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REVIEW: Bared to You by Sylvia Day

Dear Ms. Day,

After listening to the latest DBSA podcast, in which Jane and Sarah interviewed you as well as your Berkley editor and publicist, I decided to try your immensely popular erotic romance, Bared to You. Jane had recommended the book both here and in the podcast, and Bared to You sounded like it had the whole package – a sexy, magnetic hero, a likeable heroine, an interesting cast of side characters and lots of hot sex.

BaredtoYou Bared to You is narrated in first person by Eva Tramell, a recent graduate who has just moved to New York to begin work as an assistant to an ad agency executive. Along for the ride with Eva is her best friend and roommate Cary, who is gorgeous, sweet, and bisexual.

Eva and Cary live in a Manhattan apartment courtesy of Eva’s wealthy stepfather. It becomes clear early in the book that Eva suffered a trauma as a child and her mother is overprotective as a result. Eva’s mother and stepdad (a high powered millionaire and corporate head honcho) do all they can to buffer Eva from any sign of harm, which leaves Eva feeling slightly suffocated.

The weekend before she is to start work, Eva goes to the Crossfire building, where she will be working, in order to familiarize herself with it. She loses her balance while helping another woman retrieve change she dropped, and a hot, charismatic man comes to her aid.

The man, Eva learns later, is Gideon Cross, the millionaire who owns not only the Crossfire building but other properties around the city as well. Gideon is as unwittingly hot for Eva as she is for him, and he pursues her relentlessly. But although part of Eva would love nothing more than to tumble between the sheets with Gideon and f–k his brains out, she is put off by the businesslike way Gideon tries to bring this outcome about.

Gideon informs Eva flat out that he keeps his friendships separate from his sex life. While Eva is not seeking marriage and has no problem with a more casual friends-with-benefits arrangement, she does not want Gideon to take possession of her in the same cold manner that he would a corporate acquisition.

Ava and Gideon therefore have to negotiate their relationship, which is complicated by their childhood baggage. Both are scarred by a painful past, but whereas that experience has made Eva vulnerable and in need of affection, Gideon’s trauma has made him in need of cool control.

Many of the reviews of Bared to You have discussed the book in comparison to Fifty Shades of Grey. Certainly the Berkley cover of Bared to You invites such comparisons, but since I have not read Fifty, I don’t know what the similarities and differences between the two books are and can only discuss Bared to You on the basis of its own merits.

There were things I liked about Bared to You, and they were almost, but not quite, enough to keep me reading past the (according to my kindle) 56% mark. One of them was the Manhattan setting. New York is quite possibly my favorite city in the United States and I am not sure why so few romances make use of it as a backdrop. The world of New York executives and socialites comes alive in Bared to You and makes the story more engaging.

But even more than I liked the setting, I liked Eva, who was smart, sweet, and above all, honest with herself. Although it irritated me that, in typical romance heroine fashion, she was completely unaware of her beauty, I couldn’t hold it against her because she was so easy to relate to.

Eva knows she likes sex and that Gideon attracts her, but she’s also conscious of her emotional issues. As someone said in the DBSA podcast interview, she is self-aware. Not only that, her characterization strikes a delicate balance between that self-awareness and her human foibles and errors. I loved that she understood herself so well and viewed the therapy that had gotten her to where she was as part of a healthy healing process.

So, if I liked Eva so much, why did I put the book down unfinished? The answer lies in her counterpart, Gideon. Gideon was a stretch in multiple ways. First, we are asked to believe that at only twenty-eight years of age, he has acquired wealth and CEO status. As cbackson commented during the discussion that followed Jane’s review, that is a lot to swallow.

Not only that, but it seems every time Eva steps into a building, it turns out Gideon owns it. Her workplace, the Crossfire building, is owned by Gideon. Eva and Cary go clubbing, and learn that Gideon not only owns the club they end up in, but also the building in which their apartment is located. Gideon takes Eva to work out at his gym, CrossTrainer – of course, it too is owned by Gideon’s company, Cross Industries. A hot, sweaty, and horny Gideon and Eva leave the gym and find a room at the hotel next door – turns out the hotel, too, is owned by Gideon.

After a while my credulity was stretched too thin, not just because of Gideon’s youth and wealth, but also because of the way Gideon’s charisma and looks were referenced over and over again. Every woman and more than one man takes note of Gideon’s hotness. Eva marvels at his magnetism almost every time we see Gideon through her eyes, which is pretty often.

Because the book was narrated in first person, after a while I wanted to tell her, “I get it Eva, he’s hot, and you’re hot for him. There’s no need to keep saying it at every turn.”

Gideon is also amazing in bed, both in his unusual stamina and in his ability to give Eva multiple orgasms. I consider myself an adventurous reader, and have enjoyed kinkier books than the first 56% of Bared to You, so I don’t think I’m being prudish when I say that after a while I tired of reading about Eva’s orgasms, Gideon’s orgasms, and the mindblowing nature of their rolls in the hay.

Their minds might have been blown, but mine was not. The sex felt repetitive to me. I had to backtrack and reread some of the sex scenes after I realized I had skimmed them from boredom the first time.

