Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Why do bad books happen to good authors?

Once in a while, even the best authors produce a book so bad you would assume even they are embarrassed it got published under their name.

With the exception of Paullina Simons and Jill Barnett (each and every book of theirs I’ve read I truly enjoyed), most authors I love have written a book or two that made me wonder: What the fuck? Did he/she really write this crap???

Take Judith McNaught for example. After all these years and all the books I’ve read by different authors, Something Wonderful is still my favorite romance novel. I truly believe no romance lover should be without a McNaught book. However, as much as I’m grateful to her for creating such amazing love stories—including A Kingdom of Dreams and Paradise (where I met the man of my dreams—oh, Matt Farrell, my love *sigh*), she has books that, simply put, tarnish her name. Tender Triumph, for one, went straight to the bottom of my shelves where cobwebs flourish and dust bunnies rule, never to be seen again. (Trollop here stealing a bit of Harlot’s post to say that, Until You and Remember When should be taken out of bookstore shelves and shoved in a dark dungeon where no other unsuspecting reader will be able to find them—and suffer as I did!—while reading those two, you know—those two things!!! They were so bad I don’t even have a word awful enough to describe them!)

The same thing with Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Her “Stars/Bonners” series is definitely one of my favorites. I have high respect for this author but I have to say, Honey Moon and Glitter Baby are just not my cup of tea. They’re more of an ice cold milk you poured for yourself, but instead got globs on because its sour. :/

Linda Howard gave us After the Night, Kiss and Tell and those Mackenzie studs. But lest we forget, she also gave us one of the worst heroes ever, Rome Matthews of Sarah’s Child, the imbecilic prick who refused to accept the responsibility of a new baby because *gasp* he didn’t want to replace his dead sons! I know. Fucker.

Even the romance diva herself, Jennifer Crusie, has books I didn’t like. Granted, Faking It and Fast Women don’t actually qualify as “Books I Would Love to Burn,” but they were still a big disappointment. Nothing short of great should be penned by this woman!

Philippa Gregory, who writes fantastic historical fiction (A Queen’s Fool, The Other Boleyn Girl), ventured into writing a contemporary novel and almost got lost. That Zelda’s Cut book was so unbelievably stupid, I actually thought it was a joke! Unfortunately, it didn’t deliver its punch line; definitely doesn’t make the cut.

Then there is Helen Fielding. Incredibly funny and talented, she single-handedly created what we now know as “chick lit,” an increasingly popular fictional genre. Millions of women around the world swear by her Bridget Jones books; they have become a generational icon for singletons in every corner of the earth. And then she had to go and write Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination, possibly one of the worst books published in the history of literature. *shame* What a waste of time and talent—and even worse, what little appreciation Mrs. Fielding showed for her fans by cashing in on her BJD success by pimping this trash to us!

So how about you? Do you have authors you love who produced a book you truly hated?

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23 comment(s):

Blogger Vicious Trollop said...

I have problems with some authors like JM who write great stuff and then come out with stuff like that Ramon book and the others I mentioned in the post. I think they are lazy and think anything they write will be good enough b/c they're already rich and famous.

Some great authors that have written bad books come to mind:

Sophie Kinsella: Shopaholic and Sister
Julia Quinn: To Sir Phillip With Love (And a couple of others)
Sherilyn Kenyon: Love Slave (that one where the guy couldn't come, can't remember exact name lol).

I'm sure there are others. Will come back with more later :P

5/03/2006 03:33:00 PM  

Blogger Kelly said...

I love Marian Keyes for a good comfort read. That being said, I thought her latest book "The Other Side of the Story" was kind of mean-spirited.

5/03/2006 04:33:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...


You have a death wish or soemthing? LOL Trollop lurves MK and will slay you for that :P

In any case, what do you mean by "mean-spirited"?

5/03/2006 05:37:00 PM  

Blogger Vicious Trollop said...


Hi and welcome :D Yes, as Harlot said I LOVE MK. Didn't like TOSOTS as much though. But not sure I understand what you mean about mean-spirited? I thought it was just a bit boring and dragged parts. Definately not her best!

5/03/2006 05:52:00 PM  

Blogger Kelly said...

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE MK. LOVE. I'm waiting for the new novel.

Just the entire plot line of writing a novel to get back at someone bugged and kind of made me not like the protagonist. MK's heroines are always flawed, but this one's petty flaws outweighed her good qualities (I can't remember her name. TOSOTS is the only MK novel I haven't reread in times of stress)

5/03/2006 08:12:00 PM  

Anonymous kejie said...

I love Johanna Lindsey especially her Mallory series, but I hate her book "A Man to Call My Own"!

5/04/2006 01:08:00 AM  

Blogger Petra said...

One of my favorites is Isabel Allende. But her latest one "Zorro" is just boring and frankly, embarassing!

5/04/2006 01:22:00 AM  

Anonymous Tart said...

*sidenote* still can't add a message on the floating tagboard thingy, grrr*endsidenote*

Would agree with all your list Harlot - but would add Kiss an Angel, Breathing Room and Ain't She Sweet to SEP's list LOL.

I think I'm the only person in the world that hated Welcome to Temptation by JC.

Judith McNaught has written some doozies! I've not read the last 3 or 4 book she's put out. Which is a shame as I lurve Something Wonderful :P


5/04/2006 01:24:00 AM  

Blogger Aggie said...

I hated Linda Howard's latest - futuristic and plain silly. Killing Time - I just wanted to kill the book. I waited and waited for the trademark humour ... sigh, I'm still waiting. Maybe next book huh! I bet the pressure to produce more and more excellence takes its toll on our fave authors though. I bet they get tired. No excuse to cheat the readers at the cash tills though.

