Books I Say NO To: Passion Play + Giveaway

Books I Say No To is an informal review segment where I take time to discuss why I couldn’t finish a book or dislike something about it enough to say so and why. This is not a means of discouraging reading of the book. You are always encouraged here at Lurv to seek out and read what interests you, despite less than enthusiastic opinions. A score is only given if it’s for Amazon Vine, where I occasionally receive ARCs.

Beth Bernobich
Passion Play (Erythandra Series #1)
ISBN-10: 076532217X
ISBN-13: 978-0765322173
October 12, 2010

In order to discuss why this became a DNF for me, and why I was disturbed enough to mark it so, there will be spoilers. You’ve been warned.

Blurb via Goodreads (where incidentally you can find some positive reviews for this book if you wish):

The daughter of one of Melnek’s more prominent merchants, Ilse Zhalina has lived most of her life surrounded by the trappings of wealth and privilege. She has wanted for nothing and many would consider her lot a most happy one. But there are dark secrets even in the best of families and Isle and the women in her family have learned that to be beautiful and silent is the best way to survive.

However, when Ilse finally meets the colleague of her father’s selected to marry her, she realizes that this man would lock in her a gilded cage. In her soul, she knows he is far crueler and more deadly than her father could ever be.

Ilse chooses to run from this life. Her choice will have devastating consequences and she will never be the same.

But she will meet Raul Kosenmark, a man of mystery who is the master of one of the land’s most notorious pleasure houses…and who is, as Ilse discovers, a puppetmaster of a different sort altogether. Together they will embark on a journey that will reshape their world.

Lush fantasy. Wild magic. Political intrigue and the games of seduction and treachery to gain control of a kingdom. PASSION PLAY is all of these and more. It is the journey of a woman who must conquer her passions in order to win all that she desires.

I got this book at BEA in New York City this year. In fact, I made sure to get it, marking it on my list as a must-have. What can I say – the gorgeous cover sucked me right in and the premise was certainly intriguing. I was really, genuinely, super excited to get my hands on this book. Instead, I’m sad to say it’s probably going to rank up with my top biggest disappointments for the year.

This past Friday I decided it was time to tackle Passion Play. Honestly, I was worried about it right off the bat, as even the first several pages were not very engaging. I felt bored. Then comes an evening where the heroine is expected to help her mother entertain several business guests under pain of her father’s iron rule over their household. This dinner was where I became both much more interested in the story as well as increasingly uneasy.

The world the author has created is pretty standard in fantasy. It is filled with men who look leeringly at the heroine, who in turn acts demure and ducks her head, slightly flirting as she admonishes some of the rich men for teasing her. This could possibly be due to her age – she’s only fifteen years old, soon to turn sixteen. And then she dances with one of the guests, a man who was obviously using some kind of magic while there, and he makes her extremely uncomfortable….while also stirring a mild and unsettling lust in her.

I’ve got to say, the writing itself was good – it just failed to engage me. I couldn’t find a reason to sympathize witht he heroine…not till later.

Due to the rigid hold men obviously have over women in the book at this point, it’s understandable that the heroine would want to run away from home when she discovers that her father’s contracted her to marry the man she danced with, was creeped out by yet also attracted to – right? NO, it makes no sense whatsoever, of course, despite her suspicions of the man’s previous and now dissolved engagement to another woman who hasn’t been seen for three days. I mean, maybe yes, it does make perfect sense to to run away from home when you fear for your life. When you have no other family anywhere to turn to. When you cannot defend yourself. When you’re just a young, beautiful, attractive and naive fifteen-year-old girl.

By this point I was in a state of all-out dread.

Why? Because everything I’d seen so far, all the subtle innuendo and rigid male control told me the heroine was going to get raped. But I told myself I was being silly. Why should I assume this, maybe this book will surprise me and not have such a scenario. But then our heroine pays for passage with a caravan, paying its brutish-looking leader entirely too much for passage and food. She knows this, but, see, she is desperate to get away and would pay twice that.

Warning: She. Is. Desperate.

