When to Put the Book Down

I used to be the person that never put books down. I would trudge through a book and wallow in despair about how much time I wasted, but about 2 years ago I started to “DNF” books. I still give every book a valiant effort and don’t put an arbitrary number (100 pages, 25%, etc.) on it, but if I find myself dreading the book or trying to avoid reading I know it’s time to give up.

 

^^ – That is usually what happens, but every once in a while I find a book where the characters annoy me so much (looking at you After the Ending) or is about a subject matter that I just can’t continue to read. The latter is what sparked this post today.

***TRIGGER WARNING*** – Rape, Kidnapping, Violence


Last week I started reading Twist Me, a dark romance. 

Spoilers for the book ahead. Proceed at your own risk of being spoiled.

 

“Will you ever let me go?” 
“No, Nora,” he replies, and I can feel his smile in the darkness. “Never.” 

On the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Nora Leston meets Julian Esguerra, and her life changes forever. Stolen away to a private island, she finds herself at the mercy of a powerful, dangerous man whose touch makes her burn.

A man whose obsession with her knows no bounds.

Her enigmatic captor is as cruel as he is beautiful, yet it’s his tenderness that devastates her most. Drawn into his violent world, Nora must find a way to adapt and survive—and find light within the darkness.”


Shortly into the first book Nora is kidnapped by Julian Esguerra and whisked away to a private island. Julian is NOT a good guy. He is not your misunderstood redeemable villain. He rapes Nora the day after she brings her to the island and inflicts pain she does not ask for. This is not a healthy BDSM sexual relationship in which a safe word and trust is established, and often Nora is unaware how much Julian will do to her or what is happening. There is scene after scene of Nora crying into the pillow or the mattress as Julian hits her with a belt and penetrates her (in various places) without her permission. Despite her reluctance, Nora feels pleasure and often climaxes during the sexual encounters. Nora knows this “relationship” with her captor is unhealthy, and maybe for some readers that acknowledgement is enough, but I couldn’t get past it.

I have been a victim of sexual abuse and rape, but am not usually bothered more than the average person by scenes in movies or books depicting rape (thank you years of therapy). I just can’t continue to read this book though. I finished the first book in the series and got through about half of the second. I’m not sure why I continued for so long; maybe I was hoping Julian would develop into something other than an abusive asshole? IDK. One scene finally put me over the edge though and I had to stop reading. The scene that did it was

SPOILER…………….

when Nora made Julian mad by flinching at someone calling her Mrs. Esguerra (oh, did I mention he forced her to marry him by threatening her friend’s life?). He “punishes” her by making her perform oral sex on him an then bending her over and (WITHOUT HER CONSENT or any more lubrication than her own saliva) thrusts into her anus. This is followed by him choking her until she almost passes out – again, without her consent – and being filled with the fear that he will kill her. 

Page 264: Twist Me Trilogy by Anna Zaires

I can’t. While BDSM isn’t something I personally partake in, I don’t mind reading about it. I cannot read about what I interpret is an abusive relationship masked as a romance. I can’t read about a character who is raped repeatedly, belittled and demeaned, and comes out of each encounter as “I know it’s wrong but I liked it”. After each violent episode Nora exhibits prototypical behavior of  an abused person – she makes excuses and says things like (paraphrasing here) I separate the good from the bad, I know he cares for me, etc. If this was a story about how Nora eventually gets away from her abuser I could handle it, but instead it is sensationalized and re-branded as “love”, in my opinion. I’m done. 


I want to add: I am not trying to shame someone who does love this book. I have read other dark romances and enjoyed them (Impossible Series), but Twist me just really bothered me. The controlling behavior of Julian and continued raping of Nora was too much, and maybe because of my past I am a little triggered by him. *shrugs*


Now, on to more enjoyable books 🙂 Thanks for reading!

‘After the Ending’ by Lindsey Pogue and Lindsey Fairleigh

Title: After the Ending

Author: Lindsey Pogue and Lindsey Fairleigh

Genre: Romance, Sci-Fi, Dystopian

Format: eBook

Description (Source: GoodReads):

The Virus spread. Billions died. The Ending began. We may have survived the apocalypse, but the Virus changed us.

When people started getting sick, “they” thought it was just the flu. My roommate, my boyfriend, my family…they’re all gone now. I got sick too. I should have died with them–with the rest of the world–but I didn’t. I thought witnessing the human population almost disappear off the face of the earth was the craziest thing I’d ever experience. I was so wrong. My name is Dani O’Connor, I’m twenty-six-years-old, and I survived The Ending.

The Virus changed everything. The world I knew is gone, and life is backwards. We’ve all had to start over. I’ve been stripped of my home, my dreams…all that is me. I’m someone else now–broken and changed. Other survivors’ memories and emotions haunt me. They invade my mind until I can no longer separate them from my own. I won’t let them consume me. I can’t. My name is Zoe Cartwright, I’m twenty-six-years-old, and I survived The Ending.

We’ve been inseparable for most of our lives, and now our friendship is all we have left. The aftermath of the Virus has stranded us on opposite sides of the United States. Trusting strangers, making sacrifices, killing–we’ll do anything to reach one another. Fear and pain may be unavoidable, but we’re strong…we’re survivors. But to continue surviving in this unfamiliar world plagued by Crazies and strange new abilities, we have to adapt. We have to evolve.

And more than anything, we have to find each other.

After The Ending (The Ending Series, #1) by [Fairleigh, Lindsey, Pogue, Lindsey]

Overall Assessment:
DNF – I almost never DNF a book, but I just have too many other books on my shelf that interest me to waste time on something I tried for a month and a half to get into.

Rating:

 DNF