01 March 2011

Adieu to romance (in book form).

Eight books later, I've brought Romance February to a close with Sarah MacLean's Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake--which I liked but didn't love. It is perhaps the inevitable weariness of immersion in a single genre? I will say that this had the BEST sex scenes of what I've read. In a omigoodness-I-hope-the-person-next-to-me-on-the-subway-isn't-reading-over-my-shoulder kind of way. Howevs, I found the premise--spinster decides to throw caution to the winds and indulge in the harmless vices the men around her take for granted (fence, drink Scotch, smoke a cheroot), winning the heart of a hopeless libertine along the way--historically implausible. I know, I know, the anachronistically feminist heroine is a tried-and-true romance trope, but I felt like Callie would have suffered some kind of consequences risking her reputation, whether major or minor; I mean, she goes alone to a public house and no one hits on her but the hero?!? And again, the reformed-rake hero is par for the course, but I didn't really like this guy, and I don't think that, even today, most gentlemen are attracted to uppity women. (Except for my boyfriend, of course--but it took ages to find him.) I'm also kinda tired of the lady-virgin dude-slut pairing: I liked that in Proof by Seduction and Delicious the women had some experience. I get that in historicals it's more accurate to have an unmarried man have slept around, but it's still infuriating. Are there romances, I wonder, where the heroine has been around the block a few times, and the hero is the blushing man-maiden? Contemporaries, maybe? Or, ooh, like a medieval one where he's a former monk? That would be hot.

Meanwhile, the bf, who loves reading aloud, has taken up a paranormal thriller romance called Captive Heart, about the world's only water Sybil and a tough no-nonsense cop. It is goofy shit, I have to say--every sentence sounds like a tagline, which lends itself well to Chris's reading style. It's not good, but it's fun to share.

I'm now moving on to some other TBRs, but will leave romance in the mix. Next up is Cynthia Leitich Smith's Blessed, third in the trilogy that started with Tantalize--YA vamp fic with just an edge of sexiness and malice. Then I start Anna Karenina! And finish it in a week! I have total faith in myself.


  1. "I'm also kinda tired of the lady-virgin dude-slut pairing:"

    But it's as old as Clarissa, the first (maybe) real novel in English. It's tradition!

    "Are there romances, I wonder, where the heroine has been around the block a few times, and the hero is the blushing man-maiden?"

    The main romance in Patrick O'Brien's Aubrey/Maturin books is more or less like that. Those aren't romance books per se, of course. But they're awesome, if you haven't read them.

    Finally, have you read (for classics) Tom Jones, or (for contemporaries) the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter books?

  2. I did read Tom Jones, ages ago. Love old-school bawdy. As for Anita Blake, really all I know comes from this Penny Arcade cartoon, which makes me think it may be too smutty for me? Oh, that's a lie, it sounds great. ;)

  3. I thought you liked smutty?

    I've only read the first one but my wife read the whole series and she says she highly recommends them to anyone who doesn't mind sex and violence.

  4. Hooray for your romance month! Glad you enjoyed so many of the reads. Anne Karenina is going to seem extra-large now, but hope you enjoy it. (if not, there're two film versions with Garbo that you could try out...)

    "Are there romances, I wonder, where the heroine has been around the block a few times, and the hero is the blushing man-maiden?"

    Yes! As a matter of fact, I am writing one now. :) But since it doesn't currently exist in book form, check out Miranda Neville's The Dangerous Viscount. Courtney Milan's next, Unclaimed (Oct 2011), will also have a virgin hero and courtesan heroine. Yay! But these are definitely less common than the Duke of Slut romances (as the brilliant romance blogger AnimeJune calls them).


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