To Ship or Not To Ship That Is The Question | Romance In Books

Friday, March 6, 2015

Paper Bindings | To Ship or Not To Ship That Is The Question | Romance In Books

Part one of a three part discussion dealing with romance in books.

Lets get one thing straight right off the bat, I read romance novels. 

Usually historical or paranormal in genre, but I love the format: the meetings, the adventures, falling in love, the “happy ever afters.” So it rarely bothers me when I pick up a book that advertises itself as a thriller or an fantasy and I encounter two fools all lovey-dovey with each other, even if it becomes the main plotline of the story.

When it comes to romance, though, I do have a lot of pet peeves

But lately, I have been reading things that have started to bother me more than usual. Maybe authors are getting more daring or less caring about what they release to the world. Or maybe I’ve become less tolerant of certain things the older I get, which is almost certainly the case.

It seems like the question now is not whether I like the couple, but whether I can stomach their dysfunction.

I’m not going to point fingers or name names about what finally set this off, because this has been brewing for quite a while. But a recent discussion I had with a coworker over Fifty Shades of Grey movie, really got me thinking about the way romance is conveyed to us a readers. (And no, Fifty is not what set this off.)

Now I haven’t seen Fifty, nor have I read the books, so I won’t comment on them since I don’t have the first hand expertise about the characters, but suffice it to say, our whole conversation centered on unhealthy vs healthy relationships.

So what do I think makes an unhealthy relationship?

  • Abuse - physical or verbal, makes no difference. If you turn each other on by spanking, I really don’t care nor do I need to know this, BUT if you let your anger out on your significant other (‘baby I’m so sorry, I’ll never do it again.’) take a hike.

  • Stalking - That shit ain’t ever cool. I don’t give a damn why he let himself into your house or why she decided it was fun the track you like it was open season on Girl Scout Cookies, but the answer is not to make out in the next scene.

  • Rape - Now I get some authors tackle real life issues in their novels, so this is not immediate cause for me to toss a book. Unless, of course, there is romance involved between the duo. If you ever show me a character who forces himself/herself on another or fails to give them a choice in the matter and then they somehow, conveniently forgive the offense and hold hands off into the sunset: watch out for the book missile. Do not pass go; do not collect your $200.

  • Cheating - Do I really need to explain this? You don’t claim to love someone and screw around behind their back. You just don’t.

Less serious, but still equally angering offenses:

  • Trust - Find me a person that doesn’t have issues with trust to some degree and I will point to a liar or someone extremely gullible and lucky enough not to have been ran over by Mack Truck of feels yet. Now I have nothing against characters working through trust issues to heal, but you need a certain degree of trust between two individuals to have any sort of stable relationship at all. So they better darn well trust each other before I finish the story.

  • Inability To Connect With Each Other - Now, I don't but if I did want to read a purely about physical attraction/sex I am sure there are plenty out there. But I like my characters to have depth to them. Therefore there should be some sort of connection between the love interests other than pure attraction. You cannot tell me you love someone when you know nothing about them and only love your intimate relations with each other. That's not a book, that's smutt.

So what does it take for me to ship the couple?

  • Genuine Affection for the Other - (Like I mentioned above...) We all get that there has to be some physical attraction between the characters, but I want more than that. If it is going to break your heart and you will cry a million tears if you lose the other person, than I want a connection between the two. I want to see this relationship from every angle. Even with their ups and downs, I want to know they are truly compatible.

  • Belief - I do love it when characters seek to protect the one they love, but there is nothing better than the one that accepts they cannot take all the hits and instead stands beside the other, letting them do what they must do.

  • Chemistry- Their dialog, their interactions, and their emotions are vivid and engaging enough that we get to love them as a couple. Basically: they mesh well together and are just as entertaining as a unit as they are as separate characters.

The Best and Worst In Action:

Now I am not one to point fingers, but there have been a few that I just can’t seem to get out of my head or my heart as the case may be.


  • The stuff happening in the Arcana Chronicles - Poison Princess and Endless Knight - (Links take you to my Goodreads reviews where there are spoilers.) I really just can’t. There is nothing healthy about how any member of the triangle treats the others. As if Poison didn't show us enough, a certain scene and it's later explanation in Endless made that perfectly clear.

  • Twilight - I read all the books and have seen all the movies, but I will never like the romance. Even if we ignored the stalking action of book one, it only got worse. Book two turned out heroine into a suicidal mess. I understand being overly emotional, but her answer to a bad breakup was to flirt with another boy, walk up to men who we are supposed to believe may rape her, drive dangerously, and jump off cliffs in dangerous conditions. I know she's feeling down, but there was nothing stable about her relationship prior to that, so when things took that turn....well that was it for me.

I will go down with this ship:

  • Chaol and Celaena (Throne of Glass) - Even when they are not on the same page as each other, there is so much chemistry and legitimate connections between the two. Are they perfect? No. Will I forever imagine them to be together even if Sarah J. Maas kills them off in some horrible and nightmare inducing plot? Their ghosts will live on, Man, their ghosts will live on.

  • Cath and Levi (Fangirl) - Here is a whole kettle of messed up and misconceptions. And yet they make it work. Not only do they learn to love each other, they learn to love themselves. Let the Ship sail.

What about you guys, who do you ship? Any couples you just can’t stand?

Paper Bindings - Romance in Books

Even when you are not looking for a love story, romance is all the time appearing in novels. Some times it is expected, sometimes it is a surprise, but either way, it gives us a lot to talk about.

Part One:
To Ship or Not to Ship, That Is The Question - Unhealthy vs. Healthy Relationships
(You are here.)

Now that we’ve set the stage for our seduction, we’ll meet the cast next.

Part Two:

Part Three:


  1. Excellent points brought up here. I'm not a big fan of love triangles, so I'm excited to see where this discussion goes.

    1. Me too. Draft set, but even I don't know where I am going to take it yet. lol. Way to procrastinate. XD

  2. Yes great post!

    I totally agree on all of your posts. Trust is definitely important. One of my favorite ships is Hector and Elisa from The Girl Of Fire and Thorns because they trusted each other so much!

    The lack of trust drove me crazy in Alligent (among other things) between Four & Tris.

    Great post!!!

    1. HECTOR! Oh why couldn't I think of him when I was trying to come up with good couples I adore? Especially with all the stuff in book three.

      So much drove me crazy between Four and Tris. But you're right, they didn't trust each other. So much could have been avoided if they did. Like book two and probably three. lol. XD

      Thank you for stopping by.

    2. Yes! They always had such angst about trust and doing stupid things because of it.


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