She pays alright. Along the way to a city where she hopes to establish a new life as an assistant to a scholar or some such lofty appointment, our heroine is indeed raped. Her money and jewels taken from her by the caravan leader, she’s tied to a wagon. Two young men say they will let her go – who before this all happens, along with the caravan leader are constantly giving her sexual suggestions – if she will have sex with them. She refuses. At first. But then she agrees. She’s desperate. It won’t really matter. They generously give her a knife afterward to cut herself free, being too cowardly of a bunch of dogs to actually help her. Before she can truly get away, she’s captured again and this time the caravan leader generously offers to let her sleep with him, or he’ll sell her back to her father. She’s desperate. She can’t go back there, where everything feels like death wrapped in silk, where she’s only as good as the price she can fetch for her father. She takes her clothes off. And so begins a horrible next few pages in which not only does she become the whore of the caravan leader, but any and every man he wants her to be so with. Clearly these men already thought her a whore before she ever becomes their personal toy. Later in the book she tells another character that she was had at one point by thirty different men.

She is fifteen years old.

When the men holding her captive convince her that she asked for it, that she deserves it….and she agrees, I knew I was done.

She didn’t ask for this. She was a stupid, naive girl who made stupid, wrong choices, but she didn’t truly ask for that. You never ask to be raped. She was cornered by the men in the caravan, her every option and outlet taken from her until she felt she had no choice, till the only thing that could save her was to tell herself that she could pretend anything. They managed to convince her, though, and I began frantically glancing through the book, hoping that this attitude changes. I can’t say if it does ultimately, but I did read further along in a couple of places, and because of that time with the caravan, she does still think herself a whore and others treat her as a thief and a whore for it. She eventually meets her captor again, the caravan leader, and this time she is in a position of power over him, but I cannot say that it gave me any satisfaction as a reader. There is little satisfaction or enjoyability to be had now.

Even though I’m fully aware the book could possibly…get better after this, I don’t remember ever feeling this enraged or disgusted by a book. Many who read here probably know that this subject is one of my hot buttons. I’ve really only got two when it comes to reading – harm to children with absolutely no discernible reason in the story for it other than sensationalism is another. I wanted to hurt Passion Play. Throwing it at the wall wouldn’t be good enough, and my wall really doesn’t deserve to have the likes of that coming at it. In those first thirty or so minutes of shaky rage, I wanted to physically hurt that book. Dare I say set it on fire?

Don’t worry. I would never do that. I actually gently set the book down. In fact, I want it out of my house. So I’m offering my ARC copy up to someone who might not feel as I do about rape in books, or who might mind it, but can get past it and finish. I know lots of people are looking forward to this book. I sure was – but I’m afraid I pretty much loath it now.

Please leave a comment below and be sure to let me know if you’re interested in winning Passion Play. U.S. residents only please. I’ll draw a winner on Monday.

And if it wasn’t obvious by now – DNF.

P.S. The book’s signed by the author, yo! In case, you know, that appeals.

ETA: Wow, folks. There’s some interesting reactions out there to this post! I’m going to link some here now so you can go see for yourself if you’re interested.

Also, please be assured that my reactions to Passion Play in no way reflect on the author. This is simply one reader’s reaction to what was written, and one to an issue I feel I’m growing less tolerant of as I get older. Sometimes I think maybe I’ve just simply had enough of reading rape scenes in fiction. I know this happens in real life and feel I’m extremely emphatic when it comes to how the real victim feels. So when I read another fictional rape scene, I seem to be reacting more and more, well, mad. I’m not mad at the author. Far from it. Bernobich has total rights to write that scene in, just as readers have a right to react to it and discuss it. The beauty of all of this is that maybe I will learn something! Something aside from how the book made me feel up to that point.

I won’t lie – if you feel this post has saved you from a book you feel you probably won’t like, I’m glad I could help. I find more and more often that I too wish I’d known prior that a book contained a rape scene. I might choose not to read as well, or I might feel prepared and BE able to push past it. Of course, there’s really no way to tell until that scene is reached. But knowing could also be half the battle of getting past it.

