Apr 23, 2012

Posted by in Question | 17 Comments

Question – Is There Something Wrong With You?

My weekend was jam-packed, a.k.a. I didn’t have time to come up with a brand-spanking new Question.  So I am recycling an older one.  It’s a good one I think.

We who write book blogs and we who read book blogs read a lot.  And we are easily influenced by bloggers.  If one blogger loves a book, we consider it.  If many bloggers LOVE a book, we must buy it.  But what happens if we don’t LOVE it too?  That is what my Question was back on August 2nd 2010 and that is the topic of my Question for you today.  Here is what I had to say in 2010:

Last week, I started reading Stacia Kane’s Downside Ghosts series.  I am enjoying it, and thank goodness.  It is a ‘very popular among blogger’ series.

That got me thinking…What if I’d read a couple chapters and not liked it?  There are many, many super popular and addictive book series out there.  So far, if I read great reviews for a particular book from my go-to bloggers and proceed to read it, I’ll love it.  Examples are the Mercedes Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, the Black Dagger Brotherhood by JR Ward and the Night Huntress books by Jeaniene Frost.  I read about them, picked them up and am now among the group who waits by the calender anticipating the release of the next installment.  But what if I didn’t like them?  What if, after reading the first book of the series, I really couldn’t bring myself to read another?  What if, after reading the first book, I thought my go-to bloggers were hit with the crazy stick?

Which leads me to my question:  Is there something wrong with you if you won’t or can’t jump on the bandwagon?  Did you ever come across a book or a series of books that you swear EVERYONE liked but you?

  1. LOL…yes!! Several times I’ve come across a book or series that everyone seemed to LOVE, but I didn’t like and in some cases couldn’t even finish. I tend to scratch my head and wonder what I’m missing that everyone else seems to be gaga about it. I don’t know if I’d say there is something wrong with me, I think I tend to just be a really picky reader & have ridiculously high standards in what I read & what constitutes a good book. There are authors (Ilona Andrews, Karen Marie Moning, Patricia Briggs, Diana Rowland, Cassandra Clare, Darynda Jones, Kelly Meding, Lori Armstrong, Toni McGee Causey, to name a few) who I believe set the bar so high, that I measure all others by the rush I get while reading their books. Unfortunately, most can’t live up to those expectations.

  2. Great topic Julie, and if you promise to keep my secret I’ll make a confession. well two. The very first PNR I read (though I had no idea that there was such a category/genre at the time) was the 2st BDB book, which I didn’t like to put it mildly. I read it, and it was a pageturner but I SO did not like the writing style, that even though about 8 years have gone by and everyone is crazy excited about its sequels coming out, I haven’t picked that series up, and don’t think I’ll give it a 2nd chance.

    The other one which surprised me was how disappointing I found Dragon Bound. Maybe if I haven’t heard all the hype, praise and gushing beforehand my expectations wouldn’t have been this high, but as it is I found it mediocre. Cliché and I expected more. Seeing how people, even those bloggers’ whose book taste I usually trust loved it, I’ll skip the next books in the series.

    So 2 of the ‘miss’es that are still quite fresh in my mind.

    And was there any disappointments for you as well?

  3. I feel bad for admitting it, but even I fall victim to the “read an overhyped series and hated it” syndrome. I won’t name names, but I think it can also depend on where you start in the series. Like, if I were to have begun the Sookie Stackhouse books with the most recent one or two, I never would have read the rest. Ditto the more “sexy” of the Laurell K Hamilton Anita books probably wouldn’t have inspired me to read Guilty Pleasures.

    That’s what I like to start at the first one, always, and base my decisions on that.

  4. kai charles says:

    Though I Love Stacia’ s books , i know exactly how you feel!

    I couldt get itonDaughter of Smoke & bone or the night circus 🙂

  5. Another wonderful question, Julie. Yes, I’ve absolutely had that moment where I was reading a series everyone seemed to adore, and I felt I must be reading some other series with the same name, because I just wasn’t enjoying myself.

    I’m going to have to second Stella here and say Dragon Bound is one example of a wildly popular book I did not enjoy– I loved Pia but Dragos fell completely flat for me. He was too cliché, overbearingly alpha male, and ultimately inhuman – I didn’t find him sympathetic at all. In addition, the big reveal at the end plus the “little surprise” really bugged me because it felt like a silly way to explain why Dragos, who claimed to not understand love, suddenly wanted to try loving someone out. I disliked this book so much, I haven’t read the rest of the series.

