Tag Archives: romance novels

Birds of a Feather

Swans love pair bond

This week, Fandango provocatively asks…

Do you feel that people are more attracted to one another by their differences or by their commonalities? And why do you feel that way?

You can guess my answer by the post title and photo, right? I can only speak for myself and my observations, but I think it is more likely for people to be attracted via commonalities, and that is the key to long-lasting, happy, healthy relationships. I don’t mean that people need to be clones of one another, but if they don’t have a similar outlook on life, compatible values, and mutually enjoyable activities to share, they’re just asking for arguments all along. Now, here is also another interesting observation: some people like to fight. They thrive from that adrenaline rush they get from being upset, yelling, and then making up passionately. Or not making up, in the case of friends, I suppose, but simply moving on to the next disagreement. I see that all the time on social media. But I find it unbearably stressful to interact that way, and more so the older I get. But to each their own, hey?

But guess what? Yep. I seem to have been attracted to men I haven’t been able to get along with because we are too different. This doesn’t happen to me in friendships, only in romances. The friends I have now are board game lovers, for the most part, so we start from there. Most of us also enjoy concerts and movies, though not always the same ones. Since it’s a largish group, there are always a few who are interested in doing a particular activity. Some enjoy hiking and/or traveling, but I don’t, which is fine because there’s always someone up for a movie instead (plus I don’t need to do everything with other people). We don’t all agree on politics, so we generally avoid that topic. Unlike some, I don’t feel the need to constantly voice my opinions on current events and get into fights about that sh!t.

Yet when I used to date, I ended up with men who didn’t like games, wanted to watch mind-numbing TV shows, and were super into sports. Beyond that, our worldviews clashed. I’m a careful person: I like to make plans and stick to them, avoid risk, and think about the future. But instead of dating men with similar qualities, I ended up with a bunch of nutty unreliable risk-takers who didn’t want to commit to anything. Men who were completely stupid with money. Men who craved constant travel. Etc. I even dated a T* supporter once. How crazy is that?

There are plenty of cute stories about opposites attracting and having a wonderful time together. I’ve read a zillion of them via romance novels, and it’s a romcom meet-cute staple as well. But that’s fiction. Unfortunately, my mind was soaked in fiction for so long that I had a difficult time accepting how it was better to date a boring, safe person like myself with similar values rather than an “exciting” opposite. I too felt the “rush” of roller coaster arguments/making up, wheeeeee! But that’s an unhealthy dynamic. I learned too late that I should have chosen differently and now am no longer interested. But I am thankful to have a great group of friends.

~*~

Image from Pixabay.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

The Defense Rests [repost]

Fantasy reading romance novel book

Oh look, it’s yet another article dissing romance novels. (Ghosh offers a tepid “apology” for his diss here ~ he has clearly never read a contemporary romance novel. See my last paragraph about “journalists” who do no research.)

And so many women feel compelled to explain/justify their love of this genre. No one says to men, hey, why do you like watching those explody movies full of gratuitous violence? Or science fiction flicks with goofy aliens. And what about that TV show about zombies everyone loves? Yep, zombies are fine, no need to question anyone’s taste on THAT, but romance novels… now those are suspect.

Most people even accept that men enjoy pr0n. Some women might not like the fact that men enjoy it, but they aren’t puzzled by the idea. It’s not confusing. But people who don’t read romances act confused about women who do read them. “I don’t get it. They’re formulaic. You know how they’ll end.” And so? We always knew Columbo would get the bad guy, yet we liked watching him anyway.

I’m not sure why people have such a problem with romance novels. If you don’t like ’em, don’t read ’em. It’s fairly simple. I dislike all science fiction except the original Star Trek, so I avoid it. That works. I have no interest in any zombie type stuff, so I don’t read or watch it. No problem there. But people who don’t read romances seem to feel a burning need to continually diss the genre.

Beyond that, we have the explainers and the analyzers. Must don Freudian cap and tell you vhy you like zeeze books. You had a strained relationship wiss your fadder, yes? Zomg. SHADDAP.

You know what the problem is? Too many “journalists” and not enough topics. Every week these explainer dorks are scrambling for something to write about, but they don’t go out and actually experience anything, interview anyone, take photos, etc. They just yabber away from their armchairs and make crap up. Usually something annoying that people will click on so they’ll see some dumb ad. Many are still sailing in the faint breeze from that Fifty Shades book and trying to make a penny off discussing erotica erm blah yip yap SEX whatever.

