May Wrap Up: Lots of Travel, Few Books

Yeah, so this month has not been great for books, but on the flip side, my life has been pretty damn amazing. I think this is the happiest I’ve been in, like, ten years, and I’m just praying things don’t go south.

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Series Review: The Kiss Quotient & The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

The Kiss Quotient & The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

Contemporary adult romance
Goodreads | Amazon | Goodreads | Amazon

4 stars

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The Kiss Quotient was my first foray into adult romance, and I have to say that it went fairly good – though my interest in the actual romance part leaves something to be desired. What I like about Helen Hoang is that she writes about autistic people falling in love, and though I usually don’t do too hot in the romance department (like, I haven’t had a crush on a real person in years), I love it because her books show autistic folks can and do fall in love, have sex, get married, and the whole shebang.

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7 Books and Musicals That Remind Me of Each Other

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It is no secret that my other love is musicals. I adore musicals and theatre, and between books and tickets to shows, my wallet is constantly empty. Oops. But I got to thinking what books I can relate to musicals and vice versa, and now here’s a post.

I have tried to steer away from straight-out adaptations in this post with one exception. also I haven’t read half of these but I’m getting there I promise

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Books Released in the Last 10 Years

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme run by That Artsy Reader Girl.

First of all, can you believe that 2009 was 10 years ago? I went onto this post, like, “Gee, I’m going to have to find books from 2005,” but nope! 2009! I got into YA books around the same year, but I can’t believe how many books were published in 2009 that I thought, “Oh, that’s only a few years old” about.

Also, there seems to be a theme running through all of these favourite books. Apparently, I’m a masochist.

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SERIES REVIEW: Wintersong & Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones

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Wintersong & Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones

Published by Thomas Dunne Books
Young adult fantasy romance
Wintersong: Goodreads | Amazon Shadowsong: Goodreads | Amazon

3 stars 

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All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They’ve enraptured her mind and spirit and inspired her musical compositions. Now eighteen and helping to run her family’s inn, Liesel can’t help but feel that her musical dreams and childhood fantasies are slipping away.

But when her own sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl has no choice but to journey to the Underground to save her. Drawn to the strange, captivating world she finds–and the mysterious man who rules it–she soon faces an impossible decision. With time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.

After reading these books, I think I’m starting to really be attracted to stories about the fey. I liked Wintersong; not only was the writing beautiful, but it was such an atmospheric book. I think that was why I liked it so much; I’m not usually one for romance, but I found the romance between the Goblin King and Liesel all right. At the very least, it had a lot of aestheticism behind it, and aesthetics are my downfall.

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ARC Review: Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

April 16, 2019, from Simon & Schuster
Young adult contemporary romance
Goodreads | Amazon

3 stars

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After an awkward first encounter, Birdie and Daniel are forced to work together in a Seattle hotel where a famous author leads a mysterious and secluded life in this romantic contemporary novel from the author of Alex, Approximately.

Mystery-book aficionado Birdie Lindberg has an overactive imagination. Raised in isolation and homeschooled by strict grandparents, she’s cultivated a whimsical fantasy life in which she plays the heroic detective and every stranger is a suspect. But her solitary world expands when she takes a job the summer before college, working the graveyard shift at a historic Seattle hotel.

In her new job, Birdie hopes to blossom from introverted dreamer to brave pioneer, and gregarious Daniel Aoki volunteers to be her guide. The hotel’s charismatic young van driver shares the same nocturnal shift and patronizes the waterfront Moonlight Diner where she waits for the early morning ferry after work. Daniel also shares her appetite for intrigue, and he’s stumbled upon a real-life mystery: a famous reclusive writer—never before seen in public—might be secretly meeting someone at the hotel.

To uncover the writer’s puzzling identity, Birdie must come out of her shell…discovering that the most confounding mystery of all may be her growing feelings for the elusive riddle that is Daniel.

I seem to be reading a lot of romance lately, and Serious Moonlight is pretty much on par with how I tend to read romance books; I liked it, but it didn’t blow me away. I definitely think that Jenn Bennett is one of the authors I like when it comes to romance, though, because of how fun and positive they tend to be, and Serious Moonlight was no different.

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Romance Tropes I Actually Like

I don’t tend to like overbearing romance in books. I’m very picky with my romance, a result of reading too much fanfiction, which applies these tropes liberally. So I’ve developed a bunch of romance tropes that I’m drawn to.

