Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A trend I'm not liking

I've always been a fan of Harlequin Historicals. There are some real treasures in this line and some mighty fine authors. And a plus for me is they continue to publish Westerns! I also like the fact they publish quite a few medievals too. Although I'm not into that genre right at the moment, I'm still buying for when the mood comes over me for a great Medieval.

But is it just me or is the 'Harlequin Horrid Title Syndrome' creeping into this line too? One of the reasons I've never read Harlequin Presents - one of the few lines I haven't tried, is the inane titles. They are ripe for parody and in fact there is one going around right now.

Then they started creeping into the Harlequin Desire line. I stopped buying them for that reason as well as the fact that word count just shrunk and I don't think I'm getting my money's worth. For example in this months Desire line we have these wonderful titles:
  • Marrying for the King's Millions (it's a poor king if he only has millions and not billions)
  • Bedded by the Billionaire (now we are talking money)
  • Pregnant at the Wedding (Oh Noes)
  • Tycoon's Wedding (now I wonder if he's a millionaire or a billionaire - it could make a difference)
  • Baby on the Billionaire's Doorstep (wow! A double dose - baby and billions!)
I won't be buying any of these - sorry authors - it's nothing to do with you.

It's crept into the Special Edition line
  • Once upon a Pregnancy (oh please!)
  • The Millionaire and the M.D. (again - why not a billionaire? What's the matter with billions?)
  • The Prince's Royal Dilemma (I guess being royal doesn't solve all one's problems)
  • The Billionaire and his Boss (which makes one wonder why a billionaire would have a boss - gotta be the heroine)
So it's with horror I look at some of the Harlequin Historical's titles:
  • Taken by the Viking
  • The Wanton Bride
  • The Lord's Forced Bride
  • Virgin Slave, Barbarian King
  • Scandalous Lord, Rebellious Miss
  • Bedded by her Lord

How soon will it be before we start getting HH books with titles like
  • The Pregnant Viking at her Wedding
  • Baby on the Duke's Doorstep
  • The Very Wealthy Greek's Bride
  • Bedded and Wedded by the Barbarian
  • The Baron's Pregnant Bride
One shudders at the thought!!
I know these books with the Really Stupid Titles sell like hotcakes. It's a mystery to me but *shoulder shrug* each to their own. But does this have to creep into every line?

Harlequin - what about those of us who hate these titles? Think of us!!


Lone Chatelaine said...

Lol! I love stopping by the book aisle in Wal-mart and reading those titles.

Shannon said...

ugh, seriously! It does not matter what others may say about the quality of a book, if it is titled "The Greek Tycoon's Blackmail Baby Surprise" I WILL NOT read it. I just can't.

Carolyn Jean said...

Yow! Bedded and Wedded by the Barbarian! But it's a step up from Barbarian King, Virgin Slave. I think.

sybil said...

Trend? How is it a trend? hmmm really really really... look at your shelves and pick out the ooooollllddddd names are they better?

From what I was looking at last night they aren't any different.

If you don't buy the only person you hurt is the author and if it is a good book yourself. The publisher is still selling because there has to be a reason for these titles, because I really don't think this is a new dress they are trying to for size.

HP is the one line selling at 12 a month... 12! Someone is buying them.

Personally I am going to support the authors I like regardless of the cheese title because or cover because to me it is all about the story. And I am selfish. I WANT those authors to keep writing.

If I don't support them, the titles won't change. They will just flip in new authors into that spot.

Of course I could be wrong... maybe Harlequin just started this 'trend' but some of the books I but at the library sale this weekend were from the 70s, 80 & 90s. And that is one hell of a long 'new trend' ;).

Tracy said...

When I first started reading romance it was because I had raided my mom's Harlequin collection. I never noticed the titles then but thinking back they never were quite as cheesy as they are now. I'll still buy some authors no matter what the title but that's no often!

Bev(BB) said...

Interesting and cute post. ;)

Yeah, those titles are annoying. Actually, I tend to think some of those title are more annoying than the covers have ever been to me. The only covers that truly tick me off, and always have, are the ones with the females in the submissive poses with half their clothes off when the male is completely clothed and we don't see those nowadays. Well, not normally anyways.

But the titles. On perfectly good covers usually. Oye.

Or maybe I should say ick.

Katie(babs) said...

I always find the title with the words virgin and mistress together to be funny. :)

A HP book is not complete with some billionaire and the virgin he wants but can't love. And she always ends up pregnant.

But I do love me some Harlequin Historical. :)

Sarai said...

LOL I love the historicals for that reason but your right the titles are starting to slid down hill.
ALthough I picked up Barbaian King virgin slave for the title alone (that and all the hype!)

Kwana said...

Great post! I can't stand the Millionaire, Billionaire, Baby, Mama Drama Cowboy Wedding titles. they make me cringe. It's nothing against the authors either. They are probably wonderful books just gone bad.

Christine said...

How about: "The Unfeasibly Tall Greek Billionaire's Blackmailed Martyr-Complex Secretary Mistress Bride"?

I heard it was quite funny. :D

Michelle Willingham said...

