Saturday Six: Six Reasons I Give Up On a Book

1. MIA Hero – this is the number one reason I will put down a book! When I pick up a romance, I’m expecting to see two characters for a majority of the time. If the hero is missing for a legitimate reason, then the other character must at least think about the hero enough to satisfy me.

2. TSTL (Too Stupid to Live) heroine – I cannot stand these characters. These brass pantied women jump into the action without rhyme or reason.  I’m not talking about a woman who gets backed into a corner and has no choice. I’m talking about the woman who chases the hero/firefighter back into the fire, for no reason other than she thinks he’s being chauvinistic. Is this really necessary? She couldn’t just discuss this with him later, over dinner? NO! She has to follow him into a burning building, to prove she’s as tough as he is.

3. All-powerful heroine – almost as bad as the TSTL heroine, is the impossible to kill heroine. I absolutely hate when authors create these larger than life characters (this usually happens in urban fantasy) and then they put them in life or death situations.

Here is how the scenario usually plays out. The heroine has survived everything from fire to dismemberment. She is super strong, super fast, and usually a capital B. Then suddenly an unlucky chance encounter brings her face to face with the one and only being in the world that can kill her.

Which leads me to….

4. Coincidence – While small coincidences are okay (I need a bar of soap and my neighbor accidentally bought an extra), those big coincidences that bring the villain to a small town in Wyoming, where he finds the heroine, who just happened to meet the hero who can help her defeat the villain. 98% percent of the time, coincidence in writing is a bad thing.

5. Cliche  physical descriptions – I know that not everyone is as picky as I am when it comes to physical descriptions, but this is truly a pet peeve of mine. If I read anything in the blurb about red hair, green eyes, or scarred heroes, I give the book a pass. I know that this has no real bearing on the quality of writing, but my instinctive thought is “if this author can’t even bother to try and come up with unique physical descriptions, will they really bother making their plot original?”

6. The BIG misunderstanding – Most of my favorite authors use this, and the only reason I forgive them because everything else they do is so great. I understand that there are certain times when misunderstandings are plausible, but 70% of the time they just aren’t believable. I will give examples of both….

Acceptable: Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost ends on a BIG misunderstanding. While I still think that Cat underestimated Bones, I understood her reasoning behind making the decision she did. She really did have something to loose, which made her dumb move more believable.

Unacceptable: New Moon by Stephanie Meyer. I don’t hate the Twilight Saga like many people do. I believe that it is a very good series for the genre and age group for which it was written. However, Meyer should have worked a lot harder to make the lapse in Alice’s visions more believable.

Kill That Trend: Leather Pants

Some of my favorite authors are guilty of this next Fiction Faux Pas (Lora Leigh, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and J.R. Ward). I guess they just haven’t gotten the memo; leather suits are for bikers(and even then they look stupid), and comic book heroes. They are not appropriate for anyone else. Don’t believe me. Ask yourself this, how many people did you see decked out in leather, today? I bet you could count all of them on one hand, or none. And don’t give me that line about leather being functional for killing(it’s common in paranormal), because I can think of a dozen serial killers that wouldn’t be caught dead in leather pants.

I understand that this is fiction and I’m supposed to suspend my disbelief, but there is nothing that will bring reality crashing down on my head faster that a supermodel-sexy man dressed in leather. That doesn’t happen in real life, and my imagination can’t grasp that it would happen in any alternate universe, either. So please, please, please, stop putting your heroes in leather pants. Trust me when I say, this is providing readers with the wrong kind of entertainment.

Leather Jackets are okay.

Kill That Trend: Redheaded Heroines

I can’t be the only one who has picked up a new book only to say…not that again. There seem to be certain things that ALL romance writers use in their books, and I’m getting tired of it. This week we’re going to discuss redheaded heroines, and why we need to kill this trend.

First, let’s just start off by listing all the redhead heroines I can think of: Catherine Crawfield (Night Huntress), Riley Jenson (Riley Jenson Guardian Series), Jinx (Jinx), Nora Grey (Hush, Hush), Clary Fray (The Immortal Instruments), Bianca Olivier (Evernight), Kelley Winslow (Wonderous Strange), Jacinda (Firelight), Quincie Morris (Tantalize), Ellie (Angelfire), Teagan Mcneel (Angel Star), Gwen Skyhawk (The Darkest Whisper), Tayla Mancuso (Pleasure Unbound), Rachel Morgan (the hollows), and there are many, many more. A LOT MORE!

Redheads are beautiful, unique, and rare. Why shouldn’t we use them? Well, because they are RARE. Between 1-2% of the human population has red hair. When you compare that to the percentage of redheads that show up in fiction, we start to see a neglect towards the average woman. What is so wrong with having brown, black, blond, or  even grey hair? We’re supposed to be empowering women, but all we’re doing is creating characters that are very different from the average woman–your target audience. So please, let’s kill Redheaded Heroine trend.