I've been reading mass-market romance novels on weekends recently, less because of a significant interest in romance novels (nothing wrong with romance, but I find the predictability frustrating...which begs the question of why I read so much mainstream YA) than because...well. First it was on a weekend when I got home from my day job on a Friday afternoon and then spent Friday evening and all of Saturday and Sunday on other work, and my brain felt too much like mush to read anything else. (This weekend it's because the book—memoirish nonfiction—I am trying to read, which I've been looking forward to for ages, has turned out to be something of a slog, and even though I only have about sixty pages left I'd just...like to procrastinate a little longer.)
I get virtually all of my romance novels at thrift stores,* so by default I am reading only those that somebody else didn't think were worth keeping, and yet sometimes...I mean, I can't complain about tropes (e.g., princesses), considering that I actively seek out princess romances at thrift stores (still seriously considering renaming my kings-and-queens shelf on GR 'princess-fantasies'), but when you have a princess (common romance trope #1) falling for a rancher (common romance trope #2) who has been hired to be her bodyguard (common romance trope #3), what is that? (If it's a trifecta, it's not my trifecta.) Why do these characters keep falling in love and proposing over the course of about a week? And why do the women in these books never truly get the upper hand?
* Crowning (relevant) achievement to date: finding, over the course of a few days, three Harlequin romances featuring two heroines and a hero with my name, my sister's name, and my brother's name...none of which is common.