Amazon has discontinued the ability to create images using their SiteStripe feature and in their infinite wisdom will break all previously created images on 12/31/23. Many blogs use this feature, including this one. Expect my archives to be a hot mess of broken book cover images starting in 2024 until I can slowly comb through 20 years of archives to make corrections.

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Lemon Drop, Cartoon Covers and Smexy Surprises

Long time blog readers know of the existence of my youngest niece, Lemon Drop. Back in the day she was a regular fixture on this blog, appearing in my, now defunct, monthly reading round-up posts. As my Day Job got more demanding, and more importantly, Lemon Drop hit school age, I felt it was best to retire her from blog appearances.  She is now, Lord help us all, 13 years old. I know!  And much to my delight, she's a romance reader.

Here's the thing - she likes romance, kissing and sex off page is fine but graphic descriptions are not her thing. She still, quite frankly, finds the thought of the actual act a bit disgusting.  I mean, she's 13 - and also I have to admit I find this refreshing given the fact that kids grow up too darn fast these days anyway.  So I say, shine on Lemon Drop.

Well, here's the problem. The genre seems to love the idea of slapping illustrated covers on every blessed adult romance being published these days, regardless of tone and/or content. I will preach this with my last dying breathe - cartoon covers convey fun, light, frothy - they do NOT signal angst or hot, graphic smexy times.  They just DON'T.  So for that reason part of this exchange with my sister enrages me, but I also find it pretty funny because, hello, this is my niece we're talking about.  Here's how it went down:

Book Cover: A Very Merry Meet Cute

Wendy's Sister
: I'm in Lemon Drop's room. I see A Very Merry Meet Cute on her dresser. I read the back cover and see ADULT FILM STAR in the first line of the summary.  Um, Lemon Drop, did you start reading this book?

Lemon Drop: No but I think I should sell it. I went to put a bookmark in it so I could start reading and saw a bit that maybe isn't for me.

WS: (opening to the page where the bookmark is and seeing the word COCK). Um, well, yeah, the summary mentioned an adult film star. Didn't you notice that? It means porn, so like there will be sex in this. Probably a bit more graphic than you want.

LD: I thought that just meant a film star in regular movies. Not kids movies!

WS: 😂

Aside from my sister: I reminded her that I'm fine with her reading whatever but maybe I should at least check since she's not really wanting full graphic sex in her books. Gotta love her sweet naïve mind.

Insert Wendy grumbling about cartoon cover trend then "Bless her heart though."

(Wendy aside - Sierra Simone writes HAWT which my sister didn't know but Julie Murphy wrote frickin' Dumplin' for cripes sake which my sister did know and well, here we are)

WS: I just skimmed a page and read "warm hot cunt."  I started laughing and Lemon Drop said "Can you stop laughing at my failure?!?" 😂  Seriously, blog fodder. Lemon Drop and smut...

Lemon Drop: Are you gonna let this go? Can't we get past my humiliation for this holy holiday? 😂

WS: Seriously, I'm dying. My kid cracks me up.

Wendy: This is going on the blog for sure.

WS: She's so sweet. Cracks me up. But yes very naïve. Nobody should mess that up or I'll kill them. LOL.  I mean, she knows everything but knowing and REALLY knowing are two different things.

Wendy: My Man says enjoy it while it lasts 😂


azteclady said...

I'm crying.

Tears rolling down my face, crying.

Oh sweet, sweet summer child....

Carton covers: do not get me started. Just. Don't.

Jill said...

OOh, if Lemon Drop likes lighthearted adult (about grown ups! not the other adult) closed door/no sexy times romances and she's in the mood for light hearted Christmassy, FAKING CHRISTMAS by Kerry Winfrey was delightful. I was actually thinking while I was reading it, 'if these people sleep together in this setting (her sister's house with a million people around every second) and on this time frame (just a few days stuck together for a snow storm), it's going to feel really contrived with the tone of the rest of the story.'

And they didn't! Hurrah! It was one where the no sex definitely felt right in the context. Then there's an epilogue a year later (also nothing on the page!) that provides more emotional resolution.

To my recollection, even when the author writes about attraction it's not super explicit. More tingling palms and racing hearts than anything.

Wendy said...

AL: I'm hoping as she gets a little older, she'll get a bit more comfortable with on-page sex because this kid has loved books with DRAMA! and OMG, I think she might gobble up Harlequin Presents.

Jill: Oooooh, thank you for the recommendation! I will pass that along. She reads a fair amount of YA, but she's also read a goodly number of adult romances - I need to pick her brain when I see her a couple of weeks.

willaful said...

I so sympathize! I didn't want to read any on-page sex until I was in my 40s!

I can go through my logs for more appropriate books, if you like? Though you hardly need recs!

Tabitha Bradley-Raines said...

I remember being that age, seems like it has been longer than it really has. I enjoyed Princess Diaries series, the YA Robin Jones Gunn books (there were a few of those) and inspirational romances. Not that I necessarily wanted to read them for the Christian aspects every time but that I did NOT feel comfortable with smut. Those definitely were guaranteed to be smut-free. Now, I read those every once in a while. My tastes have matured as I stay 29 with some wisdom for a few more years. There are still some areas that I won't branch into or do not interest me.

Jen Twimom said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. It made me laugh and warmed my heart.

Wendy said...

Willaful: Thank you for the offer - and I'll keep it in mind. The other thing I need to talk to her about are historicals - I feel like she's not really into those? But I don't know for sure.

Tabitha: She didn't care for Princess Diaries (I loved that series!) but she enjoyed others by Meg Cabot. I think she read and liked both the Heather Wells and Queen of Babble series?

Jen: The kid is a hoot!