Over the past few weeks, life has intervened with blogging in a multitude of ways. (The flu, work and university are an overwhelming mix, let's just say.) We are, however, navigating and managing our way around it - and here we are again. Many apologies for our absence, pumpkins.

Call us foolish optimists, but whenever we step away from a community, however briefly, we tend to remember only the positive. "I can't read, so every single book is the best book ever, and I miss them all desperately!" 

Oh, what naive little pumpkins we are. What little we managed to read during our time away has been, ah, a mixed bag. And whenever you sit down to attempt to explain why it is a mixed bag, you come around to the same few things. (Surprise! What was annoying a week ago still hasn't changed!)

These, succinctly, are those things for us. Because venting is one trend that will never go out of style.

1. The (im)proper names of things

Picked by: Lexie

In this era of purple metaphors and cultural appropriation, there's nothing dearer to an author than suggest, imply, insinuate, dance around a concept obvious to everyone without ever specifically naming it.
It's annoying.
But when said concept is more often than not someone's caramel chocolate fudge straciatella hazelnut cookie-dough melting-honey colored skin, it isn't just annoying. It needs to stop.
'Exotic' means nothing. A food metaphor means nothing (other than an invitation to a reader to put the book down and dive into that awaiting jar of Nutella). 'Asian' also means nothing. Use a proper name of things, as Dumbledore and Kvothe had always intended it. If you've taken a step to write about a character demonstrably different than yourself, it's only another tiny step to actually vocalizing it.

2. Story rip-offs

Picked by: Natalie

Have you ever had a feeling like you're reading the same story over and over? You slowly put the book down and find yourself thinking 'I've definitely read this before. Maybe a few times'. It gets a bit frustrating when you're trying to discover new worlds and stories to delve into, and yet you've bought the same story six times in the last month - just with different names. Things are rarely original anymore and it would be nice to get something shiny and new, discover a set of characters who are doing things that are completely different and crazy. There's such potential and it's sad when authors are trying to copy what is popular and not write what could be the next big thing.

3. Cover whitewashing

Picked by: Lexie

Once upon a time, in a(n alarming) land (not nearly as) far away (as it should have been), there was a well-established trend of depicting characters of color as white on the book's actual cover - (to appeal to the white demographic, because when you're being insulting, might as well be utterly so). Julie Kagawa's Japanese protagonist was famously portrayed by a white model on the cover of The Immortal Rules. That sort of thing.
Then, with the rise of cultural awareness and sensitivity, we assumed said trend had been tossed into the fiery pits of Hades, where it belongs. (Sorry, Hades. You don't deserve that.) But then, as all good villains, Cover Whitewashing rose from its presumed deadness to stalk and hack at us one final time. (Think the Air Awakens series.) I guess a villain never stays dead until the end credits roll. Any takers?

4.  Twilight/50 Shades of Grey-inspired covers

Picked by: Natalie

One word: why. It's incredibly obvious that a publisher is trying to write/sell something as successful as Twilight, but please stop. We the readers aren't stupid. We recognise that sort of marketing. I can understand  that on some level a publisher wishes to appeal to an already established group of readers and whatnot, but having covers that are pretty much the same is so unoriginal. Sell your story with your own cover that's inspired by actual events in the book, or something more eye-catching than the 'black/grey backdrop and one item' cover. 

5. Adapt Everything!

Picked by: Lexie

I am alone in this. Just my little dinghy floating along in a sea of epic adaptation hype.
I am aware.
The truth, however, remains that in this age of reboots, remakes, retellings and excessive sequelitis, the bookish market is an easy market to tap into for Hollywood (that miraculously seems to have run out of original screenplays?). And so studios race to option everything, the fan base gets ridiculously excited, studios are then further encouraged to develop it, the fan base starts protesting the second casting choices are up, and ICEBERG INCOMING. ABANDON SHIP. MAYDAY, MAYDAY!
I'm biased, but I'm also right: more YA adaptations have flopped than have succeeded in recent years. And having no shortage of imagination, I'm perfectly happy to confine every detail of my favorite series to what's already in my head.
Betcha wish y'all had my dinghy now, Hypeasaurus Maximus.

6. The damsel-in-distress trope

Picked by: Natalie

"Oh my god I'm so shy and not nearly as pretty as all the other girls, although every boy ever loves me, and I have the personality of a wet rag. Oh look, the hottest guy in the world is in love with me and yet I feel so ugly, and I have only one friend. Now excuse me while I moan about how broken I am and wait for a guy to 'fix' me."

