Re: PPs about ineffective female heroines - one of my favorite books of all time is Dealing with Dragons
by Patricia C. Wrede. Before Shrek
was even a glimmer in someone's eye, Wrede's character Cimorene was the ultimate anti-princess: she'd rather fence and make cherries jubilee than learn how to embroider and curtsy just right. To get out of marrying a total loser, she runs away and hires herself as a dragon's princess instead of waiting for one to carry her off. Wrede has lots of fun turning the traditional fairy tale world on it's head.
Re: Characters doing unrealistic things / dumb male authors. I like to read romance novels but these days most of them tick me the ehell off. Two of the worst things:
1) The bad boy worship and some male authors apparent, um, "small equipment complex." I am sick of troubled bad boys that need fixing. And guys that are total jerks to the girls and ...yet...they-they can't resist him *swoon* and find him 'fascinating.' UUGGGH!
Then there is this crummy series, a pulpy cowboy series with this white guy raised by native americans so he's the western equivalent of a superhero. He literally ends up sleeping with every girl he meets. The good girls, the villianess, the girl working the bar. They all want him, they all throw themselves at him, and they all have to tell him how big it is!
Barf. He (or rather the author) is also a one-trick pony in bed. All the scenes read the same with a slightly different physical description of the girl he happens to be doing at the time. And they go south on him but he never reciprocates? Bull pucky!
2) The girl is never. ever. ever. strong.
Even in books where the guy is attracted to a girl because of her confidence and strength
, she is always so surprised that such an awesome guy would possibly want her. Once, just once
, I want to read a girl pulling a Han Solo and when a guy is going on and on about how great she is just say "Yes, I know."
Guess I'll have to write it myself because every romance heroine I've read so far comes with her self-esteem surgically removed and implanted as a symbiote in her love interest.