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But I don’t want to throw the book

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House Rules by Chloe Neill is full of So. Much. Tension.Like many avid readers, I’ve developed some reading quirks. Most of you have heard about my series anxiety. I get a copy of a much-anticipated book in a favorite series and then let it sit on my coffee table. I don’t want it to disappoint. I have to mentally prepare myself for it. It’s a problem. I know. Eventually, I dive in and devour the pages, coming out the other side as a happier reader.

Well, when reading one of those few series that gives me the “am I ready to do this?” butterflies every time, I discovered something new. I was working my way through Chloe Neill’s House Rules. (Review to come and giveaway goodness, to boot.) The tension was mounting. Everything was going good for Merit & Co. I could see the cracks, though. I knew the world would have to come crashing down any moment. Relationship woes had to be coming. Secrets had to be revealed. Basically, everything was so riveting and so tense I was convinced the world was about to come crashing down on my beloved characters.

So, I stopped.

Yep. I sat the book down and did something else. I just really didn’t want to have to chuck that book across the room. I didn’t want to scream at the characters for keeping secrets or making poor decisions. I wasn’t ready to watch it burn, which is typically my favorite part.

I took a breather and came back to the novel the next day. Devoured it. I handled the events much better (and they weren’t nearly as bad as I feared), and enjoyed the process. But I have to admit this was the first time I ever just said no to experiencing “throw the book” intensity. I plowed head-first in Richelle Mead’s Succubus Dreams, which made me ugly cry. I burrowed in deeper when Chess said and did everything wrong with Terrible in the latter Downside Ghosts books. So, where did this new-found restraint come from?

I’m looking to my fellow readers to feel less weird about it all. Have you ever put a book down because the tension was getting too high for you? Did you ever just need a break from the overwhelming nature of a novel? I’m not talking about the bad kind, but something so good you fear it’ll pull you under.

Hit the comments. Assuage my fears of being the only one who has done this!

35 Responses to “But I don’t want to throw the book”

  1. Connie Garcia says:

    I can so relate to that I am a CLV fan also I know the feeling & don’t want to pick it up just because of what I would read but I have plowed thru a story just because I want to know what happens only have to go back & read it again knowing I may have either missed something of want to relive it again can’t wait for Chicagoland to come out & read it for myself!!

  2. Angela says:

    Yep,.just recently I felt like this while reading Diana Rowland’s latest Kara Gillian book. I just knew that while still in the middle of the book that there was some paradigm to come. Held my breath and when it came down I just had to have a break. It was anticipated, it answered many questions – yet I felt the need to steel myself before continuing the book.

    A master in this is Aleatha Romig and her Consequences series. Both books made me needing breaks because she actually made me like the villain so much that I felt I suffered from Stockholm Syndrome myself. I had to berate myself several times how wrongly I feel if that makes any sense…

  3. Tanyaw1224 says:

    OMG yes! I’m so glad to hear others do it as well. I’ve dreaded picking up a book to finish because I just knew things were going to go south. I take a break and then pick it back up in a few days. I’m always glad that I finish it though. I hate that not knowing.

  4. Sheila B says:

    Yep, been there, still doing that. I hate it especially when it’s one of my favorite authors. My situation was a bit different though. The story line went stupid. As the seventh/eighth book in the series, there was no reason for the story line to just go ridiculous, but it did. I keep putting the book down and every now and then I read 4-5 pages and boom, same crazy. She’s my favorite author, but it’s been over a year and I’m only a third of the way through – maybe. But the good thing is that I have found at least 10-13 more favorite authors.

  5. Amy M says:

    Definitely been there. There have been some books where I’ve actually put them down and read another book (a book I knew wouldn’t be full of all the tension and conflicts) before I could pick it up again. Sometimes it’s so bad I even take a break from reading completely. But eventually I get through the book and it’s usually how I expected it, but I’m always glad that I finish it because those books are usually the ones that end up staying with me. The ones that I can’t stop thinking about after I’ve finished.

  6. kirsty says:

    Glad i’m not the only one who does things like that?
    I was reading Keri Arthurs ‘moon sworn’ when half way through i stopped reading just so the series for me didn’t end ,i did eventually some months later finish the book.I’m still gutted that the Riley Jenson series has finished.
    However can’t wait for the new Chicagoland Vampires book to come out,but i’ll hate waiting nearly six months for the next one to be released…err…?

