For What It's Worth

For What It's Worth

Friday, November 8, 2013

Reader ramblings…Confessions of a cold hearted blogger

I am on angst overload when it comes to reading these days. Am I the only one?

When I first started reading romance - contemporary, historical, PNR etc, I could not get enough of the tortured hero and the journey to his HEA. The more tormented the better. He’s so broken…let me fix you! The romantic in me loved how true love could heal a tormented soul. Logic need not apply – LOVE CURES EVERYTHING.

But now….I just can’t. Please stop with all the abuse/rapes/PTSD/addictions/death. I feel like the authors are in a competition to out-torture their heroes/heroines. Does every single character need to be damaged or have a disorder to be interesting?

I think a lot of my problem stems from the fact that I don’t think these situations are handled with the care they deserve. I’ve had friends that suffered from child abuse, domestic violence and were gang raped so maybe I’m overly sensitive to the topic. You can’t (IMO) talk about a soldier coming home with PTSD and just have it go away because he’s sleeping with a girl who makes him all warm and fuzzy. Same with rape. Don’t get me wrong. I know that one person can make a difference in your life. Meeting someone (friend or lover), who supports you, can give you that push to get the help you need and change everything for the better but it's still a lot of hard work.

When you introduce a subject like that you need to commit to it. Not just write about how the characters have the hottest sex of their lives – and it is ALWAYS the hottest sex of their lives – and then throw in the obligatory counseling in the last 50 or so pages.

Sure they struggle throughout the book but I’m just not feeling it anymore. I almost glaze over when I hear the hero start with “I’m too damaged – she’s a commitment kind of girl and I can’t give her that.” Yet….he has no problem giving her an orgasm up against a wall in a hallway and leaving her with her underwear wrapped around her knees as he walks away. Because sex would be wrong and disrespectful – but an orgasm JUST for her - is ok because it pleases her/he gets to see what she looks like at that moment/he gets to hear her scream his name. How noble. Honestly, I kind of liked this the first one or two times I read it but no more. If you don't think you are good enough either make yourself good enough or walk away.

It also seems that the most damaged boys get the biggest build up in a series, often spread out over several books, so when they finally get their own book their problems just pile up into this epic level of angst and I just don't care anymore. Do you need even MORE problems?? And a girl with problems??

So what happened to me that I’m completely insensitive to other people’s suffering now? Even if they are fictional I should feel something right? I don’t feel the empathy when reading about a characters obvious despair and journey to healing like I know I should.

Is it because these stories, especially with New Adult, are what’s popular right now and like all tropes you burn out after reading too much of it? Is it because the sex seems to take over the story?

I still enjoy gritty/angsty stories and characters. And when it’s done right it can be amazing. Easy/Between the Lines by Tamarra Webber, The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay, Cora Carmack’s Losing It series, Laura Florand’s chocolate series, The Downside Ghost series by Stacia Kane, Split & Chasing Shadows by Swati Avasthi, Tom Leveen and Cara McKenna's novels are all good examples of books with abuse/tortured heroes/addiction/sex that don't feel the need to beat the reader over the head with it or gloss over the issue with amazing sex.

But what other readers see as gut wrenching, emotional reads leave me feeling cold. It seems more like this boy is damaged so that = auto swoon and I just don’t feel that way anymore.

I feel completely heartless when I finish one of these books and go to rate it on Goodreads. I’m ready to post my review and then see how everyone bawled their eyes out over the book and I’m all *backs away slowly from Goodreads without saying what I really think* because I mean I’m rating a book about rape or child abuse two stars? I’m such a bitch! I have no soul!!

I started thinking back to the angsty books I read several years ago and they have one thing in common. Even though the heroes/heroines were damaged they wanted something better once they met their one and only. They struggled for it, made mistakes, but strived to be better. It seems now everything is all “I’m not worthy" with lots of self pitying whining (between hot sex of course). Girls who have a traumatic experience walk around for years not talking to or dating anyone, then all of a sudden find a guy that turns them on and poof! fixed. Saying how hard it is for them & that it’s not the sex is just lip service – if you take away that hot sex there’s no resolution or healing for the person in most of these stories.

