Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

Can’t Escape Love

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Can’t Escape Love (2019) Alyssa Cole

First things first: I LOVE THIS COVER.

This is an AMAZING cover and I completely cannot believe it came from Avon.

So the story. This is a novella that apparently takes place at the same time as the book about the main character’s twin sister. This become important later in the story, because events are referenced that we aren’t told about. (Which I find kinda irksome, to be honest.)

Reggie runs the geek website Girls with Glasses and is proud of the nerd fandom she cultivates. She’s quit working for her parents to concentrate on her website, and that has caused her insomnia to act up. Impulsively, she reaches out to a guy whose puzzle solving live stream she followed for months, because listening to his voice relaxed her so she could sleep, but his archives are deleted and she’s desperate to avoid sleeping pills. So: why not?

I feel like a kid who got told that if I kept pulling a face it would get stuck like that, and found out my parents were right,” she said on a sigh. “I’ve spent so many nights working late and now I’m being punished with sleep deprivation to teach me a lesson.

I adore both of the characters in this story. Reggie is stubborn and proud and loves being a geek. Gus is focused and doing what he loves, even if his family doesn’t understand.

Gus leaned back in his office chair and brushed a hand over his thick black hair, feeling it resist as it prepared to spring back into its natural disheveled state. It wouldn’t be tamed by anything but the hair product his grandmother mailed to him with the assorted Vietnamese treats in the care packages she sent from California. He lived in Queens, two blocks away from an Asian supermarket and one block away from a beauty supply store, but he didn’t tell Bà N?i this. It was how she showed her love.

I really REALLY love that bit.

So she is in a wheelchair, which is clear from the cover, and I love how her chairs are a part of the story without being a plot device.

Over there is Optimus Prime, for when I need to travel over rough terrain, which is basically most terrain in the five boroughs when you use a wheelchair because no one gives a fuck about accessibility or maintaining infrastructure. Namor is my beach buddy, with special wheels for moving across sand. That’s Evangelion, my light, stealthy, easily maneuverable chair, and, lastly, Voltron, a specially made Franken-chair that can be configured a few different ways.”

She needs a wheelchair. She has money so she spends it on making her life easier, and that includes having different types of chairs for different activities.

So, I loved both Reggie and Gus, and I also enjoyed how they meet up and it was delightful watching them fall in love.

So where was the weakness?

That comes from the fact that this novella isn’t really a stand-alone story.

Reggie and her twin have issues that stem from their parents having divided them into the good twin and the not-good twin. We see that in Reggie’s conversations with her parents, and also her exchanges with her sister. We also see Reggie upset by events happening to her sister. That’s fine as well.

The problem comes when An Event happens that is apparently completely detailed in her sister’s book. We catch glimpses of the event, and we see that Reggie is upset because her sister doesn’t return her calls to let her know she is okay. Then there is a very long phone call and Everything Is Resolved. But this conversation isn’t given here. That’s a bit annoying, but the real aggravation is what the conversation shifts something in Reggie, which ends up changing her relationship with Gus, but we don’t get to see what that is, so for me–having not read the other book–the shift occurs in a black hole of sorts, and it’s aggravating.

I don’t get to see how she patched things up with her sister, and I don’t get to see the conversation that allowed her to shift her feelings about Gus.

This ends up being a problem because I’m super picky about what kind of modern setting romances I read, preferring mysteries or super geeky characters (or both) or LGBT characters. The idea of a book about a secret Duke is… unappealing. I don’t care about the modern aristocracy (I don’t care about the historical aristocracy either, but I can tolerate it in small doses if it’s not a main point of the story) but I’ll have to read that book to discover what happens between the sisters, and THAT just annoys me.

I haven’t decided what I’ll do yet. I really REALLY like Reggie and Gus, and would have loved a full length story about them. But I’m not sure about a story about a secret duke and a woman who works for him in some undefined field. And all of that complicates me feelings about this story. It’s not a cliffhanger, since everything is resolved. But I don’t like not knowing HOW things were resolved.

Publisher: Avon Impulse


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