I’ve been reading a lot of Book Bub blurbs and sample chapters on Amazon, and I’m starting to worry about the romance genre. It seems to be falling into specific subgenres, which is nothing new, but these new subgenres are . . . perplexing? Let me be more specific.
Women who have shattering orgasms with incredibly good-looking athletes (I keep thinking, steroids, don’t those affect performance?), women who go to a small town on the beach (are there small towns on beaches? Don’t those fill up with rich people pretty fast?) to save a bakery or a bed-and-breakfast (there’s my idea of hell, saving a bed-and-breakfast) and have shattering orgasms with local law enforcement/bartenders/firefighters/etc, women who discover their dates are shapeshifters, presumably NOT while have shattering orgasms (and not just wolves; I’ve seen blurbs for polar bears and honey badgers which I though was ridiculous until I thought of some of the guys in my past and then the whole secret-honey-badger thing made sense), and that’s before we get to the can-he-protect-her-while-giving-her-shattering-orgasms category (usually with a “can-he-let-her-go” garnish that says “This book is actually about him, she’s just the gift-with-purchase-of-a-gun”) and the virgin-who-needs-a-guy-to-give-her-shattering-orgasms (really? It’s 2021 and we’re still using virginity as a hook?).
The more I read, the more I want to subvert. A woman who goes out with an athlete and doesn’t come; a woman who shuts down a rat-infested bakery in a bed-and-breakfast run by a serial killer, a woman who shoots the guy who says he can protect because he tells her he’s not sure he can let her go (that’s kidnapping, you jerk, she gets to leave if she wants to). Okay, the one I really want to write is the one with the honey badger. I looked them up. They look like weasels, they have a thick skin, their skin is loose enough that they can turn around inside it to bite the animal who gets close, they drop stink bombs when annoyed, and they’ll attack anything. They also appear to be wearing toupees. Yeah, that’s a love interest I could work with. Wait. No, no I couldn’t.
Okay, maybe a honey-badger shapeshifter who’s a retired hockey player who hires the virgin heroine to be a baker at his bed-and-breakfast located in a small town on the beach (he’s the reason it’s a small town) where they have lousy sex because he’s a freaking honey badger.
Where was I?
I did a lot of sample reading and re-reading old favorites this weekend. What did you read?
Note: After I wrote this, I went looking for that honey badger shapeshifter book and found out that it’s a tongue-in-cheek romance where the heroine is mixed race–honey badger and wolf–and the hero is a grizzly. Most of the reviews were very favorable, but there was one that complained about unhealthy relationship dynamics that took me aback. What could possibly go wrong between a wolfish honey badger and a grizzly bear?