Dueling Review, Let's Talk Tropes

Trope Duel: Two Views on Second Chance Romance

We haven’t done any buddy reads in a while, so for this installment of Dueling Reviews, Holly and Erin share their thoughts on Second Chance Romances. Holly thinks they’re great. Erin thinks they’re nothing but nonsense. Moderated by Ingrid.

Ingrid: Let’s start this Trope Duel with a definition of the “Second Chance at Love”:

This romance trope can play out in a number of ways. Perhaps a couple breaks up only to reunite decades later. Maybe they have been deeply hurt in the past, and have spent years avoiding any kind of romantic relationship. Now they will meet and learn to give love another chance. This is a hopeful trope that readers enjoy because it enforces the theme that “it’s never too late.”

Annnnnd…GO!

Erin: Okay, so now we all have the definition … of malarky. The problem with Second Chance Romance (henceforth SCR) is that the characters have fantastically wasted huge amounts of time and then they’re coming back to a relationship that didn’t work in the first place and somehow magically whatever’s wrong is not a problem anymore, which is ridiculous because things and people don’t really change. 

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Dueling Review, Rant, Recommended Read

Dueling Review: Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin (2019)

If Holly were to review this book, she would call it a Recommended Read. If Erin were to review this book, she would write a Rant. Clearly, we needed to review this book together.

Welcome to Dueling Reviews.

Moderated by Ingrid, who stirs the pot.

Erin’s Take:

Heat Factor: No heat in the traditional sense, but Khalid and Ayesha throw sparks

Character Chemistry: There’s a lot of “I shouldn’t but I still want” between these two

Plot: Pride and Prejudice retelling from a Muslim immigrant viewpoint

Overall: My rage at some of the plot points really detracted from the romance

Holly’s Take:

Heat Factor: Very chaste

Character Chemistry: Who knew that a brush of the finger tips could be so sexy?

Plot: Pride and Prejudice, but Muslim, with some extra side plots to make the central relationship more complicated

Overall: Enjoyable

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Dueling Review, Rant, Recommended Read

Dueling Review: Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata (2017)

If Ingrid were to review this book, she would call it a Recommended Read. If Erin were to review this book, she would write a Rant. Clearly, we needed to review this book together. 

Welcome to Dueling Reviews

Moderated by Holly, who is vastly entertained by Erin and Ingrid duking it out.

Erin’s Take:

Heat Factor: Totally vanilla.

Character Chemistry: They deserve each other.

Plot: I shouldn’t ask you this, it’s none of my business, you don’t have to answer.

Overall: I’d think Aaron was totally hot if I didn’t know I could bowl him over with the force of my personality.

Ingrid’s Take:

Heat Factor: It’s a steamy, fudgy, vanilla ice cream SUNDAE.

Character Chemistry:They’re like sweet, slightly damaged puzzle pieces

Plot: Young, isolated, emotionally inexperienced young woman becomes pen pal to army man stationed overseas. They bond deeply. To make this into a real relationship, they have to mature emotionally and find a way to communicate. Also, very sexy funtimes.

Overall: These guys aren’t perfect, but the way they bungle their way into a match made in heaven is steamy, sexy, and kind of cute.

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Dueling Review, Rant, Recommended Read

Dueling Review: Priest by Sierra Simone (2015)

If Holly were to review this book, she would call it a Recommended Read. If Ingrid were to review this book, she would write a Rant. Clearly, we needed to review this book together.

Welcome to Dueling Reviews.

Moderated by Erin, who has no emotional investment in this book at all.

Ingrid’s Take:

Heat Factor: It’s scorching…which is fitting, because with the stuff these two pulled in a Catholic church they may very well end up somewhere toasty.

Character Chemistry: I don’t dig what they dig…but they dig it, and each other, a LOT.

Plot: Catholic priest ends up attracted to a woman who is apparently irresistible but has no hobbies or interests or personality and they end up finding a new, sexy spiritual path together.

Overall: This book has some majorly interesting dynamics but I had to put it down out of sheer frustration many times (and not the FUN kind of frustration, either).

Holly’s Take:

Heat Factor: Absolutely filthy, in the best way

Character Chemistry: Father Bell would have chemistry with a cardboard box

Plot: Catholic priest has sex, angst ensues

Overall: I had so much fun reading this book

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Dueling Review, Rant, Recommended Read

Dueling Review: Marrying Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas (2016)

If Erin were to review this book, she would call it a Recommended Read. If Holly were to review this book, she would write a Rant. Clearly, we needed to review this book together.

Welcome to Dueling Reviews.

Moderated by Ingrid, the Voice of Reason.

Holly’s Take 

Heat Factor: If you’re into the whole dynamic where a shy virgin teaches a sexually experienced hero how to “make love” with her magical vagina, then it’s pretty sexy

Character Chemistry: Please ignore Helen’s personality transplant

Plot: High melodrama thanks to a ridiculous and honestly unnecessary plot device

Overall: SO DISAPPOINTING. This is the book that made me give up on Lisa Kleypas

Erin’s Take

Heat Factor: There are a couple of sex scenes, but it’s mostly angsty pining

Character Chemistry: They don’t spend a great deal of time together, but somehow I still felt they had great chemistry

Plot: Angsty unworthiness and unsolicited advice all around!

Overall: LOVED IT. Kleypas heroes are basically my kryptonite, and Winterborne was no exception.

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