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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!)

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

87 Comments

  1. Marg
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 05:02:26

    I tend to struggle a bit with Eloisa James. I know her books and smart and funny, but a lot of the time I end up feeling not smart enough to really appreciate them! Doesn’t help that I generally enjoy the secondary story line much more than I do the main story.

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  2. MicheleKS
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 05:44:31

    I believe that everyone has different reading tastes and that not everyone is going to be on the same page with every author all the time. Personally I find it interesting to see what authors people like versus those who can’t get into them. I have plenty of books and authors I love that many others will go ‘meh’ on. For me, my ‘meh’ author is J.R. Ward. I read the first two in the BDB series and I was like ‘meh’ and haven’t read anything since. Of course the paradoies might have done me in there also.

    I’m finally reading ‘Twilight’ by Stephanie Meyer and so far I’m interested. It’s been hard for me to approach this book with all the fanfare and discussion but I’ve been able to push that aside now.

    I usually will give two to three chances for a particular author or series to hook me before I move on. I’ve started books and couldn’t get into them then months or years down the road I picked them up and loved them because I was in a different place in my life mentally and emotionally.

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  3. Danielle
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 06:18:05

    I can not get into First Person Point Of View books! I understand that Lisa Kleypas’s contemporaries are wonderful reads. I probably missed out on a lot of good reads because it was written in FPPOV.

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  4. Nicole
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 06:20:47

    I’m so sorry to hear you didn’t like False Colors. I loved that book. And Beecroft’s newest, Blessed Isle (included in the Hidden Conflict anthology) — I might love that one even more. I’ve probably read it about five or six times already.

    As for authors that I can’t get into — Joey Hill comes to mind. I know people rave about her stuff but it just leaves me flat. Also, E. Lynn Harris. I never read anything of his until after his death last summer. I struggled through Basketball Jones, mostly out of curiosity, and decided that one is enough. I suspect I am not in the target demographic which may explain some of the non-appeal.

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  5. Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 06:25:32

    Reading is just one area of my life in which I feel out of sync. :) I’ve missed the entire reality show craze (except for Project Runway, and this year I’ve only read Una LaMarche’s hilarious recaps on the Huffington Post, sparing myself from sitting still for an hour in front of the TV). I won’t name names, but probably about 80% of authors others rave about do nothing for me. My friends keep sending me erotic books to broaden my horizons, but as I read, I’m analyzing the angle of the position and wondering if it’s all anatomically possible instead of being swept away with passion.

    I’m reading Jo Goodman’s Never Love a Lawman right now. I can’t remember the last time I read a Western, but I will read anything Jo Goodman writes. I walked by it for weeks in the bookstore before I succumbed, and I’m glad I did.

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  6. J L Wilson
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 06:32:34

    I have this problem with Diana Gabaldon books. I read the first 2 but the others are just too much to deal with. Granted, my time is much more fractured now that I’m a published author — between writing, working full-time & having family time, I don’t have much time to read for pleasure any more. Which makes DG’s books a real commitment. The time lag between books has made it hard for me to remember what happened, etc. Maybe I need Cliff Notes or something …

    And sorry, Danielle, about the FPPOV — my mysteries are FPPOV & they’re a real challenge to write (after all, I have to show all the clues, etc. from one POV). It’s refreshing for me to do a FPPOV after writing one of my other books (just like it’s refreshing to shift genres so I write in 3 different genres). I’ve heard other folks say they can’t get into FPPOV, so you’re definitely not alone!

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  7. Lynne Connolly
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 06:39:20

    At one time I tried to please everyone, write to my audience. I have two unfinished books on my computer to prove it, and I know they’ll never get finished. Recently my agent asked me if I could write a YA based in my world, because she thinks the paranormal world I’ve created could work really well in YA. I tried, but I couldn’t, and she’s right, my world would work well. But I just can’t.
    So I went back to doing books that enthuse me.

    Reading – yes, Jo Goodman. Sybil said I would love “When His Kiss Is Wicked,” and once I’d got over the muslin pelisse on the first page, I tried to get into the book. I could see the writing was intelligent, the characters intriguing and she writes in a period I love. But the spark wasn’t there for me, and I still don’t know why. A complete puzzle.
    Here’s another author I should adore but somehow don’t – Judith Ivory/Judy Cuevas. Two of her books totally work and they’re on my keeper shelf, but the others don’t. They don’t engage me, and I know they should.
    And yet I read other writers I shouldn’t like, and I love them. Tara Janzen, for instance. Her books are so much fun, so I can ignore the continuity problems and the occasional glitch.

    Two authors who split readers drastically are Georgette Heyer and Dorothy Dunnett. I’d advise anyone trying Dunnett to read the whole of “The Game of Kings” because it was her first book and there are problems with it. If you’re not hooked on Lymond by then, maybe it’s not for you. But I love the books so much. I never got into Niccolo quite as much, but love them anyway. But Lymond is the hero of heroes, the epitome of the troubled, violently attractive man and he’s been a pattern-card for many a romance hero.
    Heyer – she’s the person who virtually invented the Regency romance. But a lot of avid Regency readers can’t get into her. And Heyer readers sometimes don’t cross over into romance. True, for those readers historical accuracy is important, so they have to wade through the shelves of Regency spies and pirates, but there are some great books out there, and they often don’t appeal to the Heyer reader.
    Georgette Heyer

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  8. Darlene Marshall
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 07:23:35

    I wished I liked J.R. Ward. So many people are so enthusiastic about the Brotherhood books, but I just couldn’t get through the first one. I kept finding myself sighing, and gritting my teeth, and getting distracted because I really did not want to read more of it. Finally, I gave up and got one of the books I wanted to read off my sagging TBR shelf. I’ve reached the point where I find life is too short to grit my teeth through a novel.

    Having said that, I’m with Lynne C. on the Dunnett books. I always tell readers just discovering the wonderfulness that is Lymond of Crawford, “Hang in there for the first 100 pages. Trust me on this, you’ll thank me later.”

    And they almost always do.

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  9. Tabitha
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 07:30:35

    When there’s a group of readers enjoying the same book except me there’s definitely a short feeling of being left out and wondering if there was something wrong with my taste. I think it’s a normal reaction, not wanting to be disconnected from the excitement that’s going around. On the other hand, I wouldn’t go crazy and pretend that I like a book just because everyone else does.

    When someone recommends a book to me and I enjoy it, I feel good that I can share with them my enjoyment of the book. And if I could recommend something that they would like, all the better. Part of reciprocating a good gesture.

    Some authors I wish I like more but haven’t been able to includes:

    Mary Balogh, Roxanne st. claire, Susan Wiggs, Jenna Petersen, Elizabeth Hoyt, Jo Goodman, Robyn Carr

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  10. JessW
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 07:31:27

    Interesting topic, Jane.
    I could not understand why Jo Goodman’s books were not more popular. I love the unusual stories and the guaranteed emotional path traversed by the couple in each book. I saved Never Love a Lawman until I have a whole weekend to savor reading the book. I associate her with Mary Jo Putney and some of Mary Balogh in the strong emotions they are able to elicit from this reader.
    However, I know that all authors cannot appeal to all readers. I have tried the JR Ward books and cannot get into them at all, and I read all subgenres, including paranormal and urban fantasy.
    I have not yet tried Georgette Heyer, but am waiting for the new release of Devil’s Cub as my introduction.
    I am glad the romance umbrella is broad and robust enough to have many books and varied authors for readers of different tastes.