Keep in mind that the poor authors have no say whatsoever in the titles. I'm 0 for 3 in the title department. Mostly I've been pleased with the titles they've given me so far, but I'm at the point where I'm calling my current Viking manuscript "Sweet Savage Sven." There's really no point in naming it anything else because they're going to change it. I might as well have fun with it.

Tracy said...

Christine...great title - surly you could have crammed the word "virgin" in there somewhere! lol

Michelle - sorry to hear that - although Sweet Savage Sven sounds like a nice guy! :)

Wendy said...

I really don't like those titles, they're so cheesy and ridiculous. I can't read them, just based on the title, I know it's horrible and I'm hurting the author but I can't help myself!

I think it's stupid how authors don't have a say in what title their book(s) get - I mean, how hard is this: (s)he wrote the book, (s)he should very well title it as well! Stupid!

Georgie Lee said...

Cute post. I love that HQ has other time periods such as ancient Rome and Georgian England. I have a few of those on my TBR list.

Kristie (J) said...

LC - Some of them are pretty wild aren't they?

Shannon: I'm with you!!

CJ: LOL - that was one I made up :)

Sybil: Ooooh I love a challenge! Further post to come now *g*. And I'll still support the authors I like - I may not like the titles but since I know the authors don't have any say I'll still read them. If Cheryl St. John for example has a Harlequin Wester titled The Greek Cowboy's Secret Baby or The Rich Rancher's Virgin Mistress - I'll still buy it - online mind you, but I'll still get it.

Tracy: As you will see - that's because they weren't as bad - at least the lines I read. ;-)

Bev: I'm an equal opportunity disliker. I don't like those covers either - or the silly titles.

Katie: My Harlequin reading is lacking as I've never read the Harlequin Presents line. I've seen a number reviewed lately and some have gotten excellent reviews, but it's a line I've never read and never will I doubt.

Sarai: They are! They are! Won't stop me from buying them, but I don't like them.

Kwana: LOL - you forgot the Sheik books in that list. Another group of titles I just don't get

Christine: That's the one I was thinking of that's going around. I really must follow all the chapters and read it!!

Michelle: Hello! and thanks for dropping by. I know that authors have no input into the titles. That's way I feel so bad for them. And although the Harlequin Horrid Title Syndrome has hit you, the past couple of books - I'm still buying 'em 'cause you write in a time that there just isn't enough of. Like I said - if it's an author I've enjoyed in the past I'm still going to read them - but whoa - I wish Harlequin would have left the Historical line alone when it comes to titles.

Wendy: You and me both - unless I've already read and liked the author. But I think for every reader who won't read a book with one of those crazy wacky titles, there are five who will. There's a reason Harlequin is so successful. Although I wish I could be in a consumer study they do sometime. I'd love to offer them my 2 cents worth *g*

CindyS said...

Okay, what's funny is that because I'm living in my slump I looked at all those books you mentioned. I had decided on Marrying for the King's Millions and I *think* Bedded by the Billionaire. I tried to ignore the titles and looked at the backblurbs. I then realized I was in Chapters and they don't honour the cheapest price (Walmart has them at US prices while Chapters has put a huge arse sticker of the price with a new price sticker so I couldn't tell if it was a good price or not.) So I didn't buy them on principle.

Now the only thing I found good about the titles is I knew where the kids would be and I don't want no kids. Also, I recognized the authors on these two titles.

All the same, while trying to decide I did feel embarrassed picking them up and I did have a twinge about going to the check out with them. I guess others could care less. Hell, I can buy tampoons from a teen male cashier without thinking twice but those titles are - not humbling but, judgement inducing. Like you are some old housewife who has nothing better to read than crap. When it's farthest from the truth. Grrr.


lisabea said...

IDK. Taken by the Viking sounds HAWT.

erika said...

Please don't judge a book cause of its title and I agree, they suck & deserve to be mocked, but I still buy harlequins and subscribe to the Presents.

Katie(babs) said...

I think authors should have input on the title and of course the cover. Since the book is their vision, it would make sense for them to pick the title.

I just found out Harlequin has a new May title coming out that I had made up in me head- The Greek Tycoon's Virgin Mistress!!! A VIRGIN MISTRESS?? LMFAO.

lisabea said...

Katie(babs)~Being a Virgin Mistress is no laughing matter. Especially when there is a Greek Tycoon involved.

Bev(BB) said...

Wonder if anyone would notice if someone got confused and messed up and reordered the titles and ended up with something along the lines of . . . wait for it (cause I'm out of breath, er, got tired fingers here) . . .

The Mistress's Virgin Greek Tycoon

Hehehe, okay, back to playing with my own site. :D

naida said...

lol..I've seen some corny titles too...what where they thinking?

Sherry Thomas said...

KatieBabs said,

I just found out Harlequin has a new May title coming out that I had made up in me head- The Greek Tycoon's Virgin Mistress!!! A VIRGIN MISTRESS?? LMFAO.

The Greek Tycoon's Buttsecks Mistress is what it is. *eg*

Katie(babs) said...

OMG I was chatting with someone (Sula) who mentioned buttsecks!! Lisabea can back me up on this. We decided it sounds like a beer. *G*

rachel said...

ugh, those are some bad titles!