Banished Love– Ramona Flightner

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Banished Love is a historical romance that I was expecting to be another one of those historical romances where, despite every imposition of society, everyone bangs everyone anyway, reputation be damned! I was actually pleasantly surprised by this book, for reasons I will get into later.

The story revolves around Clarissa Sullivan (wow look at me, I actually remembered a character’s full name for once), a young woman in 1900 Boston, who lives to frustrate her horrible, society conforming step-mother with the aid of her two brothers, and to attend suffragette meetings.

The book does start with a popular trope—clumsy girl! Haha, girls are so silly, running into things, tripping all the time, isn’t it cute hahahah?

I do have to ask, why are the heroes never clumsy? Where are the clumsy men? All of the love interests in romance novels are portrayed as men who are in control at all times. They exude confidence. They never make mistakes. Their clothes are always flawless and they have great business sense. But the heroines can barely walk. Women, am I right?

So the first few pages were not very endearing because of the clumsy trope, but I do have to give credit for Banished Love’s love-interest, Gabriel, who is kind of an awkward guy. I mean really, his clothes don’t fit, he doesn’t communicate well, and while he’s a hard-worker, he’s not rich. Despite his talent in wood-working, the guy doesn’t even brag about his ability. He was such a foil to the typical “alpha male” douchebag that are everywhere in romance novels that I couldn’t help but like him.

I liked almost everyone in this book , character-wise. Clarissa’s family are utterly likable and actually feel like they are characters of their own, rather than the flat cut-outs that most side characters in romances tend to be.

Unfortunately, Clarissa’s character does fall into that trap of characters that feel too good to be true. Look, the girl works as an educator of poor immigrant children because she wants to, not because she has to, is completely understanding to all of her friends, and basically DOES NO WRONG.

What a saint. It drives me up the wall about these characters who, like me, are in their twenties but are cool, calm, collected. Listen, I’m 22 and sometimes I don’t want to brush my teeth at night and my idea of cooking is throwing a potato in the oven and poking at it as if that will tell me if it is finished cooking. All these women have jobs, volunteer, cook, navigate life with competence, and don’t roll up in blankets and shove themselves into the corner of a room because they’ve lost control of their lives.

Obviously I am not material for the main character of a romance novel.

Obviously I am not material for the main character of a romance novel.

How am I supposed to relate to a character like that? Who are these people. Where is the main character who mostly has a relationship with a fresh-out-of-the-oven loaf of garlic bread? (Hint, it’s Bridget Jones. She is all of us)

I don’t think the character has a single failing? The worst thing that happened with her is that she got left at the altar. Which just makes her the victim anyway. I guess we’re supposed to wish she spoke up more often but she already is far braver than the average women in the book, so wanting her to speak up more is unrealistic.

The other character I have a problem with is Clarissa’s step-mother. I don’t like or understand characters that are out to ruin others’ happiness with no discernible motive other than that they hate fun. Mrs. Smythe is a horrible, petty woman and there is absolutely no reason given for it. She’s so horrible you wonder why Clarissa’s father, who is always portrayed as loving and understanding, would even consider marrying the woman when she obviously hates his children so much.

It makes zero sense that Mrs. Smythe is so petty when she married down in social status to Clarissa’s father? Why would she even marry him?

Having a character just be awful to create conflict in a story isn’t too compelling to me. I wish there had been a better portrayal of why Mrs. Smythe was so gross all of the time. Because she came off as a complete caricature of the evil step-mother.

Anyway, despite these small complaints I really liked Banished Love. It was very SWEET, not vulgar at all. So if you’re after the hanky-panky, you won’t find it here. But the story is sugar sweet in that way that you don’t want to admit you like, but you totally like.

It’d make a great movie, with all those period clothes and the upper-class daughter falling into the world of women’s rights and a dusty wood-worker with a heart of gold. Wow this book is kind of disgusting. I love it.

               I give it a 6’ 4’’ on the scale of “how tall can the love-interest in a book be, before it gets weird” scale.

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More Aliens

My feelings on Ice Planet Barbarians  by Ruby Dixon are summarized below:

you're a shitty friend Georgie

you’re a shitty friend Georgie

Wait, actually I had another thought about this book:

I said this in my last post, but I feel like there’s lots of reasons not to just jump the bones of the first alien you meet. It would be totally tempting, don’t get me wrong, I see you. But there’s also way, WAY too many ways in which it could go horribly wrong.

reason #167 why it's probably a bad idea to have sex with an alien life form

reason #167 why it’s probably a bad idea to have sex with an alien life form

And it’s totally likely that even if you could have sex, the human body would be capable of becoming pregnant with an alien baby. I took human anatomy. I know that pregnancy isn’t a complicated process at all. I mean, it’s not like that sometimes the human body rejects human fetuses because of clashes between the immune systems.

(hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa)

Whatever, it’s for the sake of the story. What am I expecting anyway, out of a smutty sci-fi novel? Surely not realistic science.

I don’t know what else to say about this book. Maybe I’m still recovering. In a couple of days I’ll go through this book and make a list of words that were in it that I hope I never have to read again.

I give it a BEAR GRYLLS on the SURVIVOR SKILLS scale.

(It got docked points because I am somewhat phobic of pregnancy so whenever the main character in a book gets pregnant I want to scream and throw up simultaneously. Do some people like this as a plot point? DO SOME PEOPLE ENJOY THAT?)

Close Liaisons

I was really excited to read Anna Zaires’ Close Liaisons, because it is a free Kindle book that involves an alien romance.

There’s a lot of things to like in alien romances—tropes like not understanding each other’s language (a classic), finding each other weirdly attractive despite the fact that the likelihood that an alien would find a human attractive is like a human finding a hermit crab attractive, and, most importantly, I’m always a slut for space. Okay, yes, and I want to know what kind of weird dong the author is going to outfit the alien with, that JUST SO HAPPENS to be compatible with female anatomy.

Don’t worry about allergic reactions either.

No really, everything is going to be fine.

God I love aliens.

So, when I got Close Liaisons, I was completely hyped! Alien romance is not a genre that seems to be particularly popular yet (I wonder why, considering that even zombies are getting their own love stories these days).

TOO BAD THIS BOOK IS A COMPLETE LET DOWN.

Let me highlight exactly why this stupid book is so incredibly stupid.

  1. The ALIENS look like HUMANS

You’re writing a book about ALIENS. Who the fuck sits down and thinks, well, these guys are going to drop out of a spaceship, so they should probably just look like a traditionally attractive human being. That’ll surprise them ahahaha!

I will say that at least Zaires has an explanation for the similar appearance of humans and her alien species. Apparently humans evolved because the aliens, millions of years ago, shot their DNA into space to seed planets. Because that’s how evolution works.

It’s fine though, because the aliens have been watching over us a long time and they made sure that we evolved to look like them! That’s not weird at all! But okay!

Alien design? Nailed it

Alien design? Nailed it

  1. The ALIENS used to subsist on BLOOD. They don’t need to anymore, but guess what they still enjoy doing? Sucking on human blood.

I’m sorry, I thought I signed up to read a science-fiction book about ALIENS. And somehow, I ended up reading another terrible paranormal romance featuring perhaps the most overused paranormal creatures—Vampires!

I can't even fault that reasoning

I can’t even fault that reasoning

How did this happen??? I was bamboozled. I was completely fooled. And I was left wondering, why, if you’re going to write a book about vampires, try to make it about ALIENS? Commit to your vampire story, because passing it off as science-fiction is exactly what nobody wants.

Actually, that’s my whole list because I once that little plot detail dropped, I dropped the book. I feel so cheated.

We’ll see if I finish this book, but probably not.

—-

Okay I was going to go, but I had a few more things to say. Zaires starts the book off almost promisingly when it comes to character development. I kind of liked the curly haired protagonist (not enough to remember her name, but there you go), for about three paragraphs. That’s when our alien love interest is introduced and the story goes full of the rails immediately with him stalking her and abducting her to take to his apartment right away (that’s a slight exaggeration, but basically).

Which is great, because now I have about enough characterization of the main character to know that she’s in college and studies (I guess) which is totally enough for me to care about her.

One of the great mysteries of life, to me, is how immediately everyone is attracted to everyone in romances. I mean, hello, she barely knows him and he’s an ALIEN. He could suck the bone marrow out of puppies. You don’t know! And she goes to his apartment, no problem!

Okay, kind of problem, but we all know that heroines in romance novels don’t mind being bossed around by someone they feel sexually attracted to. All their willpower goes straight out the window at first brushing touch.

I’m just of the position that I would NOT get into a limo with a known alien to be taken to his private residence because one time our hands touched.

That could be the beginning of a horror movie.

I’m just saying.

I’m holding off on an official review rating until I finish the book, but for right now Close Liaisons gets one GLOWY EYE out of COULD YOU LOOK LESS HUMAN