Passion Play could totally be worth the effort. You, the individual reader, has to make that decision, though, and whether you decide to read or not, neither is wrong. Whichever you choose – happy reading, folks!

Links reacting to and/or discussing my post:

Megan B Moore’s Livejournal

Post from Pheonix Rising

Karnythia’s LiveJournal

A little over three months later, still being discussed: Barnes and Noble

If anyone knows anywhere else I should link to, please let me know. I think the author is possibly aware as I have a link from her LiveJournal in my stats, but unfortunately I’m asked for a LiveJournal password and account name to access it, which I don’t have.

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    • I was literally sick to my stomach last night. I’m finding myself increasingly unable to get past this kind of stuff the older I get.

  1. I haven’t read this book, so I can’t speak to it directly, but I can relate to the feeling of wanting to hurt a book back. It’s really rare for me not to finish a book, even when the book is really, truly bad, so my few DNFs are books that made me so mad I wanted to shred them and use them for kitty litter. I have to confess that I did use one as a fire starter on a cold winter evening – and I don’t regret it. To this day the thought of what happened in that book makes me angry. Good for you for being calm enough to not only blog about it but to give the book away, though with the description you have above I can’t imagine you’ll have too many respondents asking for your copy.

    • Keri, I’m betting it’ll get sent to the library instead. But we’ll see!

      I know I shouldn’t but I’m giggling at the thought of using a hated book for kitty litter.

  2. I don’t want this book because I feel as you do. Abhorring this kind of storyline does not deny things like this actually happen. Tragically vile acts such as this are more common than I care to think about, but the idea that she believes she’s a whore because of what happens to her only compounds the ugliness of what happens to her, and that I cannot stomach. Sorry it went in that direction. I can’t comprehend what would cause an author to write about such brutal act in such an excessive manner. Horrifies me on so many levels.

    • Stacy, couldn’t agree more with everything you’ve said. I’m not sure at all of course what the logic behind writing that was, but the world the book is in is SO male-driven and anti-woman.

  3. I was sick when you emailed me about it and angry that someone would write such a thing and it would be published. What is the justification and how can the author explain writing the actions regarding this poor abused character?

    • Babs – I’ve never been comfortable with rape being justified in a book, used for characterization/character growth, plot movement, etc. I can’t ever speak for the author of course, but maybe they do feel it is justified somehow? I read a positive review on Goodreads, saying that they feel there is “payoff” in the book, so I assumed they were talking about these very dark beginnings to the book. I can’t feel that way though, that later maybe the heroine will fall in love or something? She’ll finally be happy? The prior crappy circumstances would just hang over the whole book.

    • “and it would be published.”

      Shall we start censoring books now that offend people in any way, shape, or form?

      BTW, nobody here seems to realize that Beth Bernobich is a rape survivor.

      • Wat, I did realize after reading her live journal a little more closely that she’s a rape survivor. Should that change the perspective on her book? Honestly, authors’ personal lives really don’t affect how I perceive a book. Separately from how I feel about her book, I suspect she’s a very brave person, but I prefer not to speculate on authors’ personal lives.

        And I would not call for a book to be censored just because I might not enjoy an aspect of it, I think people are just expressing a general dislike for the trope. This convo’s not going to get any book censored.

  4. Wow, that’s too bad. I have a note to check out reviews of this book. I think I’ll go delete it from my wish list now, so “no thanks” on the giveaway.

    • MaryK, if you ever do decide to give it a go, I do hope you find something about it to enjoy. And I’d love to hear it if you do. :)

      • It’s very unlikely. It sounds depressing, and I try to avoid depressing whenever possible.

  5. Wow, that is… I have no words.

    I can completely relate to the feeling of wanting to hurt a book. I recently read a YA book for this stupid Summer reading project I’m doing and I threw it against a wall. Twice. I was so angry at any woman, let alone one writing for teenagers, would describe sexual harassment and stalking as romantic.

    You’re a braver woman than me to read this book.

