Reading Compulsion

A red magnet that says Recently, after reviewing a book I finished only because I wanted to know how it ended, we discussed the term we would use to describe a book we're finishing not out of compulsion but due to morbid or frustrated curiosity. 

Thinking about why I finish books and how I feel about them while I'm reading made me realize some things about how I grade books. In many cases, I begin identifying the grade while I'm reading. I have noticed that there is a difference between my reading due to mild curiosity and reading because I am compelled to keep reading. There is an obvious difference between reading because I cannot stop, because I am unable to close the book and do something else until I finish one more page, one more chapter, one more scene, and whoops, it's 2 am and there's the end of the book – and reading because, meh, whatever. I have a hard time deciding not to finish a book, and have to repeatedly give myself permission to put a book down unfinished and start something else.

Whether I hit the point of compulsion in reading, the point of meh-whatever, and the point of no-more-please-this-is-not-working often influences the grade I'd give that book. If I hit “shut up and leave me alone because I'm reading,” it's a good grade; if I'm distracted by anything and everything other than the book because the book is boring the hell out of me, it's not a good grade. Deciding what specific grade and outlining the supporting reasons why I chose that grade often becomes the bulk of the review.

The hardest reviews, I've said before, are the “meh” reviews. I can outline in great detail why I loved a book, or why I really, really disliked a book. But if I'm entirely “meh” about it, it can be very difficult to explain why. It's not objectionable, nor it is effervescent, entertaining crazy sauce. It's just there. I'm sort of interested. Mildly.  That's probably the very definition of a C for me: “Meh.”

But all of my ruminations about what I think while I read (can you tell that I was reading a book that wasn't interesting me? I was more interested in my own reaction to reading than in what I was actually reading, which is the most acrobatic sort of mental navel gazing I've done in awhile) are just another way to examine my own rubric, the method I use to grade books. My level of reading compulsion is one of the early influences to the grade I assign, which then communicates my reaction to the reader.

Readers have to follow a blog or reviewer for awhile to figure out what an “A” means, or a “B” or a “C.” Here we have different kinds of Fs, for example – F+ is bad-but-full-of-excellent-crazysauce, and F is just bad, and not entertainingly so. It takes some time and reading of reviews to figure out where a reviewer's rubric is located and how well it lines up with someone else's. It's not just “I liked this book,” but the reason why that person liked it, and whether that reason lines up with the reason YOU like it. (I've said before that one of my favorite email messages said, in effect, “I hate everything you love, and love all the books you hate! Keep up the great work!”)

One of the earliest influences of the grade I am going to give a book is found in the compulsion to keep reading. If I want to keep reading, I ask myself why – is it the plot? Do I want to find out what's going to happen next? Does every chapter end on a perilous cliffhanger? Or is it the characters, and I want to find out what happens to them, to move from the current emotional position to the next?

There are things that interrupt my compulsion, and I suspect that mine are similar to some readers' points of immediate exit. Things that bug me include repeated phrases, poor continuity, cliches, clunky or completely unrealistic dialogue, out-of-character actions that serve to move the plot forward but don't represent something that character would actually do. These and other peeves combine to create situations wherein I'd rather write about how I review than read more of that book.

I've sometimes described books as “sticky,” meaning that I can't put them down. The glue that prevents me from putting the book down and effectively attaches the book to my fingers is usually found in characters for me, and not always in the plot. I'm more drawn to emotionally complex characters attempting to change themselves, and don't always enjoy a lot of outside influences on a character propelling them into action. But identifying what's in my book glue helps me identify, on a basic level, what I like to read. In this case, I like character-driven stories with internal struggles more than I like plot-driven stories that are about things happening to people.

Some books contain glue that we suspect might also contain crack. They're addictive and they can't be put down. They're compulsive reads even when the prose triggers any number of “Wait, who edited this? WTF is going on? EGADS ANOTHER TYPO.” reactions. The more the typical distractions that would normally cause the reader to exit the book in frustration are easy to ignore, the more crack the book has. I am bothered immensely by early JR Ward books. Do I reread them if I pick one up and read one page? Yes. Sorry. Yhes. There's crack in them there pages – something that compels me past all the other things that would in any other story make me stop reading.

So what are the errors or habits that pull you out of a story? What is your reading crack, and which books have plenty of it for you? Do you notice when you're compelled to keep reading, and why?

