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April 14, 2015

Gush & Gripe: Hard Limits


A conversation with Elisabeth Staab inspired this Gush & Gripe post. We were brainstorming for guest post topics and started gabbing about popular themes and touched on something that had me thinking What are my reader hard limits? 


Hard Limits:
  • Incest: Ick! No to kissing cousins, or anything of that sort. I heard step relationships are quite popular these days. That makes my stomach roil! Really?! While your parents are doing it like bunnies in their room, you and your step-sibling are next door, banging to the beat of your folks headboard smashing? I have lots to say about this hard limit. But thinking about how wrong this is is making me throw up a little in my mouth. I'm sure you get it.



  • Monster Erotica: Sure, paranormal creatures are technically monsters but they're not the ones I'm talking about here. I'm referring to beastiality. Like fucking an octopus, a dinosaur, the list goes on. Let your imagination take you to the wild!

  • Rape: At the height of the erotic genre's popularity, there was also a lot of dark erotica that came with it. I'm not one to turn down a dark read, I indulge in it often. And at one time a few of my bloggy friends were mad raving about Skye Warren's Dark Erotica series. My curiosity got the best of me so I bought the first three books. Didn't make it past the first one. Yup! Definitely not for me. The girl got abused so bad it just screwed her up permanently that she developed a taste for rough rape play. *sqeaks & runs away*

  • Misogyny: I used to love Sons of Anarchy. But it was so saturated with all sorts of bullshit, I can't tolerate the utter disrespect for women in the long run. These boys are really truly bad and not in a good way. The women that surround them are strong and formidable, even highly intelligent, they just don't know their worth and that they deserve better.

    This is the reason why I'm super selective about Motorcycle Club books as well. Some authors were so inspired by SoA, their novels felt like fanfiction to me in that their characters resemble Jax Taylor & his gang. MC romances that glorify despicable acts and criminal behavior is just not for me. Sure it's make believe, but this kind of shit happens in real life and by buying/reading/reviewing these types of novels means I tolerate or even condone it. I just can't get behind it because the way the stories are told justifies misogyny and sort of tells us readers that it's okay. Well, this chick has a stick up her ass and is not okay with it.



And these are my soft limits
  • Glorified Criminals: Or in some cases, they're called "anti-heroes". There's a double standard here because when it comes to fantasy, I got no problem rooting for vigilantes, assassins, etc. When it comes to contemporary romance, possibly because it's fairly realistic, my moral barometer kicks in. But, like in most cases, when it's done right, it can be fairly interesting. *Waves to the Prison Wives*

  • I Love You, Let's Fuck: Yeah. Because I'm an idiot and my IQ proves it *rolls eyes*. This line, and it's many variations, annoy the fuck out of me. It's insulting, really, like I read this book last month where the guy said I love you, will you let me fuck you in the ass? My initial reaction was to ROFL. After I sobered up I realized that the book is completely ruined for me from that point on.

  • Your Bestie's Man/Woman: This is a close cousin of Incest. I don't think I'd still be besties with my closest girlfriend if she comes after my man regardless if I'm dead, divorced, or separated. Hallo! Girl code! However, I know there's wiggle room here and when done tastefully, it can make for an amazing story.

  • Angst: This is just personal. Let's just say that my personal life is angst-ridden and I read to escape. That said I don't want to escape to the same/worse place.

  • TSTL: I can do away with these stupid characters who should know better. Sure they can be entertaining and they add conflict to an otherwise boring story. It's just irritating to watch someone not exercise their common sense.

So here are my hard and soft limits. I probably forgot a few, so please remind me by sharing yours.







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52 comments:

  1. I hate TSTL, angst (same reason as yours), rape and misogyny most of all. Bestiality I've never come across and I hope I never will ;)
    I also hate "I don't want to fall in love but I'll sleep with anyone and it's completely normal", like having feelings or letting the possibility for it to happen is a bad thing. I also agree with the glorified criminals, as if the fact that a man is in love with a woman absolves him of all the rest. On the other hand, I'm not that picky about cousins or step siblings with different parents.

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    1. Emotional handicap is a soft limit for me. It can be irritating though lol

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  2. I'm pretty open to anything, but it doesn't mean I'll enjoy it haha The rape one is a no go for me, as is the incest and some of the monster stuff. I think I'd read a dinosaur one just to see what happens lol Curiosity *shakes head* :P

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    1. Ha! The dinosaur comment is for you & Anna. She read a sasquatch monster erotica some time ago. I tried a sample, I just can't read it!