  6. I grind my teeth when I think of Hush and Hush and psycho, “let’s go ride on the roller-coaster where I can push you to you death so I can get my wings” Patch.

  7. I wouldn’t mind giving the book a try; I’ve liked the short stories I’ve read by Beth Bernobich. Please enter me into the drawing for the ARC.

    Your anger over the plot is certainly something I can relate to, though. I’ve loved reading the YA “Bloody Jack” books, but will likely abandon the series due to the sexual abuse of the main character in the latest installments.

      • No worries! The one that irked me was “Rapture of the Deep” which was the seventh in the series — I adore all the books up to that one. If you have the same opinions as I do, you still have five more books to enjoy, and they are brilliant.

        Keep in mind that even “Rapture” has almost five stars on amazon, so my opinion is in the minority. As the cliche goes, your mileage my vary.

    • Awesome, Purple Primate! I’ll put you on the list. Appreciate you wanting the chance. :)

  8. I don’t have a problem with authors touching on sexual assault/harassment/rape in novels since it’s a reality of life. But I agree with you – I can’t stand when the attitudes seem to say it was okay or deserved. The Book Smugglers just did a review of Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce that spoke on this topic too and how they couldn’t abide the message that came across at one point in the story.

    • My impressiion in about 70 pages was that this is another Man’s World. Where women always have to defend themselves or prove themselves something other than a whore if they’re not attached to a good family. This doesn’t mean someone can’t come along and change that later in the book, but the scenes described just really sent me into a shocked bit of rage. I don’t see why these scenes are necessary, usually even when I do finish the book. Decided I didn’t want to find out this time. I think the girl’s age has a lot to do with it.

      • You know what? We’ve been reading this story in specfic for over 40 years.

        I think it’s time for a different story.

  9. There are subjects I wish not to saturate myself with. Some story lines will move into areas where I’m uncomfortable. So I don’t continue. I’ll put the book away. Alice Sebold’s Lovely Bones was too intense for me for a time, but I finished it and was happy with the overall experience. I’m not comparing Lovely Bones to Passion Play, that’s not my point. I read a lot of books. I can pick them up, put them down, read them a little or a lot.

    I expect it would be your professional duty to finish a work before passing judgment on it. Actually, condemning it by what I’m reading in your review and the nastiness I’m seeing in the responses. Some stories are intense. You could have said that. Said, it’s not for everyone. You’ve chosen to review books, not be the hall monitor.

    • In other words, suppress the fact that she found the book too disturbing to finish. Dance around it with language like “intense” and “not for everyone.” Don’t tell anyone how badly she was disappointed in a book she was really looking forward to. Why? So potential buyers won’t know what they’re getting into? So she can join the ranks of reviewers who sweep honesty under the rug in favor of marketing?

      She’s given her honest opinion about the portion of the book that she read. Whether or not I find that opinion useful is entirely up to me. Obviously, you don’t find it useful and that’s entirely up to you. What I find unacceptable is your insinuation that she’s committed some kind of error by revealing her dislike of the book, by airing an opinion that could lead potential readers to avoid it, and that criticism of a book’s contents is not appropriate.

      Good reviewers criticize books. Good reviewers give readers their real opinions about books. Good reviewers don’t gloss over problematic aspects of books. Good reviewers don’t spin reviews.

      Hall monitors are charged with maintaining an established order and keeping others in line. I fail to see how laying out the details of an authentic reaction to a book so others can make what they will of it could possibly foster conformity.

    • If by nastiness you mean a revulsion to how rape can be handled in books, well, I have to disagree with you, Maurine Starkey. I don’t see any nastiness in the reactions and comments here, simply things like shock, disbelief, disappointment and the like. These are pretty natural reactions, for some people. I think it’s great if anyone can get past what I can’t in this book – that’s why I’m offering it up as a giveaway. Maybe the person who gets it will like the book and review it.

      I will not gloss over such a scene and group of scenes as intense. Yes, I could’ve said that, but that wouldn’t be true. This wasn’t intense. Intense is a loaded conversation where people know something truthful isn’t being outright said. The scene in the book was rage-inducing for me. I was nauseous, shaking, crying and mad. I was completely disgusted.

