Book Review: Bared to You (Crossfire #1) by Sylvia Day

13572249Title: Bared to You (Crossfire #1)
Author: Sylvia Day
Genre: Adult Fiction, Erotic Romance
How I got it: I bought it
Click here to buy this book from Amazon

SYNOPSIS:
Gideon Cross came into my life like lightning in the darkness…

He was beautiful and brilliant, jagged and white-hot. I was drawn to him as I’d never been to anything or anyone in my life. I craved his touch like a drug, even knowing it would weaken me. I was flawed and damaged, and he opened those cracks in me so easily…

Gideon knew. He had demons of his own. And we would become the mirrors that reflected each other’s most private wounds…and desires.The bonds of his love transformed me, even as i prayed that the torment of our pasts didn’t tear us apart...


REVIEW:

Here’s what I don’t get: I don’t get why people go crazy over books like Fifty Shades of Grey or Beautiful Disaster when there’s something like Bared to You in existence. When it all comes down to it, these books tackle almost the same core premise: an irresistibly sexy male alpha with a tortured, damaged soul, and a woman who falls helplessly in-love with him and helps him fight against his demons.

What differs is the manner of execution. Day possesses the sophistication in writing that Maguire and James utterly lacked. She managed to tackle controversial issues such as BDSM, feminism, and the characters’ emotional/psychological struggles in ways that improved the story instead of corrupting it. Her characters were sexy as hell, and not once did they strike me as offensive. Imperfect, maybe, but then again in fiction, that kind of thing is highly encouraged.

You see, for me, there is a huge freaking difference between an offensive character and an imperfect one. Take for example Travis Maddox. I have no doubt in my mind that he was supposed to be seen as a flawed human being; I was supposed to sympathize with him; I should like him despite his imperfections. But no, I found his existence intolerable and reading about him for me was painful. I could not for the life of me, understand why someone would be willing to voluntarily put up with him and therefore, he is to me an offensive character, one that could suck out any enjoyment I’d feel for a book. Thankfully for me, Sylvia Day knows how to maneuver her way between the thin lines that separate offensive and imperfect. Gideon Cross is a highly flawed character; he is obsessive, he is possessive, he doesn’t take no for an answer, he can be pushy and manipulative, he’s domineering, and he can be a bit dense, too; qualities that are all unquestionably inherent in his brand of damaged alpha male, qualities that Day’s female character counter beautifully.

Most girls who read this book probably gushed all over the place about Gideon Cross, but I would like to take a different route and say that Eva Tramell is the one who made this book as perfect as it was. Eva Tramell is gold, ladies and gentlemen. She’s smart, she’s assertive, she’s fearless; she knows her power as a woman and she wields it gloriously, she may be a bit low on the self-esteem but you would never know it because she knows how to handle Gideon; Eva doesn’t just give in to Gideon’s every whim. She stands for her decisions and life choices when she knows she’s on the right, no matter how much he doesn’t want it. Not once did Eva let Gideon tell her what she can or cannot do with her life, what she can or cannot wear. She makes her decisions and stands for it, and Gideon, because he is enamored by Eva, learns to compromise. He had to suck it and deal. There was a balance of power between their characters, and it’s empowering and sexy and adorable all at the same time.

And in all fairness to Gideon Cross, despite being hot and all that jazz, he was never disrespectful of other women in this novel. There was no mention of him using them like condoms and treating them like trash. In fact, he actually cares deeply for the women in his life and treats them like actual people with feelings, even the bitchy one who said something mean to Eva, and that’s really good because if there is something I’ve already had enough of, it’s unnecessary slut-shaming in literature. Day was good to avoid that and that’s another plus point for her in my book. Gideon, damaged as he is, was a gentleman in all the ways that matter and not only towards the woman that he’s involved with but to others as well, and as a reader and a female myself, that actually means something relevant to me. (See also: Above paragraph concerning offensive vs. imperfect characters)

Day was also clever to put both her main characters on equal footing. Both Eva and Gideon have pasts that haunt them and all of their actions and reactions when it comes to their relationship are somehow affected by the skeletons in their closet. Eva is not the only one who is trying to free Gideon from the ghosts of his past; he’s doing the same for her, and it’s actually heart-warming to see them fumbling in the dark, unsure of how to chase away the shadows but trying just the same.

For those who are worried about the BDSM components of this novel, thou shall not worry for there is very small to none. There was a mention of dominant and submissive but there never were humiliating or gross practical applications of such. No nipple clamps or whips or shit like that, thank God. I don’t think I could survive another one. The sex was hot and damn fine, raw and emotional at times, which which suits my tastes perfectly well. I think for the most part, although there were arguable semblances between this book and Fifty Shades of Grey, the sex really drew the difference. No humiliating gratification here; both Eva and Gideon get their turn to be in control of the situation, which is preferable to me over the set-up of Anna and Christian.

Additionally, I enjoyed the character dynamics in this book; the friendships were flawed but functional, the families of both MCs were both complicated, etc, ect. The chemistry and sexual tension is set just right all throughout and the pacing is sensuous, leisurely, and perfect. The secondary characters were lovable as well; I especially liked Cary because I know someone just like him (sigh), Ireland because I love little sisters who look up to their big brothers (here’s me hoping she gets more of a storyline in the next book. I’m looking at you with Bambi eyes, Sylvia!) and Mark and Stephen, too. Even Magdalene and Corrine. The roles they play in Eva and Gideon’s life help shape their story, which as you all know is something I value in books; I don’t like wasted characters and Sylvia Day worked every one of them in this novel to their full potential.

