Saturday, January 19, 2019

Book Blogger Hop No. 159: My Pet Peeves With Authors

Welcome to the Book Blogger Hop,
hosted by Billy @

For more information, and 
to find out the topic of next week's question, click HERE.

This Week's Question

Is there anything that drives
you bonkers when you're
reading a book that makes you
want to tell the author
a thing or two?

(Submitted  by C. Lee  @ 

My Answer

One of my pet peeves is one I've referred to before in another post, and I noticed that Billy also mentioned it in his own answer to this week's question. Here it is: I just don't understand why an author would kill off a beloved character, one that most readers have overwhelmingly grown to love. This happened with a character in the Harry Potter series, and I don't think I've forgiven -- or will EVER forgive -- J.K. Rowling for this! Because of this tragic event, I have not finished reading the series. I stopped halfway through Book 6....... I would like to finish this book, and then move on to Book 7, but I don't know if I can get past that very sad point.....

I know that writers will often kill off characters because they feel this "literary murder" is necessary to the plot, but it's still hard for a reader who loves said characters to accept this......

Another pet peeve I have is when a writer makes a character act inconsistently. If a writer has already established a character's personality as being a certain way, and then, later on in the novel (or short story) makes this character do or say something that, according to his/her already established personality traits, would be totally inconsistent behavior for this character, I just gnash my teeth.....and don't finish the book.

I had this problem with Sarah J. Maas's series, A Court of Thorns and Roses. I only read, but never finished, the first book. Even though the writing was luscious, and I initially liked the main character, Feyre, I HATED what Maas did with her toward the end of the first book in the series, and then, the second book. I never read the second book, though. I did look up the plot on Wikipedia. Ha, ha!! What I read made my blood boil!! I won't reveal what it is in case whoever reads this post has not read any of the books in this series. It's a very popular series, too -- the first book has nearly 300,000 ratings on Goodreads, and nearly 34,000 reviews! I can't FOR THE LIFE OF ME understand why....

One book I started a couple of years ago, and never finished, either, got me VERY upset at the author, Elyse Douglas (this is actually a husband and wife team of writers using a pen name made up of part of each of their own names). The book is titled The Christmas Bridge. I feel I SHOULD give spoilers for this one.

(WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

The story seems very straightforward at first -- a story of second chances, in which a forty-year-old widow is going to reconnect with the college boyfriend she had betrayed and abandoned 20 years before. The problem is that, on the eve of her reunion with the ex-boyfriend, she meets ANOTHER guy, and starts a relationship with HIM. So she actually ends up hurting the poor ex ALL OVER AGAIN. Oh, I was FURIOUS!! I actually donated this book to Goodwill, and gave it ONE star on Goodreads. (Nice, unintentional pun, too -- Goodwill and Goodreads. Lol.)

This book actually should have been split into TWO books -- one would have been the story of the widow reconnecting with her old love, and rekindling their romance, and the other, a story of another widow, still mourning her husband, who meets an exciting new man on a day that she's feeling especially depressed, since the holidays are approaching, and she really misses her husband.

(End of spoilers for this book.)

Once again, I was puzzled by all the five-star reviews of this book on Goodreads, although it doesn't have as many as A Court of Thorns and Roses.

Both of these books -- the Sarah J. Maas books (Numbers 1 and 2) and the one by Elyse Douglas -- also had one thing in common that totally IRRITATED me: I was expecting the plot to go one way, which seemed to be logical and consistent according to what had already been established, only to have the author take it down ANOTHER path that just made NO SENSE WHATSOEVER. 

Yet another pet peeve is when an author lets a villain -- who seems to be a GOOD person -- literally GET AWAY WITH MURDER. 

(WARNING: A LOT of spoilers ahead!

This was the problem I had with Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier. One of the main characters, Max De Winter, was a very wealthy man who had married a woman named Rebecca, who was a very manipulative, totally heartless, B---H. She dies in a rather mysterious manner, and he later marries a very young, inexperienced woman who is never named in the novel. Well, it turns out that De Winter actually KILLED Rebecca, whom he loathed. The police are investigating, and are on the verge of discovering the truth. De Winter ends up admitting to the murder. To whom? HIS SECOND WIFE. And guess what? SHE HELPS HIM TO COVER UP THIS MURDER. NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

Yes, this is a classic. Yes, the prose style is absolutely BRILLIANT. Yes, the suspense is excellently handled. BUT. MAX DE WINTER GOT AWAY WITH MURDER. End of story. End of my interest in this book!!!

(End of spoilers for this book.)

As you can all see (if you read the spoilers), I have some rather strong feelings regarding things that authors have done with their novels. Interestingly, these pet peeves all have something to do with the way characters are portrayed. They also have a lot to do with the way a plot is developed. 

