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Bored With Romance?

Thursday, May 25, 2006
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You know, yesterday evening, I went to the Borders superstore in Manchester. I usually go to the one in Leeds, but as it happens, I had some business in Manchester.

Anyhoo, I was looking through the romance section (thank God for Borders) and I was thinking that I’d pick out a couple of books by new-to-me authors.

I picked up a book by Jayne Anne Krentz, read the blurb, put it back. It sounded drier than a nuns c*nt.

I picked another JAK book, and put that back. I was falling asleep just reading the blurb.
Anyway, I picked up a couple more, and none of them sounded exciting, so they all went back on the shelf.

I decided that perhaps, I wasn’t in the right frame of mind for a JAK book, so I moved onto Connie Brockway (I know she’s friends with Elizabeth Bevarly, but I can’t hold that against her forever). I picked up one of her books, and it sounded interesting, so I sat down, cross-legged on the floor (get over it, it’s my thing) and skim-read the first few pages. Jesus, I swear there were tears in my eyes by the time I got to page twenty. Shit that book was boring (don’t ask me what it was called, because I can’t remember).

I tried a few more Brockway books, and none of them set the world alight for me, so I moved onto the next new-to-me author, who happened to be Jude Devereaux. I skim read about five of her books, but none of them took my fancy. I then tried Judith Ivory, and Elizabeth Lowell, but sadly, with the same results.

Then I got to Emma Holly’s Strange Attractions, (she’s not a new-to-me author) and as I read the first few pages, I got a lovely tingle down my back. Yes, at last, a book worth getting excited over.

I finally figured out what was wrong with the other books. There just wasn’t any chemistry there. In this case, I think it was me, not them. They were probably fab books, but unfortunately not for me. Not that day.

In another time and place, I may love JAK, or Brockway, or Devereaux, but last night, I needed something more, I didn’t want rakish lords, lovely ladies who lunch or vestal virgins who don’t. I wanted gritty, I wanted raw, I wanted sexual, and unfortunately, neither Brockway, nor JAK (bless their cottons) was going to do it for me last night, no matter how brilliant they both are.

Do you guys ever get like that? Or am I just getting bored with straight romance?


  • Tilly Greene
    May 25
    7:42 pm

    First…great choice with the Borders in Leeds, the single Watersones the city is now down to sucks!

    Sorry, was diverted for a moment. Okay, back to your question at hand…yes, I am in the same boat as you, have any asked myself the usual questions: Am I getting older and therefore my tastes in romance are changing? Am I bored with romance? Is it too much of the same old basic h/h tale? Could it be the authors are growing older with me but not with my tastes? I couldn’t tell you…but if its any consolation, you aren’t alone in your quest for a great romance like what we used to read.

    I still buy a few of my favorite authors [oddly enough they are mainly historical authors, they haven’t let me down half as much as the contemporary ones have] and will read their tales and think, yes, that was good…not great, but good.

    It is a sad state to be in, but then I figure it is time to jump out of my box and try a totally new author. No, it has only worked a handful of times but one such quest sent me to find Susan Andersens’ backlist and they were entertaining.

    Good luck on your hunt 🙂

    PS Recently found your Elizabeth Bevarly blog…dang, it made me very angry. I found Susan Johnson’s historical romance published by Playboy Publishing in a used bookshop in the middle of nowhere and at the time had to search out all her books. Thank you Playboy for publishing the Russian historical romance!


  • Valeen
    May 25
    7:46 pm

    I get this feeling once in awhile, more so lately I’m finding since I’ve started reading EC’s this year.

    I first read Emma Holly’s The Demon’s Daughter and I wasn’t able to finish it. Which made me a little leery of picking up another. I found Strange Attractions at the UBS so I bought it and loved it! Now I’ve been looking for more of hers that are similar.


  • Tammy
    May 25
    8:04 pm

    Hi Karen! Long time no post!

    I know exactly what you mean actually, I’ve been going through something similar for the past few months. The last romance I read was a Kinley McGregor historical, and it was certainly a wall banger. I’m reading a book by a new to me author called Shelley Bradley, and so far, it aint half bad.

    Good to see that you’re in fine fettle as usual, and the AAR mess was fun to read through! Great column too!


  • Anne
    May 25
    8:12 pm

    Damn it Karen. My TBB and TBR lists are too long to begin with. Now I’m going to have to try this one too. Man! LOL


  • Anne
    May 25
    8:14 pm

    Ha! My library had it. Hard to believe, but very cool. Less $$ I have to spend and that’s always a good thing. : )


  • Jennifer B.
    May 25
    9:18 pm

    Going through that myself right now. Exact same thing. Looking for edgy or dark. Staying way the hell away from love between married folk, innocents finding each other, blah, blah, blah.

