Monday, August 10, 2015

What Turns me Off when the Romance Heats Up

I don't normally read books with heavy romance. But there's some romance I'm good with. Like the author "did" it right. So I decide to figure out what works for me and what doesn't.

Here's what doesn't:

(Buckle up for a long post.)

1. Smooching every hour/ 5 minutes/ millisecond

Calvin and Hobbes, 3 A.M. (4 of 4 DA) -

I can't stand it when the couple is always kissing. It's kind of cheesy. Plus, the author is cheating themselves out of an awesome opportunity for a build up to a long awaited kiss. If the couple is kissing every millisecond, there's no build up for that final kiss at the end.

It's just their friends looking around saying, "Hey, where are so and so and what's her face? Oh." *rolls eyes* "They're kissing. Again. While we're trying to save the world."

It becomes cliched within a single chapter.

2. We don't like nobody else. The WORLD  is our enemy.

Allow me to introduce you to the obsessive couple. It's the two cute sweethearts who don't talk to anybody else. Since they've found each other, their friend life has virtually withered to small conversations like, "Nope, I can't come for pizza tonight. I'm going to the movies with *insert googoo eyes* him."

um, no
This is the unhealthy couple who talk about how they love each other so much and hate everybody else.

Now, there does happen to be these life and death situations, like in dystopian, when the whole world really is against the couple and they only have each other to trust.

But that is very rare.

Why do I not like this?

1) It is unhealthy. Incredibly so.

2) Possibly a lot of first time couples may fall into this mistake of shutting the rest of the world out. It'd be nice if YA was realistic. Either encourage the healthy relationships by showing more. Or at least truthfully depict the negatives of bad relationships. (I think Hate List did the latter, perhaps to the extreme. Though I didn't actually finish the book. . .)

3) It's awfully gooey. I roll my eyes. A lot.

4) Most importantly, stories are life. Life is a story. Vice versa. Turn it however you want. But life is not all about your boyfriend/girlfriend. It's also family, friends, ups and downs, careers, education, hobbies, ARCH ENEMIES (because those are very important to remember).

3. I must save the world! After I find someone to kiss. . .

Aww! That's so -- anti-climatic.

Seriously, though. How often do save-the-world protagonists drown their plots in romance? Instead of saving the world, like their premise promised, they spend most of their time worrying about what dress they're going to wear to the dance. Or how terrible they sounded/looked when love interest walked into the room.

42 Disney Reacción Gifs para cualquier situación

Hello! I thought the world was about to end here!

This is why I like Cinder from the Lunar Chronicles. *SPOILERS AHEAD* Yes, she likes Kai. But she has bigger things on her plate. She happens to be on the run. Currently, Kai can't fit into her life. He has a empire to emperor over. She has a rebellion to plan.

 So does she cancel her plans and cater her life to her crush? No. That's stupid. She does what she has to. She gets tough and does the hard things. The important things come first (then she kidnaps him.)

Not saying that love is unimportant. But romance and love are different.

(By of way, Kai prioritizes also. Except he does something really stupid. And I don't want to talk about it.)


4. Hi, I just met you. And this is crazy, but-- Can I kiss you?

Crazy is exactly right.

Ever wonder about when a relationship goes from acquaintance to we-want-to-get-married overnight?

You can't marry a man you just met. - Frozen. Tell me this wasn't the moment you fell in love with this movie!

They meet, they have a crush, next day they're kissing. What?! Maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but is it ever healthy when things escalate like that? (I'll confess, this is Wolf and Scarlet from Scarlet by Marissa Meyer They might be my OTP of the series.)

"We just met, but let's start dating now." I know people do this in real life. If you do this, I'm not judging you (I've come to the realization that I'm weird). But I don't exactly understand it either.

Why would you give your heart to a virtual stranger? Isn't that just asking for pain? I'm confused.


5. The sex scene

This actually is the number one reason I won't finish a book (so, why is it point #5? I. . . don't know). It could be the number one reason I don't even open a book.

I'm not going to say you're a horrible person if you don't mind reading a sex scene. This is just my preference (actually this whole list is, so total disclaimer here). It's not my cup of tea. It's not something I want to read about. But it's also a big turn off for me. I get the impression that authors think they have make their characters go "all the way" (as people used to word it. . . it almost makes me laugh now). They all seem to write it simply because everybody else is writing it. I find that tiresome. I want a different story, with different characters.

Yeah, let's not talk about that

You can call me whatever you want, but I personally believe sex before marriage is not okay. I don't think it's even smart (but whose heart is set on logic when in such situations?).