Slow Burn

Really, slow burn is a requirement for everything else on this list – it’s my favourite trope. I love seeing a relationship develop over the course of a novel, or even several books – gradual, an easing in, and then eventually, a realization. If I’m not screeching into my pillow every time they’re near each other because I just want them to kiss already, it’s not slow enough. I like my slow burn absolutely glacial. 

Kit and Ty, for example, have already been three years in the making. I bookmarked all the places where Kit/Ty scenes made me scream internally. The burn was already slow when Lord of Shadows came out, and I honestly expected them to get together in Queen of Air and Darkness. Those of you who have read it know what happens and why I’m in agony now. And I have to wait another three years. I know I complain, but I kind of love this torture. I really do.

Friends to Lovers

Friends to lovers is just so pure. There’s something lovely about seeing friends develop into a relationship–especially if it’s a longstanding friendship, and the two parties already love each other as friends. This is the softest trope in existence, honestly–it’s so sweet to read about.

Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase are a prime example of this trope. It takes four books for them to kiss, but even from the first book, The Lightning Thief, they were the ultimate power couple. Seaweed Brain and Wise Girl were such great friends and an amazing team before they even admitted their feelings for each other, and now they’re in love and adorable about it and even more of a power couple.

Enemies to Lovers

If friends to lovers is pure, enemies to lovers is tense. I love how charged enemies and lovers can be. There’s something really exciting about seeing two people hate yet love each other simultaneously, and then learn to overcome the “hate” part. It’s especially fun when two parties are grudgingly forced to work together and the “love” comes on gradually, without anyone noticing it.

Jude and Cardan are one of my favourite examples of this trope. I wasn’t expecting to love them as much as I did, but when I read The Cruel Prince, my heart was racing because of how well-written the enemies-to-lovers was. I read a lot of enemies to lovers fanfiction, and Jude and Cardan are absolutely on that level–the churning mix of hate and love, the absolute confusion of both parties, and sarcastic remarks through gritted teeth.

Enemies to Friends to Lovers

This is galaxy brain level trope – all the tension of enemies to lovers and all the sweetness of friends to lovers. I also feel like, in a way, it’s more natural and makes more sense than enemies to lovers is–I like it when my ships are friends before becoming couples, even when they’re enemies before they’re friends. It takes so much character growth for this trope to happen, and I love how character-focused this trope usually is.

I really loved Laurent and Damen in The Captive Prince. They start out as kings of opposing nations, as master and slave, but learn how to understand and work with and eventually love each other. Even though I felt like the first book of the series was a bit of a rocky start to their relationship, the way Laurent and Damen began to connect with each other despite their different backgrounds and the history of their countries was so heartwarming.

Fake Dating

The fake dating trope is just so good — especially combined with other tropes on this list. I know this is more of a rom-com trope–I can’t think of an example of it in genre fiction–but it’s so fun. There are so many shenanigans that can happen with this trope in play. And I love it when their fake dates turn into both parties wanting them to be real dates, and the conflict that comes from ending the charade. Is it predictable? Maybe, but I love it.

Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a wonderful example. First of all, they’re absolutely an adorable couple, and there’s a good dose of mutual pining and slow burn in there as well. I love how Lara Jean and Peter build their relationship during their fake relationship and watching their feelings for each other sneak up on them.

Mutual Pining

Okay, you know the kind of pining where both parties are absolutely tortured by their feelings for each other but neither of them will deign to admit it? Yeah. That pining. I like it when people are sick with pining. I need my mutual pining angsty too. I need both characters to be distressed over each and every small touch and glance.

Kaz and Inej actually fit under this umbrella, and the tension between them had me in tears throughout Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom. They’re such a well-written example of the mutual pining trope, especially because their type of mutual pining is different than most types I’ve seen. Yes, at first the pining is because neither knows about the others’ feelings, but even when they figure it out the pining persists because both of them struggle so much with touch-based PTSD triggers. It’s still the mutual pining trope, but in a clever disguise.

Slow Burn Fake Dating Mutual Pining Enemies to Friends to Lovers

JUST KILL ME RIGHT NOW, MURDER ME THIS INSTANT. I’ve read several fanfictions with these elements, but I can’t think of a single published book right now. If anyone knows, please lead me to it. I may expose some more of the fanfictions I read, but right now I’m going to link a Les Mis fic, World Ain’t Ready, and avoid embarrassing myself.

What are your favourite romance tropes? Do you usually like romance?

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