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Random Musings

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  1. 1
    Jaelwye says:

    My favorite stories are ones that marry action and introspection—or, more crudely, shit happens to people, they angst over it, and then they go kick butt and screw. Just kicking butt and screwing won’t get me past the first chapter. However, just angsting and screwing won’t get me past the first page. Guess I’m of the love, blood, and rhetoric school. Can’t have love and rhetoric without the blood.

  2. 2
    Elizabeth Houston says:

    I started a list of what I’ve read, along with a grade and some comments, a few years ago, primarily because of those ‘meh’ books. I remember the OMGAwesome books, and the OMGBad books, but I tend to forget Meh, and after the third time I didn’t realize I was rereading a Meh until 3/4 of the way through, I bit the bullet.

    I definitely start grading while reading, purely on my entertainment level. Now, if you ask me, I absolutely hate editing errors, poor continuity, bad plots, undeveloped characters, etc. But every once in a while there’s that book. The one so sticky it was dunked in Elmers. The one that has the problems you can see, but that just don’t matter, because, you know, Sticky! So I’ve started writing 2 grades. One just my gut reaction, and the other a considered evaluation of all of those other things. They’re often very close, but every so often… Of course, I’m just writing these notes for myself. If I actually had to post, I’d be the most confusing reviewer in the world, lol.

  3. 3
    Kaetrin says:

    I think what compels me is the emotional intensity.  Some of the books I remember reading with my heart in my throat, sweating over what would happen next include Laura Kinsale’s Flowers from the Storm and, more recently, Sylvia Day’s Bared To You.  Very different books but both with emotionally high stakes.  Same with KA Mitchell’s Regularly Scheduled Life and No Souvenirs.  Or, Mary Balogh’s Heartless or Jo Beverley’s Devilish.  What exactly makes that emotionally intense connection with me is not something I’m entirely clear on. It’s some kind of connection with the characters I think but I can’t exactly put my finger on what it is.

    None of those books had editing errors or anything and they weren’t book crack in the same way you meant JR Ward books.  So maybe they’re not quite in the same category.  They’re not books I’m embarrassed about liking. But they are books which compelled me to finish and books I have or will re-read.

  4. 4
    Lucy says:

    I am like you—Characters get me hooked to books! Interesting characters make for interesting plot. When the characters seem too flat or too exaggerated reading the book just seems like a waste of time to me. I prefer to wait to see the film adaptation that the author was probably hoping for when they wrote the book.

  5. 5
    ThingsAlySays says:

    I’m the kind of reader who has no trouble quitting a book she doesn’t like. I no longer feel the urge to finish something I don’t like out of sheer stubbornness.

    The only reason why I’d finish a book that I dislike… is if I’m “enjoying” it for all the wrong reasons. For example, if I’m reading a bunch of mushy scenes and the dialogue is SO CORNY that I laugh out loud instead of being touched.

    What I really hate is when a book is bad, has basically NO plot and yet is extremely long. Like, it’s fine if you can’t write a complex plot but PLEASE don’t waste my time with hundreds of pages of meaningless things.

    The last bad book I finished was “Thoughtless” by S. C. Stephens. It’s 360 pages but it could easily be cut down to 160 pages or less. There’s 200 pages of the “heroine” cheating on her boyfriend and then feeling guilty about it and then doing it again. This is the kind of book that Twilight and 50 Shades fans would appreciate… it has one of the worst “heroines” I’ve ever seen… brainless, vapid, obsessive… I feel angry just remembering it.—With this particular book I had to skim through dozens of pages because the stupidity was unbelievable.

  6. 6
    Sarah Wynde says:

    What a fun question! When I finished writing my first novel, I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I knew it would never get traditionally published, but when you write something as long as a novel, you want people to read it. Sort of, anyway. So I found a captive audience (or at least a willing audience) with an online critique group. When one of the guys reading it sent me an email that started with something like, “You’ve ruined my day, I couldn’t put it down until I finished so I stayed up until 4AM and I’m so tired now,” it thrilled me. Such an amazing feeling to know that I’d ruined a stranger’s day! Ha. But that’s still my favorite line in reviews. It’s nice when people like other aspects of the book, but there’s something so satisfying in knowing that they traded sleep to stay in the story.

    I think for me, though, the answer is something about pacing. I think of Robert Parker’s Spenser novels. I didn’t love his characters, but I loved the speed at which they moved. Jayne Anne Krentz and Nora Roberts—I love some books, tolerate others, but the thing that makes the difference for me is how fast they move. Lois McMaster Bujold and Sharon Shinn have the world-building, too. When I’m in one of their worlds, I believe in it, but the world-building never slows down the story, it’s just details dropped along the way.

