Book: I picked this book up before the game even started, so congrats to past me for thinking about present me's book choice. I am reading Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson (book about tolerance, but not in the hippy-dippy sense). I only know Dyson from following him on Twitter, so I wanted to read (in more than 280 characters) more from him.
I read The Toymaker by Kay Springsteen and gave it only 1 star due to the heroine. However, the one redeeming trait this book had was that the hero, a duke, actually enjoys his job as a toy maker and making kids happy. He doesn't pull a Grinch, he is just in a cheerful jolly mood and up for going to the party dressed as Father Christmas so he can give his toys away. He doesn't put on airs, he doesn't throw his money or title around, and he has a great friendship with his valet. This was very different from the man-whores or grumpy dukes you mostly meet in historical romances.
1. Secret baby. It's somewhat reasonable for historicals set before 1920, but I start to lose patience for this trope anytime after 1960 and ESPECIALLY not in contemporary romance. Seriously it is 2018 - if the heroine and hero don't know how pregnancies happen, they are TSTL and need to be removed from the gene pool. I don't care if heroine is drunk or just so hot for the hero, she could and should buy a box of condoms and have hero use them and also look into birth control for herself (if she doesn't already). And the hero should not be carrying around the same condom (sealed) that his dad gave him on prom night in his wallet. Yes, I am referring to that awful book One Wish (Thunder Point #7) by Robyn Carr.
2. Unresolved/never-ending love triangles. I don't mind hints at love triangles or if the situation is throughout one book, but there better be a resolution by the end of the book (heroine picks one person or the people decide on being in a relationship together - aka a throuple).
3. Misogyny in M/M romance. In almost every book there is an evil ex or relative that is evil because she has a vagina. It's why I rarely read M/M romance.
4. Violence against women to signal how evil the villain is in M/F romance. It is ugly to read and makes the villain a cardboard cutout rather than a fleshed out character.