I especially don't like reading these scenes in YA. Aren't teens taught that this isn't a good idea? Usually, or I would expect at least, parents discourage them from having sex. So why are we encouraging them? Why are we writing about characters who do this, AND making it all okay? Why are there rarely ever consequences? The aftermath seems unrealistically depicted, if you ask my opinion.

I have read a few sex scenes. Skimmed most. Sometimes skipped others. To be honest, I'm just tired of them. Recently, I've been closing the book altogether. Which makes me very sad.

It all makes me exhausted.

6. So physical

Some relationships seem physical from the very start.

I am a huge Divergent fan. But at the end of the first book, Tobias says something to the effect of, "I think I'm in love with you."

And I was like, "Wait a minute! Put on the brakes!"  He and Tris have been kissing and cuddling all this time and he's just now saying he loves her? No, no. This doesn't make sense. I know everybody is different. But I'm not going to kiss some guy and then hope love comes later. Kissing someone should be that love put into action. The love has to instigate it. Therefore it has to exist first.

Ah, smooches.
I read One by Leigh Ann Kopans. I love One! But when Merrin and Elias are together, at first they are all each other thinks about. And they kiss. A lot. Only after they've been spending weeks and weeks together does Merrin mention that she still hasn't told Elias her life dream. You know, her desired career choice and chief aim in life. If they were that serious, shouldn't this topic have come up before?

Maybe that is what I don't like. The relationship gets physical before it gets serious.

That sounds backward to me. The physical and emotional aspect shouldn't come in such totality before the commitment comes. Otherwise, you could be putting yourself through a ton of heartache. Or it seems so to me.

I've never had a boyfriend, so what do I really know? But it feels like things shouldn't move that fast. If I did have a boyfriend and things moved that fast. . . I would probably get a little scared. No, a lot scared. I'd be running the other way.

Honestly, I want to know where the platonic relationships are. I miss those. (You see that in The Mentalist by the way. LOVE that show!) What about things that last and matter? What about getting to actually know each other beforehand? What is this mentality of let's kiss and then find out if we really like each other?

Sorry. I being ranty. Maybe I'm just reading the wrong books. But this is what turns me off romance.

Do you like romance? What are your bookish romance pet peeves? Oh! And what's your current OTP?

P.S. -  Summer Writing Camp #6 is due this Friday! If you want to join here's a link.

Do they really do that? XD
This pic is has no real purpose here; it just kind of happened.


  1. I seriously love this post, because it just expressed all my pet peeves of romance.
    I especially hate it when it seems like a really nice romance (aka slow burn, getting to know each other with just enough flirting), and then right after it hits the "I think I'm in love with you" moment, they just kissing 24/7 (#1) and their friends or their life don't matter (#2) and all of that development or 'getting to know each other' is gone. It's seriously annoying.

    1. I know! It's like it starts out slow and then they have this dramatic slide into each other and the whole world just disappears.


    2. You're welcome :)

      I tagged you for some awards! You don't have to do them, but if you want to, here's the link:

  2. Welllllllllllll I agree with you on some points and disagree on others, but that's okay. Like, I don't mind lots of kissing. It's cute. That's what people in love do—and I do mean that after a point where they are actually in love—so kissing doesn't bother me.

    Actually.... rereading your list, the only thing I think I have a problem with is #4, which we call INSTALOVE and it is the crime of romance. CRIME, I tell you. Anyway, you're not alone in that remark, and there are many people who discuss the woes of instalove, so you might enjoy looking those up. :) At least for me, it is just unrealistic and is mostly used as a way to get out of a good plot buildup, rather than because the author thinks it's a good idea. *sigh*

    1. "That's what people in love do" - You make good point.

      I guess I just don't much like when I can tell the author is trying to put a center "wow" factor into a kiss (usually the final one) but it just seems like all the others to me.

      Yeah, instalove is very unrealistic. Sure, you can have a crush on someone fairly soon. But a crush does not equate to love. At all. From a story standpoint, I think the author cheats themselves out of a lot of opportunities for development and conflict when they go straight to instalove.

  3. This post though. I agree with all your points. I loved Divergent, but the romance part made me want to smack the author. TOO MUCH KISSING. And too soon. I agree--I wouldn't want to snog a guy, only to be left still wondering whether or not he liked me. Igg. Not worth it. And I can see where instant attraction could lead to love, but love comes when you know a person, not just when you know what you THINK about a person.

    While I don't like sex scenes, I have read a few books with them, I just usually skim/skip. However, even if I still like the book, I lose some respect for the characters because I really feel like it lowers the relationship. Like, why does that have to be the most important thing ever? Physical relationships aren't inherently romantic, because often people are just in it for the fun of it. Real romance involves sooooooo much more. That's why I really like close, platonic friendships.

