AAR's recent segment of THE BACK FENCE asked a few great questions which, strangely enough, I've been pondering for quite some time.
1. Have you re-read a book you didn’t care for? What was your experience? A Summer to Remember by Mary Balogh. I hated the heroine the first time I read it; thought she was snotty and annoying. I seriously thought the hero was playing her; there was no way, in my mind, that anyone as hot and magnetic as him could want a woman like her. She bored me to death and the sex scenes did zilch for me. My fellow Balogh loving friend loved the book; others thought it one of Balogh's best. Where had I gone wrong? I asked myself. So, a year later, I reread it and was glad I did. I now consider it one of the best Balogh books out there. A DO NOT MISS!!!
2. Are you predisposed to like books more from your favorite authors or do you find you are more critical if they fall short? Hmmm...honestly, I'm not sure. I tend to be critical of anyone AND anything that doesn't meet my expectations.
3. How have your romance reading tastes changed? I used to read only contemporaries by Harlequin. Charlotte Lamb was my favorite writer. I loved her Barbary Wharf series books. With the years, I felt more and more like I was living in the wrong era. I adored English literature and history and soon became caught up in romances based in the regency and Victorian age. I still have trouble going back to contemporaries. I'm too obsessed with aristocratic families and the Brits...if only I could get that time machine to work....
4. What is your experience with re-reading your favorite books? Do they usually perform for you again or do they fall short of their favored status? I reread Balogh's MORE THAN A MISTRESS and Foley's THE DUKE a couple of weeks ago. I loved them more than the first time I read them. There's no mistaking why fans love these books so much. The emotion and passion between the characters took my breath away...and the sex described ... wow wow and wow!!! I don't think I'll ever tire of reading these books. They simply melt me!
5. Must you cast your characters visually? Does it ever backfire on you? I always picture Gerard Butler when reading a romance novel, even if the hero happens to be blonde. I cannot help it. Gerard is the sexiest piece of British booty I've ever seen. Why shouldn't I picture him? As for the heroine? I tend to always picture a red head or brunette...weird, I know. Maybe it's the fact that I'm a brunette. I don't know. Perhaps I'm subconsciously picturing someone who closely resembles myself. Has this ever backfired? Well, once I bought a book whose cover had a woman who looked very much like an ex friend of mine. That ruined it big time! The hero wasn't any better. He looked like that guy with frizzy hair on the 80's hit show FAME! Nastiness! I struggled throughout the book and eventually had to put it away.
6. Are you able to accept less favorable plots elements if you have been forewarned? Depends on what the "less favorable" plot is. I won't read anything in which the hero cheats on the heroine AFTER they get together. I don't think any warning would make me accept such a novel. If I wanted to read non-fiction, I certainly wouldn't be roaming the romance section!
7. Do you believe mood shifts affect your reading enjoyment or make you less/more tolerant of undesirable plot elements? Without a doubt. Sometimes I think a major mood swing was probably the cause of my initial hatred for Balogh's SUMMER TO REMEMBER.
So...have you had similar experiences?