Saturday, July 10, 2010

Random Thoughts: My First Romance

I'm an avid reader. Words and the images they evoked fascinated me. Mom thought I was so industrious, reading my books before the term even started. Little did she know I only read the books which contain stories!

<-- Yup, this is my TBR pile!  (and more which I didn't include)

My romance with books started when I was a kid with fairy tales and The Enchanted Wood and The Magic Faraway Tree (both by Enid Blyton). When I got my library card, I devoured Nancy Drew and the Bobbsey Twins and the Dana Girls and Judy Bolton books. I remember I was 11 years of age, when Silver lent me my first adult (meaning, not YA) romance--a Mills and Boon she snitched from her mother's stash.

To say I was shocked and confused was an understatement. To move from Nancy Drew to Mills and Boon was a big leap. I read it like any other story and I believe the romance was okay with me, even the kissing stuff, but I do recall being uneasy at the intimate scenes. Nothing explicit was described, but well, the thing was, I wasn't all that knowledgeable about anatomy at the time and some of the stuff that happened confused me. (Er, he fit what where?) In short, I didn't understand what was happening.

Thankfully, I wasn't put off with reading romances, but I switched to teen novels---Sweet Dreams and Sweet Valley High. I think I was about 14 when I had my second grown-up romance (Bantam Loveswept this time and I still have the book--Stormy Vows by Iris Johansen), and it was such a sweet, romantic story I was hooked forever.

What about you? What was your first encounter with reading grown-up romances like?

17 comments:

BronnyD said...

I had a similar path to reading romance. From Enid Blyton to Trixie Beldon to Sweet Dreams and Sweet Valley High. I graduated to Loveswept (OMG I *LOVED* some of those books. Still have them.) and M&B. Now I mostly read erotic romance/romantica, paranormal, historical and contemporary romance.

Talk about a lifelong affair!

Blodeuedd said...

I went from reading those horse books, to when I was 10 somehow getting a hold of a Harlequin and reading it, I never looked back. Luckily my grandmother and cousin had a great stash and I borrowed by the bucked load.

Then I started buying them at an old books store

Carole said...

BronnyD, I so agree with you. It's the longest love affair I've had!

Blodeuedd, I'm envious. I only had my friends to swap books with, no aunts or cousins reading them! Thank goodness for used books store, or I'd have gone broke feeding my addiction. :)

jedisakora said...

My first encounter with grown up romance books came when i was 16. I had recently stumbled upon the teen avon true romance stories a few months ago. This came about merely out of the fact that i picked up "Anna and the Duke" by Katherine Smith because the main character was named Ewan at the time. It didn't register with me that the book was a romance when i bought it, but soon i was hooked on the whole series. I picked up "The Seduction of Sara" by Karen Hawkins awhile later because i wanted to read more of the authors that wrote the Avon True Romance Series (Karen wrote Catherine and the Pirate). It soon became apparent that the newer books weren't like the others. In fact being the 16 year old girl i was the whole sex scene was new and i must have read it three or four times. lol Needless to say i never looked back from then on. ^^

Melissa

Scorpio M. said...

I think I've always gravitated towards romance even as a young reader. When I read the 'Little House' books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, it was always the relationships & sweet budding romances that had me riveted.

I read all the Sweet Valley books, too! There was a YA romance line called 'Sweet Dreams' that I really liked as well.

Around my Freshman year of HS I tried my first adult romance. It was a Zebra title with a typical trashy, bodice ripping cover, LOL. I remember feeling shy to check it out of the library and hoped that the librarian wouldn't judge me. It was called 'Wild Wyoming Nights' or something like that and the hero was pure Alpha and they mated like bunnies! That was the beginning of my romance reading craze. Love it! :)

Scorpio M. said...

P.S. I just wanted to add that I *love* the look of your new space. It's gorgeous! The fonts, color, background...all so appealing. Kudos!

jeanette8042 said...

I went from reading YA romances to more mature romances of Harlequin Blaze. It wasn't a terribly difficult transition because teen books also deal with things like sex in them. Now I'm an avid romance reader.

Carole said...

@jedisakora I remember those Silhouette Teen romances! I love those, and some of them were truly memorable and my favorites! I remember being disappointed when they were discontinued. I looked for them in the bookstore, but couldn't find them anymore.

@Scorpio M, I still love sweet romances these days, and thanks for the compliments on our blog!

@jeanette8042, thanks for dropping by!

Rosie Hong said...

Like you, Carole, I was enamored of books with stories from the moment I learned how to read. For me it started out with Ruth Chew, The Boxcar Children, and Roald Dahl, then graduating to those really old 80's teen romances (with some Sweet Valley thrown in there as well) along with a lot of YA fantasy focusing on a strong female protagonist with some romance thrown in there. Around 13 or so, I got my hands on an adult romance novel, but I thought it was kind of silly (plus I was mainly skimming it for the naughty bits), so for the next 4 or 5 years I went back to my fantasy and YA. Eventually I discovered Amanda Quick and Lisa Kleypas, realized they're not SO silly after all, and now it's mostly a historical romance binge for me. :D

Carole said...

@Rosie Hong It's great, isn't it, how most of our love affairs with books started from our youth. Historical romances is one of my favorites. No matter how many I've read, I never get tired of it. There's something about the setting that makes me want to revisit. Although I do want to read other periods than Regency England. Like ancient China, for example. So, I'm excited for Jeannie Lin's Butterfly Swords, which is set in the Tang Dynasty, if I'm not mistaken.

Jules@OneBookShy said...

My best friend & I started sneaking our Moms' Harlequins when we had read all of the "tween" books. Once we hit high school our moms gave up trying to keep the trashier ones from us. We tease them about letting us get ruined for real life and real romance at an early age!

(We get to run away together this week from the hubbies & family responsibilities and both already have full bags of books packed!)

Rosie Hong said...

Me too! I would love to get out of Regency England more often. That's why I love books by Carrie Lofty and Judith James, and I am also looking forward to Jeannie Lin's debut. There's also been a lot of buzz about Kris Kennedy, so I must definitely try her books.

Madison Blake said...

I started reading teen romances in my fifth grade (late, huh?) when my classmate "rented out" her cousin's stash of Sweet Dreams. Wish I'd thought of that.

Carole said...

@Jules I'm so glad you have a best friend to share your love of romances with, just like I do. It's more fun when you have someone to share things with. Enjoy your "get-away" time with your best friend. :) Speaking of which, maybe it's time we schedule one of our own!

@Rosie Hong Kris Kennedy? Haven't heard of her, but thanks for letting me know. Now I have to hunt her down!

@Madison Thanks for holding the contest here at our blog. Hope you're having a great time!

Elie said...

I remember reading Flower in the Attic, a long time ago. I am shocked to find out that is now listed as a YA title. That was like soft porn to a sixteen year old. I am considering reading it again to see how bad it really is.

Carole said...

Ok, so I guess this means I shouldn't read it. LOL

Lindsey said...

My first experience reading a "Grown up" romance was pretty similar to yours, and at a similar age, too. I think I was in 5th or 6th grade (so, around 10-11, probably) when I started secretly borrowing my mother's series romances (Silhouette Desire, and Harlequin Blaze are what she mostly reads). At that age, I still read other books (most YA fantasy and historical fiction), but I began devouring "adult" romance novels in secret, thinking I would be scolded if my mother found out I was reading them. I remember sometimes flipping through the sex scenes at first, feeling somewhat embarrassed by them, but eventually, I started reading them in full, and the addiction to romance novels began.

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