      A fifteen year old girl being asked by one of her rapists to make the inside of her mouth “soft as a peach”. Her feeling of resignation that washes over her when she agrees that she IS a whore and wanted it.

      Um – no. Not intense. Sickening.

      Reviewers aren’t hall monitors, I totally agree. Hall monitors keep children away from areas they’re not supposed to be in. You seem to have failed to notice that nowhere did I encourage anyone not to read this book, to stay away from it. We’re reviewers. We choose or choose not to tell how a book makes us feel sometimes. It’s called honesty, and we all have different ways of delivering it. I believe there is value in discussing or revealing why a book can’t be finished by me. I’m well aware that not everyone feels the same.

    • We need people to review books like this, even if they don’t finish them. I don’t see in any shape or form how Kmont is being a hall monitor. Not many people state their opinion about why they couldn’t finish a book. They feel they have to finish the whole thing. She gave her opinion about what she read up to. How is that wrong?

      I’m glad she posted about this because now I know I won’t be reading this.

  10. As you know this is one of my hot topics as well. I find it really hard to read books that feature rape in them because more often than not the rape comes across as a lazy way of making the character grow up (I agree with Jane here) or worse (for titilating).

    However, I guess it depends on how it is written and if it serves the story. In this case, the question I have is: does she eventually grow OUT of thinking of herself as a whore because of what happened to her? Does she realise at some point that NO, she DID NOT want that? Did NOT ask for it? Does ANYONE in this story thinks like that, help her see through the haze of her trauma?

    If so, perhaps the story is, in the end worth of being read.

    HOWEVER, I do completely understand your reaction and not being able to read through the end and respect your decision not to. Plus, EVEN if there is an ultimate message of how wrong this is, the parts you describe are problematic to me for me for many reasons. It reads as though it serves to tintilate. It reads as though she, much TOO SOON, agrees with the idea that she in fact enjoy all this. And I do not like how the title of book itself actually corroborates that.

    I have not read the book of course, and these are only impressions based on your impressions – I own the book but I don’t think I will be reading it now, as I know I would not be able to get through these sequences.

    • Ana, this book might be fulfilling for some, and if it is I’m 100% glad for them. I can say that in glancing through the book, she does meet the man described in the blurb above and the two seem to come to some kind of happy arrangement. He seems to be the only man in the book eventually capable of not looking at the heroine as a thief and whore. If you DO read it, I would love to hear how the rest of the book justifies the beginning. ;)

      As for if the heroine grows out of her own acceptance that she deserved it, that is a great question. I can’t say of course, but my overall impression is that women must prove themselves not to be this way in this book’s world. In other words, guilty until proven innocent. And even then, I’m downright sure that some men in this book don’t care about a woman’s innocence.

      This could definitely not be the case later on in the book, but yeah, the first 70 or so pages didn’t exactly feel encouraging. I didn’t even care for the atmosphere of the book before the rapes.

  11. Yikes! I was really looking forward to this book but this has definitely put me off. Not because of the rape – if it’s portrayed sensitively and there is a good reason why it has happened. But this sounds like a cheap plot point to me and I can’t handle reading that especially at a young age :P

    • If it had been a lot less men going after the poor heroine, or maybe if some specific details had been left out and the whole thing made a little more vague? Maybe I could get past it. But it was detailed enough for me to really not want to go on.

  12. You know, I’m not going to lie, I do have some pretty out there fantasies of my own, but reading about rape in a book just kind of squicks me out bigtime. ._. Even in my beloved Kushiel books, it never quite happens, but even the few moments it seems possible made my heart skip a beat for the heroine, wondering if she’d manage to get away somehow. And that’s when she’s an -adult- at least.

    This. Eeeeeee….I don’t think so… ._.

