What I´d Like To See More Of In NA Romance Novels

NA Romance-

If there´s ever been a genre that´s loved and hated in equal proportions then it´s definitely New Adult Romances. NA romance books are often tacky and full of unrealistic, unrelatable fluff no one needs- That´s what I´ve heard.

As a devoted NA Romance reader, I have to agree. There´s often too much of everything often squeezed into 350 pages. These books carry topics any of us would gladly walk away from without batting an eyelash yet we crave these things in our NA romance books. Weird. The usual tropes?  Virgins, rich characters, unrealistic sex, love heals the mentally unhinged, and instalove. In some cases, it´s a combination of all.

 

But do we really crave what NA romances offer?

 

I often wonder what NA romances would be like if there were less drama, less intensity, less cheesiness, less explosiveness. Would it really hurt to give the mountain gorillas disguised as gorgeous and powerful CEOs a break? Do characters always need to have dark pasts for us to love them? No and no.

I also wonder what kind of effect it would have on authors and readers if characters were suddenly 100% relatable. I mean- Let´s take the average Joe. He´s full of flaws and above all- doesn´t have an ass in his weird fitted jeans. He comes home, orders take-out then falls asleep on the sofa before the delivery guy arrives because he just came home after a 12-hour workday. Do authors want to write about your average Joe, who´s life is just as exciting as a slice of toast? Probably not. A reader could mistake them for someone they´re trying to forget while reading. Escapism is a thing.

Authors provide an outlet for readers with their stories. They offer us a way to forget our mundane lives and be a part of something that raises our blood pressure. This is done in the form of exaggeration. By amplifying emotions, reactions, and actions. Things are often so intense that a reader can often thank their lucky stars that average Joe is snoring in the next room.

But, what if…? Is there a possibility people could actually like a romance story they can relate to?  Would it be so terrible to read about an insta-attraction and to watch that form into more rather than being hit with an instalove? Hmm… I think it wouldn´t be terrible at all. Not sure what other readers think, though.

Personally, I like to see less exaggeration and more relatable stuff. Call me dull but sometimes less is more. Less drama can still have a positive effect on readers.

No book character has to lose their job, their best friend since Kindergarten, their left leg and their unborn baby and have to deal with infidelity in 230 pages. Each of these things can be traumatic events on their own if delivered properly and with care. I mean- We often experience chain reactions in life but none as drastic as some authors like to paint out. Or, I´m just a fool living off the grid and have no flipping clue about real-life dramatics. Could be – Who knows. I´m no expert.

Losing your job can have a negative effect on someone´s relationship. This can lead to depression or break a marriage. I can see a second chance romance from this storyline.

You can lose your best friend if that friend has a new relationship that´s toxic. Let a new Hero swoop in and whisk the best friend off her feet.  This can be turned into a New Adult romance that includes abuse.

You can have an accident and be forced to become disabled. This can definitely be traumatic for any romantic relationship. I can see this as a new beginning NA romance.

Pregnancy loss or infertility has been a reason why couples split. Why not include this topic into a romance and draw that cruel event out?

Adultery is another topic that has no problem standing on its own. Cheating isn´t great but authors sure as hell can work this one into a romance and draw it out in a trilogy.

Or how about this: How about writing a  story about a couple who´ve grown apart? Simple. Effective. Realistic. People forget how to love each other if they´ve been together for some time.

 

 

 

I guess what I´m saying is that authors don´t need to stick with the usual tropes. They don´t need to bombard their characters with so much tragedy. One tragic event is enough to send average Joe to therapy.

Speaking of average Joe. He can be a desirable and flawed character if an author´s willing to make their readers see him as such.

Authors don´t need to over-exaggerate events for the sake of wanting to touch a reader´s heartstrings.

Less is often more. Simplicity can have a greater impact on readers than anything too intense.


 

For the record: Yes, I know there are authors who write less dramatic NA romances. Trust me when I say that I´ve read their books. But I think it wouldn´t hurt if more authors tried their luck with something as simple as a simple NA romance.

Also good to know: I´m not fully against overly dramatic NA romances. I´ll still read them if they sound interesting. I prefer simple stories, though. There are quite a few readers who wouldn´t want to change anything about the majority of NA romances… and that´s perfectly fine.

 


 

What do you think? Do you agree? Are NA romances too over the top or do you believe they´re perfect the way they are? What would you like to see more in NA romances?  Let me know in the comments below. I´d love to chat ❤

 


 

As always, I appreciate the time you´ve taken to read this blog post. I hope you enjoyed.

