Joint Review: Bared to You by Sylvia Day

Publisher: Self-published
Where did you get the book: Purchased
Release date: Out now

Our journey began in fire…

Gideon Cross came into my life like lightning in the darkness—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..

*blurb taken from Goodreads*

*Review contains minor spoilers*

Lou: For the past month, I’ve been trying to ignore the book that I shall not name because I was so sick to death of hearing about it. But when Has told me about this book, and told me that it’s very similar to the book I shall not name, but better written with more fleshed out characters, I instantly became a sucker and read it.

Has: I first heard of this book on twitter with KatiD, and then Jane’s review on Dear Author made me check it out because I was curious — and also I did like the premise of Fifty Shades, although its execution and plot was a lot to be desired. I have to say that despite the similarities and there was definitely quite a few that raised my eyebrows, I really enjoyed the book because it what Fifty Shades should have been with better well drawn out characters.

Lou: I’ve never felt this way after reading a book before, but after finishing Bared to You, I felt jaded. There was nothing wrong with the writing — in fact, I would tell people to read this instead of 50 (ok, I said it). Yet all I could think of was oh, another fucked up hero in a dom/sub situation. Gideon is domineering, has major control issues, has family issues, and looks to have been abused in the past. Eva, the heroine, also has an abusive past and she worked hard to get where she is now. Yet I couldn’t enjoy Eva’s and Gideon’s romance — and I don’t think I could call it a romance. There is raw lust and fucking until they both grew to love one another, but the issues they experienced and had to deal with was way too heavy for me. Yet…you’re all going to kill me for saying this, but I think I got suckered in. It’s the familiar feeling of book crack!

Has: I totally agree with you about recommending this book instead of Fifty Shades trilogy because it was tightly plotted and better written, although I was slightly disconcerted with the similarities. However, both Gideon and Eva were totally different characters and I think Sylvia Day created a different approach and premise. And this also had the same CRACK factor. I disagree with you that this isn’t a romance. I think it is the beginning of one and it had a grittier and realistic edge to other erotic contemporaries, and I liked that aspect! But I did get tired with the pushing and pulling with Eva when issues arose and she would run away from it, it got a bit too forced angsty for me but the strength of the writing and characters really sucked me in.

Nonetheless it ended way too abruptly for me but I suspect that we will find out more about Gideon’s past and probably issues with Eva’s too. I think how this was incorporated into the main plot was seamless and I loved the subplot with Eva’s best friend and flatmate Cary and his own emotional issues and relationship with his boyfriend and how he kept messing that up. It added a real emotional connection and I could see early signs of the characters learning from their mistakes.

Lou: It would have been awesome to have a hero who was perhaps a cheerful dom! One who doesn’t have issues that would make you run far and fast away. And this is where I feel jaded because I sure hope that this sort of trope doesn’t become prevalent in the erotic romance genre. Nothing wrong with fucked up heroes, but don’t make them fucked up because it’s the ‘in thing’ to do at the moment.

Has: I think this formula is cracktastic with fucked-up heroes and heroines. They have always appealed to the reader, and it’s definitely one element that I enjoy. If you look at scarred or emotionally damaged characters who fall in love, they learn to live with their issues. I think that’s a good thing although I am a bit leery on the formula of the rich powerful hero and the naive heroine who falls under his spell, but that’s the whole Harlequin Presents trope, and I think combining this with hawt smexy action, it’s a powerful draw to romance readers. It helps to reignite tired tropes, and this is why books like Bared to You, and Fifty Shades trilogy is garnering a following.

But I would love to have an intense erotic romance without the scarred or emotionally damaged hero or heroine. I think using that as a focus and a basis to explain why the characters are into their kinks is getting way too cliched and I think it will be a good thing to just have a fun character who loves to get down and dirty in the bedroom but will make you laugh outside it.

Lou: There wasn’t a HEA at the end; more of a HFN. Gideon’s issues from his past were never revealed and Eva still has to deal with what happened in her past, and deal with her mother who suffers with neuroticism — and sadly aims it all towards her daughter by tracking her on her mobile phone. The secondary characters were well developed but they also had major issues, especially Cary her room mate. Despite my issues with this book, I’m going to give it a B because despite what I think of the trope of fucked up heroes, this book had great writing and compelling characters.

Has: I see this as a first part of the story/romance and agree its HFN. I’m not really keen on waiting for sequels, especially if the ending leaves you hanging — and I felt I was really getting into the story until it ended so abruptly. But this was a well written and sexually charged romance with characters who have real depth, although there was certain issues and like Lou said, I felt it was definitely similar to Fifty Shades Trilogy. If you are planning to read a book with this premise then I would highly recommend Bared to You, because it’s what Fifty Shades should have been.

I also give Bared to You a B.

Kindle eBook

Comments

  1. says

    You guys read it! Yay! I’ll completely agree, this book is crack-tastic. I’m glad you read it, even if it didn’t work for you on every level. :)

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  2. Heller says

    I loved this book. It was so well written and i just adored it but I agree that it ended abruptly, I wish that I read it closer to when the second book was coming out. The waiting kills me.

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  3. says

    I read the sample, and could not get past the similarity to 50SoG. There were near identical scenes with near identical dialog. Too much WTF.

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  4. says

    @Heller: The ending was quite sudden, so in a way I feel the same about waiting to read it closer to the second release.

    @Nicola O.: As far as I was aware when reading this, I didn’t see identical scenes or dialogue that was similar to 50 so I wouldn’t level that charge without showing proof. It definitely had a 50 Shades feel to it, but the character’s personalities, especially the heroine, and the actual writing was far from 50 as could be.

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  5. says

    @Kati:

    I’m very glad that I picked it up due to your rec along with Jane. It def was cracktastic!

    @Mandi:

    I know the feeling heh! :D

    @Heller:

    I heard October will be the month where we get Deeper into you – I hope it doesn’t end so abruptly but if a book leaves you wanting more – I think that’s a good sign!

    @Nicola O.:

    I have to say that I am very uncomfortable with this – I read both books and yes there was similarities but that can be said with a lot of things in other books which have similar premises. Like the clumsy first meet – but I’ve read that in a few other romance and non romance books. And Sylvia Day is a published author with a few books under her belt and I highly doubt she would do that especially with such well known series and most especially if it has the same premise.

    But considering that FSOG originally was a Twilight fanfic which was hardly changed when it was pulled to published and has similar lines from Twilight like Bella/Ana nicknaming their unborn baby. Biting of lips as well as other similar aspects but that is derivative?

    I also felt FSOG had similar scenes taken from Pretty Woman and Nine and Half Weeks as well as Twilight heh but that series has made a niche of itself and I am sure there will be other books because of its success which have similar plots/characters along with the BDSM factor. I just dont think its fair to call out authors stealing or lifting lines without proof. Being similar or cashing in on a popular premise sure but FSOG and Bared to You isn’t unique and shares a lot of elements with other books and even lines like HQN Presents. I think if a book can make tropes fresh or engaging – than it works but nothing is really ever unique it is a different take that draws the reader in.

    But I do think both FSOG and Bared to You although have their similarities, are both different books in terms of its writing/characterisation and plot/pacing.

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  6. says

    I haven’t read either of those books, but I REALLY enjoyed your joint review. It was quite fun to read and well written. This is the second review I have read about Bared to You and since it is crack-tastic, I might have to actually pick it up someday. Thanks muchly!

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  7. Lana says

    @Heller: That’s exactly what I said! I wish I had waited until it was closer to the release of the second book to read this. October can’t come quick enogh for me! :)

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