18 August 2017

My Thoughts // Do Some Storylines Only Work In Certain Genres?

My Thoughts_zpsv3m9csox.png
Captive Prince8 Prince's Gambit9 Kings RisingBlackbird
I had been intending to review the Captive Prince trilogy for a very long while but found it difficult to summarise my thoughts on it. I’ve still got a half finished review of it in my drafts folder. Give it a year and those reviews may see the light of day. I found a lot of the story amazing and blazed through that series in a couple of days (I seriously could not put those books down). I will be placing them firmly in my favourites and even though I paid far more than is reasonable to get copies of the second two books in the series (the first I got from the library) I am completely glad I bought and read them and will undoubtedly read again sometime soon.

I recognise there were issues with the book, though, and my biggest one, outside of the ending, is the fact that the romance is a captor/captive romance and there is such a power imbalance happening in it. Power imbalances in romances have to be dealt with carefully because as soon as one person could be accused of using their position of power to force them on to another then it gets iffy. Add in the fact that one character is held captive and it then could be interpreted as Stockholm syndrome and that’s even worse because it adds a creepy element into the whole thing.

When reading the Captive Prince trilogy I was totally behind the romance because it’s so very slow burn and developed through three books. It doesn’t feel like Stockholm syndrome but instead that the characters are letting down their guard, getting to know one another and falling in love. All of it went together so well and I was there for it 100%. I came to read a contemporary book which had a similar premise of a man buying a woman and possessing her and the romance which developed between the two. That book was Blackbird and I had a very different reaction to it. I was immediately bothered that language was used of someone ‘possessing’ or ‘owning’ another. And really as soon as money was exchanged all I could think was that human trafficking was bad and I so was not there for the romance. I mean, it just screamed Stockholm syndrome. It took me a really long time to let the romance grow on me and although I liked the characters together I would have liked them far better if there hadn’t been that power imbalance. I mean, she didn’t even see other people for ages and was never allowed out alone. She really saw no one but him so there was no doubt she would fall for him as she had no human comparison. All of it made me feel a bit blech.

Why is it I felt so different to a similar storyline in a contemporary read and a fantasy one?

That’s easy, the fantasy read was removed from reality. It was set in a different world where the possession of people and use as slaves was accepted and it wasn’t real. It may have helped that both characters were men so physically there wasn’t the same power difference. In fact, the slave was the stronger of the two based on sheer physicality and brute strength. Whilst in the contemporary setting a woman was taken off of the streets, from her job, and forced into human trafficking only to be purchased by a man and forced to accept him. To feel comfortable around him by proving she is ok with him seeing her naked. And repeatedly she is forced into situations where she could potentially be raped and the man who bought her proves he could have her if he wanted. In that situation I felt disgusted and didn’t like any romance developing.

I am of course basing these opinions off of what I remember of both books and it has been a little while since I read each but I found a captive romance only works when it’s taken outside of reality. In the modern day you immediately jump to the conclusion there is a psychological bond forming between captor and captive that would never develop otherwise. It feels forced and it’s wrong. In a fantasy context you can overlook these things a little. Or at least I could. The same issues exist but I think my biggest issue was the possession of another human. When this happens in a society where slavery is accepted you can get it but in the modern world slavery and the possession of people is not the norm and so my dilemma began.

So, as you can see. Two very similar storylines but as soon as you alter the setting it gets interpreted in my mind in a very different way. Does anyone else have moments like this where they find themselves disliking a storyline they loved in another book all because of the genre it’s written in?

Does anyone else have a similar reaction or is this just me? Does context matter for certain storylines to work?

15 August 2017

North To You // Nick Forced A Fun Romance All About Food On Me

1. North To You
Published: 5th June 2017

Source: Bought

Genre: Romance, Contemporary

My Rating:
In this warmhearted and charming debut from Tif Marcelo, a food truck chef and her long lost Army love clash when they cross paths in San Francisco.

Camille Marino has got a full plate. As the sole guardian of her eighteen-year-old sister and the head chef and owner of a food truck, she’s used to life being a juggling act. With food to cook, social media accounts to manage, and a little sister to look after, she doesn’t have time for much else.

That is, until Drew Bautista walks back into her life.

Drew is Camille’s former high school crush and he returns to San Francisco to repair his relationship with his father before he ships out for deployment. By helping his father renovate his failing Filipino restaurant, he hopes to win back his respect. But when sparks fly between Drew and Camille—his father’s major competition and sworn enemy—Drew is conflicted. Should he join his father in the war against her food truck? Or surrender to the woman who’s given him a second chance at love?
I need a shelf on Goodreads called ‘Books That Are Nick’s Fault’ because this would be on it. Seriously, she just tweeted about it and I was there buying it. I mean, also, the cover was cute and I remember seeing it on Smart Bitches (that’s a whole other shelf I need on Goodreads) and so I bought it and started reading almost immediately. I’m so glad I give in so easily. One thing I have learnt is Nick knows good romance. Like the best kind of romance.

So, North To You is set in San Francisco and in the world of food in San Francisco. Camille has set out to follow her dreams and is trying to make herself a success as a chef and owner of a food truck. She is working hard to support her and her sister and has time for nothing else. She is pursuing her dreams, after all. So when she bumps into an old high school flame, Drew, she doesn’t have time for him despite having a whole heap of unresolved issues there since she disappeared without a word Luckily for her Drew isn’t taking no for an answer and sparks fly left, right and centre. I mean hot damn!

