August Open Thread

August 1, 2014 Open Thread 16

Happy first of the month!

Read a book with a marginalized character you want to recommend? Run across a terrible portrayal you want to warn others to avoid? Just want to rant about the general state of the genre? Can’t believe LITM turns one this month? (Where did that year go so fast?)

Let ‘er rip in the comments. Nothing is off topic, but no promo, please.

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An ice hockey fan from north of Boston and the genre's most beloved troll, Ridley enjoys reading contemporary and historical romance, as well as the odd erotica novel. As someone who uses a wheelchair, she takes a particular interest in disability themes.

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16 Responses to “August Open Thread”

  1. cleo

    I said this on Beks’ thread, but I’ll put it here too. I finally read Jeannie Lin’s latest – The Jade Temptress – and I really enjoyed it. I wasn’t sure if she’d be able to create a believable hea, but she pulled it off.

    I know I read other books this month, but they obviously weren’t as memorable. Oh wait, I did read one that made me mad. I read LB Gregg’s first Men of Smithfield book – I got it as part of a book bundle. It opened with the hero assaulting his cheating boyfriend. In church. It was played for laughs, but I have a low tolerance for assault / domestic violence, even against cheating scum. And he said a lot of fat shaming things about the guy his cheating ex was with. Plus, the hero was TSTL for most of the book. So yeah, it didn’t work for me.

  2. Ros

    I read It’s Your Move, Wordfreak by Falguni Kothari this month and liked it a lot. It’s mostly set in Mumbai and is a sweet-ish contemporary romance between two people who meet playing online scrabble. There are some pacing issues at the end, but as a whole, I thought it was lovely. Looking forward to more from her.

  3. Laura Jardine

    @Ros: I think I have to read that…

    I have been reading lots of small-town romances lately. If anyone has recommendations for a small-town romance in which there is any diversity at all, that would be appreciated. I think every single character in every single one I’ve read is white.

  4. cleo

    @Laura Jardine – Back to the Good Fortune Diner by Vicki Essex is set in a small town, or at least not a big city. It’s ir, with a Chinese American heroine and a white American hero. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s in my tbr and it got some good buzz when it came out.

    I feel like there was a bit of diversity in Susan Wiggs’ Lakeshore Chronicals (as in one or two characters of color) but it’s been awhile since I read them and I couldn’t find evidence of diversity just skimming the book blurbs, so I may be making things up.

  5. Tina

    @Cleo – You are correct there is some diversity in the Lakeshore Chronicles books. The first 7 feature white heros/heroines and follows a couple of prominent families in the series. But peppering the series are some POCs. Most notably are those in the second generation are Sonnet who is the daughter of Nina (Nina is the heroine of Lakeshore Chronicles #3 ‘Dockside’ , Nina had a teenaged romance with a black guy which resulted in Sonnet) and there is also Julian — I forget Julian’s backstory.

    Both get their own stories. #8 ‘Marrying Daisy Bellam’y is Daisy/Julian’s story — they have a bit of a saga that winds through the series that culminates in this one. It read more like women’s fiction, though, because it focuses on Daisy’s empowerment. And then there is #9 ‘Return to Willow Lake’ which is Sonnet/Zachs story. Also again felt more Women’s fiction because Sonnet’s romance didn’t feel as front and center as I thought it should if it were romance. Both couple doe get HEAs.

    But they were still nice because if you had read the series from the beginning like I did, you already knew them and Wiggs did a good job of interrelating everything throughout the series and you get a whole lot of context and background. For both couple their romance get nascent beginning earlier in the series. Also Daisy’s mother in an earlier book transracially adopts a couple of kids.

  6. cleo

    @Tina – thanks. I was thinking of Daisy and Julian’s story, but couldn’t remember the details. I agree that it works better as women’s fiction than romance. I think that was my last Lakeshore Chronicles book.

  7. Ridley

    I read a book! All the way to the end!

