Thursday, March 16, 2017

REVIEW: Thirty Nights (American Beauty 1) by Ani Keating

Is this?
Yes. Yes it is. 
I think?
OHHHHH. I thought I saw echoes of ....
Yep. I thought I saw some slight resemblance to Fifty Shades of Grey and I think it would be silly for me to ignore it or not acknowledge it at all so if you're reading this novel and you get that very subtle thing that sorta reminds you of that novel, I DID TOO. It's interesting because while I saw some suggestions of fanfiction-eque type nods to FSoG, I also saw that Ani Keating did many things to make this novel her own and by the end of the novel the characters and their problems were so very much of Keating's making that I realized that the last vestiges of FSoG had left my mind chapters and chapters earlier.  Without going into a long rambling monologue about similarities and differences, I guess what I'd tell readers is that if you want a copycat version of FSoG than this is NOT going to give you that because it really is very different. If you want some of the same structures in place -- rich hero with some control issues/smart, innocent heroine + a few secondary character and setting similarities--then you might really enjoy this novel. 
A few other things I'm thinking? 
 I'd also go into this with a mindset of treating it like a total commercial escapist fiction. I know readers with backgrounds in some of the situations that are referenced would find errors or problems with the way characters behave or their circumstances but this is one of those times that A) I'm in ignorant bliss and B) because I'm reading it as commercial escapism, I didn't find that I cared so much about whether everything that happened was 100% something that could. In other words, I bought what she was selling and I kept turning pages because I was very much interested in these characters. I wanted to see exactly what was going to happen with Elisa and Aiden. I wanted to know if or how she'd be allowed to stay in the United States. And frankly, I wanted to see how Keating would deviate and make this thing her own. The dedication at the beginning and Keating's repeated acknowledgement of people seeing to become American citizens struck a chord; Elisa and Javier's characters and their very different problems gave me many things to think about. I appreciated the humanity that Keating brought to this very real issue and while I have no knowledge about her experience or research into this, her ability to convey the challenges that many people in this country fear and face really made me so anxious and worried for the characters, but also for the all of the people who live this daily.
So now where am I in how I feel about this novel? Now I'm very curious about how she'll resolve things. 
This novel isn't perfect--I would like to see more depth, more backstory, more scenes with secondary characters, more things to push and pull and form these characters-- yet I couldn't put it down. And then when I finished, I went to every media source I could to find out more. I have no idea what the timeline is for the release of the next novel in this series but I hope that Ani Keating's ideas are flowing and her fingers are flying over her keyboard.

Thirty nights. Two hearts. One fate.
American Beauty, Book 1
After her parents’ tragic deaths, Elisa Snow wanted nothing more than to escape her past. Eighteen and alone, she fled her quaint English village and moved to the United States. A starving science student by day and an artist’s muse by night, Elisa has slowly built a new life. She never dreamed she would lose everything again.
She’s one week from graduation when her visa is unexpectedly denied. Given thirty days to leave the country, she must face the one thing she cannot survive again—saying goodbye and leaving her home. Yet within minutes of her world shattering, she meets a man with the power to piece it back together.
After finishing his tour of duty in Iraq, Aiden Hale traded battlefields for boardrooms, becoming one of the most successful venture capitalists in the nation. But all his wealth can’t buy him reprieve from the horrific memories of war. The only thing that gives him peace is a painting of Elisa.
Drawn together by their invisible wounds, they begin a passionate affair as they race against the clock to defy their pasts—and fight for their future.
Earlier versions of this book were posted on the author’s blog under the titles of The Master’s Muse and 30 Nights of Snow, using the pen name Ani Surnois, and has since been extensively edited.

Warning: Contains a blistering exploration of desire, sacrifice and redemption…and love’s power to equalize us in ways laws cannot.


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