Tropes

I’ve finally had a chance today to go through my emails today and I’m checking out the books recommended to me by the sites that send me ebook deals.  It made me think about the tropes that I do and don’t like to read.

I should clarify, I read romance novels almost exclusively.  I occasionally read fantasy or science fiction novels, but mostly romance.  Within romance though, I read in a wide variety of sub-genres.  It’s just that I demand my happy ending, and romance is the only genre that will guarantee that for me.

So, tropes.  I’m no expert on tropes, so I Googled some.  Here are the ones I have strong(ish) feelings about:

  • Anti-hero.  Aw, come on, we all love reformed bad boys, right?  😛  My husband was a hard drinking, fast driving, tattooed loud mouth when I met him, who was lucky not to have been behind bars.  Who’d have guessed he was also super sweet and romantic, and very good with babies?  Ha ha!  So yeah, I guess I like these ones.  He’s still tattooed and still loud, by the way.
  • Athlete.  I hate heroes who are sports stars.  Ugh.  No thanks.  It’s worse too when it’s an American sport that I’m totally clueless about.
  • Consanguinity.  No, no, no.  Stepbrothers and stepsisters, stepfathers and stepdaughters (it was this trope that actually led me to write this post in the first place), etc.  No.  No, no, no.  And while I don’t mind menage stories, I hate it when they involves siblings, for the same reason.  Or worse, twins.  Ack.  Nope.
  • Danger.  I’ve seen this written elsewhere on the net as ‘Heroine in danger’ or ‘Heroine needs rescuing’, etc.  It doesn’t matter to me if it’s the hero or the heroine (and I don’t just read m/f books, so gender sterotyping is a bit redundant anyway), but danger definitely adds spice to the mix.  I’ve said before that I don’t care how much torture my characters have to go through, as long as they’re guaranteed a happy ending.  I guess, I like to believe that no matter how hard life gets, it’s all going to work out in the end.  This is the extreme version of that.  Maya Banks does this trope really well, to the point that it’s become a kind of cliche in her books, but that’s beside the point.
    Whispers in the Dark (KGI, #4) Whispers In The Dark was a brilliant example of this trope.  Both the hero and the heroine go through some fairly extreme ordeals over the course of the book, and it’s a fantastic read.
  • Disguise.  I know it’s silly, but I really like the ones where girls dress up as guys and win over the hero as a male first.  I don’t know why I like them.  Maybe because I was a tomboy and often mistaken as a boy even well into my teens (I think I was 17 the last time it happened).
    Morganna (The Brocade Collection Book 4) by [Ivie, Jackie] Morganna by Jackie Ivie is one of the best books I’ve read with this trope, and I especially love how the hero falls for her while still thinking she was a boy.  He is attracted to her while he thought she was a male (and even kisses her, thinking her a man), instead of respecting or befriending her and then being attracted once her gender was revealed.  For a historical romance, that’s pretty cutting edge.  I was very impressed.
  • Fated mates.  This can work really well, but only if the author avoids the instalove pitfall of death.  Ugh.  I hate instalove.  If the match is fated, and they fight it, but eventually realise all the great things about each other and slowly fall for each other despite themselves, it can be a great read.  But no instalove!
  • Impairments.  This is probably very un-PC of me to say, but I love these.  I actually did a Writing.com site newsletter on this topic. Both physical and mental disabilities, so long as the characters are equal.  I read one where I felt the character with the mental disability was not in any way equal to the other main character, and there was a HUGE power disadvantage.  It felt…kind of pedophilic.  Ugh, no thanks.
    The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie (Mackenzies Series Book 1) by [Ashley, Jennifer]
    Song for Sophia (A Rougemont Novel Book 1) by [Densley, Moriah] The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie by Jennifer Ashley and Song For Sophia by Moriah Densley both have great male heroes who have Asperger’s Syndrome.  Both are excellent reads.  I’m sure Cole from Jaime Reese’s A Restored Man is on the spectrum too.  It’s never said, but I think his inability to know what is appropriate for a particular conversation or situation is a good indication.
    Never Seduce a Scot: The Montgomerys and Armstrongs by [Banks, Maya] Moon Craving (A Children of the Moon Novel Book 2) by [Monroe, Lucy] Never Seduce A Scot by Maya Banks features a fantastic heroine who is deaf.  That’s a great book too.  Moon Craving by Lucy Monroe features a deaf heroine as well, and I’ve re-read that book a number of times too.
    Speechless by [Fielding, Kim]Love Comes Silently (Senses Series Book 1) by [Grey, Andrew]Love Comes in Darkness (Senses Series Book 2) by [Grey, Andrew]I’ve read some great m/m books that use this trope too.  Speechless by Kim Fielding features a hero with aphasia which I’ve read multiple times.  And there’s Andrew Grey’s Senses series too which is built around the trope.  It’s starts with Love Comes Silently, with a mute hero, then Love Comes In Darkness, with a blind hero.  I enjoyed both those books (but warning, they’re tear-jerkers).  There are six books in the series, but the first two are my favourites.
  • Military.  I used to really enjoy these, and Maya Banks’ KGI series is a great example of this done well, but having now worked for two ex-military bosses, I no longer see military guys as a romantic ideal.  Nope.  And what’s more, I will no longer be recommending that my son signs up for the military.  The military changes you, and now I think it’s not for the better.
  • Second chances.  I’m not a fan of this one.  If it didn’t work out the first time, it wasn’t meant to be.  Not to say it can’t be done well, but you’ll have to have something really special to tempt me.
  • Time travel.  I’ve read books where this trope has been done really well, and I’ve really enjoyed them, but I’m always leery of them.  It’s so easy to turn this into a sad ‘been there, done that, got the t shirt’ cliche.
  • Ugly duckling.  I really enjoy these ones, regardless of which character is the ugly duckling and why.  Probably I enjoy them because I have pretty low self-esteem when it comes to my physical appearance, but never mind.