    Do you think you read differently because you review now? I definitely read differently because I’m writing. It’s much, much harder for me to finish books than it used to be, because of how I’m analyzing them as I read. I used to just let go and let the book take me places, but now I’m thinking about them as I read and not letting my brain shut off.

  7. 7
    SB Sarah says:

    “Do you think you read differently because you review now?”

    I am much more likely to question myself while I read now, yes:
    “I like this.”
    “Ok, Sarah, WHY do you like it?”
    “Well.. because this and that and this other thing.”
    “You better write that down or you’ll forget.”
    “But I’m reading!”
    “Well, you’ll be mad when you can’t remember that stuff when it comes time to write the review.”
    “Dammit.”

    Vacation reading for me has become books that I tell myself I have no obligation to review, that I can enjoy without explaining to myself why. Otherwise, like you, it’s hard to turn off my brain sometimes, and I have to teach it again to be quiet while I’m reading.

    I don’t mind the active brain questioning why I like things, though, because it’s taught me a lot about my own preferences (I HATE CLICHES! I LOVE CHARACTERS THAT DON’T EXPLAIN EVERYTHING THEY DO!)  and helped me find more books that I’ve loved.

  8. 8
    Lynne Connolly says:

    I love the idea of “sticky” books. Sometimes it’s an author I’ve enjoyed before, but this one doesn’t do it for me, but I’ll read on anyway.
    When I review, I save my A’s and F’s for emotional responses. A’s are books that I close with a happy sigh, after maybe rereading a few favourite scenes. F’s are books that make me angry for one reason or another – badly written, containing an issue that is badly treated, that kind of thing.

  9. 9
    SB Sarah says:

    That’s really interesting, that you give two grades. I used to teach remedial comp to freshman, many of whom had learning disabilities when it came to writing. I gave them two grades on the first draft of the paper, one for the argument they made, and one for the language/writing skills they used to make that argument. The goal was to bring them both up so they were very close to each other by the final draft. My goal was to teach that what you say in writing is as important as how you say it, that the writing should not get in the way of understanding what the writing says.

  10. 10

    Trainwrecks…trainwrecks will keep me reading sometimes, even if I can’t stand the book.  But not often.  I get too little reading time and I want to enjoy my reading time.

    What throws me out of a book?  Well, I tend to avoid medical romances or anything with a doctor or nurse unless I know, for a fact, it was written by a doctor, nurse or somebody who has spent serious time in the medical field.  (Same for TV shows)  Most of them are so unrealistically portrayed, it’s ridiculous.  If the writer has medical background, I’m fine, but beyond that?  Nope.  Talking about patients in the elevator?  On a date?  Getting it on in the breakroom?  Scrubs are sexy?  Uh-huh.  So almost any medical thing will throw me out of a book.

    Badly written erotic romance…I could on that one for days.  Lousy world-building.

    I don’t mind a few errors or typos, but if the book is laden with them, I’ll pass.

    My reading crack?  Something fun.  It can be hot and fun.  It can be action-y fun.  It can be angsty-fun (but spare me the over-angsty…I’ve got a teen in the house, I don’t need over-angsty. I live it.)  It can be grim and fun.  But I want something fun. the problem is I sometimes have a hard time defining fun.

    I’m currently getting addicted to Charlotte Stein.  She’s fun.  And I can’t call her crack, either… because her books are tight.

  11. 11

    Okay.  I thought of somebody who is reading crack.  Thanks to Dear Author… I hardly ever read her anymore, but Joanna Lindsey.  Sometimes I’ll get an urge to read one of her books and even as I’m reading and asking myself… Why…  I can’t put it down.  There.  She’s one of the old-school types, and totally reading crack for me.

  12. 12
    Jimthered says:

    Typos are really what hurt a book for me.  They jolt me out of a book and give me a feeling that the authors/editor/publisher just didn’t care enough to get the basics right.  I was thrilled when Barnes & Noble had a collection of all the work of H.P. Lovecraft in one volume—until I looked at the reviews on Amazon.com and almost every one mentioned the numerous typos.

  13. 13
    Tam says:

    I think the character thing is the one sin which authors commit which cause me to abandon series.  It’s why I gave up on Laurell K. Hamilton – I could live with the terrible grammar, poor copy-editing and the increasing Mary Sue-ness of the heroine, but not with the appalling things she was doing to her characters.  The Anita of the first eight books would not be sleeping with underage kids.  Nope.  No way. 

