Tuesday, August 8, 2017

ARC Review and Playlist: The Forbidden by Jodi Ellen Malpas

Pub. Date:Aug. 8, 2017
Publisher:Forever Romance
Length:368 pages

Goodness. This is going to be my most conflicted review of the year. Let me start off by saying that this book is very well written. Jodi Ellen Malpas has honed her craft over the years and each book that I have read of hers has been progressively better, and this one is no exception.

Annie is a twenty-nine year old architect, ambitious and hardworking. I was very excited that this was not a new adult book, so I was pre-disposed to like Annie. I liked that she loved her job. I was jealous of her close and fabulous friendships. I liked that she realized the key to life was not always getting married and making babies. And I loved her ambition and excitement for her work. She was not looking for a complication in her life, and she certainly wasn't looking for Jack Joseph. But the sparks fly when the two meet at a bar one night, and there is an undeniable chemistry between the two. The first attraction and magnetism is the stuff of female fantasy - things that never happen in real life. But what followed was drama of epic proportions. See... Jack is married. Big sigh.

Malpas did an excellent job of capturing the utter desperation of this situation and drawing the reader into the drama, heartache and magnetism between the characters. I loved the hero, Jack Joseph, and I hated him. I pitied and was disgusted by both the hero and heroine, but I couldn't blame them. I hated this book. It gave me anxiety. The drama, it was so much, y'all. It made my chest tight. It made me ranty and mad and sad and exasperated. But I couldn't stop reading.

As you can tell, this is not my type of book. In fact, if the blurb on NetGalley wasn't a little different (it left out the second to last sentence about him "belong[ing] to another") then I probably would not have picked up this story. I don't like cheating in my books. So I steer clear of them. I'm glad the blurb was updated to make the reader aware of what they are getting into, 'cause I struggled with it. Yeah, Jack's wife is a nutter and he is miserable. But that isn't enough to excuse it for me. I wondered about Annie's self-respect and willingness to continue on in this second best scenario. I am a reader that puts myself in the place of the heroine... but I can never see myself in this situation. I just had a hard time being happy for them. But again, I couldn't blame them. I did understand, in the end. But I hated myself for not hating them! So I think it wasn't the book I hated after all... but the situation.

Malpas definitely took a chance with this story, and she has guts. I think people will love it or hate it... or they will be like me and acknowledge all their conflicted feelings.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, Forever Romance.

About the Author

Jodi Ellen Malpas was born and raised in the Midlands’ town of Northampton, England, where she lives with her two boys. Working for her father’s construction business full-time, she tried to ignore the lingering idea of writing until it became impossible. She wrote in secret for a long time before finally finding the courage to unleash her creative streak, and in October 2012 she released This Man. She took a chance on a story with some intense characters and sparked incredible reactions from women all over the world. Writing powerful love stories and creating addictive characters have become her passion, a passion she now shares with her devoted readers.

Social Media Links

Add The Forbidden to your shelf on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2kclflm
Follow Jodi Ellen Malpas on BookBub: http://bit.ly/2qXejZ7
Follow Jodi Ellen Malpas on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2qXqwwZ

The Forbidden Playlist

Unlike This Man & One Night, I didn’t really use much music in The Forbidden. But I did listen to it during the writing process, and there are a few tracks that had a place within the story for one reason or another.

Madonna – Like A Prayer
When Annie is getting ready for her girls night out, she’s dances around her bedroom in her towel with a glass of wine singing along. Because what woman doesn’t like a bit of Madonna? It’s like the perfect track to get ready to. Any everyone knows the words!

Above & Beyond – Sun & Moon
This was the track of the moment for me while I was writing The Forbidden. The lyrics ring so true for Annie’s disposition at this moment in the story, and I kept imagining her bursting through Hyde Park on a spontaneous morning run, feeling like she had a new lease of life. “We’re in heaven, you and I. When I lay with you and close my eyes, my fingers touch the sky.” Perfecto!

Moby - Go
Annie’s friend, while slightly drunk on their night out, puts herself on the dance floor and has a bit of a drunken sway. This track has always been a firm favourite of mine, the tempo intense, and it was perfect for the atmosphere in the bar when Annie and Jack first set eyes on each other.

Jean Jacques Smoothie – 2 People
This track was originally in the book, but after edit was removed. The words are perfect for the chemistry and feels that Jack and Annie had on their first encounter. There are literally 16 words in the whole track, and each one is perfect. To me, the lyrics represent the joining of two people who are just meant to be.

Two people, just meeting. Barely touching each other. Two spirits greeting. Trying to carry it further.
Zedd – Clarity (Feat Foxes)
This didn’t make it into the book, but it was a huge track at the time I was writing The Forbidden and always seemed to be on the radio everytime I got in the car! I always thought how apt the words were for Annie & Jack.

“If our love is tragedy why are you my remedy. If our love's insanity why are you my clarity”

The Forbidden – Alfie Malpas
This seems a bit strange to share, but, ultimately, it deserves first place in my list in terms of ‘the feels’. This is the track for the book trailer, and it was produced by my son J He’s a bit of a whizz when it comes to music, and there have been many tracks I’ve used in past books that Alfie has brought to me because he just knows I’ll love them. He has a knack of finding immense music by artists many haven’t heard of yet. But this track he actually produced from scratch himself. I went to him with a brief. I wanted intense, almost uncomfortable. He came back with this, and though it is massively far removed from what he usually produces, he done me so proud. It is perfect for The Forbidden.

James - Top Of The World
One of my all-time favourites. There’s a scene in The Forbidden when Annie is aimlessly wandering the streets of London. It’s a moment in which she is lost and trying to silently comprehend where she is at in her life and what she is doing. Top of The World couldn’t be more fitting for her frame of mind.

Alanis Morissette – Uninvited
Another old favourite. Simple, really. “You’re not allowed. You’re uninvited.” In my mind, that’s what Annie is saying to herself all the time about Jack. She’s angry at his persistence. Tries to tell herself to steer clear. But your heart doesn’t always listen to your head.


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