Dec 23, 2023

Contemporary Fiction Without Tropes: Sunday Salon

Trope free:  

I found two upcoming novels that are contemporary fiction/women's adult fiction that have none of the tropes that fuel so many modern plots. In other words, the situations created in both books can't be explained by the standard plot formulas. I'm not sure I liked the books very much, though I did give them three and four stars.




Margo's Got Money Troubles by Rufi Thorpe
Publication: June 11, 2024; William Morrow, NetGalley
Genre: contemporary fiction, adult fiction

Margo Millet, impressionable student, becomes pregnant by her junior college professor Mark, who wants nothing to do with her decision to keep the baby. The novel follows her struggles to make enough money to survive - by using social media, getting followers, and making them pay for her various online services. I was amazed at the ways Margo makes money online. In a slightly pornographic way, she gets paid to describe pictures of male private parts, and also writes brief essays, on demand, for people who give her their writing prompts. Because she is creative in her writing, she gets attention and soon is making enough money with her web activities.

This means of making income must happen a lot in real life, I came to the conclusion, and it's interesting to be reading a book about it. There is romance at the end but this book is in no way a rom com. That Margo is able to retain sole custody of her child when the father later surfaces and demands custody, is cleverly plotted.

This is a book for people who are social media fans and who interact with others online in a significant way. The book was an eye opener for me about the direction our society is going in relation to the web and social media.

Though what Margo does in the beginning was morally iffy and barely legal, she finds ways to monetize her online activity and later heads into advertising and a more acceptable way of supporting herself.


Publication in May 21, 2024; William Morrow, NetGalley

Genre: women's fiction, contemporary fiction, adult fiction

My take on this book: I admit it was difficult to spend my reading time about a group of uninteresting, uninspiring, petty and unfriendly, unfunny group of people, people that main character, Jolene, works with in her drab office for 40 hours a week. Until the new Human Resources manager, Cliff, arrives, her life was not only boring, but very pathetic. How and why she stayed in that particular job for so long was not immediately clear.

Told in the first person, the novel has Jolene eventually opening up and finding a few worthwhile things about some of her office mates that made them a little less unlikeable. Nevertheless, it was not easy to keep reading about this uninspiring group. I kept wanting things to move in another direction. Realistic people and realistic workplace, you might say.

That Jolene found her "true" self in the end helped, especially after working through guilt about a past incident in her life that could explain why she remained so long in that job. I was glad Cliff came to her rescue.

What's on your reading schedule this week and/or the rest of the month?

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated BookreviewerAlso, It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday SalonStacking the ShelvesMailbox Monday

Wishing you all happy holidays, Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year's Eve!


31 comments:

  1. Hmm, I Hope This Finds You Well sounds like a rough read -- I always latch onto characters, myself, at least. Hope you find something that you like better soon!

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    1. I liked the honesty of it, to be truthful, and the author's willingness to tell it like it is.

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  2. "Margo's Got Money Troubles" sounds interesting to me. I might even add it to my reading list.

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    1. It's something new , and you might enjoy reading it.

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  3. Great experiment... sorry they weren't more enjoyable reads.

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    1. I don't mind seeing what reality is nowadays for younger people.

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  4. Just about to finish a classic crime story. Next up will be 'Hunt the Altmark' by Richard Wiggan. Then 'Predator: Big Game' by Sandy Schofield... then just one more (I think) until New Year!

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  5. I am planning to finish the Christmas book I am reading, and one more Christmas one that I need to read for a review, and then I think I will move on to other things. Merry Christmas!

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  6. I'm getting so tired - in every genre - of barely disguised twists on the same old handful of plot lines that I've begun giving up on some folks I've read for years. When I start struggling to keep up with a plot because it reminds me so much of another book that I start mixing them up over night, I know it's time to move on.

    I'm finishing up three or four books right now so that I can get a fresh start in 2024. I think I'll be taking a different approach to my reading for a while...and tropes are a big part of the reason.

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  7. Both books sound interesting. I hope you enjoy reading them! I hope you've had and continue to have a wonderful holiday season!

    My Post

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  8. I am always curious to know more about the lives of other people, and I am especially in the dark these days about the lives of those who are just starting out in their adult existences. I'm sorry these were a bit of a disappointment, but it is still good to know that these trope-less novels are being published, I think.

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  9. I'm fascinated about how people make money on the web. Some YouTubers are running small businesses, which just astounds me that they can make enough money from producing videos. But I'm glad that I get to see the results.

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  10. It's interesting to see that problems are working their way into Adult fiction as well. Middle grade literature has become steadily depressing lately. I'm not sure I would like to read these books, but it was very enlightening to read ABOUT them. Thank you. Have a great holiday.

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    1. These realistic problems in adult books might not be overly pleasant to read about, but they are surely eye opening.

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  11. Sorry the books weren't a hit for you. I hope you have a great Christmas,

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  12. I've seen the word "trope" more times in this past week than I've seen it in my entire life and, even after googling the meaning of it, I still can't wrap my head around what one is. LOL

    Merry Christmas!!!

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    1. Standard plots that show up again and again - fake engagements, enemies becoming lovers, only one bed in a room to be shared by acquaintances posing as lovers who are not really lovers, Stuff to fool friends and family, etc.

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    2. In fact, there is a trope in the Margo novel - a struggling single mother raising a child without help from the father.

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  13. I like that cover of Margo's, and it does sound very interesting/

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  14. Interesting books. Neither are books I would choose or stay with if I happened to start reading them. Come see my week here. Happy reading and happy holidays!

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    1. I speed read through them as I wanted to see what would happen!

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  15. Not sure either of these would be for me, but the covers are neat. Happy holidays!

    https://thebookconnectionccm.blogspot.com/2023/12/its-monday-what-are-you-reading-and_25.html

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  16. These titles are new to me and I have to say the covers make me want to know more about the stories!
    Mary @Bookfan

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  17. While both premises are interesting, I think your reviews satisfied me and I now don't need to read them! There are so many great books out there, it is hard to make time for those that are just so-so, although I do like encouraging new writers.

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  18. Happy Holidays Harvee! What cheerful covers even if the subject matter may not have been all that. I don't know but I'm intrigued by both. Especially the last one as I've worked in office settings all my career and I'm sure I can probably see some similarities to people I've work(ed) with.

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  19. Sorry these two didn't totally hit the spot. They can't all be as engaging as we would like.
    Have a wonderful last week of 2023 and Happy Reading as we head into the New Year!

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  20. "uninteresting, uninspiring, petty and unfriendly, unfunny group of people", wow, perfect recipe for a DNF!

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    1. But it's very realistic about some modern offices.

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    2. Finished it by speed reading and flipping pages!

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  21. The Rufi Thorpe novel doesn't sound too good ... which is too bad because I liked her debut novel years ago. It was dark & gritty but pretty well done. I dont think I'll get the new one. hmm

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