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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Snark Week Double Down- Just STFU.

Time for round 2- today's topic!  Today is all about tired, saggy old tropes that need to be retired. What elements in books need to just go away.  It's a Sharknado of bad writing, stupid ideas, lazy plotting, corner cutting, and other things that go bump in the night.

Childhood abuse/sex abuse as a stand in for character development.  Authors everywhere- can we collectively agree that there has to be a better way to get people to empathize with your characters than by subjecting them to childhood abuse or sexual abuse?  Here's what I mean, so don't get it twisted- abuse happens, it is real, and it is terrible.  It is also not something that should ever be perceived as "everywhere" or "normal" and that's what it feels like when seemingly every book and every character has someone with this sort of back story going on that is never addressed outside of a revenge killing for the perpetrator or a magical healing through the power of glittery genitalia for the characters.  Breaking the cycle of abuse in real life is a little more complicated than three hundred pages between emotional wreckage and happily ever after.  Cheapening people's experiences by having a nebulous idea stand in for back story is just wrong.

Why should I trust you? Because you have to! This is a tricky storyline to work because it can get redundant in a hurry, and often does.  Our characters end up going in circles and the story descends into quicksand and I lose interest, which is sad.

Weird descriptions of body parts, both male and female. 

Phonetic spelling of accents.  Please.  We can trust that someone sounds British, or Scottish, or southern, or whatever, without you spelling it for us.

People who are really good at solving mysteries and really bad at everything else.  I'm in a book club where we read exclusively cozy mysteries, and this is an issue we have over and over again.  You get a detective who can look at a jar of jelly that's out of place and figure out the whole mystery, but she can't manage to notice that her milkshake brings two different boys to the yard?  Incidentally, I'm not making up the jelly jar thing, because that really happened in one of the books we read.  There's only room for one dysfunctional mystery solving gang in my heart, people.

Factual inaccuracies.  Especially if the rest of the story has been all about dropping little tidbits to prove just how many Wikipedia pages were used as research for the story.

Bad editing- spelling errors, grammar mistakes, etc.  Or oh lord, when a whole page is missing! I'm not saying I'm perfect and that my grammar and spelling always shine like the perfect angels that they are, but I'm also not charging you actual money to read what I have to say.  F7 is your friend.

I'm sure there are more, but you know what they say...

Snark Week Double Down- The Worst Books. The. Worst.

Aw crap, I missed a day!  Lucky for you, that means you get twice as many snarktastic, bite-sized witticisms from yours truly.  Try to contain yourself!

Anyway, the topic from yesterday was a feeding frenzy of the worst books I've ever read.  I have to say, once I stopped reading books submitted for review, the number of times I wanted to throw a book out the window went down dramatically.  I guess it goes to show that reading outside your comfort zone isn't always a good thing.

But wait, there's more!  Before this blog returned to its roots as a lark for my own amusement, after I finished books such as these, I actually put words into sentences to describe the pain of having read them!  It seemed like a good idea at the time.

With that said, here are, with linked proof and in no particular order, the worst books I've read.  No particular order because let's face it, there comes a point where rankings simply don't mean anything any more. Nothing means anything anymore.

Styx's Storm by Lora Leigh.  Ugh.  It started off bad, got worse, and never redeemed itself.  Admittedly, this is a series to read for entertainment and not for its...academic merits...but this is proof that everything can be overdone.  Oh, and that having an editor is a good thing.  Adding insult to injury is the fact that I paid money for this, and it was an ebook, so I can't even give the book away to someone and never have to see it again.  First world problems, I guess, but the terrible relationship, bad writing, horrible plot, and everything else made this a disappointment from start to finish. And can I just say, it says something that four years later, when asked to write a list of the worst books ever, this was the first one I thought of? Again, ugh.

Caleb by Sarah McCarty- Boy, nothing like taking high expectations for a fun book and dashing them to tiny pieces by having the characters talk things to absolute death.  And now that I look back at the cover of this book, is it just me or does it look like Photoshop did something painful to this guy's rib cage?

Desire Untamed by Pamela Palmer- I remember being SO ANGRY about this book when I read it back in my early blogging days.  This was back when J.R. Ward was becoming a thing so the lookalike books were starting out in full force.  This one was a nauseating hot mess.  I remember having to decide if I wanted to take time to review books I really loathed and thinking YES, the world must know what one person on the internet thinks of this book!  I don't know if it helped or not, but if this review saved one person from reading this mess, it was worth it.

Original Sin by Allison Brennan- This book marked the first appearance of the Shutuposaurus here on the blog, a feat which has never been repeated.  Ugh.

The Host by Stephenie Meyer- My review of this horrorshow appears to have been sucked into the black hole of the Internet, but the deep hurting of this snorefest will live on forever.

Oh, the agony!  Which books make your list of worst ever?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Like a Great White Snark on Snark Week

So the lovely Rachel at Parajunkee knew I was coming, apparently, and baked a cake, because it's Snark Week!  It's time to cut loose and get snarky, with a different post each day on a different topic.  The snark usually flows pretty freely around here, because that's how I roll, but now it's like a convention! Hooray!

With that said, it's time for the gloves to come off.

 Things That Piss Me Off

1. Rafflecopter Rabies. I'm not talking about the actual software or site, or whatever, I'm talking about the fact that it's EVERYWHERE.  I don't want to follow your facebook/tweet your twats/instagram your lunch/comment/like you/send you a birthday gift/whatever.  I don't care how awesome your prize is.  I don't care how many easy entries you have.  The mere presence of eight hundred ways to enter your giveaway has made me not want to do any of them.  Sorry not sorry.

2. You lack a sense of humor and it shows in your writing.  Yes, you.  You don't have to share my sense of humor (although it's nice if you do) but if you don't have one, I can't relate to you. Don't give me that business about wanting to write a book or wanting to break into publishing or wanting a pony.  There are plenty of ways to be creative and be an individual without being generic.  I hardly think being dull as a beige room is going to help your creative career.  

3.  You have continued sending me review requests even though the review policy says I'm not accepting them. Double demerits if you sent me the email but addressed it to someone else.

4. Why does everything have to have a password now? I think I just became old.

5. That moment when you realize that all your blogging gripes that immediately come to mind are things that happened in 2013.  

So what about you? What really grinds your gears?

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