    Also, yes, those relationships where the couple ignores everyone else are so annoying and sooooooo toxic. I've seen so many real life examples, and they never, ever end well. I wish books showed that more often, and I wish books also showed healthy balanced relationships. I think, if romance had more healthy relationships, I might be a little more interested. But as it is, I'm not.

    1. Yeah, Divergent. I did like some of the romance (I'll post later), but the physical side really was just- No. It was way too soon.

      Knowing a person and what you think you know about a person- Wow, that just hits home. There is such a big difference there.

      "Physical relationships aren't inherently romantic"- EXACTLY! You're so spot on here. Just everything you said there. Why did you write my post? Yes, yes! The close platonic friendships, please somebody write more of those!

      *moans* I know. The love interests shouldn't become each others' lives. They should be included in each others' lives.

    2. Yeah, and my respect for the characters does go down considerably when a sex scene comes along. I was reading Graceling and I was really disappointed. More so than usually. Both these characters were so good and I was sure they were about more than just this?! I took a break from reading it. (Perhaps I was a little upset with them. . .)

  4. Good post! I totally agree with #6! Physical affection doesn't equal a good relationship! And I totally agree that we need more platonic relationships in fiction. And insta love is just... oh, it's just stupid.

    1. It really doesn't. There's so much more to love than that. Bring on the platonic relationships! The world wants more of you.
      Meh, instalove. . . just no thank you.

  5. I agree with everything, Loki has spoken, I hate the romance aspect in books, because no one seems to be able to handle it right. Where are the platonic relationships? Well actually Isabella and Charlie have that slow burn platonic relationship your looking for.
    :) It's not in much books so I decided to write my own.

    1. Yes! See, I was kind of hoping they did. I could sort of see it happening. But I wasn't sure if you planned to keep them as friends or if they were going to have that awesome platontic relationship. Now I'm excited! I love those two together, friends or romance. They're just great. :D

      I know what you mean. If you want to read it, then you write it. (I wish I could say that was simple to do but, uh, no. Not exactly.)

  6. Agreed on everything. Except for the sex scenes thing, that doesn't bother me (I'm apathetic to most of it since I'm asexual). :') I hate it when it's two couples vs the world! Especially if the couples have no other friends/connections besides each other. There's a delicious quote - if your boy/girlfriend is your only friend, you're doing it wrong. If your boy/girlfriend is your best friend, you're doing it right. You're right, it's unhealthy and shouldn't be romanticised as often as it is.

    I know what you mean about Divergent. I didn't buy into the romance at all. Also, physical is boring. Great romance should be mostly emotional. :) Awesome post!

    1. Oh, I love that quote! So true.

      Romance is more an emotional thing if we really think about. So why are people depicting it as physical? Just what does that say about society? Sorry, I just. . . had a thought. It's scary sad.

  7. I so agree! I haaaaate it in books and tv and whatnot when the couple has ALREADY HAD SEX, and he/she is JUST NOW saying "I love you" and it's like some shocking revelation. STOP. YOU HAVE COMMITTED THE MOST INTIMATE OF INTIMATE ACTS, AND YOU HAVEN'T EVEN DECIDED IF YOU LOVE EACH OTHER YET?? Ugh, anyway. YES TO NUMBER 4. THIS IS HOW YOU GET MURDERED, OK??? I also totally agree on the "no-sex-before-marriage" thing. There's just soooo many reasons to wait.

    And lol my otps are both from tv, hope that's ok. X) Monrosalie from Grimm, and Rumbelle from OUaT. Yes, those are their ships names, respectively. ;)

    1. Yes! Oh my goodness. Just why? It doesn't even make sense?

      "This is how you get murdered"- True. Didn't their parents teach them anything? Stranger danger, people. It's real.

      It's cool! I've got those too. Rumbelle! Yes! Oh, it devastated me when Belle was whatever her face and completely EVIL and then Rumple and her would go do bad things together. No! It made me so sad.

  8. See, I like romance in novels... if it's done well. My current favourite romance is between Sam and Grace in Maggie Stiefvater's Wolves of Mercy Falls series, and they fall into a few of your traps! For me, I need a romance to be believable. So, if it seems reasonable that the characters kiss a lot, then that's fine. As you point out though, when you need to save the world, kissing becomes less of a priority. And sex doesn't bother me in novels AT ALL. I personally like quite tasteful descriptions of sex, a la Sarah J Maas in ACOTAR, but I can appreciate that it's not for everyone. I've read sooooo many awkward sex scenes, and they're the worst!
    Beth x

    1. A romance does need to be believable. Yeah, that makes sense. Since I don't like sex scenes, I do appreciate it when an author is more. . . subtle?

