Authors Whose Books I Wished I Liked
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I was reading Rosario’s blog the other day and she was blogging about how much she enjoyed Linnea Sinclair’s Down Home Zombie Blues. As I was reading Rosario’s review, I was thisclose to buying the book but the fact is that Linnea Sinclair’s books just don’t work for me. I’ve tried her in the past (and on more than one occasion) because so many readers I admire love her work.
There are times when I read reviews by other readers, particularly readers like Rosario who I like and whose tastes I think are similar to mine, when I want to love that author’s work but I just don’t. I think its because when another reader articulates a love for a particular author or a particular book I find myself wishing to be in agreement with them.
I know Jo Goodman is like that for many people. I’ve heard complaints that her work is too dry or she is too wordy. Her books are too languorous. To some extent, the very reason people don’t like her or aren’t moved by her are the exact reasons why I connect with her work.
Shuzluva had these thoughts:
After tweeting with you briefly about this, I gave a lot of thought to the topic. I came back to the following thought: regarding those authors that I don’t like to read, do I really wish I did like them? I’m not sure if the answer is yes. I have quite a large stable of authors that I go back to time and again for everything, including writing outside of the romance genre (shocking, I know). And I am certainly willing to try out new or unexplored authors. There is always more room for love in my backlist. However, if I have found that I don’t like the writing style, characterization, plotting, worldbuilding or what have you, should I feel compelled to continue reading that particular author’s books just because everyone else is? Then again, I sit on the sidelines when certain authors have a big release and simply can’t be part of the hoopla, which makes me feel like the kid that wasn’t invited to the party. Here are a few examples:
Jo Goodman. I admit, I bought If His Kiss Is Wicked on your recommendation, and I can’t remember a thing about the book. I even went back and re-read your review. Nope, nothing. Not even why the characters are together. Let me curtail the inevitable suggestion that I probably read this back in 2007 and then had another baby and *POOF* there went my brain. That is not the case. I purchased this last spring while casting around for something to read. I remember reading the book relatively quickly. However, the author failed to elicit any sort of strong emotion from me one way or another. As a result, I am reluctant to make a foray into her backlist or new releases. People adore her, and I feel like I missed something.
Alex Beecroft. False Colors was a total drag for me. I felt that every time the story began to accelerate, the topic or scene would change and the momentum would come to a grinding halt. Then the entire cycle would begin again. In addition, while I thought that the historical settings, recounting of British Naval life, and extreme prejudices of the characters were fascinating and enjoyable to read, I failed to feel the connection between the two main characters on any level. I felt that there was a lack of intimacy between John and Alfie, and couldn’t see their physical or mental connection. Sure, it said they were attractive and attracted to each other, but for me, that didn’t come across through their thoughts or actions. This book was an extreme disappointment, especially after so many waxed poetic. The feeling that I overlooked something here continues.
L. L. Foster. Lori Foster was pretty much my go-to in the early stages of mass market red-light writing. I can’t call it erotica, but it was certainly hotter than the run-of-the-mill contemporary. Remember Wild and The Winston Brothers? When Dionne Galace asked me to review a stack of books including one by L. L. Foster, I was very excited to see how the writing style would change with the subgenre. Suffice it to say I wasn’t pleased with the outcome. I know a lot of people are thrilled and floored by Ms. Foster’s foray into urban fantasy. Unfortunately I am not one of them. From my review at www.dionnegalace.com:
I had a major squick issue going on here. To me, Gabrielle reads like a 15 year old delinquent. And her total innocence about sex in what is supposed to be an urban fantasy world creates a giant disconnect. I also don’t see any of the redeeming (or attractive) qualities that Luther sees in her, other than she’s hot.
Ms. Foster has legions of fans, and people are rabid for the Servant series. Along with about 1/3 of the vocabulary in the books, I don’t get it.
Do I really wish I liked what these authors are producing? It would be nice to have that visceral happy dance reaction to these authors that so many others have. I want to be a part of the majority, damn it, and to look forward to collecting backlists and jumping on new releases and tweeting and commenting with the rest of the romance reading community. To get over it, I’ll just go cry into the box of books I bought from BN today.
I’m with Shuzluva. It’s not so much I want to part of the majority, but it’s about wanting to be part of that community. When there is great love expressed for a book and I read it and didn’t feel the same way. Conversely, I want people I like to like the same books I have enjoyed. In fact, in emailing with a friend last night she confessed she hadn’t read either Nalini Singh or Patricia Briggs. Half jokingly I said something like “don’t email me again if you aren’t expressing anything but joy over these authors’ works.”
What about you? Do you feel a bit glum when you are out of synch with readers you like? Do you want others to like the books you like? Any suggestions on why you think that is? Any authors you wish you liked more but don’t?
(Special thanks to Shuzluva for allowing me to reprint her email to me in its entirety!)