sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Recommended to me quite some time ago by china_shop, as being her favourite Crusie. And it is extremely charming! I like Lucy a great deal, and love her relationship with her sister. And the buddy cop stuff that china_shop talked about is indeed great, and I definitely see what she meant in comparing Zack with Ray Kowalski. And I like the Lucy/Zack relationship too, though it moves a little fast for me and also I can't help thinking that beginning a relationship in the circumstances is inappropriate and a bad idea.

But in general the book is a fun read!
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Mostly an extremely charming book! There are bits and pieces of uncomfortable things re: gender, and there is one short scene with some bad consent practices, and there are a few other more minor flaws, but it did a lot of things very right.

Read more... )
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
I just finished reading Manhunter, by Jennifer Crusie. It is pink. With a picture of boxer shorts with hearts on them on the cover. It is the sort of book I would usually not be caught DEAD reading.

And yet.

I enjoyed it. I laughed all the way through it. I really liked the hero, and the heroine grew on me to the point where I really liked her too. I liked the secondary characters. I liked the sense of humour that pervaded the book. God help me, I enjoyed a contemporary romance.

That's not to say it's not without its bad points. There are two things I particularly hate. First, I really dislike the way that Kate assumes the only way to be happy is to get a guy -- and actually, that's an opinion that it seems like ALL the characters share. It's made clearest in the opening conversation between Kate and Jessie, and it bugged me so much I almost put the book down. The second frustrating thing is the way everyone assumes Jake should be doing more with his life. Yes, he's educated and intelligent and talented. That doesn't mean his only path to happiness is a successful career! He enjoys his job, and he's good at it -- and though he may spend the day lazing around in a fishing boat, that's because he's up way early in the morning getting the grounds looking nice. So the way everyone assumes that Jake needs to go be successful again is supremely frustrating to me.

Actually, it's weird. DURING reading the book, it was easy to look beyond those flaws, because I was just having so much fun with the characters. But now that I'm done, the sparkling banter is a fading memory, and what's sticking is my annoyance at those two things.

So basically what I take away from this experience is a very strong desire to go read more Georgette Heyer.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Yesterday I read my first contemporary romance novel. I felt like I ought to give the genre a chance, since it's much-maligned yet very popular, just like SFF. The book was, in a word, ridiculous. Enjoyable, but completely forgettable and not-very-plausible fluff. But the interesting thing was that, despite my unfamiliarity with the genre, it still felt extremely familiar and I could see the tropes coming from a mile away. And why? Because it was just so very fanfictiony. I always kinda knew on an intellectual level that 'ship-focused fanfic is romance and thus is very likely to draw on the same body of tropes as published romances, but now I really KNOW it.

However, as well as reading this book thinking "I've read this type of thing before," I was also thinking "I've read this type of thing done much better" -- and the book was by someone who's apparently one of the GOOD romance authors, Jennifer Crusie. Of course, I've also seen the same type of thing done much WORSE, but it is the good ones that stand out in my memory. One hypothesis would be that I just have more practice in separating wheat from chaff in fandom than I do in published romance. But I'm also thinking that it's very probable that fanfiction actually DOES have a body of better-quality romance-based stories (or at least a body of more-enjoyable-to-me romance-based stories). Perhaps this is partly because of the audience: fanfiction is more likely to be written to please oneself and like-minded folks, whereas romance is more likely to be written to fulfill the expectations of the genre. And since I'm one of those like-minded folks, fanfic hits my particular story-kinks, whereas romance is written to hit the story-kinks of a differently-minded group of people.

My conclusion: branching out into published romance is not likely to be an effective way to get my daily quota of romance. It's fanfic all the way for me!

(except for, you know, Jane Austen and the like. I can't abandon my first love.)

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