Yesway, Maybe, Noway

So I recently discovered this awesomesauce blog called foreveryoungadult.com which reviews YA literature for an adult audience. Please check out the Flowers in the Attic drinking game. But probably only if you have read FITA. If you have not….don’t. Just…save yourself.

Anyway, they had a big discussion about what books/premises are dealmakers and dealbreakers.  Which inspired me to list out my favorite things, the things that make me ditch the book and the stuff in between.

So I don’t know how y’all feel about my ranting but in deference to those who don’t want their vibes harshed on, I will save what I dislike for last. That way if you just want to read about happy things, you need only read section 1. Enjoy.

Dealmakers


The things in books that make me squee. If I see a book with this in it I will pick it up and give it a chance. And probably love it forever and ever.

1. Fairy Tales: If it’s based on a fairy tale a la Robin McKinley or incorporates fairy tale motifs (Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce does this amazingly) then I am there. I would happily spend my life reading fairy tales, fairy tale re-tellings and the history of both if I could. Beauty and Beast-type stories fit in because I love a good, plausible redemption story.

2. Regency Historicals: There’s something about this period (and the periods before and after) that draws me. It’s not just Mr. Darcy and Sir Percy who bring me back. It’s a very elegant era but it’s not so modern that you can’t get swept up in the fantasy.

3. Kickass Heroines: I love the literary mancandy I review but I generally prefer the protagonist to be a girl. I’ll read books with male protagonists of course but I tend to gravitate to the female voice. And when it comes down to defeating the big baddie or resolving the conflict, I want that girl to save her own damn self. Or at least have an awesome team win where both she and the love interest share equal parts in the victory.

4. The End of the World as We Know It/Big Brother is Watching: I love post-apocalyptic settings (like Fallout 3 where above picture came from) and dystopian societies. I group them together because they both show visions of the future that our world could descend to. For the post-apocalyptic I like seeing how the survivors divide into groups and adapt while in the dystopian societies, there’s that thrill of watching one person rebel and fight against status quo.

5. Princes, Dukes and Kings: I’ve already gone on about this here. (Why yes, I do pimp my blog on my blog.) I’m well aware that Prince Charming is not going to come sweep me away once I have a stable career and am ready for a stable, monogamous relationship resulting in zero children, five corgis and a vacation home in the mountains. But I let him stay alive in my mind and readings because royalty pretty much rocks.

6. Dandies, Fops and Flirts: It may seem odd that I rant about jerk heroes but I like the flirtatious characters. They have confidence and usually the best lines. And most of the time the foppish mask hides a sharp intellect (like Sir Percy >>). And they have a great sense of style.

8. SPACE: This one’s tricky. I love things set in space. Mass Effect 2 is my current favorite game. I’m a fan of Outlaw Star, Gundams and Star Wars. At the same time, I don’t read a lot of sci-fi. I know, it doesn’t make sense. I need to really like it to continue, I can’t plow through like I can with other bad books. But when it’s done right (Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles remains my standard) it rocks.

9. Paranormal Romances: This is a genre that can go bad. (Then again, every genre and sub-genre has its doozies.) But when it’s done right it rocks. Kickass heroines, sexy vampires/werewolves/fae heroes and lively modern settings make me happy. Sadly, a lot of them rock and then become series that go on and on and on until they suck. But not always. So I will still love it.

10. Dragons and Unicorns and Phoenixes, Oh My: I love fantasy no matter what but I really like when there’s mythical creatures involved. In fact you don’t even need human protagonists. The Firebringer Trilogy by Meredith Ann Pierce had a cast of unicorn characters with the humans playing a background role. I like seeing how different authors handle dragons: whether they’re noble, beast-like, goofy…they all have their place.

Dealmaybes


So here are the things that while I generally don’t pick up, I don’t hate them. They’re just not in my sphere. These are the things that I should try at some point just to give them a chance.

1. Vikings and Barbarians Historical Romance: I tend to avoid these because I assume the heroes are going to be way too alpha. And probably rape-y. Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t tend to see this type of hero in the libraries anymore, just in my Meme’s old school romances.

2.Historical Romance Set in America: I love my country but when I read a historical romance (or any classic literature) I prefer them set in England or France. I’m not a fan of the western genre or Native American romance. However, there are other eras in American history than those two (though they seem to be the predominant ones) so at some point I should probably check this out.

3. Highlanders: I have read a Scottish/Highlander romance I enjoyed. Avon books released a series of twelve historical romances for teens called Avon True Romance. They were written by popular romance authors and just as good, the only difference was that there were no sex scenes. (They also had a native American romance and two civil war romances I did enjoy, and two western ones I did not). But  I haven’t been inclined to Scottish romances because I just don’t think to pick them up. I will have to make an effort to try them out more.

