Don't even care what it's about. I have to have it because of the dramatic Fabio angel on the cover treating his wings like they're a cape & he thDon't even care what it's about. I have to have it because of the dramatic Fabio angel on the cover treating his wings like they're a cape & he thinks he's the Batman....more
I will be the first to admit that I know almost nothing about the Amish. My knowledge is limited to Devil's Playground (2002), which I was forced to watch in high school, and my friends' reviews of Amish romance novels because prior to now, I had never actually picked one up myself. My romance book club is doing this 50-category challenge designed to broaden our reading horizons, however, and one of the categories is "Amish romance." Conveniently enough, I found the first three books in the Amish YA romance "Temptation" series for sale for $3.
I wasn't going into this book with high expectations. Based on the summary, I was expecting something a forbidden romance sketched along the lines of TWILIGHT, only instead of being a vampire, the love interest was Amish. My suspicions were on fleek: Rose and Noah fall in love on sight and the entire novel consists of their being tortured of never being apart of the other's world unless they give up their own forever. Fine, okay. I was cool with that, and hoping to learn about the Amish community and maybe enjoy a fluffy but unrealistic love story shared between two teens.
Instead, I got a pretty unhealthy, almost emotionally abusive relationship between two horribly unlikable characters, with a side order of misogyny, slut-shaming, and bad life choices.
Noah is attracted to Rose but isn't happy with her the way she is. There's always a qualifier: that she's too wild, that she needs to be changed. He expects her to give up her entire way of living to convert to being Amish so he can marry her, when they've known each other for only a few weeks, and he's not afraid to criticize her or put her down in order to rationalize his thoughts.
She shouldn't be alone in a public place like this. It wasn't safe or appropriate with all the men around here (96).
Somehow I'd have to curb her impulses and make her listen to me. But it was for her good - I'd heard all kinds of stories about what happened to women out there among the English (98).
Pretty much every woman in this book is just awful, except for Sarah, Noah's sister. The jealous Amish girl who wants to court Noah calls Rose a "hure." Rose's brother, Sam, calls his father's girlfriend"some ho you picked up at a bar" (163). Rose refers to her father's girlfriend as "Her" and "Dad's plaything" and emotionally blackmails her father about his guilt over the relationship (their mother's dead) to leverage getting a new puppy and sneaking around with her boyfriend. Hypocrisy? Oh, I think so. But it isn't just her father's girlfriend who gets the flak. Rose calls her brother's girlfriends "bimbos" and "Barbies" many, many times. It's really disgusting.
The abusive relationship
Noah makes Rose feel bad about herself in an attempt to sway her to his way of thinking. He implies that she dresses too slutty (not in those exact words - he couches it in good intentions, saying that his family would think better of her if she comports herself well); wears too much makeup; and even says that he wouldn't want her to cut her hair.
"But you would never cut your hair short, would you?" His face was serious again and his voice sounded frustrated for some strange reason (172).
"I think English women are too willing to make battles out of things they don't need to." He was hard-faced again (173).
"You shouldn't put yourself into the kind of situation that could get you into trouble - or cause the others to think poorly of you" (211).
It's also pretty damn clear that he sees her family as the enemy, an obstacle.
Shaking his head, [Rose's brother] said, "It's ridiculous for you to expect Rose to give up her freedom so she can be with you. Dude. It ain't going to work. I'm just warning you." I didn't like what he said. I suddenly say not only my family as an obstacle to a marriage with Rose but also her family, and especially her older brother. I had underestimated his interest in the matter (191).
When she fights him about converting to being Amish, he slut-shames her.
"What's the problem, Rose? Is it that you don't want to miss out on driving a car or going to your rock concerts? Or maybe you can't stand the thought of never being able to dance for all the English men again" (259).
Then it gets disturbing. He starts thinking about ways to force her - and her family - to marry her to him.
But as much as I wanted to do it, I couldn't physically force her to submit to me (277).
He considers impregnating her to force a shotgun marriage.