Um, these are usually New Adult books but damn they're getting old. What is it about these NA authors that keeps them writing the same story over and over and over and over again but just change the names of the characters? (Names that aren't even real names, let's be honest here.) This also falls under the 'story rip-offs' section, but I feel like this specific dynamic is so old-fashioned and so unnecessary. Shouldn't authors be writing modern, strong females? Independent women who know what they want, know they're beautiful and don't depend on a "muscly man who never exercises and yet has a six-pack" boyfriend to take care of them? I hate to say this, but we're all a bit damaged. You not the only one who is "broken" in some way, protagonist, so stop moaning and get on with your life. I'm bored of reading about whiny characters who only care about themselves.

7. Yearly Trends

Picked by: Lexie

Welcome one, welcome all to Lexie's utopic dreamscape! Here, genre lines aren't so clearly defined. Here, beloved characters don't die and animals live forever. And here, most importantly, everyone writes a story they wish they could read.
Here, in other words, there is no 'it' trend to follow this particular season/year/eon. Vampires, dystopia, fantasy, coming-out contemporaries, dragons, fairytale retellings and mermaids are only as good as you make them. A reader is open-minded enough to give fair chance to all, and an author driven enough to tell a story unique unto themselves.
I hope you enjoy your stay. 'Tis a divided world out there.

8. Novellas, additional stories/POVs and companion novels

Picked by: Natalie

Look, authors: I appreciate that you love this world -  we do too - but seriously. Let the world go. Some things are better left as they are. Adding more to a series can ruin it, and I've had too much experience with disliking a series a little bit more and losing my interest in an author with each new sequel to a story that was supposed to be over and done with. It's no secret that I loved the Thoughtless series, but its sudden spinoff Untamed was a mess no one asked for. It ruined the story for me. And that's not even mentioning all the YA authors who are well known for writing too much extra and clinging to their worlds way too hard for way too long. Maybe the publishers do have something to do with but, but regardless, it's annoying. 

9. Misogyny, the patriarchy, sexual assault

Picked by: Lexie

You heard me right.
The way I see it is this: if an author can exert themselves as far as creating people out of nothing and worlds out of ideas, then they can also exert themselves as far as bypassing the status quo and promoting equality, for a change. Kingdoms exist, but so do queendoms. Companies are run by men as well as women. Tech geeks can be girls, and ballet dancers can be boys. A girl can prefer blue, and a boy can prefer pink. And no one, absolutely no one, should ever be victimized or undermined as a mere plot device, never to be revisited or explored again.
I'm not talking about misogyny or sexual assault as central themes of the book, or an examination of the patriarchy in today's existing patriarchal societies. I'm talking about sexual molestation for the sake of meeting the page count, endless subservient girls in subservient worlds (except for our brave, ferocious heroine who's about to rescue her own gender - as it sits and waits to be rescued) and a slew of Bella Swans in repeated suicide attempts in order to hear their boyfriend's voice again.
Find a new trope, world. And make it balanced.

10. Listening to a BookTuber's recommendation

Picked by: Natalie

This one is more of a personal one. 

It isn't intended as an insult to the whole of the book-vlogging community on YouTube, because they're doing exactly what we do - endlessly fangirl about books. And potentially being paid to advertise a book is literally a dream job for just about all of us. And I understand that we could potentially class book-vlogging as a job now, what with all the sponsorships. But seriously. 
Some of the worst books I've read have come from the recommendations of a BookTuber. I tend to watch them now just to see what is coming up, but I try not to buy the books they recommend anymore, or listen to them cry 'omg buy this book it's so good' for a hundredth time, because no. Either these are the luckiest people in the world never to run into a bad book at all, or we have very different standards. Now I would only consider their recommendation if I'd done some research and possibly read the first page or two in the bookshop. Otherwise, I'm sorry, but I won't be buying every book you're flashing at me. 
Hats off to the publishers - it's an excellent marketing strategy. But no.

Woops! We've been controversial again! Please don't assassinate us or send hate mail to our homes. We're really best-suited to be ice-cream (wo)men as a profession: we can dish it out far better than we can take it back. (Not that we don't have plenty of FIGHT ME moments in-between.)

So we suggest you talk to us instead: what are the bookish trends you wish would take a breather (or a million) and leave us to have nice things, for a change? Leave us a comment below and let us know, or track us down on social media below: