Sunday 8 September 2013

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge: Days fourteen and fifteen

Day 14: What are your deal breakers?

What will make me put a book straight back on the shelf without a second glance?

  • Stories about adultery/affairs. Especially if the book is from the point of view of the person having the affair. I'd find it very difficult to respect such a protagonist or have any sympathy for them.
  • Narrators describing their appearance in the mirror. "I stare into the glass, and a twenty-something year old woman looks back at me, her brown straight hair framing a round face with an overlarge nose, and eyes that were somewhere between blue and grey." Bleugh! No one thinks like that. It's lazy writing, and it shows that the first thing the writer wants you to know about your heroine (and it's always a woman) is every last detail of what she looks like, because that's the most important thing about a female lead. Don't ever do that. Ever.
  • Telling, not showing. I have a thing called the "Danielle Steel test," where I pick up a book, open it at random, and see how far I can read without wanting to hurl it across the room. Generally this is due to descriptions such as: "Jane thought that Kevin was being very unfair." "Sarah might not show it but really she was very fond of her sister." "James wished he could control his temper." Show me, then. Make me believe it.
  • Multi-volume novels. Trilogies are in vogue at the moment, particularly in the teen fantasy genre, but I wonder how many are necessary, and how many could, with a bit of editing, be condensed into a single book. If I begin a story, I want to see it through to the end - but if I'm not sure whether I'll like it or not, and if I have to wait three years to reach the end, I'll think twice about whether I'm prepared to commit to the story. I'd prefer series which are one book = one story; related and in order, sure, but which work as stand-alone novels. This one is a difficult thing to categorise, though, because there are some really engrossing series out there, which are worth the years of commitment. (Harry Potter, A Song of Ice and Fire, The Hunger Games.) But if I've read a hundred books since the last installment of the Fairypocolypse Chronicles, will I still care enough to carry on with book 2?
  • Books with grey and black minimalist covers, usually featuring ribbons, jewellery, rippling fabric or the like.  You know the ones. It's not prudishness on my part - it's boredom. Less is more.

Day 15: Who are your book blogging mentors?

Anna, Ginger and Smash have been very influential when I found myself becoming involved in the book blogging community, in particular as adult readers of YA fiction. They have run some great regular features, discussion posts and memes, and inspired me to think up new ideas for the blog aside from just the book reviews. (I hadn't actually visited Smash Attack Reads in a while: it now appears to be a collaborative blog with not one but FOUR fantastic bloggers.) Meanwhile, Ellie and Hanna have a more informal approach to blogging, with eclectic mixtures of book reviews and personal posts, which have encouraged me to be more relaxed about blogging even if I don't feel inspired to write a structured review. Rants and reading-journal-format posts also make great blogging. And I've only recently started following Laura and Sarah, whose reviews have inspired me to want to take out my credit card and buy ALL the books.


  1. Aw, am I your MENTOR?! How exciting! You should definitely buy ALL THE BOOKS, btw :)

    1. I only just found your blog somehow but yes, your posts got me all excited about books and blogging. YAY ALL THE BOOKS! *fangirls wildly*

  2. ZOMG THAT'S ME! Haha, it's so nice when someone says they like the way I blog, I sometimes worry it's all a bit chaotic really. No schedules, sometimes ages between book reviews, a bit mad-chatty, a bit ranty sometimes, random posts about Life, the Universe and Everything JUST BECAUSE... But then, they're the blogs I like to read too, where I get to know the person behind the blog header, so I guess that works!

    P.S. I LOVE YOU TOOOOOOO! Obviously. :)

    1. YES THAT'S YOU!

      It was very reassuring when I found your blog, because although I very much enjoyed the structured blogs, I didn't feel able to keep up with the busy schedules, author interviews and book tours - but that wasn't what I wanted to do. It was lovely to find that there was a place for more laid-back, personal book blogs too. Though I think I first read it for the rants about ridiculous customers.

  3. 2) I'm completely and utterly with you on this one. As soon as I read that I know the writing is going to be clunky and lazy. Aside from anything else, I don't CARE what you think your character looks like, because chances are that I'm going to make it up in my head anyway!

    3) And also this one. It annoys me the most when it comes to romance. "Susan realised then that she was in love with Leonard." Did she? Really? Because I hadn't noticed and this is NEWS TO ME.

    4) I don't mind this, if I'm aware beforehand that it's a series. I was just sent a teen book that I thought was a stand-alone, until I got to the end and it wasn't. It didn't say anywhere on the press release that it was a series, and that's the first thing I look for.

    Ohhhh, I love that you like my blog format. Sometimes I see these posts about 'How I Organise My Blogging Life' with schedules and rotas and I think I must be doing something wrong. My blog is where I can relax, almost, and I don't WANT to feel pressured into posting THIS on this day and THAT on that day. Ugh.


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