    Stupid errors can pull me out of that feeling of being lost in a novel – usually the ‘potato’ factor in historical novels, like an eighteenth century aristocratic heroine being called Chelsea or Lauren or some such – but I’ll probably still finish it, gritting my teeth the whole time and muttering rude things about authors who can’t spend two seconds to look up a name’s historicity.

    As for the book crack thing – I’m honestly finding it hard to put my finger on what keeps me utterly glued to a book, or hitting the buy button on Amazon for the rest of the series.  I know it when I see it?!

  14. 14

    There are different things that will keep me reading.  Dan Brown, for all I hate him with the flames on my face, had me plow through his books on the first read in less than 24 horus because BY GOD I NEEDED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED.  It wasn’t until the reread that his weaknesses as an author really became apparent to me.  (And the Lost Symbol I made it through by sheer grit- I spent a lot of time yelling at the editor, for not reigning in the italics abuse, at Langdon, for being an idiot, and Brown, for making a shitton of money of this trite crap.)  Brown is a hack, but I couldn’t put Angels and Demons down. 

    So there’s that. 

    There are characters I love (Smite Turner, call me!), or plots that I love (Spymaster’s Lady), or prose that I love or dialogue or sometimes it’s a satisfying sentance that I jsut want to chew and chew and chew over, rolling it around in my head like a rock tumbler. 

    And soemtimes, yes, it’s the crazysauce that I jsut want to see how messed up this shit gets.  Texan Viscount for the win!

  15. 15
    Sarah Wynde says:

    Over the summer I reread loads of favorite books, trying to figure out how they written, why I liked them so much and what made them favorites. I think I ruined a few of them forever, unfortunately.

  16. 16
    Rlbayne says:

    “Texas Viscount?”

  17. 17

    The first review I ever did was a 1980s Old Skool where the hero was a Texas dude who loved all the things Texan, but was also a British Viscount.

    It’s exactly as awesome as it sounds.

  18. 18
    Lyra Archer says:

    Sometimes you keep reading with the hope that the payoff will make up for all the crazysauce you had to slog throug to reach it. Some books (or series) are like a quest. You have to go all the way to Mordor before you can truly appreciate how much you really should’ve stayed at home. Seriously you guys, one does not simply walk into this genre. There is crazy here that does not sleep.

  19. 19
    Alpha Lyra says:

    Stickiness seems to be somewhat separate from enjoyment for me. What makes it easy for me to put a book down is that “been there, done that” feeling—like I’ve read this book, or something very much like it, a dozen times before, and it brings nothing fresh. On the other hand, if there’s something novel and interesting about the book, I may or may not LIKE that novel and interesting element, but there’s a good chance it will keep me reading.

  20. 20
    Flo_over says:

    I’m at the point where I get maybe an hour before I sack out to sleep.  I’m up at 5 and down at 9.  I read children’s books ALL DAY.  So whatever the book is it better damn well be worth my 1 hour of personal pleasure time.  (That sounded wrong but then again that damn well may happen in my lone hour!)

    I currently have to hold myself back while reading Jim Butcher’s Cold Days.  I want to devour it!  I want to toss the kiddos somewhere else and read and read and read until I hit the end.  So far I haven’t done that but it’s really tempting when they all decide to poop TOGETHER and it’s a 3 diaper changing moment with a smell that would level a horse.

  21. 21
    SB Sarah says:

    “Seriously you guys, one does not simply walk into this genre. There is crazy here that does not sleep.”

    I can’t tell you how much that tickled my brain. I’m still chortling. Well said.

  22. 22
    RB says:

    Secret Babies! 

  23. 23
    Rij says:

    Plot plot plot. I’m all about the plot. I can forgive (not totally but quite a lot) cardboard characters, clunky writing and unrealistic worldbuilding if I am interested in what’s going to happen. But lose that interest and the book is dropped. I have no problem stopping reading something that doesn’t interest me. I can even easily abandon a book that I know to be good (Hello Fingersmith!) if I’m not invested in the plot. I’m not an analytical reader and I read purely for entertainment so if something’s not keeping me entertained, I feel no compulsion to continue. There’s too many good books in the world to spend time on bad ones.

  24. 24
    Lara says:

    I’m a sucker for a good first-person narrator. If the character has a distinctive “voice” that makes me like him/her, I’m very likely to keep reading. The three examples that come right to mind are Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser from the Outlander series (she had me at “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ!”), Harry Dresden of the Dresden Files, and Phedre from the Kushiel series. I’m also really enjoying A’s perspective in my current read, David Levithan’s “Every Day”. It’s like listening to a friend tell you about their day.