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  11. joanne
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 07:31:56

    it's about wanting to be part of that community.

    It’s a huge and diverse community, isn’t it? Like any other large group we all have different tastes and preferences in our reading (and writing) and I think it is exactly those differences that make the romance community interesting and appealing.

    The cover blurb for Linnea Sinclair's Down Home Zombie Blues gives me a headache. Is it a bad book? Of course not, it’s just not the book I want to read. Jo Goodman can walk a couple of her characters around the block for 8 pages and I’m glued to the story. Other readers will be asleep by the 2ND page. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons the discussions get so heated sometimes: we forget that the community is not one brain.

    Your favorite author may make my back teeth ache both as a writer and as an online personality but that doesn’t put any of us on a bus to the land of Biographies & True Fiction.

    Sarah Wendell rocks a review but most of the books she grades B or better are books I wouldn’t touch or couldn’t stand and that’s both interesting and fun.

    We can be members in good standing within a community without marching in line like zombies.

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  12. Denise
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 07:36:40

    I eagerly awaited C. L. Wilson’s Lord of the Fading Lands. Bought it when it hit the shelves but didn’t get a chance to start it until it had been out for a couple of months. Great reviews and recommendations from tons of people. I was dying for the time to read it.

    When I finally did, I wondered what I was missing that so many others saw. The writing was solid, the world-building interesting, but I never connected with either protagonists. Unlike others, I don’t have a problem with the soul mate trope. I just found these two falling into Mary Sue territory. I tried reading it twice more to see if I could find that spark everyone else seemed to find when they read the book but finally gave up.

    I sincerely wish I had liked these books as I was absolutely thrilled for Wilson in getting into NY with a tale that was epic fantasy romance and not just paranormal. In the end, taste and preference are extremely subjective.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t get the J.R. Ward or Stephanie Meyer love either, but I’m a HUGE Dorothy Dunnett fan and like Anne Stuart a lot.

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  13. Tee
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 07:48:52

    You can’t pretend to like someone’s writing style when you don’t. It’s yucky to be the lone man out, but that’s how it goes. I tried Judith Ivory two different times because I felt I had to be missing something with her books. Everybody and their uncles raved about her stuff. Ultimately, I decided I was missing nothing because her writing just didn’t match my reading style. When I found myself skipping words in her sentences (am I implying “wordy” here?), then I knew she wasn’t for me. Then when I was skimming whole paragraphs, I knew the game was over.

    Linda Howard is becoming another author who I am not getting anymore. Love her writing, but have been totally disliking her recent stories. Ditto for Anne Stuart, another terrific writer, but the stories have been getting more bizarre. There are others out there who I relate to in the same way.

    However, in reverse, there are authors whom I absolutely love and they hardly garner a fleck of interest from others. And so it goes…

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  14. EmilyW
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 07:56:43

    Liz Carlyle. Oh how I wished I liked her writing. Such big, meaty romance novels which I usually adore but I ended up being bored stiff with her writing.

    Jill Shalvis. She has such an extensive backlist with plots that sound so interesting. Alas, I make it about 30 pages and stall out.

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  15. Jennifer Estep
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 07:56:53

    @Maggie — I just finished Never Love a Lawman and really enjoyed it. But then, I’m a sucker for westerns. :-)

    Stephanie Meyer. I read Twilight and was loving it — until Bella found out Edward was a vampire. Then, she got all obsessive, and he got all obsessive (and sparkly), and just … bleh. I don’t get all the hoopla.

    I would also say Nicholas Sparks. He came to my area and gave a talk back during the summer. He was very personable, and people were going crazy over his books. I’ve read a couple of them, but … meh. I guess I just like books with happy endings better. Not ones were people find the love of their life — and then tragically lose it.

    And I have to ‘fess up and admit that I’m probably the only person in America who has not read The Da Vinci Code. I keep meaning to, but it never seems to happen …

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  16. Dani
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 08:12:07

    Eloisa James is an author I wish I liked more. My sister gave me one of her books and I just didn’t get in to it. Whenever I go to the bookstore, I always look thoughtfully at her books, but I can’t bring myself to buy one. I think my issue is that there were too many stories going on, and that maybe if I’d read the first book in this particular series, I wouldn’t have gotten so annoyed with all of the goings on outside of the main story. It’s possible I’ll give her another chance, but I’m taking a break from regencies right now so it won’t be any time soon.

    Other authors I wish I liked more are Lisa Kleypas, Christina Dodd, Linda Lael Miller and Rochelle Alers. I’ve read at least one book by each of them and came away with no real impression.

    @ Jennifer Estep. You are not the only person who hasn’t read the Da Vinci Code. But I haven’t read Harry Potter, Twilight or any of those other blockbuster bestsellers either and I probably never will.

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  17. RStewie
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 08:15:41

    I think everyone struggles with this. My sister loaned me two of her Pratchett novels. I couldn’t get into it. I bullied her into buying Kinsale’s The Shadow and the Star…she was meh. All of my sisters are like that, actually (I have 4)…we all have very particular tastes when it comes to reading, and although we all read voraciously, we don’t usually plunder each other’s libraries.

    I think, too, though–it really matters about what the person’s been reading previously. I recently went from rereading Brook’s Guardian series to reading Julia Quinn’s Dancing at Midnight, and there was quite a readjustment…DaM never stood a chance, unfortunately. Also, a person’s mood and their current situation. Usually I want deeper and more dense writing, but if I’m really busy at home or work, I like to read something that’s funnier and lighter.

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  18. rigmarole
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 08:38:00

    Most of mine have been mentioned already (Dunnett, Gabaldon – although the Lord John books are all right, and Pratchett.)

    But, also, Lauren Willig. Every review I’ve ever read has made me think, damn, that’s the series for me. First book, HATED. The last hundred pages had me groaning out loud in pain, it was so hard for me to keep going. (I’ve since learned to let books go, thank God. Just because you started them, self, doesn’t mean you have to finish.) The next two in the series were not so bad, but I’ve admitted defeat. I can not force myself to like them, even though by all rights, I absolutely should love them.

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  19. Cathy
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 08:49:58

    Jo Goodman is an author I just can’t get into. I read one of her books – the one where the heroine dresses up as Boudicca at the beginning – and it was such a big miss for me, I’ve been very reluctant to buy another.

    Gena Showalter is another for me. I’ve read the first 3 books of the Lords of the Underworld, and one of her contemps, and while I love the plot and the characters, something about the writing just doesn’t click for me, unfortunately.

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  20. Lori
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 08:52:22

    I find myself out of step in so many ways it almost breaks my little outside the clique looking in heart.

    I’m not a huge fan of historicals at all so the few times I read them and get into one it’s a big deal for me. But just reading reviews here I can guarantee that there are many you love that I’d never even venture to try because they’re not my type.

    I don’t read m/m, don’t like shape-shifters and vampires (sparkly or not) bore me. And if I read a book with a character named Rhage I would probably not stop giggling enough to get past the first page. Rheally.

