Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Learning the Tropes

I cut my teeth on category books—I learned about romance from the huge, dusty box filled with Harlequin books my grandmother kept on her porch. I’d sit on the couch out there and read for hours. I’d begin on a Saturday morning, and by the time I finished, the sun was setting. And over the years my love affair with category books hasn’t waned.

strangers in the desertLast week I read a Harlequin Presents book Strangers in the Desert by Lynn Raye Harris. Now, I have been a major fan of Ms. Harris for a couple of years. I love her writing! It’s emotional, sensual and always satisfying. After closing a book by her, I always feel like I’ve been on a journey, a wonderful exotic journey of romance, strife and love conquering all. Strangers in the Desert didn’t let me down. But what really made the book for me was the trope. For the most part all category books surround a particular trope—y’know, best friends to lovers, millionaire falls for secretary, fake fiancé, intimate strangers. Well Lynn Raye Harris took two of the oldest tropes in romance history—amnesia and the secret baby—and did her own twist on them. And did it with imaginative flair that simply wow-ed me! She took a seemingly far-fetched idea and made it so believable that I never doubted the validity of the characters, story or plot! There was a secret baby, of course…but instead of the father not knowing about the infant, the mother didn’t! Why? Because she suffered from amnesia! I know, I know what you’re thinking! How in the hell…? But Ms. Harris, hats off! You did that! She handled it masterfully, and I absolutely loved how she took old tropes and twisted them within an inch of their long, tried-and-true lives to make the book brand new, fresh and so romantic I sighed—actually sighed—at the end. Secret baby

Well, the book got me thinking about other tropes I shamelessly enjoy. Call it guilty pleasure, and chuckle if you must, but I adore tropes. And there are certain ones that are drop-dead deal breakers for me. First, there’s the best friends to lovers. Reading how two people who have loved each other for years, have an intimacy forged in childhood by shared secrets and traumas, suddenly see each other in a new light is a wonder to me. I enjoy following their conflicted emotions as they discover that the one who knows them best is also the one who fulfills every desire they’ve dreamed about and hoped for. Sigh. See? I did it again! Then there’s the—you got it!—secret baby. Call me a sucker, but I am a fool for that trope. Especially when the father is a cynical, hard-hearted, confirmed bachelor who finds his heart melted by a baby’s guileless smile and innocent tug on his finger…tearing up here.

And what about the reunited lovers? Or the ugly duckling? Or the big-girl-who-loses-a-whole-bunch-of-weight-but-still-feels-like-a-big-girl-with-big-girl-insecurities-in-a-skinny-chick’s-body trope? Oh, that isn’t one? It should be!

What’s your favorite trope? Have you read any good books lately that has one? Do tell!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Some People Just Shouldn't Bother!

So I’m hijacking this Tuesday since I missed my post from last week. *sheepish grin that I’m hoping everyone thinks is cute* I travelled to Chicago for a wedding and had car lag because a sista made “The Drive”! Ten &^%&# hours! Thanks to Munchies, Cherry Coke and Wal-Dryl it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been but… *sigh* Good Lawd! It was looong! I did get to see Harpo Studios (Hi, Oprah!). Aaaand I had myself a funnel cake at the Navy Pier! Below are pics of me at Harpo and me trying to avoid my hubby while I stuff my face with funnel cake. Ah. Good times!

Me Harpo StudiosMe Funnel Cake

Well my mom took care of the kids for us…and you would think after my last fiasco I would’ve learned my lesson. But, alas, no, I didn’t. You have to understand this important factor or this story will be for naught: My mother is the kind of person who must stay busy. She’ll come over to visit and, by the time I come out of the bathroom, a load of laundry is in the washer and the living room is rearranged. Not that I mind! By all means, far be it for me to hinder whatever floats her boat, right? I read and drink coffee to relax, she cleans. So on the way back I’m all, “At least I’m returning to a clean house” because she’s had days, not hours! And I was right! The house looked gaw-geous!! The couch and entertainment center had switched places, I had new plants and clean clothes in the closet. I told her she needs to start a new career as a professional organizer. That woman could straighten up a hoard! Uh, not that I’m a hoarder…that’s not what I’m saying….

Anyhoo, she had it shining and smelling like a lemon-scented Taj Mahal! Now there’s a rule with my mother that I should have learned and remembered from last summer: Every nook and cranny will get cleaned and organized. Ergo, if you don’t want her seeing something, lock it up! So we’re back, everything’s cool…then my husband comes into the room and tosses a purple, silicon phallic toy—okay, damn! A dildo! He tosses my purple dildo on the bed. The one that has the little dolphin head and bill to tickle that special place? Yeah, that one. He tells me, “You forgot something.” Apparently my mother found it, thought it was my daughter’s and threw it in her toy box. My husband passed by her room to find her kneeling in front of the box, wagging it back and forth with a frown. She turned to look at him standing in the doorway and whined, “Daddy, I don’t get how this works.” Lord, take me now to that big upper room in the sky!!

I learned two things last week:

1. My mother must not be getting any because this makes two times that she’s come across sex toys and have no idea what she’s handling. First, the cock ring is a bracelet now the dildo is aa toy—literally.

2. I need to get rid of all my stash because obviously I am not old or responsible enough to clean my room and put my toys up!

I don’t know which was more eventful, the trip to Chicago or the what awaited me back home…