A few random observations from the past week

May 6, 2010 at 4:00 am 20 comments

This is a new feature I’m trying out here at RBA! 🙂

The observations aren’t really related to each other, but just things that occurred to me as I read.

Observation: Not wanting to be attracted to hero(ine) isn’t a source of conflict in and of itself.

Come Toy with Me by Cara Summers
Luckily, the heroine didn’t stay too long in this mindset. However, it was really getting to me while she was there. This idea, “Oh noes, I just can’t be attracted to this wildly handsome and intelligent man.” Why? Because there needs to be conflict. No other reason. It just isn’t enough for me.

Observation: My feelings about the “virginity wager” trope (wherein the hero has enters into a wager with his obnoxious friends to “deflower” the heroine) has been upgraded from dislike to out right aversion.

Then Comes Seduction by Mary Balogh
Since this was an attempt to rekindle my historical reading mojo, I didn’t want to force the issue. I immediately stopped listening to the audiobook. I will try reading a historical again soon, though probably with a re-read of a book I already know I’ll enjoy.

Observation: Perfect heroines are hard for me to identify with.

Something About You by Julie James
My kingdom for a quirk or a flaw! I can buy into a book with a brilliant, successful, beautiful heroine, but I think also I need something intrinsic to her—not just circumstance (like Jack’s on-camera comments)—to help me empathize (not just sympathize) with her. I liked Cameron, I just didn’t identify with her. And, isn’t identifying with the hero or heroine what I’m trying to do when I’m reading?

Observation: I love it when an author takes a literary assumption or trope and stands it on its head.

Kitty’s House of Horrors (Kitty Norville series, book 7) by Carrie Vaughn
I wasn’t too sure about the whole “locked room” mystery trope where Kitty and a group of supernaturals head to a remote lodge to film a “Real World”-type TV show. Of course, the supes start dropping like flies. However, I really wound up enjoying it, mostly because the author has this wit with which she writes. Just having Kitty observe (I’m now regretting that I returned this book to the library so I can’t give and exact quote) that its just like the scary movies where the people are picked off 1 by 1 by the monsters. But, in this scenario its the monsters that are being picked off. I totally had to laugh out loud at the fact that I forgot that they were all “monsters” and it made such a great picture in my head when I read that line.

(Loretta Chase is the queen of this type of expectation inversion.)

Well, like I said before, these are just observations. They don’t necessarily reflect my complete opinion on the books. Rather, these are thoughts that floated by as I read.

Do you agree/disagree with any of these? Are there any observations that you’ve made recently?

Entry filed under: Random Observations.

April 2010 Read Books May 2010 Releases (Part 1)

20 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Chris  |  May 6, 2010 at 7:37 am

    The perfect heroine thing drives me nuts, more so than the perfect hero in m/m.

    And I hear ya about the “virginity wager” – UGH.

    Reply
    • 2. Renee  |  May 6, 2010 at 8:25 am

      What I don’t get, is why the virginity wager keeps being used as a viable plotline?

      Hmmm…I have to think about the perfect hero in m/m. Something I hadn’t considered…

      Reply
  • 3. Lusty Reader  |  May 6, 2010 at 7:42 am

    oh i love this new feature, especially with your examples! its always hard for me to exactly understand what a blogger is trying to say without examples.

    i totally agree with your first observation, not wanting to be attracted to someone can so easily change too, so it’s not really a deep rooted conflict.

    i love wager/betting story lines (*ahem* loved the movie She’s All That!) and don’t particularly love the “take her virginity” wager, but it doesn’t turn me off quite as much.

    Reply
    • 4. Renee  |  May 6, 2010 at 8:29 am

      Thanks! I think these are things that sometimes turn into entire posts, but this is a little “quick and dirty” way of getting them all out there right away. 🙂

      Yeah, betting in general I’m not crazy about, but I can put up with. But, the virginity one? Just so wrong.

      Reply
  • 5. Scorpio M.  |  May 6, 2010 at 7:53 am

    Re: perfect heroines

    I don’t mind “perfection” either because most of the time I never imagine perfection I just think “perfect in their skin” but with J. James, she veering into repetitive/unrealistic zone for me. All her heroines are beautiful, smart, extremely successful career-wise, with unisex WASP-y names: Peyton, Taylor, Cameron, next one is Jordan. What’s the problem? why are you having issues? Definitely hard feel empathetic.

    Reply
    • 6. Renee  |  May 6, 2010 at 8:36 am

      Good point. I read “perfect in their skin” as confidence, which I really like in a heroine.

      I have to admit, I’m feeling some anxiety about JJ’s heroines for that point. I really hope that they don’t become cookie cutter heroines. However, with Peyton (Practice Makes Perfect) I actually liked that she was a little judgmental about JD and his perceived “privilege” –though I know some readers didn’t like that about her. To me, it made her less then perfect, more human. (And JD, too, for that matter with some of his actions. I LOVE that he screwed up! I think his mistakes actually pushed that book from “like” for me to “love”.)