    I’m a first person, chick lit loving, romance and not erotic loving girl. *sigh*

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  21. jmc
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 08:59:11

    CL Wilson, Tessa Dare, Joanna Bourne, and Sherry Thomas are just a few authors I ought to like…but don’t. I’ve read at least one (if not more) of each of their books and would agree that they are well-written. I just don’t *care* about their characters.

    While I know that every book is not going to appeal to every reader, I do feel a faint tinge of envy when I read other bloggers who squee about their books, because I want to feel the same joy and pleasure when I try their books. But I just don’t.

    For the most part, I’ve let these authors’ subsequent books go unpurchased since that one attempt. The only exception is Linnea Sinclair, because the *idea* of her SFRom appeals so much that I want to like her books more and I keep buying them in the hope that this new one will be the one. (And I have to admit, her most recent one may have turned the tide for me.)

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  22. Jill
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 09:02:35

    I think what it makes it more complicated is that we are so much more connected to authors today via the Internet.
    There are a few authors who write blogs I love and I want to like their books and I just can’t get into them. I’m sure that’s not what published authors want to hear and more often than not I like the blog and the author’s work. But not always . . .

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  23. LoriK
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 09:02:40

    For me wishing that I liked an author more isn’t about wanting to be part of the group–I’m used to having quirky tastes. It’s more that there are some authors that I almost like. I like some aspects of their writing, but dislike others enough that overall I can’t enjoy their work. In those cases I tend to end up wishing that the parts I don’t like worked at least a little better for me so that I could read & enjoy the parts that I do like.

    Jill Shalvis. She has such an extensive backlist with plots that sound so interesting. Alas, I make it about 30 pages and stall out.

    ITA about Shalvis–she’s a perfect example of what I’m talking about. Her books get good reviews from readers whose taste is similar to mine and her plots sound interesting so I’ve tried her a few times. In pretty much every case I ended up interested in the characters, but wishing that I had met them in a way better book. There are just things she does with her plots that seem so illogical to me that they drive me nuts and I end up wanting to fling the book across the room. I wish her plots made sense to me so that I could enjoy the characters, but they don’t so I can’t read her.

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  24. CourtneyLee
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 09:15:12

    For me, the problem is not so much specific authors, but genres and subgenres. I wish I liked contemporaries and historicals more. I came to romance via the paranormal craze and I enjoy the complete break from reality. Every time I try to branch out and read a historical or contemporary, I really miss the fantasy elements. I have enjoyed a few contemporary and historical romances, but I always go back to paranormals.

    Also, I kind of wish I liked books without HEAs. I know there are many fantastic books out there that don’t feature relationships and such, or they do and they are left open-ended or end with divorce or death or betrayal. I know I must be missing out on a lot of fantastic writing and , like Jane articulated, the community of people who read those books. But I’m a happy ending junkie, so I read mainly romance. Jennefer Estep said it simply:

    I guess I just like books with happy endings better. Not ones were people find the love of their life -’ and then tragically lose it.

    Totally agree. There is enough loss, betrayal, tragedy, and general negativity in real life without having to read about it, too. My romance-addicted mind thinks crafting a brilliant lovestory then smashing it to smithereens should be a punishable offence. No more chocolate for you!

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  25. Jody W.
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 09:25:03

    No, if I don’t like a book, I don’t wish I liked the book. Instead I wish the book were a book I COULD like :).

    FWIW, I like Sinclair’s work consistently.

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  26. Katie
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 09:28:21

    I can not get into Eloisa James. I keep trying but I just do not see what ever it is that other people see.

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  27. Scorpio M.
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 09:31:50

    Jo Goodman was my must-buy-favorite-author throughout the 90s, I loved her Americana books, particularly the Dennehy sisters and Thorne brothers trilogy but once she moved out of that setting she lost me. I could not get into the Compass Club series. Her writing grew too stiff, the plots grew a bit too dark and I just wasn’t getting that emotional fulfillment anymore. I did buy NEVER LOVE A LAWMAN b/c it’s a Western and plan to read it soon, I hope I’ll find the Jo Goodman that I used to love.

    I wished I liked but don’t: Julia Quinn, Emily Giffen, Jennifer Weiner

    Had 1 or 2 books I liked/loved but then everything else made me snooze: Liz Carlyle, Lorraine Heath

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  28. AnimeJune
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 09:38:38

    I remember feeling like the odd person out when I despised Julie Anne Long’s “The Runaway Duke.” I’m a JAL fan because her other books are great but everyone raves about her debut, while I think her heroine is an infantalized, anachronistically female twit.

    Also – not a fan of CL Wilson OR Nalini Singh. I’ve missed two enormous Happy-Trains as they pulled out the station, apparently. Tried Lord of the Fading Lands (heroine’s a Mary Sue, Hero is an Immature Jerk) and tried Slave to Sensation (Heroine is Woe Is Me, Writing is Exaggerated, Mystery Ridiculously Obvious).

    It’s always nice to feel part of a club of people who love a book, so sometimes I do feel left out. But I have limited money, time, and space, and I gave Singh one chance and will not do so again.

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  29. DeeCee
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 09:41:02

    For me its historical novels. Everyone at the bookstore raved about Gabaldon, Sara Donati and Jean Auel, but when it came right down to it the 500+ page books seemed daunting, and the writing just didn’t pull me in. I tried for almost a year to finish Outlander but kept getting lost in all the history, yet my aunt who is a big fan of Gabaldon can re-read her Dragonfly in under a day.

    I loved the Shelley Bradley contemporary and historical romances, and after everyone reviewed her Shayla Black books so favorably, I caved and tried them. Wallbangers…all three of them.

    As for The Da Vinci Code…my father and I tried reading it simultaneously so we could talk about it. It took me almost a month to get three chapters in and he gave up after 10 pages.

    I think part of the reason you want to read these authors/genres/books may be to fit into a crowd, but also for authors that you may have read and enjoyed previously you just want that feeling back. That “OMG I just finished the best book” high that comes. I miss that.

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  30. Scorpio M.
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 09:41:18

    Eloisa James & Judith Ivory/Judy Cuevas seem to be very polarizing authors.

    I love the entire Ivory collection and I think the novels written under Cuevas are in a class of their own. I paid $30 for a used copy of DANCE, enough said.

    I recently finished my first Eloisa James, A DUKE OF HER OWN, and absolutely adored it and a part of me wants to rush right out and glom every book EJ published BUT I’m wary…after all the years of being on the fence with her and reading so many polarizing opinions I fear I’ll be in a love/hate relationship with EJ. There’s nothing more disappointing than loving one book and then being dismayed by mulitiple.

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  31. Julia Justiss
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 09:44:28

    Boy, did this topic touch a nerve! I’ve always felt like the “black sheep” among romance readers since I came to romance via Big Historical Blockbuster (M.M Kaye, James Clavell) or Funny Regency Historically Accurate (Geogette Heyer.) Most of the historical authors other readers raved over didn’t do a thing for me, esp the most popular ones, a trend that has accelerated with the advent of paranormal/fantasy. (I’m the kid that couldn’t even watch the terribly-made early Japanese horror films with plastic monsters because they freaked me out.)

    Since my tastes have always been so different, I guess I should just stop whining about not finding many authors who really light me up. But I still often feel like the kid with his nose pressed against the glass, looking in enviously at the party as readers enthusiastically discuss a writer I just don’t “get.”

