I read pretty much anything, from fantasy (City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett) to romance (Bared to You by Sylvia Day) to classics (Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad). The only genres I don't read are self-help and comic books/graphic novels.
13/11 - I'm enjoying On Lavender Lane more than the previous books in the series. The book, plot, writing, characters, location aren't any different from the other books of hers that I've read so I think it must be because I've lowered my expectations when it comes to the romance in JoAnn Ross' Shelter Bay books. You may have heard of 'cosy mysteries'? Well I think Shelter Bay books (and others like them) should be shelved under the new romance category 'cosy romances' which are identified by the cosy feeling you get while reading them. So if you're pulse is racing and you're starting to sweat you're not reading a cosy romance, that's a true romance or even erotica.
Previously I've been disappointed and complained about the truncated and infrequent sex scenes, but this time I expected it and have come to accept that I'm not going to come away from reading a Shelter Bay novel thinking "Wow, that's hot!". There's sexual tension, banter and humour between the hero (an actual hero back from the Iraq/Afghanistan war in this series) and heroine throughout the book. The sex-lite scenes don't usually start to appear till over half way through the book, before that there's banter and innuendo and some propositions that the woman will turn down, but pretty much no contact. When the contact does finally appear it starts out pretty slow, eventually progressing to the consumation scene which is usually told in full, but not with much detail. From then on the sex scenes will go like this: Kiss, kiss, kiss, grope on top of clothes, kiss, fall onto bed/couch and then a paragraph break or end of chapter followed by this opening sentence, or something similar "Many minutes later, both panting with exertion Jane and John (not their real names) smiled at each other..." and that'll be the extent of most of the sex scenes.
That's not a sex scene in my mind. That's what you write when you want your audience to understand that the characters had sex, but, either your not comfortable writing it or you don't feel your audience will be comfortable reading a scene actually describing the sex. It reminds me of what you get on most of the M rated tv shows out there at the moment, people have sex but you don't see it because that would make the shows rating higher, maybe taking it out of the demographic that the show's being aimed at.
So yes, I'm enjoying this light-hearted romance that's light in the romance department because I know not to expect any fireworks. I've always enjoyed the characters and the setting, but my disappointment in the sex scenes always held me back from really getting into the books because I was always waiting for the good romance to begin. Now that I'm not waiting I can really fall in love with the setting and the characters. To be continued...
16/11 - I may have been too generous in my estimation that the sex scenes don't start till after halfway through the book. Maybe I should have said they don't start till the end of the book as I'm currently I'm on page 277 of 378 and the closest to sex Maddie and Lucas have gotten are some kisses that keep getting interrupted by work and general bad timing. The sex scene that I accidentally saw ending on the last page (as I flicked through to find the the page number of the last page) looks like it might be the only one in the whole book (but not complaining, as I said before I've come to accept these books for what they are, sexless romances). I am enjoying the beginning of Phoebe and Ethan's romance, I'm hoping that it's the prelude to their own book later in the series. To be continued...
17/11 - Page 317 of 378?! That's a very long way into a romance book for it's first sex scene to occur. It was a pretty good, but not great scene, considering how long I'd been waiting for it. All the anticipation (from me and the characters) I would have thought it would be exploding off the page, but it didn't feel any more urgent than if it had happened 200 pages earlier. JoAnn Ross no longer qualifies as a romance writer for me, I've read four of her Lavender Lane books and I don't think any of them can truthfully be called 'romances', at least not by me anymore (but I'm not complaining, really I'm not). Other aspects of the story that I enjoyed without exemption were the cooking talk and the small-town-everyone-knows-everyone feeling I get from the whole series. I also like the way everyone is pairing up, it reminds me of when I play The Sims. My Sims are always happy, accomplished, beautiful people who I pair with other happy, accomplished, beautiful people. I never create Sims with bad qualities and I never let them be stupid people who can't cook or fix a toilet. That's how I feel about Shelter Bay - no one is stupid, ignorant, ugly or (in the end) unhappy (and if they are at the beginning of their story they morph into the happy people that Shelter Bay expects them to be by the end). I like that, despite how illogical it is, because it's like a wonderful fantasy town I can escape to whenever I read one of Ross' books.