Let’s Talk Bookish – Trope Troubles

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, that is hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  and Dani @Literary Lion. It’s a chance to discuss certain topics, share opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Posts are written on Fridays, and you can suggest topics using the form that you will find on Rukky’s Contact page.




OVERUSED BOOK TROPES 


SUGGESTED BY ARIA @ BOOK NOOK BITS

Prompts: Connected to my previous topic where we talked about tiresome characters, what are some tiresome tropes? Have you seen enough love triangles? Getting sick of enemies to lovers? What tropes have you had enough of, and can they ever be done well?

Oh boy do I have a long list for this one, some of which can be done well but so very often the author fails to do so and others of which are just always bad. So in no particular order of how much they annoy me, here are a few tropes that I find utterly tiresome.


1. The “she’s so beautiful and all males adore her but she has no idea of how gorgeous she is” trope. If this trope has a name please let me know, so that I don’t have to type such a long phrase next time. This one is just so annoying as it (a) suggests that being unwittingly beautiful is something to aspire to and (b) pointless.


2. Insta-love. I can just about stomach this when two people have been in a “forced together” situation for several days, though even then I’m having to suspend reality somewhat. I one-hundred percent believe in insta-lust, an overwhelming physical attraction to another person, however to truly be in love with someone you need to actually know them. Sexual compatibility does not equate to life-long compatibility.


3. Alpha Asshole Heroes. OK say perhaps not a trope, and yes I did talk about these last week, but those “alpha” males who allow the heroine no autonomy whatsoever. I’m not talking about books featuring power exchange relationships, where a free choice has been made, but those books where the author is attempting to write an alpha male but instead creates an inconsistent, overbearing and controlling to the point of mentally abusive character instead. Those men who insist on utter honesty in the relationship, in there being no secrets or “lies by omission”, who then make decisions on behalf of the heroine without ever seeking her opinion because they know what is best for her. They also often compound this by keeping their own secrets “for the good of the heroine”, when in reality it’s because it is convenient for them to do so. NO, NO, NO. An alpha male is protective of ALL aspects regarding the heroine, including her mental and emotional health, which means letting her make her own decisions.



4. #NotLikeOtherGirls. A trope we discussed back in June and one well worth blog hopping for. The biggest issue with this trope is it’s suggestion that somehow being like other girls is bad. Misogyny at it’s finest and sadly one that is perpetrated by female authors as much as, and maybe more so than, male ones. Absolutely everything about this trope is wrong, wrong, WRONG.



5. Billionaires. I just do not understand the obsession with billionaires, as though huge amounts of money make a man somehow more attractive. OK so it did for Anna Nicole Smith, but that’s not quite the kind of “love” story being portrayed in a romance novel! Sometimes the man needs to be incredibly rich for the story to work, and if it is part of driving the plot forward then I can go with the flow. However far too often these men are all cut from the same cloth, in fact I’m sure there must be a generic character description for “billionaire in a romance book”, because after reading a few it quickly becomes obvious that most are carbon copies of an original that exists somewhere. Some authors do make their ultra rich heroes unique, so it is one that can be done well.



6. Virgins. The adult equivalent of the YA Not Like Other Girls character. Misogynistic and generally suggesting that sexually active women are less worthy. Very rarely have I stumbled across a virgin heroine where said intactness has added value to the story. It does happen, and there are some books I would be able to recommend, but not many. Another irritating aspect of this trope is that in romance the virgin will often have crazy monkey sex in a wide variety of positions, have multiple orgasms and be ready for rounds two, three and four within an hour or two. For the love of all things holy can we please remember that contemporary romance should retain some degree of realism?



7. The Big Secret. I don’t even give a stuff if this isn’t a trope, it annoys me and I’m going to rant about it! The BS, as I like to refer to this trope/literary device, will often go one of two ways. It will either be so bloody obvious to all and sundry that the much anticipated “big reveal” will have as much excitement as the grand opening of a packet of mints. Or, and this is the one that really has me throwing poisoned 1 star reviews into the ether, is when that secret is constantly dangled like a carrot throughout the story, resulting in a book that goes nowhere and has no plot other than “ooh look there’s a big secret you don’t know”. Guess what? I don’t care! DNF, skip to the end, be disappointed because it wasn’t even a good/believable/genuine secret in the first place, write a scathing review.


