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Trope Thursday: Love Triangles [5]

Trope Thursdays: A monthly feature where I look at various reading tropes. Each month I will pick a trope and examine all aspects of it. I’ll discuss the classic features of the trope, what I love (or hate) about it and share some books that use the trope in their plots.


It’s Back!

I wasn’t able to get a Trope Thursday post up for May so the feature took a brief hiatus. While most of my posts are scheduled far in advance, certain features posts (like this one) are usually written a few days before I plan to publish them.

For the month of May I planned to tackle the one trope I can’t stand with a passion. Seriously, if I could abolish one trope from the world of writing, it would be this one.

June’s Trope: Love Triangle

Definition:

love triangle (also called a romantic love triangle or a romance triangle or an eternal triangle) is usually a romantic relationship involving three people. While it can refer to two people independently romantically linked with a third, it usually implies that each of the three people has some kind of relationship to the other two. The relationships can be friendshipsromantic, or familial.

~Wikipedia (“Love Triangle“)

Common Features:

  • Possibility for Forbidden Love
  • Torn between two friends/brothers/sisters
  • Unrequited love for a best friend
  • Rivals
  • Possibility for unfaithfulness

Quick Note Moving Forward:

I’m going to mostly be using the pronoun “she” as the Person of Interest when I write my opinions and assume that her potential suitors are “he”. This is really just to keep it simple and clear what I am trying to convey. I’m not saying that men don’t find themselves torn between two girls or whatever combination you want to imagine, it’s really just a matter of keeping things clear and consistent to emphasize my points 🙂

What I Love About The “Love Triangle” Trope:

In this case, love is a strong word. I don’t particularly care for the love triangle (and I’ll get to why below) but I can admit that there are certain aspects of the love triangle trope that can contribute to the story in a positive way…and not simply for filler.

One of the reasons I think we see so many love triangles in fiction is for their ability to emphasis the “torn” nature of the person of interest. What I mean to say is that in most novels, the Object of Affection (OOA) must choose between two suitors much like the idea that she has to choose the path for life she must follow. Does she stick with the path she has always known or does she embrace the new “her” and the future it could bring?

Take Twilight for example. Bella is torn between Jacob (a werewolf) and Edward (a vampire)–and don’t forget for a little while Mike (a human). Each suitor represents a different path for Bella. With Mike, it’s the acceptance of the human world and the casting aside of the paranormal one. With Jacob, she can remain human, be in love with a close friend while still acknowledging the paranormal world. And with Edward, it’s accepting his immortality and the question of whether or not he is worth her mortality.

(Now Twilight isn’t the greatest love triangle example [it’s included on my worst list below], but it’s one most readers are familiar with without spoiling other series).

Now, not all love triangles follow this ideal. But I think at the heart of most of them, they represent a choice for the characters that is deeper than simply who they want to kiss at night and, if done correctly, they can contribute positively to the character development.

What I Dislike About The “Love Triangle” Trope:

Where do I start?!

One of my biggest peeves about the love triangle trope is when it is throw in simply for the sake of some “drama”. Not every romance needs to be challenged by a rival. There are other obstacles that couples can overcome that don’t involve a third person and that can still provide depth to the characters and their relationship.

My other dislike about love triangles is the back and forth nature of them. Suddenly the “ugly duckling” is seen by two amazing boys and she simply can’t choose between them. Thus ensues chapter after chapter of flip flopping between her feelings. I find this usually distracts from the large plot (especially in middle books of trilogies) and can make for a dull read.

But perhaps my biggest issue with love triangles is their unrealistic nature. I’m not saying that love triangles can’t exist in real life. The reason I liked the definition Wikipedia provides is that it emphasizes that those relationships between those three people don’t have to necessarily be romantic in nature. Rather, what I find unrealistic about most love triangles is that suddenly, two suitors are simultaneously in love with the OOA seemingly out of nowhere. Now I get that there are certain circumstances that can bring this on (like the end of the world for example). But the whole transformation of “ugly duckling” to “most loveable person ever” is one I readily dislike.

