Tuesday, February 26

Not Goin' Back

I just read a book by a an extremely prolific author. I hadn't tried her before, but since her book was set literally in my back yard, I thought I'd give it a go. The setting was great, the author had done her research. She even knew horses and packing in the mountains.

I should have loved this book.

I didn't.

For one single reason--the heroine was horrible. She bitched and moaned and complained about everything. Maybe it's because I've guided this type on horseback rides since I was big enough to sit on a horse, I wanted to hit her. Hard. Right in her pouty little mouth.

I think the author thought her character was cute. City cute. You know...the French tips, the $200 jeans. Nose in the air about the country.

Worse, the brattiness was supposed to pass for sexual tension. It didn't work. The hero and heroine were supposedly so attracted to each other, they bickered. Constantly. Ugh and double ugh. I enjoy sexy banter as much as the next reader. I don't write it well, but I like to read those who do. But plain old sniping and fighting isn't fun after a while. In fact, I find it exhausting.

I finished the book. I won't give the ending away, but this couple fought until the very last page.

I won't read this author again.

So, my question today is...what turns you off in a book, even a well written one?


  1. Uninterested in the characters is a big no no for me. I also hate the unbelievable plot!

  2. Well, exactly that. I gotta love the heroine. Even if the hero has to grow on me, the heroine has to be my best friend or my sister, not the one who wouldn't talk to me in 4th grade. I know she has to grow in the story, but I still want to like her.

    Great post, D.

  3. Plot logic issues bug the crap out of me. I don't mean like far-fetched plots, I can suspend logic to enjoy. I mean like the author establishes the rules of his/her world then illogically breaks them. I tried to read a hard back book last week--A HARD BACK!--with so many logic issues I finally had to quit. It just didn't make sense.

  4. I agree with you Liz. When reading a book, I like to be able to put myself in the heroines shoes. Who wants to imagine themselves as mean, cruel, or stupid? Smile. The other thing that turns me off is using bad language on every other page, not because it fits with the story, but just because. Will shut the book and throw it away every time.

  5. good point, D'Ann...I think there is a fine line between sexual tension/banter and straight-out-married-for-too-many-years bickering. Banter will get me every time. Bickering just makes me stop reading.

  6. Romances that are too gritty and grim turn me off. I prefer a romance with a light touch, writers with a sense of humor. Some writers are just better at creating sexual tension than others. But for me, clever dialog goes a long way. I agree about wanting a sympathetic heroine.

    Jacqueline Seewald
    TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS--sensual Regency romance now available in all ebook formats

  7. I agree with you about the likeability of the heroine. I don't have to identify with her, but I do have to like her or I'm not going to end up liking the book.

    Another thing that turns me off of a book is when I can tell the author hasn't done his/her research, whether it's the setting or the professions of the characters. I've recently read a couple of books where the heroes in both had the same occupation. I've met a LOT of guys who make their livings in this profession and none of them behave the way these heroes did. At all! I know it's fiction, but it's got to be believable or it just ruins it for me. I finished the first one (griping aloud through most of it! LOL!) and didn't even bother to finish the second.

  8. What turns me off is dialogue that makes the characters sound like morons.

  9. Aside from inaccuracies, I hate when the H/H finally get together and all of a sudden decide not to trust or believe one another without a very good reason.

  10. Oh I so understand what you're saying Last year I picked up the newest novel of another very popular, prolific, long-rooted in success, author. I've loved her books for more than 15 years and read every book in her back list more than once. Three books ago I noticed I didn't enjoy it as much. Two books ago I didn't enjoy that one either. The last I realized what it was. My favorite author had produced three formula stories with plug-n-play characters and externals. I was so sad! I'll keep my favorites, but after three, I know our romance affair is over. Thanks for sharing that opinions a lot of us have. Mine books are scorchers..but guaranteed not plug-n-play. :)


  11. Unfortunately, I think that humor is different for everyone and there are often stories that just don't resonate for me. I hate whiny helpless heroines (or heroes, for that matter, lol) so those tend to turn me off. I agree that lack of research also frustrates me when details cease to be logical. I don't usually reject the author's entire body of works unless there are consistently titles that I don't like because I figure that anyone could have a mistake or two.

  12. Great post, D'Ann.

    I too hate bickering for the sake of bickering. Banter is one think, but not fighting.

    As for what will stop me reading-- A hero who is a total a-hole. I don't mean arrogant. I can take arrogant to a point. I can even take jerkiness to a point. Heck, I've written heroes like this, in fact they are my favs. But when the hero is downright MEAN to the heroine, I stop reading. I also hate mousy heroines, who don't have any kind of backbone. I used to read a very prolific author who writes primarily contemp westerns who seems to love this paring. All I used to think when I read them was-- He's a wife beater waiting to happen and she's stupid enough to let it.

  13. Great post - so seem to have gotten everyone riled up.

  14. am with you, D'Ann, I hate whingy, whiney heroines, they drive me up the wall. I keep thinking they'll recover and turn into strong women, but they don't. Hugely annoying! Great post :)

  15. I think it's nearly impossible to write a book all people can relate to. I'm with you on this one. I'm not crazy about bickering love, yet they seem to do well when made into movies. Having a actress and actor perform the bickering makes the sexual tension seems more apparent then when I'm reading and perceiving it from the words.

    I've discovered books are read differently by every reader. Let a city girl read that same book and it may be the most hilarious wonderful love story imaginable. Whereas one that you and I would like would seem like a complete yawn to them.

    The writers puts their chosen words on a page, but a reader interprets, using their likes, dislikes, and experiences. What is read can be very different than what the author wrote.

    Ah...profound Liza....

  16. Oh, gosh. Let me count the ways. There are so many things that turn me off. The scenario you described is a great one. I don't like when authors get police work wrong. I don't like female police officers (I've tried, but I just can't like them as characters. I haven't read one book where the character is done right). I don't like stories about governesses. The list can go on. LOL.

  17. Love the new look!

    I wonder if Rose Anderson and I are thinking of the same author (JR)? I read everything of this author's I could get my hands on and loved every one of them. Until a few years ago. The last one I bought I didn't finish because I didn't like the h/h. I didn't think they had chemistry. They fought and were snarky, as if they barely tolerated each other. Unpleasant.

    Also, I read chapter one (for free) of a mega-popular erotic novel (the one with a tie on the cover) and hated the characters so much I couldn't even stick around for the sex. That's bad.

    Character is king.


  18. I can't stand a perfect heroine or hero. Throw some flaws in there for pete's sake!I also don't like whiny heroines. Someone that has to be "saved" every other page. The too stupid to live characters are a pet peeve of mine too. Wow. I'm going on a rant.

  19. Too stupid to live. LOL.

    I would say all of the above. I hate it when the author tries to drum a point into your head by stating if over and over, maybe in different phrasing, but same message.

  20. Characters that are wimpy or fake. I want to read about a character who has flaws and feels like real person. Not some over the top character that I can' t compare myself to in some way. Overtelling is another deal breaker for me.