Sorry, that was longer than I originally planned but I do love a good rant! What tropes get your goat?

Image borrowed from Book Riot

Let’s Talk Bookish – Too Much of a Good (or Bad) Thing?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, that is hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  and Dani @Literary Lion. It’s a chance to discuss certain topics, share opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Posts are written on Fridays, and you can suggest topics using the form that you will find on Rukky’s Contact page.



CUT AND PASTE CHARACTER ARCHETYPES 

by DANI
Prompts: Are there any characters you feel like you’re seeing over and over again recently? The same love interest in multiple romances? The same protagonist over and over? I’ve seen a lot of complaints about Rhysand-like characters recently so I’d love to hear what characters you’ve seen too much of.

I feel this is very much a problem of the fantasy genre and, perhaps to a lesser extent, several sub-genres of romance. I don’t personally find it a problem in my reading material, since I tend to avoid reading “in” books – the ones that are known by acronyms, are oever-hyped and by which every other book seems to be measured. Instead I choose books from a group of indie authors I love, all of whom write about strong women and the alpha men who have to earn the heroines respect (and more).


Over the years I have found that a lot of shifter books have heroes who are very interchangeable, though some of this is probably due to the fact that there are certain themes one expects to see in those books. Don’t get me wrong, I have read some good examples of the sub-genre but it would appear that many readers love them because you know exactly what you will get, especially with the hero. Me? I prefer variety and something that isn’t too carbon-copy or obvious.


Billionaires also have a lot to answer for, particularly in contemporary romance where both character and author often seem to have confused the characteristics of an alpha male with those of a rather arrogant male. Alpha, for me at least, does not equate to a man who makes decisions for the heroine based more on his wants and needs rather than hers. Nor does an alpha male hold her to high standards which he utterly fails to uphold himself and he definitely doesn’t expect total truth, trust and honesty from her whilst not paying her the same courtesy. Those are arrogant characteristics and I am sick to the back teeth of reading about these abhorrent specimens of maleness.


I wasn’t actually thinking about FSOG (oh look, there goes one of those acronyms!) when I mentioned “the billionaire”, but it did eventually remind me that contemporary romance is riddled with Christian Grey wannabees. I love me a sadistic, depraved and borderline psychotic anti-hero when I’m reading a dark romance. However Grey was actually meant to be a genuine hero, so his abusive and manipulative behaviour was not attractive. Not in the least. But there are so, so many books that copied the “trope”, so many flawed-and-not-in-a-good-way heroes out there, heroes that are so far from heroic it’s laughable, or cryable. (And remember I’m not referring to the deliberate writing of an anti-hero here, dark romance is a whole other kettle of fish).


I think I’ve gone rather off-piste here, but heroes who I have definitely seen too much of are the bland, featureless and easily interchangeable ones found in a lot of PNR and the supposed hot dominant alpha hero who is actually just an arrogant abuser. The picture below shows the heroes I can never get enough of.


Who have you seen too much of?



Let’s Talk Bookish – Stand-alone or Series?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, that is hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  and Dani @Literary Lion. It’s a chance to discuss certain topics, share opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Posts are written on Fridays, and you can suggest topics using the form that you will find on Rukky’s Contact page.


SERIES VS. STANDALONES 
SUGGESTED BY M.T. WILSON @ LAST BOOK ON THE LEFT
Prompts: Do you prefer standalones or series? When you read a standalone, do you wish there was more, or are you content that the story has finished? Are series sometimes too long? Do you feel like some genres work better in series while others work better in standalones? What are some standalones you wish had continued? Are there any series you think should have stopped at the first book?

