Tagged: Iranian-American Fiction

Forbidden by Destiny

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Jenn revisits the Forbidden Love series by Negeen Papehn with book 2, Forbidden by Destiny - contemporary romance, interracial romance, Iranian-American fiction, OwnVoices, Diverse Fiction

Jenn revisits the Forbidden Love series by Negeen Papehn with book 2, Forbidden by Destiny

About the Book

Forbidden by Destiny, Negeen Paphen

Adult, Multicultural Romance , 282 Pages

Publisher City Owl Press (February 19, 2019)

Leyla had never known what it felt like to fall in love. Not until her best friend Sara broke Ben’s heart. 

After the devastating break up, Leyla reluctantly agreed to pick up Sara’s things from Ben’s home. Leyla thought she was being a good friend, but when she finds Ben completely shattered, her loyalties are tested. He had been her friend too. An afternoon of an innocent lunch and a walk on the beach to cheer him up turns into fireworks when Leyla can’t get Ben out of her head. 

Pushed to her limits, fighting for a love she’s always dreamed of, and against a demon she never knew existed, Leyla must ultimately make a choice. Her decision will come down to loyalty to her best friend, the expectations of her family, or the desires of her wanting heart. Is love worth taking the risk? 

About the Author

Negeen Papehn was born and raised in southern California, where she currently lives with her husband and two rambunctious boys. She wasn’t always a writer. A graduate of USC dental school, Negeen spends half of her week with patients and the other half in front of her laptop. In the little time she finds in between, she loves to play with her boys, go wine tasting with her friends, throw parties, and relax with her family.

Jenn’s Review

Negeen Papehn brings back the fantastic cast of her first book, Forbidden by Faith, to continue the story of Ben (the almost-hero of book 1) and Leyla, best friend of Sara, the heroine of book 1, in her second release, Forbidden by Destiny.

After Sara and Ben end their relationship for good, best friend Leyla is tasked with collecting Sara’s things from the apartment the couple was moving into. Leyla liked Ben – they were friends while he and Sara were dating, but she’s been friends with Sara since they were in diapers. So when Leyla realizes she’s attracted to her best friend’s ex, and that she’s deeply bothered by how Sara ended the relationship, Leyla finds herself in the worst possible situation – she’s in love with her best friend’s ex.

Ben understands Leyla’s predicament, but after two years of experience with Sara’s Iranian family, their culture, and their judgment based on his heritage, he’s not up for a repeat – and he pushes Leyla to stop hiding their love.

Turns out that doing so creates an avalanche of events that threaten to tear Leyla’s world apart, distancing her from friends, family, and ultimately, Ben himself. And just as she’s finding her feet again, her world is turned upside down by a single trauma that will alter her life forever.

I enjoyed book 1, and I was just tickled pink to see how much Ms. Papehn has grown as an author in book 2. The writing and plot are tighter. The narrative doesn’t ramble at all. The emotional impact of this second book is so much deeper, that I found myself crying on more than one occasion, and I hadn’t even gotten to the black moment!

Forbidden by Destiny can be read as a standalone, easily. Any necessary backstory is handled efficiently and doesn’t leave the reader lost. With that said, however, reading book 1, Forbidden by Faith, will deepen the emotional impact of Layla and Ben’s story. And… Spoiler alert: I am so happy that Ben got his happy ending – he’s the kind of guy that mother’s hope their daughters (and maybe sons) find to spend their lives with.

A full, easy four-star romance worth sitting down to.

Jenn revisits the Forbidden Love series by Negeen Papehn with book 2, Forbidden by Destiny - contemporary romance, interracial romance, Iranian-American fiction, OwnVoices, Diverse Fiction
Jenn revisits the Forbidden Love series by Negeen Papehn with book 2, Forbidden by Destiny

Buy the Book

 This book is available on Amazon in Kindle format here:

Other Books in the series:

Forbidden by Faith (Book 1 – Sara and Maziar’s story)

Forbidden by Time (Book 3 – Bita & Ramtin’s story)

Forbidden by Faith – Review

Thrice Read Books - Jenn reviews interfaith romance FORBIDDEN BY FAITH by Negeen Papehn - ownvoices, authors of color, multicultural, Iranian-American

