…on what makes a good book, and what I hate to see.
I appreciate that Sue has asked poor little old me to guest on her big scary blog today. Throw me in that briarpatch! It’s alwas fun, scary and crazymaking to figure out what to talk about that won’t bore the bejesus out of the readers. And that’s especially true when it’s a reviewer you are reading, not a professional writer. All I can think about are those cowboys on the salsa commercial – “New York City???” and I am the salsa in question.
So I thought I would talk about what I look for in a good book, what makes we want to review it and what drives me up the freakin’ wall.
A good book – that is probably the easiest and hardest thing to pin down. But I can tell you, every single book that I have reviewed, when I go back and look at the list, has a few things in common with other great books.
· Characters. I am drawn to authors that know the characters they are writing about, take the time to develop them and most of all, make ME care about them. It doesn’t take War and Peace to make it happen for me either. Rowena Sudbury did a very short work called Blue Moon, and she made me fall in love with Brad and Scott. I got curious, then invested in the guys. And JR Barnaby has a six book series, Little Boy Lost, about two boys who fall in love and get separated. I hate waiting for the sixth book, but I will buy it the first day it’s on sale and read it that very night. I CARE that much!
· Plot. Yeah, most of the books in this genre, when you take all the shifters, angst, and whatever else away, tell one simple story. Boy meets boy. Boys fall in love. Boys live HEA. And I am fine with that. But the spaces in between finding out who the boys are, why they love each other, and were they will pick out china patters, that’s what keeps me interested. Connie Bailey’s Moonlight, Tiger and Smokebuilds a complete world of underground societies, assassinations and children trained from age six as operatives. Completely sucked me in from the first page. Now, there are exceptions to the rules of HEA. Wade Kelly’s When Love is not Enough breaks all the rules and grabs me by the heart and never lets me go when one of his three main characters commits suicide. I had to know, WHY?? And as to the supposed big no no – cheating. If it is real to the characters, why not? Don’t add it just to be gratuitous, but men cheat, women cheat. It’s real life.
And that takes me to my pet peeves. In no particular order, things over done and/or STOP!
· “Padded”. My dogs pad down the hall to be let out. Babies pad when taking their first steps. Please let men walk. I bet 8 out of 10 books I read have men padding into the next room.
· “Smirked”. Really? Grown men smirk during sex, during arguments, in the drive through lane at Taco Bell? Really? Really?
· “Keened”. I am going to get in SO much trouble her, but one writer used it and then EVERYBODY started using to describe a sound of need. I always think of think of women rending their garments in grief when their men and sons come home on a shield from war. Sorry. A. Personal. Preference.
· Alpha shifters six and a half feet tall and five and a half foot tall twink mates. Shoot me now. Always makes me feel like a perv and not in a good way. More like in a, is he a daddy (not Daddy, daddy) and this is his son?, kind of perv. And now I need a shower.
· Straight guy gay for you lust at first sight. Gonna get my ass kicked again. I am a gay man. I am 50 years old. I have been with straight men. I have had my heart broken by straight men. I know many many gay men who have gone down that rabbit hole (so to speak). It 99.99% of the time does not end well. They don’t just fall in lust suddenly then have a HEA. It takes time.
And please remember, all, these are just my personal preferences. None of them kill a book for me. I just notice things.
So, Sue, ready to hide me from the angry mob?