  7. Amber says:

    I can’t say that I’ve done this. I’m more of a read & get through it person, kind of like when you just rip the band-aid off as fast as you can to get it over with. I can’t handle the suspense and anticipation of not knowing how it all works out. Just ask my husband when it comes to presents at Christmas & birthday :)

  8. Book Huntress says:

    Wow I can’t even imagine putting a book down knowing something is coming – I HAVE to know what’s going to happen!! And that it’s all going to be ok, hopefully

  9. So happy to see I’m not alone. It’s a new thing for me. I used to be like @Book Huntress and have to plow forward to find out what would happen (note the ugly cry reference in the post), but I’m glad to join the ranks of those who sometimes have to hit pause because of tension.

    @Angela – I soooo need to read those books. They’ve been on my TBR forever.

  10. The Georgina Kincaid series KILLED me! One of my favorite series, but Georgie’s continued mistakes and “almost there” moments with Seth were totally heartbreaking. I cried so many times while reading those books and was so glad that they got their HEA.

  11. Vikki says:

    It’s worst when you can see it coming, but I agree…I’d rather walk around for a few hours believing all is happy and right in the world of whatever book I’m immersed in. So I stop. I hate that I do. I can’t help it. Then the book starts staring at me. Beguiling me. Whispering to me. So I start again…and my world comes crashing down.

    Jim Butcher does this to me a lot, so does Richelle Mead. I need help.

    And Coffee…lots of coffee.

    *Eyes up my copy of Changes by Jim Butcher*

    I can’t last much longer…

  12. Airy says:

    Richelle Mead does that to you. The end of Dark Swan books made me want to throw it. But it was an e-book so I refrained myself. Though nothing was there to stop me the time I just bought a book I thought was gunna be good but was too stereotypical. (I was having a bad day and just wanted to read a good book, was that too much to ask?) Did scare the hell out of my husband…

  13. Jordan says:

    I have to do the same thing! I’ve even at times put the book down, started an entirely different book, and then come back to it much later. This whole topic is the reason I haven’t been able to make myself start the Downside Ghosts books. I just don’t know if I have that much emotional stamina!

  14. Yes there are times I need to chuck a book because of a character actions or too much tension. This series actually was a make or break for me to read on with it. This book was better but still on fence with the Merit and the gang. :(

    I can devour chessie just fine :)

  15. I’ve never put a book down because it was too intense. When I put a book down to take a break it’s because it’s moving too slow and not keeping my attention.

    I have had the “throw the book” after reading a couple of books.

    After reading the last CV book that was a little too slow going for me I’m a little nervous to read House Rules but I have it sitting on my nightstand and will start it this weekend with fingers crossed.

  16. Of course I do that… You reach a scene that for some reason bothers you… You have to put it down, work through the problem, then you can pick up the book and go past it.

  17. Michelle Bledsoe says:

    YES,YES,YES!!!
    I do that all the time. It’s like I have to come up for air when a book gets intense. I still haven’t read J.R. Ward’s Lover Reborn because I know there are some major moments in it and I want the next book to be sitting there for me…LOL
    So nice to hear other readers with this problem.

  18. Cyndi says:

    OMG! This. Whenever I read a series I love, I have to take at least one ‘book break.’. This usually happens after something particularly frustrating has happened in the book or when I’m wishing that the character had made a different decision. It’s like I can’t deal anymore, and I have to put the book down and do something- anything- else. Then, when I come back everything is so much easier to process and handle. I think the last book that this happened with was one of the Black Dagger Brotherhood books. Qhuay is always cause for a ‘book break.’. I think their book is going to take me forever to read. Lol.

  19. Now that I think about it….I have done this before. The one that stands out to me most is the seventh Harry Potter book. I knew things were getting hairy (ha!) and I just had to put it down for a bit before I finished it.

  20. Marlene Howard says:

    I thought I was the only one that did that lol. Oh my gosh the scene with Terrible in the graveyard I was sick I couldn’t read it for at least a couple of weeks. I didn’t think I was gonna be able to read another book in the series for fear, that were gonna break up completely lol.I cheat if I get too worried and read the end.I have stopped reading several series cause the Author put the heroine with a guy I didn’t like. One was the Kitty Norville series I was on the 4th or 5th book got ticked off and quit reading it. If I don’t like the hero, I can’t get into it same for the heroine, if she’s a wench with no redeeming qualities then I am done with it lol. I still haven’t read Tohrs book cause it’s gonna be so heartbreaking I have to work myself up to it.

  21. Kim says:

    I have so done this. Recently with Iced. I bought it and had to let it sit for a day or two to mentally prepair myself for a possible let down. Turns out I loved every single page! :) But you are so not alone!