    Just finished Marjorie M. Liu (two of hers) and starting on another JR Ward too-cool-for-words vampire book.


  • Dylan
    May 25
    9:54 pm

    Yeah I get like this sometimes, you’ve got to be in the mood to read some stuff, I guess…I hate it when you’ve heard such great things about a book and so you go to the bookstore looking for that book, you find it and read the back and you start to fall asleep halfway through the blurb…ugh!

    I’ll be back over here to see if you like the book or not…I’m adding Emma Holly to my TBR author list though, thanks for the pimp. I love chemistry.


  • sybil
    May 25
    10:25 pm

    Holly rocks and has enough different types of romances (although all pretty hawt) to get almost everyone.

    A few historicals, some paranormals, some erotica, some shorts in anthologies (try HOT BLOODED if you haven’t tried her and want to)… all great although the last were I put down and decided to try later.

    I like MacGregor and have the newest Sword of Darkness to try. It looks good.

    Brockway has some really good stories and some really eh that are pimped like shit. I could see you digging All Through the Night, check it out later ;). And do give Elizabeth Lowell a shot later as well, really Only Mine has an asshole alpha you might lurve.

    Or you will hate it and you can blame me. It’s all good *g*

    Enjoy your holly!


  • Sydney
    May 25
    11:33 pm

    So I’m not the only one this is happening to then. Same thing, I’m finding it hard to find a book that I really want to sink my teeth into lately. I read a lot and lately most books I start are just ending up back on the shelf when the first chapter bores me or just makes me shake my head. I did pick up Shelly Laurenston’s new one, The Distressing Damsel. I was in the mood for darker fantasy and she certainty doesn’t write fluffy stuff. I’ll have to check out the others mentioned here though, especially Emma Holly. I actually haven’t read anything by her yet.


  • Lauren Dane
    May 26
    1:32 am

    I love Emma Holly, in fact Menage was my first real erotica/romantica purchase and I found EC through a link on her website.

    But I wasn’t thrilled with Strange Attractions. I do have All U Can Eat in my TBR pile though.

    And some straight romances are really good still because they understand the need for chemistry and sexual attraction, even if it’s not as graphic in oh I don’t know, one of my books, LOL.

    Match Me If You Can is a book like that. Crusie’s books are that way too. Even Kim Harrison works that chemical tension stuff (she’s not straight romance really). But I do get bored unless there’s *something* there. Maybe I’m a perv, LOL.


  • solaine
    May 26
    1:42 am

    Girl, I left straight romance a while ago! Emma Holly’s sie actually introduced me to EC, I’d been reading Holly, Schone, Johnson and I found straight romance Bo-RING.

    Have you read Menage, Velvet Glove or The Top Of Her Game? Those are my faves.


  • Eve Vaughn
    May 26
    2:14 am

    I adore Emma Holly books. Her stuff is great. Courting Midnight is very good, but my favs from her are Beyond Tempation and Menage. Her stuff is filthy and I love it!!! I like JAK writing as Amanda Quick because I like the historicals, but other than that I don’t really read too many JAK books, I guess lack of time I guess. I do enjoy Jude Devereaux’s older stuff though haven’t read anything recent from her, again, lack of time.

    I think the problem with you Karen is that you haven’t completely embraced your inner slut and admitted that you like the spicy stuff best. *g*


  • Kat O+
    May 26
    2:56 am

    I love Emma Holly’s contemporaries but her paranormals leave me comatose! Have you tried JR Ward? Her second book, Lover Eternal has me hooked on a 6/4-part series. The heros are raw and gritty (though very alpha male – I don’t remember whether you actually like them like that).


  • Lori
    May 26
    3:47 am

    I was gonna comment, but I got stuck on Anne’s comment that she got it at her library.
    DAMN!!!!!!!! So unfair!!!!
    You live in the freakin’ Midwest and you can get Emma Holly. I’m just outside LA and I can’t even get goddamn Suzanne Brockmann at my library for crying out loud.

    Deep breaths, Lori. Ok, now I’m headed for the damn quarter jar. Shit.


  • Jaynie R
    May 26
    5:42 am

    Yup, I’m bored. I want the next Kelley Armstrong book damnit.

    I tried to buy a book they other night and nothing looked interesting.