    I read Color of Love by Sandra Kitt, and I mostly enjoyed it. The writing was a bit dry and the plot twits kind of obvious, but it was a B range book. It’ll get reviewed at some point.

    I have an f/f in my queue that I’m pretty sure has two black women as the heroines – Let the Lover Be by Sheree Greer – that I got from NetGalley, so I’ll hopefully read and review that soon.

    I’m also hate reading Hold On Tight by Serena Bell, but let’s not talk about that.

  8. Nu

    Reading The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf. Good thus far, hoping it’ll pick up soon. Read Jade Temptress not long ago. I liked Lotus Palace better. I liked the device better. It felt fresher, a genuine upstairs, downstairs romance. Plus, the pacing. But definitely like this author. <3

  9. Roslyn Holcomb

    I’m annoyed at the moment about authors tagging books as IR/MC when they’re not. Apparently folk have got it in their head that aliens are somehow IR/MC books, or books with white characters belong in the genre. Uh no. Books with white characters regardless of their culture have always been welcome with open arms in Romancelandia while those with black/brown people have not. This kumbayah shit is ahistorical as all hell. Then they trust to get their feelings hurt when readers call them on this. I just got booted out of two author reader groups when I pointed these facts out. The Columbusing of our genre will not be tolerated.

  10. Laura Jardine

    @cleo: @meoskop:

    I haven’t been reading Harlequin categories at all this year, for whatever reason. I remember seeing reviews of Back to the Good Fortune Diner when it came out, and I didn’t like what I read about the way it ended, so I didn’t pick it up. Though maybe I will at some point. I’ve been meaning to read Farrah Rochon…thanks for reminding me!

  11. Joopdeloop

    @Laura Jardine The Party Girl by Tamara Morgan plays on the small-town vibe (the whole series does – with main characters who have opened up this plastic surgery/beauty spa together… so you can tell already, the author is playing with tropes.).The heroine is South Asian and … she loves her family and is close to them (though her ambitions don’t quite fit their mold for her), she’s vegetarian, she likes her urban creature comforts, and is unapologetic about her cosmetic surgery, and love of sex. Hero is Thoreau/ mountain man, turning away from a lot of her city slickness. Separation device, beyond the opposites attract theme, is that hero’s best friend, a sort of shady cop with an orange tan, is infatuated with the heroine. This is the way I like to see the small town romance done. It was not the perfect romance for me, but i enjoyed the heroine a great deal.

    hate-reading – that is a really useful term. I have been not exactly hate reading, but reading – with-crack-y- half-fascination-half-repulsion Joey’s Hill’s Vampire Queen series. In the past sometimes her writing really works for me, but right now I’m seeing a lot of essentializing about gender roles, no matter who’s topping.
    I think the first time I read a few books in this series I was just happy that not everyone is lily white. But this reading I’m cranky to find that ethnicity is painted in superficial and stereotypical terms (part Japanese =”petite” build, tons of inky hair and occasional wearing of cheungsam (wtf?) part Aboriginal = well endowed, connected to nature, nice tan. Why make the desert sheik a Brit aristocrat? Why are none of the powerful vampires fully non-Caucasian? And yet for some reason, I’ve been glomming.

    Am curious to try Fit (Asian TV producer) and Prisoner (Filipino werewolf)

  12. Ridley

    @Joopdeloop: Oh my god, I read the first two Vampire Queen books and the crazy was off the fucking charts. Godspeed to you on your reading adventure.

  13. Nu

    I read Joey Hill’s mermaid books. Needless to say, the pixie sex (like with a tiny person) was a surprise, lol.

  14. cleo

    OMG – the things I learn here. I’ve read 2 Joey Hill’s – both contemporary bdsm. They both had that book crack, grab-you-and-not-let-go quality (followed by bewildered book hangover – wait, did I really read that?) but I had no idea about the wtfry in her PNRs. Wow.