary. Either someone out of the ordinary, or a love story that was out of the ordinary. Unconventional. And that STILL does it for me. I want struggle. I want real. I want an intense love that simply starts off as a connection (maybe even starts off as hate) that can overcome all of the turmoil and trauma. Eventually soothing and healing the very characters that never thought they could feel this kind of peace again. I want love, but I want the struggle before we get the peace. Because most everyone in real life? True love and peace doesn’t come easy. We have to work for it… but even better? We have to WANT to work for it. THAT is the payoff.
Other things I still look for? A thrill. An adrenaline rush. A socially unacceptable love story that defies all logic and all reason. Falling in love with someone that should be completely off limits. A priest, a teacher, or… well. You get the picture (we’ve read and loved a bunch of ‘em already). An unpredictable plot… and maybe even the lack of an HEA. Clever and ingenious twists and turns that make us gasp in delight or outrage but that make sense (no matter how outrageous). That don’t feel in the least bit contrived. A book that manipulates itself… not the reader.
And most of all? I still prefer only ONE POV (at least for the book I’m reading). Especially hers, because it allows me to become her, and stress (or delight) over misperceptions, just like she is. P.S. I’m plenty happy to get the “other’s” POV in his own book… just let me live like her for awhile, before I “know” I didn’t have to worry through all of those times I totally thought he was being an ass. LOL!!!
Right now, my secret thrills include psych thrillers (best with a love story – even if it’s not a “romance”) and risqué love stories. Stuff that makes us cringe and makes us hope we never have to go through any of that in real life, but that we delight in the book-version nonetheless. You’ll get to see a ton of the best, right here: Maryse’s Ultimate List of Book Lists!
Well, that’s it for me. I’m still totally into the guilty pleasures… I just like ‘em guiltier than most.
Now let’s see what out fellow readers want…
Tessa: I think all books starting blending as a type. That’s where the really good ones stand out. Or, in my case, I was too young to buy a lot so I read them way too many times. *grins* I have Something Wonderful practically memorized!
You know, I rarely find a good recent past one, unless it’s paranormal. I’d love a good romance from the twenties or thirties. People either living large, or suffering trying to survive. Twenties has that “fun” that hides what’s really going on, and the thirties… depression! Both could have exciting stories.
I do still read them, though not as intensely as before. I just tried to read a book called Threads: The Reincarnation of Anne Boleyn, but after her life, the fiction stuff seemed ridiculous. *sighs* What I really need to do is read that Mallory book and fall in love with James Mallory all over again.
My favorite era is between two. The Tudor era or Regency. I’ve loved medieval romance since I picked up my very first Julie Garwood at 13. That’s why Skye O’Malley was mentioned as a book that influenced me. Beyond the OMG of the drama in the book, it was so rich with details and history, it was like being transported to Queen Elizabeth’s court.
Regency is a thrill for all that the time really was. Pre-Victorian morals, with the rules and nicety of the upper class. The juxtaposition just fascinated me.
Michelle: Hmm what subgenres I want more of this year…more dystopian (like romance in a dystopian setting not the more common dystopian with some romance), more realism in stories (haha think the opposite of Black Lies), more western romances (I like my cowboys!), and on the paranormal end I always want more well written fae/elf romances (Laura, I need more Trent like characters!).
MichelleS: What sub-genre do I want to read more of this year? Maybe some cool sc-fi? I know Fabi has a few that she loves, and even you Maryse mentioned the Dan Koontz one? right? Have never actually clicked on that specific genre. I also wish I could find a good Arthurian legends book. When I was a teen, I was obsessed with that genre. Someone said Genevieve Chronicles was good? And maybe one good “futuristic” novel that’s not dystopian! Why does everyone want the zombies to rule, and electricity to be obsolete, for crying out loud??? And one super hot shifter book please!!!
Amy: Why does everyone want the zombies to rule, and electricity to be obsolete, for crying out loud??? <——– *snicker* Can you imagine that kind of postapocalyptic life with no tampons, no body wash, wearing the same panties…good lord, there would be an epidemic of…
Maryse: Tee hee!!!!
How about you guys? It’s your turn. Tell me what you love, and tell me what you want more of… what you’re CRAVING.