NOT YOUR USUAL SUSPECTS

A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments! and often have guest bloggers.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!


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Monday, April 2, 2012

Disturbing Reads

I discovered something in the past week. I’m not a fan of disturbing reads. I pretty much already knew that – especially since I write romance – but I’ve always said life is too short to be sad or upset so I like to put out happily ever afters to keep things on the bright side. I just finished reading The Hunger Games series and I’m very conflicted about the whole thing. Yes, I know it was a good series because it’s stayed with me. That is absolutely the sign of a good book. Certainly there were some amazing lessons on loyalty and morality not to mention some great quotes. But, let’s face it, it’s a disturbing topic and the deeper into the series I got the more disturbing it became. The one thing it did do was to confirm my decision to write romance. My characters in Dangerous Race and Danger Zone certainly go through some disturbing incidents, but all ends up working out in the end. I need that happily ever after so I can smile and sigh at the end of a journey (or even cry happy tears).


What about you? Do you need to mix up your reading or do you usually stick with one genre? Do you lean toward the same things or do you go outside your comfort zone? And for you writers out there, do you read more of what you write or find that mixing up your reads helps your writing in any way?

30 comments:

Maureen A. Miller said...

For the most part, I stick with Romantic Suspense, although I do enjoy mysteries very much. There is a thin line between danger and discomfort. If I read something that troubles me, I'll quickly put on BIG BANG THEORY and I'm back to laughing again. :)

Dee J. said...

Hi Maureen,

I'm the same way and usually stick with romantic suspense. Every now and then I get sucked up into the hype a different book - (THG for instance) and have to see what the fuss is about. I like your BBT remedy. LOL. Did I ever mention that I worked on that show for the first season? A very nice group of people over there.

Roz Lee said...

If it doesn't have a happy ending, then I don't want to write it,read it or watch it, and I certainly don't want to pay money for it. The realities of life can be dismal enough without heaping more on top! I'm with you and Maureen, love and laughter are entertainment for me.

Dee J. said...

Hi Roz!

I always say that exact thing. Life is tough enough so I don't like to spend time reading/seeing upsetting things (much less spending money on them). Give me the good - happy/fun - stuff! Thanks for coming by!

Lynne Marshall said...

Hi Dee J!
I have only read book one of The Hunger Games, and was fascinated. I love romance best of all for the promise of hope and Happily-ever-after, but I do often read romantic suspense (yours!) and sometimes the edgier authors take it a bit too far for me. I don't like uber dark stories that leave me creeped out or looking over my shoulder. I read an Amish story with a serieal killer that was outstanding for the writing and characters, but I couldn't get myself to read the next book because, well, I don't want to be left with horrible visuals of people suffering evil deaths.
TMI?
Probably - you know me!

Dee J. said...

Hi Lynne!

I totally hear you. There are several wonderful authors that I had to stop reading because their books were just too dark for me. (And a couple are romance authors!)I had to go through too much darkness to get to the HEA. Some serial killer stories go a little too far in their descriptions and I don't have the heart to read them. Thanks for stopping in!

Charlene Sands said...

Hi Dee - I have to be in a mood, for certain types of entertainment. Last week, I couldn't fathom seeing Hunger Games. This week, I'm thinking about it. I didn't read the book, but BECAUSE books stay with me and if I know it's disturbing, I wait until I feel brave enough to endure it. I have to admit I am curious about Hunger Games and at some point will see it, maybe read the books, but today is not one of those days!

Toni Anderson said...

I don't mind reading different genres but I always check to make sure I have a HEA before I start to read. I read some of THE HUNGER GAMES and then saw the movie b/c I'd promised DD. I thought it was disturbing. I mean I enjoyed it and I like gritty stuff, but watching kids slaughter kids? Outside RS, I read contemporary and fantasy and LOTS of biographies and nonfiction. Real life can be more disturbing than fiction (as you know).

Dee J. said...

Hi Charlene,

Yeah THG really stayed with me. (My daughter pretty much forced me to read it because the movie was coming out and she wanted me to see it with her.) It was very good, but the subject matter was D.A.R.K. Yikes. Not my usual read. I do think it's worth the read and the movie was very true to the book. (As much as a movie can be anyway.) Maybe afterward... put on some Big Bang Theory like Maureen. LOL. Or I Love Lucy. Haha.

Hi Toni,

You are so right! Real life can be more disturbing than fiction. Which is exactly why I read romance/HEA on a regular basis. LOL. Sounds like you are way more well rounded than me.

Robena Grant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robena Grant said...

Had to remove the last comment for a hysterical spelling error.: )

Anyway, we read THG for bookclub. I couldn't put it down because the pacing and the terror gripped my throat. Didn't like the ending because I felt cheated. I knew it was a series, but I'm old fashioned in that I expect books in series to stand alone and not just drop you off a cliff.

Don't think I'll see the movie because I'm sure it would haunt me. Plus, I heard there were hand held cameras and that makes me dizzy when seen on the big screen.

Dee J. said...

Hi Robena,

I feel the same way. I want books to have a real ending. Even if they are in a series, I want an ending "for now." If you felt that way about the first book, I'd stay clear of the second book, for sure. But, I agree, great pacing on this book and those chapter hooks...? Wow. The best. Regarding the movie... I was nervous about the hand held camera, but it didn't bother me. (And they ALWAYS bother me.) I'm not even sure why. (I know some people had a problem with it, though.) I still enjoyed it. Very gripping stuff.

Julie Goldstein said...

