Hi I'm Belinda and
I'm a romancaholic.
It's been a good ... 4 years now since my hubby brought me my first romance book and life hasn't been the same since. I was a huge reader growing up, with my nose always in a book but a period of my life came when I didn't read because I was too busy trying to survive. A trip to a Harry Potter movie with a close friend of mine reintroduced me back to the joy and power of reading and my love for it spread like wildfire. I devoured everything young adult and found that I was completely fascinated with all things paranormal. Then it was Christmas and I remember my hubby passing me a present, saying that he hoped I liked it. Knocking on it and hearing the noise that bounced back, it wasn't hard to guess it was a book - Dark Curse by Christine Feehan. "I know babe, it's not young adult but it looks good so maybe you should give it a go." I know I cringed a little because it was an "adult romance" *insert gasp here* and didn't everyone say that books like this were nothing but diluted smut? Something drew me in though, maybe my inner radar for all things amazing was going crazy so I picked it up and started reading. The rest, my friends, is history.
There is a DEFINITE difference for me when reading romance geared towards teens and those towards adults. As much as I love the newness and the springtime feeling of young love, nothing really compares to the no holds barred, throw you against the wall passion that comes from reading adult romance. I'm not just talking sex here - I'm talking about story lines, character development and the emotions involved. There's heat and a certain kind of fire that pulls you in and doesn't let go until it spits you out in the end as a total mess. Don't get me wrong, it's there in the YA romance but not to the same high intensity. At least for me, and it's that pull that has me coming back for more time and time again. I can't get enough of it and like the emotional junkie I am, romance gives me what I'm craving in one big perfect hit.
So what are some of the things that pull me? They'd have to be pretty spectacular seeing as The Bookish Snob, I pretty much ignore any other genre. I would have to say off the top of my head four things come to mind - the themes, the characters, the emotions and I'm not embarrassed to admit it, the passionate moments.
I'm a sucker for a good strong storyline that throws all kinds of twists and turns at me. Of the story lines that grab me by my shirt right from the beginning and haul me into the book to experience everything alongside the characters. Alot of the romance I read have similar themes of man meets woman, they have obstacles to overcome whether it be from outside sources or the ones they create themselves, there's danger and thrills where the two fight and overcome the problem and have their happily ever after moment. Just typing it made me let out a huge sigh. I love the journey that the characters go on, the uncertainty and sometimes the frustrations that come because I can see it all so clearly but the couple are still oblivious and are fighting against the inevitable. Any storyline that show the couple overcoming what seems unbeatable odds is guaranteed to make me smile and racing to read what's next. My favorite kinds of story lines are ones that I have no problem putting myself in the shoes of the heroine and where I can live out my own fantasies through the book.
What makes a romance story great in my eyes is the connection I'm able to make with the characters. I love my heroines strong and feisty. Nothing is a bigger turn off than a weak female character who spends the entire book cowering and whimpering. Don't get me wrong, I love it when she's flawed or shows weakness because it makes her human but it's what she does with it that gets me excited. Great characters I've read fight despite their fear and shortcomings and learn to overcome them as they become stronger and stronger for it. I love it when she speaks her mind and has no qualms going toe to toe when the man she loves, the battle of wills one of the many highlights. Romance novels are filled with these kinds of heroines and when I'm having an especially bad day, I can imagine I'm there and kick some butt.
If you ever talked to me before, you've no doubt heard me LUST over the men in the romance books that I read. It's kind of hard not to because whether they're broken, protective, sensitive, broody, tortured, arrogant, alpha, seductive WHATEVER.. I love them all. The main male character is a big part of why I love reading romance because he's the "safe" way to indulge in all those secret fantasies because honestly - if guy was all those things in real life, he'd still be spinning from how fast I kicked him to the curb. I love the bad boy and the thrill and danger that comes from his intensity but I think constantly living like that would give me a heart attack and with romance I can get a huge condensed over the top chunk of it to feast on. He's the fantasy guy and one of my guilt free indulgences.
When you have the right characters thrown together in a romance novel, I LOVE the sparks and passion that always follow. I love the heat that's generated and the way they sizzle together when they're intimate. I used to be a big skimmer when it came to the "naughty" bits in romance, always feeling like I was breaking some rule because I liked the way the scenes made me feel but slowly I've come to realize that they are just another amazing part of reading romance and one that I can share with my hubby *blushes* Reading romance is a safe way to try things out *blushes again* I will tell you this - I'm particular about my sex scenes. I am a HUGE fan of sensuality and nothing guarantees the force a book will be thrown across the room than graphic scenes that are nothing short of literary pornography. Whether its slow and tender love making or an up against the wall thumping, if it's tasteful and filled with an emotional element, I'm in heaven.
I guess what it all boils down to when you add everything together is I crave the emotional connection and I get that from romance in such quantities that sometimes I almost choke on it. I love the books where I'm "right there" with the characters and feeling their emotions. I'm angry when they're angry, laughing when they're laughing and goofy in love when they are. I love the books I read where I have to stop because I'm crying so hard or where I need a moment to gather myself because my heart has been touched or excited. I want the full experience when I read, not just staring at words, not even just seeing it like a movie. I want to be part of it and I get this when I read romance. I get caught up in it, I become invested and like a drug, I'll keep going back for more. Emotional junkie to the core and I LOVE IT.
** Shared first last year during my PassionPalooza 2011 **