Tag Archives: pet-peeve

crop person showing broken paper heart

Pet Peeves and Deal Breakers in Romance

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Each person has their own unique limit of what they can or cannot tolerate in fiction. Although it has an absolute requirement for a happy ending, the romance genre may contain deal-breakers for readers looking for a pleasurable experience that takes them away from reality for a few hours.

Our Pet Peeves

Some of our negative book reviews at Sweet Savage Flame have pointed ti personal pet peeves as reasons why we couldn’t enjoy our reading experiences.

In Nadine Crenshaw’s Captive Melody, there were two negative tropes that were deal breakers for Blue Falcon. First, a captive who experiences Stockholm Syndrome for her captor. Second, the hero seeking to inflict vengeance upon an innocent party. There are cruelties that characters experience that cannot be offset by skillful writing or a conveniently happy ending.

As I’ve stated before, as in Dana Ransom’s Love’s Glorious Gamble: I can’t enjoy a romance where the hero is mourning the death of a previous beloved. While I prefer a heroine to be the hero’s only love, I can accept a rival for his affections, so long as she is alive. A flesh and blood woman will always pale to the perfection of a saintly ghost.

We focus on vintage reads on this site, so there may be books we review that consist of “dated” tropes or “politically incorrect” behavior or beliefs that may appear strange, insensitive, or even offensive to modern mindsets. Reviewers provide their own opinions, and on occasion personal insights. Whether to accept these books as products of their age or dismiss them outright is solely up to the individual reader. Everyone has a right to their own personal opinions or idiosyncrasies.

Romance No-Nos

As I’ve scrolled through forums and sites, I’ve come upon various pet peeves in romance. They range from the most minute issues to the most indefensible.

Cheating seems to be the most common deal breaker. Soms older romances featured heroes who would be sexing it up with their mistresses on page one. He might even do so after he’s met or been intimate with the heroine. It takes an extremely talented writer to make their audience accept and move on from this point. If cheating is the main obstacle in a romance, such as in Laurey Bright’s A Perfect Marriage, some readers may not be as forgiving as the heroine.

In a similar vein, there are readers who don’t want to know about a main character’s past sexual experience. A fantasy that appeals to some Romance fans is for the hero to be the heroine’s one and only lover. This is a plot point that seems authentic in Historical and vintage Romances. For some readers it’s unconvincing in a modern contemporary novel unless the heroine is very young or was raised unconventionally.

The abuse or death of animals, the elderly, or children might not appear often in romances, and there’s a good reason why. Those are issues that can be quite upsetting emotionally to folks seeking escapist entertainment.

Sometimes a pet peeve may not be a plot point but a word used. So many times I’ve heard readers state they can’t stand the word “moist” to describe how. er, excited a heroine gets. No matter how erotic the scene, once that word rears its head, visions of Duncan Hines chocolate cake or alcohol-soaked sanitizing towelettes come to mind.

What are your pet peeves in romance? Is there anything that can make you overlook your pet peeves, such as literary skill, or are there some things you just won’t accept in a love story?

Please, drop a comment and let’s talk romance.

viking rose pino

Historical Romance Review: Viking Rose by Ashland Price

historical romance review
Viking Rose by Ashland Price
Rating: half-star
Published: 1993
Illustrator: Pino
Imprint or Line: Zebra Lovegram
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Historical Romance, Medieval Romance, Viking Romance
Format: Paperback
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader

Historical Romance Review: Viking Rose by Ashland Price

The Book

Ashland Price‘s Viking Rose has to be the worst Viking romance I’ve ever read. In fact, it’s one of the worst romances I’ve ever read.

I’m sorry to be blunt and mean, but I did not enjoy this boring, meandering tale of a Viking and his “captive” traveling through Ireland together.

The Plot

Storr is a Viking who lands in Eire, He kidnaps Alanna for some reason. He doesn’t want her body, as Storr is nothing but a big crybaby.

I HATE books where the hero is in eternal mourning for his dead wife. That is my #1 pet peeve in romances.

It’s one thing to have had a love that died, but when 95% of the book is about how the hero can’t get over her, there’s really not much room for romance with the heroine.

Quite frankly, I prefer the other woman to be alive. It’s one thing to have a flesh-and-blood woman to compete with, but how can the heroine ever win out to a perfect ghost?

Final Analysis of Viking Rose

Not to mention, Viking Rose was boring as hell. Did anything happen, except for Alanna and Storr traveling together endlessly, while Storr hates Alanna and cries (over and over–oh, those pillows!!) about his wife?

If it did, I blocked it out.

It’s also weird how at the beginning of the book, the heroine has black hair, but by the end, it’s red.

Eh, that’s a superficial gripe, but probably the most fascinating aspect of this mind-numbing read.


Rating Report Card
Fun Factor
Overall: 1.1



When Alanna sighted a blond giant of a man bathing in a nearby stream, the Irish maiden guessed he was one of those dangerous raiders she’d heard tales of. Though she should have fled, Alanna could not draw her eyes away from his bronzed muscles, long sun-gold hair, and piercing blue eyes. Before she knew it, the Norseman had captured her…. Outraged, Alanna planned her escape; yet when his rock-hard arms enveloped her and his demanding kisses set her pulse on fire, she marveled that a man from a frozen land could evoke such a rapturous heat in her own blood…


Intent on scouting the alien country for his Viking raiding party, Storr had no time for a furious Erse maiden! Yet, he could not let her sound an alert, so he took her captive. And what a choice beauty he’d gotten! Her lush curves, cocoa-colored eyes, and dark auburn-streaked hair made her a prize beyond compare, But it was the brave but gentle spirit in this fair rose of Erin that finally made the fierce warrior wish to brand her as his alone. He would calm her with his soft caresses, thrill her with his fiery kisses, then bring her to rapturous heights with a masterful Viking passion she would crave again and again!

Viking Rose by Ashland Price

READ Viking Rose by Ashland Price FOR FREE AT OPEN LIBRARY