Title: Worth it
Series: Forbidden Men #6 (can be read as a stand-alone novel)
Author: Linda Kage
Genre: Romance, Erotica (18+)
Format: ARC, eBook
Recommend it to: People who like chick-lit, romance novels, eroticas, Snapdragon Way.
Cover: Love it. I think it’s gorgeous.
Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book via Xpresso Book Tours. Thank you for sending me this book!
I fell in love once.
It was amazing. She was amazing. Life was amazing.
I lived for each time I could see her, and nothing else mattered, not that our families were enemies, our time together was forbidden, or we had to meet in secret.
Our love could conquer all.
Until it didn’t.
So I was ripped away from the love of my life and shoved into hell, forced to continue without her.
It shattered me, broke the best parts of me, left me permanently damaged.
Or so I thought.
Years later, I swear history’s trying to repeat itself because she’s back in my life, and I’m just as drawn to her as I was before. But I’m older and wiser now, and I know she should stay away from a worthless ex-con like me.
So, I will not let her in. I absolutely refuse to hurt her. I will keep her away.
Then again, sometimes risking your greatest fear to get to a smile makes everything worth it, and besides, I’m not sure I can resist her, anyway.
This is the story of how Felicity Bainbridge changed my life forever, starting one summer day long ago after I was forced to change a dirty diaper…
*Warning! This review contains spoilers! And a rant.*
The book’s description seemed interesting, especially since at first it gave the impression that it would be from a guy’s perspective. Most romances that I’ve read are from the girl’s perspective, so I though this would be interesting. I also read a couple reviews, therefore I had a main idea about this book. Personally, I don’t mind reading reviews or spoilers; they don’t ruin the book for me, or influence my opinion. I like to know what I get myself into.
Outline. The book has some modernist characters. The time line and the point of view are fragmented. We get to read from Knox and Felicity’s point of view, as well as chapters from the past and present; so, it wasn’t only from Knox’s perspective, as I initially thought, but no biggie. With a few exceptions, one chapter is in the past, titled THEN, and the next is in the present, titled NOW. Also, one chapter is from Knox’s point of view, while the next one is from Felicity’s point of view (again, with some exceptions). The book itself starts in the past, and it’s from Felicity’s point of view. All chapters are in the first person; not my favorite, but I don’t dread it either.
Although it is part of a series, Worth It can be read as a stand alone novel. The minor characters do know each other, and seem to be really close, but it didn’t effect the story. I guess this series is not a traditional series; every single book has a different protagonist(s). I think it goes like this: a minor character from book 1, becomes the main character in book 2; then a minor character in book 2, becomes the protagonist for book 3; and so on. Snapdragon Way is like that as well. Interesting concept. However, it implies that the plot and the conflicts are dealt with and resolved in one book.
In general, I liked the switched between past and present. It was a nice way of getting to know Felicity and Knox; seeing them act in the past, as oppose to just reading about it as a dialogue between characters. It was also nice to read about them in the present, and how their past choices affected them years later. The past vs present theme is not a main theme, but it is there.
So far, the novel’s outline is pretty good. I give it a 4.5 rating.
Plot. This book is modern re-tale of Romeo and Juliet, by Shakespeare. Two families hate each other for idiotic reasons, but their children fall in love. Knox is a Parker, and Felicity is a Bainbridge; Parker family, being poor and “white trash”, is hated by rich and snobbish Bainbridge family. However, Felicity (Juliet) falls for Knox (Romeo), and the drama begins. We even have mini Paris (Jeremy).
Personally, I don’t think Romeo and Juliet is a romantic play, and I don’t find Shakespeare to be a romantic author either. I would say that R&J shows how lust, and impulsive actions can ruin someone; it is also about how the irrational hatred between two families can cause damage to the younger generation. Anyway, this is not a review about Romeo and Juliet; maybe I’ll do that in a another post. And it doesn’t mean I am against the romantic take on R&J.
I would say this book has two main plots: the one that deals with the past, and the one that tackles the present.
The “THEN” chapters are written in Knox and Felicity’s point of view. However, most of them are from Felicity’s perspective.
