Here at Fresh Fiction, we love book chat, and we have a lot of reviewers with fierce opinions about the authors, characters, and books they love (and about the things that drive them crazy). This is one in a series of reviewer profiles. Hopefully, these will give other readers ideas about what books to add to their TBR lists, as well as spark some conversations.
What qualities make a book super satisfying for you – characters, dialogue, setting, mood? Does it depend on what genre the book is? Any examples?
I am not married to any particular book genre – I read a variety of them from sweet romance to hot and steamy, down and dirty. I want a story that has likable characters and a strong plot that pulls me along. I enjoy visiting and learning the history of different places, especially historical or exotic places I will never visit in person. While reading I want to do things I could never imagine doing – you will never catch me jumping out of a perfectly good plane but via a book, I have done just that.
Are you a reader who has favorite “re-reads”? If so, what makes a book a re-read for you?
I re-read all the time. Sometimes it is simply that I read too fast and can miss things. I hear someone mention a scene from a book and have no idea what they are saying then I go back and do a thorough reread and there it is. Other times I just want to relax with an old favorite, one that I don’t have to decipher what is being said – I already know.
What makes a good character for you? Some readers must “like” or find a character likable for them to enjoy a character. Some don’t feel a character has to be likable to be interesting. What about you? Favorites?
My characters have to have something that draws me. There has to be some good in them, they do not have to be saints; that would be unrealistic, and really - where is the fun in that? I want some realism – even when reading paranormal I have to believe that they could exist. And if they have a quirky sense of humor that is a plus.
I do not have any favorite villains. At the end of the book, I want the bad guys/gals/monsters/whatever to have gotten their just desserts. This is almost as important for me as the HEA is for a romance. I have to have the good win over the evil.
Any books you took a chance on, that you otherwise might not have normally read, but turned out to be amazing?
Rarely do I have a problem with reading any kind of book, if I was interested enough to pick it up I will usually finish it. I think there was only one or two that didn’t draw me in or that I just didn’t understand what was happening. Usually, if I give something a try, I can finish it. There was one series that I had to start three times before I could read it – just because there was something that didn’t sit right for me. It was Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter books – I had a problem with how cruel (by human standards) the archangel was. They are supposed to be – well – angelic. But I kept hearing how good it was and now I have read all of her books and look forward to the next ones.
Has a book ever made you cry? If so, did you still enjoy the story?
On occasion, a story has brought me to tears and yes, I still enjoyed the story. One was a mother/daughter reunion scene that I loved because the hero had worked hard to find her missing mother for his wife. They had been separated by a vicious grandmother who told her she (the mother) had taken off with another man. Far from the truth!
Are there any supporting characters you wish an author would devote an entire book to?
If a book is a success to me there have to be supporting characters that have their backs. J. D. Robb’s Lt. Eve Dallas has a lot of people in her corner, and I don’t think that series would be as good without her “family”. Also, I do enjoy reading books that include “family of the heart” or “by choice” supporting characters. In a series where other characters, who are usually in a supportive, but play a stronger lead for a book or two, I have found a lot of fun.
How do you feel about an author killing off a favorite character or one you felt invested in?
I had to stop reading an author who did that. It was a past hero of the series, but still, I don’t like losing any of my favorites. I did try again but couldn’t get past the guy’s death. I’d rather they just fade away or move to a retirement home than have them die.
Without naming names (specific authors or titles), what are some things you dislike in stories?
I don’t have too many dislikes. If there is something that bothers me, I just flip the pages, but if it is too bad, flipping half the book isn’t consumer friendly for me, I won’t buy or try another by that author unless it is through the library or free.
There are times when the sex scenes are just too long. I know that is part of the story and they are on fire for each other, but two chapters are too much. And some of the kinky stuff I have read recently, by a favorite author not to be named, has gone overboard and unbelievable to my old-fashioned brain.
On occasion I have read books where the descriptions are repetitive – you just described the house; I don’t need to “see” it again.
Or a wishy-washy heroine – there are times when an author has her changing her mind back and forth so many times, I am dizzy.
Also, I don’t like embarrassing moments in books (or movies for that matter) those are flipping pages for me too.
Annetta Sweetko is a reviewer at Fresh Fiction. You can find more of her articles and reviews here.
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