Amanda Bonilla Guest Post & Giveaway: Throwing books and character frustration


Blood Before Sunrise by Amanda BonillaThanks so much to Chelsea and Vampire Book Club for hosting me today! This is one of my favorite blogs to visit and Chelsea, you rock!!!

We’ve all had that moment. We lower the book from our line of vision, pull back our arm, and prepare to launch the paperback into the next room. Or yard. Or lake/ocean/body of water. The MC is too stupid to live! WHY did she do that?!? How could she SAY that?!? What was she thinking?!? Are you kidding me? Didn’t you learn your lesson in the last book? Don’t you know better than to do/say/think that? ARGH!!!!

And we’ve probably all had this moment: You’re sitting in front of the TV, watching a movie or TV show with your spouse, kids, sister, whatever, and they say, “That was stupid! Why did she do that?” And you answer, “Because there wouldn’t be a movie otherwise.” Now, don’t get me wrong. There are definitely instances where the MC’s decision is truly just so idiotic, so outlandish, that tossing the book across the living room is the ONLY option. However, feeling frustrated by a character’s choices can be a good thing. It means that the author is evoking an emotional response in the reader. And ultimately, that’s the author’s goal.

As a reader, I never want to be left with a “meh” feeling after finishing a book. The best stories are the ones readers talk about long after they’ve read the last word. For better or worse. I’ve had conversations with my sister that lasted a week or longer over a book that I didn’t enjoy. And likewise, I’ve raved about books I loved until both of us were sick of talking about it. Of course, we’d then proceed to talk about it some more. So I guess we weren’t that sick of it.

I recently read a series that was giving me a serious case of The Book Throws. I was so frustrated with the heroine’s decisions because her choices weren’t the choices I would have made. I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and give her a sound shake while I yelled, “What in the hell are you doing?” But no matter how much I wanted to slap her, I had to admit that her decisions, no matter how poor I thought they were, made the story compelling.

So often, we put ourselves in the shoes of the heroine. We live the story while we’re reading it, which is why a character’s choices can be so aggravating. We forget that that this character has a mind all her own, and the way she feels is not how we feel, and the way she perceives her world is not the way we perceive it. We read paranormal/urban fantasy for the escape. We want to lose ourselves in a world we can only imagine with larger than life heroes and heroines. But at the heart of those kick-ass UF stories, the author is still conveying what the human experience is all about: living life, making mistakes, and learning from them. And in some cases, learning nothing at all.

Ultimately, these are the books that stick with us. Whether you throw them, hide them in the back of the bookshelf, stuff them in the freezer, or under the couch cushions, you can’t escape that intense emotional response. Like I said, I’d much rather read a book that I had to hide in my freezer (remember the episode of Friends where Joey puts Little Women in the freezer? Hehe) than one I won’t even remember a week from today.

How do you feel about frustrating characters? Have you ever chucked a book across the room? Or stuffed it in your winter clothes drawer so you never have to lay eyes on it again?
Amanda Bonilla Blog Tour


Amanda, in her general awesomeness, has offered up one copy of Blood Before Sunrise to a VBC reader. (Or you can just buy it here, as the cool kids do.) Fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter, get a bonus entry for answer Amanda’s questions above in the comments. Giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian addresses only and closes July 15.

Also, if you’re not sure about the Shaede Assassin series, just take a look at the VBC review of Shaedes of Gray.

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47 Responses to “Amanda Bonilla Guest Post & Giveaway: Throwing books and character frustration”

  1. Victoria Sloboda says:

    Frustrating characters drive me nuts. I haven’t thrown the book but I have voiced my opinion 🙂

  2. Rebe says:

    I’ve definitely been frustrated by characters before! I can’t stand TSTL heroines, and I hate it when a smart character suddenly does something dumb just to advance the plot!

  3. sienny says:

    throw the book across the room? no, i love books too much to do that. but i’ll bury it at the back of my bookshelf so i don’t have to see it.

  4. Malinda Chaney says:

    Yes, I have thrown books, cried over them, laughed like a madman and ranted to anyone who would listen about what I thought about the book I was reading. To me, those are the things that make a GREAT book! Any book that can bring out that much emotion must be good. 🙂

  5. Yep, apathy is the worst feeling when I’m reading a book. Even is I’m ticked at a character, it means that I’m feeling something, that I’ve been drawn into the story.

    I can stretch my imagination pretty far, but there have been a few cases where the choices the characters made were just too much, even for me. If those books hadn’t been on my Kindle, then maybe they would have hit the wall. 🙂

  6. Natalie says:

    Frustrating characters don’t bother me so much. Yes, there are moments when I don’t understand the choices they’re making….but I understand it’s for the greater good of the story (sometimes). What I really can’t stand though….is when these frustrating characters never seem to grow after these idiotic decisions with usually terrifying outcomes. That’s when I get frustrated.