  9. Ahh, I agree with a lot of these. Particularly 1, 2, and 3 and 4....agh, I HATE it when someone can't save the world without copious kissing scenes. It just irritates me. But I'm a hopelessly unromantic person so >_> that does make things awkward for me. My favourite romances are ones that start with friendship and jokes and then mature into love and afjdklasd it's just adorable and I always ship those.

    I also hate romances where they're manipulating each they're not SURE they should be in a relationship but they don't break it off in case "they hurt someone's feelings". OMG NO. DON'T LIVE LIKE THAT. IT'S SO WRONG. Also unhealthy.

    1. Yes, the kissing. . . why must it fill so many pages? I don't know. Oh! Yes! I love those kind. It's so adorable and I always ship those the most!

      Ugh, I can't stand manipulative people. They don't even really care about each other; they just want someone to manipulate because that's what they do. Bleh. And when they don't want to "hurt each others' feelings" it's almost worse. Because they kind of hurt each other more if they actually stay together. Hello! Agreed, much agreed.

  10. Thank you so much for actually making a point about sex scenes! Even though quite a few of us bloggers are Christians, it seems we skirt this topic quite a lot, or at least just don't mention it. I know I don't say often enough that the messages on sex of certain YA books are not OK.

    Not sure about the kissing one but hey, that's just me. I have never had a boyfriend so I don't actually know how things work, you know, in real life.

    My most recent OTP is Sam and Grace from Shiver, not to be upstaged by my long-standing Blue/Gansey from The Raven Cycle (what? No, I'm not obsessed with Stiefvater hahahaha). (Having said that about the kissing, what I think is really cool with TRC is the whole if-you-kiss-him-he'll-die thing so THERE IS NO KISSING and it just leaves all this adorable friendship which I LOVE asd;klgja;dslgkja.)

    Oh, also, mon pal, I have nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award .... lucky you! ;)

    1. Thanks! I was trying to find a way to say it that wasn't. . . I don't know. Overtly blunt? Incredibly rude? I knew I had to take a stand on it, but I didn't want to sound like, "Mwhaha! You will all go to hell if you read this!" Uh, no. That's not true.

      I'm not really sure about kissing in books compared to real life either. Like how often people do it and such? As a writing device though, I think it might be used to often. . . I think.

      Somebody else said they had that same OTP! I've probably read half of ShiIver, and Grace and Sam were pretty adorable. I love how Sam is like the gentle one even though he's, you know, a wolf. And I find it very ironic that although Grace is the logical, more level-headed of the two, she's the one who always pushes the physical boundaries of their relationship. I loved them as characters. I noticed that about TRC too. The concept is so interesting.

      Awesome! I'll go have a look. :)

  11. *thunderous applause* I know I'm late to the party, but I only just discovered your blog, and this post caught my eye and... here I am!

    I agree with every single one of these points. JUST NO, PEOPLE. Especially with the sex thing. Personally, I will not read any book if I know it has a sex scene in it-- I'm not judging people who are comfortable with that sort of thing, I just can't be okay with it for myself for multiple reasons, and it's a complete turn off for me.

    I also TOTALLY agree with #1-- particularly in that constant kissing makes the kiss pack less of a punch. In one of my favourite books, my OTP kisses only once, and the build-up to the kiss was flawless. I AM NOT A KISSING PERSON-- as a complete germophobe, kissing kind of grosses me out-- but I LOVE that scene, and the build-up, and the absence of any other kissing. (The other couples didn't even kiss once.) It was perfect. I wish we saw more of that.

    And (I know I'm going really long here, but I'm almost done), I've personally always felt that platonic friendships were more meaningful in fiction than romantic relationships. Maybe it's just me, but friendships give an opportunity for the two individuals to grow and learn and have fun together, without the, um, obsession that seems to come with the romance. Rarely do I see the protagonist's relationship with that hot guy helping her grow into a more mature person (unfortunately, it often seems the other way round), whereas friendships always change us (unless the story is very badly written).

    An absolutely AMAZING post, and I sooo agree.

    1. It's never too late!

      Yes, I'm totally with you there on that. The sex scene is completely unnecessary in my view.

      I'm not a kissing person either, but if the author has that build up and makes us wait, and wait, and wait, it is, like, the most adorable thing ever! (I'm going to write a post about the romance I'm okay with, and I'll address this in it).

      YES! A thousand times. I don't think I could've said it better than you! Starting out as friends first makes it less awkward, plus you really get to know each other without any added obsessions or weird expectations to worry about. It just makes more sense.

      Thank you so much for the comment! (Honestly, I love the long ones best ;) )


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