Tag Archives: IAD

Comfort Reads

We all have comfort reads. Those books that we read again and again when we either love so much we want to live in those books or we can’t find anything else and those are a good place to revisit.

I have a couple. And by “a couple”-I mean a couple books AND a couple of series. There are categories, because of course there are. I love books! There are too many to love only one.

Physical Books

First and always is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. i can’t even tell you how many times I’ve read this book. I have several copies with pretty bindings/covers but that’s not the one I go to. I always go to my original hard back copy that I bought in 1998 from Barnes and Noble. It smells wonderful and the pages are all yellowed from age. Part of my comfort read is the story but it’s also the book itself. The feel and smell of the book brings me back to the first time I read it and makes it fun all over again. This is the only book I actually reread in the physical form.

Audiobooks

This for me is Lead by Kylie Scott. This is the third in the Stage Dive series. There are four books in this series and a few spin offs. this one though, does it for me. I’m not even sure what it is that does it for me but this combination of self-loathing in the hero, the less than picture-perfect heroine who is underestimated. I’ve never actually read this book but I’ve listened to it about a thousand times. Every time I go in, I just let my friends know that I’m visiting Jimmy and those who know . . . know.

Series

Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews. I have both read the physical books, ebooks, put tab markers in my favorite parts to reread, and listened to these MULITPLE times. They’re just delightful. The characters are so well developed and the world buliding is amazing and so rich. I’m 43 . . . going on 44 and as a writer, I want to be like them when I grow up. The Long and short of this, buy all of these books (including the spin offs).

Immortals After Dark by Kresley Cole. This is a series that I have both in physical book format and audiobook. i have a few on ebook but not all of them. I prefer physical books to ebooks. Okay, to be fair, these books are like crack. I, of course, have my favorites: Lothaire, Shadow’s Claim, Pleasures of a Dark Prince, and Dark Desires After Dusk; but there are like 20 of these things and I’ve listened to them more than once. I think Lothaire and Nix might be my favorite characters EVER. Plus, the audiobooks have the added benefit of being read by Robert Petkoff and he’s just amazing.

Buy all these books!

What are your comfort reads?

Bridgerton, Romancelandia, and the Masses

Can we talk abut Bridgerton on Netflix for a moment?

Some of the criticism coming about season 2 is that there isn’t enough sex. Not enough graphic, raunchy sex scenes to satisfy all the new people who have discovered Romancelandia (a term coined by those people who religiously read romance novels). Or that those not affiliated or tuned into the romance domain don’t understand why there are new people in season 2. These clearly come from people who don’t read a lot of romance, especially not the Julia Quinn novels these are based on. Let’s take these criticisms one at a time. We’ll start with the second since this is pretty easy to address.

The reason that there are new people, is because that’s the way Romance novels/series are set up. Each book has it’s own HEA (happily ever after) and their story is done. Oh sure, you might see them pop up in a future book in the series as a check in to remind people of their favorite characters, but for the most part their story is done. The series moves on to a different person in the family, a friend, etc. These new characters are always laid out in previous books, dangling them before you like a carrot. That’s how you get sucked in to the next book. I, personally, always wait for the broken ones. I’m a sucker for some hero/heroine that doesn’t think their good enough and those are always my favorites. Hence the reason i’m waiting patiently for Eloise and Penny’s seasons on Netflix.

Yes, I already know they’re going to get their guy but the journey is part of the fun.

You don’t normally see a series of books with the same main character in Romance. That happens in Urban Fantasy, Romantic Suspense, or those types of books where the Romance is NOT the main element in the book. These can follow the same couple over many books and may end with a HFN (happy for now) situation but the character, plot, and romantic arcs are much bigger than your typical romance. In these books the plot and character arcs are the main focus but these can be some of the most rewarding. Ilona Andrews does this in her Kate Daniels and Hidden Legacy books, as well as Kim Harrison in the Hollows books. My own books are tailored after this model. The Blushing Death Series and the Blood and Bone Legacy are definitely a HFN series.

However, Kresley Cole (whose books are legitimately like crack) is a master of the paranormal romance where each book is a different couple and has an HEA for each but the larger arc is also in play. In the IAD-Immortals After Dark-books, the HEA is the most important and the larger arc is just cake.

Let’s take the first criticism now, the lack of sex. I think we need to talk about a few things first.