    It’s actually easier to join the party for contemps, because then “authentic historical feel” isn’t a problem. I can rave with the group over Cindy Gerard and (most) Suzanne Brockmann and Rachael Gibson. Anyone else find they have more success in liking what others do in one subgenre vs another?

    If one wants to get all philosophical, it’s fascinating what a mix of memory and life experience and expectations meld together in the mind of readers to determine what will touch one and not another.

    Which is why I celebrate when I find a new-to-me author I can love–like when Joanna Bourne and Joanna Reybourne’s first books came out . Or when enduring favs like Carly Kelly or Loretta Chase have a new release.

    Speaking of new or new-to-you authors, I wish someone would put together a regular column asking for reader nominations for books they really like that AREN’T the current bestsellers. Those get lots of buzz in publisher web sites and blogs (natch, alot readers are looking for them) but for those looking for something else among the thousands of new releases every year, it would be nice to have a quick reference that said “I just read new/unknown author YYY and the book was terrific…”

    That said…Joanna and Carla and Loretta, writer faster!!

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  32. Jennifer U
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 09:56:22

    I completely understand what you are saying. There have been several authors that my sisters like to read and I just can’t enjoy their books. We try to buy books and share them, but I find myself hurling my sisters’ contributions at the nearest door, wall, or staircase. I feel like I should at least like them; my sisters have so many compliments and expressions of “I loved this part!”

    Sadly, we cannot enjoy all writers or styles.

    What truly bothers me is when I really liked an author to begin with and then they make a serious shift in the tone or writing style. Case in point: Laurell K. Hamilton. The first Anita Blake wasn’t the best in the world, but once she got going, they were fun reads. I was often up into the wee hours voraciously reading every word. Then, she stopped sharing her books with the group she had trusted to read the early books and she took that major weird path toward Anita’s powers and sex with every were-animal on the planet. I can’t read them anymore. I don’t like the style and I don’t like the repetition.

    Sigh. We can’t like everything in the world, but it would be nice to be able to rely on authors we DO like.

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  33. Lynn M
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 10:06:58

    God, I wish I loved Nora Roberts. I’ve tried. Honestly, I really really have. Across genres and everything. But I just can’t fall in love with her stuff the way so many others seem to. I wish I could because I’d have enough backlisted reading material to take me into the nursing home.

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  34. Keishon
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 10:08:22

    Wish I liked Liz Carlyle. That’s about the only author I feel like I should like but I don’t. I am still trying though. It just takes the right book (if it’s there at all). I had a hard time with Roberta Gellis until I read Fortune’s Bride. That book was the game changer. It really doesn’t bother me when others love an author I don’t. I don’t feel left out at all. Chalk it up to different strokes for different folks. And I already know that I am a super picky reader.

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  35. Karenmc
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 10:17:44

    I tried an Eloisa James when I first started reading historicals three years ago. I stopped after a few pages. Tried again about six months later and stopped again. It just wouldn’t click for me. Two other authors turned out to be meh for me: Mary Balogh and Stephanie Laurens, but I did read two books each before I knew for sure that I needn’t bother again.

    I like Julia Justiss’s idea of a column about new but not best-selling authors. That would make my life so much easier.

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  36. Sandy
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 10:25:43

    @Lynn M: I’ve tried with Nora too and don’t know why but she doesn’t do it for me. The irony is I love JD Robb and have all the Eve Dallas books.

    On Jo Goodman, “If His Kiss is Wicked” didn’t stick with me, but “The Price of Desire” is one of my favorite books of recent years and I also enjoyed “Never Love a Lawman”

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  37. fshk
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 10:26:18

    I cannot get into the “In Death” books, and I love Nora Roberts. I read the first five books in that series, figuring I’d give it a fair shake, but no. Eve Dallas doesn’t do it for me. I felt the same way about False Colors as Shazluva. I liked it generally, but was a little disappointed by it, especially when the reviews were so glowing. And I should like Roxanne St. Clair because I love romantic suspense, but I got about a third of the way through French Twist before I got bored and abandoned it. And, don’t hate me: I really hated the first Sookie Stackhouse book. (I generally don’t read much paranormal or fantasy, which leaves me out of a lot of romance discussions!)

    I find that I also feel sad when friends don’t like the same books I loved. The same friend who made me read the “In Death” books couldn’t get into Jennifer Cruisie’s books, which I adore. I have another friend that I talked into reading Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters books, which I love to pieces, and she’s been underwhelmed so far, sadly.

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  38. XandraG
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 10:35:08

    Seems like we all think we’re outcasts in some way. Here’s the thing. No matter how interesting concepts like BookGlutton are, reading is still, and probably always will be, a solitary experience. You can search for community around *books* or *worldbuilding/universes in books* but the reading experience itself is an inherently solitary thing. To use an analogy, we are not all on board the Love Boat–we are simply sharing space on the Romance River, in our own little canoes.

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  39. rachel
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 10:42:16

    I thought it was just me who couldn’t get into Linnea Sinclair. I think it is in part down to the heroine’s. I remember coming away from Games of Command with a real dislike for the main heroine, and I could have done without the secondary romance. I feel like it is something I should like because I like sci-fi and romance. I admit that I liked Hope’s folly more than the other two I read – although I can hardly remember the plot and I only read it a couple of months ago.

    Sarah McCartey(sp)? I liked her first book with EC, which I think was a reprint of something that went out of print with a traditional publisher. The rest were – and I stopped buying after that. Long before she went to NY. I think if I don’t like an author I just stop buying and they fall off my radar.

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  40. Magdalen
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 10:44:19

    I don’t feel sad that I don’t like, say, Judith Ivory/Judy Cuevas (although I don’t). I feel sad that I then don’t get to play in the sandbox with her big fans. I don’t feel excluded — I know, for example, that Jessica at RRR won’t kick me out of her real-time discussion on Black Silk on 12/6 — but my negative visceral reaction isn’t going to add anything. I don’t see the appeal, and having other readers explain her appeal to them and my responding with what I didn’t like won’t be fun for me. So *sniff* I’ll have to do something else that evening.

    And, of course, that’s okay. It’s a big world, and there’s enough stuff to love without us having to love it all. It becomes a bit more awkward when your best friend shoves a book in your hands and commands you (in a nice way) to read it because she’s so certain you’ll love it. But even there, it has to be okay not to love what your friend loves, and vice versa.

    It would just be more fun if we all loved the same thing.

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  41. Mireya
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 10:45:17

    Nora Roberts. I have yet to find a single book of hers I ever tried that I could get into. Sad but true.

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  42. Stephanie
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 10:51:32

    Oh, boy–in a way, it’s a relief to encounter topics like this one, because there are a number of authors with whose works I just don’t connect emotionally, including Liz Carlyle, Elizabeth Hoyt, Madeline Hunter, and Eloisa James. I can admire aspects of the writing, research, atmosphere, etc., but the quality that transforms admiration into serious Book Love just isn’t there for me. At least I know there are others who have the same experience, and that liking a book is as subjective a thing as liking a certain dish. It all comes down to personal taste.

    Dorothy Parker probably summed it up best:

    “Although I work and never cease,
    At Dumas pere and Dumas fils,
    I find I cannot make me care
    For Dumas fils and Dumas pere.”

