Romance Readers Reading Challenges discussion

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RRR Discussions & Top-Lists > Comfort Zone - What Can't You Read About?

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message 1: by Yz the Whyz, Moderator (new)

Yz the Whyz (whyz) | 9327 comments Are you an adventurous reader or is your reading limited to your favorite topics? Are there themes that you will never think of picking up? How wide is your reading comfort zone?

In keeping with the recently launched Taboo challenge, I'm curious about what makes my fellow readers squirmed when they read something. Do you have any reading limits or does anything go?


message 2: by Yz the Whyz, Moderator (new)

Yz the Whyz (whyz) | 9327 comments Personally, I like to think that I can pretty much read anything, if I really want to. : )

However, it's a very rare event that I will pick up a horror book, one that involves gore, blood and lots of graphic scary scenes the involves extreme torture. Extremely 'sad' books are also a few that I'm in no rush to read, unless on some very heavy recommendations of trusted fellow readers.


message 3: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 205 comments The two types of books that I have trouble reading are very depressing books and very sappy formula romances.


message 4: by Yz the Whyz, Moderator (new)

Yz the Whyz (whyz) | 9327 comments Sandy wrote: "The two types of books that I have trouble reading are very depressing books and very sappy formula romances."

I'm with you on the very depressing books.

However, for me, sappy formula romance usually serves as a 'reading palate cleaner' for me, especially when I just finished an 'emotionally heavy' book.


message 5: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 205 comments I tend to pick up a mystery or fantasy book when I need a break from heavier reading.


message 6: by Pickles (new)

Pickles (angstypickles) | 387 comments Let's see. I'll try pretty much anything once, but there are some things I don't particularly like...

-Graphic rape scenes, especially when there are children involved
-Angsty/depressing/tragic books
-PWP ("Porn without plot" or "Plot? What Plot?") - If a book is going to be smutty, I at least want a decent plot to go along with it.
-Detailed descriptions of torture (I'm a fan of the horror genre, but movies like "Saw" and "Hostel" don't do anything for me. I want to be scared, not repulsed.)


Jim son of Jim (formerly PhotoJim) (jim_formerly_photojim) | 5294 comments I'll read just about anything. In the taboo thread I mentioned a couple things that really made me squirm, (sex play with body wastes, fisting, and medical procedures performed for the sake of sexual gratification top that list). Even then, I'll still read it. It will just make me squirm.

However, I seem to develop a small bit of vomit at the back of my mouth when I read most historical fiction.


message 8: by Christine (new)

Christine (cdunbar) | 635 comments I've never been one for an unexpected pregnancy as the focus of a story. I just can't sympathize. Go on the pill, wear a condom, I don't care how you do it, but be a little smart about sex.

Also, I'm with Harper on the graphic rape scenes and detailed descriptions of torture, or even just vague descriptions of torture.

And I hate reading about a person who has little to no common sense, especially if that person is one of the leading characters. I don't mind it in YA since they're teenagers and they don't know what the hell is going on, but if they're my age or older, forget it. Not gonna like it.


message 9: by Unapologetic_Bookaholic (last edited Apr 16, 2010 02:00PM) (new)

Unapologetic_Bookaholic | 1986 comments I am not a torture fan but Saw actually falls under the pyschological thriller for me[ the killer Jigsaw wants his victims to learn a lesson before dying. He tries to let them escape, but it is torture none the less:], so I can [barely:] stomach some of the torture. Tho reading it does have a different affect on the mind. Descriptive tend to be more graphic for your mind. If that makes sense.

In horror- I can't read stuff like S.King
In romance- extreme fetishes
Other- really depressing subjects like dealing with abuse. Oddly enough if its for entertainment value I can handle things like forced sex or incest. But if the character is suicidal it hard to read stuff like that.

YZ: I want to ask a question similar to this. Glad you posted this topic.


message 10: by Yz the Whyz, Moderator (new)

Yz the Whyz (whyz) | 9327 comments Kenjii ~*~Black Kat~**~ wrote: .YZ: I want to ask a question similar to this. Glad you posted this topic. "

Talk about thinking alike. : )

I can't deal with abuse either, especially done to kids. Example of a book that I wouldn't read: A Child Called "It". That theme would just be to hard for me to handle.

