Crossfire – Sylvia Day

The Crossfire series by Sylvia Day is a fast-paced, well written, dramatic romance series set in modern day New York City. It will greatly appeal to fans of Fifty Shades, but is considerably more entertaining and better written in my opinion.

The heroine is named Eva and she was raised by her mother and a series of extremely wealthy stepfathers. Her best friend / roommate is Cary, a charming and rising male top-model who is currently dating both a girlfriend and a boyfriend. Eva has serious trust issues, and a tendency to run away from relationship problems and commitments because she was sexually abused for years as a child by an older step-brother.

The hero is billionaire businessman Gideon Cross. He can understand and relate to Eva’s problems because he has a few of his own, after witnessing his father’s suicide as a child, and then being abused by his therapist as a teen. Gideon is ruthless, dominant

Bared to you is the first story in the Crossfire series, followed by reflected in you, and entwined with you, captivated by you, and finally, one with you. This series has been completed and the other does not intend to write anymore about Gideon an hour according to her social media posts so this is a great series to check out if you are tired of constantly waiting for the next book.

Top-5-Moments-Crossfire-Series-470

This series has a lot of sex in it,  and a lot of drama between two people used to fucking up their relationships. But despite this, G & E have a soulmate type connection and their love for each other is never in doubt. Day’s writing reminded me of the tale of Odysseus in some ways because Ewa and Gideon have so many trials they must overcome in order to just have each other’s company. Friends, family, and numerous witchy exes all try to keep them apart.

One of the most important aspects of a series for me is the world that is created, and secondary characters are huge factor in this. I love that I quickly grew to care about many of the friends of Gideon and Eva. I cared for Steven and Mark and Trey and Cary and Megumi and Arash and all the rest. I actually hope that a couple of Gideon’s friends have their own books or series one day, particularly Arnoldo or Arash.

I think anyone who has read Crossfire or 50 Shades will inevitably make comparisons between the two series. Both feature a character or two who has been abused as a youth in a sexual manner. Both male heroes are a rich businessmen who are aloof, and difficult to emotionally connect to, though they are highly sexual in nature as well. The heroines are athletics built, smart and educated, new graduates starting out their careers in the field of their choice. But this is where the comparison ends.

Eva is not the wishy-washy, virgin lead that you find in Anastasia. Eva loves sex just as much as Gideon and initiated it as often. The romantic scenes in the Crossfire series are not as kinky. There are no whips, no red room of pain, no sexual contacts. But there is a lot more sex to go with your story. Something I also loved about Eva and Gideon is that there issues don’t magically work themselves out. They go to counselling individually and as a couple because they know they have issues to work through and care enough to do the work so that they will have a stable relationship that will last.

The last book in the series is one with you. I thought that the author was working on another novel until I finished reading it so the series end came as a bit of a surprise to me, even though I mostly feel like it’s a timely end. I feel like today has finished on a strong note and there wasn’t much more to say. That being said, in the last third of this book there is a surprise twist that is very sad and it left me bawling my eyes out into my pillow. I didn’t feel like there was enough time for the reader or the main characters to recover from this plot twist and get over it. At the end of the day this is a romance novel and I like my romances to and happily. I thought this plot twist would have been more appropriate at the beginning of the book or in the previous one. I don’t resent that it happened, but I don’t think it was handled well.

Otherwise, I highly recommend this novel and the whole series to anyone who likes romance. It’s less kinky than my usual fare but still a fantastic read with lots of sex. 

* * * * * 

Xx

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Craving Absolution by Nicole Jacquelyn – a review

Nicole Jacquelyn writes an outlaw MC series that is full of strong-willed, dominant bikers with out-spoken alpha females at their sides.

The third book in the series is Craving Absolution. It features Casper, who was introduced in book 1 as a prospect to the Aces MC, and is now a full-patch member. His heroine is Farrah Miller, the main supporting character in book two and the daughter of the Club President.

craving absolution

Book Blurb:

Farrah Miller and Cody “Casper” Butler have a longstanding relationship that both refuse to discuss.

It isn’t romantic.

It may not even be classified as a friendship.

Casper’s been saving Farrah from herself for longer than he’d care to admit, watching silently as she drowned herself in alcohol. Then, when she finally got her act together, he left. He told himself he was giving her time to sort herself out. He tried to give her space.

But getting shot in the chest can change a man’s perspective, and Casper’s done waiting.

When he shows up on her doorstep one night, everything changes.

He’s the man who’s seen her at her very worst.

She’s his weakness.

He runs when things get hard.

She never lets anyone see below the surface and is terrified of being abandoned.

He knows it’s a long shot, that there’s a good chance she’ll never drop her guard for him—but he has to try. Because a life with Farrah is exactly what he wants—even if he has to fight her for it.

—                   —                    —

I really liked Farrah’s character, she was my favourite part of this book. She is a strong chick and is an example of how someone who suffers from panic attacks and anxiety and is completely unsure of herself in relationships, can still be strong and opinionated. Having panic attacks doesn’t make her weak, and it isn’t a character flaw.