Books that Use the “Love Triangle” Trope Well:

This goes back to my first argument where love triangles can be used to emphasize the torn nature of a heroine. What I like about the love triangle in this series–besides the fact that it never overshadows the rest of the plot–is how much it contributes to Ember’s character development. Throughout the series Ember is struggling with her dragon nature (thus her draw to Cobalt) as well as her human nature (thus her draw to Garret) and her attempts to reconcile her feelings for each guy also reflects her growth as a person and dragon as she tries to save the world.

>>Series Review: Talon

 

This is one of the only books I have ever read that has a “true love triangle” element to it (ie all three characters are in love with each other). The heart of this novel is Laney’s identity crisis and her relationships with both Armin and Blythe play crucial roles in that. The love triangle here provides an interesting dynamic to the story and one that keeps the reader on their toes as they watch Laney’s plan for revenge unfold.

>>Standalone Review: Black Iris

 

Others:  No One Needs to Know | Suitors and Sabotage | Shatter Me

Books that Didn’t Use the “Love Triangle” Trope Well:

There is actually a love square in this book but that’s besides the point. My main peeve with this one comes from my intense dislike of our lead heroine, Harper and the inexplicable reason why she has two boys chasing her down with only two sentences spoken between them. (Oh, and her token male BFF who has always loved her). Harper flops like a fish with her feelings and it does nothing to develop her as a character.

>>Series Review: Taking Chances

 

This one had the potential to be good. I mean Calla is torn between duty and her heart when it comes to her suitors…but it’s her actions and reactions that sink that ship pretty quickly. Calla’s relationships become a sole focus for the story and for her. She becomes this self-obsessed heroine who flits back and forth between guys (ie making out with each of them) and subsequently feeling guilty for doing so but does nothing to solve the problem. Frustration to the extreme.

>>Series Review: Nightshade

 

Others:  The Vincent Boys | A Beautiful Dark | Twilight


Do you enjoy books with the “love triangle” Trope?

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Trope Thursdays: New to Town [4]

Trope Thursdays: A monthly feature where I look at various reading tropes. Each month I will pick a trope and examine all aspects of it. I’ll discuss the classic features of the trope, what I love (or hate) about it and share some books that use the trope in their plots.


Welcome Back!

First, I’ll define what that trope is and then list some common features. Next, I’ll pick some examples of the trope in action and why it works (or doesn’t work) for that particular story. And then finally, I’ll open the floor to you to tell me your thoughts on the trope or recommend some reads to me.

April’s Trope: New to Town

Definition:

One of the lead characters has just moved to a new town where our second lead is currently residing.

Common Features:

  • Mysterious Strangers
    • Possibility for Forbidden Love
  • Insta-Love
  • Angsty Teens
  • Secrets
  • New Family Unit
  • In Love with the Neighbour
  • In Love with the Roommate
  • Character “Soul Searching”

What I Love About The “New to Town” Trope:

I actually relate a lot to this trope as my family moved when I was a young kid to a completely new town. It’s an experience that truly defined who I am as a person and I learned a lot about myself from the whole ordeal as well.

Which is why I find it to be a fascinating trope to include in books. There’s a lot you can play with as it provides ample opportunity for character growth and self-discovery. But it also sets the stage for a sweet (or perhaps unknowingly forbidden?) romance to grow.

I think my favourite aspect is when it’s the entire family unit that has to move and the strain it can put on relationships. Not everyone is 100% on board with moving (I know I wasn’t) so it creates an interesting family dynamic.

What I Dislike About The “New to Town” Trope:

The somewhat sad memories it brings up for me?

No, in all seriousness, it’s hard to do this trope wrong. Most of the time it’s an introductory element that we slowly forget about as the story progresses. Obviously, sometimes the things I mentioned above aren’t capitalized upon but it just depends on the story and what it is trying to tell.