Leave us alone and let us enjoy our bodice rippers in peace.

PS: Nothing has changed since this was posted in 2013.

~*~

Image credit to Jim Warren.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Romeo, Romeo [repost]

couple kiss fireworks

I received Romeo, Romeo (by Robin Kaye) as a gift and read it last weekend. I really enjoyed this romance novel ~ I appreciate that Kaye attempted to make her main characters a little different from the norm (without having them be vampires, thanks) and I am always predisposed to like an East Coast Italian setting, even if it doesn’t have any mobsters in it. WAIT! It did have a couple, um… OK, not gonna give anything away here. 🙂

I gotta tell you that Kaye immediately broke one of my commandments and mished up POVs right off the bat within the same scene. But guess what? I forgave her! No, this does not mean you get to do it. It just means that the story hooked me from page one and I was so eager to find out what happened that I thought, well poop, and moved on anyway.

The protagonists are not super-likeable when you meet them. They’re involved in other relationships that make you go wtf? But they’re interesting. And their attraction to each other feels real and compelling. The minor characters shine in their own right and the side plots do not resolve predictably. One thing though ~ did there have to be an Aunt Rose with the heroine named Rosalie? There are other Italian names, for Pete’s sake.

I did have a huge issue with this book, and it’s a peeve I have with a lot of fiction ~ Rosalie’s career. She’s a 27 year old “corporate turnaround specialist.” She waltzes (on 4-inch heels) into failing companies, glances at their balance sheets, and fixes them. YEAH SURE. Kaye doesn’t specify Rosalie’s education creds, but it doesn’t even sound like she has more than a BA or that she put in time slogging away for someone who knows anything. She just does her fixing with one assistant. Snort.

Romeo’s career isn’t any more believable. He was a teen bad boy who through some sort of financial magic is now the most desirable bachelor in New York because he really knew his way around cars, which makes him different from all other Italian guys, natch. (But he cooks and cleans and walks Rosalie’s dog… ) How he got the money to buy his first auto dealership? Look, we don’t ask. Capice?

But this isn’t merely a Robin Kaye problem ~ so many writers have wrong ideas about careers and money. Forex, they have every lawyer making at least $500K per year and driving a Mercedes because they read that OJ Simpson’s lawyer bla bla. Or they’ll have a waitress living in a giant apartment in New York City that only someone making $500K per year could afford. They consistently have people too young being too successful. It only takes a few minutes of googling to find out the average salaries for careers and the kind of education needed for particular jobs. Writers should do this so their characters look more believable.

Otherwise? Romeo, Romeo was a fun, fast read and I’m gonna buy at least a few more of Robin’s books to review. Also, I’m finally getting used to reading on my Kindle Fire! I think my days of buying paper books and dumping them off at the library are finally coming to an end.

~*~

Image from Shutterstock.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Philomena [repost]

Philomena

This movie starred the incomparable Judi Dench ~ and I absolutely loved it. Steve Coogan was great as well. I’m not good at movie reviews, so I will lazily direct you to this one, which is perfection.

One thing I want to specifically mention though is Philomena’s recap of a romance novel as she and Martin (Coogan) were traveling. I died laughing in the theater. (Yes, I died and am poasting from the beyond with my special code.) First, it reminded me of when I’d sum up bodice rippers for my friend Elizabeth back in the day, in my special way, and we’d crack up to bits. Second, not only is it hilarious when a woman tries to explain to a man why she likes a romance novel, but here is a “lowbrow” woman cheerfully and cluelessly jabbering on to a cynical, smug intellectual about this book and he’s about to shoot himself. It is so fab. You should see the movie just for this scene.

Well no, that’s wrong. You should see Philomena because it’s wonderful. It begins small and gets huge. Do you know what I mean? So many movies start out with a ginormous explosion and a bunch of guys going, “Zomg, we’ve got less than twenty-four hours to save the planet!” Philomena begins with a sad woman who is missing her son and a journalist who needs to find a gig. As it proceeds, the themes become larger, deeper, and more philosophical.

Just excellent. Go see.

~*~

Image from Philomena.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Sky Blue and Black

sky

Although I strive to be serene and even-tempered, the truth is that my moods do swing wildly from blue (optimism) to black (pessimism). I don’t think this is some sort of chemical imbalance as much as a reaction to specific circumstances. Take today, for example. I’ve been really tired lately, even though I have managed to get a normal amount of sleep most nights. But yesterday I literally crashed at 8PM. I went to bed then and woke at 4AM with a raging migraine. IDK why. It could be anything from too much sleep to too little, from the weather to to caffeine. I know it can’t be alcohol because I haven’t had any in ages. Point is, I was in a really dark mood from this nauseating, throbbing pain. I decided I would take a sick day and cancel on my friends tonight.