 “Do you prefer standalones or series?” I don’t particularly have a preference, in fact I prefer a mix of the two, though in answer to “Do you feel like some genres work better in series while others work better in standalones?” I definitely prefer Urban Fantasy, Fantasy and Sci-Fi stories to span at least three books, particularly the ones that have a complex good verses evil story. With Sci-Fi this can be either a true series OR a series of stand-alone/interlinked books, so long as the underpinning story arc flows throughout all the books. Contemporary romance, thrillers/suspense, rom-coms and historical romances definitely work better as stand-alone reads on the whole. When released as duets and trilogies I very often find myself wishing the story had been condensed into one book, with unnecessary filler and padding removed. Less definitely is more for these genres.



“When you read a standalone, do you wish there was more, or are you content that the story has finished?” This very much depends on the book. A truly great story will always leave you wanting more, though it will also provide feelings of contentment. Generally if a book leaves me wishing there had been more, it’s not so much more story as more world building and more depth to the story. Sometimes this could have been achieved with a longer story, though not always by turning one book into two, three, four or more. This links to my answer for “Are series sometimes too long?” There have been plenty of series’ that I’ve felt could and should have been much shorter, the Blood & Ash series by Jennifer L. Armentrout is definitely guilty of this sin. I only made it to 50% of book #2 before my irritation at the ridiculous amount of pointless filler overtook my enjoyment of the story. I’ve enjoyed plenty of 5, 6 and 7 book series, what they have in common is lots of plot, plenty of action and great writing.



“What are some standalones you wish had continued?” There are myriad standalone books where I’ve not wanted the book to finish. Where I’ve been so in love with the characters, so enamoured with the world that has been created, that my heart aches at having to leave it behind. However I know that it’s better to be left wanting more over growing bored and restless because the books start to feel repetitive. Are there any series you think should have stopped at the first book?” Only those I’ve really, really not enjoyed! On a more serious note there have been a few duets/trilogies where I have loved the first book or two and felt very let down when the final book takes either plot or characters in a very unlikely or unbelievable direction. This is particularly true for those books with an antihero who suddenly becomes all sweetness and light – bleurgh! I have avoided series where (a) the author is at book number 6, 7, 8 … and still counting. It smacks of either being unable to write a good ending OR sticking with something that is selling well amongst a certain tranche of readers. The latter definitely happens in the indie publishing world, I’ve seen readers mention book series that number into the high teens and even twenties. I guess you can’t blame an author for doing this if the books are selling and making them money, but personally I can’t see the appeal in this as a reader. I can only conclude some love that comfort of a familiar world and people, but I definitely know I would have lost interest well before reaching double digits.



Let’s Talk Bookish – Triggers.

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, that is hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  and Dani @Literary Lion. It’s a chance to discuss certain topics, share opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Posts are written on Fridays, and you can suggest topics using the form that you will find on Rukky’s Contact page.



WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN A BOOK TRIGGERS YOU? 


SUGGESTED BY JILLIAN @ JILLIAN THE BOOKISH BUTTERFLY

Prompts: Everyone has different reactions to triggers; what is yours?

Hmmm, is it shockingly bad that in terms of content I’ve yet to read something that has genuinely triggered me? I’m actually a huge fan of dark romance and dark erotica, in fact it’s much more likely that I will be moaning that a book wasn’t dark enough for me – or wasn’t even dark at all. Dub-con, non-con, torture, violence, mayhem and murder as a rule doesn’t bother me.


The terrible triggering truth is that I am much more likely to be set in a tizzy by bad writing, a TSTL character, decisions that defy all logic or an author mistaking arrogance in a hero for ‘alpha-ness’ and have rarely taken issue with dark content in a book. Those occasions when I have are generally more to do with the content feeling as though it has been included purely for its shock value, with the author seemingly on a quest to include as many vile and depraved events as they possibly can, in place of an actual plot or any character development.


I do firmly believe that trigger warnings are a must on books, I really don’t understand authors and readers who eschew this idea. For those who do have triggers, unexpectedly coming across distressing or upsetting content can hugely impact their mental health.

If you get triggered without previously knowing there would be a trigger, do you still care to finish the book? Does it affect your eventual rating/review?