Books that Use the “New to Town” Trope Well:


HEAR ME OUT!

While the reader knows that Edward is a vampire, Bella doesn’t (and that’s just one of many things she doesn’t have a grasp on). Because Bella is new to town, Edward and the Cullens are these mysterious people to her. BUT, I enjoyed the anticipation of her finding out.

You can also throw in her relationship with her estranged dad too.

>>Series Review: Twilight

 

 

I picked this one because I think it really highlights the romance and family aspects of this trope. Strain has been placed on Layken’s family thanks to her dad’s sudden death and her mom’s decision to move them to a new town. It creates an interesting dynamic.

Add to that her new relationship with their neighbour and the consequences that follow and this is a great “New to Town” trope execution.

>>Series Review: Slammed

 

Others: Did I Mention I Love You?  | Wallbanger | No Pants Required

Books that Didn’t Use the “New to Town” Trope Well:

Honestly, I couldn’t think of anything! Usually books I dislike books with the trope for other reasons and not for the fact that they moved. But two of my lowest rated books with this trope are:

Anything by Minor by Kate Stewart (2 starts) & Just Breathe by Rachel Brookes (DNF’d)


Do you enjoy books with the “New to Town” Trope?

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Trope Thursdays: My Family Hurt Yours [3]

Trope Thursdays: A monthly feature where I look at various reading tropes. Each month I will pick a trope and examine all aspects of it. I’ll discuss the classic features of the trope, what I love (or hate) about it and share some books that use the trope in their plots.


Round 3 of my new feature!

As I said in the description above, the idea is to look at common book tropes and dissect them each month. I’m going to pick a variety of tropes–including ones I hate–and dig a little deeper. First, I’ll define what that trope is and then list some common features. Next, I’ll pick some examples of the trope in action and why it works (or doesn’t work) for that particular story. And then finally, I’ll open the floor to you to tell me your thoughts on the trope or recommend some reads to me.

My Family Member Hurt Yours

Definition:

A situation where an unlikely bond (or romance) develops between two leads (A & B) in a novel despite a shared history of Person A’s family member hurting/betraying Person B’s self or family.

Example: Sara and John fall in love despite the fact that John’s father was the one driving the car that killed Sara’s sister 5 years ago.

Common Features:

  • Plan for revenge
  • Plan for redemption
  • Forbidden love
  • Focus on family
  • Unexpected plot twists

What I Love About The “My Family Member Hurt Yours” Trope:

While it doesn’t have a nice name or an easy to explain definition, this is one of my favourite tropes to read for a variety of reasons.

For one, I always find these stories have well developed characters. They often have complex characteristics and situations given the past and that provides ample opportunity for growth. Through meeting this “new” person, they start to question their beliefs and perspectives and I find that the result is stronger characters and a solid connection between the leads.

I also like the focus on family. Lots of books create a tragic past by having negligent parents or the like–and while those are important stories–it is nice to see cohesive families in novels as well. Sure, they might not be in the healthiest of places but that’s another great aspect of these stories–the growth of the family unit as a whole.

What I Dislike About The “My Family Member Hurt Yours” Trope:

One of the hardest sells of these novels is the romance. You have to convince me that these two people should overcome all the obstacles in their way in order to be together. They have to learn the lesson of forgiveness and moving on. Which means I don’t want to see superficial connections forged between them. I need to see why these two belong together and why their love is stronger than the past of hurt.

Note: All these examples mention the shared past in some respect in their synopsis. I didn’t pick any books that have this trope as a hidden twist in their stories in an effort to prevent spoilers.

Books that Use the “My Family Member Hurt Yours” Trope Well:


This is one of the first books I ever remember reading with this trope to it. What I liked about these two was who they were as people. They both have their flaws and their setbacks due to their shared past. I really enjoyed watching them work individually on those weakness while at the same time watching them fight this fantastic connection between them. It’s such a beautiful story about letting go of the past and seeing what the future holds.