    • Oh thank you so much for saying this doesn’t happen in the Kushiel books. So many say Passion Play is a lot like those books, and that made me NOT want to read Kushiel’s Dart now. Glad to know it’s not THAT much like Kushiel. *wipes brow*

      • No, nothing ever happens. I think the closest is when Phedre is in a camp and gets separated alone, some rather rough types manage to find her. I believe she gets shoved down against the ground, but I -think- they don’t even get her dress halfway up before she’s saved–quite violently, too. *snrk*

        Some people feel the Moirin books at the start are a little squicky, thinking Raphael coerced her into their relationship via his station and her own youth and naivete, but it’s never remotely full-blown rape.

        The Phedre books -are- violent at times, mind you, but remember that’s a facet of her character enjoying pain than anything remotely resembling rape.

          • Good, good. I didn’t mention it either but I -am- interested in winning this though. I’ve had my eye on it for awhile and I’m still curious–plus I’m incredibly desperate for something to read. I never win anything, but hey. Maybe I’ll get lucky. x3

  13. Having read the book, I totally understand why this would feel triggering for you and why you wouldn’t want to finish the book. I also found that section intensely painful to read. However, I can assure you that the author’s message is NOT that the heroine deserved it or that it was okay – it’s just that the heroine, at that point, has been so victimized that she THINKS she somehow asked for it, which is a fairly common (and really sad) reaction on the part of many rape victims. She does change her mind by the end of the book, as she works to overcome the trauma, and the message by the end is crystal clear that this was a HORRIBLE thing to happen.

    Of course, none of this is to say that you should keep reading a book that – for very reasonable reasons – is not enjoyable for you. But I wanted to make it clear that the heroine’s belief at the beginning is definitely NOT the author’s message in the rest of the book.

    • Steph, thank you for making that clear. I want to assure you and others though that I wasn’t intending to paint the author as supporting this or giving this kind of message. In glancing through the book, it is clear that this is one of the pinnacle points of the book, and I just couldn’t go on after realizing that it would be a bone of contention the whole time. I mean, of course it would. It would seem even more wrong if it wasn’t worked out somehow, but I was already depressed enough.

  14. I’ll throw my name in the hat; I’m curious.
    In a male-dominated, misogynistic society, the attitude of rape of unprotected women IS one of she deserved it. We’re NOT that far removed from it in this country, that blame the victim mentality. And in some parts of our world, woman who are raped are still stoned to death.
    The fact is, it’s not a stretch that it was easy to convince the victim she was a whore & deserved it. It’s one of the many reasons why rape is so under-reported & under-prosecuted in this country.

    • In glancing through the book, I can say that the original rapist responsible is punished. The more I think about this book, though, the more I wonder if the blurb above isn’t a little misleading. It talks about two people meeting to go on and have this grand adventure full of political intrigue, but what seems more and more the case to me is the book possibly being a big ‘ole commentary on the rape of the heroine and how women are used, abused and exploited in this book’s world.

      And you’re absolutely right in what you say above – it’s one thing that makes me wonder if this book isn’t just trying to address rape as a whole. If it is, maybe it really does have some value. I suppose I just can’t see past the rapes themselves.

      Victims do commonly blame themselves – they shouldn’t have done this, they could’ve done that. Women tempt men and MAKE them lose all control. Yeah, this kind of stuff happens.

      Maybe the book tries to negate all this bullshit. I do wonder though if it was really necessary to be quite so excessive.

  15. I’M IN. Yeah, enter me in the contest. I’ll read, review it, then recycle it.

    This sounds like a trainwreck, but I like drinking while I read.

    • Cherry, no problem. I admit I started wondering if sharing how the book made me feel up to this point was a good idea or not. But I really would want to know if a book had this in it. I think some feel my attitude isn’t a good one, but I know this stuff happens. I know it’s wrong. I don’t want to read an entire book of some poor teenage girl struggling to overcome it. I already realize how traumatic this is for actual real life victims. I think it’s great if the heroine comes out of it all triumphant, but it’s not a “journey” I feel I need to be reminded of when I’m already fully aware that it happens, it’s wrong, etc.

      On the other hand, I totally understand that there is value in writing about it. Contrary, yes? ;)

  16. Ignore this comment. Testing to see if it goes through as a reader is trying to post a comment and can’t for some reason. Testing…beep beep beep….