So now we’ve established that my triggers are more to do with the book’s plot or characters annoying me, I’m sure it won’t come as a surprise to know that I most definitely do NOT finish the book. Or that it does affect my rating and review. Anything that affects your enjoyment of a book surely affects your rating and/or review, I know it does for me!

Have you ever read a book knowing that something within it would trigger you?

Can I just ask why? Why would you deliberately read a book that you KNOW will upset/bother/trigger you? Do not be that idiot who, after ignoring the clearly labelled trigger warnings, leaves a low/negative review for a book because of not liking that very content. Please for the love of all things bookish do not, I beg you just don’t, criticise a book for being dub-con, non-con, violent, whatever, when that content has been very clearly warned about in the synopsis or intro for the book.


OK, I’m stepping off my soap box now.

Let’s Talk Bookish ~ A Bookish Confession

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, that is hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  and Dani @Literary Lion. It’s a chance to discuss certain topics, share opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Posts are written on Fridays, and you can suggest topics using the form that you will find on Rukky’s Contact page.



SEPTEMBER 10:

PETS/CHILDREN & BOOKS 
by DANI

Prompts: Having physical books can be fantastic, but it can also be scary to have them damaged. If you have pets or children what is your experience with them and your books? Has your child ever torn pages out of a treasured classic? Has your puppy ever chewed on a limited edition? Cat claws in a leather bound? How do you protect books from destruction?

I think my brother would have been a better person to give this prompt to. I can still remember his childhood bookshelves, meticulously organised alphabetically by author. You couldn’t even tell when he had read a book because it’s spine remained pristine, it’s pages looked as fresh as the day they were printed and the cover remained undamaged.


On the other hand my books were bent and creased, the spines were cracked and there were numerous pages folded at the corner to track my reading progress. They might be found on the floor, under my bed, squashed down the side of a cushion on the couch, stuffed under a plate or buried in the bottom of a bag. I have a few books on a shelf more because it’s kind of expected of me, to be honest they could just as easily be shoved in a box in the loft. I’m not precious about books, my children – who admittedly are now all adults – and husband are what is important. Things can easily be replaced, people can’t. So my TL;DR answer is quite simply that I don’t protect my books.


It’s probably why I’ve found the transition to e-books so easy. I was never one to stroke a book cover, sniff a page, or revel in the perfection of a newly purchased book. I was more of a ‘crack it open and jump right in’ reader. Is it bad that I’m imagining most of you reacting like this…..

as well as thinking…

Let’s Talk Bookish ~~ Bookish Gender Choices

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, that is hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  and Dani @Literary Lion. It’s a chance to discuss certain topics, share opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Posts are written on Fridays, and you can suggest topics using the form that you will find on Rukky’s Contact page.



DO YOU PREFER MALE OR FEMALE PROTAGONISTS? 

by MAHI

Prompts: When it comes to books, do you prefer male or female protagonists and why? Do you not have a preference? Have you ever not read a book because the protagonist was male/female? Do you think it’s important for children to read protagonists of the opposite gender from them? Do you feel like certain genres have more of a certain gender of protagonist than the other? 

When it comes to books, do you prefer male or female protagonists and why? Do you not have a preference?

I prefer dual or multiple points of view, depending on the genre. I mainly read books that involve romance, so the dual POV allows me to understand both the thoughts and feelings of both protagonists. With only a single perspective it can be difficult to connect to both characters, become invested in their relationship or to believe in their love. If I had to choose only one then I would say female because, for me, it’s a viewpoint that is akin to my own and therefore feels more natural to me.

Have you ever not read a book because the protagonist was male/female?

Sometimes, though not actually for romance where I’ve read a few books written entirely from the male’s view, as well as a fair amount of M/M too. If I’m choosing a fantasy or science fiction story I will generally look for the inclusion of a female POV, though I’ve read plenty over the years that were written by men and featured men as the protagonists. However if I’m perusing Netgalley, and deciding which books I have time to fit into my schedule, I have chosen based on gender of the main character. However I have never started a book and DNF’d it because of the gender of the protagonist.