4. Inspirational/Christian: I’m a Christian who doesn’t read much Christian fiction. I generally like the historicals set in Rome with early Christians or the fictional retellings of Old Testament heroes. The rest…not as much. Maybe a few Christian thrillers or Apocalypse -set ones. A lot of times the Christianity seems forced in instead of developing organically. And the idea of Amish romance boggles me. Sorry. It’s not a dealbreaker though, I’m just picky.

Dealbreakers

I like to think that the Nostalgia Critic would agree with my disapprovals

These are the things that (a) either make me get rid of the book or (b) make me not pick up the book in the first place.

1. Excessive Worldbuilding/Back story: To clarify, characters and worlds should be well thought-out and even written down, but not in the actual novel. If I’m 5 pages in and know that there was a great battle between the God of Darkness Doom’Thor  and the King of the Gods Good’Hero but I know nothing about your main character I’m probably going to stop reading. Tolkien had a massive back story but the Lord of the Rings starts with Gandalf, Bilbo and Frodo.

In the same vein, if you introduce me to the character and then stop the action to tell me that your character has raven hair, piercing blue eyes, a slim body and so on and so forth…I’m gonna stop. I want to know what’s going on, not that the character is Adonis incarnate. Writers should follow the maxim from Ernest Hemingway

If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water.

2. Douche Heroes: I’ve covered this a lot too. I like flawed heroes and I like redemption stories but I steer clear of (a) old 80’s romances with rapetastic heroes and (b) heroes who do awful things to the heroines and never get called out for them.

3. Too Stupid to Live Heroines: BellaSwanBellaSwanBellaSwan.

Sorry. If the heroine keeps getting herself into stupid situations that could have easily been avoided or puts up with a Douche hero I make the smart choice and drop em’.

4. Gossip Girls, Cliques and A-Listers: I’ve read a few of these that are good but overall if a book series has one of those “cool” MTV phrases like “frienemies” I’m probably not going to pick it up. It’s less about any literary merits they may or may not have and more about I don’t want to read about b*tchy pre-teens when I could be reading about vampires hunters.

5. Angels: This is not about literary merits either, more about comfort. It just smacks a little too close to sacrilegious for myself to read about sexy angels. It may not for you and that’s fine, this is my personal taste. I have a harder time with books about elements of my faith when written from a non-christian point of view. I still haven’t read Good Omens even though I love Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. I may one day, for now not so much.

6. I’m an Emo Kid, Non-conforming as Can Be…: If the character (a) claims to love Evanescence (b) writes poetry (c) goes to Hot Topic then I’m gonna fallout of that, boy. (See? See what I did there?) 

7. Waif-like Pixie Girl: This is a recent male fantasy that’s popped up in a lot of places like 500 Days of Summer, Garden State and in a lot of “literary” books. The quirky/seductive girl full of charm and hipsterness falls for the loser who has no appeal/the troubled boy she will eventually break. Boys can have their fantasies and are welcome to this but I’m not into it.

8. Lurlene McDaniels/Deliberate Tear-jerking:

Okay. Okay. So some of you know my hatred for the song “Christmas Shoes“. (They made a tv movie of it. Help.)  I am not a fan of things that try to hard to tug my heartstrings. And this is from someone who watches all her Disney movies at least once a year and sobbed like a baby at both Up and Toy Story 3.

Here is the difference for me: when the tears arise organically because the storytelling and characters are amazing and make me believe in them, it is okay. However when the whole story is just meant to be tragic and endearing, I say no. This is why as a teen I always steered clear of the Lurlene McDaniels books where everyone dies of cancer in every book. (My friends loved these books. I was more interested in fantasy and fairy tales. not much has changed.) and why I generally avoid Nicholas Sparks (though I did enjoy A Walk to Remember).

Alright, enough from me. What are your dealmakers/maybes/breakers? Are our tastes similar or way different?

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1 Response to “Yesway, Maybe, Noway”


  1. 1 Tori September 6, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    I love you so much for linking to that blog! ❤

    And I love you for being so honest an forthcoming about your dealmakers/dealbreakers, etc.!

    I also pretty much agree with everything you said. And on the occasion that I DO read, I tend to go for more fantasy/fairy tale books, like yourself. I also tend to read more YA books in general (which might explain why I seem to love that blog so much, haha! xD).

    And I need to read more sci-fi too. Or just more books in general… I feels bad. :c


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