I started reading romances at perhaps too early of an age. I think I was around 12 years old when I started to read books like the Fingerprint series by Melinda Metz which were primarily ‘tween’ books with a strong heroine but also introduced me to a romantic element. At this stage in my reading years I was reading books by JK Rowling, Philip Pullman, Ann Martin etc and it was when I was reading Melinda Metz’s series where my I really noticed the romantic element.
Initially I was attracted to supernatural and fantasy books so of course as soon as the romance was introduced to me I started to look into Romantic Suspense (around age 14) with books by Linda Howard, Jayne Ann Krentz, Gena Showalter etc. This then led me to read ‘traditional’ romances which were mainly the Harlequin books. And that’s it….I fell in love!
I am a quick reader which meant that I devoured the romance books from my local library extremely quickly and fast became bored with ‘prescriptive’ romance books. I became hardened and now it takes a lot for a romance book to surprise me and when it does…..
Fast forward a few years (more like 15!) and I have enjoyed books from most genres but they have ALWAYS had an element of romance!
I have read so many romance books and I have favourite authors but I have a hard time remembering either titles or author names which is why I love Goodreads so much as it helps me to keep track!
Now back to the subject (or title) at hand…why Romance?
I have thought about this and I think, for me, it is a major form of escapism which is why there are certain romance sub-genres which I try to stay clear of (SuperDark Romances). I want to read about the relationship between two people in love – I want to read the love grow and I want to read the Hero (H) and h (heroine) fight for each other and to develop both individually and as a couple AND I WANT THE Happy Ever After (HEA)!!!
More recently, I am craving to read about STRONG heroines who are not pushovers around the Heroes and I want to read Heroes, when they do make mistakes, to GROVEL and win their ways back into the heart of the heroine. Only a select few books (so far) have this amazing combination which is why I rate those books with 5 stars. Other than that I am a harsh critic of romances and it takes a lot for me to give 4 stars never mind 5.
I have high expectations of romances now because of my past reading experiences.
Also, real life never comes into my ratings or reviews. So what I mean is that if something seems ‘unrealistic’ in romances I never criticise it based on ‘realism’. I criticise on other factors like if there is any cheating involved, annoyance levels of main characters, HEAs etc
At the moment I am trying to come up with a straight forward rating system. That will be up shortly!