For What It's Worth

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Blogger ponderings…

Hey there! Still on my partial blogging break (reading tons of books!) but I did sit down today to write two reviews and came across something that left me perplexed with myself. lol

I wrote a very negative review for a book because it was filled with cliches and tropes. Yet I wrote a glowing review for the other book that was - you guessed it - filled with cliches and tropes that I thought were adorable.

The first book (negative review) was New Adult (Rock Addiction by Nalini Singh) & the other was YA (The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris) but it still left me wondering how I could slam one book for cliches/tropes but completely ignore them in the other.

This happens quite frequently with me too. Does this happen to any other readers?

Have you criticized several books for the same reason (cliches, TSTL characters, love triangles etc) and then all of a sudden that doesn't matter at all in one book you read. You are able to ignore all the flaws and enjoy it anyway.

What do you think makes the difference?? The characters? The writing style?

In this particular case, I think the difference is in one taking the trope/cliche plot too seriously and the other having more humor and lightness to it. I tend to let a lot go if an author can make me laugh or smile while reading. But I'm not sure that explains everything because I've certainly liked a lot of darker more serious cliche books as well.

Just throwing it out there. Let me know if you have ever felt the same or if I'm just crazy lol

28 comments:

  1. If an author can make cliches work then kudos to them, then they put some extra work into it

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    1. I guess all books are tropes or cliches really but it works better for some writers than others.

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  2. This has happened to me before. I think it's just possible for you to fall so in love with one part of the book that you don't mind any flaws. But if you're not *in love* with any part of the book then flaws will be more glaringly obvious and annoying.

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    1. Good point. If I love a character I can let a lot go that would otherwise annoy me.

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  3. Good question. Sometimes that stuff just works and other times it doesn't. I'm always sure to say it "didn't work for me". 'Cause book love is in the eye of the beholder just like beauty. Great question!

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    1. Yeah - it's so tempting to say this book sucks! but really it just means it didn't work for ME.

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  4. First of a I am so RELIEVED that I skipped Singh's NA book. Best thing I never had! LOL

    For me I think its how its written and the story itself. Its subtle and abstract, the differences, so its hard to articulate. Its the delivery to me, like when someone tells you the same joke,one person nails it while the other persons delivery fails?

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    1. lol SO many people loved it though. It's just one of those books that had my eyes rolling but others found it hot and sexy.

      That's a really great point though! I found it so weird that I ripped in tot he one book for the cliches but then wrote a glowing review for a book that did the same exact thing. And people on GR slammed THAT book for the cliches. lol I guess to each his own.

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  5. Hmm, such a thought provoking post. I know just what you mean but alas cannot explain just why sometimes things work with one author and yet not with another. Perhaps it has something to do with the delivery of the books as a whole and then again it could just be that with some authors (our favourites?) we are more forgiving than we might otherwise be.

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    1. Another good point. I know when it's an author I love I may be familiar enough with their writing that I might be able to give a pass knowing they didn't mean for it to come off cheesy and hope the next book is better.

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  6. I think it is all in how it is written. If the troupes are written in a way that enhance a story then I won't have a problem. If the troupes are written in a way that seem to impede the story then I will hate them. Same thing with TSTL leading ladies: sometimes it does work (rarely) because life experience of the character fits. Most of the time it doesn't work because we have all seen horror movies :) So yes you can have two different experiences with the same type of thing!

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    1. Really great point Felicia! Sometimes the silliness moves the story forward - other times it feels so forced and a way to get from point A to point B. Maybe taking the easy way out to tell the story.

      I like your theory!

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  7. Hmmm...I think Braine is on the right track, with the showing vs telling. I also think it's a matter of heart for the story. Maybe one author is writing the book they think readers want -filling in all the usuals, checking boxes. Like, "bad boy who sleeps with groupies?" Check." "Sassy heroine who puts man in his place?" Check." "Mind-blowing sex unlike anything either has ever experienced, therefore causing the hero to know she's 'the one'? Check and check." (Perhaps I overthought this.)

    Now I can't speak for either bonk bc I haven't read them. But I have read Rachel's books and I know they are FULL of heart and a lot of enthusiasm. And you just know she writes from her heart. I think that contributes a lot to the reason you've responded positively.

    Great discussion! I've had this occur a lot, and never gave it more than a surface thought.

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    1. That's exactly it! See - I'm glad I wrote this so you could all enlighten me!!!

      Sometimes it feels like a formula that you MUST follow but someone like Rachel Harris (& Cindi Madsen. Tamara Morgan are two other that do this well) gives the characters a kindness and sincerity that you can't help but embrace.

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  8. Great question. I think it is in how much I love the main character. And if there is going to be a triangle--make it fair at least in the beginning, because it seems like there is always one who is the favorite of most.

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  9. Yep! I've done this frequently. For me it is how it is written. Often when the tropes are used and it doesn't feel purposeful, I don't like it. When it is purposeful and deliberate then I tend to like them.

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  10. I agree it's the writing style! Some people can make it work, and I'll read anything by them, and others annoy me to no end :)

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  11. I really think that it's how the book's written, mood while reading and the story itself. I've totally been there! I think it's the same thing that makes us love a book while someone else hates it. It just resonates.

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    1. Yup. You liked Rock Addiction so you were able to let it go and enjoy it for what I was. it made me stabby.

      But the other book I enjoyed my friend HATED because of the cliches.

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  12. I haven't really thought about it, but this is a very interesting topic. I think it probably does come down to the writing style...some authors can use clichés and whatnot well because their story, overall, is interesting or entertaining.

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    1. It just felt strange to criticize one author for it and give a pass to the other lol

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  13. I've noticed this from time to time too. It's strange that the things that are pet peeves can also be excused in other instances. I think for me, I excuse cliches when they were clearly MEANT to be that way by the author for laughs. It's the worst when characters are meant to be genuinely realistic and they just come across as total cliches.

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    1. I agree with that. it's almost like a *wink* I know I'm writing a cliche but having fun with it.

      I tend to be able to handle almost anything if there's humor.

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  14. I'm pretty sure I've done the same thing, and like some commenters above me said: it all boils down to the writing style. If the writing style is FLAWLESS, I can easily overlook some of cliches. HOWEVER, if I'm not impressed, I get bored more and notice all of the tropes.

    Great question Karen, hope you're enjoying your semi break!

    Amber Elise @ Du Livre

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  15. The way the author writes the story and the characters definitely plays into whether you can overlook tropes, I think--I mentioned this on our Bookish Pet Peeves post, but I think you can forgive a lot about a book if you're enjoying it, including tropes, cliches, words you hate, etc.

    Humor definitely helps, too! I like it when authors play with the fact that they know they're writing a story/feature/character that's been done before and are a little cheeky with it.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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  16. I think this is so true. Sometimes a book will be silly or cliche and yet I like it anyway. I think a lot depends on the author and how they write other elements.

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  17. I criticize love triangles so much, but then one book comes along with one and I don't mind it at all. I think if cliches are well-executed, I'm fine with them!
    -Scott Reads It!

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  18. I mean, there are only so many new ideas out there. I agree that if the author does the trope with a little wink, or puts some fun twist on it, that goes a long way. If the book does something like instalove without acknowledging it -- just acting like wanting to spend the rest of your life with someone after knowing them for five minutes is totally normal -- then that's more annoying to me.

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