>>Series Review: Games

 

 

Ok, this one might be cheating a bit since the person directly affected is the heroine but the shared past does have an effect on her family as well.

What I really loved about this one was the focus on what the outside world thought as opposed to what the characters thought about their love. It was an interesting perspective for the novel to have. While their connection could have been a touch stronger, I really enjoyed watching them overcome their shared past.

 

Books that Didn’t Use the “My Family Member Hurt Yours” Trope Well:


I love a good “need for revenge” story and I was hoping this book would have it. Unfortunately, it focused way too much on the sexy times of the relationship and seemed to leave the plot behind in favour of heated sex scenes. It didn’t help either that the relationship was pretty insta-connection.

Series Review: Fifth Avenue Trilogy

 

 

Despite a promising start, this one lost me in the middle and never got me back. This is one of those cases where the romance wasn’t developed enough to convince me these two belonged together despite all the obstacles.

Series Review: Finding


Please let me know what you think about this features structure/topics be commenting below. I am more than willing to modify it in the coming months!

Have you read any books with the “My Family Member Hurt Yours” Trope?

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Trope Thursdays: Slow Burn Romance [2]

Trope Thursdays: A monthly feature where I look at various reading tropes. Each month I will pick a trope and examine all aspects of it. I’ll discuss the classic features of the trope, what I love (or hate) about it and share some books that use the trope in their plots.


Round 2 of my new feature!

As I said in the description above, the idea is to look at common book tropes and dissect them each month. I’m going to pick a variety of tropes–including ones I hate–and dig a little deeper. First, I’ll define what that trope is and then list some common features. Next, I’ll pick some examples of the trope in action and why it works (or doesn’t work) for that particular story. And then finally, I’ll open the floor to you to tell me your thoughts on the trope or recommend some reads to me.

Slow Burn Romance

Definition:

A romance that develops gradually over time as the characters get to know one each other more.

Common Features:

  • Friends to Lovers
  • In Love With Client/Coworker/Partner
  • Hate to Love You
  • In Love With the Enemy
  • Teach Me to Love
  • In Love with Someone “Forbidden”

What I Love About The Slow Burn Romance Trope:

I’ve only recently come to realize that I love the slow burn romance trope. For me, one of the things I need to see the most in my romances is a deeper connection. Insta-loves don’t work for me because the connection is usually superficial or based on something “unspoken”. But slow burn romances let you see how these characters work together over time. How they compliment each other; how they slowly realize the other person is what they have been looking for all along. That’s when the looks become a little longer; and the thoughts turn into attraction; and the tension between the two leads becomes palpable.

While researching this post, I read some other bloggers’ thoughts on the slow burn trope and I think Liana @ Coffee Time Romance sums it up very nicely:

The slow burn romance means the characters can flirt with the idea of love before ever admitting they are in love. It gives them a chance to learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Most importantly, it gives the readers a chance to see the couple through the good days and the bad so that when the characters finally reach Happily Ever After there is no doubt that they will really have forever together.

~Liana @ Coffee Time Romance (Post: The Beauty of the Slow Burn Romance [Sep 4, 2015])

What I Dislike About The Slow Burn Romance Trope:

Sometimes I can be a little impatient when it comes to my romances. There is only so many “near-misses” a girl can take before she’s screaming at the pages for the couple to kiss!

Like I mentioned in my last Trope Thursday Posts about Fake Relationships, the problem with the slow burn usually lies in the characters or the plot itself. If the plot isn’t very strong, I usually want the romance to be of a greater focus so that something is happening in the book. But if it too is just puttering along, well, that can make for a boring read. And when it comes to the characters, I want to like them. So if I find one character is “undeserving” of another, slow burn romances can drive me nuts because I don’t see that deeper connection.

But it’s also important to note that having the characters wait a long time to establish that romantic relationship doesn’t always make a slow burn romance. You need to have those moments that show a connection happen along the way. It isn’t enough to just stick a couple of calendar days between their first meeting and that moment when they finally take the next step. You’ve got to develop it in some way.