One of my all time favorite damaged heroes is Zsadist from The Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward. Holy crap was he damaged and it took him SO long just to even be touched. But he did it for Bella. He humbled himself and sought help. Even better is that true love didn’t solve everything in their case. He still to this day in the series struggles to overcome his past and make his marriage work.

Ironically, The BDB series is also the one that sort of burned me out on angsty heroes. The days of the powerful vampire warriors overcoming and beating down their pasts are over and in their place is a lot of whining and the I’m not worthy crap. Now they are ALL tortured. How about some variety??

Does anyone else feel like this or is it just me? Do you feel guilty if you don’t feel for a protagonist that has suffered a traumatic incident?

What author/books get it right? Is there another type of trope or trend that has you saying no…more...please!


17339214I have high hopes for Sex & Violence by Carrie Mesrobian soon. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this one and two of my favorite bloggers – Wendy from The Midnight Garden and Jen from YA Romantics loved it. It appears to be quite raw and honest to the topic it’s tackling. *crosses fingers*

P.S. This is just MY opinion. Not a slam on any genre or anyone who does enjoy reading any of the above. Reading is a very personal experience and the same thing I swoon over in one book will make me throw it across the room with another. This time next year I may write a post begging for more angst lol I never did come around on the love triangle so I doubt it but you never know!

46 comments:

  1. I've turned to fun, lighthearted books lately. I have a very hard time even picking up a book where there's too much angst or drama or damage. If I'm going to read about a tortured bad boy, there HAS to be levity in the story and he can't be TOO damaged or I'm done. I think there's just been such a glut of those types of books lately that it's overwhelming and, thus, numbing. Read some palate cleansers -- maybe that will help!

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    1. I do mix up my reading so that helps but I think these type of books are the most recommended/hyped lately and make up the most of the .99 Kindle deals so I cave hoping this one will be different. lol

      I think the problem for me at this point is they feel like "insert trauma/disorder here" & otherwise are all the exact same story.

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  2. Preach it and totally agree with you on these angsty boys who give the O but never seem to be really fixed. I agree with those books posted above and those are really good. Yeah I think that I am getting tired of the trope. Oh adds sex and violence to the pile.

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    1. I haven't too read many angsty books lately. I'm taking a gamble on Foreplay because everyone says it's good. The one that pushed me over the edge was Crash Into You. I know everyone adores it but it was just too much angst for me.

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    2. That's SO interesting because the book I was thining of while I was reading your post was "Pushing the Limits". It just was not for me at all. And all of your points apply to it. You know me, and I prefer happy books with nice guys :))

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  3. I don't think I know a person who's been in any of those situations, at least not that I'm aware of, but I still get pretty sensitive about the subject. I hate when some authors use rape or abuse just for drama, like in the manga series Fushigi Yugi, rape was used for drama, there was no point of adding it in there, highly unnecessary, but it was there. So if I get irritated by authors who do that, then I can see why it bothers people probably more, who have been in these situations or know people who have.

    These days I feel like an alien considering my preference with books. I remember when last year New Adult books were well... new, but now they're everywhere, same with the tortured hero books and most of them are 18+, I'm getting sick of them, even though I haven't even read many. My problem is that (I'll admit it, despite how embarrassing it is to admit it, I've already done that on a comment on YA Romantics' review of the book Sex & Violence), these kind of topics scare me, I know that they happen in real life, but I'd rather not bawl my eyes out through most of the story, plus I don't want to read a story where the topics isn't done right. Ok, I know that doesn't make sense because they're both different things, which basically means that I don't want to read them at all. but there are a few exceptions, there have been for a while. After seeing what other bloggers are saying on The Sea of Tranquility and Sex & Violence, I'm thinking of actually trying to read out of my comfort zone, not yet, maybe at the end of the month, next month, or maybe next year, I've already put it off long enough anyways.

