Friday, May 9, 2008

By the Book

Heh! Could not resist this pic. I've been wading through more of my Big Too Be Read (BTBR) pile this week. And I've decided that I have a new bitch. Lest you think that my books are all from e-pubs, I've read a wide variety this last week (18 books) in various genres from both dead-tree pubs and e-pubs though I read them all in e-format as I don't buy them otherwise.

So here's the thing that I found seriously annoying. Well... two things I found seriously annoying. The first is the story line that has boy meets girl... boy and girl have misunderstanding... boy and girl fail to work this out for 200 to 300 pages. Then in the last ten pages SOMEONE runs up and solves the problem and presto, they have a happily ever after.

Now I'm not talking about a genuine case of each must grow and change to make it work out. No I'm talking about Susie thinks John is cheating on her for the entirety of the book. There are a series of encounters where they have childish conversations to the effect of "I can't trust you" and "Do what you want", etc. Then at the end of the book, some person who Susie considers trustworthy tell her that John could not have cheated on her because he was doing thus and so and was not anywhere near the other female... Blech. Immediately, Susie runs to John's arms begging for forgiveness for not trusting him. Immediately, John declares that that's all right because he loves Susie. HEA!!! Am I the only one that wonders why these books are published?

A) What kind of relationship do they have if she doesn't trust him? B) What kind of man says yeah, baby, it's okay if you walked all over me, I love ya anyway? And C) If the trustworthy friend knew the truth all along, why not just speak up? Argh!

In the second case, the heroine has been through several bad relationships (why is it always several? Does that tell us something about her?) and now is afraid to trust the big gorgeous alpha hero because he's probably just toying with her. So for 200 to 300 pages we are privileged to hear her whine to all and sundry about how she's afraid to trust him as he most likely doesn't really love her, but will leave her as soon as he gets what he wants from her. Now in the old days that would be sex, but in our new jump-into-bed-before-we-know-each-other's-name era, that isn't so. They're screwin' from page three. So what's the hero hanging around for? Pizza?

In both cases, there didn't seem to be much of a story. I know what you're thinkin'. They couldn't have all been that bad. Yeah, they were. Out of 18 books, 15 were romances. Out of that 15, 12 had storylines like I've described. Kinda sad. The other three were older books from my library. Sigh. It's enough to make you go back to Helen MacInnes and Elizabeth Cadell. I can do without sex. I can do without kissing. Just give me a story. Give me people that don't whine. Give me characters that act like real people. Do you suppose that is too much?

On the other hand, I read a couple of excellent books:

Compulsion by Jonathon Kellerman. Want a book that will curl your hair and yank it out? This is it. As usual, Mr. Kellerman delivers.

Trial by Fury by J.A. Jance. This is one of Ms. Jance's JP Beaunont mysteries... a story that kept me turning my virtual pages until 2 AM.

Reckless Love by Elizabeth Lowell. An oldie, but of Ms. Lowell's western historicals. I love her western historicals.

What about you? Read any good books lately? I have a pile still left to read--some from e-pubs and some from the dead tree pubs. Amarinda Jones, Katie Blu, Regina Carlysle, to name just a few. What's on your TBR pile?

Shoot! Forgot to mention that I'm guest blogging at Jenyfer Matthews blog today. Check it out at


  1. The books that annoy me are the ones you have to keep going back and forward over several pages to work out what the hell happened. They switch course so fast you think - what? Is this the same book? Why didn't the editor/fle pick this up??

  2. I adore Jonathon Kellerman. Have to go sort through my book room and see if I have that one waiting. I actually read a book this week, the latest Sarah Graves. Not rocket science but I enjoy the slew of home repair mishaps that appear in her series. I'm so happy to have finished something!

  3. I've been into the mystery books from the 1930's, where the girls are the detectives, but get into trouble all the way through it. And who bails them out? The dashing hero, whom they suspect is part of the band of villians, only to discover in the last chapter he's actually a Federal agent who's infiltrated the gang and saves the girl detective before the thief kills her. Thank God mystery novels have evolved!

    As for the next couple of books in my TBB list...Books by Cheryl Dragon, Cindy Spencer Pape, and Bronwyn Green:) I don't know what I'll find in the next box of dead tree books; I'll open up the next box later today.

  4. TBR: Anny Cook, Amarinda Jones, Regina Carlyle, Teri Thackston, Jacqueline Roth, Molly Daniels, Katie Blu, Brynn Paulin, Bronwyn Green, L.A. Day, Ashley Ladd... there are so many. Can't touch one of them until both books are written sometime after July. If I start now, I'd never get back to writing.

  5. I've been trying to get through a few books in my TBR pile too. I finshed the latest Cheyenne McCray book, Shadow Magic. This is a fantastic series, but I think this one might have been my absolute favorite!

    I also went back and read books 2 and 3 in Lauren Dane's Witches Knot series. I'd read books 1 and 4, but somehow missed the two in between. They are fabulous, but then Lauren Dane's books always are!

  6. Oh, yes, I love Lauren's books. There are so many to list, aren't there? I could do an entire post with just names of authors that are in my TBR pile.

  7. I love Elizabeth Lowell. Especially her older stuff and I still have copies of the "Only" series of westerns. HOT. Her Only series and Enchanted series made me want to BE HER and made me want to WRITE.

    As to plots. ACK!!! I used to write only longer books and it was much easier to work in a complex and interesting plot. These days the stories are just shorter and it's extremely difficult to write the required amount of hottness PLUS a comlicated plot. I'm constantly agonizing about it.

    TBR (sigh,maybe next yr. sometime or when I catch up on writing projects, whichever comes first) is Anny's complete backlist, Amarinda Jones, and everything by Cindy Spencer Pape. Can't forget J.R. Ward's upcoming Lover Enshrined...I looove her work.

  8. I lost E. Lowell's Only books so I was delighted to find them in the Sony library. I downloaded all of them--$4 apiece. And enjoyed every word.

    As for plots vs. sex... that's pretty much why I'm writing longer books.

  9. My copies of the ONLY series are so old they've turned yellow and smell funny but I still hang onto them. Might try to pick them up in ebook version somewhere as that's now my preferred choice when it comes to reading. Her stuff is just delicious.

    I have a LONG Erotic REGENCY WIP sitting on my computer and I think I need to finish it to satisfy my "plot cravings"