But then I took sumatriptan and anti-nausea meds, plus put some magic Chinese green elixir on my neck and forehead. Idk what this magic elixir actually is, but it helps, even though (as my doctor points out regarding Icy Hot, which is very similar) it could simply be a way of agitating my nerve cells so I don’t notice the pain so much. It’s not a drug, so it doesn’t really DO anything, except it seems to alleviate some of the worst pain, that’s all I know. And by the time it began wearing off, the migraine med had kicked in. So I went from feeling really bummed out to being happy or at least feeling neutral and deciding I’d go to work after all and hang with my peeps tonight.

These mood swings happen with my hobbies. I was so into painting for a while and spent a bunch of money on art supplies. I painted every time I had a free day. But none of my work came out as good as that random rainbow tree I did at my daughter’s house. I guess that was pure luck. I hate everything else I’ve done and have thrown it all away. Every time I go to the art tutorial Facebook page I see all this FABULOUS stuff, with people going oh hi this is my very first attempt… what do you think? Idk if it’s BS or what, but these pieces are all SO GOOD. This has made me super discouraged and I haven’t painted for over a month. I don’t feel it’s irrational. It is the absolute truth that my painting isn’t good; it’s also true that you can’t improve without practicing. But I’m 60 and have no desire to spend decades practicing art. My idea was to have a few fun hours painting here and there and end up with projects I liked to look at. That hasn’t happened, even when I try to closely follow a tutorial. It’s like when I was 11 and spent a summer drawing doggies from a you-can-draw-doggies book. No, I can’t fucking draw dogs! ARGH!

As far as writing, I swing wildly between believing I write well and that I’m just awful. This isn’t a compliment-fish; there is nothing anyone can say to change my mind either way. It’s all about my mood. I recently reread Switching Positions and think it’s really funny. But then I read a couple of my more “serious” romance pieces and think they suck. I can’t seem to portray the intense visceral chemistry and unbreakable emotional attachment between my protags the way other romance writers can. Maybe because I’ve never experienced that in real life, lol. Actually, in Ghosted, I got close (though it’s more of a mystery than a romance) ~ I put a ton of work into Ghosted, and it’s OK, I guess, but then I read Jodi Picoult’s Vanishing Acts a few days ago and am like holy crap this is so excellent! I can never even dream of writing anything on that level. Now I don’t feel like finishing any more of my crap in progress. My OCD screams at me to finish, but I don’t always listen to my OCD. Maybe I’ve written enough and should just start watching TV like a normal person, even if my selfidentity is kinda wrapped up in the writer label.

I feel like turning comments off for this post because I really DO NOT want any compliments about my writing. They’re just going to seem patronizing to me right now. I’d like to hear commiseration on mood swings though. Then I might not feel like such a weirdo. Do you one day decide you’re great at X thing and the next day believe you are terrible at X? Please elaborate. I really don’t enjoy the motion sickness of careening between blue and black. Jim’s prompt of sky today inspired this word vomit, so you can blame him. I immediately thought of this Jackson Browne song when I read his post, and no I’m not going to C&P a pile of Wikipedia text here when everyone is capable of looking up JB facts themselves if they are interested. I’m just writing about ME and, to me, this song is about the search for self, whatever that is, and while mine sometimes seems clearly defined, other times it’s as elusive as a whisper in the rain…

You’re the color of the sky
Reflected in each store-front window pane
You’re the whispering and the sighing
Of my tires in the rain
You’re the hidden cost and the thing that’s lost
In everything I do
Yeah and I’ll never stop looking for you

In the sunlight and the shadows
And the faces on the avenue
That’s the way love is
That’s the way love is
That’s the way love is
Sky, sky blue and black

~*~

Image is mine (I think).

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

By Any Other Name [socs]

pink roses lace

Hope is a common name for a romance novel heroine, as are Kate, Alexandra, Rebecca, and Sophie. I try never to use any of them because boring! I have used Rachel and Emma, which are borderline bland. Supposedly, your names should not drag attention away from the story, meaning if the reader is puzzling over how to pronounce Melisandre, she won’t be as invested in the action as when she can dive right into a plot about Melissa. Of course, this assumes a group of language-homogeneous readers. I had some issues with a book I just finished and enjoyed otherwise because of African names. I had to stop several times to recall which one was the evil cannibal dwarf and which was the soul-nomming demon from hell. The story was about a carnival, obviously. Emphasis on carne.

