Blog Posts

Are Happily Ever Afters a must?

Rayne’s first blog post!

YAY! I’m second guessing volunteering to go first on our new endeavor to write a blog post twice a month. At the same time, I’m excited that you’ll learn a little more about us.

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This month I want to talk about HEA’s or Happily Ever Afters. I love my ever after and after and afters. I devour every last detail an author will give me about a couple after ‘The End’. An author friend of mine, who I won’t name, once commented that a reader wants everything down to characters laying side-by-side, holding hands as they take their last deep breaths together. Yeah, that pretty much describes me. Once a movie is over and the credits start to roll, my husband can predict if the ending was enough of a glimpse into their future to satisfy me. I love romance—everything about it. I cry at happy. I cry at sad. I cry at heartbreak, and I cry when hearts mend.

My point in telling you all of this—I don’t read a lot outside of the romance genre unless you include non-fiction literature on ways to become a better writer. I understand there are certain categories in fiction that don’t necessarily warrant a happily ever after and I’m behind an author, believing they told their character’s story one hundred percent.

Piper, Shawna (our assistant for those of you that don’t know her) and I went to St. Pete’s in September for a writer’s conference.  I’m a nervous flyer so before hopping on the plane I decided to take a trip to Barnes and Noble to find something to keep my mind off the plane plummeting from the sky (Kidding. Not Kidding).  Full disclosure, I’m normally an ebook reader but I prefer paperbacks when I travel. Weird, I’m aware.  I started in the teen romance section because I’m loving YA right now. I pulled out my phone and looked for the best Young Adult books of 2018. I found and read the back of a few from the list. Nothing grabbed me. So, I moseyed over to the romance section and picked up a few books with covers that caught my eye.

Nothing.

Then I headed to the display tables and picked up a YA that I thought I remembered seeing on the list. The blurb grabbed me and it was the last copy. Which in my mind meant one thing—HOT SELLER, GRAB IT NOW!  (FYI, I’ll leave a list of the books at the bottom!). Then another book on a different table has a little sticker on it. One endorsed by a certain celebrity I follow. Before my trip was over, I had 3 fiction and one non-fiction. SUCCESS!

I checked out, surprised at my total. A lot more than ebooks but hey, I can splurge on myself. My husband doesn’t think much of his constant purchasing of Apple watch bands and cell phone covers. We all have our vices.

Now I had to figure out which order to read these books in. The struggle is real! Plus, I didn’t want to haul all four books to Florida, so I decided on three of them. Haha! Now that I write it, I feel bad for that fourth lonely book that stayed home.

Deciding on the non-fiction first, I read that on the way down to Florida. After the knuckle gripping take-off that is. Once I arrived in Florida there wasn’t a lot time for reading. We were at a conference to LEARN, plus Piper and I never get face-to-face time, so we used the time to plot our future stories together. But Shawna had mentioned she wanted to read it, so I squeezed in a bit of time before bed, so I could leave it for her. The joy of paperbacks, right?

This is how you know you’re with “your people”. I left the books on the dresser in my bedroom and Piper walked by and commented how much she had enjoyed both books and thought I’d enjoy them too.

So after all that rambling, you’re probably wondering what the point of this blog post is.  Let me tell you.

With one of the books, I don’t feel I got an HEA and with the second book that I got an HFN (Happy for Now). I thought to myself, does Piper know me at all?

Let’s take the first book because I just finished the second and I was okay with the HFN because it was YA. Could the author have given me a year ahead though? Haha. I mean just a ‘they go to the same college and stay deeply in love’… but the rational side of me says they’re only seventeen.

But we’re not talking about that book, we’re going to discuss the first one. I had a 7am flight out of Tampa to return home. The book grabbed me right from the first page. I read it the entire three-hour flight and when my family picked me up at the airport, all I wanted to do was go home and continue to read. But my husband and kids were as excited  as me that I was home safe and they wanted to take me to breakfast. We were gone five nights, the longest I had been apart from my kids since they were born.  Yeah, I don’t get out much. LOL. But I couldn’t stop thinking about those characters while we were driving home! I’m sure you understand where I’m coming from. Lucky for me, it was rainy and dreary, and they were tired from a busy weekend of sports the day before, so everyone was up for relaxing on the couch and vegging that afternoon. Perfect.

So, I read and read and read. To date, it is the only book I’ve finished in one day. It had everything I love. Young love, adult love, family love, second chance…

About sixty percent in, I got a sense of where this book was going but I thought, oh the author will change the course. No way she’ll break me. Guess what happened? She broke me.

[one_half_first][/one_half_first][one_half_last][/one_half_last]I shut the book MAD. Like steaming mad. I ranted to my husband who is always kind enough to listen, or let’s be honest, half-listen to me about a book. I scoured reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, only selecting the one and two stars (another weird trait I do after I finish a book whether I loved it or not). My head was nodding at the people that were upset like I was with the ending. Some I didn’t agree with that dnf’d because I have no idea how you can dnf this book. Others noted how they hated the heroine.

 

Then I forced myself back to work because we had promised our readers a Halloween story on a couple from the past. But still, those characters from the book wouldn’t leave my mind. While running an errand, the final scene replayed in my mind once again and it felt literally like a giant walnut shell was lodged in my throat. You know the ones you have to crack open at Christmas time. I love HEA’s but I also love a good love story and unfortunately not all love stories end happily (or how I envision happy).

I’ve realized I’ve probably limited myself over the years by my choices of books. That I’ve stayed clear at the slightest hint of a book not ending exactly how I would want it to. I’ve always thought of myself as an open-minded person, so imagine my surprise when I realized how close-minded I was when it came to something I enjoyed so much?

I guess even at my age, I’m still learning about my likes and dislikes.

Tell me, do you need a Happily Ever After when you read romance?

The books I picked up that day…

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The book that broke me? Click here to take you to the mystery book.

Happy Reading! See you next month! Be prepared for more FRIENDS gifs!

xo

Rayne