What are some tropes that you like or dislike?  They don’t have to be romance ones.

Book lover’s tag

I found this little quiz over at Watching the Daisies.

Do you have a specific place for writing?
If I’m writing on my laptop, I’m usually sitting in my recliner armchair with my feet up.  If I’m handwriting, I’m usually at the kitchen table.

Book mark or random pieces of paper?
I actually collect bookmarks, but rarely use them.  If I’m reading a hardcover book, or an old book that’s fragile, I’ll take the time to find and use a bookmark, but with a paperback I usually just fold down the corner of the page.
My favourite bookmarks are the leather ones you can buy at historical sites in the UK.  Loved buying one at each special place we visited!

Can you stop anywhere or must it be at the end of a chapter?
Honestly, I struggle to stop even at the end of chapter, would rather just go until the end of the book, but stopping midway down a page or midway through a chapter would really bug me.

Do you eat or drink whilst reading?
If I’m hungry or thirsty, sure.

Music or TV whilst reading?
Doesn’t matter, I’d tune it out anyway.  🙂  My husband often points out that he’s had a conversation with me and I’ve not heard a word of it.  Oops!

One book at a time or several?
If I’m reading more than one book, it’s usually because one has bored me.  I prefer to read one at a time and finish it before starting the next one.  Sometimes I go back and finish (or try to) the one that bored me, sometimes they never get read.

Do you prefer to read at home or elsewhere?
I’ll read anywhere, but my favourite place is curled up in bed.

Read out loud or silently?
Definitely silently.

Do you read ahead or skip pages?
I’ve been known to skip pages on a re-read, or if a sex scene is overly drawn out, but usually I just read cover to cover.

Break the spine or keep it like new?
How do you read a book and keep it like new?  A book is there to be enjoyed.  Just read it.  This is like people who buy perfume for ‘a special occasion’ and then never wear it.  I don’t get it.  Live in the now, people!  Ha ha!

Do you write in your book?
Only if it’s a non-fiction, like a textbook or cookbook.  I do write inscriptions when I’m gifting books, especially to children.

What books are you reading now?

Product DetailsProduct Details
Right now I’m re-reading Lori Foster’s Edge of Honor series.  It’s been ages since I read it, and I was talking to my mum about it as she’s just started it, and it inspired me to re-read it.  I’ve read When You Dare, and now I’m reading Trace of Fever and listening to Savor The Danger on Audible.  I’m looking forward to reading A Perfect Storm again.

