A Willful Woman…

Thoughts about books from a romance addict.

In Which Things Do Not Improve

Kind of a follow-up to this post.

I’ve started Sweet Ruin by Kresley Cole, and it’s even odds whether I’ll DNF. It opens with the paranormal version of an old romance classic: the heroine watching the hero having sex with someone else. Except in this case, it’s 6 or 7 someone elses, I forget exactly how many. He’s basically a spy, cold-bloodedly seducing women for information and to get them to do what he wants.

This line really struck me: “After just one bedding, non-nymph females uniformly grew attached to him, becoming jealous and possessive.”

I realized that the entire race of nymphs basically only exist in these books to be unproblematic receptacles for the heroes’ lusts. They’re used in the same way in Macrieve, Shadow’s Claim, and probably any number of other books in the series. I’m pretty sure there are no nymph heroines. The one succubus heroine is a freakin’ virgin.

I’m very cranky about books this month, but damn, I think I have a right to be.

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Context Is Not Everything

There was a huge shitstorm on twitter yesterday because of egregious racism in an interracial romance. (Update: Here’s another review that goes into more detail.) I’m not going to comment on that, except to say that while the publisher acted promptly, the fact that Amy Lane has not acknowledged this in any way whatsoever means I will never again buy or review her books.

What I’m thinking about now is how often authors of interracial romances use humor around race, and how easily I’ve accepted that, as a white reader. The appeal is obvious, as a way to address race lightly, and to show your white character “gets it.” But… do they really? Do I? I’m squirming now at the realization that I might have let really offensive shit get by me without being aware of it.

 

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Three Day Quote Challenge, Day One

I’ve been (very flatteringly) nominated for this challenge by frequent commenter Erin Burns. Thank you to Erin! I hadn’t actually realized before this that she had a blog, but it looks to have the kind of heartfelt, witty, personal reviews that I enjoy.

Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • Publish a quote on 3 consecutive days on your blog.  The quote can be one of your own, from a book, movie, or from anyone who inspires you.
  • Nominate 3 more bloggers each day to carry on this endeavor.

Quote number 1

“She ate toast in bed, then reread a favorite book, taking comfort from a story where she knew the outcome would be good and just and right.” — Sarah Mayberry, Within Reach

Not hard to see why I like this quote, which affirms the value of rereading, of “formulaic” fiction, and of reader satisfaction. Books are one place where we can reliably get a good, just, right ending when we need one, thank goodness.

ETA: My husband points out that this works less well with old comfort reads when you discover they’ve since been visited by the racism fairy. 😦

I nominate:

Liz of Something More, who always has something interesting to say, no matter what the topic.

Jackie of Romance Novels for Feminists, who I bet has some amazing quotes to share.

The always delightful “Miss Bates,” of Miss Bates Reads Romance, who somehow manages to write the longest reviews while still being pithy.

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Everything New is Old Again

So I’m reading Aflame by Penelope Douglas (don’t judge me, I got it from the library, okay?!) and am amused at the new version of the Gently Used Heroine. I’ve seen it a few times before in Harlequin Presents, which tend to be the most conservative of all non-Christian romances in terms of the heroine’s sexual experience: in the last several years, they’re just barely starting to include heroines who have sex with another man after a break up with the hero… as long as it’s no more than one, doesn’t last long, and they don’t really enjoy it.

This version isn’t quite that bad and I’ll give the author some small props for including it at all, in a series focusing entirely on insanely possessive man-whore heroes. (Though of course, she’s the one who created those characters and scenarios to begin with. Following my Linda Howard/Diana Palmer Law that even the most sensitive, caring male character must be a total and complete asshole when he gets his own book.) But it fits so neatly into the new and improved Gently Used Heroine category, I just had to laugh.

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