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  43. Joyce D
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 10:59:35

    Authors I wish I liked but don’t? Can’t think of any, really. I guess maybe Nalini Singh would be one, and Lara Adrian.

    I don’t wish I liked JR Ward or Stephenie Meyer or Dan Brown. I don’t feel left out at all because I just can’t get into the writing.

    The other books I don’t like, and maybe wish I did, are ones written in first person PRESENT tense. I hate, hate, HATE those books.

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  44. Edie
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 11:00:54

    I am with Mireya on the Nora Roberts front, and man with how prolific she is and her back list I would so love to be into her books. But nope.
    Also historical romances, can’t stand them, definitely feel a bit left on the shelf with that one.
    I am normally a fair bit off centre with my reading ie. not liking the ‘backbone’ of romance that is the historical, but I am the same with music and movies as well, so I am quite used to it.
    Doesn’t normally bother me too much, though I wish there was a review blog somewhere with someone with more similar tastes to me, that would be handy. Grin.

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  45. K. Z. Snow
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 11:08:39

    Not liking something wildly popular, anything, feels similar to being excluded from a really great party.

    For example, I couldn’t get through a category romance to save my soul. I’d have better luck with a Chilton’s repair manual.

    And remember The Bridges of Madison County? After groaning and laughing my way through that piece of dreck, I wanted to line up everybody who loved the book and cry, “WTF is wrong with you people?” Then I wanted to slap my way down the row a la the Three Stooges.

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  46. hapax
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 11:14:28

    Oy, such a hotbutton issue for me.

    *Especially* the mention of Dunnett — whose books I should love with every fiber of my being, and I just… don’t. I forced myself to keep reading, because, I found so much to admire in her world-building, and her erudition, and her characters, but about halfway through DISORDERLY KNIGHTS I threw the book against the wall, and haven’t picked one up since.

    Another one that just didn’t do it for me (and I hate to admit it) was BUTTERFLY TATTOO. I saw so much raving about the book, and the topic interested me, but honestly — the only character I gave two hoots about was dead before the book even began.

    It makes me crazy, because these are the sort of writers I want to encourage publishers to publish more of — writers who take pride in their craft, who take risks, who write with wit and intelligence and deep emotion — but I end up just buying their books and donating them to the library unread.

    (For the record, I loved C. L. Wilson and Stephenie Meyer, but wished that I *didn’t.* Or is that another thread?)

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  47. MB
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 11:16:25

    Edie, you might try joining Goodreads and checking for reviews on your favorite books until you find reviewers that match your opinions.

    I found some ‘reader twins’ that way, and have got some smashing recommendations for new authors that way. (And authors/books that I’ve loved upon reading, btw!)

    And, you can do it surreptiously by ‘following’ someone rather than doing a ‘friend request’ if you’re the shy type.

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  48. LJ
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 11:16:42

    I bought 7 of the Georgette Heyer re-releases and after reading two (Faro’s Daughter and The Black Sheep), I think I have to admit I’m not a fan. It was a stupid thing to do since the books are expensive, but I made sure to buy the books with consistently great reviews, and then, of course, the covers were so pretty I just knew the next one would be the one for me. Both Faro’s Daughter and Black Sheep had moments that made me smile/laugh, but overall I was bored by them. I’m still planning to read Arabella and Frederica because the descriptions sound wonderful to me. If I don’t like them, I’ll throw in the towel. The 7th Heyer I purchased is one of her mysteries (Death in the Stocks) and I’m hoping I like her mysteries more.

    I guess I wish I liked Nalini Singh’s archangel series. The covers are so pretty. Even though I didn’t like the first book in the series, I will probably buy the second one because I love the cover so much.

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  49. Caligi
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 11:23:49

    I really wish I liked Nora Roberts/JD Robb. There’s a mountain of books I could be reading, and it seems everyone else falls into paroxysms of joy reading them, and I find them totally meh. They’re neither good, nor bad, imo, just boring.

    Katie MacAllister is another. People rave about how funny her books are. I want to have a new funny fantasy/paranormal author to follow now that Pratchett’s got Alzheimer’s (not even fair, the poor guy) so I keep trying her. I get 100 pages in and grab the gasoline can and matches. They’re not funny, they’re embarrassing.

    Lauren Dane gets all these 5-star reviews from people I share tastes with and the two books I’ve read were just terrible. She writes absurd dialog that’s either too saccharine or a shameless info dump and writes these one-dimensional characters who do nothing for me.

    And then lots of people above have listed favorite authors of mine. Ah, the vagaries of taste.

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  50. TerryS
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 11:24:34

    There are many authors “everyone” seems to be raving about that I don’t connect with when I read them or, even worse, have no desire to read at all. It doesn’t mean anything deeper than me knowing my own tastes. Since I’m reading for my own enjoyment, I really don’t feel I’m missing anything if I don’t happen to be in complete agreement with everyone else.

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  51. Scorpio M.
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 11:25:08

    I appreciate Georgette Heyer’s themes and characters and do understand why she’s such a beloved figure but I cannot read her books because of this !!!!!!!!! – her use of exclamation points is simply too distracting for me. I wish she could be edited again because there are just too many !!!!!!!!! for me to enjoy.

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  52. Leslie Dicken
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 11:32:35

    Nora Roberts, Diana Gabaldon, and Stephanie Meyers. Just can’t get into them. At all. Oh well.

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  53. Michelle
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 11:45:15

    It’s not a question of being part of a community for me. It’s more that I just love to read, and there’s nothing like reading a great book that just sweeps you away. I’m constantly on the look out for authors that can provide that kind of read experience, and it seems like it gets harder and harder to find them. When a well-read person starts raving about a particular author, I always get excited with the idea that this new author may be able to provide me that reading experience that I love. When her book doesn’t deliver, I’m sad because it’s more proof that it’s getting harder and harder for me to find those kinds of reads.

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  54. Susan/DC
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 12:01:37

    I don’t expect to like every book that others rave about, nor do I expect everyone else to love the same books I do, but it’s true that I sometimes feel as if I’m on the outside looking in while everyone else does the Happy Dance. I want to dance too, but whether it’s the language or the characters or whatever, my feet refuse to move. This is especially frustrating when the book contains elements I normally love (and want to send a message to publishers to print more books with these elements) but somehow the specific combination/permutation just doesn’t work for me.

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  55. A
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 12:05:24

    I wish I liked Stephanie Meyers’ work. I sometimes think I’d like it better were it not for all the hooplah raising my expectations. EVERYONE raves about “Twilight.” I just don’t “connect” to it at all. I don’t think the writing’s very good, I don’t think the storytelling’s very good, and I’m not empathizing with the characters at all. When mind fodder like this earns millions and launches the author into the public eye, I consider it a slap in the face of every writer who’s invested substantial time and money in developing his/her talents and perfecting his/her craft.

    I’m a hard-core reader. Even if I’m not feeling “connected” to a book, I’ll read to the end just to see if I get anything positive out of the experience OR if I can at least relate to the merits attractive to other readers. Most of the time, I find SOMETHING to be happy about. If I walk away from a book feeling I got a good story out of it — maybe not my favorite story, maybe not the greatest story I ever read, but a good, coherent story — I’m satisfied, even if it wasn’t my cup of tea.

