I persisted, and I finished it. I was still undecided.
I went to Goodreads and Amazon to see what readers thought. Amazon was all the love. Goodreads had thousands of reviews. Many more 3, 4, & 5 stars than 1 or 2s. But when I went to look at the 1s, there were about 30 or 40 of them. I was shocked that the bar graph seemed like there were so few, but I guess when there's a few thousand reviews, that's what happens.
And the 1 stars were all about the bits that I'd struggled with too. A heroine who was sometimes so incredibly naive, sometimes unthinking, sometimes a wonderful person. A hero who was an arsehole, but also protective and so damn good at being a 'father'. A story that sometimes didn't seem to gel properly, and writing that sometimes jarred.
The 5 stars didn't mention any of these things, they more concentrated on the feelings, the emotions, the feel good.
It all made me realise (again - I'm slow!) that what's someone's catnip is another's poison. Writing, any creative pursuit, is subjective. People will love it or hate it. And if it's good, you'll illicit those strong emotions.
Catnip readers are what you're always searching for as an author. Catnip books are what I'm always searching for as a reader.
Sometimes poison makes people yell more than catnip! :)