    First Grave on the Right and really that whole series is another example. I know you really loved this series, Julie. And I wanted to adore it, but I just couldn’t. The humor was a bit too much of a good thing, but what really got me was Charlie and Reese’s relationship. It basically started with a rape threat when they were teens, and then for some reason I could never understand, Charlie spent the rest of her life obsessing over Reese, the boy that threatened her as a girl (right after she helped him no less). To add to the creep factor, he starts stalking her dreams and taking advantage of her there – and this just further excites her to the point where she quite literally can barely solve her case in First Grave because she’s spending all her time searching for info on this mysterious, violent, scary man she’s crushing on.

    And no, I definitely don’t think there’s anything wrong with me, or anyone else that finds an extremely popular series they just can’t enjoy. I think, for me, and a lot of people, when it comes down to it, we’ll love series where we can identify with and enjoy the characters in them. Not just the protagonist either. It is just as important for me (if not more important) for me to enjoy the main male lead – the one that gets the girl. In the case of Dragon Bound, and First Grave, my primary issue was the male love interest (although I’m not a fan of Charlie from First Grave either). I found them either unlikeable, or the relationship between them and the female protagonist didn’t feel genuine and organic to me.

    What about you, Julie? Why do you think some series just don’t resonate with you? And what’s an example of a series everyone loved, but you didn’t?

  6. I did not jump on the Stacia Kane wagon and yes I thought there was something wrong with me 😉

    But everyone is different. I can’t say why some books do not work for me, they just do not, and I can’t know before I have tried them

  7. oh man, great topic. I love a good chance to rant.

    I, too, did not love Dragon Bound. Didn’t hate it, just felt ‘meh’ about everything that came after an awesome first chapter.

    Jeaniene Frost – her voice does not work for me at all. I think that I like UF with some romance, and I like PNR, but I do not like books that straddle the line like hers does. I may be the only person on earth who prefers her spin-off books to the ones dedicated to Cat & Bones.

    Darynda Jones – so rapey, in my opinion, and I don’t understand how I’m the only one that feels that way! I find the humour so irritating that I wish I could reach out and slap the characters. Mind you, I’m not known for my sense of humour, so take that with a grain of salt.

    Kevin Hearne – again, I don’t get how I’m the only one who hates the way he writes about women. And the humour thing once again.

    Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampire series – it felt like a YA book disguised as an adult book (dormitory living, douchy love interest, catty BF). I don’t hate them, just would rather read actual YA.

    These are all super popular books, and I often feel like I’m the only one not on the bandwagon. Sometimes I search Goodreads for bad reviews just to see if I’m crazy and, yup, most of the time it’s just me. The comments on this thread, however, are making me feel a little better! That being said, everyone has their own dealbreakers with a book. The more thoughtful reviews I read by awesome bloggers, the better I am about figuring out why I don’t like something. It’s silly, but I find it empowering to be able to articulate my likes and dislikes (silly because I don’t review or talk about books with friends).

  8. Great topic!
    I read, but hated Karen Marie Moning’s Shadow series. Yes, Barrons is hot, but he’s also a complete A-Hole.

    I also couldn’t get into Karen Chance’s Cassie Palmer series. I could not follow the plot in these, all the time travel and geis related stuff made my head feel like it was going to explode. No thanks!

  9. The Fever series bored me too. I kept reading in the hopes that it would get more imteresting, mostly because of favourable reviews, but the last book is still sitting half read. And I never got the Hollows series by Kim Harrison either – main. Haracter struck me as being sanctimonious about either characters bad choices whilst making lots herself.

  10. Michele – Great point about certain favorite authors setting the bar so high that nothing else can compete. Really great point.