    What I'm really annoyed of (and why I don't read 95% of the New Adult and contemporary/paranormal romance books out there is because sex always dominates the story, I'm looking for an actual story where something happens, not one where the main characters fall in love in the first few chapters and then have sex for so many pages, that's not what I call an entertaining book. Which is also why I stick to cute meaningful romances like; Anna and the French Kiss, Catching Jordan. And mostly mystery, fantasy and urban fantasy novels. That way I actually enjoy the story instead of yelling at the main characters most of the time. Apparently paranormal novels have too much lust in them these days. I read Flight by Alyssa Rose Ivy last year and it was so not what was expecting, in a bad way. I was expecting a book about a strong minded girl that wouldn't jump at the chance of dating a hot guy so quickly, and I was hoping for lots of action, but what I got instead was a book where the girl falls for the guy right away, basically lust at first sight, even though she kept saying that she wasn't in love with him. She didn't know anything about him and vice versa. If this is not lust then I don't know what is. And there wasn't much action either, which is why I'm sticking to urban fantasies, at least then romance isn't the major story and the heroine is actually useful. I'm still going to finish reading this series and am currently reading Focus, but I've been reading it since the summer, but I'm so bored and not even halfway through it yet, I'm seriously considering DNFing it. The only thing good about that series are Aly's friends and the book covers of the first two books.

    Another thing that really irritates me (and I've mentioned it on a few other blogs before) is that many NA covers look similar, there are some NAs that I can't tell that they're from different authors and series because the style is so similar. That's one of the reasons why YA novels are more interesting, since they have really creative covers. Although I really like the UK cover of Wait for You, since it's different than the other NA covers out there.

    I think might have gone a bit off topic here, and rambled, sorry about that, I get carried away sometimes.


    -Nazish @ Nazish Reads

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    1. lol You're on a roll! and bring up great points.

      There's nothing wrong with wanting to read something happy or at least about characters that aren't so dysfunctional. I like all kinds of books but sometimes I just want to read to escape and feel happy. Reality is hard enough.

      I agree with you about sex taking over the whole story. The characters SAY it's not the sex - it's their sparkling personality and friendship - blah blah blah but then proceed to have hot sex for page after page so it's hard for me to buy into that.

      I did really enjoy The Sea of Tranquility but I will warn you that it was intense so read it when you're ready for that sort of thing lol

      And YES about the covers! I can't even tell them apart anymore. I'll have to check out the Wait for You cover - btw I enjoyed that one!

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  4. *thumbs up* Like Julie said, preach it girl! I like how you ended the post ;-)

    I'm glad you publish it, I totally agree with you even as you know, I haven't read many books like this but it seems that is everywhere I read and turn around...same topic and same everything, over and over.

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  5. You shouldn't feel guilty. You just know what's it's really like. I feel ya. And I hear ya, I hate when the "right person" comes along and everything melts away. Such bs.

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    1. I also think it's because a lot of these stories are so interchangeable now. They are kind of running together. But that happens with any trend so it shall pass.

      But I do know that the authors put their heart and soul into these books and characters so I still feel a little guilty when I roll my eyes at something I know I should care about.

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  6. Awesome post.- I wish I had an awesome comment to go with it.

    I did love Z too, he was damaged, dang he was f:ed up. And there it worked. Now it just feels like they thrown it in and it does not mean a thing

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    1. Poor Z :-( I just loved how slowly that story unraveled and what he had to go through to deal with that trauma. That's kind of the gold standard for angst for me. It was done so well and tastefully even though it was in a paranormal world.

      Now everyone in that series is raped or damaged in some way. Rhage was damaged too in a way but his story was another one that didn't just drag down into a pit of despair.

      I can't tell if it's because I read too much - the stories are so similar - I'm too sensitive about it because I've known people with these issues and hot sex only made it worse or maybe it's just not for me anymore.


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  7. I could not agree with you more. Enough with all the tortured characters please. There really are people with a happy childhood out there too.

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    1. It seems to me that there are SO many different experiences and not all of us come from traumatic pasts. There have got to be other ways to tell a story.

      But if you are going to tackle those subjects have some respect towards it. ya know? It can't just be "traumatic incident mad libs" Insert drama but tell same story.

      I don't mind angst - just tell it in a new non oversexed way.