The past chapters are about Knox and Felicity getting to know each other, spending time together, and talking about how to deal with their families, or what will happen with their forbidden relationship. Most of this chapters were nice, and cute, until the climax. However, the past ended in the middle of the climax, there was no clear resolution. Sure, it was implied, and we get what happened during the present chapters, but it would’ve been nice to read at least on more chapter from both Knox and Felicity’s perspective, so we can get a more clear image, and more details of what happened right after the climax.
I wasn’t 100% surprised by what happened with Knox and Felicity in the past. I wasn’t surprised by how they were caught either. I didn’t guess it scene for scene, but their age differences, and the way Felicity’s family was acted, it was a big clue for me.
*Some Spoilers -written in white, select the text if you want to read it. *
Knox is 18, while Felicity is 15, and 16 for a couple of chapter towards the end of the past plot-line. Clearly, from a legal point of view, that was a problem from the start. As it always happens, Knox and Felicity get caught by Felicity’s brothers (two of them+a friend). Not only that, but they were caught right after they had sex in the back of Felicity’s car, and threw the used condom out the window. Felicity’s brothers, G. and M., started to attack, and beat Knox; they knock him out, and kidnapped him. Knox wakes up bound to a chair, in Felicity’s house, in front of Mr. Bainbridge, who just slapped Felicity. Then, Knox agree to plead guilty for rape; not statutory rape, due to the age difference, but to forced rape. Why? Because Mr. Bainbridge told him he would beat Felicity daily, and throw her out when she would be 18. Knox told him to also promise to support his niece, since it was half-Bainbridge, but it wasn’t the main reason he accepted this stupid idea. I will assume that Knox was too young, and too in love to think clearly, even though logically it’s ridiculous.
Now, here’s where the problem starts. The past chapters end with this chapter, right after Knox confessed to the Sheriff that he raped Felicity. I would’ve like to read what happened with Knox right after he confessed; about his trial, how his family reacted, him going to prison. I think it would’ve ended better with Knox being locked up in his prison cell. Also, I would’ve like to see how Felicity reacted and what she did during Knox’s trial.
Since there was no information about Knox’s trial, there is also another problem. How can Knox be send to prison if there was no allegations against him? Felicity didn’t write a confession, she didn’t said anything to the police. Was there a trial? Normally, there is one. Also, if there was a trial, how come Felicity wasn’t in it? Usually, the victim accuses, and the offender defends himself/herself. So what, Felicity’s father spoke for her? Assuming that somehow Knox was judged without the victim being interrogated, how come the police, the jury and the judge, did not bother to investigate properly? Or are we suppose to assume that the Bainbridge has so much power that they can influence the legal system? Alright, it can happened. But the trial without the victim, and a proper accusation is a little bit absurd.
I give the past plot line a rating of 3.75 due to everything I mentioned above.
The “NOW” chapters are mostly from Knox’s point of view, and some of them written from Felicity’s perspective.
The present starts with Knox getting out of prison. The main plot is Knox and Felicity finding each other, and getting back together. Knox dealing with being an ex-con, and with what happened to him in prison are two sub-plots, which is a pity. Also, the coincidences were a little bit hard to believe. Knox stumbling upon an old high school mate right away, Prick also knowing Felicity, Knox ends up working at the same place as Felicity. . . However, I can accept these events without them ruing the story.
Again, the first part of the NOW chapters were pretty nice, especially Knox’s chapters. Knox tried to push Felicity away, and he wasn’t very kin on being with her, even though he still had feelings for her. He though he’s damage, and not worthy enough. However, the climax and the resolution were rushed. I didn’t see the main issues being resolved. Yes, Knox and Felicity end up back together, but Knox’s problems are not dealt with; not really. Finally, we find out what happened to him (in a very ugly way), then boom, Felicity and Knox are back together, and happily ever after.
Also, I didn’t like the way Knox situation was dealt with. I did mention Literary Rape being one of my pet peeves.