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  56. ShellBell
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 12:17:11

    I love Julie Garwood and Judith McNaught’s historical romances, but just can’t stand their contemps/suspense books. I did try to read a couple of them but for me the writing just wasn’t the same.

    I quite enjoy JD Robb’s ‘In Death’ series, but I’m not a rabid fan about the books the way some people are, and I can’t get into any of Nora Roberts books.

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  57. sarah mayberry
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 12:21:06

    Every time I pick up a book I want it to be awesome. I want to fall in love and be able to go to Amazon or Fishpond and go nuts on their backlist. There is nothing better than finding a great author with a backlist you can do backstroke in. My partner and I were discussing this about movies the other day – every time I put bum on seat in a theatre, I have high hopes. Most of the time they are not fulfilled (but I think that just means I’m not 15 years old and a boy!). So I think everyone opens a book wanting to love it and get lost in its pages. That why we love reading, right? It’s disappointing when the author doesn’t work for us. And when it’s a really popular author, sometimes you do feel like you’re the only one marching to the beat of a different drum. But there ain’t much you can do about, just like I can’t make myself love salmon. Just ain’t gonna happen…

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  58. Claudia
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 12:22:35

    Roberts, Gabaldon, and Woodwiss are my top three because of boring or triggering content and irky characters. But at least I tried the books. These days the merest hint of what I consider a TSTL heroine causes me to pass on offerings from even my autobuy authors. I don’t mind being challenged but dislike being annoyed.

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  59. Moth
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 12:36:40

    Sherry Thomas sprang to my mind. I like the premises of her books, I recognize she has great technical and lyrical skill as a writer, and yet I’ve read all three of her books and liked not a one. I think it’s because I just can’t warm up to her characters, and it bugs me that her people waste YEARS of time when they could have been together if they’d just talked to one another… or not been such asshats in the first place.

    Nora Roberts too. I recognize she’s a talented author, but I can’t deal with all the horrible sexual violence that seems to crop up somewhere in every book she writes. And most of the premises of her books don’t even interest me to start with…

    I know from a subgenre level I wish I could get more into the paranormal fantasy, but alas, they’re too dark for me on the whole, and I’m a bit werewolved and vampired out.

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  60. senetra
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 12:55:22

    Georgette Heyer and Jo Goodman. I’ve tried a few books and just can’t get into their prose style. I may try one more time, but I don’t think it’s going to happen.

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  61. Jill Sorenson
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 13:06:57

    Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist. Cool characters, but the stream of consciousness writing style seemed random, careless, self-indulgent. On purpose, probably. Did not like it.

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  62. joanne
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 13:38:18

    @Scorpio M.:

    I appreciate Georgette Heyer's themes and characters and do understand why she's such a beloved figure but I cannot read her books because of this !!!!!!!!! – her use of exclamation points is simply too distracting for me. I wish she could be edited again because there are just too many !!!!!!!!! for me to enjoy.

    I ALWAYS wonder about that!!! (sorry)

    I think it must have been an acceptable, maybe expected, way for writers to express themselves? I know when I read the first Margaret Way Harlequin I thought the print setter had gone on the booze or something. Unfortunately many of her subsequent releases were filled with !!!! It’s a puzzle.

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  63. Patricia
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 14:00:01

    After reading your post, I am reminded of the mother’s exasperated lament to her teenager, “If all of your friends jumped off a cliff, would you jump too?” While reading is not dangerous like jumping off a cliff, why should my reading likes and dislikes be chosen for me by someone else (or a herd of someones else)? Perhaps because I am well into middle age, I have enough confidence in myself so that, if I do not like what the others like to read, my reaction is, so what? I read reviews and choose my new authors because of those reviews but, if I do not like a best seller, it is immaterial to me. If other readers love an author and I do not, so what? They enjoy the books that they like, and I enjoy those I like. I do not engage much in on-line discussions so perhaps that that may color my view.

    I also do not watch reality television so I feel slightly left out when an entire room is discussing American Idol, but I shrug that off quickly too.

    Since the LL Foster books were brought up, I do want to mention something that I found really distasteful in those books. I have a better than average vocabulary (lots of reading and a graduate decree in law), but there was at least one word per page that I had never encountered in my reading before in her second book. I was not going to stop reading to pull out the dictionary so I just got the meaning from context, but it really pulled me out of the story. The absolute last straw for me was when I read the phrase, “fiduciary fist” (referring to someone who was threatening to hit another with said fiduciary fist), and could only sit there thinking, “What the hell?” As a lawyer, I am very familiar with the word “fiduciary”, which refers to a relationship where one party has a duty to the other person to act in his best interests, such as a trustee. As a noun, it is synonomous with trustee. Once I had thought it over, I realized that Ms Foster wanted to use the term trusty fist (which is a recognizable term) when referring to a character that wanted to hit another, but wanted to use a more hi-falutin’ sounding phrase, and used a thesaurus (badly), to look up trustee and replaced it with the totally inappropriate “fiduciary”. Basically, Ms Foster cheated, in my opinion, and it was not as if all that extreme vocabulary added to the reading enjoyment. Quite the contrary.

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  64. Randi
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 14:14:14

    Fascinating topic.

    My lists of authors I wish I could love is pretty long, but the most recent examples are:

    CL Wilson (I didn’t even get 4 chapters in before I put the book down. I had so many issues, I can’t even list them all).

    Meljean Brook (this is one author I really really really wish worked for me. Her plots are neat and worldbuilding is sound, and I’ve always been impressed with her on-line presence; but I just don’t give a rat’s ass about her characters. I tried her first two Guardian books and didn’t finish either one).

    Georgette Heye (doesn’t work for me on any level).

    Lynn Viehl (romance genre-boring, TSTL heronies, worldbuilding is inconsistent-but ppl love her. On the scifi side, I used to be a big big fan, until she jumped the shark).

    Caligi- I totally agree with you about MacAllister. I think Katie MacAllister is a seperate topic, at least for me. That’s the: Series Which Degenerates. For me, these are authors who start out grand: interesting characters, good worldbuilding, decent plots, etc. But then, there’s no character development. All of MacAllister’s heroines start out stupid, and stay stupid. They don’t learn anything. Other authors that fit into this description are:

    Karen Chance
    Lilith Saintcrow
    Jenna Black

    To me, this is totally unacceptable. After five, six, seven books, a character ought to act differently. It’s not like Chance, Saintcrow, and Black’s heronies are stupid; they just don’t grow up. I can no longer support a series where the heroines run around like chickens with their heads cut off. It’s so irritating.

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  65. willaful
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 14:16:24

    I have no problems with being out-of-synch, God knows I’m used to it, but it would be terribly convenient to like the authors with very popular huge backlists that the library always buys and that always show up cheap.

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  66. GrowlyCub
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 14:29:53

    I’ve read a few Goodman titles and they leave me totally emotionally uninvolved. I can’t figure out why, but I’m like the poster above, I couldn’t even remember them a week after I finished.

    Eagle frustrates the hell out of me. I feel I would love her story lines and her characters, but I can’t find them under the writing. I don’t know how to explain it, but reading her leaves me breathless, harried and confused and I just *know* there’s a story underneath all the words if I could *just* uncover and get to it. It’s frustrating me no end and I’ve finally given up even though I probably have 5-10 of hers in my TBR.