Favourite childhood book?
Product Details Um…  I’m not sure.  I don’t really remember much about the books I read as a kid.  I read all the time, so it was rare for a book to stand out.  The first books to really stay in my memory were Anne McCaffrey’s Brainship series and her Talent series.  Man, it’s been a long time since I read those books.  I was thinking of them recently, actually.  I must re-read Pegasus in Flight.  I loved that book.

All time favourite book?
Product DetailsProduct Details
 
It’s impossible to pick one, of course, but the book I’ve re-read the most is Morganna by Jackie Ivie.  In recent times, I’ve fallen in love with A Restored Man by Jaime Reese.

Nominating some others to complete this quiz (if they haven’t done so already):
Rachel Peck
Jessica Cauthon
Parichita Singh
Angela at Books and Opinions
Reb Kreyling
Christina Weaver

Top ten books

Prompt: If you were creating a list of top ten books, what would you choose and why? Is there an ongoing theme?

A Restored Man by Jaime Reese
A Sorceress of His Own by Dianne Duvall
Keep Me Safe by Maya Banks
Love Comes in Darkness by Andrew Grey
Love Comes Silently by Andrew Grey
Morganna by Jackie Ivie
Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks
The Harder He Falls by Lynda Aicher
The World As He Sees It by A M Arthur
Whispers in the Dark by Maya Banks

Putting together a top ten of books was crazy hard. They’re not in order of preference, by the way, that would have been even harder! I started off with all the books I’ve rated five stars on Goodreads, and then removed the ones that didn’t immediately leap out at me. Then I went with the ones that I’ve either re-read the most often or the ones where the story or characters have stayed clear in my mind over time.

It’s interesting to analyse.

  • 100% are romance. Duh.
  • 30% of my top ten are by Maya Banks and 20% are by Andrew Grey. That speaks highly for both those authors.
  • 70% are contemporary and only 30% are historical.
  • 30% are paranormal.
  • 50% are m/m and the other 50% are m/f.
  • 20% involve military or similar. Yep, those are both Maya Banks books. She does the military ones well.
  • A whopping 60% involve disabilities of some sort, whether physical or mental. And I know that some of the ones that I was humming and haaing over whether to include in my top ten did as well. Apparently I like characters with disabilities. If I break it down even further, excluding disabilities arising from the paranormal, it’s 50/50 for physical or mental disabilities. Interesting. And I haven’t included temporary disabilities arising out of injuries that will heal (which you tend to get with the military style ones).
  • I think 70% of them are based in America, which is interesting because I wouldn’t have said that’s my preference. I think there’s 20% Scottish and 10% English.

Yeah, very interesting.

2016

Prompt: It’s nearly 2017. Go ahead and rant about 2016 or what you want to see happen in the new year.

So, in 2016

  • I wrote 11 site newsletters for Writing.com
  • I wrote 2 short stories
  • I wrote two novel chapters
  • I wrote 113 poems
  • I wrote 172 blog entries
  • I read 159 books

These were my five star reads for 2016:
A Restored Man by Jaime Reese (audio version)
A Mended Man by Jaime Reese
My Viking Vampire by Krystal Shannan
Demon Possession by Kierstan Fay
Demon Slave by Kierstan Fay
The World As He Sees It by A M Arthur
The Heart As He Hears It by A M Arthur
A Sorceress of His Own by Dianne Duvall
Nameless by Jessica Sorensen
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs
Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs
Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs
Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews
Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews
Tall, Tatted and Tempting by Tammy Falkner
Let It Go by Mercy Celeste
The Bloodline War by Tracy Tappan
Drawn In by Barbara Elsborg
Give Yourself Away by Barbara Elsborg
Ridiculous by D L Carter
Mr. and Mr. Smith by HelenKay Dimon
This Isn’t Me by T.A. McKay
Don’t Tempt Me by Lori Foster
Sweet Little Lies by Jill Shalvis
The Harder He Falls by Lynda Aicher
Signs of Attraction by Laura Brown