*Spoilers -written in white, select the text if you want to read it. *
Knox was raped in prison. Three guys attacked him, one raped him, while the other two kept hitting him. Knox tried to fight, he managed to get some will power, and he finally killed two of them: his raper, and another guy, Jeremy. Now, this book does not tackle prison rape, which is a real problem. Based on this article alone, 70,000 prisoners were sexually abused in 2007. Yes, not all of them are women, but the men rape in prison is pretty high, since more men are in prison than women. Also, even the prisons’ staff are guilty of sexually abusing prisoners. Or, when they know about it, they don’t report it or try to stop it. This is a real problem, especially since sooner or later, these victims will get out of prison. I don’t think it’s normal or fair for a guy or girl to go to prison for, I don’t know, stealing and get raped. The prison sentence is their punishment, not the rape.
As I mentioned, Worth It does not tackle this problem. The rape was just a reason for Knox to be sad, angry, and to reject Felicity. Also, someone else told Felicity what happened with Knox; it was completely tackles. And it was told in details . . . When Knox mentioned that Reese and her husband didn’t have the right to tell his story, Reese just shrugged; not even an “I’m sorry!”. Of course, Felicity was devastated, but Knox ended up comforting her. Yes, Knox who got raped and almost killed, ended up comforting Felicity because she couldn’t handle it.
Another thing. Felicity told Knox, at the end of the book, that he should see a psychiatrist, but Knox wanted Felicity to be his shrink, since she wanted to be a child physiologist and helped a 10 year old fight his nightmares. Therefore, Knox’s therapy ended up being Mr.Google.
Prison rape is too much of a problem and of a sensitive subject to be dealt with poorly.
Therefore, because of everything I mentioned, I give a rating of 3 for the present plot.
Knox. My favorite character. I even liked him during the present chapters. He did change quite a bit during his prison time, but it was obvious that would happen. Knox is nice with kids, has a good heart, treats women nice, and overall he’s a nice person. He was dealt a lot of bad cards in life. I actually liked the fact that it was realistic, with a few exceptions (the prison sentence, his brother Rocket). Not everybody has a nice, peaceful life.
What I would’ve like to see him do is go to therapy. Real therapy, not google. Prick could’ve suggested it to him; it would’ve been more helpful than a gym membership.
Felicity. I didn’t like Felicity, especially not during the present chapters. In past she was naive, and clueless, which it was understandable due to her age. However, in the present she was annoying. She pushed, and pushed, and get upset when Knox didn’t do what she wanted. She didn’t go to university, because “she didn’t need a degree to help people”. Felicity claimed she loved Knox, but she didn’t bother to visit him in prison. Oh, right. She visit him once, she was told she can’t see him that day, and that was the end of it. She didn’t even bother to write him letters! Prisoners, even murderers, can get visitors, letters, packages, they can even have sex with their visitors! Now, if she waited for Knox four years, and left her family when she was 18, why didn’t she bother to write to him? Send him stuff? Save some money for him, since she was the reason why Knox went to prison. Felicity knew where Knox was held in prison, knew the address, knew everything. And then, she finds out that Knox’s sentence was extended due to the murders, and she decides she wants to move on. She didn’t even bother to find out for sure why Knox killed those people, or if there was a possibility to get out sooner. If Felicity bothered to get in contact with Knox she would’ve know everything from the start, and she could’ve help him. At least she could’ve offered some moral support . . . But no. And then, when Knox gets out and he doesn’t want to talk with her and be with her, she gets all angry and upset. Why? Also, being Knox therapist, because she can google..please!
Minor characters. With the exception of Reese and Mason, all minor characters were pretty decent. Some funny, some serious, some compassionate.
I give a rate of 3.3 to all characters.
Past: Teenagers’ love. In other words, lust and romantic feelings, but not real love. Knox and Felicity spent one summer together, so 2-3 months. Sure, shortly after they’ve met, they were all “I love you”, “We’ll be together forever” and so on. We all know that most high school romances don’t last very long, for obvious reasons. I wouldn’t say 2-3 months are enough to really get to know someone. Especially when most of the time you can’t even date openly. In a teenager mind it can be real, and more than enough time, since teenagers feel more instantly, they’re think more with their hormones, not with their logical brain. It’s cute, and nice.