Bared to You is an erotic romance that’s tastefully done, one that I can’t help but love. In a way it feels like one hell of a preparatory course for the momentum that is building for the next novel and I’m really excited about where things would go. Will BDSM remain as a dark undercurrent or will it play a more significant role in Eva and Gideon’s sex life? What is Christopher Vidal up to? What on earth is Cary doing with his life? Will we ever meet Nathan? Just how damaged is Gideon and what’s his true story? And more importantly, despite the horrors of their past, will Eva and Gideon be able to build and nurture a healthy relationship? I demand answers to this question and part of the reason why I’m withholding a coconut in my rating is because Bared to You, satisfying as it was, didn’t answer the questions I stated above.

With that said, I am giving this book four coconuts out of five, and I’m about to begin the next one so I’d really appreciate it if you pray for my sanity. Sylvia Day is a revelation to me and I can’t believe that I have Seven Years to Sin in my Kobo for ages now and I have yet to read it. That will change soon. This book is highly recommended for those of you who like erotic romances and interesting, multi-faceted characters. I am most definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the series. I’m really glad I decided to read this novel, and I guess that concludes what I feel is my longest review so far.

4-coconuts

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Book Review: Hussy by Selena Kitt

18394893_thumb.jpgTitle: Hussy
Author: Selena Kitt
Genre: Adult Fiction, Erotica
How I got it: Provided by the publisher as an ARC from Netgalley
Click here to buy this book from Amazon

SYNOPSIS:
The Eskimos may have over a hundred words for snow, but that doesn’t even come close to how many words the English language has for “slut”—and Lindsey has been called them all. “Hussy” is Lindsey’s personal favorite, given to her by her own grandmother, who likes to pat her on the hand and whisper, “Don’t worry, dear—a hussy is just a woman with the morals of a man.”

But Lindsey’s not ashamed of her reputation. She knows she’s earned it—and she’s proud of it. After all, you only live once, right? In fact, she goes out of her way to make it known to every guy she comes in contact with, she’s available for the taking—the rougher, the better.

That is until Lindsey meets Lieutenant Zachary Davis, a man who refuses to treat her like the trash she believes she really is.

But can Lindsey change her impulsive ways and learn to value herself the way the Zach does?


REVIEW:
Holly mother of Zeus. This book. I don’t even know how to review this.

I got this off of Netgalley as an advanced reading copy and to be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. I have never read a Selena Kitt book before, but I am no stranger to erotic literature, so I thought, why not? But this book, oh dear. This is worlds apart from all the other erotic novels I have ever read.

Selena Kitt doesn’t go round and round the bush. From the very beginning of this novella, we are already met by an inappropriately dressed Lindsey being reprimanded by her stepfather for her clothes, or lack thereof. Hussy is the most apt title for this book indeed, because Lindsey is just that. A freaking slut. She is so horny all the time and she relieves it by having sex with absolutely anyone, even her school principal. It was kind of disturbing to me, since I am not used to reading this kind of aggressive stuff that Kitt writes, but since I requested this book from the publisher, I figured I might as well stick to it till the end.

The romantic aspect of this book didn’t really leave me with an impression. Zach is a perfectly decent man, and maybe he felt like he should save Lindsey from herself which is a totally acceptable premise, but there just wasn’t enough emotional connection. I didn’t feel any chemistry beyond the physical kind, and though the sex is hot and all, there was just something I was looking fore that isn’t there.

This book is also filled with scenarios that are considered taboo like non-consensual sex, multiple sexual partners, gang bang, and some psuedo-incest… so yeah, if you’re sensitive about stuff like that, stay away from this book because this clearly isn’t right for you. Hussy is not for the faint-hearted and definitely not for conservative types. You have to be open-minded to even manage to get through the opening scene of this thing.

All in all, I would say that this book isn’t really bad, per se. The author can write, although she focuses too much (I think) on the sex scenes that she forgets to apply the same meticulous details on the ‘regular’ scenes of this book, which can be just as important if treated correctly. And before you ask, yes, Lindsey has a reason behind her slutty demeanor which may just be psychologically justifiable, although that doesn’t make it any easier for my brain to process.

I give this book 2.5 out of 5 coconuts. It was readable, enjoyable to an extent, but it has a very specific target audience. Did I like it? It was okay. It wasn’t mind-blowing or life-changing, it wasn’t all that compelling either, and it made me uncomfortable many, many times. But surprisingly, I liked Lindsey, hussy that she is. She managed to evoke some sympathy in me, and I read until I couldn’t take it anymore because of her.

Selena Kitt also has my respect for writing things only a few others would dare to, if any at all. I probably wouldn’t read any more of her books because I have a feeling that they might not be my prefered cup of tea. But still, A+ for contributing to literary diversity and for not being afraid to bend the rules of erotic fiction. This book was different, if that’s a positive or negative thing, the reader would have to decide. But I think we need books like this, no matter how small a portion of the reader population they appeal to, because like it or not, some people want these kinds of books, and it’s a very good thing that authors like Selena Kitt are here to give it to them.

2and-half-coconut

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Leave me with your thoughts in the comments section!

lp,m