 

Much bookish love,

Morgana

 

 

 

The Influencer Bookshelves

I never thought I´d see the day come…

But then again, I kind of saw this happening.

My beloved bookshop added a new category to my favorite book corner.

 

Influencer

20190927_1741591685331786608175455.jpg

 

Huh. Well, slap me silly… This is a somewhat unpleasant surprise. Yeah, you guessed correctly- I´m not a fan. There was a time when I couldn´t´ve cared less about Influencers until I stumbled upon some on Youtube, Instagram, etc.

It goes without saying what an Influencer´s sole purpose is. These individuals influence their followers. And the larger the following the wider the influence can be. But do they need their own category in a bookshop? Hmm, not sure. That´s why I decided to check the new shelves out.

Low and behold- Influencers have branched out and are now authors of cookbooks, journals/diaries, self-help paperbacks, and memoirs. I´m not sure if I should feel impressed or saddened by this.

I know. I know. It´s all a matter of marketing. Let the young folk, who probably don´t have any other job options, have their shot at 15-minute fame. To each is their own, right? Right.

Of course, we all have the option to take all this in however we want to. I´m sure many think an influencer is no different from a celebrity. A job is a job no matter in what light you´re standing in. Celebrities write memoirs and publish them, why shouldn´t influencers be allowed to do the same?

From where I´m standing, though, influencers don´t have the appeal of a celebrity. Their word ( which is what they´re basically trying to sell ) isn´t gold. I find the two are on different levels.

From all the books I´ve seen from influencers on those shelves, it´s the memoirs that agitate me the most. I see a 25-year-old with the face of a 16-year-old trying to tell me about the hardships of life. Which brings me to my next point:

Do I even belong to the targetted audience? Me, a 37-year-old mother and wife with a job that gives me a steady income? Probably not. It´s the younger people they´re looking for. Which is fine. I don´t think an influencer can do much “influencing” on me, anyway.

I don´t know- The idea of a bookstore having a corner for influencers is just mind-boggling.

 


 

What are your thoughts on the topic? Do you care for this category in bookstores?  Let me know in the comments below ❤


 

 

Morgana

 

 

 

 

Book Signing Review: RARE ´19 London

On September 21st, 2019, RARE was able to add another book signing event under their belt. With the location set in London, U.K. and the promise of 150 attending authors from the romance genre ( including fantasy romance writers ) there was no doubt the signing was going to make many literary dreams come true. As a dedicated RARE event hopper, I was ready to have my literary mind blown away.

 

RARE ´19 London is going to be epic!

 

That´s what the finger-lick-worthy author line-up promised.

Was the event as special as I hoped it would be?

Weeeell, let´s put it this way: If I were to treat the event ( and everything around it ) the way I review the books I read then I´d definitely give RARE ´19 London a 3 out of 5 rating.

RARE rating

 

A few weeks have already passed since the event happened and I can´t say if I´m happy or disappointed. It´s a 50/50 sort of thing. I had a great time in London, but I´m not able to give the RARE event much credit for that. My biggest highlight was being able to spend time with my book bestie, the incredibly awesome, Sabrina @Brina and the Books. This was our first time meeting in person and I can, without a doubt, say that she´s one of the loveliest human beings I´ve had the pleasure of hanging out with.

Also, the few authors I met and chatted with at the event were lovely. Kandi SteinerT. L. SmithStylo FantomePoppy J. AndersonDevney PerryDylan Allen,  Jeannine Colette and Lesley Jones were all dolls. Each took their time. Each author I spoke to made my day. I guess you can also say my book purchase was a success, as well.

 

RARE haul

 

I didn´t go home empty-handed. 12 books in total, including swag. My tiny suitcase was stuffed at the end of the event. I spent a total of 90 GBP.

 

Some books cost only 5 GBP.

Other books cost me the standard 10 GBP.

I paid the proud amount of 20 GBP for one paperback.

A few books were given to me by very generous authors.

 

So, those were my positive bam-bam-bookish-glam highlights of the RARE ´19 London event. Not so many, huh? I know. I wish I had more positive things to share about the 4 hours I spent there.

As for the things that disappointed me: I think it´s safe to say that it wasn´t the event alone. My disappointment started right after the tickets went on sale and that feeling lasted throughout the whole year leading up to the event.

  • Tickets weren´t cheap. At first, I thought the 48.42 GBP per general admission ticket was a lot but then I thought about the author line-up. 150 authors for that price? It´s actually a decent price.