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  8. I think the reasons you stated above are why I don't particularly love the romance genre. Every guy is damaged and needs the girl to "Fix" him and blah I just can't stand that. Or even worse the guy is totally digging the girl and thinks he is so unworthy of her yet pages and pages are spent with him pining for her and being jealous of every other guy she is with. Either nut up or shut up already. Anyway....great post!

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    1. "Either nut up or shut up already"

      LMAO yes - this!! It's just 200+ pages of I'm not worthy but I want to see what she looks like orgasming so I'll sort of have sex with her - then I'll leave her stranded - but she can't date anyone else and move on.

      After a while I'm just like I hate you. I don't' care what your problem is lol

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  9. Great post. I know that not all books are going to be realistic, especially when it comes to romance. Sometimes you just want to say "to hell with reality" and swoon over a wonderful couple. However, I completely understand what you mean about the "broken" characters who seem to be fine as soon as they find someone they are attracted to and have sex. I haven't really read much NA, but reading a lot of the reviews is a bit tiring...they just all sound the same. I think if you're going to touch on serious topics like rape and abuse, you have to make them realistic and not just "it all goes away with true love" because that's not fair.

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    1. I miss the swoony romances that were FUN.

      That's why I mentioned Laura Florand's Chocolate series. Her heroes are alpha and broody - they have issues lol but she writes in a way that takes you on a journey that feels whimsical. I get to escape into a world of food, travel and romance.

      There seems to be a lack of variety so everything just starts sounding the same after awhile.

      I don't think every book that tackles a serious issue has to deep or not have romance but I don't think you do it justice by throwing the "real" work on only at the end.

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  10. I think that is why I don't do many contemp romances. I space them out and so I don't get too burned out... but there are the same tropes in the PNR/UF as well. I think the paranormal has a way of distracting me from some of these. However, I agree with you that there is just too much out there about the damaged person. We are all damaged in our own way, but some of those things are quite serious. I don't like them in a story and then not really deal with it. I sort of just read one but the reason it didn't bother me is because it wasn't all roses and sunshine for the person hurt and the one that did the hurting. It was a truce, but an unstable truce. I can handle that, it feels at least a bit more real even though I felt things just rounded out too easily. I still got my HEA. I admit, I do want those in the end.

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  11. Karen I've been feeling the same way lately. I guess that's why I stopped reading for Three Months with a whole load of books waiting for me now in December.

    I do enjoy my tortured heroes but yes, sometimes they just get out played. I recently finished Julia Quinn's latest release and I just didn't like it as much as I thought I would. And I love her work! My review will not make some people happy but it wasn't a negative review, it just has a list of what I didn't like in the story.

    And feeling guilty for not being sympathetic towards a torture hero doesn't cross in my mind. If I don't feel bad for them then I just don't feel bad, that's it. Sure I know I'm supposed to but when you see/ read it all the time it gets boring.

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  12. Yessssss! You said everything I've been thinking!

    "I feel like the authors are in a competition to out-torture their heroes/heroines. Does every single character need to be damaged or have a disorder to be interesting?" <----this is why I've been trying to step away from a lot of NA (not that this is the only category where that happens) b/c I'm tired of so much of this!

    But I also feel this way about the tattooed, hot bad boy. Every guy doesn't have to be ripped. And every guy with tattoos isn't a bad boy. My husband has several (piercings too) and he's the best guy in the world. I know I'm getting off topic, but everything is soooo cliche.

    Excellent post, Karen.

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    1. I think every genre has it's trope and there are always trends that get overdone. Trilogies/dystopian/love triangles etc but I think this one bothers me more because it's based on something real. I feel a little manipulated at times. Like the traumatic event IS the character - not something that happened to them. Does that make sense??

      I didn't have a thrilling childhood but it didn't shape every single day of my life. I had fun too! I just feel like there are SO many stories to be told but authors focus on a small fraction of them.

      We talked about the ripped ab guys this morning and yeah - it's annoying. I see more "non perfect" heroines but now more perfect bad boy guys.

      I'm finding the best stories are novellas these days. Maybe because they don't have time to spin the drama out of control.