  22. “Series anxiety”, I’ve never called it that, but it’s exactly what I have. There are so few series that I can actually keep reading. The first book or two will blow me away. I’ll keep buying each book in the series, but will never read past. I’ve blamed it on getting distracted by other debut titles.

    Yet now I have to face it. My name is Shera and I have series anxiety. Thankfully I’ve started working on it last year, and I’m taking it farther this year!

    Thanks for the food for thought.

  23. Nat L.L. says:

    I do this all the time! I did it with Biting Cold, and other books with continuing characters. But also with books like Riveted by Meljean Brook. I absolutely loved the first two in the series, but am only just now reading the third even though the main characters are different wth each book. Even Once Burned! I just couldn’t witness Vlad suck! I mean, you know what I mean, be something other than I thought. So it took me months, MONTHS! to crack a page of Once Burned, I was sorry it took me so long afterwards.

    And I do put books down if something is going in a direction I do’t want it to. So many intense emotions can’t be good for my body.

  24. Lindsey says:

    I can completely relate. I do that a lot. There are several series I do this with actually including CLV, except I haven’t read Hard Bitten… I actually think your the one I was telling about this on Twitter. When I checked it out at the library some lady decided I needed to know what happened before I read it and I then couldn’t get into it. So I stopped in the middle of the series. I’ve done the whole “series anxiety” thing with Morganville and even the last books in Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush saga (i’m several chapters in and put it down weeks ago, just not ready to finish it yet) and Shelly Crane’s Significance series… I’ve been dancing around some of those not ready to end the series yet. I understand where your coming from and from what I can tell a lot of people do the same.

  25. Bettielee says:

    Me. Too. But for me, it’s more that I don’t want it to be over. I wait months….and months… for a new book. Then months more to have money to buy it! And then it just sits there.I’m terrified Seanan McGuire is going to get hit by a bus. I just don’t want it to be … done… and then to have to go thru that process again.

  26. Lisa says:

    Yes, I do this too. My daughter tells me that I’m crazy and that it’s no real and I need to calm down. I don’t care though, I love my books. Happy to know others do this!! Happy reading peeps!!!!

  27. Becky R. says:

    I absolutely do this. I do go back and finish after mentally preparing because in the end my curiosity wins out. I have actually started this horrible habit of reading the last page of the book somewhere about half way through. I really like a happy ending with the books that I read even though that doesn’t always happen. I think I have attachment issues with the characters. Anyway, have no fear you are definitely not alone.

  28. Laura H. says:

    Oh Yes! When I picked up reading again I started light with Twilight, I was so pissed about the way Breaking Dawn was going that if not for the weight of the book I would have literally thrown it at the wall. I was so mad at a particular Merit book that I quit reading the series for a time. I bought the next two books but they are just sitting on my Nook…

  29. Marianne Houghtaling says:

    Absolutely! I have actually read two books in my lifetime that when I finished, had I known the finish, would never have read them. I was so furious at the turn of events and felt totally manipulated by the author that in my anger wanted to burn both of those books. However, unfortunately, neither one belonged to me. One was a friend’s and the other a library book. One thing I did do was give my review and caution to read to all of my friends.

  30. Steph says:

    Absolutely have wanted to throw a book. Many times. But I solve my problem by cheating – I am a professed peeker at the last pages to make sure there is a happy ending. Of course that was my problem with a CV book a couple back – no happy ending. But for the most part I have to know that my romances, whether historical, paranormal, fantasy etc., end well! If there is a happy ending I feel very confident picking that book right up where I stopped and plowing through KNOWING I won’t be disappointed. I also love spoilers and I read a ton of reviews before I start most books, particularly those in a series; so if I get to the difficult, I-want-to-throw-this-book-at-the-wall part, I plow through with confidence all will be well then or eventually.

  31. RVASarah says:

    Sorry, Chelsea, but I had to do this with Sacrificial Magic. I just couldn’t stand to see how Chess was going to inadvertently f-up the good thing she had going with Terrible. So, I put the book down. I haven’t come back to it yet (it was a library book) but I know I will…eventually.

  32. Joanna says:

    There was one book (3rd in a series) I threw across the room. Hey, she picked the wrong guy. Another series I got so angry at the ending that I gathered the books and sent them to the library. There have been times where I have had to constantly put down a book simply because I couldn’t read through my tears. Several books I just stare at while yelling, “What? Seriously?” All in all, I still love my brilliant (even though at times aggravating) authors.

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