Grumpy Book Grrrl

a writer and reader


We’ve all had it happen: nose deep in a wonderful story (or series) we can’t get enough of, and then the author did THAT, making us want to throw our book (or Kindle) across the room.

There’s no forgiving the author’s choice. It’s time to pull the plug.

So don’t even ask. Without further ado, here is a list of MacHalo deal breakers:

1) Killing off the main character.

This is almost assuredly a deal breaker. It’s one thing to justifiably kill off a supporting character, but no, you don’t touch the hero or heroine. All that emotional investment and then we get that garbage?! You aren’t George R. R. Martin, so just don’t.

2) Really long books. Almost inevitably, these massive tomes will have filler and unnecessary padding. We don’t need ten pages describing a forest or someone’s outfit. If the world-building and plot justifies it, we are right as rain. If not, we’re breaking up.

3) The Big Misunderstanding. This is when the main character keeps important details from another character, they don’t communicate, so the reader is forced to endure a couple hundred pages of manufactured drama and angst. Where are the pitchforks?!

4) Multiple POVs. It’s one thing to have a few going on, but when you start to feel more like you’re putting together a list of chores instead of just remembering character names, it’s time to say adios.

5) Magical mastery without sacrifice or training. This might also fall into the Special Snowflake category. That character who just instantly knows how to work spells or their abilities and surpasses everyone else seemingly overnight. To you, we say:

5) Love Triangles. Please, just don’t. There are plenty of big-name authors who do it, but that doesn’t make it right. Just PICK someone. One person, unless the lead is polyamorous or something (and THAT’S a whole other topic we’re not touching with a ten foot pole).

6) Pointless Abuse Backstory. Many authors use this trope to justify a character’s interest in BDSM or in establishing an instalove romance. The main character may be fearful or unapproachable, and why? It’s almost always due to an abusive ex-boyfriend or husband. Authors, can’t you find more ways to flesh out the protagonist?

7) The Amnesia Trope. This almost speaks for itself, but is a convenient and easy way for authors to flesh a romance out or to introduce that super special character whose origin story will be unfolded about two hundred pages (or even a couple books) later. There better be some spectacular writing involved to make this one work.

(The above deal breaker requires a very special disclaimer: dislike of the amnesia trope does NOT include Eric Northman, whose forgetfulness provided some of the best scenes in romantic literature history!)

That’s it for now. Leave your comments and let us know what your book deal breakers are!

9 thoughts on “I’m Breaking up with You!

  1. cathepsut says:

    All good choices. I am with you on love triangles, amnesia and abuse stories. Another one that I will only pick up under special circumstances is time travel. I have rarely read books where it worked and made for a good plot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good call, Cathy. I agree with you on time travel. It’s almost impossible to account for all the paradoxes it creates. -Sam


  2. What an awesome post!!! I will say that very rarely killing off the mc works (usually at the end though)- but in most cases, it’s a dealbreaker. Unnecessary padding is a killer though!! hahaha the confusion winds me up too!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, thanks! We had fun venting our frustrastions. -Sam 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome!! Haha!


    2. cathepsut says:

      Here’s another one… too much detail! I know, sounds weird. Similar to too much padding… I do not need to know the colour, shape and style of all the clothes the characters wear, every single time they appear on page. Or their hairstyles. And I do not need to have all their character traits repeated ad nauseam. Or the shape of every cloud that floats by. Or every brick in every buidling I come past… Prime examples of that problem are Laurell K Hamilton and, surprisingly, The Lies of Locke Lamora!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Too much detail is a big one with me too! Makes me want to start skimming. – Shelly


      2. Ahh yes I really agree with you there- I really don’t see the necessity of it, especially when it gets in the way of the story. Hahaha very true- I’ve not read those though, so I can’t comment, but I’ll bear that in mind. Thanks for the heads up 😉


      3. Another I’ve noticed, along these same lines, is renaming. I don’t need to be reintroduced to a character every time I meet him/her. I know read a book that did this recently (I for the life of me can’t remember it at this moment though) and it bugged the shit out of me. – Sam


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