  17. I’d like to be entered to win – I run panels at several science fiction conventions about the overuse of rape as a plot device in genre fiction and the harmful messages authors can send with it, and it sounds like I ought to familiarize myself with this one.

    • Shira, that sounds very interesting. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject as a whole. Do you post your panel conversations online anywhere?

  18. Hey, I saw you didn’t take note that I commented on wanting in the giveaway drawing. Just wanted to make sure you saw it. :) *keeps fingers crossed, weirdly enough*

    • Don’t worry! I promise I will be looking through the comments carefully to find the entries. :D Although with the amount of comments I don’t blame you for checking lol.

  19. I don’t think this is the book for me. Regardless of the author’s intentions I don’t…..I don’t want to read… *can’t find words*

    Thank you KMont.

    • The blurb above really interested me and drew me in. The more I look at it and other positive opinions on the book though, the more sure I am that it is a misleading description. One author who’s read this says it’s all about what the heroine goes through and how she gets through it and recovers. Methinks maybe actually stating something along those lines wouldn’t sell this book?

  20. Pingback: Winners: Passion Play & The Eternal Ones | Lurv a la Mode

  21. Is Dostoevsky’s “Crime&Punishment” trash because the protagonist murders 2 women?

    Please enter me in your drawing.

    • Mary, I never called this book, Passion Play, trash.

      I’ve already drawn the winner.

  22. Please count me in for the giveaway.

    I’d like to read it to completion before reviewing it and offering an opinion.

  23. I’m kind of glad to see confirmation that this book contained exactly what I thought it would. I feel safe nowadays assuming anything that has such emphasis on gender/sex roles as I saw in the blurb will contain, if not rape, then an attempt, and I’m tired of seeing it pop up if it isn’t…well, if it isn’t the basis for a plot in a book I really want to read. It’s just one of those things where if it just pops up then I won’t finish a book, which is sometimes a sad thing in books I really want to enjoy, but that’s just the way I roll. I’m glad there are book bloggers out there, like you, who bring up likes/dislikes and point out things that I might find intriguing or sound my silent alarms, even if I’m sometimes opposite the reviewer.

    • PS- I know that the giveaway’s been done, I was just commenting that I’d like to try to book myself before I condem the author or anything. : P

  24. Our to-be-read lists usually overlap by at least 70%, so I think it is safe to say “Thanks!!!!” and I won’t be reading this one. I do love a good book and fun reads, but hate the feeling when I just can’t bring myself to finish a book. And when I do read something I’d rather not finish, because I want to give the book a fair chance, and still dislike it? Gr. Grrrrrrr. I’d rather not start such books at all. It’s either animosity towards the book or self-loathing that I wasted my time and had no enjoyment or little enrichment.

    I like it when authors push the envelope and publishers take a chance. In a way, I think that’s part of how the paranormal romance genre had a resurgence. But beginning plots like this, well, I hope authors can innovate in more worthwhile ways and publishers take note that the books that sell are ones with interesting or kick-ass heroines. The door mat heroine isn’t one I’m interested in and selling me on such will take a lot more advertising work or innovative plot to get my $7.

    BTW, if you haven’t read Michelle Sagara’s Elantra Cast in series, perhaps give that a try. Definitely a flawed heroine who sometimes makes bad choices but I really love the books.

    • Reeder, thanks so much for the suggestion. I think I have the first in that series by Sagara in my TBR pile. Heroines that are flawed and make bad choices sometimes can be very interesting. But I agree that a doormat one isn’t on the same level. I often end up wishing that the woman hadn’t had to wait for a prince to save her.

  25. Okay thank you for the heads up with this book. I had it on the MUST buy list and now I don’t believe it will be my cup of tea. I appreciate your honest thoughts.

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  30. I can’t remember a lot how i got here, but boy oh yea boy I really didn’t need to hesitate and read a few of your articles, they’re all right works of writing and very much great views on just about this particular hard subject. Rock on my friend.

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