Hi Dee!
As you know, I LOVE all your books! But I am also very eclectic in my other choices. I read a lot of non-fiction books,and some are very disturbing because they don't have a HEA! But I am curious, so I tend to read whatever looks interesting. Because of the hype, I am half way through THG, and so far, I want to see what happens so I will stick with it. But I am getting this icky feeling that I am not going to like the way it unfolds...

Anyway, good to see you here today, and BTW - LOVED your "guest" appearances on Big Bang!

Dee J. said...

Hi Julie,

Definitely stick with THG. It is a good book. Just dark, way darker than my normal reads. OMG. I always forget about "guest appearance." I worked behind the scenes so my one camera day comes back to haunt me. LOL. Thanks for stopping by. And see you later!

Robin Bielman said...

Hi Dee! I *loved* THG - books and the movie. But most often, I only read books I know will make me happy and smile. That's why I love romance so much. I must have a happily ever after. :)

Wynter Daniels said...

I usually read books I know have HEA's but I have read The Hunger Games. I like to mix it up. I feel it gives me a better and wider perspective, plus something else to talk about at parties;-)

Dee J. said...

Hi Robin,

I'm with you! Got to have my HEA. Will you see all three movies? I'm not sure I'll be able to tackle the next two... Yikes. Thanks for stopping by!

Dee J. said...

Hi Wynter!

I'll admit I feel a tad less knowledgeable at a good party. LOL. I'm generally the only one reading romance. (They can sue me!) But, on occasion - as with THG - I was dragged into the commotion. Wondering if I'll let myself be talked into reading 50 shades of Grey... That movie is coming next too.

Rita said...

I very much enjoyed The Hunger Games. I read what everI'm in the mood for. Shrug.

Dee J. said...

Hi Rita,

I'm still debating on whether I enjoyed it or not. LOL. It was good, I know that. Because it's stayed with me. (Can't get it out of my head!) But I had/have a tough time with the topic. Too scary. Did you see the movie? Worth it, I think.

Maria Powers said...

@Robena, saw it Saturday night with one of the god kids and her mom. It was a great movie, but the handheld cameras made me nauseous. At first I thought I was coming down with the flu or food poisoning. Didn't seem to bother the kid at all.

Definitely a disturbing read. Great writing and a fabulous story that you simply cannot stop thinking about, but disturbing. Haven't made it through books 2 and 3 yet. I will but I have to pace myself.

Dee J. said...

Hi Maria,

Yep. I agree with everything. Be ready to dive into MockingJay after Catching Fire... it's one hell of a hook. Just think of it as one gigantic book. (That's what I did!) Thanks for the tweets!!

Marcelle Dubé said...

Dee, I really like to mix it up: mystery, suspense, SF, fantasy, literary, YA, not to mention history, natural history, etc. I read Hunger Games and really enjoyed it; in a way, it reminded me of Ilsa Bick's Ashes, another great read. I can take some darkness, but I've quit reading some series because it the stories became too grim and gory. Like I need more of that haunting me at night...

Dee J. said...

Hi Marcelle!

Let's face it, you are much more well read than me. LOL. Good for you for mixing it up. I haven't come across too many people who've not liked THG. It is a page turner, that's for sure. Thanks for stopping in!

Kate Willoughby said...

I mix it up. I read mostly romance, but I like thrillers, spy stuff, fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, and the occasional non-fiction book. But usually the stuff I read does end up happily--the bad guys are punished. Sometimes it takes the entire series, but eventually, they do. :)

Lynne, did that series feature an ex-communicated-Amish police chief? I love that series. I have a pretty high tolerance for that kind of stuff. She was a fantastically 3dimensional character.

Dee J. said...

Hi Kate!

Another gal who reads it all. Very nice! Yeah, I like when the bad guy(s) get caught in the end. Makes for a satisfying read. Yay. Thanks for coming by!!

Kathy Bennett said...

Hi Dee J!

I've got to say that I pretty much stick to books with some kind of crime and/or suspense. However, my critique partners write in other genres, so I'm 'forced' to go out of my comfort zone.

What have I learned from this? I like historical romances, contemporary romances and erotica!

I'm probably the only person on Earth who hasn't read the Hunger Games or seen the movie. I'm sure I'll get around to it soon, but first I have to see one of the Star Wars movies. Yep, I'm a virgin there too!

Shirley Wells said...

So glad to see Kathy here. We'll have to start the "Only Two People in the World Who Haven't Seen/Read THG" club. :)

I read mainly cime/mysteries but when I'm deep in my own plot problems, I turn to romantic suspense, romance or biographies.

I don't much care if an ending is happy, sad, good, bad, hopeful - but I do need an ending. I detest books that leave everything in the air at the end.

JB Lynn said...

I have to join Shirley and Kathy in the "Haven't read The Hunger Games" club.

I read fairly widely, but when I need a comfort read, I go for something with a guaranteed HEA.

Dee J. said...

Hi Kathy!
I wouldn't have read THG if not for my daughter... but Star Wars...? What? Not even the first one? Really? LOL. I find that amazing. I'm the same way with my critique partners in that I read out of my normal genre with their material. (Which happens to be great stuff!) It's always nice when critique partners are awesome writers. LOL.

Hi Shirley,
You're stronger than I am when it comes to endings. I am not happy with any other outcome than "happy." But I'm with you on the non-endings. I get really frustrated with those. Makes me want to ask for my money back. LOL.

Hi JB,
Hey, there are now 3 of you who can start your own "haven't seen THG club." But you hit the nail on the head. I like my comfort reads. Bring on the romance!

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