5/04/2006 03:51:00 AM  

Blogger Serendipity said...

Judith Ivory. There is something about her writing that I can't get into. Her heroine, I just want to grab out of the page and shake. I haven't quite met an Ivory book I've yet to get lost into. Maybe it's an Outlander-thing all over again (in which I have to read a book 7 times to actually enjoy it.)

Doesn't that remind you just a little bit of that guy who pushes that big rock up a Mountain what's-his-name?

5/04/2006 10:20:00 AM  

Blogger Serendipity said...

OK, I am going to go get cover now...this could get ugly.

5/04/2006 10:21:00 AM  

Blogger Serendipity said...

GASP! Honeymoon is sweet...although I hate it that she ended up with that old thing.

Glitter Baby...takes getting used you really want to share something in common with your mother that way? None the less, it's a sad story and makes me feel sorry for Fluer, and at the same time, I want to give her spine surgery and possibly kill the guy.

5/04/2006 10:23:00 AM  

Blogger HOTMAMA said...

LOL, yes well if they write one too many not-up-to-par books, they're out.

I gave up KWoodwiss, JLindsey, Bertrice Small,SLaurence completely. Iris Johanson used to write beautiful romances,ie..WINDANCER trilogy was fabulous, then went suspense. Same with C Coulter

Serendipity, I'm the same about JIvory. I read them all but didnot keep them.

This year there's been a few disappointments but I can't remember bec I don't keep them!Oh, R Gibson's was not as good, but she's still in the mix.

E James and C Ridgway and S Enoch did not disappoint :D

All I want is some witty dialogue and sex. Is that so hard to write about :P lol

5/04/2006 01:54:00 PM  

Anonymous Love2read said...

Great topic.

Regarding Judith McNaught, it is hit and miss with her these days. Her last two books were misses (duds) in my opinion. But I thoroughly enjoyed Paradise, Perfect, and A Kingdom of Dreams. In fact her last book was so spotty, I've heard that she is going to do some rewriting for the paperback version.

Another author that I used to love but cannot read any more is Jude Deveraux. Her older works were very enjoyable but her more recent ones are dreadful. Carolina Isle especially should never have been published - in my opinion.

I guess everyone has their ups and downs, but you hope that YOUR favorite author isn't going to be one to disappoint. Alas, it usually happens. Is it because we are changing and we have outgrown the author? Or the author has moved to a different genre we aren't inclined to read?

The good thing is there are hundreds and hundreds of authors to try so when the well runs dry for one, there is always a new well to draw from.

5/04/2006 04:32:00 PM  

Blogger HOTMAMA said...

Bingo! You are exactly right on both counts IMHO!

5/04/2006 06:10:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...

Welcome love2read! :D

It's true about Judith McNaught rewriting her last book for the paperback release. It's bad enough to buy a book you've expected to be great but got a, like you said, "spotty" one instead, what more if you spent a lot to get the HC just to find out it's gonna be rewritten for the paperback release? It's plain unfair for the reader and damn irresponsible of the author! Makes you wonder if they do this in purpose just to get more sales.

>>>Is it because we are changing and we have outgrown the author? Or the author has moved to a different genre we aren't inclined to read?
That's a good point. :) I think it's both. If the author continuously produce the same thing over and over again, no matter how good she is or how much we love him/her, fans will get tired of reading. But sometimes, there are authors who venture to another genre and totally get lost. Take Julie Garwood for an example. Her contemps suspense are so bad, i really wish she'll go back to writing historicals.

Love2read, i hope you visit and post often. Loved your comment! :D

5/04/2006 06:16:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...


I heard ANYBODY OUT THERE is good. :D Trollop is waiting for it too this June. But i believe it's already available in other countries like UK.

Welcome Kejie and Petra! :D

5/04/2006 06:19:00 PM  

Blogger Marg said...

Anybody Out There is out here, but I haven't read any of the other Walsh sisters books yet, so I am not racing out to get it!

I have asked this before on the tagboard but by the time I got back to it it had scrolled off the screen, but what order do the Walsh sister's book go in?

5/05/2006 11:54:00 PM  

Anonymous Kelly C. said...

Y E S ! Finally someone who calls Rome Matthews what he is - - grade "A" prick!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you. :-)

5/06/2006 08:31:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...

I'll go ask Trollop, she's the expert on this one. ;) Will get back on you!

Rome Matthews IS a prick, a useless loser who doesn't deserve to touch a woman. LOL God, i hate that fuckwit!

And, not sure if we welcomed you here already, but big hug for your welcome! Hope you post often :D

5/07/2006 06:21:00 AM  

Blogger Harlot said...

This is from Trollop:

Walsh Family
1. Watermelon (1995)
2. Rachel's Holiday (1998)
3. Angels (2001)

5/07/2006 09:52:00 PM  

Blogger Marg said...

Thanks Trollop and Harlot!

5/08/2006 05:41:00 AM  

Blogger Currin Girl said...

(raising hand) I have to agree with Kelly on The Other Side of the Story.

As for Helen Fielding - Schmeh, I thought BJD was the only good output out of all her books.

And Maeve Binchy. I love Maeve Binchy. Nothing comes between me and Maeve on a Sunday afternoon, while I'm lying in a hammock. (The reality is sitting in my city apartment, being nudged off my stinky couch by my dog. But it's nice to dream). I digress, I love Maeve, but Scarlet Feather was dreck.

5/08/2006 11:16:00 AM