What I find pretty funny, as well as fascinating, and yet, altogether appropriate, is that I've gotten SO MAD at these authors, given the fact that these characters and plots are FICTIONAL. These are not real people, nor real events. Yet, I've been passionately involved with them! This goes to show just how POWERFUL the written word is. Not only do novels and short stories have the power to transport us to different worlds and time periods, they also have the IMMENSE power to move us, to provoke us to actual disappointment and anger, which are really feelings of......yes, I have to say it: BETRAYAL. I have felt betrayed by these authors. 

So these things that "drive me bonkers" tell me that I am totally invested in reading, that books and reading are a PASSION for me, and that, when an author's work clicks with me, I will feel a glorious bliss, whereas, when it doesn't, I will feel.....well, everything I've already described. 

As the saying goes, "A reader lives a thousand lives....." And when one of them just doesn't work for said reader, the book is history! Lol.

There. I'm off my soapbox now!!  :)  

What are your thoughts on
this topic?
Please leave a comment! 
If you're participating in this meme,
I'll go comment on your 
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  1. Great post Maria. You bring up such interesting points. I am only on book four of Harry Potte. I think thaf I kind of remember from the films what happens, but it is a little fuzzy in my mind. I will really think about your point when I get to that point. But I agree that literary deaths can be hard to take.

    Books are powerful indeed and can be upsetting. I can see how The Christmas Bridge would be anger inducing. At the very least i think it would annoy me.

    1. Hi, Brian!

      Thanks so much for the compliment!! <3 <3

      You're moving right along with Harry Potter, I see! :) :)

      That tragic point in Book 6 hit me SO hard.... I don't know if I'll EVER be able to go back and finish this book, so that I can go on to Book 7.... literary deaths are, indeed, hard to take. This is ESPECIALLY the case when it's the death of a beloved character, as this one was for me....

      I'm glad you agree about "The Christmas Bridge". I was SO ANGRY at these authors!! (They're a husband-and-wife team.) I couldn't believe this book, either, considering that I GREATLY enjoyed another book of theirs I read, sometime back. That other book is titled "The Christmas Town", and is a time travel romance. I LOVED that one!! That's why I went ahead and started "The Christmas Bridge", only to be ENTIRELY disappointed..... This book is just ALL messed up! Lol.

      Thanks for the interesting comment!! <3 :)

  2. AMAZING answer!!

    You are so thorough, and state such good points.

    Thanks, Maria.

    1. Hi, Elizabeth!

      Awww....THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! <3 <3 <3

      Yep, I'm a very detailed writer! I can't do it any other way, lol.

      You're very welcome for the post!! And thanks again for the compliment!! <3 :)

  3. My own irritation is with authors who don’t do their research. Sometimes it’s something I pick up which maybe others wouldn’t, but it spoils the story for me, because the author hasn’t cared enough to check even something that might be quite simple and require a quick Google. Mistakes can happen, yes, but some throw me right out of the story.

    1. Hi, Sue!

      Oh, that's a GREAT point!! You are SO right about that!! Anachronisms are ESPECIALLY bad, if the book includes time travel in the plot. For example, an author might somehow forget that certain things hadn't been invented in the time period in which their novel (or short story, or novella) is set.

      Another thing that bothers me is seeing words and expressions that were OBVIOUSLY not part of a particular time period. The book I recently finished, "A Magical Christmas Present", contained a couple of these. Even though I LOVED this book, this type of thing did annoy me. In one story, I remember the male protagonist saying to the female protagonist something like this: "I think I put you on the spot." And she didn't blink an eye when she heard that. I don't think this type of slang expression was in use at the time this story was set, which was Victorian England. Maybe I'm wrong about this, but I don't think it was. I'll do some googling.

      It's really bad when things like the ones we've both mentioned take a reader right out of the story. Writers need to do a LOT of research, ESPECIALLY if they're writing time travel fiction that will take their characters into the past. The future is another matter entirely. In THAT case, an SF writer would have to create logical extrapolations from present technology. This, too, requires some research, though. As for language, an SF writer dealing with the future could pretty much have a field day, I think. Heck, they could even invent their own language! Lol.

      Thanks for the thought-provoking comment!! <3 :)

  4. When it comes to character deaths, I have mixed feelings...on one hand, I don't mind it, but then again if the writing is bad and the death serves no purpose in the plot, then I hate it. I guess it all depends on how it's handled!

    1. Hi, Amy!

      Yes, it all depends on how it's handled.....but then again, I am NEVER happy when the character that dies is a beloved one, like this one was, in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince".

      Sarah, in her comment below, explains that this character HAD to die, because his role in the plot had been fulfilled. I do think that Rowling could have done something else to take this character out of the plot temporarily. Then she could have brought him back.

      Oh, feelings are not going to change anything....someday, I will try to return and finish this book, and then go on to the last book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows".

      I just think it's hard enough having to deal with the deaths of beloved people in real life, without having to encounter it in books, too.

      Thanks for the thought-provoking comment!! <3 :)

  5. Grammatical mistakes and misspellings irritate me - the odd blooper can be excused, but when a book is dotted with them, then I walk away. If someone can't be bothered to edit their book thoroughly then I don't see why I should slog through it, either.