Do you think it’s important for children to read protagonists of the opposite gender from them?

No actually I don’t. I think it’s important children read, and that those books are both diverse and inclusive, but a work of fiction isn’t really going to teach them, or help them relate to, the opposite gender. However it is important that stories include protagonists the reader can identify with, in terms of race, colour, gender, sexuality etc.

Do you feel like certain genres have more of a certain gender of protagonist than the other? 

I can only speak from experience but in romance if the book is from only one perspective then there are far more female than male books, though dual POV is equally prevalent. In fantasy, urban fantasy and science fiction I can’t say I’ve noticed a significant difference.

Let’s Talk Bookish – Blogger Identity Crisis

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, that is hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  and Dani @Literary Lion. It’s a chance to discuss certain topics, share opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Posts are written on Fridays, and you can suggest topics using the form that you will find on Rukky’s Contact page.



HAVING A BLOGGER IDENTITY CRISIS 

by RUKKY

Prompts: Have you ever had a blogger identity crisis? What triggered it? How did you get over it? Has an identity crisis ever led you to significantly change the direction for your blog? Do you think having an identity crisis every once in a while can help you become a better blogger, or is it just a sign of insecurity?

For me the answer is theoretical since I haven’t had such a crisis, but I would say it all depends on what exactly triggers the identity crisis, along with how severe it is. It’s good to regularly reflect on blogging, to avoid feeling stale, getting bored, losing focus etc. However if you are constantly comparing your own blog in a negative way to other blogs, then that speaks of problems that are probably bigger than just blogging. There is a difference between working hard/wanting to be as good as you can and never feeling as though you are good enough. A huge difference.


I do this for fun. I’m sure if I did it to earn income and gain a huge following I would be much more self critical but over analysing, when blogging for pleasure, seems counterproductive. That said I do look for ideas of how to improve both my content and how I present it, though only in a fairly limited way. I like to visit other blogs and read what they say on meme posts such as this, but as a rule I don’t spend a lot of time trawling through book blogs looking for inspiration, ideas or ways to build a following. What can I say, I’m lazy and just not that driven by/interested in social media. And yes it very probably IS an age thing. Growing up (in 80’s Britain) not every house had a landline phone!


My original blog was originally focused on scrapbooking, where I connected with a few others via memes such as Me On Monday, but as I grew bored of the hobby I gradually transitioned to blogging book reviews. For a long time I blogged a lot of promotion material, with very little personalised content, exactly the type of blog that I avoided reading! Lockdown gave me the time to focus on my blog and find a few idea’s that I hoped would make it more interesting, so self-reflection can certainly help you improve and become a better blogger.



Have you had a blogging identity crisis? If so, how did it change your blog?

Let’s Talk Bookish – 20th August

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, that is hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  and Dani @Literary Lion. It’s a chance to discuss certain topics, share opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Posts are written on Fridays, and you can suggest topics using the form that you will find on Rukky’s Contact page.



WHAT IS ONE BOOK EVERYONE MUST READ? 


MIKAELA @ MIKAELA READS

Prompts: There are some books that are just required…or at least you personally think they are! Maybe it’s a book that changed your view on everything, or maybe it’s just the BEST vampire book ever written. What book do you try to get everyone in your life to read, even the non-readers?

This is the first topic that has really challenged me, and that’s because I really don’t have an answer. If I know someone enjoys similar books to myself then I’m happy to recommend a book, but I don’t believe there is a book that everyone should read because we all have such very different likes, wants and needs in our reading material.


There will be a must read book for a particular genre but I know from the blogs that I follow that some people don’t read YA, some only read YA, some read Thrillers whilst others read Romance. However a book that provides enough common ground to bring something to the table for every permutation of reader? To presume or assume that such a book exists is either delusional or naïve.


My reading is done purely for pleasure. I don’t care for “the classics” (they either bore me or I get bogged down trying to ‘translate’ the outdated language), I don’t read for cultural enlightenment, nor to have my beliefs challenged. As a rule I don’t enjoy non-fiction, whereas the only books my husband will read ARE non-fiction. So other than a book of maps or a cook book I don’t think there is much, if anything, in the house that both of us have read.


