The Boring Agony of Book Shopping

I think I’ve come to hate book-shopping. Which is really, really sad, because I absolutely LOVE reading. It’s just that there are so many things out there that I don’t want to read, that searching for the right story becomes a chore. This is why I only read series: Because if I’m going to go through all that effort to finally find the story I want to read, it better be awhile before I have to do it again. After the series I like ends, I’ll try to stick with the author. But usually when the author writes another series, I just can’t get into it. Maybe that’s just part of having a “book hangover,” like that quote I related to on Pinterest—inability to move on due to still being stuck in the last book’s world. Or maybe all that really matters to me is the story. I would call myself a book-whore, except I’m probably far too selective to merit such a promiscuous title.

Alright, I’ll tell you what my problem is: I like romance, but I don’t like it when the characters hardly even kiss, or when sex is thrown in my face. I mean, sex is welcome in the story, but I’m not reading the story for arousal purposes, so you’re going to have to make me care about the characters and the story and not just the sex. And I do NOT want something about a normal-life couple; I can walk outside to see that…sometimes I don’t even have to walk outside to see that. Give me something with fantasy or paranormal elements, where those things are vital to the story but do not overshadow the romance. I’m here for the depth and complexity, not the flashiness or the “don’t you want me?” One additional stipulation: no zombies or angels/demons, and for now I’m trying to stay away from vampires. What does that leave? Werewolf stories, but hopefully more than that.

Feel free to make some recommendations! I’m fond of mysterious male characters and not-so-chipper heroines, and I’m not afraid of a dark story tone. I do like shifters (mostly because of the mateship and alpha concepts), but I wouldn’t mind branching out of that category. I can do some sci-fi too, I’m just a bit more hesitant.

I’m finally starting to understand where following book reviewers comes in. Looks like it’s time to become a reviewer groupie.

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14 responses to “The Boring Agony of Book Shopping

  1. I totally agree. I’m not a big fan of random sex either, especially because so many authors can’t maintain sexual tension AFTER the obligatory smut.

    Some books that I’ve read recently that fit your criteria:

    The Summoning: Thought it was a great book that was tragically marred by a douche of a hero. Many, many people disagree with me, though, so you might too. Hey, even my dad liked it!

    Shatter Me: Paranormal, sci fi, and dystopia. Has lots of making out, but this lessens in the second book.

    Obsidian: Absolutely terrible book in my opinion, but lots of people loved it. I’m always the odd one out.

    Hollow Kingdom: Goblins and a very unusual romance. One of my favorite books ever.

    If you’re willing to lay aside your objection to angels/demons, Angelfall was one of the best books I’ve read this year. Definitely a not-so-chipper heroine.

    There was also Immortal Rules, which did have vampires (sorry), but also had a kickass heroine.

    • Yes, I’ve noticed a lot of authors write a sex scene, then go on with the characters or plot like nothing happened. Which makes absolutely NO sense, because it should totally change things. Or they think, ‘How do I replace the tension…? Oh, I know! I’ll make the character pregnant! Then everybody has to stick around.’ *shakes head* Thankfully, in the story I’m writing, the sexual tension revolves around the short-term and the long-term picture, and the other characters’ reactions, so I should be okay. But that’s one of those pitfalls in other people’s writing that I want to look out for in my own.

      I’ve tried reading some angel/demon fiction before, but I always end up putting it down. It’s not that it’s bad writing… I think angels and demons are just too real to me to read about. The only angel/demon fiction I’ve been able to make it through is Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness. I might flip through a few pages of Angelfall, though, and see if it’s an exception.

      Thank you for your book suggestions! I’m excited to try some out. 🙂

      • The problem, I believe, arises when authors center the story purely around romance. If there are other things going on in that romance besides the question of when/if they’ll have sex, the story will probably be fine. If the story is ONLY leading up to two characters having sex, the author’s up a creek when they do.

        If angels and demons are too real for you, I’m not sure whether you’d like Angelfall. I wrote a review of it if you’re interested. Also wrote a review for After Eden, which is more spiritual, but everyone, including the demons, is absolutely adorable. Which is probably not very realistic, but it is very entertaining.

        What’s your story about?

      • Hm, maybe I’ll go check out that review.

        I initially intended the first section of the first book of my series to be backstory, and then I would get into the thick of the romance and the plot at the same time. What I ended up with is a lot of romance, and little plot aside from that. So I can totally understand how people would get stuck. But for my characters, having sex means opening up a whole new can of worms. I see endless possibilities for tension. 😉 Still, every time I revise I sweep through to scatter more plot points. It’s about time to do so again, now that I have a better idea of where my characters should end up by the end of the second book.

        My story is about a temple servant girl who befriends an orphaned half-noble boy. When Labriella is forbidden from seeing him, Rome reverts partially into a beast. Years later, Rome rescues her from two near-rapes, which places him squarely in the line of fire between the temple, a bunch of self-serving nobles, and a vindictive bully intent on amassing power. Meanwhile, he’s sharing his house with Labriella, who he had to make his servant in order to save, and their mutual attraction is driving them both crazy.

        There are villains, but most of the tension in the story is psychological. Honestly, I want to go back and scatter in more allusions to the villains. Seems like I can always think of more revisions, haha.

      • I have the exact same problem. Instead of refining plot points, I just add more with every rewrite. Sigh…

        This sounds like a story I would love to read. I always love politics, scheming, and psychological drama. But romance is always more fun to write…

        Any ideas about what the religion is?

      • I know! For some reason romance is so much easier and funner to write. I have to be careful not to get wrapped up in the romance and bury the plot.

        For now, the politica in my story mostly have to do with Rome’s noble heritage. But I have big plans for how complicated it can get. 😉

        I created a new, cultural religion for my story. The temple belief system centers around the goddess, who is believed to be sort of a “Mother of the Earth”/”Giver of Life” figure. The temple itself is like an organization, and functions independently from society. It does, however, play a significant backhanded role in politics. Magic is believed to be power on lend from the goddess, and most people born with the Power are from noble families. So those with Power are given to the temple to be trained and managed, to keep the rest of society safe.

        There’s more to the identity of the goddess than that. But those are the basics of the temple.

      • Hmm, I wonder more nobles are born with the Power because people expect nobles to be born with it? They might not recognize the same thing in a peasant child, for example.

        Is it a matriarchy?

      • No, not a matriarchy. Though, more women inherit the Power, so there’s a shortage of noblewomen to go around (because only noblewomen without the Power can keep their status and their noble way of life, and marry).

      • Kind of… Nobles became noble because they had the Power to rise above everyone else. But their empowered, unchecked greed and ambition threatened to lead them to destroy one another. So they elected to send away those born with Power to a safe place, only to be utilized for emergencies. Most people dont have Power, so to commoners those with Power are frightening, but to nobility they are useful.

      • Yes, something like that. They can be loaned out to help with stuff, which gives the nobles a reason to stay in the temple’s good graces. Really, the maidens (who have Power) are just as stuck as the temple servants; they just have a higher rank and respect. Hence the disgruntlement of my villain-in-progress.

      • Well, the goddess is kind of a real person, who became a legend, that got made into a deity. So she’s not all-powerful. She believes her turn to walk the earth is over, so for the most part she’s more inclined to stay out of things. But she wont show up ’til later.

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