Wednesday, February 12, 2014

{DON'T} Want Your Bad Romance

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 with 9 comments
Forgive the punny title, but April and I were thinking about swoonworthy boys and what makes a good romance this week while compiling our picks for Top Ten Tuesday and preparing for Valentine's Day -- which neither of us apparently celebrates because we both seem to think that romance and love are things that should be celebrated all year long and not just on the day dictated by greeting card companies and candy manufacturers. And before you start thinking we're bitter old shrews who spend the "day of love" alone, weeping over our pathetic, loveless lives, keep in mind that we're both happily married. We just know the difference between romantic gestures that are made because they are expected and true romance.

However, after picking out our top swoony books for TTT, we were discussing how a swoony couple doth not a swoony romance novel make. Some of our favorite couples and relationships are downright swoony, but the situations and books we find them in are anything but romantic. So, we thought we'd pay homage to those couples that we love to see fighting real-life, slaying vampires, or battling evil long as they're doing so together. April even made one of her awesome SIMS videos just for this occasion.

But first, a little on what each of us thinks makes a swoonworthy romance:

April:  My favorite books are those with a love story. It doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day for me to crave a little romance. I read the swoons all year long, but since Valentine’s Day is Friday, we are discussing what we love the most about romance in books, and even talking about some of our favorite book couples.

My favorite kind of romance is the slow burn. I liked the characters to work their way up to it. For example, Rose and Dimitri from the Vampire Academy series, the attraction is there from the very start. Things don’t fully heat up until about book 3, but the sexual tension leading up to that point... delicious.

Another kind of romance I love is the realistic one. I’m going to use the Summer Series by Jenny Han as an example here. Belly and Conrad… these two. *sigh* what got me the most about these books was how real it felt. Their relationship is not an easy one, and there are some swoony moments for sure, but there is also real life. Real disappoints, grief and obstacles. They were very realistic to me.

Foreign Romance, you know where I’m going with this? Anna and the French Kiss. It’s one thing to fall in love, but to fall in love in a foreign place with a cute foreign guy. The accents, oh the panty dropping accents. You get my point. lol.

We mustn’t forget the “Knight in Shining Armor” type of romance. While this isn’t my absolute favorite, when it’s done correctly and not creepy, it’s amazing. ♥ The Iron Fey, Ash the Winter Prince will always hold my heart. He’s so devoted to Meghan, it’s just downright beautiful. Book 3, The Iron Queen has some of the most romantic scenes ever. I love them together.

The nice guy romance, these are really great because I hate jerks in books. I like a genuine nice guy (I married one) . So when a girl falls for the nice guy, it makes me giddy. ♥

I’ll take any romance as long as it’s meaningful.

Jen:  I usually prefer my reads with at least a tiny bit of romance, though I can appreciate a book that doesn't include any. Like Vicious. I just finished reading that one, and though there was almost zero romance (read: none), I kind of swooned over Victor Vale, even though he's a morally ambiguous character. Those tend to be my favorites, though.

To me, a great romance does not necessarily need to include a swoonworthy rogue or an epic love story. I like my romances to feel genuine, to be realistic, and to burn slowly. I like when love creeps up on characters, especially if they weren't friendly with each other to begin with. But I also love when characters have known each other forever and have only just realized that there's a spark there. In real life, I prefer nice guys -- I married one, too -- but in my books, I do tend to root for the bad boy, or at least, the guy who's probably not the best match but would definitely be more fun. But that's not always the case.

In contemporary novels, I usually gravitate towards the nice guy...the one with genuine appeal, who treats a girl like she should be treated. Some of my favorite couples fitting this description are Joe and Lennie from The Sky is Everywhere, Augustus and Hazel from The Fault in Our Stars, and of course, Cricket and Lola from Lola and the Boy Next Door, which also happens to fit under that whole "friends who become more" category I mentioned. These books are all so adorable and so authentic, it's no wonder I found them listed on so many Top Ten Swoony Books lists yesterday.

