Love to Love

I was thinking about what to write today. You ever just stare at this blank slate and say what can/should I write today? Since today is Valentine’s Day in America, I figured it should be something related to that somehow. My husband and I have been together for 10 years and we never really make it a point to celebrate Valentine’s Day every year. Sometimes he’ll surprise me like a few years ago he took me to this super duper fancy restaurant and I got to eat bolognese. If you’ve never had it, oh my freaking goodness. I had it for the first time in Italy and it’s amazing. I was thinking of maybe recreating it over the weekend because I found an easy to follow recipe to make it but my mother is coming in to see me and we’re going to see Black Panther Saturday night and I need at least 6 hours to make this sauce so I don’t know. We’ll see.

Most of the time we just say Happy Valentine’s Day and I love you to each other and keep it moving. It got me thinking about how often I tell people I love them. I know some people just use it as a phrase to show excitement because maybe a friend helped them have an epiphany but I honestly believe that I use it the way it was intended no matter who I’m saying it to. Saying “I like you” would just be weird to me or it just doesn’t emphasize my feelings enough? Obviously the love I have for my husband is on a completely different level than the love I have for friends or family but when I tell someone I love them, I mean it as in I care about your well being, what’s going on in your life every single day, what’s making you happy or sad (so I can be happy with you or fix it) and other things along those lines.

See how I go from blank to words? I truly even didn’t plan on that random, kind of philosophicalness to spew out but there it is. I really only planned to share a song today that is called Valentine cause there’s not many songs with the word “valentine” in the title. I can think of two off the top of my head. I’m sure you all have heard the song “My Funny Valentine” in a zillion different versions but have you heard the song “Valentine”? I’m sharing the throwback Pentatonix version because I love them and the melody and harmony of this song is so beautiful. I’ll also share the lyrics as well:

I will be friendly
(Please don’t be…)
My soul came to be terrified
(…so terrified)
Please don’t be so shy
So will you never be my lover or my valentine
Never be a friend of mine
Never see my better side
Maybe you’d be terrified
Of all the secrets you were wishing you won’t ever find
‘Cause deep inside me
And I don’t wanna hide me
‘Cause I know about my love
‘Cause I know about my love
‘Cause I know about my love
‘Cause I know about my love
Yeah, pick it fast like a flight far away from here (fly away)
Before I know I feel at home whenever you are near
Live my life, you better cold cut to this
I wish you’d hold me open just to see your vision clear
‘Cause I know about my love (‘Cause I know about my love)
‘Cause I know about my love (‘Cause I know about my love)
‘Cause I know about my love (‘Cause I know about my love)
‘Cause I know about my love (‘Cause I know about my love)
‘Cause I know about my love
‘Cause I know about my love
About my love
About my love
About my love
I will be friendly
(Please don’t be)
My soul came to be terrified
(so terrified)
Please don’t be so shy
That’s all I got for today. Happy Valentine’s Day beautiful people! If you have Valentine’s day stuff planned I hope they make you smile hugely and if you don’t, here is me sending you a virtual chocolate heart that will hopefully make you smile with the rest of us today.

Love on the Brain

Hello my wonderful friends. I have romance on the brain and I feel the need to talk about it a little bit today. A good Twitter friend of mine wrote a post about how if she could go back in time and tell her younger self some things about the book world. One of the things she noted on her list was she would tell her younger self that there’s nothing to be embarrassed about reading romance. That stood out to me the most cause it made me think back to my younger self picking up that first romance novel and opening up my world to one of my now favorite genres but how if anyone asked what I was reading, I’d hedge a little. By hedging, I mean I would tell the title of the book but when someone asked me what it was about, I would talk about everything except the romance part of it. I also definitely steered clear from covers that had Fabio sweeping a woman off his feet. (I’m a little biased though there cause I hate faces on book covers). But who doesn’t like looking at a hot, musclely man?? Not something I personally can deny.. (looking at you Idris Elba!)

Everything I’ve ever heard about romance novels was that they’re trashy, only old ladies read romance novels, and it’s all porn. Back then, I didn’t necessarily believe this myself but I would always feel like I could hear other people just thinking these things. Definitely made it hard to read in public in general cause now you’re just wondering what people are thinking about your choice of book. I can’t pinpoint exactly when I stopped caring but one day I think someone asked me what I was reading and I proudly looked them in the eye and said the title and that it was a romance novel and yes, there were sex scenes in it. I can’t remember the reaction of the person and obviously I didn’t care considering it only made me voracious for more romance novels.