Men are a different story altogether (see wut I did there?). No one cares about their names as long as they are chiseled and witty. Steve, Mike, Matt, Jack, Brad, Chad, egad! Like whatever. A big amorphous mass of testosterone is all we need to propel the story along due to some Mysterious Past that causes our brooding hero to hide his soft squishy pain under a hard set of abs. Until, you know…

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title.” ~ Shakespeare, from Romeo and Juliet, where she begs him to dump his name, since that’s the reason they can’t be together. He agrees to do it, but complications ensue, as they so often do…

~*~
Image is mine.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Thank You, Ashley [repost]

fiona's fling anna fondant

I’m so excited! One of my favorite bloggers Ashley of Mental Health @ Home has written a lovely review of Fiona’s Fling. Please go check out what she says! She also includes some interesting info about the romance novel genre itself.

Thanks so much, Ashley.

~*~

Image is mine.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

My Independence Day [repost]

Red white blue balloons

I celebrated this July 4th by flinging off my self-imposed yoke of fiction writing tyranny. Hurrah! Instead of dumping tea into Boston Harbor, I spilled it all over my laptop and destroyed my keyboard, thereby depriving myself of the means to gaze at the screen wondering why a best-selling novel authored by me doesn’t materialize while I screw around reading the news. Tuesday I had a meltdown while visiting my daughters because I’m so frustrated and stressed over my lack of writing progress and success, so I suspect the tea spill was a subconscious rebellion.

Of course I could buy a new laptop, but I don’t want to. My hard drive is fine and safe, if anyone cares, and most of my stuff is backed up, but I can’t write fiction on my phone. I feel relieved. I spent the day watching movies and doing NOTHING. I’m tired of telling myself that the minute I get home from the office, after typing on a computer all day, I have to start working on a novel or else I’m failing at life. Most nights I don’t even write ~ I just sit there, tired and miserable, staring at the screen, until I crash into sleep.

Maybe my subconscious was also at work when I titled my last book of poetry All She Wrote. At the time, I meant it about a specific situation… or so I thought. In any case, I don’t intend to stop blogging or tweeting, or even writing the occasional poem, all of which are phone-friendly. I’m only talking about giving up the agony of fiction writing and the hopelessness of self-promo. These nowhere goals have been adding to my depression. (I probably shouldn’t use the word depression, but since I allow people with regular bad headaches to call them migraines, I figure I can have a pass.)

These are the movies I watched yesterday:

1. Spaceballs! So freaking funny. I can’t believe I never saw it before. Loved it. Just what I needed to cheer me up. And whatever happened to Daphne Zuniga? So pretty! She was in a sweet romcom with my honey John Cusack back in the day. What was that? Be my google.

2. Winter’s Bone. Yikes, what an intense movie. I can see the appeal of Jennifer Lawrence now. She is incredible in this utterly bleak yet fantastic film.

3. The Age of Innocence. Generally I don’t like narrated movies, but there are exceptions to every rule, and this is one. What a lovely film. Everyone was superb. Daniel Day-Lewis is such a gifted actor ~ what a shame he retired.

I plan to feast madly on movies and books from now on. Other people have created delicious art and I’m simply going to nom up theirs and shoot down any idea that I need to write a novel, should such a crazy notion ever raise its nasty serpentine head again out of the tangled jungle of my mind. Begone, slithery, sanity-stealing, ego constrictor of doom.

Freedom!

[Note: I wrote this in 2018 and find it amusing enough to repost despite the fact that I just published a new romance novel from Anna Fondant on Amazon for Kindle yesterday.]

~*~

Image from Pixabay.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Hot Enough For Ya? [socs]

Cat walking away explosion fire

Are writers pyromaniacs? They sure talk about heat and fire a lot. Romance novels are full of warm looks, hot kisses, burning desires, and fireworks exploding when people make love. The obsession with heat transcends genre however. Here are some titles from my list of read books. OK, most are romance, though some are horror (as if there’s a difference).

Sizzling. One Hot Cowboy Wedding. Devilishly Hot. Firestarter. Firelight. A Song of Ice and Fire. The Girl Who Played With Fire. Little Fires Everywhere. A Dream of Fire. Heart of Fire.

