The Coffee Disappearance (The Floating Forest Book 1)

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But the viewer has more information, and a fuller sense of what is actually going on in the story. In romance, what we have is people. Hearts and hands and a few stickier bits. Expectation is an end point. Romance characters exist to be thwarted, poor souls. They almost never get what they say they want at the start of the book.

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How many times do we see heroes state that they just want a string of casual partners, so as not to interfere with the safe, predictable course of their lives? Better people, better partners, better citizens of whatever world they inhabit. We require that happy ending. We demand it as a right. Reading tons of romances, over the course of years or decades, fine-tunes expectations even further. The genre, like any genre, rewards repeat engagement—you start to notice narrative conventions and trends, and the kind of moments that look like nothing special to an outsider, but which to authors and frequent readers might as well be stages with spotlights burning down upon them.

For instance: first kisses. The first kiss in the first romance you read is a singular experience. The first kiss in the fiftieth romance you read? You start to recognize the machinery of the story. And you start to select for the mechanisms that gives you, personally, the most satisfying result.

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Literary fiction is the genre of surprise. Like a stage magician, pledging to pull a rabbit out of an empty hat. The story is a fiction, but what you feel is real.

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Like Alex, our American hero, this book has heard about this thing called subtlety and wants absolutely nothing to do with it. Alex is a mesmerizing combination of discipline and impulsiveness. Henry, our royal prince, is by turns perfectly dry and deeply vulnerable, a tweedy type whose formality masks a wicked sense of humor and poetry. Their connection is electric, and irresistible, and unfolds with a remarkable view of the dizzy, dazzling hedonism of youth. If I could attend any one of the parties in this book I could die a happy woman. So I liked it a great deal, even if parts of it made me wince a little when they poked my own particular sore spots.

Others definitely are different! We all find hope in different things!

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I am very interested to see where the author goes next! The skin is soft, probably exfoliated and moisturized daily by some royal manicurist. The camera snaps nearby. His eyes are big and soft and blue, and he desperately needs to be punched in one of them. Pride and Prejudice retellings are never out of style in Romancelandia—see below—but despite some awkward moments this one is significantly more rewarding than most. I am resisting the temptation to write you a full essay on exactly what changes Jalaluddin made to the original story and how brilliant her overall vision is.

I mean, placing a story about hasty judgments and self-knowledge in the context of present-day Islamophobia and misogyny and how those systems intersect is already Full Galaxy Brain, but there are so many more aspects of this book that made me gasp and stop and scribble notes about parallels and contrasts. For example: our less-than-impressive rejected suitor, Mr. Darcy is possibly the most well-trod territory in all of romance, but traditional and devout Muslim Khalid is the sharpest take on Darcy I have ever seen.

What happens when your heart comes into conflict with your beliefs and traditions? Wickham figures often come off as merely inappropriately sexy, rather than actively predatory. Modern retellings like The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and now Ayesha at Last translate this successfully by making the Wickham figure not merely a romantic rival, but also someone who trafficks in the worst aspects of online sexuality: revenge porn, coerced nudes, exploitative and misogynist sex sites.

This book really puts the ick back in Wickham and gives us the proper emotional zing for the storyline. Ayesha walked Khalid to the door, and he took his time putting on his shoes. When he stood up, she noticed he had flour in his beard, and she reached out and absently brushed it away. His beard was soft, like spun cotton, and her hand lingered.

He clasped her wrist to stop her, and their eyes met—hers wide in sudden realization, his steady. Ayesha blushed bright red, embarrassed at violating their unspoken no-touch rule. He looked at her for a long moment, then gently, reluctantly, dropped her hand. We have a brash chemist heroine, a golden-boy hero, and a great many female characters on the side, all chipping away at the foundations of the patriarchy.

We know how that goes, in Romancelandia. She opened her mouth to protest, but stopped. Everybody does. Harvard people have a way of working it into conversation. It makes for a lovely change of pace. Trisha is definitely a genius and devoted to her medical work even if she struggles with her bedside manner, her politically ambitious family, and pedestrian tasks like remembering to eat. Her lax approach to dining is one of the many ways she outrages DJ Caine, our British expat hero, an accomplished chef who worked his way up from nothing to a Michelin star—and whose sister needs a life-saving operation only Trisha can provide.

It means this book has some heavier angles that readers ought to know going in. But in the expert hands of Sonali Dev, all the angst and anguish is worth it. Also, my god, I could listen to DJ rhapsodize about food and flavor all damn day. Trisha Raje was without a doubt the most insufferable snob DJ had ever come across in his entire bloody life.

But it had never bothered him. Not like this. Our heroine Polly Gowan is no debutante: she spends her days organizing strikes and supporting workers at a 19th-century Glasgow cotton mill. There are pub jaunts, and football games in the mud, and clashes with the tyrannical power of the law.


And while we all love a good historical gown description some of us have even written whole romances about that, in fact! The people on the ground, doing the actual labor, turning the great wheels of history one working day at a time. They—we—deserve happy endings at least as much as the nobs do.

Rumors started spreading earlier this week that the adult imprint of DC Comics, Vertigo, was finally being shuttered.

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If you've only been reading comics for ten years or less, you might not think this is a big deal. But for people like me, who've been reading comics since the early s or before, this news carries with it a certain kind of wistfulness. It's hard to explain now how important Vertigo was in a lot of comics nerds' lives.

It's the only big-name comics publisher that would have given full support to Y the Last Man. A lot of the books that are now considered canonical came from Vertigo. But Vertigo had not produced a lot of work worth reading in recent years.

Or rather, Vertigo couldn't be trusted to consistently publish excellent work. The imprint's track record became erratic, and then it basically disappeared from view. So what was Vertigo's secret? Why did the imprint succeed so well for so long? Yes, talent had a lot to do with it. And so did a creative environment at DC that allowed creative teams to patiently build their worlds out without fear of immediate cancellation. But I think Vertigo's secret weapon was in its editors.

Karen Berger founded the line, of course, and her stewardship was likely the single most important reason for Vertigo's early success. Berger made space for other editors, like Tom Peyer and Stuart Moore, to follow their own dreams. And she allowed some exciting young editors, like Axel Alonso, to shepherd new and exciting projects through the imprint. Most people — hell, I'd be willing to bet that most comics readers — don't know what comic book editors do.

It's especially tricky because a lot of comics editors don't do their jobs.

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But a good comic book editor is as much a part of the collaboration process as a colorist or artist or letterer or writer. A good comics editor will help define a book, and ensure that the writer keeps to those themes throughout the book's lifespan. They will fight for the best ideas, and kill the worst ideas before they can fly out of control and endanger the whole project. They'll help every member of the team do their best work possible.

And when a good editor leaves, you can tell by the rapid decline in quality. These are books that are adult without being pornographic or overly violent. They aspire to literature, while still remembering what makes comics so damn fun in the first place. They tell stories about characters and not just plot points.