    One I had to stop reading around page 30 or so was Rosenthal because I was so in the characters’ heads and feeling their pain, there was no way I could read and believe their reconciliation. So, excellent writing as far as emotional connection, but I didn’t want to be with these characters who had done each other such harm. Some things are just not forgivable.

    I tried one Ivory but found it incredibly boring.

    Schone writes interesting books, but she clearly thinks she’s something special and continues to use big words to impress her readers, except she doesn’t know what they mean and her editors obviously don’t either. Not good when you laugh hysterically in disbelief during the sex scenes or at other climactic points in the story…

    I don’t read paranormal, urban or sparkly beings, but I don’t feel left out because I don’t get all hot and bothered about Ward’s ‘haitches’, he he. I wish she’d get back to writing SSE, however, because I loved those and there are stories left untold in that ‘universe’ of hers.

    I’ve read two of Duran’s and 2 1/2 of Dare’s because of the recommendations here and found them sadly flat (liked the first Dare, the Durans bored me mindless). I liked the first Thomas, didn’t make it past page 80 in the second and actively disliked the third, which was a major disappointment because I wanted to like it so much.

    I own all of the Hoyts but after every book I kind of shake my head at myself because there are so many errors and the feel is often ‘off’ for the time period. There are bits and pieces that really speak to me but the majority of the book really doesn’t work for me. Interesting phenomenon, that.

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  67. Jayne
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 15:12:53

    I find Duran boring. Some of Judith Ivory’s books work beautifully for me but “Black Silk” makes me want to poke my eyes out rather than read it again. I used to like Schone but didn’t even try the last two. Nora Roberts I could take or leave. I finished the first Nalini Singh but haven’t been tempted to try any more. I love Gabaldon’s “Lord John” series but stopped the Outlander one halfway through the second book. I can’t stand Linda Howard. I tried one MacAllister and ran screaming. I would love to love Cheryl St. John’s westerns but couldn’t make it past the halfway point of either one I tried. I loathe Julie Garwood. Gaelen Foley usually doesn’t work for me. Catherine Coulter does nothing for me.

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  68. SilverMiko
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 16:47:38

    Everyone raved about Elizabeth Hoyt and while I found Raven Prince so-so I could NOT finish Serpent Prince. I want to like her books but I just cannot. Same with Sherry Thomas. I sort of want to read Not Quite a Husband, but then her previous two left me rather…dry.
    Eloisa James is hit or miss with me. I didn’t like Desperate Duchesses, LIKED Duchess by Night and When the Duke Returns.
    I used to love Stephanie Laurens but my love affair with her dwindled after like Book 7 of the Cynster books (Chillingworth’s book I believe..I dunno, they’re more or less all John DeSalvo on the cover, haha.) I can’t read her books anymore, I can’t connect because it feels like the same old scene rehashed.

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  69. Lindsey Lou
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 16:53:31

    I tend to change my opinions about certain authors. I used to love Julie Garwood and Linda Howard, but now I don’t. Same with Julia Quinn. Conversely, I wasn’t fond of Stephanie Laurens at first but now I really like her.

    A lot of people mentioned Eloisa James. I started out loving her, then cooled significantly for all the reasons mentioned above. I quit after Desperate Duchesses. But I recently caved and read her two newest books, and I have to say I enjoyed them. She seemed to move away from all that I found annoying in The Taming of the Duke, Pleasure for Pleasure, and Desperate Duchesses.

    Meredith Duran is one I could never get into. I read two of hers based on recommendations, and I never felt a spark. Same with J.R. Ward’s Brotherhood. I read them all but afterwards I asked myself why. I skipped over every section in every book that was from the lessers’ point of view.

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  70. Elyssa Papa
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 16:56:01

    I really wished I liked this author and feel like the odd duck when admitting that this one author does not work for me at all. Jo Beverley. Oh, how I’ve tried to get into her books. I read My Lady Notorious, and I did not connect to the characters. I tried reading the others, especially the much talked about Rothgar’s book. And oh, I did not like. At all. And it’s not because of the language she uses, but I just don’t feel the connection to any of her characters.

    And at risk of losing my romance writing card, I will also admit that Georgette Heyer does not work for me either. I just can’t get into any of her books. And I’m really sad that she does not work for me because I wished she did.

    But I know that these two authors—and others who don’t work for me—are because of my personal taste, nothing more. More power to the readers who love the authors who I don’t get.

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  71. Caligi
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 17:28:44

    @Elyssa Papa:

    I’m with you on Jo Beverley. I actually couldn’t even finish My Lady Notorious.

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  72. Marianne McA
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 17:31:59

    Without being specific, I can think of three or four authors whose on-line personas I’ve liked – and I’ve bought their books, hoping to love them, and really not liked them at all.
    Somehow when you’ve read someone’s enthusiasm about being published, and their struggles with the edits, and their elation (or disappointment) when they see the cover for the first time – if they’re a nice person, you hope it’ll work out for them, and you want to be able to post on their blog a grateful “That was brilliant, I loved it.”

    Because you witness the process – see the effort the author has put in, and the hopes they have for the book – it’s a different thing disliking that book, than disliking the book of someone you don’t know about. Those are the books I wish I loved.

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  73. Edie
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 18:00:28

    Thanks MB I will try goodreads

    Caligi re Katie Macalister, have you read the Aisling Greys? I couldn’t finish any of her other books, but love the Aisling Grey stories. *shrug*

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  74. Polly
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 18:33:45

    Mary Balogh. I know people LOVE her, but I find most of her stuff meh or worse (especially the one with the cuddly prostitutes–I wanted to pull my eyes out). Half the time I can’t tell if my not finding a character sympathetic is on purpose or not.

    Elizabeth Hoyt. I find the fairy tale intros too precious and heavy-handed.

    Sherry Thomas. I heard so many raves, but it was meh for me. And I’ll be honest, I don’t get all the raves about lyrical, beautiful writing. Didn’t work for me.

    Colleen Gleason. Didn’t work for me, and too much felt ridiculously stereotypical (“it’s Regency times, so we’ll talk about “Society,” for a bit now). I also didn’t find them especially well-written, despite hearing so many people describe them so.

    Judith Ivory. I just didn’t love them. I tried Black Silk and Untie my Heart. Neither worked for me, and I didn’t feel like there was enough growth on the part of main characters, especially the heros.

    Anne Stuart. I just don’t connect with the characters.

    That said, most of the other crowd-splitter authors listed here are ones I love–Georgette Heyer, Dorothy Dunnett, Nalini Singh, Eloisa James (except for one or two)

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  75. Monica J.
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 18:43:22

    Nora Roberts – She has gigantic backlist. And at the rate she produces, if only I could like her, I would be set for life. Her In Death series didn’t hook me either.

    Stephanie Laurens – Heard a lot of good things about Devil’s Bride. Tried it several times, couldn’t get past the first night in the hut.

    Linda Howard – Such a talented writer. Yummy heroes. I just can’t like her heroines. Their voices grated.

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  76. Keishon
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 19:55:48

    Some of Judith Ivory's books work beautifully for me but “Black Silk” makes me want to poke my eyes out rather than read it again.

    Great. I am reading this book for a discussion next month. There’s a reason why Black Silk was never read by me until now. I am determined to read it along with one more and I will have read Judith Ivory’s entire back list.