Another time slow burn romances can fail is in a series where the romance is spread out over multiple volumes. Once the couple gets together, that tension often disappears because they get into that “honeymoon” phase of the relationship. Their relationship becomes this inevitable fact and you lose a bit of that “will they or won’t they” thrill. Either they become this perfect couple or they have to break up for the sake of the plot. It can make for a boring read in the subsequent sequels if their slow burn romance was the main focus/plot-point of their first book because what else do you have to look forward to?

Books that Use the Slow Burn Romance Trope Well:

The Marriage Bargain (Marriage to a Billionaire, #1)
I found Blackhearts to be a very character driven story–which isn’t surprising because it is an origin story of sorts. Anne and Teach are both such intriguing characters on their own but when they share a scene, the magic really happens. They just have so much in common and watching them discover that was such a treat as a reader.

Their romance follows along the lines of one that is almost forbidden due to their positions in society. So while the attraction might always be there, they really do try and fight it in order to stop their hearts from breaking.

>>Series Review: Blackhearts

 

 

Not only is this one of the longest romance novels I have ever read (the Kindle version has over 600 pages which is absolutely CRAZY!) but it also has one of the slowest burning romances I’ve ever seen.

Why? Well these two don’t start as friends and they aren’t even that attracted to each other but that’s what happens over time. You watch their relationship evolve from boss/employee to partners to friends to lovers. It’s a hard thing for these two very independent people to learn to trust someone else but over the course of the novel, they learn to do that.

>>Standalone Review: The Wall of Winnipeg and Me

 

 

I had already written this post before I started this book. But as I was listening to the audiobook, I knew I just had to include it in this list.

The slow burn of Royally Endowed takes place over the course of years. This is a case where calendar days in between works as there is a never ending list of (realistic) obstacles along the way. It toys with the “will-they-won’t-they” idea until you know something has to give. And when it does, you can’t help but exclaim in joy.

 

Others: Play |  Smut

Books that Didn’t Use the Slow Burn Romance Trope Well:


This one is more a case of a slightly misleading synopsis and the idea of sticking calendar days in the way. I went into this book thinking the romance was going to be the main focus of the story and it wasn’t. In fact, the leads don’t even meet each other until the 50% mark. And when they do, they ignite pretty quickly. So despite the great chemistry and tension that we do finally get, the romance left something to be desired for me due to its execution.

Review: Crossing Stars

 

 

OK! Before everyone gets mad at me for this one hear me out! When I read the synopsis for The Raven Boys, I thought the main plotline was a romance between Blue and Gansey (all that stuff about her true love it mentions). So imagine my surprise when there is nearly zilch in the romance department in The Raven Boys!

I know that the romances are all slow burn and grow over the next 3 volumes but I needed something early on. I found the plot to be slow so this was one of those cases where I would have appreciated something else (like a romance) to focus on to keep the plot moving.

>>Series Review: The Raven Cycle

 

Others: A Stardance Summer |  Changling


Can’t get enough slow burn romances? Be sure to check out my Valentine’s Day Post!

Riffle Lists: Slow Burn Romance (Live February 14th)

 

As this is only my second post for this feature, please let me know what you think about its structure/topics be commenting below. I am more than willing to modify it in the coming months!

Do you enjoy the Slow Burn Romance Trope? Any recommendations?

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Trope Thursdays: Fake Relationships [1]

Trope Thursdays: A monthly feature where I look at various reading tropes. Each month I will pick a trope and examine all aspects of it. I’ll discuss the classic features of the trope, what I love (or hate) about it and share some books that use the trope in their plots.


Thanks for reading!

I’m super excited to finally share this feature with everyone! This was a feature I thought up in the summer of 2017 when I was creating a discussion post about tropes. I’ve been slowly working on bringing it to life ever since. It took me awhile to figure out what I wanted to do exactly in the post as well as come up with a banner for the feature. (Don’t ask why I picked an owl, I just think they are cute and I wanted to know if I could create my own in Photoshop. Answer: yes).