 

  • The easiest way to get any info regarding the event was through their Facebook page.  I have a FB account but don´t really have the nerves or energy to spend much time there. Same with Twitter. So, this made it difficult for me to be up-to-date with any news or changes because people were constantly publishing posts… Posts that buried the significant stuff I needed to know. I ended up not knowing much of anything until it was too late. I would´ve loved to have been able to check a website out- if there had been one. There probably is a RARE homepage somewhere on the internet but I wasn´t able to find it. I spent a year looking for a proper homepage that provided regular updates. All links directed me toward the Eventbrite site which looked like a hot mess.

 

  • The finger-lick-worthy author line-up? It changed. Not once, not twice… In combination with the buried posts on social media, I found out too late that the authors I wanted to see ( the authors I paid good money to see ) had canceled. I´m the type who´ll visit every author table if possible so I knew I´d be discovering new authors at the event. That wouldn´t have been a problem. The issue I had was: I saw the names of my favorite authors on the attendee list, purchased a not so cheap ticket to see them, then eventually saw that their names had vanished from the attendee list. And this happened after I booked my flight. So, fat chance of ditching the event. This issue has been touched on in the RARE Facebook group and the event organizer kindly provided their apologies along with positive encouragement to give other books by the remaining attending authors a go. The organizer took action appropriately, in my opinion. How else would one handle a bunch of disappointed people? Exactly.Despite the friendly video message from the event organizer, I remained disappointed. And I don´t feel I´m wrong for feeling bothered by this, either. I´m allowed to feel crappy when I specifically want to see authors and find out they canceled. And I´m allowed to bitch about it, too.

Then there were minor issues with a few volunteers who helped out at author tables.

  • The `Only I take pics` people. Yeah, sweet-cheeks, I heard ya. And I´m not handing over my phone to a stranger. You ain´t touching my phone. If not giving you my phone results in me not getting a pic of the author then so be it.

 

  • The table- sitters. Bless them, for they had the exclusive job of fending off people who dared to look at an author´s table while the author was at lunch break. Okay, I get it. Don´t go snooping around an author´s table when they´re not there. Someone could steal the goods. Gottcha. But… the tables had table-sitters. I made the mistake of getting to close to a table and was asked to keep my distance.

 

 

You mean to say you willingly signed up to be a volunteer and accepted whatever role you received ( in this case table-sitter ) and can´t watch over the table?

What´s the job of a table-sitter? To watch over a table, I´d assume.  I´m sure I´m allowed to look. I mean- I´m the one interested in spending money. I would´ve returned after the author’s lunch break and would´ve bought a few books if I hadn´t been shooed away.

 

  • There were 10 ticketed authors. Not a bad idea if you think about it. To skip waiting in line for hours you can get a number and wait until that´s called out. This would´ve been brilliant if it hadn´t been for the fact that people still had to wait.

 

So, with that being said… The event was eventful on all levels. I´m hesitant to say this but, RARE ´19 London didn´t feel like it had much structure. As an outsider, it all looked very chaotic. Many volunteers gave the impression that they were overwhelmed ( which they had every right to be ).  The RARE table ( which I assumed was also the info table ) was often not occupied.

146 tables.

2 tables for narrators.

2 tables for Passionflix.

3 tables for the RARE team. 

That leaves a total of 139 authors. 

 

I paid:

48 smackers for a ticket

131.00 Euros for my flight

90 GBP on books

I don´t believe I´ll be visiting another RARE event. Personally, it´s not worth all the hassle I put myself through. It would´ve been easier if I had stayed at home and used the money to purchase books online. It would´ve been easier to drive down to Sabrina´s place and visit her where she lives.


 

On a kind note: I´m aware of how much work goes into these types of events. I´m not sure how large the RARE team actually is but my guess is that it´s not large enough to handle an event without the help of volunteers. I actually applaud the RARE team for their efforts. Every event ( bookish or not ) has hiccups- Things that can´t be prevented sometimes. Shit happens when you least expect it. I´m not mad at anything or anyone- Just a little disappointed in how things went. The main goal of any event organizer is to have people leave at the end with the best experience ever. My experience was okay, but not okay enough for me to want to attend another event.

 


 

So, that was RARE ´19 London. I hope everyone else who attended had a fabulous time and got to see their unicorn authors. ❤


 

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. I really appreciate it.

Share the book love,

Morgana

 

 

 

 

Why I Don´t Accept ARCs Anymore

ARCs – Advanced Readers Copies…

 

… are probably the second or third most popular reason why book bloggers become book bloggers – Because of the “free” books.

Aside from the fact that we get to read a book… What a privilege it is to be that person to read a book before it hits the market! Or to be that person who was asked by a publisher/author to read a book after it´s been published?

I remember my very first ARC. I can recall how excited I was to be able to read something before it was properly published. I even have the little note the author included.