In Romance books, there are quite a few classic tropes that can be the basis for the plot and everyone has their favorite. There are more but these are the most common:

  1. Friends to lovers – this is where people have been friends for a very long time and somthing changes and they discover they want to bone. Penny/Colin.
  2. Second Chances – think divorced couples or reuniting lost loves
  3. Pretend Relationships – First half of Season 1 of Bridgerton
  4. Forced Proximity – Second half of Season 1 of Bridgerton
  5. Destined to be together – this takes place in paranormal alot with fated mates. This is manifested with a lot of Alpha males yelling MINE
  6. Forbidden love – you all know what this means although don’t get gross with it. More like outside your social strata, your race, your religion, etc.
  7. Love Triangles – 3’s a crowd. Think Twilight
  8. Enemies to lovers – This is what we have in Season 2 of Bridgerton.

So, the enemies to lovers thing is all about the steam, the anticipation, the rising passion as they get over their initial dislike of each other and get down to the animal attraction and passion underneath. You’re not going to spend the entire show banging somone you hate. That’s revenge sex and that’s completely different. So, instead, we have a lot of fighting, misunderstandings, heat, and sexual tension.

Now, it’s my understanding that the book makes a shift from Friends to Lovers to Forced Proximity with the bee incident about half way through (I can not verify this since I haven’t read this particular series. I don’t like to mix book and tv/movie if I like one. I’m always disapointed in something). However, I could see where the show runners sat back and said, that’s too close to season 1, let’s draw this out a bit.

I don’t mind the anticipation and the build up, but the payoff better be worth it. I think where they went wrong was in season 1 and laying the ground work for the Viscount’s story. They set up the vicount as in love with the opera singer and ready to run away with her, thereby shirking his duty as the heir. So, the dramatic turn around of him ready to fulfill his duty and get married, produce an heir, etc seemed a bit forced. We needed a bit more ground work to make that believable. A conversation could have done that for us or maybe the opera singer’s death, marraige, etc. Something to take this other woman out of the picture permanently and his realization that that dream was now over and he had to move on. There was some resignation evident but, I was left wanting. That’s my own personal preference.

Fates Mates and Podcasts

I’ve started listening to the Fated Mates podcast on Audible with Sarah MacLean and Jen Prokop which is a romance oriented podcast that started out discussing Kresley Cole IAD books and branched out. This is why i started listening . . . I love Kresley Cole. She is a must purchase in multiple formats whenever a new book comes out. Don’t judge me. I need them in physical form for my bookshelf, cause I do. AND I need the audio because Robert Petkoff is a GOD. Here’s a sample.

These books are like crack because once you stop, you won’t be able to stop. I stumbled upon this podcast by accident and was between books. Actually, I wasn’t ready to start the 49 hour sludge through Diana Gabaldon‘s Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone…especially when I know that nothing exciting happens. So, I figured why not.

But GOD DAMMIT, I’ve gone down a rabbit hole and haven’t been able to come out. This is precisely the reason I don’t listen to Podcasts when there are thousands of books out there that I would love to listen to.

Side note: I am fully aware that if I go down the true crime podcast road, I may never come out. I’m fucked up that way, perferring murder to a lot of other things. Those podcasts, I don’t date touch. Also, i get super judgy about murder; like – man that guys an incompetant murderer. Or that’s not enough trauma to justify those actions, dude.

Now I’m involved in the shenanigans of these two hilarious women and I can’t get out. I’m just glad that I was alone when one of them referred to a succubus being poisoned by the sex she was having as “suffering from the dick flu” because I cackled like a fiend.

Another side note: I relayed this story to Ross and when I started explaining the context of the succubus being poisoned by the sex she was having, he literally rolled his eyes back in his head.

Sarah and Jen (I use their first names like I know them…I don’t) talk about feminism, sex, writing as a craft but also as fans, and take a deep dive into each book or topic.

There are several books that I’ve gone back into after their podcasts to relisten to, because again, Robert Petkoff. They loved Dark Needs at Night’s Edge which is Conrad and Neomi’s story. It was never one of my favorites. After listening, I decided to give it another try. Nope, even with all that deconstruction, still not one of my favorites. But that’s okay and the great things about books, we can all love different things. I’m revisiting The Master right now and its just as delightful as I remembered. It might also be my fifth or sixth time through. I have zero guilt about this.

As an author, it makes me a little widgy to think that people might be dissecting my books on that level. They’re not. I’m not nearly as popular or as widely read as Kresley Cole or Sarah MacLean. But weird to think about just the same.