I’ve been doing a fair bit of reading lately when I work my waking night shifts. Writing at work has turned out to be difficult since it requires quite a bit of focus, and I need to always be aware of what’s going on. Reading works though, and you won’t hear me complaining about that.
With my newfound reading time, I’m finding new (and old) pet peeves in the books that I’m reading. It should be said that these are all personal views, and doesn’t mean that a story is any better or worse than any other. We all have our own preferences, and something that I enjoy might not be someone else’s cup of tea and vice versa.
Some of my pet peeves:
- Historical Inaccuracy
When reading romance, I will often allow for a little suspension of belief, as long as it’s not asking for too much. You have your couple waltz before it was actually a socially acceptable dance, sure – I’ll let it slide. However, if your hero has a tobacco plantation in the south of England and is a slave trader… Just, no. Slave trading was illegal for Britons after 1807 (the story took place in 1813-1817), and I could be wrong, but I don’t remember reading about British tobacco plantations? (That weren’t located in the West Indies etc.) I’m sure there were people who still worked in the slave trade, but then the author should have made it clear that he was doing something illegal.
Fortunately, this isn’t something that I see a lot of in published books (whether self-published or traditional), but I’ve been reading some stories on Wattpad and Fanfiction sites (I know, I know – but sometimes it’s a lot of fun!). When the writer hops between the points of view of the main characters abruptly, sometimes within the same scene it’s very jarring. Please change chapter or at least a section break to give me a clue that we’re now in someone else’s head!
I’ve mainly seen this in a couple of the very few erotic romances I’ve tried, but I know it sometimes happens in other books as well. It really creeps me out. When the hero is either talking about the heroine in terms that make her sound very young/girlish, or even worse calling her “baby girl”, “little girl”, “young girl” and so on. Extra squick points if he refers to himself as “daddy”. No, just no.
- Dubious consent
The book I’m currently reading has the hero more or less barging into the heroine’s flat at their first physical meeting (they’ve only spoken on the phone previously), and proceeds to spank her and do other sexual things to her, while she’s yelling at him to get out, to stop etc. It just made me very uneasy. Even while knowing that the author was trying to show him as dominating and her as a submissive who had forgotten how to be one (??!), it just didn’t sit right with me. Now, I’m no expert on BDSM, but isn’t the whole thing about consent and trust, in reality? You can’t just barge in and decide that you’re the new dominant without any base rules set? Correct me if I’m wrong.
- Series not advertised as such
This doesn’t really apply to series where each book is its own story with a beginning, middle and end (especially if each book is a new couple). But if you’re selling me a story, and it’s going to end on a cliffhanger – I’d like to know before I purchase the book, please.
These are some of my pet peeves, and I’m sure I’ve forgotten some.
Do you have any pet peeves in books? What are they?