I generally am open to about anything when it comes to reading. I like romance, I like alternate reality, I like fantasy…basically, if it’s well-written, I’ll read it. But the key here is well-written. With the advent of self-publishing comes a great many people who “have stories to tell.” It definitely makes it difficult to weed through the chaos and find the gems. The fact that I live in a place where going outside between the months of December and May could probably used as a form of torture…and, well, I have a lot of failed books. I used to try to force myself to read everything I started. I really thought that I was obligated. Kindle Unlimited furthers this sense of obligation by the reader by the fact that the author only gets paid for the pages you read. This seems like a semi-brilliant business model. I mean, write REALLY GOOD stories and get paid REALLY GOOD, right? Or you could be like a whole slew of writers out there and just write as much mediocrity (and sometimes subpar drivel) as you can possibly pump out because quantity is always better than quality, right? No.
So…in honor of the fact that I spend many nights curled up with my reader, here are a few of the most recent failures in my reading life…and a tiny bit about why (warning, I’ve been on an RH kick, so there are quite a few in here).
1. The Lonely Lioness by Catherine Banks
I started reading this one and I really wanted to like it…because saber tooth tiger shifters! But…no. The FMC was ridiculously whiny, self-absorbed, and had finding a mate on the brain. There was a lot (by a lot, I mean pages at a time) of inner monologue in order to explain things. This is a major contributing factor to me HATING first person present voice…there is something to be said for omniscient narrators. I think I made it a couple chapters in before I really just couldn’t take it any more.
2. Games of Genus by CJ Strange
I tried really really really hard, but I couldn’t overlook what appears to be a friggin’ typo in the title. It’s supposed to be a rewriting of Sherlock Holmes…or something. I read a few pages, but it became obvious that the author has a serious abuse of homophones going on…and that the title is quite probably supposed to be “Games of Genius”…
3. Slate High (Willow Rundstow Book 1) by LM Wilson
I like a good paranormal young adult whatever…but this. This was confusing. I can’t even remember if I finished it. I know I stopped reading a couple times, even returned it before picking it back up again. Mostly, the guys are assholes. And not in that “he’s really doing it for your own good” way that you find in bad boy romances. No…they’re really just jerks. Their actions are confusing, the time jumps are confusing, her lack of response to them beyond curling up into a ball and taking it is confusing. This book has such a good premise and there are points where the story seems to catch up with the idea of it, but Wilson can’t seem to maintain that and so you’re stuck with a story that doesn’t know which way is up.
4. Kissing Princeton Charming by Frankie Love & C.M. Seabrook
Picked this up after I did a blitz for it. It starts out alright, but quickly devolves into a trope that’s so overdone you need a chainsaw to cut it. Poor nerd girl + rich playboy = love. I know, I know…it’s advertised as a modern Cinderella. I didn’t realize how much this trope bugs me lately until this book. I couldn’t finish it because it was seriously a regurgitation of every poor girl/rich boy book out there. The book is actually the first in a series and it appears (from the blurbs) that MAYBE the story might veer off and become its own thing…however they also hint VERY STRONGLY at a love triangle. *shrugs* It just wasn’t interesting enough to keep me going.
5. Death Card by AC Wilds
I really wanted to like this one and pushed through long past the point where I normally give up…but I’m really freaking tired of the chick being kidnapped, not knowing what she is (PNR), and generally just being helpless while being described as a badass. I really liked the Fae/Angel mash-up that Wilds has going on…but I think the actual story was taking too long to figure out what it was doing and the liberal use of very tired plot devices finally became too much.
6. The Rose Vampires by Ivana Skye
Umm…I don’t know where to begin with this one. I think, if Skye had toned down the descriptions a teeny tiny lotta bit, I could have devoured this one. I have a hard time with infodumps (I know…inner monologues for info are terrible, rambling narrators are terrible…I’m picky), and Skye has a buttload of them. Lots of seemingly inconsequential observations about people, vampires, the freaking pond. Generally I find the issue with new writers is that they don’t give me enough detail to make the scene/people/story feel real…Skye has the opposite problem–she writes in so much detail that I just don’t care anymore.
I know 6 is a weird number, but I think I’m going to leave it there for now. I just don’t understand how people don’t use professional editors (I used to be a semi-professional, but even I wouldn’t let somebody name their book “Games of Genus” without some seriously thorough questioning…and making sure the blurb reflects why the damn title looks like it has a typo. I don’t understand why people don’t want to write quality stories. For sure, write that story down…but get a Beta reader and make sure it at least makes sense! I’m sure as winter tightens its chokehold on the midwest, I’ll read more terrible books and more fantastic books. I’ll keep trying randomnew authors every now and again, but I’m super tired of reading about FMCs who act like kids and teenagers when they’re nearing 30. I’m tired of TSTL FMCs who won’t listen. I’m ridiculously tired of the fact that every story seems to be a cookie cutter of the last one…and I’m not saying you have to look deep to find it. Some of them are so close, the characters’ NAMES are the same. I just really struggle with finding a good book to really get into.