I have to state here that I’m seriously a romantic. I see love everywhere. I will play matchmaker if the opportunity presents itself. I stare at my husband with stars and rainbows and glitter in my eyes all day long and yes, I like sex. I’m human. There’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t understand why romance and sex have to be trashy. It’s a natural human process. Every living thing, mostly mammals, have sex in some form or fashion. It’s in our DNA because of the need to procreate. But what’s wrong with reading about a love affair between two imaginary people? Why is going into detail so bad? It’s not porn. People like to say erotica is porn but it’s not. Porn is porn; different category entirely. And see now that’s got me thinking, why is it okay to watch sex on television but reading about is an outrage?? Automatic stigmatization is just wrong to me. I pretty much compare this to stereotypes made about groups of people. Is it not the same thing?

Obviously, to each their own. If reading about romance, falling in love and having sex makes you uncomfortable, I’m in no way bashing you for that. There’s nothing wrong with that either but to be cruel about other people who enjoy it is just wrong. We shouldn’t have to hide something we enjoy you know? Oh and by the way, the romance genre dominates ebook sales; 61% to be exact. Ebooks definitely make it easier to read whatever you want in secret but seriously, don’t ever be ashamed about what you’re reading especially when it comes to love. (I’m hopeless. I know. 🙂 )

Do you read romance novels? Are you embarrassed to admit it? Do you agree or disagree with anything I said? Let me know in the comments below! (Don’t be shy!)

The Atomic Structure of Romance

Yesterday I read an interesting rant over at Smart Bitches. The premise of the article is that women in academia are always portrayed as super smart but lack common social skills or even intimacy skills. To name a few mentioned, the heroine usually has no time for relationships because her schooling is most important to her, she’s also a really late bloomer (virgin) in the romance department and she’s implied to be average on the beauty scale because she’s not wearing that long red dress and stiletto heels every day.

It got me thinking about this academia trope discussed in books I read and TV shows I watch. I realized that this is fairly true in a lot of ways and prompted more questions. Why is it the woman scientist or woman professor synonymous with bag lady? Why does she always have awkward social skills? And for the love of all that is holy, why does she always have to attract the bad boy?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a super sucker for this type of romance always. But it was one of those moments where you stop and really think about it. I was talking to a friend last night, bouncing these questions off him and he state that it’s like protons and neutrons. We’re both rusty in the science department so I looked it up and its like protons and electrons. Protons are the positive charge and electrons are the negative charge. The super intelligent, socially awkward protagonist attracts the bad boy/girl, has experienced everything but true love antagonist. Then they turn the bubble of their atom into this harmony of neutral by cancelling out traits that made them who they are because the other taught them things that made them “change for the better”.

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How about the protons attracting the neutrons of world? Neutrons are just your average, everyday no charge individuals. They are attracted to protons and electrons. They can be intelligent and still have social skills. They can be billionaires without the title of play boy or dominant. They can have normal, honest conversation and grow a relationship without forcing one to become more positive or negative. They can be virgins who CHOSE to be that way and not be ignorant to the world of sex and intimacy. That would make a healthy molecule don’t you think?

And speaking of molecules, there are four main types: covalent, polar covalent, ionic and metallic. Covalent molecules are two atoms that share their electrons equally. In relationship terms that can be equated to “the perfect marriage” according to society. Polar covalent molecules occur when one atom has a slightly stronger electron pull on another atom. This could be equated to relationships solely based on initial lust. Ionic molecules occur when one atom has a much stronger pull on another atom. That could be equated to your alpha/beta relationships. Finally, metallic molecules are when atoms share electrons freely with other atoms creating one big electron flow. All I can think of here is an open relationship or marriage.

I know I’m primarily talking about women here but I feel like same goes for men. For example, the man who works in construction is either portrayed as not intelligent or he’s the gazillionaire who can get any woman he wants whenever he wants and it’s a challenge to obtain what is normally unobtainable. They can totally be neutrons too! Trons don’t discriminate (well I guess protons do; they hate other protons so don’t be a proton).

So what do you think? Is this a trope you’ve come across before? Does it bother you or are you a hopeless romantic? Chemistry is cool isn’t it?? (Basic chemistry anyway. I flunked later courses in college just saying!) Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Taboo or Not?

Today is release day!

My current binge read has been the Hidden Legacy trilogy by Ilona Andrews. I’m finishing up second in the series, White Hot, just in time for the final book, Wildfire; out today.

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I’m thoroughly enjoying these books and then some but it got me thinking.

Does anyone remember when openly admitting that you read romance was taboo? I admit, back in my college days, when I would read a novel that had romance in it and someone would ask me what I was reading, I would say something along the lines of, “it’s historical fiction” or “it’s fantasy” and describe it without literally naming romance.

