Bookfessional: The Rules

Posted March 31, 2017 by Jessica in Bookfessional, Jessica / 21 Comments

Bookfessional: The Rules

Before I started reviewing at Rabid Reads, I either liked a book or I didn’t. I didn’t analyze the whys or think critically about what specifically kept me turning the pages of one story and throwing my hands up in disgust with another.


Such a laissez-faire attitude does not make for book reviews worth reading, so I had to make adjustments. It took awhile to unravel all the things that make my nostrils flare, but I now have a concise list of rules that help me avoid and/or explain the scenarios that make me the most angsty.


1. Once you’re dead, YOU’RE DEAD.

The reason for this is simple: I’m escapist reader. My ability to escape is determined by my ability to trust the author. If someone dies, I mourn that death (or rejoice, depending), so if that character is miraculously returned to life, the next time someone dies . . . are they really dead? I don’t know. B/c trust has been broken.

And if I can’t trust an author, I don’t want to read their books.

2. No abuse of time travel to “fix” gratuitous problems.

This rule was originally an outgrowth of rule #1, but it’s evolved as I’ve experienced authors using time travel to reverse any number of horrible events they’ve inflicted on their characters.

It’s lazy. I don’t like it.

3. Once a supe, ALWAYS a supe.

There is no cure for vampirism. Cutting off the head of your sire with a silver blade on the full moon with daisies in your hair and the blood of seven criminals in your veins will not do one damn thing to turn you human again.

Same goes for every other supernatural type out there. Deal with it.

4. No cheating.

Just don’t. I see red when it happens.

5. No violence b/c YAY! Violence!

Violence is a necessary aspect of most SFF literature, and we all know that I’m one bloodthirsty gal, so it’s not violence itself that I find objectionable. It’s when authors pull the wings off flies b/c they can that irritates me.

There should always be a purpose to the violence.

6. Don’t be crass.

See #5. Substitute “crass” for “violence.”

7. Don’t abuse the shock factor.

See #5. Substitute “shock factor” for “violence.”

8. No mind control or other god-like abilities without restrictions.

It makes things too easy for the owner of the god-like ability, and where’s the fun in that?

9. If you give a human purple eyes, I will cut you.

Humans don’t have purple eyes. No, not even Elizabeth Taylor. Her eyes were very, very BLUE. Not purple.

10. Don’t reference real world things in fantasy worlds. Like Corinthian columns. Without Corinth, there can be no Corinthian columns.

This is another rule that goes back to my escapist reader roots. I’m basically against anything that’s going to jerk me out of the story, and wondering how a fantasy world, wholly unrelated to the real world, manages to have a copy of Sun Tzu’s ART OF WAR is at the top of that list.

What about you? Do my peeves also peeve you? What are some of your rules?

Jessica Signature

My name is Jessica and I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I’m trying my hand at writing, but mostly I read. My favorite genres are Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, and the YA versions of those genres, but if there is a book of a different color getting lots of buzz, I’ll read it too, just to be informed. If I’m not reading or writing, I’m probably on Goodreads or Pinterest or baking blueberry pies because I love them.



21 responses to “Bookfessional: The Rules

  1. I’m a series reader at core, so my biggest issue is with continuity faults. It drives me nuts. Like having to read “how did you know he was a marine?” in book 5 and start yelling at the book “YOU TOLD HIM IN BOOK 1 STUPID” nuts. Do I stop reading it? No. Do I like the series less because of that? Not really… But it makes me scream and foam at the mouth the same… and it also prevents to full enjoy the book due to an annoying tiny voice nagging at me on the corner… *mutters about stupid brain*

    Like with Kate Daniels – my favorite series of all time – Derek not getting older was something that really really made my teeth hurt every single book. Julie passed from 13 to 15, time would pass, and Derek? From pretty boy, to scarred, to boy wonder… AND still 19. I finally caved in and made a comment on their blog. Since I kinda suck at stalling, I forgot to keep the link, so no idea if it was responded.. of if I even was the cause of it, but Derek’s age started to change. Not as old as my stupid brain demanded, but he isn’t 19 anymore. Which let’s me full appreciate their awesome job without any nagging on the sidelines.
    Sonia recently posted…FanGirling: Ilona Andrews

    • My biggest hangup with Kate was how everyone seemed to blame her when that jerk she was kind of dating turned out not to be the upir. She only pointed the finger at him, b/c Curran forced the issue, and it was also Curran who demanded they confront him. Then afterwards, everyone acts like she royally effed things up, including Kate.

      I didn’t notice the Derek thing until they’d already started aging him. 😉

  2. Like you, as I review more and more I started to note what types of stories or storylines I didn’t like so that I could avoid them. Why review them if I know I am going to hate them, right?

    Recently one of the authors I like wrote a story where one brother was going to sacrifice his love for the heroine and let his brother have her. This was not in the description so I was unaware that this would the story. I HATE THOSE STORIES. That is not a romantic sacrifice to me. That is him passing her off like a thing and not asking her what she wants. In this story, a paranormal, she never even met the brother. He was in sleep state for 500 years and had anger issues. Passing her off to a stranger with anger issues and who will have issues with everything that happened in the last 500 years without asking what she wants? Thanks for your “sacrifice.” No thanks!
    Lucy D recently posted…Review: After the Dark by Cynthia Eden

  3. Maybe I need to come up with some rules, I like your rules but I read not only this but a lot of mysteries and there are some things in those that are a no go.

    So I take it your not an Arrow fan since on that show they have brought back a couple of people (though they did have consequences as in they like to kill) 🙂
    Stormi Johnson recently posted…Friday Meme’s ~ Southern Fried

    • There are always exceptions to the rule, and if bringing someone back carries a hefty set of consequences, I’m more likely to give it a pass. The types of situations that I absolutely will not tolerate are the ones like what went down in the CHICAGOLAND VAMPIRES series.

  4. I agree with all of these rules! Especially the super and then not thing. I really hate that!

    How do you feel about the purple eyes in Song if Ice and Fire?

    I have a LOT of rules. I haven’t written them all down, but I doubt I could keep them under ten lol. My top one isn’t on your list, no rape.

    Great topic this week!
    Molly Mortensen recently posted…I’m still here!

  5. In a series that revolves around the same protagonist, relationships (whether they be romantic or allies) between characters should be formed over time. Unless it’s pre-established in book 1 that a couple is already together, or that peeps are BFFs. Insta-love / friendship is for the birds.

    Your description of #3 made me LOL.

    • Yeah, I can sometimes buy into an instafriendship, if there’s a solid for the connection, but if it’s not expanded in a meaningful way, I’ll get frustrated with it. Instalove is going on my list. 😉


  6. What a fun list! I’ll have to think of my own set of rules. Like you, I’m not a fan of time travel used to fix a problem in the narrative. My favorite series several years ago used time travel in Book 3 to “fix” an event from Book 1. I totally threw the book at the wall. I stopped reading the series completely.

    I’m also not a fan of insta-love romances. I can handle instant lust and attraction, but I believe love takes a bit more time to develop.
    Leigha recently posted…Review | Caraval by Stephanie Garber

  7. Hmmmm, reading this list has made me wonder if I have any real rules that totally put me off books, and right now I cannot think of any… I mean, death means death… but I was happy when Ethan returned from the dead in the Chicagoland Vampires series so… I dunno??

    Althought senseless violence and too much gore without being part of the story (like school of assassins is bound to have blood and death and gore) is not okay with me either…
    Pili recently posted…Duels & Deception by Cindy Anstey Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway!!