About the Book

Forbidden by Faith,  Negeen Papehn, Forbidden Love Book 1

Adult, Multicultural Romance

City Owl Press (February 20, 2018)

Sara knows her life would be easier if she married a man of her faith, but when has love ever been easy?Raised by her immigrant Iranian parents, Sara has been taught that a good daughter makes decisions based on her family’s approval, and she’s spent most of her life in their good graces. Until she meets Maziar, and her world is turned upside down.
An instant electricity ignites between them, and it seems like fate when she discovers he’s also Iranian. Just as her mind begins to soar with the possibilities, he shatters her hopes.
Sara is Muslim. Maziar is Jewish. Will faith tear them apart?
Despite centuries of unrest behind them, Sara and Maziar embark on a forbidden love affair, attempting to navigate through cultural and religious prejudices.
Deep within the trenches of their battle, Sara finds herself more empowered and careless than ever before, but will her love and newfound life be worth the ultimate cost–her family?
“FORBIDDEN BY FAITH shows how family, love, and faith can collide, even in this modern age.” – Romance Author, A. K. Leigh ★★★★★ 

“Rich in culture, this first book in the Forbidden Love series immediately draws the reader in to this modern take on a familiar star-crossed lovers tale.  The chemistry between Sara and Mazair sparks white hot immediately and every interaction sizzles.” – InD’Tale Magazine 
Be sure to scroll up and hit that BUY NOW button to discover a world in which love faces the ultimate test.

About the Author

Negeen Papehn was born and raised in southern California, where she currently lives with her husband and two rambunctious boys. She wasn’t always a writer. A graduate of USC dental school, Negeen spends half of her week with patients and the other half in front of her laptop. In the little time she finds in between, she loves to play with her boys, go wine tasting with her friends, throw parties, and relax with her family.

Jenn’s Review

When this book slid into my scope for possible review, I got really excited. I’d just come from a conference where diversity in romance was a hot topic, and Forbidden by Faith was exactly what I was looking for to feature on our blog.

I wasn’t disappointed, though this book rides a fine line between women’s fiction and romance.

Sara is a grown woman, working through the rigors of post-graduate pharmacy school. While she was born in the US, her parents are Iranian immigrants with their own tragic love story. She’s been raised on the Iranian Muslim traditions of her parents and her mother’s extended family, though she doesn’t consider herself religious. When she meets Mazier at a party, she has just one question for him, “Are you Jewish or Muslim?”

Like Sara, Mazier was raised in the US by Iranian immigrant parents. He insists that his Jewish parents won’t be bothered by her family’s heritage. She opts to ignore the small warning voice in her head telling her that a relationship with Mazier is doomed at best. This turns out to be her biggest mistake, ignoring this voice…

Mazier’s family is unwelcoming to Sara, to say the least. Downright hostile would be more accurate; and ultimately, they cause enough friction between the star-crossed lovers that Sara can no longer take it, and she walks away.

Enter Ben, the calm, solid comfort of friendship from a fellow pharmacy student, just when Sara is trying hard to get over her broken heart – this section of the story is what leads me to place the whole book in the women’s fiction category. Ben and Sara have a relationship that evolves from friendship to lovers with a future, but that bond takes hit after hit when Mazier shows up unexpectedly from time to time, ripping open all the barely healed wounds in Sara’s heart.

Ultimately, tragedy strikes and Sara is forced to choose between the two men she loves and takes on a battle she expects she’ll never win.

Forbidden by Faith is a debut novel, and ultimately, that shows in the writing style – long descriptions, awkward dialogue… But in the end tally, this is a book worth reading, especially because of the intimate look inside other cultures, other religions, and the ugly face of deeply ingrained prejudice. This long, winding story, contains deep, well-developed characters living real-life struggles. I’m already looking forward to reading the next book this author puts out.

Thrice Read Books - Jenn reviews interfaith romance FORBIDDEN BY FAITH by Negeen Papehn - ownvoices, authors of color, multicultural, Iranian-American

Buy the Book

 This book is available from Amazon in Kindle, and paperback editions. [affiliate link]

Other Books in this series:

Forbidden by Destiny (Book 2 – Leyla & Ben’s story)

Forbidden by Time (Book 3 – Bita and Ramtin’s story)