Traditionally, getting the stink eye for reading romance was a legit possibility. For whatever reason, romance novels were always associated with older women. I remember people dubbing them as “old lady porn”. Fellow readers like myself and others who enjoyed the genre would take pains to mask what we were reading. There used to be a such thing as book covers. They were all different types of designs and colors and were very popular for school books but a lot of us used them to cover up our real reads.

Now you look around and see covers like the ones above and this is normal. It’s actually great. People like to attribute this to the release of things like Fifty Shades of Grey but I think the times just changed and people began to just not care what others thought about in terms of their reading choices. I guess it also helps that 40% (!!) of paperback sales, at least in the United States, are romance these days.

I find it all quite fascinating. I think it takes a great deal of skill to write a good romance novel. For example, looking at the books above, you probably think it’s full of nothing but sex and maybe magic solely looking at the covers. You’d be completely wrong. The tale that is woven throughout the story is completely complex. The authors (it’s a husband and wife team) built this world full of intrigue that takes your imagination places. The tension levels between family members, employers and lovers make you feel like you’re right there, in their shoes, making decisions that may or may not be right. Before I even get to the intimate bits, I’m ready to scream, cry, shout with joy, question why and beg that the author doesn’t leave me hanging.

I look back and wonder why I felt embarrassed about sharing what I was reading. Now I’m proud to share any and every book I read with others. They may not like it, they may not even be interested, and that’s perfectly fine but an author’s hard work should be celebrated no matter the genre they write in.

How do you feel about the romance genre? Is there a different book genre you feel is taboo? Have you ever had to mask a book you were reading from others or downplay the content because you didn’t know how another would react? Let me know in the comments below!

Soul Ripping Romance Tag

In lieu of the romance fails tag, I decided to create my own tag.

The Guide:

  • Thank the person who tagged you and create a pingback to the original author Nel@Reactionary Tales.
  • Share at least 5 (but more are welcome) romances that tugged your heart strings. They can be from books, movies, TV shows, manga; anything you can think of! They can be examples of sad tears, angry tears, happy tears or a combination of all three.
  • Nominate 5 (or more) people to share their emotional traumas
  • (Note: Try not to spoil the story for your readers in case they would like to check out these romances on their own)

Brace yourselves:

  • Mark and Lexi from Grey’s Anatomy. Every time I even marginally think about the course of their relationship and how it ended, the ugly tears come out

  • Rurouni Kenshin and Tomoe from Samurai X. I can’t even describe the depth of my sadness after watching this anime. This is the prequel to Kenshin the anime and it tells us how he became the wandering samurai.

  • Howl and Sofi from Howl’s Moving Castle. HAPPY TEARS! This is such a fun film with magicians, scarecrows and a talking flame named Calcifer but I still ended up shedding a few tears.

  • Jack and Rose from Titanic. To this day, it still makes me sob even though I know what’s going to happen
  • Sybil and Branson from Downton Abbey. They weren’t the only couple to make me sob but these two definitely hit me the hardest in that entire show!

  • Addie and Rowan from The Final Formula Series by Becca Andre. From the first book to the fifth one they were so complicated. There were a few times where I wanted to call the author and scream at her for making me emotionally tangled.
  • Everything Judith McNaught has ever written starting with A Kingdom of Dreams. It’s all, eventually HEA (happily ever after) but she takes you on a ridiculous, emotional roller-coaster ride
  • Tamara and Val from The Ultimate Weapon by Shannon Mckenna. Out of the entire series, that one was the hardest to read. Tamara had been through so much and she was quite skeptical of ever having and keeping true love!
  • Pocahontas and John Smith. Yeah I went there. I’m an easy crier ok!

  • Tristan and Isolde. Their story is set in a time before Romeo and Juliet and just as heart wrenching!

Bonus: Achilles and Briseis from the movie Troy. Hector’s situation made me sob before theirs but their story still gutted me. (All the pictures of them I tried to find were NSFW so you’ll have to Google them on your own :P)

I tag:

I hope you all enjoy this tag. Can’t wait to see your answers! To everyone else, feel free to participate in this tag. I would love more content to add to my list and hope my list inspires you all to check out these, and other, wonderful romances.

