Thursday, June 7, 2018

Guilty Pleasures in reading by Harlie Williams #amreading #sweetromance @HarlequinBooks @entangledpub

Guilty pleasures.  What is a guilty pleasure?  According to the dictionary, it is defined as a something pleasurable that induces a usually minor feeling of guilt.  Unfortunately for me, I don't feel guilty when it comes to my reading.  

As most know, I don't read anything taboo/kinky/hardcore erotic anymore.  I've been reading and reviewing books for over 10 years now, and my tastes have changed.  I could blame it on the book FSOG, the market being over saturated with them or certain publishers that put out books that had their authors put a sex scene in before the end of chapter 1.  But honestly, what I like to read are well written, character driven, realistic plots and above all, the HEA.  I don't read anything that deals with cheating/cheaters, triangles or the too stupid to live heroines.  

I love a good trope.  Yes, I'm a category/trope reader.  Always have been and I'm proud of it.  When I used to read through the slush pile at Entangled, I would always indict the tropes and some of them had at least two or three tropes going.  Catnip to me.  Bring it on.  The more the better.  

So I would like to share with some of my "guilty pleasures" when it comes to reading.  

1.  Sheiks.  I blame Harlequin Presents authors for this one.  I've been reading that line for like ever and I still can't get enough.  Sure, most feminists would shout in my face at everything that is wrong with them but I just love them.

2.  Sweet Romance.  I love it sweet.  Kissing and closed door/implied sex.  I have a mind and I can imagine A LOT.  Some of the best lines that I have read are Entangled's Bliss and Harlequin's Heartwarming.  Both lines are more character driven with realistic plots that I can get behind.

3.  Thrillers.  John Grisham, Sandra Brown, Tom Clancy and Lisa Scottoline are a few of my favorites.  I love the pacing, the OMG moments and I don't need the romance for it to be a great book.

4.  Royals.  Yes, I know.  The market is over saturated with these because of the royal wedding.  However, since Cinderella is my favorite princess, I still love the magic of true love in a fairytale kingdom.  Don't judge.

5.  Duets.  This is becoming a thing among authors and I LOVE it.  I know going in that the HEA will be in the second book and it's all good.  In fact, when an author promotes the duet, I usually wait to buy until the conclusion is done and then I binge read them.  And the great thing about this, the second book is usually less than a month away.  

So there you have it.  My guilty pleasures in reading.  Do I still read and review the other stuff?  Sure, but not as much.  I like it spicy but I don't need the sex on every other page.  Ellora's Cave cured me of that kind of reading.  

So what are your guilty pleasures in reading?  Let me know.

Until next month...


Tina Donahue said...

Ellora's Cave had some damn good books and great authors. Erotic romances are no different than sweet romances except there is explicit sex. I believe the 'erotic' books you don't like are actually erotica, meaning, the sexual journey is the be all and end all (sex scene in first chapter). It's not about the relationship, romance, characters, etc., but about the sex (think Story of O). Ellora's Cave had a line of erotica, but by no means was that their entire catalog. It was one small subgenre.

I love sci-fi distopian, but I've read some pretty crappy ones. That doesn't mean all sci-fi distopian books or those by a certain publishing house are bad. It's the author's presentation of the story that falls short for some. I know The Hunger Games was hugely popular and that's why I decided to read the books. Actually, I looked forward to them because the premise is something I'm interested in (a corrupt gov screwing over its people). That said, I found the heroine whiny and not at all believable. She was fighting for her life but seemed more concerned about her makeup and costume in one scene. SMH. I know teenagers' brains haven't yet developed fully, but when I was that age, I doubt makeup or a costume would have garnered my attention when my very existence was at stake.

I've read some of those lines you mentioned and I simply couldn't get into them at all. Different strokes. That doesn't mean the stories were bad. They just weren't for me.

And I don't get the erotic romance bashing that seems to be so popular now. Sex is a natural part of life. America seems to have a problem with reality. Could be the Puritan influence. Europe has a much healthier take on human sexuality.

Fiona McGier said...

Laurell Hamilton, who writes the Anita Black books (don't get me started! Good until she started having sex on every page, with multiple men, plus an emu required to "get her off!" The formerly good plots devolved into "filler" between sex scenes.) Anyway, she's been quoted as saying when she tours in the USA, they complain to her that she writes too much sex in her books. When she tours in England, they complain that she puts too much violence in her books. Guess you can tell what a country values by what it likes to read, eh?

I don't write "sweet" romance, because I honestly don't remember a time when I didn't think about sex all the time. Also, my mom used to drop-kick romance books across the room, yelling at the author, "All that reading, all that build-up, and NO SEX? I'll never read your crap again!" Mom was kind of a feisty woman. I like to think I take after her. LOL!

So I write books with sex in them. Too much for people in my town, who'd burn crosses on my lawn, if they knew. Not enough for people like my brother and his wife, who sniff and say I write "vanilla." So I don't worry about whom I'm pleasing. That's probably a big part of why my books don't sell that well. I write what my muse gives me, and what I like to read. Recently I've reread some of my books, and thoroughly enjoyed them. Then I smiled, remembering that "I wrote that! Mom would be so proud!"

I do enjoy reading sci-fi, and I really wish my brain would give me some good plots in that genre, but alas, not yet. So I continue to write romance because that's what roils around in my brain all the time. It's a relief to get each group of characters to be quiet...until the next group starts yelling their life stories at me. Yes, my head is kind of a crowded place. I'm trying to figure out how to work that into a book.

Harlie Williams said...

@tina @Fiona

I didn't mean to sound like I was bashing EC. I found a lot of authors from that publisher that I still read today. For me, its the constant sex for sex sakes. I love a good dirty talking, filthy minded hero that just takes from the heroine. I can think of a couple of authors right now that I read just for that. But my tastes have changed. I've read both of you and love your books. But it's not on every other page either.

@Tina Yes, Europe is very different when it comes to sex. I'm just a more private person when it comes to that. My take is I don't peak in your bedroom, so don't peak in mine. I've never read The Hunger Games or watched the movies. My husband loved the movies. Go figure.

As for everything else...yes, to each his own. but I can say this, with all the sex scandals that have happened in the last 30 years, sex isn't closed door anymore. I think that's the reason why I love it sweet when I read. Hell, I hear about sex on the 6 o'clock news. ;)