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Reading-Chat Monday: Hating Books by Favorite Authors

Monday, July 9, 2012

We all have favorite authors. And we all have favorite books by our favorite authors. And if we’re lucky, we might have some that find less favor with us, but which we still like.

And when our favorite authors are long-since gone, that’s not problematic. But what about our favorite authors who are still alive and writing?

I recently started reading historical romances by Eloisa James. I’d read a novella of hers last year and really enjoyed it, even though I don’t usually read novellas. So when I saw she had a new series out that are Regency-set retellings of fairytales, I decided to give her another shot. I downloaded the audiobook of the first one in the series, A Kiss at Midnight, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The second book in the series, When Beauty Tamed the Beast, was just okay—but, as already mentioned, there will always be books by our favorite authors which we might not like. I figured that one would be the misfire in this series for me. And then I got to the most recent book, The Duke is Mine. I couldn’t even finish the book, I disliked it so much!

But I really enjoy James’s writing style and the way she structures her story. She’s one of the only general-market historical romance authors I’ve read recently who doesn’t have her hero and heroine start lusting after each other on the first page and start making out and/or fall into bed together by the fourth or fifth chapter. She takes time to let the relationship between the characters develop before she brings in the physical aspect of the relationship, and I appreciate that. It means there are fewer scenes I need to skip/skim and more story to dig into.

But she was now only 1 of 3 for me with her full-length novels. So I decided to try a book in a different series. I got onto and searched for her and then started reading the blurbs of her books. I found one that sounded great—Fool for Love—and started listening to it. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize it was the second book in a series or that she would spend half the book focusing on characters from the first book whose viewpoint scenes have absolutely nothing to do with the developing relationship between the characters who are supposed to be the “stars” of this book. So it’s been hard to convince myself to listen to it, when more than half the time (it seems), I’m hearing about characters I care absolutely nothing for. Would this be different if I’d read the first book first? Maybe. But maybe not—because I just really don’t like these characters from the first book, at least not the way they’re presented in this one.

So that brings me to my Reading Chat question for today.

What do you do when a favorite author (or one you thought might become a favorite author) disappoints you with a book you don’t like? How many chances will you give an author before you give up on his/her books completely?

  1. Monday, July 9, 2012 12:12 am

    I haven’t read this one yet, and I’ve yet to decide whether or not I want to…

    I really like Kristen Heitzmann. She writes excellent Christian Romantic Suspense, and one of my favourites is The Still of Night (sequel to The Rush of Wings). Now I see on Amazon that she has another sequel coming out in November, The Breath of Dawn.

    Only (spoiler for those who haven’t read Still of Night) after spending an entire book getting Morgan and Jill together, she has now killed Jill off, and Breath of Dawn is Morgan finding True Love. Again.

    I liked Jill. I don’t want her dead. Even if she is just a fictional character.


  2. Monday, July 9, 2012 7:48 am

    I have some authors that I read everything they have out, but if their stories all start to sound the same, even repeating scenes…I put them down for a while and then come back. I just starting Susan Wiggs, started with the audio of Table for Five and had to force myself to finish it, working on the ebook of The Goodbye Quilt now and really connecting with the mother in this one. Not sure if I will go for three on her though. I’ll have to be convinced for a third read.


  3. Monday, July 9, 2012 8:47 am

    Well my favorite author is Stephen King and there’s only on book that he’s disappointed me with and that was “The Colorado Kid”
    you say you liked the novella by Eloisa James and even the first book in her series, now I’m wondering is it all the pressures put on writers to do series and then have deadlines they are trying to meet that their creative writing suffers?


    • Tuesday, July 10, 2012 10:46 pm

      That’s an interesting question for me, too. I find that I prefer stand alones for this reason–but publishers want sequels to capitalize on.


  4. Monday, July 9, 2012 8:50 am

    my disappointment mostly comes when a favourite author’s release of a year happens to be in a series i don’t follow (or like). martha grimes ( who writes the richard jury series; which i love) sometimes writes a completely different series which i despise. the same with young adult writer catherine webb: i love her horatio lyle novels; but don’t like the urban fantasy she pens under another name. i love elizabeth peters’ egyptian series starring amelia peabody; but not her other work.


  5. Monday, July 9, 2012 12:28 pm

    It happened to me with Susan May Warren. I love love love the Mission Russia series. She did three books with Steeple Hill before they folded their trade line and I devoured them. When she announced she was doing a follow-up series through LIS, I was so excited.

    And then I read the first one. I made myself finish it only because it was the final pair from the original series. It suffered from a lack of a sub-plot and other POV’s. I don’t care enough about the new characters to read the rest of them.


  6. starryeyed permalink
    Tuesday, July 10, 2012 11:07 pm

    Shannon Donnelly. The first book of hers I read was A Dangerous Compromise . The heroine was too silly for me (and I was a teen at the time!) but the hero was great and the writing was strong. The next book in the series, A Much-Compromised Lady was in the library, so I read that too–it was much racier than the other one and had much more morally questionable main characters, but the historical aspects were really unique and interesting. Years later, I came across Proper Conduct, from the sequel series and loved, loved, loved it. It propelled me to seek out and read more of her books. I really liked A Proper Mistress and Barely Proper, the other two books in the series, but then I read her final book, Lady Scandal.

    It stunk. I read through to the end because I pretty much have to be morally repulsed by a book not to finish it, but it featured the silliest, most irresponsible heroine (who was in her late thirties at the youngest!) ever, and an absolute cad for a hero. The plot was contrived and weak, and the set-ups for the next book were blatant.

    I decided to give her another chance and I read the first book from her, A Compromising Situation, which was very enjoyable, but flawed. There’s another book I haven’t read, but I’m saving it for Christmas, because I hate reading seasonal books out of season.



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