 

Romance Fails in Fiction Tag

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The Rules:

  • Please PINGBACK to her at Kate @ Melting Pots and Other Calamities. Or just Kate. And PINGBACK TO A SPECIFIC POST.  She won’t see the post otherwise, and she’d like to see it.
  • At the very top of this post is the post I did the pingback for – other can copy that to make it easier if you’d like!
  • You can choose ten romance fails from ANY media you like: books, movies, anime, manga, T.V shows, or Webtoons. You can even mix them up if you want.
  • You can choose funny fails or serious ones; for the serious ones, phrase it humorously. Remember, this is a fun tag! It’s not meant to be serious.
  • Mention who’s who in the fails. (I.E, who fails and who is the recipient of the failure). If there isn’t  recipient, per se, just state the couple (or non-couple).
  • Optional: Rank the failures from least extreme to most extreme.
  • 5 failures at LEAST.
  • Tag as many people as you want, but at least one person.

Thank you James for tagging me in this LOVEly (ha) tag. I’m going to go based off James’ interpretation of the tag and do book, movie, anime, TV show romance fails.

10. Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley from the Harry Potter series

Don’t kill me Potterheads! I’m sorry but that romance just did not work for me. It came out of nowhere and it was just awkward the whole way through. I love Harry but these two just didn’t fit.

9. Inuyasha and Kagome (anime)

Okay, so you have Kagome who accidentally falls into this well and gets transported back to like feudal Japan. She meets Inuyasha who’s half demon dog boy and they end up encountering this monster that pulls this magical jewel from her and shatters it into a million pieces. The whole premise of the show is them going around fighting creatures who have been enhanced by the jewel shards and getting them back together into one jewel. Kagome likes Inuyasha and Inuyasha was in love with his dead gf chick Kiyoko who Kagome takes after thusly, he sort of falls for Kagome but not really cause she always plays hard to get except when Kiyoko spirit comes around then all of sudden she’s jealous. By the end, they kiss maybe once in 170 episodes and then it just kind of ends unresolved.

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Have I mentioned I hate love triangles? Well, I still have three more where that came from.

8. Kelsey, Ren and Kishan from the Tiger’s Curse series by Colleen Houck

You can look this book up if you want to. I don’t want to explain it. The only reason I read it was because an ex-friend begged me too and let me just say, this love triangle never, ever makes sense. Essentially Kelsey ends up being in love with both men but seemed to sometimes change her mind depending on the moment? But both need to involved in order to break this ancient curse. I always rooted for her and Ren cause she met him first, but that’s just me.

7. Elena, Stephan, and Damon from the Vampire Diaries

AAAAAAAH! Okay I was completely in love with Elena and Stephan at first but Damon was just 1000x more swoony so I always secretly voted for him. I felt he brought out her true nature more. When they finally got together I felt bad for Stephan and thought about changing my mind but Damon is just so hot! Ultimately she failed with both guys because I don’t know how a girl can fail with TWO hot guys but Elena pulled it off dramatically. (disclaimer, I haven’t finished the whole series yet so don’t spoil it for me cause I know she comes back in the last one!)

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6. Tamlin and Feyre from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Man this romance failed hard. It was laid out like a dream but ultimately Tamlin turned out to be a big ole passive coward and Feyre fell for someone else.

5. Romeo X Juliet (anime)

This is such a beautiful anime. It’s sort of like the regular story but different. They still die at the end which is a fail but.. well.. I won’t spoil it for you. Just watch it someday.

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4. Jane True and Ryu from the Jane True series by Nicole Peeler

Another couple that seemed like the perfect match. Jane is a part selkie and Ryu is a vampire. You can imagine, it’s a pretty odd relationship. It seemed to work for a while but it ultimately failed because shifters should just be shifters just saying!

3. Olivia Pope and Jake from Scandal

It will always be about Olivia and Fitz. ALWAYS! I admit, I had my Jolivia moments because Jake is so hot but the relationship failed. Jake will never get his island in the sun 😦

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2. and 1. Cristina/Burke and Cristina/Owen from Grey’s Anatomy

THE MOST EPIC ROMANCES AND THEY BOTH FAILED!!! Burke was so freaking perfect for Cristina. ABSOLUTELY PERFECT! But no, the actor had to go and run his mouth in real life so Shonda wrote him in to get booted off. GUYS! HE LEFT HER AT THE ALTAR! It doesn’t get more fail than that!!! Then later on Owen was such a great, if sometimes crazy (he had PTSD moments) fit for her but she just decided to be this fluttery free butterfly. DAMMIT Cristina!!

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I’m only going to tag one person this time because I know she’s a romance junky as much, if not more than me: cwhiteweb

If anyone else would like to participate, feel free to do so! I would love to watch and read more romance fails!