With sci-fi and fantasy stories, I tend to prefer the world-weary guy who knows his way around or can show the heroine a thing or two -- the guy who happens, more often than not, to also be the bad-boy type. This is where the swoonworthy rogue comes in. Like Raffe from Angelfall and World After. I love him paired with Penryn in those books because she's all about fighting to save her fellow man, and you're never quite sure what Raffe thinks of that, but you also know he's not a truly bad guy, despite his bad-boy demeanor. There's also clearly some sexual tension between these two -- ahem, that scene in the cottage in front of the fire with the peanut butter and cereal, anyone? -- but Raffe is so far from his evil angel brethren that he won't even make a move on Penryn because it goes against all of the laws of angels consorting with humans. This kind of makes them star-crossed lovers, which endears this couple to me even more. Another couple I enjoyed watching fight their growing feelings, despite being enemies in the first book, was Warner and Juliette in the Shatter Me series. Warner isn't just a bad boy...he is truly the bad guy in the beginning, and yet, Juliette can't help falling for him anyway.

There is no such thing as a perfect romance, though, which I guess is sorta my point. My favorite romances take time to grow, they evolve and change, and sometimes, they end. As long as I can find a romance at least somewhat believable and the insta-love/lust is kept to a minimum, I'm on board.

Oh, also, I love what April said about the panty-dropping accents. Those are always welcome in my romances! =)

And now, the debut of April's SIMS video featuring our favorite swoony couples:

What's your favorite type of romance? Would any of our swoony book couples make your list?


  1. You're right! Not all swoon-worthy couples are in swoon-worthy books. I swoon over Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy and...Belle and the Beast :)) That's about it for now.

  2. I agree about those accents. Heck, I'm happily married but when I hear one particularly delightful it makes me a bit weak in the knees. To which my husband always just rolls his eyes. I'm not really a romance kind of gal in books. I don't seek them out but I don't particularly mind when books contain one as long as it isn't the sole focus of the book. I like realistic pairings, I need spark of some sort. I don't really like the bad boy being converted by the good girl type those get old so fast. If he has a bit of a naughty side though I don't mind.

  3. Ahhhhh!! I love the video!!!! And I totally agree, also not a fan of V Day. :) (note: also happily married!)

  4. Love the video! And the Lady Gaga graphic :)

  5. Oh my lord this video is AWESOME!!! It's like taking a swoony trip down book memory lane. Glad to hear I'm not the only one who still swoons over characters even if there is no romance (like Victor). "As long as I can find a romance at least somewhat believable and the insta-love/lust is kept to a minimum, I'm on board." YES, this is pretty much my outlook on book romance. I can get pretty invested in any romance as long as it doesn't abuse my goodwill as a reader. Great post ladies!

  6. I was glad to see you both vote for the nice guy. I married one of those too. When I read, I'm open to all types of heroes whether it is reformed bad guys/gals, confident alphas, diffident beta heroes and heroines and I enjoy friend to lover, reunion, love at first sight, enemies to lovers, and combos of these. I still don't like love triangles. I love all settings, but horrors for a romance too. I'm just easy to please as long as there is a bit of romance.

    That was a great video. Nice work, April.

  7. I love all of the things that both of you spoke of. Every one. I tend to lean towards the good guys, but there have definitely been some bad boys that stole my heart. The thing about those guys, though, was that they were genuinely amazing people with bad boy exteriors. Anyway, I married the bad boy on the outside, biggest teddy bear ever on the inside Harley man and I have never loved and been loved like this before and there isn't a romance in a book out there that touches it. But there are still some pretty swoony romances!

  8. Oh, definitely! I love your lists! I love the nice guys (like Augustus), but I also have a soft spot for the insane psychos (like Warner). What makes a romance for me, I think, is when the dude respects the girl and just doesn't expect her to walk around panting like a puppy at his heels. That drives me NUTS. People (guy or girl) should be respected.


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