      I wonder if we just read too much lol When you read a few dozen books a year - you don't even notice these things. But 200?? It gets old.

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  13. This is probably one of my biggest problems with the contemporary romance genre. Although I have been embracing it far more this year, the majority of the titles that have worked for me have been less about tortured characters and issue-ridden relationships, and more in the vein of light-hearted fun weekend reads. Drama is something I'm especially not keen on. And I agree with you that there are perhaps too many stories recycling the same ideas over and over now. Like all good things, the damaged hero theme can lose its shine. And I think it already has for a lot of us. This is a really interesting post, Karen!

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    1. I don't even mind that they are dark but they are all the same. Or at least it feels that way to me. And why can't there be a few light hearted ones once in awhile? Not every person has a tortured past.

      It seems like there are so many different ways to explore this genre but they just don't.

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  14. It's like you just typed out all of my own thoughts! I actually haven't ever really loved the books with high angst, but I think the high angst romances are the ones that really bother me. I just don't really feel them. I never really did. I also liked The Sea of Tranquility but that's not really based on sex at all. And while there's angst it's not so over the top. Most of them you named I haven't read, I stay away from NA romance most of the time. But if I read a review and it says low angst, I'm definitely more likely to pick it up. Also, I don't like that NA books are now considered angsty, drama filled romances. There are lots that aren't like that, but it's like they are overlooked or something. I guess that's a different rant.
    And yes, I hate it when I have a bad rating for a book that had some of the bad stuff in it (rape, ptsd, etc) and everyone else is all crazy emotional and I want to throw it against the wall. Fortunately I just don't finish them most of the time and it saves me the trouble of reviewing it.
    Great discussion!

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    1. That's why I enjoyed the Sea of Tranquility. There is romance but it's not the only thing the story was about. And the relationship moved slowly and helped change them. In a good way.

      It just seems most books just pile it on - trauma after trauma - only to stop for sex. I don't mind any of these things in a book - I would just like more balance I guess.

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  15. Finally, I thought I was alone in this. I do very few NA/Contemporary, I'm very picky. Almost every books sounds the same, just different names. If I see the word virgin, billionaire/millionaire, I skip the blurbs completely. I also don't read books about child abuse or rape, although I never have experienced any, thank you God, I don't want to read about them. I agree 100% with you on this and I also loved Sea of Tranquillity and Easy, they were excellent. I would rather do funny or heartwarming when I read NA, How My summer went up in flames or The Year of Luminous Love. Give me a Paranormal/Urban Fantasy any day, bad vamps being my favorite. I guess that is what reading is all about, it's very personal and that old saying cones to mind, Two people never read the same book. I am curious to see what the next big wave of reading brings, the next hot topic. Regardless, I have to say, I'm thankful for the choice to read whatever my little heart desires!!

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    1. Exactly. I'm actually starting to read the same scenes in different books and some authors with series are repeating the same plot over and over, just with different characters.

      it seems like the character was abused and that's all you're supposed to need to know to fall in love with them.

      Thanks for the book suggestions. It's hard to find light hearted these days.

      I don't mind issue or dark books. I just like the subject to be treated with respect and I would like some variety. All of the stories are starting to run together for me now.

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  16. Finally, I thought I was alone in this. I do very few NA/Contemporary, I'm very picky. Almost every books sounds the same, just different names. If I see the word virgin, billionaire/millionaire, I skip the blurbs completely. I also don't read books about child abuse or rape, although I never have experienced any, thank you God, I don't want to read about them. I agree 100% with you on this and I also loved Sea of Tranquillity and Easy, they were excellent. I would rather do funny or heartwarming when I read NA, How My summer went up in flames or The Year of Luminous Love. Give me a Paranormal/Urban Fantasy any day, bad vamps being my favorite. I guess that is what reading is all about, it's very personal and that old saying cones to mind, Two people never read the same book. I am curious to see what the next big wave of reading brings, the next hot topic. Regardless, I have to say, I'm thankful for the choice to read whatever my little heart desires!!

