Friday, March 21, 2014

Where Have All the Good Books Gone?

I'm a writer. But I wouldn't be a writer if I wasn't first a reader. I am passionate about books. I may not consume them like others do, but I love them, I enjoy them, especially the ones that really speak to me. Lately I've found it hard to find the really good books. Where have they gone? I think I've found the answer, but you'll have to finish my post to find out.

I was in the mood for a good paranormal romance, but I had a specific request. It couldn't be smutty. I'm a Mormon mommy, and while I read Ilona Andrews and Jim Butcher, that's about as far as I'll go, anything smuttier than that and I call it quits.

The kindle is a great place to shop. You have millions of books at your fingertips, but knowing which ones to choose can be a challenge. I settled on a book called The Curse Keepers by Denise Grover Swank. Early on, I almost put it down. Our heroine has a boyfriend she's hoping to be intimate with, third date and all that. His name is Dwight, which in my mind tells me what kind of guy this is, and I'm right. He's boring, overweight, and unattractive. But that's not what bothers me. What bothers me is this: Our heroine puts up with the guy through a lame date, hoping she'll get some action. He's bad at conversation, brusque, but she refuses to turn him away. In fact, she forces herself on him. She doesn't send him away until she determines his man parts to be too small, and that's what really kills it for her. Not his intelligence, not his disinterest in her. Nothing except his small size.

At that point I almost, almost, put the book down. I'm not sure why I stayed with it. But by the end, I wasn't satisfied. The guy she eventually hooked up with was a real bad boy, in my opinion, he was too rude, chauvinistic and condescending. He insulted her, he belittled her. But she stayed with him because he was attractive.

The language also made it a difficult read. I still haven't figured out why some authors think they need to use F bombs every five sentences. What does it add? How does it make the story more engaging? I'm still baffled.

I spent close to 5 bucks for that one. I will not be buying the sequel.

In contrast, I found another book called RISING by Holly Kelly. I loved it. It did everything The Curse Keepers didn't. And guess what? It also had a love story, but the author kept it clean, and to me, made it a better read.
RISING'S publisher, Clean Teen Publishing, is phenomenal. I've picked up another book pubbed by them called THE KEY, which I can't praise enough. Love story? Yes. Interesting characters? Yes. A page turner? Yes.

Smut? No.

I spent $.99 on RISING.

THE KEY was free.

And here's what I've learned.

I've gotten all kinds of rejections from agents who work with the BIG FIVE publishing houses, the same publishers who released THE CURSE KEEPER'S. In their rejections they tell me that, "they are only accepting the best of the best."

But I LOVE what Clean Teen is releasing and I loathe the other crap the Big Five are putting out, so who can I believe? Granted, not everything the Big Five releases is terrible, but quite a lot is, more than should be. In my opinion, the BIG FIVE only release what they think sells. It's understandable. Amazon is putting them out of business, and they need authors who can turn a profit. That's okay. But from now on, I'll be wary about what I read from them.

Since I've discovered Clean Teen, I've downloaded three additional books. I'll download more eventually. Most are free. I can't wait to read them all. Why did I not hear about these guys sooner? I feel like Alice waking in Wonderland, so this is where all the good books have gone.


  1. Love this!! Clean Teen Publishing is awesome!! I found them when they were looking for a reviewer for Night Marchers and have never looked back!! V""V

  2. Well, said, Tamara! I cringe at some of the teen books that I know our teenagers are reading. They could be good books without the "smut", as you so aptly put it. Why do we want to put things like that into their heads? btw: Love, love, loving your book! Can't wait to read more from you.