 

BlindFold Me

I’ve been on a contemporary romance binge read lately. The series in particular I’ve been devouring is called the I-Team series by Pamela Clare. The “I” stands for investigative reporter team; or at least that’s what I think it stands for. The premise of these stories is you have heroine who is a member of this team who, in one way or another, gets involved in serious political drama from basic research on a story. For example, in one of the stories, the heroine is Navajo American and she reports on environmental issues and the happenings on the Native American reservation. During a religious ceremony where they are purifying themselves for one reason or another, police interrupt them and cite them with violating land laws set by the city. Later we learn its a cover up for nefarious, unlawful digging of important Indian artifacts as well as a burial site for murders. Then the bad guy ends up trying to pin it on the reporter and when that doesn’t work, proceeds to try to have her murdered.

Now, you can’t have a heroine without the hero. Well, you could, depending on the book but this is romance so there has to be a hero. The hero in these stories is usually someone who is either involved with the investigation somehow or stumbles upon the heroine in a time when she needs help. In the case of the story above, the hero is a park ranger who has a love for the environment and has been helping to protect it and keeping the peace with the Native Americans. The author used to be an investigative reporter in real life so a lot of the technical and political jargon she includes in her stories have a kernel of truth to them. In her acknowledgements section, she lists people she thanked for helping her get the information correct like park rangers, U.S. marshals, nurses, etc. It’s pretty neat.

So now you have your investigative reporter heroine with her park ranger hero and circumstances bring two strangers together in a dangerous setting. He takes it upon himself to be her protector and she allows it. Then in like a week or two the woman realizes she loves the man, the man doesn’t want long term commitment but at the same time can’t stay away from her while they’re both being hunted by murderers. That’s a big dose of adrenaline thrown in the mix and they can’t help but fall madly in love with each other right? I love these stories even though I find it hard to believe in instant love. Like how does one stranger blindly trust another stranger with her entire life in one moment? I mean he’s a park ranger, or in the other stories, he’s a senator or an ex-con or undercover federal agent so they have tons of combat and survival training and they’re all males who need love in their life so I guess it’s only natural for the heroine to take on the damsel role (not necessarily in complete distress) and it definitely makes for some juicy reading.

Sometimes you get a surprise and it’s the man who knows before the woman but most of the time women know first. You know now that I think about it, my own relationship wasn’t instant love but he definitely knew long before I did. I didn’t have murderers after me, thank goodness, but when you hear that phrase “love is blind” I wonder if it should actually say “love is seeing” because most of the time one knows and just has to convince the other that they know too.

I’m not a writer, I’m a reader: Day 5

Today’s blog post is brought to you by a quote meme and written (typed? texted?) from my cellphone.

I browse social media regularly and I follow a lot of book loving sites. There’s one that posts memes on an daily (hourly) basis. So I came across this meme that says:

 

Read the books that make you happy even if they’re not classics or academic novels that won awards.

 

This got me thinking about my personal book reading preferences now in comparison to what I would read before. Romance novels used to be this taboo. It was that white elephant in the room that no one wanted to talk about. Whenever someone asked your book genre preferences it was always safe to say scif-fi or thrillers or fantasy. If you said romance people would instantly think of the Fabio covers and say you read those “trashy novels”.

Now it seems that you’re the weird one if you don’t read romance. It’s like the book reading world has suddenly embraced all things romance. Here I am thinking everybody is late to the party. I personally think that Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey can’t hold a candle to a whole host of romance novels by amazing authors. I hate how these are now the basis for a good romance story. Read a good Judith McNaught historical romance or a Sandra Brown thriller or hell a good Anne Rice paranormal to see how it should really be done.

I have my opinions, obviously, and I certainly never want to cause drama. I love that people are embracing little things like romance novels more and more and, like the quote says, aren’t ashamed to say hell yeah I love these books and you should too!

Night Whispers

Over the past month and a half I’ve probably been in love with 4 different men. Here’s the best part…I’ve never met them.

If you’ve ever picked up a book you couldn’t put down you’ll understand where I’m coming from. If you’re looking for a book, or a series of books, that you won’t want to put down, I highly recommend trying Judith McNaught . If you like mystery entangled in romance dipped in rich character development this is your girl!

I just finished Night Whispers last night. I wanted to move to a different series this morning but couldn’t bring myself to leave my last relationship with Noah (and of course Sloan). The cool thing about this series is that no one book relies heavily upon another. You have bits and pieces of old relationships and characters that flutter in and out of view but none are really reliant on you reading her other books. …but I bet you’ll want to. 😉

Take this book to the beach, the waiting room, or to bed. …just make sure you grab a glass of wine and your robe because you’ll get sucked in.

“The two of them simply weren’t attracted to just any attractive, eligible man; they were attracted rarely, but when it happened, it was evidently a life-altering experience.” – Night Whispers, Judith McNaught