Discussion Forums - Paranormal

Topic: How Do You Separate the "Wheat" from the "Chaff" in the genre?

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Subject: How Do You Separate the "Wheat" from the "Chaff" in the genre?
Date Posted: 8/14/2009 1:41 PM ET
Member Since: 9/23/2006
Posts: 527
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As we all know, paranormal & urban fantasy is the HUGE genre right now, where more books and series come out every week. Even though I'm a big fan- when the books are bad they seem to be extra bad. So with so many choices (and so many similar covers...) how do you choose? Recommendations, books borrow from friends, only authors your know & trust, cool covers, what's on sale, a mix? Also, if you didn't have the internet- how would that affect your choosing? I mainly go by online reviews when giving new series a try. This site is my favorite, because it's person to person word of mouth and all the books I've picked up due to these forums have been the best by and far. I've also picked up things that looked interesting based on price- I got the first 3 Yasmine Galenorn "Sisters of the Moon" books at once at a used bookstore in one go because they looked gorgeous next to each other on the shelf, and now the series is auto-buy new for me. If it wasn't for that (and falling in love with the cover for #1 in the series) I probably wouldn't have checked the series out- I cringe every time I look over at the cover of "Demon Mistress". ;) If it wasn't for the internet... I'd be at the mercy of going through book by book reading the back covers and the first few pages (which I still do on occasion anyway) and maybe RT Review magazine. My TBR would *definitely* be at a fraction of its current size!
Date Posted: 8/14/2009 1:54 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 1,131
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Most of mine has been trial and error. Went by recommendations from this site and amazon at first and that was enough to get my feet wet. Learned the hard way to try book 1 of a series first before getting all of them. Tastes wary widely, some books that came highly recommended didn't do anything for my while others with low or bad ratings became keepers. Getting my Kindle and being able to read chapter 1 for free is a lifesaver now. Even established authors burn out, covers don't always do the book justice and what's written on the back blurb isn't always what the book is about.

That's why I love this site, I can trade in the ones that didn't do it for mw for new ones.

Date Posted: 8/14/2009 3:36 PM ET
Member Since: 12/29/2008
Posts: 6,378
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Amen to that, Monika!  I always felt guilty when I got a book that I didn't love, and felt like I had to read it because I spent money on it, and then didn't know what to do with it.  Now I feel ok if I quit a book I don't like, knowing someone else out there will want it and enjoy it.  Plus, I've been more willing to try different things.  I mostly try new series by seeing what people talk about in the forums, looking at other people's wish lists, and from games that I have played in.  And I have found that I generally like UF more than PNR, so I usually steer in that direction (of course, there are always some exceptions to that general rule!).

Date Posted: 8/15/2009 2:32 AM ET
Member Since: 1/19/2008
Posts: 14,791
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before PBS, i relied pretty heavily on the recommendations from amazon.  after rating 1500 or so books, it did a pretty decent job.  now i use those, but also pay attention to what people are talking about here.

either way, before request  a new author i still always try to get my hands on the book first to read the first 5-20 pages and see if it looks like something i'd like.  if i can't do that, hopefully at least the first few pages are online at amazon, and i've recently discovered Google Books is another place to check for sample chapters.  if i hate the writing (or the characters, or in a couple of cases the too extremely gory) in the first few pages, i don't get the book.  if i already know i don't like the beginning, i won't get around to it.  unfortunately, this does mean that if i wait until the book comes out before adding a new author to my WL, it often takes ages to get the book, so sometimes lately i will add a book to my WL and tag it to remind me to go find it in person before actually requesting it.

Date Posted: 8/15/2009 10:46 PM ET
Member Since: 12/4/2005
Posts: 2,320
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Before the internet I basically just read the back of the book and yup, went by the covers.  I do not currently own many books with blonde dudes on the cover for that reason alone:lol:

I don't really have a good answer from my perspective.  I know what I like and don't like.  Not a big fan of female vampires and human males--don't know why, didn't like the Succubus books, don't care much for Sookie or MJD's Undead series.  I like the urban, erotic and romantic paranormal but cannot get into the YA stuff.  Books I loved 10 years ago are no longer holding my interest (sorry bout that Christine Feehan!)  I don't mind taking a chance on a new author--if I don't like them, it's only one book.  

Subject: Separating wheat from the chaff
Date Posted: 8/21/2009 7:38 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 2
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For the most part I have chosen by books by who wrote them. Have my favorite authors and I stick with them. But some of them are getting older and not writting so much anymore, so I look for new authors. For the most part I have not been disappointed until lately.

Has anyone noted the extreme violence in some of the new paranormals lately?  I have also enjoyed Christina Dodd's stories and even her last series.  The I got Storm of Visions. It started out okay but then the heroine was confronted with someone she knew previously. It wasn't until after they got into a knock down drag out fight that it was revealed that they were former lovers and knowing this she still attacked him with a knife and wounded him.

What it this? I don't understand this at all.  Of course once the fight scene was over they clinched and did the deed. When has violence

been a turn on to sex? Is this a new approach to pull in new readers?  More men readers? I have noticed that the language also includes more

four letters words than in the past.

I can understand strong characters but not like this...

I have noticed this in a couple other books, one just finished and another I just started to read..  May not be just in the paranormal genre either.

Have also read it in romantic suspense.. Thank goodness for paperback trade I can always go back and read some old stories.

Well Love to hear what other think about this and if I am just being too fussy..  or ????

Jolene