 

My very first ARC

 

It was a special moment I´ll never forget. Fast forward a few years and I can say I´m not so hot on receiving ARCs anymore.

 

A little note before we continue…

KR2


 

 

Why I don´t

 

 

reason 1

Communication is key for those who want to communicate. I learned this the hard way. If you receive an ARC but have questions you can always contact the publisher/author, right? Yes, of course. Send emails. Hound them down on social media. There´s no guarantee they´ll reply, though. They´re busy people, you know? But God forbid you don´t read & review within two days after having received an ARC. Only THEN will a publisher/author contact you… To ask where the review is.

This wasn´t always the case. I´ve worked with wonderful publishers/authors before but every once in awhile I´d be in a situation like the one I mentioned above and that sucked. My life is too short to deal with this idiotic back and forth.

 

 

 

reason 2

Unlike other people, I don´t have that special luck when picking my next reads. I gravitate more towards books that aren´t my cup of tea. It´s not that I´m looking for awful reads. I always pick books I think I´ll like. At some point, I wondered if that´s my calling – To be THAT person who´s supposed to read books that aren´t satisfying. But then I realized I´m just picky. So, unlucky and picky.

When you´re as doomed as I am you really don´t feel the need to continue as were. For me- Something had to stop. Advanced Readers Copies had to go. Now I´m free to only complain about the books I buy.

 

 

 

reason 3

Back in the day, Advanced Readers Copies came in different formats. Paperback, PDF, e-book… I belong to the bunch who received ARC paperbacks, then PDFs…  until e-books took over. I get it. E-books are much more efficient for publishers/authors as well as they are for book bloggers.  I don´t really reach for my Kindle much ( if at all ), so…

ARCs in paperback format are still handed out these days but not as much as before. You´re more likely to receive an e-book copy. Without wanting to come across as ungrateful: I´d rather hold a paperback in my hands. I haven´t warmed up to e-books yet ( and probably never will ).

 

 

 

reason 3.5

That dreadful TBR pile? There´s a special pile for ARCs, too. One hardly any book blogger talks about. Just go hop on over to NetGalley and request a few book titles. The problem with this is: You get blindsided by all the wonderful new titles and request more than you can read. You have to be careful or else you´ll fall into the Netgalley ARC collecting trap.

This has happened to me a few times back in the day and I´m sure it´s still happening to other book bloggers. Luckily- This isn´t a problem for me anymore. No ARCs = No additional unread books. YAY.

 

 

 

reason 4

ARCs come with a policy. When you accept an ARC you´re basically committing to read and then give feedback. Bah. I´m at a stage in life where I´d like to read and review how/when/if I want to. ARCs don´t give me that freedom. I can´t be bothered with giving that kind of commitment anymore.

 

 

 

reason 5

This ARC thing is an exchange, right? And after the exchange, the deed is almost done. Almost. There´s still that social media shout-out ( another exchange ). Of course, this is completely optional but it´s kind of puzzling when a book blogger has invested so much time and effort with the ARC ( reading and giving feedback via chat/review or whatever ) then goes to share on social media and realizes that´s it. Imagine Grandma having 25 grandchildren. Every grandchild calls and leaves a message on the answering machine, including you. Granny calls them all back except you. She doesn´t call back but you keep hearing from your cousins that Granny called and invited everyone over again. This is how it feels when publishers or self-published authors don´t react to the final step on social media.

I mean- No one´s asking for a pajama party, you know? I would understand someone´s reluctance to reply or react if that were the case. To avoid this type of heartache I don´t read ARCs anymore. Not reading ARCs means you don´t have to mention or tag someone for possibly nothing.

 

 

 

reason 6

I have a busy life. I´m not saying I´m the only person who´s super busy but I can say that many book bloggers don´t have the kind of stress I have. ARCs come with demands that don´t fit into my busy schedule anymore. With time I realized that book blogging isn´t only about authors- It´s about book bloggers, too. Author´s think they have a busy schedule? Try talking to a book blogger about life and blogging.

 

 

reason 7

ARC reviews have lost their touch.  7 out of 10 reviews I read start with ” I received an ARC in exchange for…” That´s when I let out a sigh and move on. This is not me disrespecting the reviewer. I would never do that. This is just me feeling tired of having to see this line. Who the hell cares if someone was gifted an ARC in exchange for an opinion? I don´t. As it does NOT add any value to the review I think this doesn´t need to be mentioned at all. I know some publishers and authors ask to be mentioned in reviews… but this doesn’t benefit a reader in any way. Unless we´re all writing our reviews for publishers and authors… But we´re not. We can thank whoever gifted us an ARC privately. I heard emails are still a thing.

