Fangirl Friday: WTAF did I just read?


Here in the US it’s an extended weekend as people get that last long weekend in marking the end of summer. It’s the Labor Day holiday here, which commemorates a day born in the struggles of American workers during the late 19th century. The American Labor movement continued into the 20th century, and in some ways it still continues.

So things tend to slow down over long holiday weekends like this, both in RL and on this here blog, so I’m not going to fangirl over anything (gotta catch up on some stuff, too…lol), but I am going to pose a question to all y’all.

Have you ever read a book or short story and then you wondered what the actual fuck you had just read? Meaning it was so bad or had such egregious flaws in characters and story that you were just…

I just attempted to read something like that, but it had so much offensive cray in it that I didn’t finish it. I’m not even going to tell you what it was or how I came to attempt to read it, but good GAWD.

In the paraphrased words of Dorothy Parker, this pile of poo is not to be taken lightly. It should be thrown with great force. Right out the virtual window. And then burned in the virtual fires of Dante’s inferno.

I mean, there’s unskilled writing, and then there’s willful ignorance about the world around you. When those two things combine/collide, that’s a recipe for a steaming pile of WTAF.

So. Have you ever had that experience when reading?

Let me know in the comments.

DO NOT INCLUDE AUTHOR NAME OR TITLE OR ANY OTHER DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS. Let us have some class in this exercise and be mercifully vague.

Just tell us what was wrong with the story and why it made you exclaim “what the actual fuck am I reading/did I just read?”

Happy Friday! Be safe!


  1. Literally last weekend! Ridiculous characters, more lying than I could keep track (about ridiculous things), and way more twists than any one book needs. It was…not good.


  2. When I was writing a book review blog several years back, an author sent me her book and begged me to do an online review to help her sales. The premise of the book was great. I’m sure there was a good story buried in there. Unfortunately, it was written like it was a play with all of the stage directions you would expect to be on a script, in the way they’d be written in a script, ie, ‘Sue turns away from Jane and marches 30 feet, over to John’. The problem was, it was billed as a novel, not a play and these stage directions were part of each paragraph.


  3. (Psst… paranormal/urban fantasy romance is my secret crack.) In addition to things like containing poor writing, I DNF paranormal/urban fantasy romances when the leading lady is TSTF (too stupid to function) and/or the love interest is an alpha-hole male or a LGBTQ+ alpha-hole person. Well, any romance where that is the case I’ll usually DNF the book, but it’s really horrible when ithat’s the case for a paranormal/urban fantasy romance. I already have to suspend disbelief for a paranormal/urban fantasy’s world-building. So, on top of that, ain’t nobody got time to pretend that stupid characters would survive a day in any world much less one populated by beings who can rip off heads with their bare hands.

    I recently DNF’d a paranormal romance where the leading lady was beyond TSTF, to the extent that she morphed into TSTL (to stupid to live), while she fell in love with a cardboard alpha person who basically was a bucket of tell-not-show (so, yeah, zero chance of buying into that romance). Plus, there was cliched exchanges, skipping of potential interesting events (so, mere summaries of cool stuff I wanted to see in order to provide endless stretches of boring or repeated stuff I didn’t want to see), and so much damsel in distress antics not even a Loony Tunes cartoon would attempt to depict. I also couldn’t stomach staying in either main character’s head space. Not with them pining for each other without the emotions being earned and when they couldn’t even run simple checks of logic on the events or communications that revolved around them that wouldn’t escape a five year old’s short attention span. It’s a shame because there were aspects of the world-building that were fresh and, if expanded upon buy bunting away just even a little bit of the unearned swoon-eyes, would have kept me reading; surprisingly strong side characters who shined through the hot mess made me wish the book focused on them as mains. But, then again, I’m going to live deep in a huge woolly cocoon of denial and pretend that the inevitable next book won’t (but so totally will) feature them and proceed to butcher what love I managed to salvage for them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Egad! This bit of one of my sentences —> “and/or the love interest is an alpha-hole male or a LGBTQ+ alpha-hole person.” —> could be misconstrued.

      I just meant this —> When the love interest, straight or LGBTQ+, is an alpha-hole (super aggressive, controlling, manipulative, selfish, demanding) in a paranormal/urban fantasy romance, I can’t vibe with it. Toxic relationships aren’t romantic.

      Yeah, about that wording thingy… gotta get it right.


  4. As an educator who was basically gaslighted out of a job by a devious administrator I was anxious to read a new book put out by another educator, a PhD no less, about educational workplace bullying. I ordered it, received it and was impressed by the 500+ pages she’d written on the subject. Impressed, until I actually opened it and began reading. It had everything typographical error imaginable, horrible spelling, repetition in abundance, and so many grammatical errors I cringed about every three sentences. I wrote to the author and asked if she realized how bad the book made her look. She invited me to proof the book and let her know what I found. I got through about 200 pages and finally gave up. Too much to tackle! I would have been embarrassed to have that book in print with my name on it!


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