“I no longer want to live in fantasy.
I want the images in my mind to be real.
It’s why I’m in Vegas after all. Following my dreams.”
This was another phase of I-can’t-fall-asleep-and-it’s-3am-so-let’s-just-read, and thankfully I was so swept up into Thora’s journey that I barely noticed the hours fly by. It was magical. I didn’t even feel a hinge of regret upon finally waking up with minimal sleep.
And since this book started off so promising, here’s a list of things that I loved
(and later on hated) in Amour Amour:
- I knew this book was a keeper when Thora mentioned One Three Hill in the first chapter:
“He’s not the Clyde to my Bonnie or the Damon to my Elena. Shay is and will always be the Lucas to my Haley. A great, protective friend. Like that of One Tree Hill. Who will point out the storm ahead for me while I choose to relish in the sunshine.”
A girl after my own heart.
- However, I quickly realized that I hated her “friend” with a fiery passion. Shay was the definition of an awfully unsupportive friend. And I despised how he repeatedly teared down all of Thora’s hopes and dreams. So I was more than glad to see him gone.
- But on a positive note, the first two chapters of Amour Amour are completely stellar. They had me so hooked that I couldn’t let go until my eyes literally hurt from reading. Aka one of the best feelings.
- I also loved how Thora believed in herself. Like she said, “I am my biggest cheerleader. Always have been. Probably always will be.” It was inspiring having a main character saving herself in this one
(at least, in the first half).
- Thora’s meet-cute with Nikolai was anything but cute. It did, however, leave me on the edge of my seat, screaming, “Did she just do that?” “Did he just say that?” “HELP.” To say that it was unlike anything I’d read before would be a severe understatement. (Piercing her fucking nipple!!!) But it did its job in leaving a lasting impression on me with the addition of an intoxicating adrenaline rush.
“Guess what, myshka?” The glow necklace and strobe lights swath him in deep red.
“What…?” I hesitate.
He stands. Towers, really. And he tilts my chin up. With grays like gunmetal skies, bearing down from up above, he says, “I choose you.”
This was literally my facial expression upon meeting Nikolai Kotova:
I was daring myself to dislike this six-foot-five Russian athlete, but in my heart of hearts, I knew I was a goner for his tricks.
- Side note: the number of times this book mentioned Nikolai’s height is kind of funny. You could low-key make a drinking game out of it…
- I also found it both comical and cute how Thora liked reading paranormal romances. Especially when she recommend her favorite one to Nikolai’s sixteen-year-old sister, Katya. Which she ended up loving so much she almost missed practice:
“If you want to try out for Noctis, you need a full-in, full-out or a triple sault, and you’re not going to get there by sitting on your ass, reading…” He scrutinizes the paperback’s title and cover (legs intertwined on a blue silk sheet) with confusion and then gives me a weird look.
“It’s a good book,” I assure him. Though I start to wonder whether it’s age appropriate. I mean, I was reading explicit adult books at twelve—but I didn’t really understand some of the graphic sex scenes. Sixteen can’t be that bad.”
This had me cackling.
- And since we’re on the topic of his siblings, I have to say that I fucking loved the Kotovas. They are what made this book so much better. Especially in the end when Thora and Nikolai’s romance left me extremely underwhelmed. Real talk, those two failed at making me feel or experience any kind of emotions when they got together. There wasn’t anything special or exciting about them after that initial meeting at the club. So Nik and Thora just ended up being your average hetero romance between two white people. And all the fun I experienced when they’d just met and were circling around each other kind of disappeared.
- Thankfully, I still had the rest of the Kotova family for my entertainment: from gambling issues to competitiveness and alpha glaring contests to kleptomania, this book has it all. If I had to sum up this family in one word, I’d say they’re kind of a mess… the kind that reminded me of the Gallaghers in Shameless.Nikolai even had a similar scene as Fiona Gallagher about raising his brothers and sister:“You raised your siblings. You realize that, right?”
He lets out a short laugh. “Not well enough.”
I frown and shake my head. The waiter comes around and takes our orders. A salmon dish for me, and chicken for him.
“You’re wrong,” I tell him, the flames creating shadows over his strong features in the dark. He looks like a devil dressed in black at first sight, but coming to know him, he’s the god that everyone describes. “Katya is sweet and friendly.” I think about his brother, the one who offered me mints and stole Skittles for his little sister. “Luka is generous and kind.” And Timo—magnetic. There are no just words to define him. I smile, staring off. “And Timo is…captivating, more full of life than anyone I’ve ever met.”
I love siblings that take care of each other, so this made me as emotional as Fiona’s speech:
- And continuing about the tv show, I kept thinking of Debbie Gallagher when Katya was around. Since both were raised by older siblings, wanted to grow up faster and earn their independence. Oh, and just throwing this idea out there: I’d be over the moon excited if Katya got her own point of view in a later sequel.
- One last positive was that Amour Amour included LGBTQIA+ aspects: Thora’s friend, John Ruiz, gets together with one of the Kotova brothers, Timo. They’re one of the reasons why I want to continue on with the sequel.
“Don’t stare into his eyes!” John shouts to me. “Little parts of you will die inside!”
He almost lifts my spirits.
A smile stretches Timo’s beautiful features. “So you’re admitting to feeling something from me, John?!”
John glares. “Death. I feel death!”
Timo whistles, but I can’t hear the sound from the pop song. “That’s a strong feeling.”
And it’s also why I loved this tweet:
- But quickly circling back to the main Kotova brother: Nikolai. I mentioned before how I was a goner for him… but that was before he fully showed his overly protective, possessive and controlling side. It just left me with a sour taste in my mouth. Like, I physically cringe when I think back on his behavior.
- And since I’m on a roll about the negatives, Amour Amour was also so damn unnecessary looooong. As a result, my thoughts kept shifting when I wasn’t captivated by what was happening. Which ended up occurring quite often when the Kotova siblings weren’t in the picture.
- I started skimming around towards the last 100 or so pages. I just didn’t see what it had going on other than Nikolai’s obsession with Thora. So I ended up high-key despising that convenient ending for those two to be together.
For now, I’m hesitant on whether I should move on to Luka’s story in Infini, since I’m interested to see what surprises that one will hold (hopefully less of Nik and Thora). But I still can’t ignore how utterly disappointed I am with this book, especially after loving it so damn much for the first half… I guess only time will tell.