 

 

reason 8

The cheaper option. Avid readers have an itch that needs to be dealt with. Books are expensive. ARCs are truly a cheap option when someone is living on a low budget. No one should ever be judged for reading ARCs because they can´t afford to buy books ( no one should be judged PERIOD for not wanting to pay high book prices ). Me? I don´t mind paying for books. I don´t have money growing on trees ( yet, still working on that one ) but I´d rather pay for a book if the price is within reason. I think this can be blamed on a few things:

 

  • I´m not in a hurry. If I see a book I REALLY want I´ll buy it. If I see a book I´m not so sure about, I´ll give myself a few days to think about it. Nothing is running away. This isn´t a book reading race. Does it really matter if I read a book now or later? Nope. Before I commit to ARCs I´d rather wait a few weeks.

 

  • When an author gifts me a copy I´m only supporting them via review. I chose not to go that route because I find reviews only help to a certain degree. I go directly for a book purchase. I´ve been offered ARCs post-publication date but often declined because it was obvious those offers came from authors who thought they needed reviews to generate sales. Those authors weren´t entirely wrong. Although I declined their offers I always said I would rather buy their book. Which I ended up doing. That way, I supported the author AND was able to read & review freely. I know many can´t afford this option but it´s suited me. It still suits me.

 

  • I don´t read THAT much anymore. I used to be able to read 2-3 books in a week. Now I´m lucky if I can find time to read 1 book in 2 weeks. Years ago I wouldn´t have been able to afford to buy that many books. Now? 2-3 books a month isn´t a problem. So, this is, for me, the better option.

 


 

 

Even after all my reasons for not wanting to include ARCs in my life anymore, I can still see the appeal. I mean- who doesn´t want to feel that special something when receiving an ARC? Who doesn´t want to belong to a selected few who´re able to give feedback before everyone else? Edelweiss and NetGalley offer a huge selection of ARCs pre and post-publication date.  But because of all the above, I´d rather pass.

 

On a friendly note: I don´t judge anyone who loves to read ARCs. Advanced Readers Copies are a wonderful thing that make any publisher/author and book blogger happy. With good reason, too. I also don´t judge readers who rely on ARCs because they´re low on extra cash. Whatever works for others is perfectly fine. If it floats your boat then that´s the way it is and should be.

 


 

What about you? Do you read ARCs? How many do you accept per month? What are your experiences with Advanced Readers Copies? Let me know in the comments below. I´d love to chat. ❤

 

Thank you so much for reading this post. I fully appreciate it. I hope you enjoyed.

Much bookish love,

Morgana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mug Monday & Bookish Happiness

Hello everyone and welcome to Mug Monday!

With everything that´s been going down in the book community lately, I think it´s time for a little happiness. Because all us book people need more happiness in our lives.

 

Happiness is a good book

 

`Happiness is a good book.` says Snoopy on one of my favorite Snoopy mugs. And he´s right- Happiness is a good book. But happiness is also many other things.

For me happiness is…

  •  Book blogging. As demanding as book blogging sometimes is- I still everything about it. I´m truly happy when I can share my thoughts, my ideas with others.

 

  • Connecting with others. I love to meet new people. Whether it´s through comments on my posts or on social media… I´m happy when I´m able to find new friends and connect with likeminded people. Communication is a wonderful thing.

 

  • The little bookish things. It doesn´t matter if it´s something as simple as a bookmark or a book sleeve… These things bring me so much joy.

 

  • Bookmail. I´m that person who´s on first name terms with the postman. Because he brings me happiness in a package. Author mail, amazon mail, letters, cards… I LOVE book mail.

 

  • Book related news. This could be a cover reveal for an upcoming release or other author announcements. I´m always happy when someone has something new to share.

 

  • Positive feedback. This is something that brings me immense joy: When someone gives positive feedback on my posts or on someone else´s post. It´s truly something special when a book blogger is able to make someone´s day, week, month.

 

  • Hot chocolate with lots of whipped cream on top and a sprinkle of cinnamon. HEAVENLY!

 

Now to what makes my OCDs sing.  Happiness also is:

  • When the spine of a book doesn´t crack
  • When book cover colors match on my bookshelves
  • When a bookmark matches colors with the book I´m reading

 

What about you? What is Happiness for you? Shower the comments section with what brings you joy ( book-related or not ). ❤

 

Thank you so much for reading this week´s Mug Monday post. I hope you enjoyed. Have a wonderful Monday.

Many warm hugs,

XO´s

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