Strange enough, I have very few limits when it comes to sexual topics. It has to be extremely disgusting, like what Photojim mentioned, that will make me stop reading or maybe continue reading, but cringes inwardly.


message 11: by Arch (new)

Arch I can't read:

1. Same sex stories
2. Erotic stories
3. Rape
4. Abuse
5. Killing. I don't even like to see a person get shot in the head on TV. If an author is going to write a killiing scene, I don't want to know that John Doe been shot in the head or someone's head been cut off, etc.
6. Horror
7. Detailed sex. I know that some books aren't erotic, but the sex scene can be detailed and I don't like that. I don't need to know what's below the waist and what the hero and heroine are doing. I don't like dirty talk either.


message 12: by Alexis-Morgan (last edited Apr 16, 2010 02:42PM) (new)

Alexis-Morgan Roark (alexismroark) | 36 comments There's not much I won't read except for the extreme of the extremes like necrophilia and stuff. Shudder! I defer to Photojim's list.

LOL re: the Historical Romances. They're one of my guitly pleasures. I'm sick. I know.

What makes my blood boil in books, however, to the point that I have actually stopped reading books and have finished them later is:

* One member of the "primary couple" having sex with someone else after they've come together. I know it's juvenile, and I am getting better. If I want multiple partners, I'll read erotics. Stay outta my romance!! I need my HEA without all the darn complications!!

* Unexpected pregnancies where the poor father learns about HIS child 5/7/10/15 years later. Gosh, that just ticks me off! Rachel Gibson has TWO books (one where the kid was raised by his best friend for like 15 years who KNEW the kid wasn't his!!) that I can remember like that. I couldn't even start "The Wrong Hostage" by Elizabeth Lowell because I just KNEW, by reading the description, that kid was his. Granted, there are times when it's best the father doesn't find out, but for the most part I ask the authors this: Why over a decade?

Now I'm upset. :-)

I also can't read Teen/YA Romance-even though I have read Twilight and The House of Night series. I feel like a perve. :-)

I, too, cannot read the depressing books. I figure that's why I can't get into Megan Hart's recent stuff. I read "Tempted," and I was in a foul mood for a week.


message 13: by Yz the Whyz, Moderator (last edited Apr 16, 2010 02:42PM) (new)

Yz the Whyz (whyz) | 9327 comments Alexis wrote: I also can't read YA Romance. I feel like a perve. :-) .."

I have to admit I don't want to read about anybody below 18 having sex. It just doesn't feel right to me.


message 14: by Alexis-Morgan (new)

Alexis-Morgan Roark (alexismroark) | 36 comments Yz the Whyz wrote: "Alexis wrote: I also can't read YA Romance. I feel like a perve. :-) .."

I have to admit I don't want to read about anybody below 18 having sex. It just doesn't feel right to me."


You hit the nail on the head! Yes, I know it happens, but it shouldn't!


message 15: by Alexis-Morgan (last edited Apr 16, 2010 02:55PM) (new)

Alexis-Morgan Roark (alexismroark) | 36 comments I thought we were referring just to the romance genre; so aside from romance, the only thing I can't/won't read is horror and 99% of the offerings in "Self Help." I am still traumitized from all the Stephen King I read in my early 20s. :-)


message 16: by Yz the Whyz, Moderator (new)

Yz the Whyz (whyz) | 9327 comments No horror for me, too. I read Blatty's The Exorcist, (beautiful prose I must admit, if I wasn't petrified, I would have love to reread it), when I was a teenager, and I couldn't sleep without the light on for almost a month. I was definitely traumatized.


message 17: by Yz the Whyz, Moderator (new)

Yz the Whyz (whyz) | 9327 comments Alexis: I read House of Night, too, and I was upset when it got to that part. You know what I mean. :)

Why couldn't writers just make them legal before doing the dirty? LOL


message 18: by Heather (new)

Heather (ilosttrackofthings) Alexis wrote: "You hit the nail on the head! Yes, I know it happens, but it shouldn't! "

Thank you! I love a good YA book, but I really don't want to know the kids are doing all that, let alone see it in any way. I have enough trouble getting through adult sex scenes without feeling like I'm intruding.

Also, I absolutely refuse to read painful books. You know the ones, about a character dealing with how horrible the world/their life is and how, even at the resolution of the book, it's all still horrible and the only thing that's changed is that the character is now completely without hope (or dead, usually dead). I got enough of those in college, thank you very much. I demand a happy ending!