I think this book worked for me because Camille and her hard headedness sucked me in (I love a woman who knows what she wants and has a few trust issues) and then there was Drew. Drew was a sweet cinnamon roll, too good for this world. He was cute and so damn irresistible. I got how Camille struggled to resist him because I wouldn’t have been able to.

There were the usual obstacles to the relationship. Drew ended up holding back a few things which made Camille doubt him (I do hate a liar when it comes to romance but even that couldn’t make me dislike him). And Camille and her trust issues, they would normally frustrate me but the girl just made me love her more because she had been through so damn much and she just wanted to give her sister her dream and have her own. Then there was the fact she was competing with Drew’s dad and it’s hard competing with family, isn’t it?

If you’re in the mood for a book which will make you hungry (I want to go to San Francisco and eat all the food!) then this is the book for you. if you like a good old second chance romance with a cute couple who really should have gotten together far sooner if life hadn’t gotten in the way then check it out!

Do you know someone who convinces you to buy all the books? Is their name Nick? I feel your pain. And what was the last book you bought because someone recommended it and it blew you away?

13 August 2017

Sunday Summary // 13.08.2017

Sunday Summary
Guys, you don’t even know how exhausted I feel. This week has been the longest week and for no apparent reason. I mean, I’ve been busy I’ve had lots to do. I feel like I haven’t stopped and so time should have flown by but work is dragging. Maybe it’s because I spend the first half hour of my working day alone eating breakfast and reading the paper, it’s a little too quiet. I don’t know why but the week has dragged and that always sucks.

I was out last Saturday if you guys recall and I actually wasn’t hungover the next day. Get a few drinks down me (and one very tasty one with vodka and jam in it which was the bomb) and I was dancing to cheesy pop music with folks from work and having a great time. I had my usual meal from my favourite takeaway before heading home and I was in bed and asleep by 3 am. It was basically a great night out and then I spent Sunday just relaxing (and not blogging… oops?).

Some awful stuff then happened around where I live and to people I know and so that sucked. But then work distracted me which is always good. We’ve been so busy trying to train folks and I am having to do some of it because I’ve been there a while and it’s exhausting I’m exhausted. I think the bad stuff has added into my long week and then every time you turn on the news Donald Trump is doing something to try and get folks killed because that’s what he does. Or you hear about crappy things happening in America that really shouldn’t happen in 2017. I’m not surprised I haven’t felt more positive.

I wouldn’t have left the house Saturday if I hadn’t got another appointment at the opticians (yes I have my new glasses). I also am trialling new contact lenses so I may start wearing those on a more regular basis if I find these to be comfy. We’ll see how they go. it was weird, though. The optician put them in my eyes for me. It’s definitely the weirdest experience at the opticians of recent memory.

It hasn’t been all negative, though. One of my friends is getting married towards the end of the year and planning for the hen do has been under way. I am so excited as it turns out we’re renting a house down in Bath for a weekend! I’ve never been to Bath but the place is stunning and filled with history and we so better be going out exploring during the day for this thing because that is literally all I want to do whilst there. Is that wrong of me? I think not. I mean, who goes to Bath and doesn’t experience the history?

What I’ve Been Reading

The Hate U Give4. Beyond the Highland Mist5. The Female of the Species
Okay, so I have actually had a pretty good reading week. I dithered over picking up a book Saturday as my reading challenge starts Sunday so I just indulged in fanfiction (which has inspired me to think of another post to write but damn I have so many half finished post ideas of late). I only read three books this week (which isn’t bad, but I had wanted to read more) and one of those I skim read in parts because it turns out I wasn’t as in the mood for crazy sauce romance as I thought and the alpha male hero had me fed up (Beyond the Highland Mist, just FYI). I did read two really good books, though. The Hate U Give was insanely good and hit me in the feels all over the place (seriously, the number of times I teared up in public was embarrassing, warning label guys!) and then The Female of the Species got me all kinds of riled up because it talked about important issues and just. Ugh! I mean, I struggled to find the right words for it being so good. It was awesome and amazing and I feel like I should link to a whole bunch of articulate reviews to explain why.

New To Me

The Watchmaker's DaughterLove and Gelato4. Beyond the Highland Mist
I admit I got new books and I am on a spending ban. I did only spend 99p in total, though. That’s pretty damn good going if I do say so myself. The Watchmaker’s Daughter was free and I liked the cover so hopefully, it will be a Kindle books I remember to read. Love & Gelato is free for Kindle and was iBooks free book of the week so I got that. Beyond the Highland Mist is the only book I purchased and it wasn’t great but oh well.
Before We Were StrangersExit, Pursued By A BearMind GamesNoteworthy5. The Female of the Species
I have begun using the tag #booksfortradeuk and I have completed a few swaps in the past week and they all arrived in the post this week. I did pretty good and got a bunch of books which have been on my TBR for a while. I’ve already read The Female of the Species and loved it so hopefully, I will love the rest just as much.
InvictusJuniper Lemon's Happiness IndexHortense and the Shadow
And I also got a few ARCs. I really need to cut down on the ARCs. These might be the last until after my holiday just so I can take some time to catch up. I am insanely excited to read Invictus, though. I got Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index because I’ve heard some good things and the cover is really pretty. I basically can’t say no. As for Hortense and the Shadow… I kind of accidentally got it. You know you have emails from Netgalley and you click the link? I got auto approved for it and clicked the link. It’s a picture book and the artwork looks amazing. You guys may get to see my first every picture book review!

So there is my week. I’m exhausted and it’s been long and weird and I hate watching the news of late. It hasn’t been all bad and the books have been good. Anyone read anything good or have a similar accidental Netgalley story to tell?