My not-so-secret affair with romance novels
When Ellery moved to New York with her boyfriend, she thought they’d live happily ever after in their small New York apartment. She never thought he’d pack his bags and leave because he “needed space.” With her newfound single status and fear of being alone, Ellery buries herself in her artwork and paintings until one night she helps a mysterious intoxicated stranger get home safely. Little did she know the mysterious stranger is none other than CEO and millionaire Connor Black. After finding Ellery in his kitchen the next morning and assuming she broke his #1 rule about sleepovers, he becomes intrigued, not only by her stubbornness and defiance, but by her kindness. Connor Black, emotionally dead and damaged, that stemmed from a personal tragedy, made a vow to never love or fall in love with a woman, until Ellery Lane walked into his life by accident. After she opens up and shows him her world, Connor starts to feel emotions and feelings he never knew existed. Despite the rumors and warnings regarding Connor Black and his use and misuse of women, Ellery finds herself being drawn into his world. Ellery knows they can never be together because she is harboring a deep secret that could destroy Connor emotionally forever. Join Connor and Ellery as they embark on a journey of courage, love and strength. Will it be enough to save them?
I’ve always been taught to lead with the good, so let’s start with that. I liked the “idea” of the book. I’m a research-before-you-buy type of girl… so after reading the synopsis, and seeing all the awesome ratings & reviews, I thought, GREAT – this is gonna be awesome! But, in reality, it was kind of a letdown.
I had such high hopes for Forever Black, and I really, really, really wanted to love it. A hot, rich and emotionally damaged man-whore who befriends & eventually falls madly in love with a sweet girl – how can you go wrong? Oh, allow me to count the ways…
The story had a lot of potential to be a very powerful and moving read, but there were parts of it that a) seemed random and served no purpose or b) needed to be fleshed out a bit. That said, there is a LOT going on – maybe even a bit too much. Plenty of drama, heavy-hitting issues, and don’t even get me started on the fighting!
Whenever Connor & Elle fought – which was often, it was like a huge explosion, where both went for the jugular. Because they were so dysfunctional together, I couldn’t root for them… didn’t really connect with either character. Don’t get me wrong… I liked some things. Like how they started off as friends and eventually became involved, and how Elle was sassy and sarcastic. As for Connor, I think I could have liked his character if he wasn’t so closed off most of the time. But what bothered me the most about the couple was that there were too many blowups. And then when they would get back together, the issues they had fought over never seemed to truly get resolved. That’s why I only felt relief when I finished Forever Black. There were times when I almost couldn’t finish the book, and the HEA, in my opinion, was rushed so I was just glad that I was able to get to the end.
It took a while to get into the story, mostly because the writing didn’t flow, and was really choppy. If I read a book that has too many errors, to the point that it pulls me out of the story, I get annoyed. Especially when writers don’t know the difference between “than” and “then” and “they’re/their/there” or how about this doozy? “I love you, to” – a HUGE moment, or at least it should have been, but there were TOO many errors.
Just a couple chapters into Forever Black, and you notice how unpolished it is; it’s apparent from the beginning that it could have used a lot more editing to correct grammar and usage mistakes. I almost couldn’t finish the book because I often found myself pausing and trying to re-word sentences so that I’d be able to understand it better. The lack of contractions, especially, interrupted the flow of the story for me and made the dialogue feel stilted.
The sad thing is that there is a really good book underneath there somewhere. Yes, I know and understand that this is the author’s debut novel… but isn’t that all the more reason to make sure you’re putting forth the best possible product? First impressions and all that jazz?
One last thing that was.. off to me: At one point, towards the end of Forever Black (I’m talking around 80% here), there was a switch to Connor’s POV. Now, usually I love it when we get the male’s POV in stories, but in this instance it was really random and unnecessary. Though Connor’s POV took up one very short chapter, I don’t think that it added anything to the story. There was nothing enlightening about his perspective, so the abrupt switch was just odd to me.
Overall, I’m actually pretty sad that I didn’t like Forever Black because the concept was good and showed great promise. Sandi Lynn’s upcoming novel, Forever You, is a companion story to this one but from Connor’s POV. I don’t know if I’ll be giving her another try with this next book – unless it’s 99 cents or something… but I think that if she were to develop her writing some more, and throw in extensive editing, she has the potential to be a good author.