Now, while the romance itself was for high school, the description was not. Knox and Felicity spend a lot of time making out, and doing bases. It was mentioned that they talked about everything, but most details are about them kissing and getting sexual. I would’ve like to read more about their real talks, and less about Felicity riding his hard cock (fully clothed) –it was mentioned a few times. Their second base and the sex scene is described in detail as well, which is why I said this novel is also an erotica. I’ve read adult romances where the protagonists didn’t talk like porn stars while they were having sex, or where the sex scenes were subtle. By the way, that’s how virgin teenagers talk these days? When they want/have sex? Like porn stars? Doesn’t seem too realistic.
Some people like eroticas, other don’t. Personally, I like more subtle descriptions, since I like to imagine everything; and if there is a detailed sex act, I like it more when the characters talk more gentle/romantic –especially when it’s about love, not casual sex. This is a personal preference.
Present: No. I didn’t like the romance. Why? Because it wasn’t realistic. They knew each other for 2-3 months, Knox went to prison, they didn’t talk/see each other for 6 years, but they still love each other. I could’ve understand if they were in love with the idea of them being together, and trying it for a second time. You know, going to dates, having real conversations and so on. Basically, starting from the beginning, since they haven’t seen each other since they were kids. Felicity was so shocked that Knox changed so much. Well, pff, in 6 years, a person changes a lot; an 18 year old changes even more; a 18 year old going to prison for a crime he didn’t commit, changes tremendously in 6 years.
Short version. Knox went through something terrible in prison, and he is angry, violent, always guarded, has nightmares. Knox is reunites with Felicity, since they work together. Felicity finds out what happened to Knox from a third party. Felicity convinces Knox to have sex to prove he still loves her, and that if they have sex, he cannot turn her down. Knox and Felicity have sex. Knox is feeling better, and he wants to be with Felicity. Then they have sex again all day all over the apartment. Knox starts to have therapy session with Felicity, since Felicity googled what to do. Knox and Felicity leave happily ever after. The end.
Also, Felicity was with other men. It would’ve been wrong, if she wasn’t so shocked that Knox didn’t want to be with her. She kept saying that she never gave up on Knox, but then why didn’t she bother to stay in contact with him while he was in prison? Why didn’t she went to the police, and say that Knox was in jail for a crime he didn’t commit? She was 18, she left her family, why didn’t she try to clean his name?
Knox and Felicity danced around each other for most of the present chapters, until Felicity demands to know what happened to Knox. She asked Reese and Mason to tell her, which was very inconsiderate. And then, the day after, Knox is healed of his wounds and finally able to be with Felicity. Why?How? Well, they had sex. Yes, they had sex, and Knox’s troubles from prison went away, and he also realized how much she loves her. Again, all they have is sex and some memories. Take away the sex and 6 year old memories, and there is nothing real that keeps these two together. I mean, they didn’t have a real conversation, dealing with everything that happened …
Example: I kept working him through his jeans. “Oh really? So I’m just like any other woman to you right now, huh?” With a sniff, I continued, “Sorry, but I don’t buy that. In fact, I bet you couldn’t fuck me like a stranger. I bet the second you filled me, you’d put your entire heart into it. Because we belong together. We love each other.” (Linda Kage, Worth It ARC)
Again, the sex scenes were described in detail, since the erotica labeling.
Some examples: With a whimper, I followed his command, slipping my hand down my body until my fingers were on my clit, slipping over wet, sensitive muscles that made me jump and my nipples harden. (Linda Kage, Worth It ARC)
(By the way, what muscles? The clit/vulva doesn’t have muscles…)
Call me old-fashioned or whatever, but I don’t think relationships based on sex are real love, or that sex heals a person who got raped.
I give a rating of 2.4 for the romance (past+present).
General thoughts. The books itself, as a whole is a nice read; the novel has an interesting concept/main idea. It would be even more enjoyable for someone who does not mind this type of romance, or who can put logic aside (not saying it in a bad way; some people can detached themselves, and reading as just a story and nothing else; I can’t.); I know some people do, and this novel will be an interesting read for them. If the book was more about Knox’s problems, and less about the romance, I would’ve like it more. Or, if the book was more realistic about the romance, especially in the present chapters.
Final rating: 3.4 stars.