Getting the job done

In my review of Phyllida, I made a reference to an average review it earned at Amazon with the caveat that the reviewer “stayed up all night to read the last two hundred pages, because I was engrossed with the characters’ stories.” To which my response was, that’s the mother lode.

I’ve thought a lot about this lately, what I pick up, what I put down. I’ll finish a book regardless; it’s just something I do. I can’t stand to leave a book unfinished, no matter how torturous. Also, I’m not one of those readers who has to be absolutely captivated by the first or third page. I’ll give an author a good 50 pages to live up to the blurb (which is what would have hooked me enough to buy it), sink that hook in my mouth, and reel me in. (Which is kind of a moot point anyway, since I’m going to finish it.)

Right now, I’m reading a series of Georgian romances (er, that would be when King George III ruled the world before he went nuts requiring the Prince Regent [aka Prinny] to step in his place, which then required every pannier-wearing woman in the Ton to adopt Empress Josephine’s habit of sheer slip dresses and oh, you gorgeous Regency empire-waisted dress, how do I love thee, let me count the ways!).

Oh. Ahem. Pardon my fashion drool.

Back to the series. I started reading book #2 inadvertently, got about 100/507 pages in (that’s on my eBookwise reader; I don’t know what that translates to for the dead-tree variety), then realized I’d mistaken it for book #1.

So let me address that one first.

It’s got problems that keep taking me out of the story. It’s not as well edited as it should be, I suppose, but that might be me being able to see the man behind the curtain and finding him neither handsome nor ugly but simply not to my taste. Too, books suffer when they’re edited with the goal of shaving word count, which is what I suspect to be the case here, but I understand that. Some days, it’s all about the budget.

On the other hand, even after I realized I was reading the wrong book, I still didn’t want to put it down to save for later so I could catch up.

Does that make it a good book? No.

It means the writer did her job to my satisfaction.

Now. On to book #1. It’s obvious the writer grew from book #1 to book #2, but I’ll tell you what. If I’d picked up this one first, I’d suffer through and not read the other ones I bought*. I’m only getting through this one to be able to pick up #2 where I left off. It’s got logical inconsistencies, continuity issues, language issues (as in, the language doesn’t fit the Georgian era), and a not-very-bright heroine. She’s not TSTL (too stupid to live), but one minute she realizes the hero’s issue and the next, she’s confuzzled. She shouldn’t be able to realize the hero’s issues one minute and then turn around and be bewildered when he acts consistently with those issues she’s already sussed out. Were it not for my slight OCD on the issue of finishing books, I’d just put it down.

Which means the writer didn’t do her job to my satisfaction.

*So I actually bought all 3 books in the series at once, plus her fourth book, which is the beginning of a new series (everybody writes series anymore; everybody reads and likes series–and I’m no different).

In the end, does it make a difference that I’m equivocal about this author if I already spent the money on every book she’s had published so far?

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