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  77. Suze
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 20:30:02

    And remember The Bridges of Madison County? After groaning and laughing my way through that piece of dreck, I wanted to line up everybody who loved the book and cry, “WTF is wrong with you people?” Then I wanted to slap my way down the row a la the Three Stooges.

    I kind of feel that way a lot. With most wildly popular books, everyone around me will be trading copies and gushing and drooling, and I’ll be thinking, “Golly, you people are dumb and have no taste.” Of course, I have the same reaction when people don’t like an author I love. Anyone who doesn’t share my taste in books must be lacking in taste.

    Yep, it’s all about me.

    I have a book-sharing friend. We mostly agree and squee together (you should see our e-mail conversation over the forthcoming Kinsale), but we have some great chasms between us as well, leading us to insult and belittle each other. It’s good to have friends.

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  78. Ellie
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 22:17:08

    Loretta Chase—I really appreciate the strength of her writing, and she has a very quirky sense of humor. But I can never bring myself to care about what happens to her characters.

    Mary Balogh–Another really strong writer, but her characters usually martyr themselves.

    Susan Elizabeth Phillips–Too many zany plotlines and characters acting in unethical, crazy ways. The best example of this is Nobody’s Baby But Mine. Jane’s actions IMO were insane and not forgiveable. But I wish I liked Phillips. She’s clearly an excellent writer and even while wanting to fling her books against walls I can see the humor in them.

    Linda Howard—I just don’t get her. I’ve tried many of her older books that I’ve heard good things about. Couldn’t get into any of them.

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  79. dancechica
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 22:29:26

    I always come across good reviews for Sherry Thomas’ books, but I couldn’t finish Private Arrangements. I just didn’t care about the characters, at all. I’m tempted to try her again, though, to see if another of her books would work for me.

    Robin McKinley is another author I hear praised a lot, but cannot get into. I’ve tried both Sunshine and Beauty, but gave up soon after starting them due to boredom. I’ve held on to both books with the intention of giving them another try someday.

    I can’t seem to get into any of Gena Showalter’s books.

    Kresley Cole doesn’t work for me, either. I barely made it through the first in her Immortals After Dark series, and didn’t even finish the second.

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  80. Caligi
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 23:37:09

    @Edie: I wanted to tape Aisling’s mouth shut and put her on the first flight back to the US before she could make any more terrible decisions. The demon Newfie was marginally amusing, but that was it.

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  81. Chez
    Nov 18, 2009 @ 02:35:39

    I wish I liked Lisa Kleypas, Dianne Gabaldon and Judith Ivory. Unfortunately I just don’t and while I can get through a Kleypas, I don’t search for them and I only managed the first chapter on the others.

    Colleen Gleason should also tick all the right boxes, but just doesn’t sadly, nor does the Jeanne (?) Frost vampire ones. I love vampire books, but sadly not these. To carry on the rant I just don’t like YA novels that much. I have a teenager so just not wanting to read the angst.

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  82. BlueRose
    Nov 18, 2009 @ 04:49:04

    Im also less about the community and more about the “wanting every book to be excellent all the time”

    Also for me I also have a bit of “being the only person in the room who didnt get the joke” feeling about some authors, and I would like to get the joke now and then.

    The author I have the biggest issue with is Jacqueline Carey – I read about 100 pages of the first Kushiel book and then said the 8 Deadly Words.

    Katie MacAllister – totally dislike the Aisling Grey books – so whiny and angsty

    Heyer can be hit and miss due to quality

    Dorothy Dunnet – I tried a Lymond book years ago and completely bounced off it

    China Melville – his first book (forgotten the title) again gave it the 100 page test and bounced it off the wall, and everyone raves about him.

    I would also go so far as to extrapolate out into certain genres – there are some I just dont get no matter who I read in them – steampunky Victorian stuff I am thinking of here, I can only think of one book (Havemercy) that I actually finished and enjoyed

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  83. KMont
    Nov 18, 2009 @ 09:13:14

    Gena Showalter. I’ve read exactly one book by her that I loved – Playing With Fire. Unfortunately, it’s anything else I read of hers that I got burned. I hate to say it, but I’ve found in the last couple of years that her characters, dialogue, action – it’s all so silly.

    BUT I am truly glad others love her books. They are simply not for me. Took me a while to face that music.

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  84. Gina
    Nov 18, 2009 @ 13:33:43

    Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick. People describe her as a comfort read all the time, and I usually love “comfort read” authors. She has a ginormous backlist, but the writing annoyed me (too many !!!!! at least one every page or two, and I hate !!!!! exclamation points), the heroes bored me, and the heroines were not TSTL – just stupid. I picked up the reissue of Fabulous Beast / Night of the Magician, and after about 10 pages I checked the copyright date and found out I’d been tricked into purchasing a reissue originally published in 1984. (It did teach me to ALWAYS check the copyright date, pretty cover or no.) I assume her writing style has changed since 1984, but I can’t get over the dread of seeing so many !!!!!! in a book.

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  85. Pamela
    Nov 18, 2009 @ 14:07:56

    I’m a big believer in not wasting time in finishing a book you dislike. There are so many out there with more being published every week that you’re never going to read a fraction of them. It’s really about time management. I used to know someone who claimed to be a big reader but probably only read about 15 books a year. Mainly becuase she felt she “had to” finish each book she started and wouldn’t read more than one book at a time.

    I think a lot of these preferences are based on personal expereince and age. Age factors a lot, I think. More than I realized. I started reading romances in my teens and didn’t have the maturity and patience to appreciate the subtleties of some books. I read “Lord of Scroundrels” during that time with no memory of it. And went back to it after it kept showing up on 10 ten lists and loved it. I have no idea why it didn’t appeal to me the first time around.

    I had read Jo Goodman then too. I only remember reading the last Compass Club book (mostly the prologue stuck out for me.) But I’ve totally fallen in love with her work in the past year. In searching out her backlist, it turns out I had already read “Only in My Arms” when it was published but I only realized when I got to the end of the book. I bought “Never Love a Lawman” the week it came out but moved during the intervening weeks. It’s going to be my reward for finally unpacking everything.

    My first romance ever was a Debbie Macomber category. I think it was about a green card marriage. I even bought her single titles for awhile, but I find her stories too sweet for me now.

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  86. Kim Marie
    Nov 19, 2009 @ 08:26:17

    For some reason it makes me feel good to know that many readers share my dislike for books/authors that so many others love. Perhaps misery loves company or it validates my taste. You all have mentioned, repeatedly, the authors that I keep trying because I see rave reviews – and yet, I just don’t like them (Singh, Carlyle, James, Goodman, Putney, Kleypas, Dunnet, Wiggs, MacAllister, and – - oh god, the worst, Nora). I wish I liked them because I’d have an endless supply of books I know I’d love. I feel like I’ve gone through the best of the romance authors (Crusie, early Gibson, Quinn, select Garwood, SEP) and am now digging into the lower tiers. I keep hoping to find top-tier authors with long backlists that I’ve missed.

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  87. Karen Scott
    Nov 19, 2009 @ 11:02:36

    Meljean Brook is one author that I wished I enjoyed her books. I’ve tried the first two, but had to give up in the end. They reminded me of how much I hate paranormals/demon books.

    Same applies to Kresley Cole books.

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