    Stella and Jessica – For me it seems to be pretty much anything dystopian. I was so wrapped up in the hype that I purchased 4 or 5 books that were recommended to me all at once. After reading 2 I realized that I just didn’t enjoy that genre. At all. So I ended up giving the other books away. Also I could never get into Kresley Cole’s IAD series. I read 5.5 books and just couldn’t go on. The books were well written and all but I just, for some odd reason, couldn’t click with them 🙁

    Sierra – I also find it very important to read from the beginning. It just makes the journey that much richer. And I try to suggest reading at least two books from a series before you make up your mind. But sometimes it really is obvious from book one that the series just isn’t for you.

    kai – I want to try Night Circus but I have a feeling I wouldn’t be able to get into that one either.

    blodeuedd – Tastes really do vary. Even when you follow a recommendation from someone who rated the last twenty books you read the exact same way you did. lol

    sara o – Here’s what I think it is from what you say: you don’t like quirky books. All of the books that you mentioned are filled with quirky humor. I love quirk but I am aware that it’s not for everyone. And I think Sara that you may just be one of those people. 😉

    CdnMrs – I know about Barrons. I am one who think he’s delicious and I adore those books but really, when you study him without fantasizing about licking him everywhere, he really is a jerk. lol

    Vivienne – I haven’t read Kim Harrison’s Hollows books yet. I want to though and when I do I hope I like them. 🙂

  11. Northwoman says:

    I love Patricia Briggs, Jeanine Frost, Thea Harrison, many others.

    But what I can not get on to reading the Black Dagger Brotherhood. I couldn’t get through the first one; I tried several times. So many people, including you, like it.

  12. Sometimes I have a hard time articulating why a book doesn’t appeal to me, but it usually boils down to either a writing style that I don’t click with, or a lead character that I really dislike. I tried Kresley Cole’s first book, and just didn’t like her writing style at all. After hearing all the hype the last few years, I picked up a free short story, and yup, there was that style again. because of that, I haven’t (and won’t) try any of her others. OTOH, JR Ward’s style doesn’t bother me at all, so I am a BDB fan although not rabid about it.

    As for lead characters, unlike many, I can live with overbearing heroes. I think it’s because I grew up reading romance in the bodice ripping era. However, if the heroine is snarky in an unnecessary way, or one of those independent characters that just refuses to accept any help, I usually have trouble with the book.

  13. Of course there is nothing wrong with not liking a book “everyone” else is loving. For instance, I liked Dragon Bound, but found the characters and dialogue “woody” and Pia a very stupid person. The world was the past part. In my eyes, the books get better with each new one, and I really love them now. And I know nobody agrees with me on that 🙂
    I also can’t love the Sabina Kane novels. What a pushover for a heroine. (Ducks the tomatoes).
    About Kevin Hearne: it takes some time getting used to his use of words, and I really dislike him using very long and obscure ones, is that to look down on his readers? To show he knows those wordS? And of course all the cursing in de JR Ward books. But still, somehow it fits the story, and what I would not take in other books, I can take in those. But as with everything, that is a very personal taste.

    So, feel free to not like everything. The world would be very boring if everyone liked the same things.

  14. Yay! So reassuring that there are other people who felt the same way with Dragon Bound and BDB! *Stella who is relieved there is nothing wrong with her* 😉

  15. There is nothing wrong with me, I’m perfect. If I don’t like a book that everybody loved they are the ones wrong, not me, never me.

  16. Northwoman – I can totally see how the BDB books are an acquired taste. lol

    JenM – You pinned it down perfectly! Writing style or character issues are definitely the two things that can make or break a book.

    Aurian – “Ducks the tomatoes” LOL

    Stella – I think whatever books you love or hate, you will have company. lol

    Bookaholic Cat – Of course you are Marcela. Of course you are. 😉

  17. This happened to me when I read Nightshade by Andrea Cremer. It was an average Paranormal YA, in my opinion, but everyone else LOVED it. I think when it comes to very heavily publicized books within the blogging community, there is a much higher expectation. The book is everywhere and everyone loves it, so I get excited. When I read it and it’s just kinda meh, I feel like I missed something. But had I found the book on my own, I may have enjoyed it more because I wouldn’t have started with such high expectations.

    I know many people won’t agree with me, but I really haven’t been into the past couple Mercy Thompson books. I really enjoyed the first four, but since then I just haven’t been feeling them as much and I can’t pinpoint why.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with me. Or anyone else that can’t get into a popular book. No one’s reading tastes are the same. A plot device I enjoy, could piss someone else off. I love my Urban Fantasies in which the heroine is a PI or cop and Paranormal YAs that involve a boarding school, but my girlfriend dislikes those.

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