Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Things that pull me out of a book

Pet peeves in books - what are yours?
A few books I've read lately have caused me to think about this. Some things drive me crazy in books. I'm not talking about themes or tropes here, or characters traits I may or may not like. I'm talking about something that takes me completely out of the story for a moment; makes me say, "WTF?" or whatever. Then after a moment, I can continue reading.

I've mentioned several times that I'm a pretty forgiving reader. Most of the things below don't ruin a book for me, unless they are done consistently throughout. Otherwise, they make me pause, take me out of the story (and not in a good way), and just make me say WTF.

Here are some examples of mine:

Men in their late 30's or 40s that can have sex For. Ever. And Ever. And Over. And Over. Sorry, but unless you're mainlining Viagra, that's just not happening. Male recovery time is the perfect time for pillow talk. Just sayin'. (I will add a sour grapes note that this didn't bother me until my late 30s. Heh.)

The info dump. If you give me too much backstory in one fell swoop, I forget what the story I'm actually reading is about.

Stupid-ass pet names. It's unrealistic to use them all the time in normal, everyday conversation. Prime example: Jacob by Jacqueline Frank. I loved the book, but after about Jacob called Isabella "Little Flower" about ten times, I started drifting. Feel free to use a pet name, authors. My hubby and I have one for each other. But please don't use it ALL the time!

Oh, and while we're talking about pet names...
The over-use of "darling" as a love name in a contemporary romance. I always wonder every time I read it in a contemp. It's sure to pull me out of the story. People just don't call each other that anymore. Find something more current. Use honey, sweetie, babe, love - whatever. But I've never once heard anyone my age called "darling." I've never been called darling. None of my friends have ever been called darling. Sometimes I let "darlin'" go if I'm reading a western. But don't overuse it. It just makes your cowboy sound chauvinistic and dumb. So cut it out with the "darling"s. Unless you're Roarke.

Shoving accents in my face. Ugh. Case in point: From Friends to Forever. Please use some subtlety.

Poor grammar. And here, I'm talking about a book laden with incorrect usage, including copious incorrect spellings (usually homophones), over-use of commas (especially when independent clauses are joined with commas), semi-colons, etc. I especially hate incorrect posessives. Plurals do not use an apostrophe. Puh-leeze! Once or twice is not a problem, but a really badly copy-edited book throws me for a loop. In the spirit of full disclosure, the incorrect use of apostrophes in plurals didn't bother me much until I began getting fliers from the elementary school that did this. A true WTF.

Oh, and this is my blog. So if I have poor grammar on occasion, it doesn't matter. I don't worry about it for blogposts - mine or yours, but a published book is different, IMHO.

What about you? Anything that really pulls you out of a book while you're reading it?


  1. So cut it out with the "darling"s. Unless you're Roarke.

    LOL! And you're absolutely right. "Darling" sounds like something out of a Doris Day movie.

  2. I'm completely with you on the pet names. Once or twice? Fine. But when the hero keeps using it over and over again - it starts to strike me as demeaning. Honey, baby, honey, cookie, whatever does have a REAL name. Use it, ya jackass.

  3. Yeah, a lot of your hot buttons are mine too, the pet names especially. One thing that really will bother me is heady mental lusting. If it's done in a romantic suspense then it's a double whammy because if you are running for your life you don't have time to be oogling the heroine's butt.

  4. Darling is fine in historicals but in contemps? Nope. Roarke excluded, of course. :)

    Using just lass and och does not a Scottish accent make.

    Long morning after kisses, when I know no one has brushed their teeth. I don't find it sexy at all!

  5. Oh, Leslie - that's a good one. I ALWAYS wonder why people in books don't have morning breath. Yuck!

  6. I'm picky about safe sex in contemporaries. I get distracted when there's no mention of condoms. I can't help but think of the real life consequences that could occur--STD's, not just pregnancy.

  7. Cos it's a perfect world, Lori... so no morning breath :D

    Cheesy pet names are annoying, because too cheesy and sweet ^_^;

    At the moment though, I can't think of pet peeves... Hmmm.

  8. Poor writing...I'm to the point where run-on sentences crammed with internal thought/dialogue/lust/etc. will make me set aside a book in just pages. So please keep the blog reviews coming Ladies...you help me avoid those. :-)

  9. So cut it out with the "darling"s. Unless you're Roarke.


    The morning breath thing kills me. So freaking nasty. Whenever there's a "sexy morning after" scene and no one has brushed their teeth I just cringe all the way through it. So wrong.

    The internal lust is another huge pet peeve for me. Especially in RS. I get that y'all are attracted, but srsly?

    I'm currently re-reading Night Pleasures by Sherrilyn Kenyon and hello triple whammy. If I have to read one more time how sexy the other is I might puke.

  10. Darling in contemporaries doesn't bother me too much as long as the male character is from the South. I have had several male friends over the years (from Texas, S. Carolina, Tennessee) who call every woman they know "darlin'". But I just finished a historical where the hero kept calling the heroine "little one". CONSTANTLY. It drove me batty. So condescending and clunky.

    And WORD on morning kisses. Ew.


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