  • Dawn
    May 26
    11:29 am

    Strange Attractions is a great book, K. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Although Menage was good, I didn’t think it was great (probably ‘cos it was written in 1st person).

    I’m reading some straight romance at the mo – just read some Desires and Sensations (Intimate Moments to you Americans) and I’m enjoying them. The authors are Merline Lovelace, Peggy Moreland and Carla Cassidy.


  • azteclady
    May 26
    12:12 pm

    I think that sometimes it is a mood thing–like if real life is really shitty, fluffy and light just won’t hold my interest (my brain keeps doing the, “In which universe do these people live?”)

    On the other hand, if it’s really dark (Linda Howard’s CRY NO MORE, or Kinsale’s FLOWERS FROM THE STORM, for example), and I’m having a rough time with other things, I may have to put it down for a while.

    But the bland, generic, cookie cutter romance? Haven’t read it in ages. It’s just so boring that my mind just can’t take it.


  • Jordan Summers
    May 26
    5:27 pm

    I love Emma Holly, but when I’m in the kind of mood you described I have to switch genres completely. I start reading mysteries, urban fantasies, action/adventures, or horror. That’s the only way I can go back to the romances, steamy or not. 😀


  • Amie Stuart
    May 26
    5:55 pm

    I love EH’s regencies but I couldn’t get into the one contemp I tried. I gave up on Deveraux about five books ago (sigh)and I’ve about given up on Howard, but SEP is always good for a romance (and one of the few just normal, not paranormal, or suspense etc romance authors I read).


  • kathyb
    May 27
    5:50 am

    Karen, I do the same thing when I buy books. Thank heavens for BAM and their Joe Muggs coffee shop. I simply gather all my selections, buy a cup of joe and then sit back and take my time reading and making my final selections.

    Right now I have this multiple personality thing going on. I go thru stages were I desperately want a hot hot erotic romance and then all of a sudden I want an extremely intense character driven story.

    I have found EC offers both and love it, but sometimes I want something that will drain me emotionally (Hey sometimes you just want a good cry!)

    If you are in the mood:

    A Place to Call Home by Deborah Smith
    Bear Mountain by Deborah Smith
    No Place like Home by Barbara Samuel
    In the Midnight Rain by Barbara Samuel


  • Stacy~
    May 28
    12:37 pm

    I have to agree with KathyB. I’ve also got the dual personality thing going on. Sometimes I just need an intense, emotional book that is more sensual than sexual. One I recently read and loved was Julianne McLean’s “My Own Private Hero”. The characters met under unusual circumstances and developed a bond, yet she was promised to someone else. Loved it.

    But then there are the times I need something hot, sexual, and no-holds barred. I love the dirty stuff too. I really enjoyed EH’s “All U Can Eat” and Karen I got “Strange Attractions” yesterday cuz of your rec. Right now though I’m reading the anth from Avon Red called “If this Bed Could Talk” and so far it meets the hot factor. “Unrequited” by Kimberly Dean is my fave of the 3 – I saved it for last.

    I guess I just like variety 😉


  • M.E Ellis
    May 28
    12:52 pm

    Same here too. I probably read too much, which is why nothing takes my fancy anymore.

    I bought four books yesterday and started reading one, you know, to get the feel of it. Couldn’t put it down for a good couple of hours, which is good for me, as lately I’ve been starting books then placing them back on the shelf.

    The Narrows by Michael Connelly.

    I love his work, so shouldn’t have been surprised that this book grabbed me as it did.



  • Satan's lil' helper!
    May 28
    1:31 pm

    If those Ellora’s Cave books ever become widely available in print, in the bookstore I’m going to be all over that stuff, cause I’m pretty bored with straight romance.

    However, I’ve got a big heart on for Lucy Monroe’s Harlequin Presents. They’re the only series books I read. I like ’em cause you can read one in an afternoon and the drama really has to be developed expertly in those short books. Also, they’re really over-the-top Romantic.


  • Lyn Cash
    May 29
    5:15 pm

    Enjoy your holiday, Karen. When you get back, check out “Repo Chick Blues” by Tracy Sharp (ebook through Liquid Silver Books) – I read this one in its first draft and enjoyed it. I blogged about her on May 2oth (title of post was: Spring Cleaning) if that helps.


  • Anonymous
    June 2
    11:17 pm

    Thanks, Karen for posting about this book 🙂 Fortunately my library had it in so I was able to give it a try right away. Soooo glad I read your blog as I ended up finding a book I really enjoyed.



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