message 19: by Danielle The Book Huntress (last edited Apr 16, 2010 03:17PM) (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 350 comments -Anal sex or any sex involving that part of the body (fingers, penises, toys, etc). If a romance has that in it, I won't buy it.
-I would read a same sex romance, but I'd probably skip the anal sex parts.
-Multiple partner sex in a romance. I don't want to read about the H/h sleeping with others. That includes menage.
-Sexual violence, even if it's consensual. That's why I'm not fond of BDSM. I didn't mind how JR Ward and Larissa Ione handled it in their books with that subject. Forced seduction is fine with me, but straight out rape b/w hero and heroine, I don't like.
-Extreme gore and violence
-I don't care much for detailed depictions of violence
-Weird sex of any kind (I'm pretty vanilla)--lots of regular sex--oral sex and vaginal sex, frottage, that kind of stuff doesn't bother me. But too much toys, fetishes, and stuff like that gets icky for me.
-I prefer supernatural horror-ghosts and such. I don't like anything with crazy humans, serial killers, psychopaths, or cannibals.
-Like others have mentioned, I am weird about teen sex. I don't want to read it, even though I know kids do it. I'm okay if they are both eighteen.
-It makes my blood boil when the hero doesn't know about his child until he or she is half grown. I'll avoid romances with this storyline.

I actually like edgy storylines, as long as it's done tastefully, and the focus is not on the cruelty depicted, or the above elements are not present.


message 20: by Arch (new)

Arch Other things I can't read

- Oral or anal sex.
- Mulitiple partners.
- YA books with sex scenes
- Bestiality

I don't read paranormal books. That might change in the future, but for now, I don't read them, although I have a few in my TBR pile.


message 21: by Christine (new)

Christine (cdunbar) | 635 comments Wait. Just... wait.

Beastiality?!? What books have beastiality??

Also, how do y'all feel about twincest?
I hate to admit it, but I was curious enough to buy a highly reviewed novella that featured this. I was highly uncomfortable the entire time and I'm never doing it again. *shudder*


message 22: by ஐ Briansgirl (Book Queen)ஐ (last edited Apr 17, 2010 11:05AM) (new)

ஐ Briansgirl (Book Queen)ஐ (briansgirlkate) I'm part of the reason there is a taboo challenge. lol I was kinda pushing for controversial topics to be left out of the generic monthly challenge.

So for me...

- no big surprise I won't read same sex romances
- no erotica either. I will, on occasion read Harlequin Blaze/Temptation/Desire which guarantees a sex scene but I dislike it when the sex scene starts using words like his "hot steaming member" or something equally both laughable and disgusting. I don't need clinical descriptions of body parts but some romance writers just can't write a realistic sex scene.
- Definetly no anal sex, beastialtiy, necrophelia, multiple partners, S&M, incest, etc. (Never happens in Harlequins so know I'm safe there.)
- No spousal abuse or rape. I've lived it. It was extremely unpleasant. I'm not about to read it when I'm trying to relax and read for pleasure.
- Agree with others on no torture. I was not happy with the torture scene in the Sookie Stackhouse novel Dead in the Family but love the series enough to keep reading.
- No outright horror. I like suspenseful thrillers. I love watching CSI on tv. I've read very little Stephen King because he's the king of horror but he does have some good stories like Shawshank Redemption, so I can't completely write the author off.
- As far as romances go, the theme that drives me batty is where a pregnant woman falls in love with someone whose is not the father's baby before the baby is born. The baby's father is usually never mentioned but with a past so recent, it's not believable that she'd fall for someone else so quickly.

Example (I was sent this for review by Tell Harlequin and the description alone turned me off so badly I couldn't read it. It's just too unbelievable.):

The Midwife's Baby by Fiona McArthur
Eight months pregnant and a bridesmaid isn't midwife Georgia Winton's ideal situation ... and it just got worse! When her contractions begin during the wedding ceremony, the only person who can save her and her baby is the groom -- gorgeous, dedicated consultant Max Beresford. Together they save the life of little baby Elsa, and neither could be more thrilled. What will Max do now? His planned marriage of convenience never happened, because he didn't say "I do," and Georgia and her little girl have stolen his heart. Georgia is also in trouble, and she needs a protector -- a role Max is happy to take on. But he wants to be more than that. He wants to be a real husband and father this time ...


message 23: by Christine (new)

Christine (cdunbar) | 635 comments Oh, god. I hated Dead and Gone! It was the most pointless book in the entire series. Was it really necessary for Sookie to go through all of that?


ஐ Briansgirl (Book Queen)ஐ (briansgirlkate) Christine wrote: "Oh, god. I hated Dead and Gone! It was the most pointless book in the entire series. Was it really necessary for Sookie to go through all of that?"

I don't think so, but from the description I'm going to like Dead in the Family.


message 25: by Christine (new)

Christine (cdunbar) | 635 comments Briansgirl "Master Book Sale Huntress" wrote: "I don't think so, but from the description I'm going to like Dead in the Family."

