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Liz Loves Books

I love to read and to talk about books. I review many of the books I read. I do not accept any author/publisher submissions for reviews. I do not read or review ARCs. I do not enter any giveaways or contests. I obtain the books I review by purchasing them at the same price they are offered to the general public at the time of purchase. My reviews are intended for the use of my fellow readers. They are not advertising or promotion. They are not beta reads or constructive criticism or editing or advice to the author. My only obligation to the author is to pay the price charged for the book at the time of purchase. My reviews are sometimes critical and I will not stop posting critical reviews just to spare delicate authors' feelings. I am happy to make new friends, but friend requests from authors or promoters who have few or no books (and/or friends) in common with me and write or promote categories I do not read (especially new adult) will be ignored. I used to read more self-published books. After recent meltdowns by self-published authors, I now only read self-published authors I've previously read or who have been recommended to me by fellow readers I trust. I also used to read young adult/new adult books but rarely do so now.

Bared to You (Crossfire, #1)

Bared to You (Crossfire, #1) - Sylvia Day I liked Bared to You. It was okay. I don't think it's great but it was an enjoyable enough read. There are a couple of things about it I liked a lot and a couple of things that I really didn't like. It had much of the feel of a category romance to me and my rating is higher than I initially thought it would be, because I decided to compare it to those rather than a more serious book. I tried also to keep in mind that the super-hype associated with this book was likely making me super critical of it and to cut it a bit of slack in the end.Among the things I liked: The author deals with a very serious subject honestly and without trivializing it. I felt like her portrayal of abuse survivors was accurate (even more so in light of the variety of behavior patterns she uses to portray them). I also enjoyed the intensity of the relationship between the hero and heroine, at least after the midway point when it became believable. I liked that some of the secondary characters' issues were as complex as those of the hero and heroine. I liked that the love scenes were hot (though, see below about their narration). I liked that a great deal of BDSM is included in such a lovely, subtle way, and that it helps show readers not familiar with BDSM in all its permutations that ropes, floggers, spanking and the like are not necessary for BDSM play. (This far, it has all been D/s and has been introduced gradually to both Eva and the reader.) I liked that several of the secondary characters were just nice, normal folks. That helped offset one of the things I really did not like.Moving on to that (the things I did not like): 1) The hero is completely unbelievable to me. He's not just gorgeous, he's so earth-stoppingly gorgeous that random strangers passing him on the street nearly have heart attacks when they set eyes on him. If this were merely the heroine's interpretation, I would waive it aside but third-parties mention it in dialogue and behave as if that really is that case. He's not just rich, he's a multi-billionaire. He's not just a multi-billionaire, he's apparently the most respected businessman in New York. Maybe in America. I was a little surprised Warren Buffett didn't call him up and ask advice. And he's allegedly 28. I don't understand why the author had to go so over the top with this, except that it appears to be all the rage in the market segment she seems to be after (the New Adult segment). Instead of making me think the hero was hot, it just made me laugh every time there was yet another description of his amazing hotness and amazing richness and amazing ownership of seemingly all of Manhattan. 2) Everyone else in the book is ridiculously pretty as well. And I do mean everyone. Even the waiters and cab drivers and random people walking down the street. You could make a pretty good drinking game based on this. (Everyone also lives in a penthouse or mansion and has a fabulous career and hangs out with celebrities and eats at all the best restaurants, but that is normal in Romancelandia.) Every conversation, meeting, workout, love scene, business dinner or charity ball is a huge, great big, enormous deal. It's just too much ... muchness, I guess. I felt like the author was trying to see just how overblown she could get with both characters and situations.3) The first person narration doesn't work correctly. I am not a reader who usually refuses to read fiction written in first-person narrative. I even like it sometimes and it didn't bother me that the author used it. However, authors who use first-person have to be extra careful about a couple of things and in my opinion Ms. Day wasn't careful enough to the point that it detracted quite a bit from my enjoyment of the book. The first problem is that the narrating character, Eva, occasionally speaks from another person's point of view, voicing their thoughts rather than her opinion of their words or behavior. (Example: "Stanton was aware that the requisite backdrop of New York skyline was behind him...") She doesn't do it often (possibly only in scenes involving Stanton), and it's a fine line and sometimes disputable, so I didn't rate down much based on this. The bigger problem is that Eva has two voices (and there is nothing to indicate that she is dissociating, speaking from two different points in time or that this is otherwise deliberate). Her first and primary voice is that of the 24 year old young woman she is supposed to be. (Example: "Well, duh. You're gorgeous, sexy, and very well-hung.") The secondary voice pops up occasionally during longer passages describing Gideon and always during love scenes and that secondary voice is that of an erotic romance novelist who is used to using or required by her publisher to use certain words and phrases when describing sex. (Example: "I sank lax into the mattress, sweaty and boneless and replete." Also "molten core." What 24 year old is thinking about her "molten core" during sex?!) This really bothered me. A lot. And the love scenes take up a large part of the story, so it also bothered me often.4) Someone felt the need to cause readers to associate this book with a certain Twilight fanfic that is selling like hotcakes. I suspect it was not the author and I am not criticizing Ms. Day specifically for this (though her choice of names for her hero and heroine is suspect at the very least). The cover art with the cufflinks is, in my opinion, a direct link between the two. And a link between a mostly well-written book with original characters and an originaly story and badly written Twilight fanfiction is unfortunate.In Conclusion:I liked Bared to You. I may even read the sequel. The hero's characterization, the over-the-top everything and the first-person narration problems were enough that I can't say I liked it a lot and are the reason I've rated it down by two stars. But I did like it and I'm glad I read it despite the hype. I wish the author would blow a raspberry at her publisher and write the love scenes from Eva's point of view. It would be a refreshing change. But I have no expectation that will happen in the sequel.