    As for the death of major characters, particularly the one in Harry Potter you are referring to - I know exactly why it happened and I do have some sympathy with the author. That person's role in the story as a support and mentor to the main protagonist was over. Harry's final transformation as someone who feels isolated and needs to rely totally on himself wouldn't have been convincing with said person was there in the background to prop him up and provide him with valuable advice.

    But it's always a jolt and that particular section always makes me weep - which it's supposed to do. Facing overwhelming odds has to be terrifying and if everyone survives unscathed then the cost isn't high enough... Though I fully agree with Amy that after the Harry Potter series, there were a tranche of books that copied Rowling's tactic of killing off major characters - but did it badly.

    1. Hi, Sarah!

      I'm going to split this comment in two, lol. I have a LOT to say here!

      You know, I really should have mentioned grammar mistakes in this post. They totally bother me, too! ESPECIALLY when these mistakes use elementary words incorrectly. I get ticked off when this happens a LOT. I'm referring to such things as using an apostrophe when writing plurals, using "your" to say "You're welcome", "there" in sentences like "They're here", and on and on..... As an ESOL teacher, I should have DEFINITELY mentioned all these things! Lol. Yes, bad editing makes me lose interest in a book. But I have to ask, HOW could the author POSSIBLY have used these words incorrectly in the first place?! Heck, I proofread my posts VERY carefully, and I don't need to use spell-check. A professional writer should not only know elementary words, but how to use them! Lol.

      Poor sentence construction and bad syntax also bother me. And, oh, don't get me started on the incorrect use of past tenses!! Some writers actually seem to be averse to using the past perfect in a sentence or paragraph in which it's totally necessary. Such as when one action clearly had taken place by the time another started. These writers will use the past tense in BOTH cases!

      And how about this? I hear people say this ALL the time, but it's UNFORGIVABLE when a WRITER does it: "If I would have known you were coming to dinner, I would have cooked more food." Obviously, the correct form is, "If I had known you were coming to dinner, I would have cooked more food."

      Not to brag, but English is not my native language. I was actually born in Cuba, and came to the States at the age of nine. I already had a smattering of the language, but, of course, learned even more when I started school here in Miami. I'm still fluent in Spanish, but have to admit that my vocabulary is much more extensive in English. However, I am also aware of incorrect usage in Spanish.

      I also learned French in high school, but I've forgotten most of it, lol.

      Anyway.....summing up, I don't know how some writers can actually put their work out there without making SURE it has no mistakes! If I were going to publish a book, I would work VERY closely with the editor!

      And now for the second part of this rather long comment....Lol.

      Thanks for this part of your comment!! HUGS!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

    2. Hi, again!

      Well, on to the second part of my HUMONGOUS comment! Lol.

      I do think that Rowling could have gotten this character out of the way temporarily, and then brought the character back. For instance, she could have had the character go on a long journey, and then have said character reappear once Harry had gone through all of his battles.

      In fact, the character I'm referring to could have gone off on this journey in a very mysterious manner, leaving unexpectedly, in the middle of the night, or in some totally quirky way.

      Yet another alternative could have been this: the character disappears in a puff of smoke, in the middle of the day, and in the middle of the huge hall the students ate in.

      This alternative of having this character disappear, then return at later date, would STILL have made Harry feel desolate. It would have made him feel abandoned. And he would have STILL been forced to perform his heroic deeds alone. However, his joy at the reappearance of said character, at the end of the book, would have made every single Potterhead (such as me) REJOICE right along with Harry and his friends!!! :) :)

      I'm thinking of a similar circumstance in "The Lord of the Rings", but can't be more detailed about it, as then readers will know exactly which character I'm referring to. Heck, readers of LOTR probably already know.... :( Oh, well....

      I can think of a writer who actually used character deaths right and left in her novel, which is a literary classic. I'm referring to Emily Brontë's "Wuthering Heights", which I LOATHE just as much as I LOVE "Jane Eyre", by her sister, Charlotte.

      The thing about Emily is that she killed off characters when she felt they were no longer needed in her plot. I thought this was just much too "gimmicky". However, none of them were beloved, so these deaths didn't affect me as deeply as the one in Rowling's book did. It was rather disconcerting, though, to find that somebody ELSE had died, when starting a new chapter! I realize that, in some of these cases, years were supposed to have passed between one death and the other, but still, these frequent deaths just IRRITATED me!!

      Well, I think I should step off my little soapbox now....Lol.

      Thank you so much for your insightful comment!! I'm still trying to catch up with replies and comments back, but I promise I'll visit your blog very soon, and leave comments!!

      Have a GREAT day!! CHEERS!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

  6. A really thought-provoking post, by the way:))

    1. Hi, again!!

      Thank you SO much for such a nice compliment!! As you can see, I feel VERY passionately about these issues!!

      HUGS & CHEERS!!!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)


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