    On the flip side, narrators who preach too much, whine too much, or drop too many very specific pop-culture references annoy me. House of Night series, I am looking at YOU.

  25. 25
    PamG says:

    I’m not sure that there are specific elements that make a book “sticky” for me.  Compulsive reads have chemistry and balance.  I enjoy characters who are original, layered, and complex, prose that is clean and controlled, and stories that take me to places (and eras and activities) I’ve never been.  But sticky?  That’s like a sixth dimension.  The books that do that for me range from the Vorkosigan Saga to the Dresden Files to the Thief of Eddis.  Harris’s Southern Vampires, Harrison’s Hollows, Cole’s Lore all suck me in every time, though the titles in the series may actually be pretty uneven.  I consider Cole’s & Harrison’s series’ to be crack all the way, but some titles exceeded all expectations.  I read parts of Pale Demon at least a half dozen times—loved the cookie baking scene.

    Looking at that list, I’ve got to say that adventure is a pretty strong adhesive too, but maybe the superglue of my reading habits is a love of character-based humor. I like angst, but I don’t like excessive doom & gloom.  I love Carol O’Connell’s Mallory series, for instance.  But I also loved Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand and The Rook.  Identifying common elements in these titles is way too big a challenge for me; rather it is the combination of elements unique to the specific book that makes it “sticky” for me.  That’s what I mean by chemistry and balance I guess. 

    It’s so much easier to identify what I hate.  I hate errors of spelling and grammar that are frequent enough to yank me out of the story. Stereotyped characters, wooden dialog, and trite or imitative plot-lines are the Goo Gone of my reading life.  TSTL characters will put me off as will huge power imbalances between hero & heroine.  I really hate sex scenes that appear to have been programed for the prurient rather than written in a way that bears some relation to the characters engaging in the sex.  Oh yeah, and I really, really hate characters who continually beat themselves up over stuff that they never really controlled in the first place.

    I do occasionally encounter a book that is excellent in every way, yet can only be read in small doses.  Name of the Wind and Wise Man’s Fear were like that, and I am currently struggling through In the Wood.  I think these books all have a sense of impending doom that gets to me.  Interestingly, I’ve never had a romance have that effect on me.

  26. 26
    Sarah Wynde says:

    I really like this comment, because half the books you mention are ones I love and half are ones I’ve never heard of. Off to look up the Thief of Eddis, Cole’s Lore and the Mallory series!

  27. 27
    Vicki says:

    I love books with good characters, especially if they change in some way during the book. I like good world building, even if that world is just a suburb somewhere. I like action, though it doesn’t have to be bloody or frightening, just something happening that the hero/ine has to gear up to do. Like Shiloh, I am medical and I love medical stuff if well done. And by that, I mean the science, the medicine has to be correct. BTW, all the things she mentions as deal breakers? I’ve either done them or seen/heard them done. In a hospital. I once fell in love with a doc in a surgical mask because of the way his hands moved as he put in a line (and his fine shoulders in the scrubs).

    Things that put me off – using the wrong homonym. There for their, for instance. And why are villains suddenly viscous (oily and thick) instead of vicious? Dialogue that is too modern for the setting. The same description over and over, especially if the author has used it in previous books. Sudden sex that doesn’t fit the plot and makes me think the handbook said “sex on page 59.” Info dumps unless done well. Wimpy stupid women being portrayed as heroines.  I also, and this is personal and due to experiences, have trouble reading books set in the South that portray it as all cozy and cute.

    And I have a huge problem with anything that could be construed as condoning or winking at molest. I actually stopped reading Cassandra Clare after the first book (which I really enjoyed) because it looked like some really squicky stuff was going to happen (though all my teen patients assure me that it does not and I should keep reading).

    Heyer meets the good criteria. I am reading a lot of YA that does, too. Susan Ee’s Angelfall. I also loved Susan Sizemore’s Memory of Morning – excellent world building with minimal info dump. Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale is good that way, too. And I love Laurie King’s Sherlock series: though the romance is mostly in the second book, the continuing relationship between the two primaries as a married couple is sweet.

  28. 28
    Amy Raby (Alpha Lyra) says:

    re: stickiness, here is an example of a book I had a complex (both positive and negative) relationship with. “State of Wonder” by Ann Patchett. A friend recommended this to me, and the setup is that a pharmaceutical company is researching a potentially lucrative drug in Brazil, but the scientist they have working on it there has stopped communicating with them. They sent another scientist to investigate, and to everyone’s shock, he died of a fever. Now it’s up to the protagonist to go there and figure out what’s going on in Brazil—why the first scientist is incommunicado and the second one is dead.