  7. Erin says:

    There is a popular UF series right now with a main character with a drug addiction and it is the closest I’ve been to wanting to throw a book out of frustration. I don’t know it I want to shake her or hug her!

    • Alison Robinson says:

      But she is completely in character, no? All her actions are based on her childhood and her resulting fears and insecurities. You can wish she wouldn’t but it is totally believable that she would and far more probable than other things she could do (trying to avoid spoilers). At least she is trying to grow and change but very slowly in baby steps

  8. I definitely think it helps to talk it out with someone who’s read the book! LOL It’s almost like therapy. It makes me laugh to think that I’m gossiping with someone about a person who doesn’t actually exist. But, oh, man! Does it ever feel good to vent about my character frustration! 🙂 Thanks again for hosting me today, Chelsea! XOXO

  9. Denise Z says:

    I cannot say I have chucked a book across the room – book OCD will just not let me LOL However, I have relegated them to the dungeon; you know that place on the shelf that you refuse to look at until you force yourself to pick it up again because your curiosity will not let you rest until you find out how it all resolves. I have also been known to skim the dialog portions with these annoying folk that I want to throw, certain that if I ignore them they will straighten up and fly right LOL Thank you for sharing with us today. I am so looking forward to getting to know the Shaede Assassins 🙂

  10. Molly Frenzel says:

    I have actually chucked a book across the room and not just because frustrating characters, but also because of frustrating and ridiculous plot twists.

  11. Alexandrea Ward says:

    One time a character frustrated me so much that I closed the book and tweeted and texted my friends about it for at least an hour lol. They laughed so hard at me!

  12. May Pau says:

    Well, I wouldn’t exactly throw a book across the room. I love my books in good, perfect conditions! 🙂 But yes, I see characters doing cringe-worthy things and I can’t bear to read the rest of the book at times….

  13. Sometimes plot twists make me toss my book in a good way! 🙂 Like the moment you’re reading a BDB book and find out that “The Reverend” and Rehvenge are the same guy. Oh, yeah, I totally squealed and tossed my book in the air. 😉

  14. Erin Theiss says:

    I make my mom read the book so that we can rant about the characters together 😛

  15. This post reminded me of Dreamfever by KMM. I didn’t throw the book to the wall because I was reading an ebook and I love my reader, what I did was scream, my husband thought I had finally lost my mind. But as you said those are the books you remember the most, the ones that made you pull you hair. I admire authors for having the guts of going that extra mile, I also call those authors Evil Authors…. with love of course 😉

  16. When a heroine continuously lies!!! That is my one thing where I want to throw the book and then never pick it up again. There is a series that recently ended where the heroine just made me want to scream in frustration with her decisions and I felt jipped as a reader. coughcoughDarkSwancoughcough Most of the time I love a book that makes me want to throw it – I love the drama and angst and enjoy freaking out, 😛 but I have my limits.

  17. jolina pardo says:

    I’ve thrown a book on the floor tried to start another book but ended up finishing it. I cant leave a book unread no matter how frustrating

  18. April says:

    I’ve hit a book before but never thrown a book across the room. Sometimes when I’m just too frustrated or whatever, I have to stop reading and walk around a little, maybe scream into a pillow. 😉

  19. starry says:

    I want to chuck a book across the room when:
    -The time references (be it in hours or days) don’t match up with the plot. (EX: the character does something a home at 9 am and then arrives at work at 7am, in the same day. )
    -Act completely airheaded repeatedly when it comes to common things (sometimes just to push the plot along. It is the worst when the action is out of character).
    -The character refuses to grow as a person/character.
    -When there are unclear scene changes or unclear dialog involving multiple people.

  20. Barbara Elness says:

    I don’t like to be frustrated when reading a book, I’d rather be excited to find out what happens next. When it does happen, I just keep reading, hoping the character will wise up or I’ll get an explanation of why they’re doing whatever it is that’s bugging me. I’ve never chucked a book across the room or stuffed it away. I generally finish every book, I can think of only a couple that I didn’t finish – one I threw in the trash (it was that bad) and the other is still sitting on my Kindle – and I’ve been reading books for a long, long time. 😀
    I adored Shaedes of Gray and I’m really looking forward to reading Darkness Before Dawn, I know I’m going to love it.

  21. Amethyst says:

    I love that Friends’ episode 🙂

    If a character in a book frustrates me I would stop and just skim through the rest of the book to see if it’s worth continuing. Or I’ll just bury underneath a pile of books that I don’t care about.