What about music? Fire It Up. We Didn’t Start the Fire. Fire Down Below. Fire and Ice. The Heat Is On. Hot Summer Nights. Hot Legs. Hot Child In The City. Burning Up. I’m Burning For You. And those are just the titles!

It’s kind of weird that fire/burning is associated with love/sex/romance, when it also conjures up notions of hell. Then again, considering my past relationships, perhaps it’s not strange at all…

~*~

Image from Pixabay.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

Quickies 8

coffee notebook pen write list

Welcome to my quick reviews ~ a mix of short takes on movies and books I’ve recently watched or read. Note that I don’t have a problem blabbing spoilers, so if that bothers you, skip this post. Also, it appears my “quickies” are getting longer, so again I’ve only included two of them.

1. The Sweetest Oblivion by Danielle Lori. This is a weird romance novel, and that’s saying a lot. I’ve read vampire romances, pirate romances, wine country romances, romances between Regency Royalty and time traveling geek girls, wartime romance, witchcraft romance, bakery romance, biker romance, shapeshifter romance, second chance romance, and every other kind of thing. And this book is strange, OK? I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it because I did, but first I had to put aside my ideals of equality and lawfulness. Because, friends, this is a mafia romance. And it’s no light and funny Married to the Mob either.

Elena, our 21 year old heroine, is a mafia princess with a body like a Playboy centerfold, and she is aware of the blood it takes to maintain her lifestyle ~ she mentions it on the first page. But then it’s kind of forgotten again. She falls for Nico, 29, the baddest, sexiest, most violent don of them all, and it’s apparently fine with her that he’s a stone cold killer. That isn’t even the issue she has with him! He’s actually engaged to her sister, which is a problem. Well, I guess that would be a problem anywhere ~a typical romance novel dilemma. Nico bosses Elena around, which annoys her, but Elena has accepted that she will live a life of inequality. She does eventually demand fidelity, which is unheard of in her world. Husbands are not faithful, but wives must be, and even daughters are not allowed to see men their fathers haven’t approved of. What happens if they do? The boyfriends are killed. Even if they didn’t know they were touching a mob girl, blammo. Ultimately, Elena’s issue centers around losing her heart to this hunky wall of granite and assuming her love will never be returned, which is also standard romance novel fare.

It’s difficult for me to relate to a heroine that not only accepts being treated like crap but also is OK with living her entire life aiding and abetting a criminal, plus bringing potential children into this environment. Yet I did find myself relating to the struggles with trust, which was the main issue for both Elena and Nico regarding their togetherness. Not only did they both have to work on trusting the other party to be faithful, but also they had to let down their emotional guard in order to truly and selflessly love another person. That’s a huge theme in romance novels, and also in real life. Ms. Lori detailed this conflict quite well and put us directly into both their mindsets so we really felt what they were going through. The bottom line for all these fictional romances is that a massive sexual attraction will drive the protags to overcome any relationship barriers. In real life though, ordinary people are simply not hot enough to motivate this much effort and vulnerability. At least that has been my experience (in both directions). Speaking of hot, this book is absolutely sizzling with graphic sex, so if that’s not your thing, pass it by. I thought it was entertaining overall, though not great.

2. Burn After Reading. OMG, this movie was freaking hysterical! I don’t know how I missed this 2008 Coen brothers gem the first time around, especially when it features George Clooney and Brad Pitt, but I guess I was busy dealing with my sick mom, my impending divorce, and my banally tragic affair with a married man. Anyway, BAR is a laugh from start to finish. John Malkovich stars as Ozzy, an angry ex-CIA guy who plans to get even over his demotion while writing his memoirs. His wife is having an affair and plans to divorce him; her lawyer tells her to make a copy of all Ozzy’s stuff so she won’t get cheated out of any money. She does that, and the disk gets misplaced, falling into the hands of two dopey gym employees, played brilliantly by Frances McDormand (Linda) and Brad Pitt (Chad). Richard Jenkins is perfect as the gym boss who is infatuated with Linda. Linda and Brad hatch an idiotic plan to get money for the “top secret” info they believe is on the disk, and they try to sell it to the Russians. George Clooney plays a married marshal who has multiple affairs going ~ he’s seeing both Linda and Ozzy’s wife. JK Simmons is fab as a CIA supervisor guy. The whole thing is bizarre and hilarious. If you haven’t seen it, you should ASAP.

More reviews will be published soon.

~*~

Image from Pexels.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.