Books,  Facts of Life,  Reading,  Writing World

Recently Read Rant

Guys, I finished a contemporary romance on Monday, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t read one 15 years or something. It’s called November 9, and it’s left me feeling depressed and uninspired. I haven’t wanted to write since picking it up. I have written. I just feel like everything’s been terrible.

I think I found my Achilles heel. My kryptoninte. Drainer of my soul.

Okay, I’m waxing dramatic, but I was mopey and angry afterwards. Now, granted, contemporary romance is not my thing. And it’s not a bad book. It’s well-written and the story had an interesting format that I’ve never seen before. I didn’t have a problem with any of the characters. The ended was your typical happy ending. Yet…I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t satisfied.

My theory is that I just need more in a book than relationship drama. My second theory is that I just may not like this particular story. In any case, when I read, I like to be taken on a ride, and I wasn’t, so I had to deal with the storm cloud it put over my head.

I haven’t been this upset after a book since I read something that was actually bad. I moped around all day, questioning my life choices. I felt empty inside. The most exciting part of the book was from a poem a character wrote. “In her darkness, she is silent. In my darkness, she screams.” Those two lines were way too exciting for me, confirming my suspicions that I just can’t hack angsty romance. Which is bad because I’m currently in the middle of another one. But whatever.

You might ask why I picked this up. Well, it has all these great reviews on Amazon. I was curious, and I’ve been wanting to branch out some with my reading. Apparently, I’ve branched out too far. This book upset me the same way rom-coms upset me. I hate when people fight in books and movies and the whole thing could be avoided if one of them would stop being unreasonable and just LISTEN to the other person for once. Miscommunication is so irritating. Like have an original thought, much? Like, figure out an ACTUAL reason for people to fight, much?! If I loved someone, I would at least hear them out. End rant.

Look, in the deepest part of my walled up soul, I like romance. I like bookish romances. They can be a lot fun, and I’m guilty of getting excited when two people with great chemistry finally make out. I love romantic tension. What I’m mad about is the fact that I spent a good week reading a book that had no plot outside of the relationship. I spent a week reading a book that 100% killed my momentum and inspiration and left me drained and moody and craving something dark.

Hopefully I’ll like this other romance better, but I added something dark to my TBR to keep myself sane.

I just needed to talk about this okay. Like, I know I’m weird, so I completely understand why so many people love this book. It’s just so not up my alley to the point I felt actually bad.

I’m still determined to branch out with some thrillers and historicals that I’ve been wanting to read. And like I said, I am reading another contemporary romance, and I will finish it, most likely. Maybe November 9 just wasn’t exciting enough for me. After all, all they did was talk and pet each other. Maybe it just numbed my brain a little.

Okay, rambling over.

Writing update: I’m about 36k into the story I’m working on, same story I’ve been working on since last month. Ha. I totally lost focus after a big scene I’d been looking forward to. It was fabulous! But I think I’m back on track.


  • Michelle A

    Lol! So I didn’t really read a ton of contemporary romance (I lean more historical romance) until maybe last year-ish? I’d read contemp romance occasionally, but it wasn’t really my thing. But since I have plans for writing contemp romances, I figured it was time to read them and there were authors I wanted to read anyway…

    I like romantic tension, I like reading the twists and turns of a relationship, of human foibles. It’s the little things that make a good romance story a not-so-great romance. And BIg Misunderstanding is the easy way out as far as conflict.

    It sounds like November 9 is a YA contemp romance? I don’t read YA, so I can’t really comment on what kind of romance it is. But the premise reminds me of One Day by David Nicholls.

    • Krystal Jane

      It does sound similar to One Day! Oh my gosh. There really is nothing original out there. LOL! November 9 takes place over 5 years. I’m guessing it’s NA since the characters go from 18 to 23. They’re definitely not very mature people, though, and there definitely wasn’t enough conflict. Methinks the author thought meeting up once a year would be enough conflict. Tis wasn’t.

      Historical romance doesn’t seem to have that problem. Maybe it’s easier to drum up conflict because they have society to fight against sometimes. I’m pretty sure this other romance I’m reading is a Cinderella retelling with a poor girl-rich guy thing, which is somehow already more interesting, but we’ll see. LOL!

      • Michelle A

        Taking place over five years feels realistic to me, but it’s not the usual norm in contemp romance—usually, at most, you’ll a few months where the relationships develops and then maybe an epilogue a year or more later to indicate if the Happily Ever After is holding up. At least, that’s the way it is in genre romance.

        Historical romances sometimes go wayyy over the top, but there are genuine things that cause big conflict–class issues, the lack of women’s rights, wars, actual historical events…but even so, not every historical romance is like that. And I always found contemp romance’s conflicts to be a bit thinner–there’s less to keep people apart these days, right?–but actually, there’s plenty of interpersonal conflict to be mined if the author does it correctly.

        • Krystal Jane

          There’s definitely a lot of internal conflict that can dug up if people make an effort. My favorite historical romances have more emotional baggage than actual.

  • Michelle Armfield (@michelletwrites)

    I hate that too. When you finish a book and you think, was that really worth my time? And then you wonder why you didn’t just shelve it? ha. But, OMG, go you! 36K? I am crawling in comparison. I’ve only made it to 25K. The struggle has been real. 😛 Also, finished The Wicked Deep this weekend. Plot was good/interesting, but hated the romance :/

    • Krystal Jane

      I keep hoping I can get through a project without some kind of struggle, but it hasn’t happened yet. Lol!

      Thanks for the head’s up on The Wicked Deep. I’m going to read it within the next month.

  • Tonja Drecker

    I’m not a huge contemporary fiction fan in general (life has enough of its own drama- I don’t have to dive into someone else’s unless its really something special) I went through a romance reading binge a few years ago since I was supporting some authors who were big into romance, and I noticed many (I want to say most 🙂 ) follow the same basic scheme. Believe it or not, there’s a template you can find if you google it. I find it scary. . . and horribly dull to read since it’s obvious what happens next.
    It’s not that I don’t like romance (Lol! Yeah, I love it)…but there has to be more to a story than just that. I love slow burn ones with tons of tension WHILE the protagonists are up against other challenges. The other challenges should stay front and center, with the romance a tingly, wonderful, exciting, tension filled. . .*sigh*. . . side story.
    But that’s just my opinion. And telling by romance genre sales, not the popular one.
    Sorry it bummed you out that much. Time to dig into some better reads 😉

    • Krystal Jane

      I feel the same way!! It’s okay we’re on the unpopular side. We’re not alone. 🙂 I don’t like any kind of book template. I’m a rebel. 😛

      The best romances have two plots, I think. I’ve never been happier to be reading multiple books at the same time.

  • Christine Rains

    While I do love romance in a story, I’m not a huge fan of contemporary romance either. They are generally to trope, and if I’m going to read a romance that is to trope, I want a story going on that thrills me. That usually ends up with the paranormal or fantasy stuff going on in the plot!

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