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    2. <333 Dinosaurs are awesome, not sure how they'd work in erotica but I'll have to see if Amazon has a free one hahaha I'll make sure to dedicate the review to you ;) jkjk

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    3. I saw that on TV! OMG I can't imagine fucking a T-Rex! I think he'll eat me like literally before I even get to the seducing part.

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  3. Ok, you pretty much nailed it on the head. There was a small scene in one of my books lately that bordered, if not touched on rape and I was really, just, majorly pissed. I know in action sometimes they get close, but I didn't think it would actually happen. Really turned me off that book.

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    1. I hate it when they glorify violence like that. At least in BDSM they do the contracts and it's consensual.

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  4. My goodness - this is an awesome topic! As an advocate for victims/survivors of domestic violence, I definitely cannot ready about rape scenes. While I realize the author probably has a good reason for touching on this subject, still can't stomach it. My other "no reads" that will cause me to run in the other direction, are incest and cheating novels. As romance readers, I think there are so may sub-genres out there that the sky is the limit. Hugs...

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    1. Cheating is a soft limit for me. I like reading marriage-in-crisis stories because I want to know how they fix it. I don't like it when they justify the cheating though, especially when they blame the other person for doing it.

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  5. Great post. I will say that I recently came across a SoA MC book. It sounded amazing and it was from an author who's previous PNR series I loved but this one was a spitting image of SoA and not even in a good way. I really hope I don't run into anymore of them. One was enough for me.

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    1. Hmmm are you talking about Sheehan? I interviewed her before and she said it's semi-autobiographical. Actually it's that series and SoA that had me shying away from MC romance novels.

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  6. My hard limit is when a character says no to sex. I think that's NO. Not let me keep going until your body betrays you. And I'm reading it SO much lately - from a authors I respect. What message does that send??

    Softer limits are threesomes (I'm jealous on everyones behalf lol), cheating, criminals (kind of like the MC books) that are supposedly sexy. Nope. Sex curing a victim of sexual assault - especially kinky sex (that's probably a more hard limit). Sex being misinterpreted as love - I need to see a relationship blossom - not just hot sex every two seconds then they say it's not about the sex - not buying it.

    Those are a few…lol

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    1. Sex curing! Yes! I should've added that. Gosh I hate sex curing because it never works! trust me, I tried it! LOL

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  7. Misogyny, no thanks
    The whole monster thing, some weird stuff there!

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    1. Can you imaging having sex with a chupacabra? No thanks!

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  8. Uhh pretty much the whole list... You know I am not a big reader of erotica and most of the issues you have are way out of my comfort zone. Beastality is just plain wrong and anything with misogyny, rape or incest disgusts me. You missed sex trafficking and masochism.... those are big no's for me as well.

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    1. Well the last two I can tolerate depends on who's telling the story. If it's the victim of say, sex trafficking, then I can get into that. And I read erotica so masochism is okay with me :D

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  9. YES TO ALL OF THESE. I think you listed all my hard and soft limits too :P You're what is up with the step-sibling relationships these days? I've been seeing it on Amazon a lot and it's a bit disgusting, especially when they grew up together. And to be honest, I mostly see actual incest in manga, I can never get myself to read those because ick. And the reason I don't enjoy motorcycle romances is exactly as you described. I can't stand it when women are treated as objects and violence and crime is glorified. I can go on and on about what you listed here Braine! I guess a soft limit I can add is insta-love. It can be okay if done right but most of the time, it's just not. A hard limit is bad to no editing. I hate it when an author puts a book up on sale without even bothering to have it edited. I know an author who has a huge following from her fanfiction days and sells her books now for $5 each, unedited. Like WTF.

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    1. Psh! That's some arrogance right there. Unedited, chick's got some balls! What kind of rating are her books getting? I know readers are particular about errors & stuff

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    2. You'll be surprised how many people actually don't care, just as long as a hero acts a certain way..and they don't even care if it's unedited because she's their "guilty pleasure" I tried reading one of her books and returned it because the editing was THAT bad lol

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  10. What occurred to me as I read your list is that my hard/soft limit lines have moved over the last few years. I never used to read romance for the longest time so yeah- it has moved quite a ways. I've learned that my curiosity gets the better of me many times (monster porn- definitely been there and not going back) and there are things that I still want empirical proof before I say for sure I won't like it (step-sibs). I've liked a few capture romances and I've definitely liked my share of anti-heroes though admittedly the list is a short one. I don't like certain tropes like the secret baby or triangles though best friend's sib doesn't bug me. I can't stand undue angst, miscommunication or TSTL being used as conflict devices. Rape and cheating are no-nos. I like a developed relationship in my romances and don't really like the 'quickie' stories much though heat isn't a turn off.
    I'm sure that's not all, but that should give the idea. ;)

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    1. I got the TSTL education from you.

