How Do You Like Your Romance?

It’s no secret to anyone who’s been on this blog before that I read lots of romance novels. I like the genre very much and I read historicals and contemporaries, I’ve given erotica a try, and I’m not picky when it comes to age groups (I’ve recently been discovering new adult with varied results).

Since it’s Valentine’s Day and all, I decided to ramble about my favourite aspects of romance. But I have to add a quick detour about Valentine’s Day: I don’t particularly like it. It’s not as huge of a deal in Slovenia as it is in the US, but couples still do the flowers and chocolates. My husband and I don’t celebrate it – we decided early on that we’d rather celebrate personal “holidays” than mass ones. I also don’t like a holiday that serves to make single people feel bad because they’re on their own (and don’t tell me you can always celebrate with your friends – that’s not the point).

Fun fact: my father’s name is Valentin, so this is actually his name day. His father’s and his grandfather’s name was also Valentin. Luckily, my parents broke the tradition with my brother.

happily-ever-after

Happily ever after?

Now that we got that out of the way, I want to ask you: do you prefer epic love and grand gestures or are you more fond of a slow-burn romance with sweet everyday details? 

I’m a sucker for the happily ever after. I like my romances fluffy and optimistic, and while some angst is perfectly fine, I expect some witty dialogue, lots of smooching, and mutual respect between the hero and the heroine. I like authors who know they’re writing within a genre that’s made to be relaxing, funny, and kind.

I dislike romances that take themselves too seriously – and I downright hate romances where the lovers disrespect each other. This is one of the reasons I stopped reading erotica. Hell, every time I picked up a book, there were damaged individuals with loads of skeletons in their closets who took their frustrations out on their partners. I’m not talking about S&M, that’s fine if it’s your kind of thing, but the emotional shit they pulled was just too much. This is also a problem that I’ve encountered time and again in new adult literature. Sandra wrote a great post on romance in young adult novels and I don’t have much to add to that, so go read it if you’re interested.

I like heroines who are smart and not meek, who will fight both for their rights and the man they love. I hate it when they’re just pushovers or spoiled princesses. I always connect better with heroines who are not extraordinarily beautiful and who have interests other than dresses and parties. I prefer my heroes gentlemanly and gruff, not violent and hateful. I would always choose the man who is less eloquent and knows your birthday (and what flavor of cake is your favourite) to the one who proposes in front of a hundred people and shouts his “love” from the rooftops.

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If you’re interested in some of my favourites, give these a try:

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So, what’s your take on this (very, very important) issue? What kind of romance do you like best?

Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? What do you usually do if you’re celebrating?

What are your favourite romance titles? I’d love some new recommendations! :)

  • I agree with you completely! My favourite thing in romances is the witty conversation – it makes everything better, and is often a sign of mutual respect. I’m not a big fan of the whole instalove thing, the slow burner is much more realistic and fun to read. Of course I like happy endings, but the “happily ever after” doesn’t always have me convinced, especially in YA stories (like Sandra says in her post). Let’s face it, the odds are hugely against you in that case.
    I’m with you about Valentine’s day as well – it’s such a commerical holiday, and it doesn’t really add anything to a relationship in my opinion. You shouldn’t have to need Valentine’s day to show your partner how much you love them. :)

    • Kaja

      Yes, slow burn romances are great! I really get insta-lust, I do, but insta-love just strains the “believable” side of romances. I don’t really like YA romances (I mean pure romance) because it’s just SO RARE for two 16-year-olds to fall in love and actually have a happily-ever-after. I like the idea of people staying together for life (I hope this will be the case with me and my husband!), but perhaps not at 16 :)
      I feel like V Day puts unnecessary strain on relationships – like you HAVE TO be romantic on this day, even if you’re not really feeling it. I prefer my romance to be less carefully scheduled and more spontaneous :)
      Thanks for stopping by, Anne!

  • Oh my gosh, I couldn’t agree more! I definitely like lighter, witty and fun romances the most. There are some that I don’t think of as funny and light, that I still love, but my favorites are always ones that make me laugh and smile.

    Oh, and I’m not a fan at all of grand gestures. I personally would hate if my significant other drew attention to me like that. The smaller, but just as important things are more my style.

    • Kaja

      Sure, it’s sometimes great to read serious stuff, but you know the type of “tragic”, angsty romance I mean here, right? Like you, I prefer authors who make me feel good :)

      Yep, I’d hate that kind of attention. I don’t mind being the centre of attention – for example, I have no problem with public speaking – but that’s because I CHOOSE to do so. I feel like love is a really intimate thing that should mostly stay between the two people. And YES to small things, they always make my day :)

  • Yes, yes, and yes! I love good or witty conversation (Julia Quinn is epic at that, and Krentz/Quick/Castle is good, too, in a more modern way.) And mutual respect. And strong, intelligent heroines. I like my heroes gentlemanly, honorable, and caring, with a sense of humor and a little dash of mischief. (Funny, that sounds like a description of my husband. . . )

    • Kaja

      Ha, lucky you :) I like to think I’ve found my own hero, too, as sappy as that may sound.
      And good conversation is a must – I really dislike romances where a lack of communication is the main problem for a couple. TALK to each other, people!!

  • This IS a very important issue!! Personally I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day either, but my guy is super into all that weird Hallmark stuff. I figure if that’s the biggest concession I have to make, then things are pretty darn good. And he’s not really the good with words kind, so I secretly suspect he likes being able to give gifts because it helps him express affection. But maybe that’s just one too many romance novels talking. ;)

    I completely agree with your description of the ideal romance hero – gentlemanly and gruff is a serious go to for me. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: my biggest pet peeve in YA romance (or any romance, but especially prevalent in YA) is thinking that “bad boys” are guys who treat you like shit. Ladies, those aren’t bad boys – they’re just bad people. UGH.

    • Kaja

      Well, I think it’s sweet if he’s into cheesy stuff – at least then he doesn’t feel like it’s a chore, right? I know my husband would be miserable if I expected him to do the whole rose-petals-and-chocolate routine. And I completely understand the not-good-with-words type, but they’re really adorable when they DO manage to articulate their feelings for a change ;)

      YES, I can’t stand heroes who treat the woman they’re supposedly in love with like trash. WHAT? I get that little boys pull little girls’ ponytails, but when that escalates into being a genuine asshole, that’s too much for me.

  • If I had written this post, it wouldn’t have been as well written but would have expressed exactly these sentiments. I prefer my romances fluffy and funny and have a lot of trouble with romances that take themselves too seriously. I prefer historicals and paranormal. The Duke and I is a favorite as is the Immortals after Dark series. I’ve been meaning to read Sarah McLean and I have Devil’s Bride sitting in my Audible library and I suspect I will really like them since our tastes sound similar:). Have you ever read Georgette Heyer? She was the author that brought me back into the romance fold after many years of not reading romance. Thanks for the great post!

    • Kaja

      Thanks, Stephanie :)
      Oh, do try MacLean and Laurens – they’re great! Then come back and we’ll discuss ;)
      I’ve been eyeing Heyer for a while now, I’ll give her a shot! Thanks for the reccomendation! :)

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