True. I'm very, very happy that Sookie and Eric are going to be together.


Unapologetic_Bookaholic | 1986 comments Are there romances/books with extremes fetishes as the storyline? I mean like BDSM can get pretty graphic but there's a market for it. Stuff like necrophilia and bestiality I've only heard of, or seen mention in ads for adult videos [the bestiality not necrophilia:].


Jim son of Jim (formerly PhotoJim) (jim_formerly_photojim) | 5294 comments As you could see by my list, there really isn't that much sexually that I won't read about. But I have to say Danielle, I actually had to look up frottage. LOL.

I have a 15 YO and a 17 YO and I agree that reading about minors having sex makes me uncomfortable. Maybe that is one of my reasons for disliking historicals so much. All of the girls are in that 14-17 range as was typical of the time.

Horror is fine with me. Actually I can read just about anything, I'm not saying I like it or I'm comfortable with it, but I can read it.

I seem to remember a few scenes in serial killer books where they defile a corpse. But since none of those scenes was graphic I was never bothered by the necrophilia aspect. We already knew they were a crazy killer.

I don't think I've ever read a bestiality scene in a book. However, I do suggest people see the film http://www.sleepingdogsliethemovie.com/ . Very weird movie, but worth seeing.

As for Dead and Gone, it was possibly my favorite of the Sookie books.


Unapologetic_Bookaholic | 1986 comments YZ: I once started reading a child abuse book. True story. It was SO depressing to think this kid actually lived through this! So that's one off limits topic. I don't remember the end. I just recall him being very young and just being tortured really, by his Mom.


Jim son of Jim (formerly PhotoJim) (jim_formerly_photojim) | 5294 comments Kenjii, what about the In Death series? Eve Dallas has a few fairly graphic flashbacks to some pretty horrific things when she was six. Does that put them off the list?


message 30: by Christine (new)

Christine (cdunbar) | 635 comments I read one like that when I was in junior high. About a girl and her sisters who were sexually abused by both parents. It was horrible. I can still remember the entire thing because it was so disturbing.


message 31: by Arch (new)

Arch Christine wrote: "Wait. Just... wait.

Beastiality?!? What books have beastiality??

Also, how do y'all feel about twincest?
I hate to admit it, but I was curious enough to buy a highly reviewed novella that feature..."


I would hope a book doesn't have bestiality in it. But, with all these shapeshifters, I would hope no one turns into an animal during sex. That's bestiality.


ஐ Briansgirl (Book Queen)ஐ (briansgirlkate) Arch wrote: "I would hope a book doesn't have bestiality in it. But, with all these shapeshifters, I would hope no one turns into an animal during sex. That's bestiality...."

I'm rather new to PNR/UF and was kinda hoping that wouldn't happen.


message 33: by Christine (new)

Christine (cdunbar) | 635 comments Now that I think about it, it happened in one of the Anita Blake books. I can't remember which one, though.


message 34: by Kari (new)

Kari | 2 comments I have a hard time reading about adultery, rape, same sex. Also, Ihave a hard time reading romances with TSTL females in tehm.


message 35: by Pickles (new)

Pickles (angstypickles) | 387 comments Kenjii ~*~Black Kat~**~ wrote: "Are there romances/books with extremes fetishes as the storyline? I mean like BDSM can get pretty graphic but there's a market for it. Stuff like necrophilia and bestiality I've only heard of, or s..."

You know, I'm pretty sure I've read at least one book in which the hero is a shifter and turns during the sex act, so I guess that could fall under the bestiality category. I don't know if I've seen it again, though. Hmm. I'm fairly certain I've read a book that included necrophilia (it was horror or a thriller) and I think there were actually some details given...though most of the time when I come across it in a thriller it hasn't been graphically described.

To reference Jim's earlier comment, I wouldn't be comfortable reading about some of the more extreme fetish stuff - golden showers, coprophilia/scatophilia, vomit, etc. I haven't actually come across that in any books, though. (Thankfully.) I'm sure a market for that kind of stuff exists, but I imagine it's very specialized and you'd have to actively seek it out.


message 36: by CaliGirlRae (new)

CaliGirlRae (rae_l) Christine wrote: "Now that I think about it, it happened in one of the Anita Blake books. I can't remember which one, though."

I heard it happened in one of the later ones I think? Something about a swan.

Sometimes there just isn't enough brain bleach in the world... :-/


message 37: by Christine (new)

Christine (cdunbar) | 635 comments Rae wrote: "Christine wrote: "Now that I think about it, it happened in one of the Anita Blake books. I can't remember which one, though."