Finally, I would worry about recommending a book to someone in case they dislike it as that would leave me feeling guilty that they had wasted their money.

Let’s Talk Bookish – AUGUST 13th

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, that is hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  and Dani @Literary Lion. It’s a chance to discuss certain topics, share opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Posts are written on Fridays, and you can suggest topics using the form that you will find on Rukky’s Contact page.




CAN BOOKS BE EFFECTIVE HORROR?

by DANI

Prompts: Some people love to be scared – others not so much. When it comes to reading do you think books can be scary? Are you less scared because there are no pictures? Do you feel other mediums such as film are more effective for horror? Have you ever been kept up at night by a book?

My response this week will be fairly brief because horror is so NOT my thing 😂😂😂. A well written book can definitely be scary – the imagination is a very powerful tool. I recall reading a story as a child – probably somewhere around the age of 10 or 11 – that definitely had me scared. I’ve not read something as an adult that has scared me -at least not in fiction! However that is probably due more to my whole avoidance of the genre than anything else. There are books that have certainly made me anxious, left me feeling on edge with a similar adrenaline fuelled response to that of reading/watching horror.


Ghost and horror stories were popular long before the invention of celluloid and the moving picture, so I think we can safely say that books can be just as scary, even minus the visual images. Telling scary stories around the camp fire is pretty much a childhood rite of passage whilst spoken stories were the only way of passing on history for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Films may generate a much stronger response, but that is totally down to the wider experience of a movie. If you removed the stirring sound track the scene would probably lose a massive chunk of it’s potency, not to mention all the cinematography “tricks” being used, the lighting, the editing, etc which all play a part in creating a terrifying experience. It is somewhat similar to way music and lighting is used to create an atmosphere whilst queuing for rides at a theme park.


The only time I’ve been kept up by a book is when it’s been so good I “just need to read the next page“. Alternatively if can also be when it’s so bad that I’m left wound up and irritated by it!


What do you think? Can a book be scary and, if so, can it be scarier than a film?

Let’s Talk Bookish ~~~ 6th August

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, that is hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  and Dani @Literary Lion. It’s a chance to discuss certain topics, share opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Posts are written on Fridays, and you can suggest topics using the form that you will find on Rukky’s Contact page.



WHAT IS YOUR POSTING TYPE? 

SUGGESTED BY NICOLE @ THOUGHTS STAINED WITH INK


Prompts: Everyone blogs differently, how do you do it? Do you schedule posts long before they’re published, how long? Do you write several drafts of a post and edit them, or do you not edit at all? Perhaps you simply write a post and put it up for the world to see immediately? There’s no right or wrong answer!

I love this prompt and am really looking forward to reading all the other answers and perhaps picking up a tip or two along the way. My posting type is quite fluid over time, and can vary depending on how busy my working life is and how motivated I am to blog. However I’ve answered for how I currently blog as it seems to be working well for me at present.

Everyone blogs differently, how do you do it? Do you schedule posts long before they’re published, how long?

I write many posts, especially reviews, way in advance of publishing them. However I go through fits and starts of scheduling them in advance. I never schedule more than a few days to a week ahead, mainly because I tend do everything last minute. That deadline pressure seems to help focus my thoughts.

Do you write several drafts of a post and edit them, or do you not edit at all?

I’m very much a write and edit blogger, which is another reason that I don’t schedule far in advance. I often find that on a final read through, just before the post is due to go live, I totally change an entire paragraph. It also gives me a chance to check formatting issues that seem o occur between saving and closing a draft post and re-opening it.

Perhaps you simply write a post and put it up for the world to see immediately?

I used to do that, but generally I have the post in at least draft form a few days prior to publishing it. Occasionally, if I have a very quick turn around on an arc book, I will create the review post and publish immediately but that is very much an exception to the rule of “written in advance”.


What is your blogging style? Are you scheduled and prepared to the nth degree or are you a total last minute fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants blogger?