Another idea had briefly penetrated my brain - getting her with child. My folks and her dad would be forced to allow us to marry (277).
By the way? Rose is sixteen.
But Noah thinks the baby idea is a great one, and proposes it to Rose, who gets upset. When she refuses, he has this to say:
"I don't see any other way for us to be together. So if you don't want to try that option, and you don't want to become Amish...then I guess it's over between us" (281).
Rose tries to date someone else after they break up, but isn't attracted to him the way she is to Noah. Likewise, Noah considers courting Ella from his community - the girl who called Rose "hure" - but is repulsed by their kiss and ends up ditching her and their families early.
When he goes to rescue Rose from a party she's miserable at, he gets into a buggy crash with a semi and ends up at the hospital. Rose is so distraught at the thought of losing him forever that she immediately gives in to all his terms, agreeing not just to converting to being Amish but also:
"I'd even go through with the - you know - baby idea you had, if you think it would help" (352).
The book cheerfully ends with Rose getting sent off to live with another Amish family to prepare for her conversion to Amish life.
I really tried to read this with an open mind. I was amenable to "Amish TWILIGHT," even if it ended in marriage. Hell, I wanted to like the book - I'd bought books 1-3 in the series, so it would be pretty miserable for me if I didn't - but I couldn't. It made me angry and frustrated. Rose was such an awful character. Noah was an annoying, manipulative character. The treatment of all the female characters was abhorrent. The Amish weren't portrayed very favorably, either, in my opinion, with Noah's parents being portrayed as hypocrites; the Amish girls as oppressed victims; and the other Amish boys as creeps (two of them express their intentions to sexually assault Rose). The only characters I really sympathized with in this book was Sarah, Noah's sister, and Rose's father, Dr. Cameron. They were the only truly likable characters in here.
Your may very well feel differently, and if that is the case, I respect you for it. However, if the quotes I provided upset you or annoy you, you should probably find a different Amish book to read. I'm still trying to decide whether or not I want to read the second and third books in this series. What do you guys think? Should I continue?
CHAINED was an impulse item from the free section of the Kindle store. Part of the allure - apart from it being, you know, free - was the prospect of a historical interracial romance. The perspectives of people of color are sorely lacking in most historical romances (the only authors I can think of offhand who write them with any regularity are Courtney Milan and Beverly Jenkins), so this was a huge selling point for me.
I was therefore annoyed when I began reading the book and realized that it wasn't "A Medieval Historical Romance" as advertised on the title, but a medieval-inspired fantasy.
Those are two very different things.
Putting my annoyance aside, I continued to read the book despite its deceptive packaging, and found to my surprise that CHAINED was actually a pretty decent story. It is set in a world called Alemere. The heroine, Gwen, comes from a country called Dinasdale. Her people are proud of their royal heritage and lean towards archery. The hero, Caden, comes from Daleraia. His people are less refined, ruthless, and brutal. Unlike the Dinasdalians, they have no gods; their sword is law.
Gwen is engaged to a prince from Lerrothe, but her wedding night is unsatisfactory. She doesn't really want to be a princess, anyway. She is a skilled archer: when we meet her in the beginning, she shoots five men in her father's woods for attempting to rape a girl. In her father's absence, she is the word of Dinasdale, so when a band of Daleraians are brought in after a woman in her kingdom is raped and murdered - allegedly by a member of the Daleraian noble family, Gwen has to decide what to do with them. She decides to imprison them but keep them in good condition for ransom. Caden ends up imprisoned in Gwen's own quarters because of his constant attempts to escape.
It doesn't take Gwen and Caden long to realize that both events - the rape and murder and Gwen's own wedding - might be the byproducts of the sinister machinations of someone attempting to sow discord in Alemere, thereby breaking the tentative peace between Dinasdale and Daleraia. It also doesn't take long for them to realize that they have a rather potent attraction to one another, either.