      Rape, I can't, cheating, depends on who's telling the story and the context. Like Gone Girl has cheating & I loved it.

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  11. Yep, you nailed it! I don't read much as far as romance and usually stay away from anything very dark but for the most part we're right on for what I will not read. Or what I don't feel comfortable with.

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    1. I'm not afraid of the dark. I see it as a challenge to the author's skill. If they manage to make it convincing, they got my admiration for their technique more than the story itself. If that makes sense.

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  12. Very awesome list, and yep you and I would get along just find. I wasn't all that impressed by SoA either. No cheating with best friend's love and incest..eew.

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    1. I would haunt my best friend if she moved on my man LOL

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  13. I've got zero patience for characters who are TSTL. Everybody makes mistakes and I don't expect even fictional characters to be perfect (in fact, I find characters without flaws annoying, too), but I can't stand it when a character is completely devoid of basic common sense.

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    1. Heck yeah! I read this captive-type romance a few months ago, and instead of trying to figure out how to escape, yup, the "heroine" prioritized having sex.

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  14. I'd say my hard limits are the same as yours, Braine. I did quit reading a book because I felt the MC was TSTL though. As for soft limits, well you know I don't mind the angst. ;) But the other items on your list I agree with - when things are done well...realistically...I can believe in them. Great post, girl!

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    1. Angst isn't all that bad, I just can't take it in huge doses. Like I can't read back to back angst.

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  15. I feel the same way with everything you said. I used to read a lot of the dark erotica. So many of my book buddies kept recommending them to me, and I just can't get into them anymore.

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    1. I've reached my limit with BDSM-dark erotica too. I'll read erotica minus BDSM

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  16. I don't mind some of the Step sibling reads. One I read by Penelope Ward was really good, they had an attraction they didn't really act on until years later, after their parents broke up. But other than that, I'm with you on the other points!!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

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    1. You're a trooper! I can't wrap my head around that. To me it's almost like romancing your adoptive sibling

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  17. Oh yes I totally agree with you. Something quite complicated for me too. Great post Braine!

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  18. I can't read rape scenes, they make me nauseous. I agree with the step-relationships being wrong too. It's just too close to being related.

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    1. Rape is never okay. And I'm a believer of family doesn't always have to be about blood. So step siblings is a no-touch zone for me

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  19. I am with you on the Step books. As a blended family here, with teenagers. NOPE won't read and honestly barely promo on my blog & page (my team might but I don't).
    I had to try one of those monster books, yeah just wrong and actually quite stupid.
    I am not a fan of the MC books period. No rape for me, rough sex is one thing but then there is rape.

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  20. Yes too all of your choices and in the same degrees. I know everybody has different taste, but there are some things that are a bit too much for me. Once I read a book in which heroine falls in love with her raper... No, thank you. That's a DNF right there for me.

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  21. Ughhh...Yes to all of those! I would be completely turned off to a book and maybe even the author if I encountered any of those!

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  22. I have seen so much dino porn... I can't even begin to wonder how messed up you have to be to write about sexy times with dinosaurs... I just read a book with a serial killer cannibal as the main character in a love story. I kid you not. It was pretty stellar, though...

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    1. I will read the serial killer cannibal, I'll pass on the dinos

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  23. We're so opposites. I can deal with pretty much all of those things. I haven't read the current trend of step siblings but Charlaine Harris had a series years ago that was step siblings and it's one of my all time favorite series.

    I'm open to pretty much reading anything. I don't have much as the way of hard or soft limits. I don't like cheating in books but even that I've read one that worked since it was the least offensive thing the characters did. I won't go into one knowing there's cheating but that's really my only no go. Oh and the secret baby trope. If done well fine but usually I absolutely hate the heroines so I don't seek those out.

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    1. There are always exceptions, for sure. But when I see these things I instantly get disinterested. Now if the reviews are just stellar then it probably means it's done well. And I'm all for exceptional work so when that happens then I'm most likely to ignore my prejudices and dive in.

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  24. TSTL is a def hard limit for me. Starting to see it so much, I just don't understand when this type of character became so popular, ugh. I've been seeing a lot of step-brother romances of late, nah bruh, I'll pass on that...just not right.

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  25. Oh yeah, I am definitely a with you on your hard limits, Braine! Awesome list!

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  26. I completely agree with you with everything on this list. Especially the MC books, they're very much hit and miss for me, mostly miss as I can't understand what makes these guys so appealing???

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