    So I started reading this, and immediately I had both a positive and negative reaction. Negative because I saw the parallels to Heart of Darkness, and I HATE Heart of Darkness, and also I didn’t establish much of a connection to any of the characters. But I was intrigued by the mystery. What happened to the scientists?? I had to know! So I kept reading even though I had this sense of dread that it was a retelling of Heart of Darkness and I was going to end up hating it.

    The mystery got more and more interesting as the book progressed, but the author kept going into these boring (to me) asides about the protagonist’s childhood, and I was not interested because I didn’t like the character very much, so I started skimming all that stuff and just reading scenes relevant to the mystery.

    The book got darker as it progressed and I started thinking, this is DEFINITELY Heart of Darkness, and I couldn’t stand it anymore so I flipped to the end to check. And it turned out the ending was not what I expected. It was not Heart of Darkness, and it encouraged me to actually read on and finish the book. So I did, continuing to skim over the character backstory bits that I didn’t care about. And I actually shed a tear or two when I got to the end for real, so it’s clear I was emotionally engaged in the story. Though my overall reaction was mixed—I felt the ending left loose ends, which was annoying.

    A weird book experience for me. Stickiness of the book via the mystery/plot, total lack of engagement with the characters but emotional engagement in the story nonetheless, an overall mixed reaction to the book. There are books I enjoyed more while reading them but quickly forgot, while this more mixed experience stuck with me.

  29. 29
    Zia Bo says:

    Sticky books!! I know exactly. J. R. Ward does it for me every time, but I find myself reluctant to read them because I know I won’t surface for two weeks. I also really love those moments in books (paranormal mostly, I think) when the hero looks at the heroine and thinks “Mine!!!” He’ll fight it for a while, but in the end, she is his.

    There are only a few books where I hated the book by the end, but I don’t think I’ve ever stopped reading a book. I guess I want to know that it really is as bad as I thought. Usually if the book is looking like it’s going to make me want to hurt the author, I’ll have an old favorite on standby that I know will make me feel good. I recently reread Lord of Scoundrels just because it’s awesome and I love how the characters progress and are kinda crazy sometimes. (Did she just shoot him?! Yeah she did!!) Also Just like Heaven by Julia Quinn is so sweet and romantic and the characters emotions change so softly and slowly, it just makes me want to sigh in delight.

    I really hate books where the characters aren’t true to their feelings. For example, if the heroine goes on for five chapters about how the hero has made her so angry and she doesn’t know if she can forgive him and how his behavior is unacceptable and she can’t believe he did that to her and she’s SO ANGRY, I expect him to have to grovel at her feet for at least two chapters. But I have read five chapters of anger only to have the heroine see the hero and “I’m so angry at him I can’t… OMG he’s so hot! Take me now you manly man with your hotness! and muscles! What anger?!?” If I’m really that angry with someone that I stewed about it for days, he ain’t gettin’ off the hook just cause he has manly muscles of manliness! That is so hard for me to take! This happens in Pure Princess, Bartered Bride by Caitlyn Crews. She’s angry, but she’s also scared of Luc and yet as soon as he touches her she melts like chocolate. It’s not emotionally believable for me. She doesn’t even know this guy! She’s basically sold to him by her horrible father and she’s scared by his personality and presence and he is very cold to her, yet she lets him put his paws all over her? I think not!

    I read romance because I know it will have a happy ending, but sometimes getting there is such an emotional roller coaster, that it’s not all that happy in the end. I also feel like sometimes a story can’t be summed up in 10 pages, but that’s what happens. It leaves me feeling unresolved and not sure that their relationship will work in the long run. “Her family still hates my guts and I still don’t have a job, and we didn’t fully explain what happened to her crazy ex, but it’ll all be okay cause we’re in luurve…” I need an epilogue tying all the pieces together. Or a whole series… Which brings me back to Ward. ;)

  30. 30
    PamG says:

    Thief of Eddis is shorthand for Megan Whalen Turner’s 4 book historical fantasy series. “Cole’s Lore” is me being too lazy to remember or look up the actual title of Kresley Cole’s series.  Mallory is a super intense mystery series about a woman cop who outclassed Lisbeth Salander before she was a twinkle in Larrson’s eye.  Enjoy!

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