I enjoyed this story. It's reminiscent of GAME OF THRONES in some ways, and the court intrigue is well done. I liked Gwen's character. She is a strong woman with good political sense, who isn't afraid of her sensuality. She killed five men and kneed a would-be rapist in the testicles. She never did anything in the book that made me shake my head and say, "Well, that was stupid!" She was bad-ass.
I was less impressed with Cade's character. There is an OW and Cade does get kind of wishy-washy about her and Gwen, although it's always clear who he prefers more. Plus, he does something very stupid towards the end. When Gwen falls under suspicion he's forced to imprison her and insists on doing it himself so he can explain the reason why to her. He doesn't do this. Instead, he has sex with her, lets her fall asleep, and when she wakes up, basically says, "Congrats! You're going to jail!"
Overall, CHAINED is one of the better finds I've gotten from the "free" section of the Kindle store, which can be a bit of a crapshoot. I would recommend it for people looking for a fun, light fantasy read. The author really needs to change that "Medieval Historical Romance" tagline, though. I can't imagine that I'm the only person who felt cheated when they found themselves reading fantasy...
Also, there is a cliffhanger ending, in case you're curious.
Given my hatred of insta-love, picking up a book that literally has the words "Love at First Sight" in the title was probably unwise. How could I resist, though? You were all losing your shit when this book came out, calling it romantic and cute and feel-good. As much as I enjoy darker romances, we all need a bit of fluff in our lives. There's black forest cake, and then there's froyo with mochi sprinkles. I wanted in. I wanted those mochi sprinkles.
Instead, I got circus peanuts.
THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT has several issues that kept me from enjoying the book. First, the concept of love at first sight. Hadley, our heroine, just happens to meet this guy at an airport because she misses her plane and then just happens to find herself seated next to him. Wait, wasn't there another story where that same exact thing happens? Hmm, what was it called? What was it called...?
Oliver isn't an assassin who's out to kill Hadley's father, though (which is a shame, because that would be a much more interesting story). They are just two teens, angry at the world, angry at their families, and dissatisfied with their middle-class lot in life. Which brings me to the second beef I had with this book. Both characters, but especially Hadley, are extremely unlikable.
Hadley literally spends 90% of the book treating her family like crap. She's en-route to England to go to her father's wedding to another woman, who she refers to as That British Woman. She's mean to her mom, too, her last words being something like, if the plan crashes you'll have lost me and dad. When she gets to the wedding, she acts like a total sour puss and is rude to everyone. Then she skives off early to go crash a funeral...because that's where Oliver was headed. His father's funeral. And when he seems like he's maybe less than happy to see her at his father's funeral, uninvited, her little feelings get hurt. Because she thought they were in love. What the actual eff, Hadley.
The first half of the book is cheesy and annoying, but in the way that Valentine's Day is annoying. You say, "Okay, this is too much, but it's sort of cute. I guess I can see why people like this book." The second half of the book is cheesy and annoying, but in the way that daytime TV shows are annoying. You say, "What the hell is wrong with these people? Do they not have basic human emotions? Why are they fighting over something so stupid? I do not understand." There is a happy ending, but it felt contrived and undeserved. What Hadley and Oliver had, it wasn't love.
Also, just a random note: the author makes a point of Oliver's Britishisms (and of course, Hadley corrects him and anyone else who uses the un-American term for something, even while in England (as if I needed another reason to hate the b*tch)), and yet at one point he calls his father a "lawyer." I couldn't help but think that "barrister" would have been more correct.
Aidan lifted his hand in farewell. "Take care," he said, and then he simply faded away, boots, swastika and all (61%).
Sometimes you read a romance novel, and it's like finding yourself standing in the middle of storm-blown wreckage. "What just happened?" you ask, staring at the upside-down chest of drawers and the lone cow mooing sadly in the middle of a deflated kiddie pool. "Everything was fine and normal before...and now it's not."