I heard it happened in one of the later ones I think? Something about..."


Yeah... and there was a wolf involved. Maybe a tiger also? I can't remember the particulars, but the book was centered around snuff films with bestiality in them. I do remember that.


message 38: by CaliGirlRae (new)

CaliGirlRae (rae_l) Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "-Anal sex or any sex involving that part of the body (fingers, penises, toys, etc). If a romance has that in it, I won't buy it.
-I would read a same sex romance, but I'd probably skip the anal s..."


This is pretty much my list as well. I usually say no TMI sex scenes or scenes where the body parts of the characters are treated as characters of their own.

You hit the nail on the head with YA sex scenes. Thankfully I haven't come across books with this detail since it doesn't come up much in YA fantasy.


 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 350 comments Arch wrote: "Christine wrote: "Wait. Just... wait.

Beastiality?!? What books have beastiality??

Also, how do y'all feel about twincest?
I hate to admit it, but I was curious enough to buy a highly review..."


Thankfully, I haven't read any PNR that has sex b/w human and animal form yet. I hope that doesn't change. I'd have to toss that book.


 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 350 comments Rae wrote: "Christine wrote: "Now that I think about it, it happened in one of the Anita Blake books. I can't remember which one, though."

I heard it happened in one of the later ones I think? Something about..."


OH, wasn't that one of the early AB books, before I kicked it to the curve? Circus of the Damned, where AB was investigating some deaths of shifters? It wasn't b/w major characters, so I was icked, but not enough to toss the book.


 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 350 comments Kari wrote: "I have a hard time reading about adultery, rape, same sex. Also, Ihave a hard time reading romances with TSTL females in tehm."

I don't like adultery theme. I will avoid most books that have adultery in them.


 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 350 comments Rae wrote: "Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "-Anal sex or any sex involving that part of the body (fingers, penises, toys, etc). If a romance has that in it, I won't buy it.
-I would read a same sex roman..."


I agree that there can be TMI. I avoid romance where the sex is first and the romance is second. It's hard for me to buy a romance when it's all about sex.


ஐ Briansgirl (Book Queen)ஐ (briansgirlkate) Danielle "I don't like adultery theme. I will avoid most books that have adultery in them. "

I have to agree with you there. I don't like it either. If I know that's the plot, I won't buy it. If it sneaks in, I would probably finish the book if it wasn't too horrible.


Unapologetic_Bookaholic | 1986 comments Photojim wrote: "Kenjii, what about the In Death series? Eve Dallas has a few fairly graphic flashbacks to some pretty horrific things when she was six. Does that put them off the list?"

No, Jim, not at all. If its fiction I handle that differently [in my mind:]. Its the real life stuff that's harder. At least with that one books it was.


Jim son of Jim (formerly PhotoJim) (jim_formerly_photojim) | 5294 comments Speaking of the bestiality portion, I'd have to say that a fair portion of the Lora Leigh Breeds series would qualify in my mind. Furthermore, the whole knotting thing is sort of 'ick' for me.


Unapologetic_Bookaholic | 1986 comments I like male male romance and so anal sex scenes aren't a turn off. I also can read twincest, no prob. There's a lot of fetishes between men that are weird to me but I won't stop reading m/m romance because of it. I've read father/son incest [fiction:], once. That was enough.


message 47: by Christine (new)

Christine (cdunbar) | 635 comments That and the 'barb' thing. I mean, really? I try not to think about it too much.


Unapologetic_Bookaholic | 1986 comments The shifter thing would be weird to read about I guess. I dunno I haven't read any romances were the partner is full on animal.

I have read some of the Breeds series. That boarders on bestiality =D Though the sex is so hot I dab out the strangeness of the Breed and keep enjoying the rest +


Jim son of Jim (formerly PhotoJim) (jim_formerly_photojim) | 5294 comments But as far as TMI, no such thing as far as I'm concerned. I prefer my books a bit on the raunchy side. Why else do you think a happily married hetero guy would read mostly romance novels anyway?

I'll go back to drinking my bourbon and reading about unplanned pregnancies (Susan Mallery's Sweet series). I think that if any character in a Susan Mallery book even thinks about having unprotected sex they automatically become pregnant. Yes, someone mentioned Rachel Gibson as being guilty of too many baby daddies, but Mallery is worse on that front.


Unapologetic_Bookaholic | 1986 comments Hahaha! This thread has me wondering if my kinky/purvy side can be one upped. As far as reading romance goes anyway...yeah, good idea, alcohol and back to a good read.


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