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  17. I think the biggest problem with NA/YA anymore is that authors often use similar traumatic situations as shorthand for angst and trauma in one's life. There's often a lack of personalization to the tropes, and it makes you feel as though it's not worth connecting with because it feels overdone and shallow. There's also a problem with them only using certain tropes as a way to make a character 'damaged'. If we only see a character be 'damaged' in two or three ways, those start getting normalized and we get numbed to that kind of behavior.

    I think it would also help if the characters would have different backgrounds. Non-upper/upper-middle class. Non-white. Non-heterosexual. Non-cisgender. Non-Christian/unstated. All too often we get the idea that traumatized characters in these situations are from very specific situations that never get changed, so all of the stories seem the same. I think your analysis is totally valid - and that's why books like EASY stand out as being good. They actually make the subject have depth and analyze it. They aren't about using narrative shorthand, but about making the narrative complex and fleshed out. I think everyone that likes angsty characters wants that scenario - otherwise, it gets old for us and doesn't do the hard topics justice at all.

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    1. "If we only see a character be 'damaged' in two or three ways, those start getting normalized and we get numbed to that kind of behavior."

      "I think it would also help if the characters would have different backgrounds. Non-upper/upper-middle class. Non-white. Non-heterosexual. Non-cisgender. Non-Christian/unstated. All too often we get the idea that traumatized characters in these situations are from very specific situations that never get changed, so all of the stories seem the same."

      YES!!! John you expressed all of this better than me.

      It's not that I hate angst in general but it seems to be used as a way to make me connect with a character instantly rather than developing them into anything more complex than a disorder.

      Also the story themes are all the same!!

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  18. Great post. I think what these books neglect to mention is that one person will never cure you and the road to recover is never as easy as these books make out. I read a book lately (Sia) where the MC's mother was an alcoholic and due to a few wise words from the MC and one stay in rehab, there was a magical cure. It made me so mad. If someone has issues, the road back is one step forward and three steps backward which is never reflected.
    And finally, Sex and Violence is great, I loved it! This book does show that one person won't cure and there is no one riding in on a white horse with a magical cure for the MC. He has to take the long painful road to recovery himself.

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    1. I think because I know people who have gone through these things in real life it just troubles me to have the insta-love solution.

      The author sends them to therapy but as you said - it's a one shot process. I know people like me now! Yay - I'm cured. It's never that easy. They SAY it's not that easy but the story itself doesn't reflect that.

      I can't wait to read Sex & Violence. It sounds like exactly what I'm looking for.

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  19. I could not agree more with you and the others that have already commented. I have gotten to the point that now when I get to GR and see all others raving about the book I had a hard time digesting, I simply mark it as read. Love is wonderful and can make life better, but even in the fictional world it can't solve everything.

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    1. That's what I do now. I finish the book thinking how horrible things were handled and go to goodreads and it's all 5 stars - best book ever! and I just either mark read or give a star rating with no explanation.

      These stories have become so interchangeable that a friend has asked what I thought of a few books I marked read on GR and I don't even remember reading them.

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  20. LOL -- you are one of the the sweetest people I know, not a heartless person at all!

    This is one of the reasons I've been picky about NA -- I love characters who are flawed and realistic, but I agree with you that if a writer wants to write a character who's suffered physical or emotional trauma, they should not do so for shock value or as a plot device. A person who's been through something traumatic may need to spend some time on recovery and self-care and reach a more stable emotional state before they head into a brand-new relationship. I worry that some of these stories romanticize men (and I guess also women) who have issues with anger, substance abuse, etc.

    Great post :)

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    1. I agree - a person can help you but it's hard work anyway and as someone mentioned above, it doesn't always last. It usually takes a few tries before treatment (for anything) works.

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  21. I will say, as someone who has personal experience with a lot of those touchy topics BUT WHO ALSO LOVES ROMANCE NOVELS, I can be a little conflicted when they appear. But the unrealistic depiction of them leaves me really cold every single time. And I hate those J. Lynn-style pseudo-alpha male leads who commit sexual assault but it doesn't count as assault because the author says it doesn't.

    Great post.

    Kate @ The Midnight Garden

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    1. That's exactly the type of thing I'm talking about. Especially when you're dealing with girls and traumatic pasts. They just come barreling in with borderline abusive behavior but "her body betrays her" and it's considered hot and a magical cure.