As I said in the description above, the idea is to look at common book tropes and dissect them each month. I’m going to pick a variety of tropes–including ones I hate–and dig a little deeper. First, I’ll define what that trope is and then list some common features. Next, I’ll pick some examples of the trope in action and why it works (or doesn’t work) for that particular story. And then finally, I’ll open the floor to you to tell me your thoughts on the trope or recommend some reads to me.

So let’s begin! For my first ever Trope Thursday, I picked a personal favourite:

Fake Relationship Tropes

Definition:

Relationships that are formed between the leads for some purpose that requires the pair to appear to be in a romantic partnership. This purpose can be mutually beneficial or one-sided but both parties agree to fake romantic feelings to reach the end goal.

Common Features:

  • Fake girlfriend/boyfriend
  • Fake marriages (marriage of convenience)
  • Fake fiances
  • Slow burn romance

What I Love About The Fake Relationship Trope:

If I had to pick one trope to only read forever, it would likely be this one. I just love it so much! The main reason I can’t get enough is the development of the romance. In my romances, I want to see that deeper connection happen between my leads and I find I almost always get that in fake relationship novels. These characters become so ingrained in each other’s everyday life (and often in an accelerated way or during a time of high pressure) and they start to see the other person for who they are as a human being. They pick up on the quirks or the motivation for certain actions and that’s why they start to fall in love.

But don’t forget all the delicious tension of stolen kisses or lingering touches that may mean a little more! Usually the tension is just boiling over and the lines between love, lust, fake and reality begin to blur. I just love those moments where caution is thrown to the wind and the leads get carried away…

What I Dislike About The Fake Relationship Trope:

I generally don’t have any problems with the trope itself, usually it’s the plot or the characters that cause me to rate a fake relationship book lower and not the use of the trope.

Often time these stories can be cliche but I don’t particularly mind.

I do find that sometimes these novels can suffer from the time-frame of the novel depending on the situation and/or character development. Because people often need a fake boyfriend/girlfriend for a couple days or a month, the relationship can be too accelerated if not properly expanded upon with character development or a reasonable set of circumstances.

Books that Use the Fake Relationship Trope Well:

The Marriage Bargain (Marriage to a Billionaire, #1)
The chemistry between these two is off the charts! This is the classic “I’ve known you forever” type of situation with a shared past of hurt.  I adored their connection and how they use their marriage of convenience to grow as people and as partners for each other.

>>Series Review: Marriage to a Billionaire Series

 

 

One Week Girlfriend (One Week Girlfriend, #1)

One of my all time favourite New Adult reads. What I loved about this one is that these two don’t know anything about each other. But that quickly changes as they are thrown into a tense situation. Again, these two just got each other and watching them start from nothing to build such a great foundation had me swooning throughout!

>>Series Review: One Week Girlfriend

 

 

Others: The Wall of Winnipeg and Me  |  The Matchmaker’s Playbook

Books that Didn’t Use the Fake Relationship Trope Well:


It’s a shame the synopsis is so grossly misleading for this story. Regardless, this one failed to deliver on a few key things. For one, I felt like our hero wasn’t as developed as he could have been. Things also happen at a very quick pace and that stopped me from being a huge fan of the romance.

>>Series Review: A Billionaire Love Story Series

 

 

Despite great sexual tension between the leads, this story didn’t work on a lot of levels. For one, both leads were incredibly irritating. It’s hard to root for something more between them when you don’t like either lead. It also suffered from an overly dramatic (and quickly resolved) plotline.

>>Series Review: Billionaire Series

 

Others: His Hired Girlfriend


Thanks for reading my first ever Trope Thursday monthly feature! I hope you come back next month to see what I have in store!

As this is my first post for this feature, please let me know what you think about its structure/topics be commenting below. I am more than willing to modify it in the coming months!

Do you enjoy the Fake Relationship Trope? Any recommendations?

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