10. Abundant Grammatical Errors I don’t mind the occasional typo, but do have your book proofread! I’ve mentioned the horror that was The Christmas Wish before and that is a perfect example of how to convince me NOT to just ignore mistakes. And don’t ever, ever, ever write could/would/should of. It literally makes me want to shudder, and I hate that I just had to write it here myself.
Worst offender: “The Christmas Wish” by Karen Farrell Jaworski
9. Unnecessary Unhappy Endings Some books have to have unhappy endings, I get that, but if everything looks as if it’s going to end perfectly, only to fall apart within the last 5 pages, then that’s unnecessary.
Worst offender: “The Partner” by John Grisham
8. Unrealistic Happy Endings I’ll be honest and say that I generally prefer a happy ending to an unhappy one, but I don’t want a happy ending by any means possible. I hate reading books where 95% of the book has people being utterly mean and cruel to each other, and then have everything fixed up, lickety-split in the last 5 pages. I don’t want to have to read through 395 pages of unhappiness to get 5 pages of happiness! It’s just not worth it!
Worst offender: “My Sweet Audrina” by V.C. Andrews
7. Lack of Pacing I guess this one is linked to the two above. Don’t try to fit the closure of a long novel into two short pages. Give the resolution the page-time it needs, or the book will end up feeling rushed and badly written.
Worst offender: “The Nany Diaries” by Emma McLaughlin
6. Love Triangles From Gone With the Wind to Twilight and pretty much every paranormal romance since. Give it a rest already! Love triangles and a love for “Wuthering Heights” (which is pretty much a literary pet peeve all in itself!) do not a good novel make! I could cope with it in Twilight because at least the chemistry was believable – NOT something I can claim for most of its subsequent clones.
Worst offender: “Evermore” by Alyson Noël
5. Evil Characters Who Aren’t Brought to Justice for Their Evil Deeds Also known as the “Death is too good for you, so why did you just die?” pet peeve. I know real life isn’t like that, but in books I’d like my villains to be held accountable for what they’ve done, and too often authors end up just killing them off instead. Deeply frustrating.
Worst offenders: “Still Missing” by Chevy Stevens and “A Week From Sunday” by Dorothy Garlock
4. Umbridge I couldn’t figure out how to sum it up, but really to anybody who’s read Harry Potter, her name explains it all. Characters that are too evil to become villains we love to hate. Characters that we hate to hate and who end up ruining an otherwise good book for us. I doubt I’ll ever reread OotP.
Worst offender: “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” by J.K. Rowling
3. 10.000 Book Series I love series as much as the next person, but I want to be sure that there is a resolution to whatever main arc the series is about before I start out on the journey. One thing I loved about Harry Potter is that we knew from the start that there would be only 7 books, so we would eventually get a resolution to Voldemort. Whenever I start a series that’s a WIP I worry that the author tires of the series before its completed, and we will forever be left without closure.
Worst offender: “Animorphs” by Katherine Applegate
2. Cliffhangers Look, if there was too much plot to fit into a book of a given size, then write a longer book! Don’t write us off with a cliffhanger that basically turns the book into half a book! There are exceptions, of course. I don’t mind it in “Blackout”/”All-Clear” because Connie Willis originally intended for it to be one book, but was told to split it up into two by her publisher. Nor do I mind series where the main plot is left unresolved until the last book, but the plots of the individual books are solved in each one. An example of a series that does this perfectly is Harry Potter. Each book is a book in itself as well as a chapter in the longer book that contains the entire series.
Worst offender: “A Voice in the Wind” – Francine Rivers
And my all-time biggest pet peeve…
1. “And Then He Woke Up And It Was All A Dream”-Endings Or the lesser known but almost as annoying “And Then It Turned Out That He Was Schizophrenic”-Endings. Thankfully they are few and far between, but they absolutely ruin books for me. Especially if – as was the case with one memorable book – I saw it a mile off and kept thinking, “No! They can’t pull that one. Really? They’re going THERE? Sheesh!”
Worst offenders: “Thr3e” by Ted Dekker and “Tell Me Your Dreams” by Sidney Sheldon