  22. Bethany C. says:

    I think it depends on in what way they’re frustrating (and if it’s a main character or not.) I haven’t tossed a book because I’ve found the heroine too frustrating…just for crappy writing.

  23. Wendy/books4me says:

    If I get too frustrated by a book and can’t read it, I give it to Goodwill!

  24. Natasha says:

    I have got frustrated before, I usually just give the book to someone else. Thanks for the chance to win!

  25. chris bails says:

    Frustrating characters do drive me crazy. I don’t ever stop thoug, I can’t not finish a book. Once I start I have to finish. This is a new uthor and series for me. Thanks for the great giveaway.

  26. Laurie says:

    Yeah, I’ve had a few frustrate me. I’ve never chucked a book, but I’ve been tempted. I usually take a break, or I take to long to finish, but I have to see what happens.

  27. Liz Semkiu says:

    If I’m frustrated by the main character, it doesn’t take me long too put the book away. I have too many books in my TBR pile to waste time on a book I don’t enjoy. On the other hand, there have been books I read the first time and didn’t really enjoy that when I reread them, I had a completely different opinion. Thanks for the giveaway. I enjoyed Shaedes of Gray very much!

  28. I definitely agree that mindset can sometimes weigh on how I feel about a book. If I’m cranky or feeling too short-tempered, I’ll put the book away and pick it up later. Sometimes having a different mindset makes a huge difference.

  29. bn100 says:

    I usually finish the book even if it has frustrating characters.

  30. For me it depends on the book or if it’s a series, I guess. If it’s a series I’ve been reading I’ll just try to keep on trucking through it, but if it’s an stand-alone book I’ll chuck it real quick. The only series I QUIT reading because (I was chucking book after book and I got to the point of I had had enough!) It was SOOO darn frustrating and ridiculous and that was the Anita Blake Series by LKH. I loved that series up to the middle of book 7 then it just jumped the shark on me over and over and over and over… *sigh* I just have too many books on my TBR shelf that I need/want to read. If I’m just getting that frustrated it’s not worth it to me anymore. *shrugs* I want to read a book I’m enjoying! Real life is frustrating enough! Books are supposed to be an escape from that. Well, for me that is.
    Thanks for the chance to win! 🙂

  31. Maya says:

    Since I read my books from my kindle or Iphone I cannot throw them across the room. But I do have the urge often.
    But the frustration, crying, laughing is what makes a book great. If I don’t feel the urge to throw it across the room at some point in the story, the book was not good enough.

  32. Neon612 says:

    I’ve never thrown a book across the room, and don’t plan on it at any point in the future. Books are just too precious.

    I’m with the people that say even if the MC gets on my nerves, I still have to finish the book/series no matter what.

  33. TxDee says:

    Haven’t resorted to violence yet but I am in that group that has to finish the darn thing even though I’m rolling my eyes at some character.

  34. Amy M says:

    I don’t think a book has ever made me throw it across the room. I try to take any frustrating characters in stride hoping that it at least makes the normal non-frustrating characters that much better. I think it helps if it’s not the main hero / heroine that’s frustrating as well. It is very rare for me to not finish a book even if I don’t particularly care for it.

  35. Nedraw says:

    I can’t say that I’ve ever tossed a book across the room but I have gritted my teeth and slammed a book closed out of frustation. I’m usually pretty good at picking out books I know I will enjoy but every once in awhile I get sucked into buying one that just doesn’t do it for me and it goes right to the library for their annual book sale.

  36. Deb says:

    Oh yeah, I’ve gotten ticked and tossed a book around once or twice. I try to be gentle about it though. Then it goes on the the shelf of things I am frustrated with until I cool down and am ready to give it another go. There have been very few books that I have started and not been able to finish because I didn’t enjoy them. I don’t get rid of them but I do put them away in hopes that maybe it was just me and not the book and that someday we will meet again and get to the end. 🙂

  37. Frustrating characters are annoying. Yes, I have thrown a book down because of this.

  38. ML says:

    I’ve never chucked a book across the room, but I’ve yelled at characters before. Sometimes you just want to slap the MC and get passed the frustrating parts.

  39. I’ve definitely yelled at characters before. Sometimes you just have to vent your frustration. LOL

  40. C.Deer says:

    Those dumb characters piss me off so much I decided to start working on my own book. I especially hate when characters have emotional baggage to get over and you have to read about it over and over throughout the story. I have yelled, thrown books, skipped ahead and just put the book down all because of annoying characters.

  41. Vicki says:

    Would love to read this!

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