      I did like J. Lynn's Wait for You. The guy was a player at first but SO nice and patient. But that's not the norm.

      I'm all for romance and I'm willing to let some things go for the sake of a HEA but don't sweep everything under the rug with the sex.

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  22. I've only tried the one NA so far, and that was after a lot of hesitation! But you were the one who told me I would be ok with Losing it, and I was :) I still hold that pre-conception that NA are all like you described, and I was glad Losing It wasn't like that. But when I put that in my review for the book, a lot of people told me they disagreed with this stereotype. I don't know what to think. I think it's something I will just have to respectfully disagree with them on, because when I read the back covers, and then read posts like yours, I can't help but shy away from this type of story.

    And you aren't heartless because you don't like when it isn't done well. I think there are books that deal with heavy issues that can help people. But when everything is magically improved with sex, I'm not sure that is helpful.

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  23. I don't think you're cold and heartless, just tired of authors not stepping up to the plate and giving their heroes the love & care they deserve. It's disrespectful to both the characters and the readers, and I grew tired of it as well. I think that's one of the reasons I stopped reading these books, as I kept being disappointed and/or disgusted by the easy fix. Hope your next read lives up to expectations!

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  24. I agree with a lot of the points you made. Reading is an escape. The world is already this ginormous effing mess, and reading fictional novels based on real-life problems can often be too much. Don't get me wrong, I love a good gritty tale but in doses. Basically two a year.

    Can't the author just cut the protagonist a break? Seriously?

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  25. We are in such agreement with the few NA titles that you mention above that I really think I have to check out Zhadist's story sometime. I read the first BDB books and liked them well enough, but wasn't in love--but I did hear that Z had an upcoming story and was curious to check it out! Never got around to it, but sounds like I should.

    I often have this same reaction--not caring as much about a protagonist as a lot of friends do. It's hard going into a book if it's already received a lot of praise, because I think expectations sometime come into play, too. I'm pretty good about blocking out hype, but sometimes I do think that what might've been an "oh, that was all right, 3 stars!" book turns into a "Oh come on, REALLY?" two stars book. That might've been the case for me with HOW TO LOVE, which everyone on the planet loves except for me and like 2 other people.

    *whispers* Or maybe WE are just right. :D

    I hope you enjoy SEX & VIOLENCE. Now I'm nervous! As I was telling you, it's not really a book that's going to keep you up late at night wringing your hands or anything, but it is a very well-written, compelling character-driven story.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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  26. What an amazing, well thought out and articulate post. I don't read a lot of books like that as it is...but yeah, I get tired of even *hearing* that bs spout from a guy or a girl. You've been hurt before? Grow up! Everyone has! Part of me thinks it's b/c I'm old now and have no patience for the issues I did once when I was younger.

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  27. This happened with me when reading the Dark-Hunter series. It's a series of romance novels with heroes and heroines all with tortured pasts and the more mysterious or hotter the guy the more tortured he was. I loved the books when they were all new and fresh to me and other books in the genre as well but then I of course got bored with it since they all follow the same pattern. It's like a formula - tortured hero + love interest who is different = Happily Ever After. And if the book follows a formula like that you start ignoring all those pieces and focus on everything else and there is usually nothing else in the story that provides substance and so you realise the story is subpar and therefore the book gets an average/below average rating. I don't think you are cold or jaded I think you have standards, you want great story and writing and to have a great story a novel needs to be made up of more then the tortured hero + unique love interest = HEA to be great. As you say authors can't just give a character something to angst about without properly exploring it and making it realistic which is why when an author does it RIGHT you tend to love the story. I don't read a lot of stories with angst but I have loved The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride and Pushing the Limit by Katie McGarry. I thought the subject matters in those books were handled realistically and with respect.

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    1. I wonder if we just read too much of the same things. I remember LOVING those kinds of books but now I think the same as you do. Same story - new names.

      I'll have to check out The Tension of Opposites and I agree about PtL although I thought Crash Into You was all the things I hate lol

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