      Reply
      • 7. Scorpio M.  |  May 6, 2010 at 9:02 am

        Me too, lol, I loved Peyton for that reason! I really enjoyed JJ’s first 2 books. Maybe it’s just this book that was a miss for me.

        Reply
  • 8. Amy C  |  May 6, 2010 at 7:59 am

    Hi Renee,

    I like this new feature.

    I have to agree with your observation regarding the virgin heroine. It sounds like it would be more of a Victorian set historical and there are actually alot of things I find I dislike in that particular time frame with both the hero and heroine. I guess I’d have to read one to say what they are :). I don’t like the whole betting thing.

    I look forward to more of these posts!

    Reply
    • 9. Renee  |  May 6, 2010 at 8:41 am

      ((Amy!))

      Thanks! 🙂

      Yeah, you know, the whole “I’ve got to keep the wager because I’m a gentleman, dammit!” just makes me crazy. What about the whole not seducing a woman for a bet because you’re a gentleman? lol

      Already making notes for next week’s post. 😉

      Reply
  • 10. Tracy  |  May 6, 2010 at 11:10 am

    I think the issue with me and the virginity wager is that it just never works out. I’d almost like to read where he deflowers the heroine and then gets his money and walks away! lol Ok, maybe not, but he always gets caught in the wager and it causes conflict. It IS getting kind of old.

    Reply
    • 11. Renee  |  May 7, 2010 at 9:24 am

      lol. Wouldn’t that be a surprise?

      Reply
  • 12. KC (Smokinhotbooks)  |  May 6, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Hmm I feel the same way about perfect heroine. I like my ladies flawed, otherwise she can come off arrogant and/or self righteous.

    Reply
    • 13. Renee  |  May 7, 2010 at 9:25 am

      Self righteous is the one that really gets me.

      I figure, I’m not perfect, so do I really want to read about someone who is?

      Reply
  • 14. Hilcia  |  May 7, 2010 at 4:56 am

    Not wanting to be attracted to hero(ine) isn’t a source of conflict in and of itself.
    Exactly! There has to be a good reason behind it or it’s a no go. 😦

    -The perfect heroine is only good as a “fantasy.” I don’t know that anyone can really identify with her — I certainly can’t. The perfect hero is just as tough for me (M/F, M/M), I do a lot of eye-rolling with him, think a lot of “yeah, sures” and “yeah, rights”… cynical woman that I am. 😀

    -Virginity Wager is tired, tired, tired! Ugh.

    Reply
    • 15. Renee  |  May 7, 2010 at 9:28 am

      I think I’m a little more lenient on the men, maybe because I don’t relate as closely? (idk)
      However, if they are too perfect, I also roll the eyes. They become a cardboard cut-out, I think.

      Yes! Put the VW to bed, already! lol

      Reply
  • 16. orannia  |  May 9, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    I love this new feature Renee – please continue!

    I see your virginity wager (which I also dislike intensely bordering on hate) and raise you the ‘I will seek revenge on you, the defenseless heroine even though it is your father/brother/family/intended did me wrong and ruin your reputation’. It’s like – if she did nothing, then leave her alone and go after the person/people who did. Ever heard of collateral damage?

    Oh noes, I just can’t be attracted to this wildly handsome and intelligent man.” Why? Because there needs to be conflict.

    Agree. I want a real reason for the conflict, not just a made up reason.

    Oh, and I’m SO with you on the perfect heroine. Give me a relatable heroine.

    Fantastic post Renee – thank you! It’s really got me thinking 🙂

    Reply
    • 17. Renee  |  May 9, 2010 at 8:32 pm

      OMG, yes, the revenge plot is one that will often get me to lay down a book as soon as it appears. I love Lisa Kleypas, but there are a few of hers that I just can’t read because of this. It just says “fatal character flaw” in a hero/heroine to me.

      Thanks! I’ve got a couple of “observations” ready for the next post! 🙂

      Reply
  • 18. RRRJessica  |  May 11, 2010 at 11:32 am

    I like this new feature too!

    and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the first observation. I completely agree. It is so common in contemps and so annoying and unconvincing!

    Reply
  • 19. nath  |  May 12, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Seriously don’t get the virgin wager. Why would they like it so much? Really? Especially since they are so many other books where the heroes stay away from virgins. Definitively not my favorite plot.

    However, I disagree with you about identifying with the heroes/heroines when I read. I like to understand them, but not necessarily identify with them. The unfortunate truth is that perfect people sometimes exist – they shouldn’t, LOL, but they do.

    Great new feature, Renee 😀

    Reply
  • […] 19, 2010 The last random observations post was so much fun! Here are a few more from the past (couple of) […]

    Reply

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