And You Keep Reading Because…?

Hi friends,

As always, I’m catching up! I originally wrote this the evening after Tropical Storm Irene made the east coast crazy. I was blessed with no loss of power and only a little water in one corner of my basement (the advantages of living on a small hill).

So one major storm, two baby squirrels and one bird rescued by my son later, and while all the kids were out inspecting storm-related outdoor events, I got to write something. (Okay, the bird did a lot of chirping but that was no big deal—quite a pleasant sound, actually. Keeping up with the kids to heat the squirrels’ rice-filled sock, especially overnight was another story…). Sadly, the bird and one of the squirrels didn’t make it. The other squirrel found her way to a vet who has a special place in her heart for rescuing and releasing squirrels back to the great outdoors when they’re ready. (God is good!)

      

Sidetracked, as usual. I’m focused now, I promise! 😀

Recently I downloaded and read a book. (No!) Uh, yes, and may I take a moment to say it was among the worst written I’ve read through to the end. The editing was probably of poorer quality than the writing, as the book was released by a small press (vs. self-published). Read some of the prose to my son and his friend, both teens. Neither likes reading but to their language arts teachers’ credit, both said something about run-on sentences. Honestly, I don’t know how this book made it to press in the shape I read it, little more than first-draft quality.

I know, I sound mean, but I’m entitled to MHO, right?

Having written that, I’ll reveal nothing identifying about the author or the story; I’ll simply share what I didn’t like.

I’d have no problem with story being told completely from the protagonist’s point of view (POV, from here on), but if you’re throwing in another POV, please allow me to get into that character’s head at least one handful of times. A very likable character got less than five times to shine from his standpoint. Author may as well have skipped including a second POV altogether.

Backstory dumps: more than should be legal for any story, and one of the longest inserted at the most inappropriate times. (I won’t say where for fear of giving any revealing info away.)  At least one of these info dumps was dumped twice, almost verbatim too.

I’ve read many a romance and many a love scene. I’ve heard other readers say they’ve skimmed over love scenes when they get dragged out. First time I ever did so during a first read. Not only were these dragged out, they were way overused. So were the descriptions: same or similar words; same approaches to ‘the act’ and pretty much the same response every time by the heroine, since every scene was in her POV. I got it. I didn’t need to be hit over the head every time this couple decided to show each other how they felt.

So back to the title question: what kept me reading this book?

Yep, the story and the players. Very likable characters caught in a number of worlds—this was a paranormal—whose story goals were defined enough to make me want to root for them while trudging through a dragged out book to see how things turned out. Would I read a second book by this author? Doubt it. But, this was proof that characters and an engaging story will keep this reader turning the pages far more than something well-put together but with no people relatability going on.

Anyway, that’s MHO. Thanks for indulging me. Your turn! What keeps YOU reading? And since I’ll be judging first-round in The Suzannah Contest and because I want to start branching out and paying forward more, leave a comment for a chance to win a five-page critique on a current work-in-progress; I’ll pick a winner by the end of the week!

Have a great day,

Joanna

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4 thoughts on “And You Keep Reading Because…?

  1. I’ve always wanted a pet squirrel since I had a friend who had one when I was 18. So sad two little rescuees didn’t make it but I’m sure it wasn’t from lack of trying on the rescuers parts. Good job you (and son)

    I’ve read books like this. In fact I read one recently (yours sounds like the one I read almost). It was all sex all the time- always similar. The world was ok (I think it was part of a series by that author so I didn’t get the full effect of it as I think I would have in a st), the plot seemed left unresolved in that the key point made at the beginning was never addressed by the end of the book. A major plot point for the heroine and a secondary character. I can only guess the reason for that was so the object could be carried to the next book- that secondary character’s story. But it was what drove the h in that book so I was left wondering “what about the *thing*?” I didn’t like that mostly because half way through I knew I would never buy from this author again. Had I known what to expect- I wouldn’t have spent $6 on that one.

    So why did I keep reading? I don’t really know, other than by the time I was half way through I was obsessed with *the thing*. I was left very disappointed.

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    1. I hear you, Calisa. Bad enough to keep reading a lousy book then to have a disappointing ending on top of it. Know how often I asked myself why I’m wasting my time?

      After that book, I read another one. Someone asked me to review it. The story was okay but the writing bothered me enough to tell the author my problems with it rather than give an unfavorable review. I read the back cover copy, I couldn’t believe the author saw that book that way. I would never have equated the two.

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  2. I recently finished a paranormal novel I purchased from Barnes & Noble. I enjoy paranormal romance, but oh my goodness, this one was bad. The “rules” of the author’s world kept changing so it was hard to keep track of what characters could use what powers and why. It was also hard to connect with the hero – he came across as rather wimpy, or the heroine – she was so hardened, that I found it impossible to feel any empathy for her. I don’t normally keep reading when I have to slog through a book but my sister tried to warn me she couldn’t finish the book so I had to as a matter of principle especially since I went against her advice and paid $7.99 plus tax for it. It took me four months to finish it, mainly because I only read it when I had absolutely nothing else to read.

    Sorry to hear two of your rescues didn’t make it. A few years ago, my sister and I rescued kittens soon after they were born when the mother cat was hit by a car in front of my sister’s house. The mother cat was a stray and luckily my sister had a general idea where she had hidden her kittens. Unfortunately, out of the 4 kittens, only one survived. One was dead when we found them, the umbilical cord wrapped around its neck. Another was dead the next morning and the other died a few days later. I’ve always thought it was because they were soaking wet from the rain storm we were having and the rain was running off a drain spout right into where they were laying and they were so tiny, they literally fit in the palm of your hand.

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    1. Hi Katherine–so nice to have you here! Hate when I pay a higher price for a book and don’t like it. I also dislike books with ‘quickie’ endings that leave too much hanging or too much too easily resolved.

      I probably would have screamed to see those kittens dead. Only God–and my good friend–gave me the strength to say goodbye to my BlackJack when he died unexpectedly two months ago. My husband held him and he still looked like his spirit was here. Go figure: an even mushier love-bug cat showed on my front lawn tonight. Think we’re dead in the water.

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