IMHO, Jacquelyn is excellent at adding depth and development to her characters, allowing them to change and mature through the events of the story. Often, this is a recurring failure in romance novels so character growth is one of my favourite aspects of the Aces MC books.

Farrah moves on from barely acknowledging her father’s existence after meeting him in book 2, to reaching out to him and Vera (her stepmother), trying to establish some sort of emotional connection to them and including them in her family. She also embraces a maternal, nurturing role as she takes on being a parent to two children, despite never having a childhood herself and certainly lacking responsible parents growing up.

Although romance novels typically feature a couple as dual main characters, I definitely felt that this one was ‘the Farrah story’. The reader spends most of the pages in her perspective and Casper has little character development in comparison to the vast amount that Farrah experiences. Casper is more the companion piece to her character and a way to move the plot forward. I would have liked to see him grow up a little more and be more in control of himself and his destiny.

I really liked this installment in the series and cannot wait to read the next.

* * * *

xx

Craving Redemption by Nicole Jacquelyn – a review

Nicole Jacquelyn writes an outlaw MC series that is full of strong-willed, dominant bikers with out-spoken alpha females at their sides.

The second book in the series is Craving Redemption.

Craving Redemption

Book Blurb:

Asa and Callie had nothing in common. He was an Ace, raised in the club and loyal to it above all else. She was a high school student with braces on her teeth and a narrow view of the world.

They should have never crossed paths.

But when Callie decides to defy her parents, and Asa goes on an errand for the club, their lives collide. He saves her, and she mesmerizes him.

They part believing they’ll never see each other again.
Neither could have predicted the chain of events they’d put in motion.

Now the two have to navigate the dark waters of a relationship built on tragedy and need without drowning in guilt for things outside their control.

How do you love someone when the worst decision of your life was the reason you met them?

—                  —                     —

Craving Redemption is a solid sequel to Craving Constellations, but it wasn’t quite a good in my opinion. I just didn’t buy it.

For most of the book, the characters are not physically together. Either they are living in different states, or Asa aka ‘Grease’ is in prison. Despite this, Callie wasn’t able to overcome the psychological trauma of her past until the end of the book, when she undergoes serious therapy following a second traumatic event that triggers a mental breakdown.

The reader doesn’t get to experience her resolving many of the issues in her behaviour because the book glosses over it to the end, where she is “better” and Callie and Grease have their happy reunion. It seems like she has all this time apart from him to learn to be independent and know her own mind and in many ways she does, but she didn’t take that emotional step to independence and healing which was really the point of her journey in the book.

The second aspect that I don’t quite buy is why Grease feels this commitment and sense of duty towards Callie. He rescues her from a dangerous situation and delivers her safely home, even though he wasn’t the one to endanger her in the first place. When his rescue marks her as a target, because the bad guys think she belongs to the club, he again swoops in and rescues her and sets her up in a new state, with an apartment in his name that he pays for, basically setting up her life and getting her enrolled in the new high school.

I don’t understand the sense of responsibility that he feels towards her. He is a big bad, weapon-dealing, drug-running, murdering outlaw biker bad boy, who is going way out of his way to financially support and care for an extremely traumatized teenager, who is agoraphobic at first. I don’t believe that he feels sexual attraction to her at this point in the story, when he is taking care of her. It would be really messed up if he was because her traumatized brain is so devastated that she is fragile, and child-like in the beginning. They don’t have any established relationship on which these interactions are based …

So why is he helping her, besides a romantic attraction (for when she has ‘healed’) or a sense of duty and responsibility, neither of which I accept.

Despite these failures (in my opinion), the story was still enjoyable and I recommend it to you, because it is part of a great series which is better than just this one book. I still rate it four stars.

* * * *

xx

A Warm Hug

I’ve touched upon the idea of a “book family” or “book friend” in an earlier blog post, but I want to write about it again. If you’ve never heard of this term, it’s the same idea as having a book boyfriend.

I have to deal with panic attacks so when I need a breather from life I escape into one of my favourite series, like the Shadowlands. It feels comforting and safe, like friends enveloping me in a warm hug, and since the vast majority of romance novels always have a great HEA (happily ever after), I don’t worry when bad things are happening to the characters. Most of the time, these are books that I have read so many times, I can pick it up and flip to any page (or % on kindle) and know which scenes have already happened and where I am in the book.

Right now, the best books for me to go to when my anxiety is too close are the Sea Haven series by Christine Feehan, Shadowlands by Cherise Sinclair, and Exquisite series or Submissive’s Wish series by Ann Mayburn. That last author writes darker material though so I have to be careful which scenes I choose, or I start with one of the other authors and then move on to Ann Mayburn to “ease” myself back into the big, bad world.

So to my favourite authors, thanks for being there for me at times when real-life loved ones can’t. Thank for helping me to relax and turn my day around, maybe get something else done in the day. And if nothing else, it helps me calm down for awhile instead of letting my brain whirl itself into a frenzied and desperate state.

If you have a really feel good romance series that helps you feel better from some type of upset, please share! Always happy to find something new to help and maybe some of mine will work for you as well.

xx