I love vampire stories, so when I saw that this rereleased title from the 90s was only $1.99 on Kindle, I messaged fellow vampire-lover Heather and said, "Hey, want to buddy read this with me?" We started a week later, filled with what, in hindsight, seems like an almost reckless amount of optimism and excitement because it immediately became clear that FOREVER THE NIGHT was not going to be a book either one of us was going to enjoy. Heather, the trooper, finished it in two days (you can read her review here). I slunk away to Amazon like a coward to try and return the book for a refund around the 12% mark, only to find out that I'd missed the return deadline by a day. Cursing inwardly, I returned to FOREVER THE NIGHT to consign myself to the miserable fate I'd chosen.
FOREVER AND THE NIGHT is about Neely, a human, and Aidan, a vampire. Neely used to work as a senator's aide until she found out he was a bad dude and had some dealings with drug cartels. Because she knows their secret, many people now want her dead. Aidan is a vampire who hates being a vampire. He was turned against his will by a woman who was infatuated with him at the time and now skulks about, feeding off sexual predators and people who subscribe to the "very basest of pornographic magazines, the kind even the most flagrant liberal would happily consign to the bonfire" (18%). What does that even mean? Also, "flagrant liberal"? Thanks a lot for that...
Aidan meets Neely while she's trick-or-treating with her kid nephew (or brother? I can't remember), and decides he's smitten with her 12% in. Neely decides she is in love with Aidan 16% in. Keep in mind that at this point, they've exchanged the same amount of pleasantries as any other stranger - in fact, I've had more meaningful conversations with random people I've met on trains. Even Bella and Edward would sit these two down and be like, "Okay, guys, why don't you think about this because you're moving a little fast..."
Aidan starts stalking Neely. He sneaks into her room while she's sleeping, and she thinks that he's been summoned there by her attraction to him. He has psychic sex with her in her head. Then he leaves and uses magic to pin her down to her bed, but she has to use the bathroom so badly that her desire to pee overcomes his vampire will and he is Seriously Impressed. Just remember: "No force can stop a woman who needs to go to the bathroom" (32%). #NeverthelessSheUrinated
The middle of the book is basically a giant melodrama hinging on this instant love. Aidan is so anguished, so tortured, so sorrowful, because he doesn't want to be a vampire. Neely is so mournful about Aidan's suffering. She wants him to have sex with her, but he doesn't want to hurt her. He doesn't want her to become a vampire, and yet he wants to be with her forever. If you've read TWILIGHT, this probably sounds really familiar to you (Aidan's even described as a marble statue), although what works for adolescent teenagers doesn't really work for, well, adults.
The highlight of this book is really when Aidan barges in to rescue Neely wearing a Nazi uniform that he just happens to have lying around.
He was wearing the uniform of a Nazi officer, of all things, and he slapped one gloved palm with a riding crop... (59%)
There are so many other things he could have put on. Why a Nazi uniform? Where did he get it? Later on in the book, it says that he stole it, but from whom? And why? Was he one of the degenerate pornography readers from Aidan's "OK to Feed on" list? I have so many questions....
The book's mythos gets even weirder with its mentions of angels and Atlantis. Apparently the first vampire experiments were done in Atlantis(?). This isn't really explained, and that's a shame because I have so many questions about that beginning with the word "why." Vampires can also apparently time-travel & dissolve into vapor, but this isn't really explained either which results in a number of loopholes - especially towards the end. There are also angels, who seem to oppose the vampires, but an angel also turns Aidan back into a human at the end of the book and an angel also saves Aidan from being turned back into a vampire by the evil Lisette at Valerian's request. That's right. A literal deus ex machina. Just like the good ol' days.
Then there's the sex, which is almost unequivocally terrible. Here is a sample.
His tears - tears born of a joy so fierce he feared he could not contain it - fell softly on her cheekbones and sparkled like diamonds in her hair.
Neely arched beneath him, pleading, in stark Anglo-Saxon terms, for what he and he alone could give her (69%).
Oh, and let's not forget this gem.
He...aroused her all over again simply by caressing her eyelids with the tip of his tongue (99%).
I think it's pretty safe to say that I did not enjoy this at all. What a shame that I purchased the sequel...