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Friday, November 8, 2019

When is a Romance Not a Romance... app

They say that rules are meant to be broken, but…
In Romance, there seems to be one rule that is King… err, Queen.
A romance must have a HFN/HEA (Happy For Now/Happy Ever After)

So, I hope you’ll understand my frustration when I tell you a little story… I play a mobile game on my phone/ipad and yes… there are those ‘lovely’ commercials… They play over and over again… and in a moment of weakness (read – I needed to procrastinate) I downloaded an app called Chapters

Chapters is a choose-your-own storytelling app with some amazing graphics as you work your way through romance stories.  

I was actually really curious to see how this worked... I didn't know anything beyond the advertisements and they looked interesting so there I was starting my first story... and it was kind of exciting that they gave me a free pass for 24 hours to read the story... (more on this later).

The first thing you do is select a story and then the look of your character and the look of the hero. (From what I can see, the 'you' character is always female so if you are a male looking to choose your romance I do not know if you're going to find a book)

I did enjoy the selections of the characters to a point. They have various shades of skin that will cover most Caucasoid complexions and at least one Negroid complected character. [Defining based on the Caucasoid, Negroid, & Mongoloid concepts of anthropology - no judgments made on race here] But for those of us not in either group I do what I've always done in reading romance... I just imagine its me, right?

So in between doing what I SHOULD be doing, I'd go through a chapter. Which meant reading through interactions between characters and picking outfits for scenes. For the most part it's a fun experience, but there are a few things that did start to irritate me. 

I know this is one of those apps where it's going to be 'helpful' if you make an in-app purchase of something. In this case pink jewels. You can earn a couple here and there by finishing a chapter and sometimes you can earn one by making a particular choice from the list, but never enough to get more than one or two 'good' options. 

In this case, you have three options to select. The only FREE option is to "Shut him down coldly." 

Yes, every romance heroine shuts down the hero coldly... what? They don't? Yeah, I didn't think so either. 

If I want to "Shake X's hand and welcome him to town" that's 17 gems

Or, midlevel just "Be nice" it's 12 gems. 


Or, here's another option for the heroine's interaction with her hero:

a character from the town puts down the hero and his efforts to participate in a town event. 

I had two options - 

Free? I can Let her BULLY my hero.

17 Gems - I can stand up for him!

Wow, so if I don't pay to get some of those pink gems I basically being the kind of character I don't like in books... but I don't want to be a 'jerk' but I didn't want to spend the few gems I was earning through 'reading' on a simple decision. 

Prompting me to leave this story and try another.

And I was really enjoying it... a hero and heroine wounded by life.. finding friendship in each other. Soon, they are crossing the line and falling for each other and I was really rooting for them. 

Why not? It's a romance... they're going to end up together right?So, I like myself get suckered into 'buying' a nicer outfit in a scene... [In my defense, I wanted... err, my heroine wanted to look good for her man] But it was very short sighted of me, considering what happened at the end of the story. 

After the hero nearly broke her heart (dark night of the story) the heroine goes to the lake to lick her wounds and suddenly... cue adorbs dog owned by the hero shows up... then the hero makes this big gesture to show how much he loves me... err, HER. (nervous laughter)

And we get a choice! 

"I love you too. And i'm all yours." 
"I care about you. But I can't do it."

Okay so this is a romance right? And my heroine wants to tell him: YES! I'm yours! Let's live Happily Ever After!

But one of the choices COSTS 30 Gems 


Would you like to guess which one it is?

Yes... if you want to chose to be his - time to shell out the Gems!

So, hoping that there's a 'work around' (and because I didn't have 30 Gems - that darn dress) I clicked the bottom choice and say "I can't do it."

And he walks away... end of story.

What the ever lovin'... That's right... a Choose your Own Romance story ends with two choices... pay up or end up alone.

First - I get it. It's an app. They want to make money! But holy cow I waited through advert after advert in between chapters. 

Second - Remember I talked about the 24 Hour Pass they gave me... Now, I didn't go back to look, but does that mean that if I tried to read another (potentially frustrating) romance... I might have to pay for time or chapters? 

Does that mean if I paid for a story that I wouldn't have to make the horrible decision of having the hero leave me high and dry? Well if that's the thing I would have paid for the story instead of slowly working my way through chapter after chapter to end up sad and... kind of angry. 

A romance is supposed to end happy! Right? 

So my opinion of an app that's supposed to be about romance stories leaves me unable to end happy after jumping through all of their hoops.

If they had told me at the beginning that I would need to save 30 Gems to have my HEA, I would have done it... but I felt like they got me to the end and left me hanging. 

I hope that other people who use the app have a better experience and maybe I'm just one of those silver lining folks... but I wish I'd known that I wasn't guaranteed a HEA ending... 

And I was likely too Pollyanna-ish to consider that an HEA might not be an option in an app that says it's ROMANCE. 

I am NOT trying to dissuade you or anyone else from downloading and using the app, I'm just telling you about my experience. And hope that you'll remember to save those Gems!


  1. This reminds me of the "Choose Your Own Adventure" books that my sons read back in the day, only your choices did lead to a satisfying ending. You have more patience than I do. Once I hit the end and couldn't get a HEA, I'd have removed the app.

  2. I will NOT be trying this app. I agree with Judy--I'd have removed the app. Romance always has a HFN/HEA or it's not a romance. Cute post anyway, Reina.


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