Despite all my disbelief where Gideon is concerned, I think I could have gone along with and enjoyed the fantasy his character presented had Gideon possessed an iota of charm. Instead, his controlling tendencies (investigating Eva, insisting she call him or talk to him, leaving multiple messages on her phone) repelled me, and I was equally put off by the way he blew hot and cold with Eva.

One minute Gideon would call Eva “angel”, the next he’d be cold or insensitive. I came to the conclusion that Gideon was a head case and one I would feel sorry for were it not for all the wealth, supposed charisma, and beautiful women he had treated like business deals in the past. As it was, I just wanted to say, “You can do better Eva. Take a closer look at your roommate, Cary.”

It didn’t help Gideon’s lack of appeal that the sweet, supportive, yet messed up Cary interested me more. I would have been on board with this book had Eva dropped Gideon and ordered a candlelight dinner for the roommate she had heretofore taken for granted. All the makings for a great friends-to-lovers romance were there.

(At one point in the book, an insecure Eva wonders why Gideon wants her and thinks it’s mostly for sex. Cary reassures Eva that Gideon wants her for her intelligent mind and caring heart. One of the problems with this statement is that it’s something I’m told [through Cary] but what I’ve been shown contradicts it. Gideon put the moves on Eva immediately after the first time he saw her, before he’d had a glimpse of her mind or her heart. It is Cary who knows how sweet and smart she is.)

So in the end, I still really, really like Eva. She’s the kind of person who deserves nothing but good things, but she gets Gideon instead. Part of me would like to keep reading, because I’m curious about how the revelations about Eva’s trauma are going to play out. But I’m afraid that if I keep going, I’ll have to read through more descriptions of Gideon’s gorgeous looks, Gideon’s charisma, Gideon’s control freak tendencies, Gideon’s neediness, Gideon’s buildings, Gideon’s orgasms – you get the idea.

I could not be less interested in Gideon, and so, as much as I like Eva, I doubt I’ll be reading further, at least not without skimming. DNF.

Sincerely,

Janine

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Janine Ballard loves well-paced, character driven novels in historical romance, fantasy, YA, and the occasional outlier genre. Recent examples include novels by Katherine Addison, Meljean Brook, Kristin Cashore, Cecilia Grant, Rachel Hartman, Ann Leckie, Jeannie Lin, Rose Lerner, Courtney Milan, Miranda Neville, and Nalini Singh. Janine also writes fiction. Her critique partners are Sherry Thomas, Meredith Duran and Bettie Sharpe. Her erotic short story, “Kiss of Life,” appears in the Berkley anthology AGONY/ECSTASY under the pen name Lily Daniels. You can email Janine at janineballard at gmail dot com or find her on Twitter @janine_ballard.

103 Comments

  1. RebeccaJ
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 12:18:33

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who couldn’t finish this book. It was so hyped by people on Amazon and I could barely get through three chapters.

  2. RebeccaJ
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 12:19:23

    BTW, I love how they changed the cover now to look more like 50 Shades. Talk about the power of suggestion.

  3. Kati
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 12:24:13

    Count me as one who adores this book. Probably because I DID read 50 Shades, all the way through, and this book shines in comparison. I really loved the moodiness of it, and thought Eva was interesting in that she’s a damaged soul due to her past. Janine, if you’d read farther in the book, the bloom might have gone off Cary some for you. It did for me. I think it’s a terrific *next* book for people jonesing for more books like 50 Shades. This one is far better written and the heroine is more interesting, I think.

    On top of that, I think Sylvia Day is the bomb, so I’m just delighted to see her success.

  4. Heidi Belleau
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 12:44:14

    Sounds like a complete lost opportunity! I’d have bought this immediately if it had turned out the actual love story of the book was between her and her roommate. Her and some controlling rich dude? Ugh, no thanks, if I want a controlling creep I’ll go back to one of my exes.

  5. Janine
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 13:21:32

    @RebeccaJ: It’s good to have company.

    @Kati: As I said I haven’t read 50 Shades. It is hard to find reviews of Bared to You that don’t make a comparison to 50, so I thought the perspective of someone who hadn’t read E.L. James might be worth offering.

    I liked Eva too, but what did you think of Gideon? I gather you liked him better than I did?

    @Heidi Belleau:

    if I want a controlling creep I’ll go back to one of my exes.

    LOL. I would so love to read a romance about characters like Eva and Cary (as they were in the first 56% of Bared to You anyway — I’ll take KatiD’s word for it that Cary changes for the worse) — two young housemates in NYC who both have issues and who support each other through ups and downs. The friends to lovers trope is super romantic to me. Bonus points if the hero is bisexual — I haven’t seen that in a contemporary M/F romance before.

  6. Joy
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 13:43:26

    @Janine: “Bonus points if the hero is bisexual — I haven’t seen that in a contemporary M/F romance before”

    Try Deidre Knight’s wonderful _Butterfly Tattoo_. It’s not exactly an erotic romance, and it’s not about NYC housemates, but it’s a very interesting one.

  7. Janine
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 13:48:56

    @Joy: I don’t know how Butterfly Tattoo slipped my mind! I did read it and I enjoyed it too.

  8. Tina
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 14:00:52

    The controlling billionaire has long been a staple in romances but thanks to 50 Shades it seems to have gone into over-drive. Frankly I have gotten to the point if the word ‘billionaire’ is even mentioned in relation to a book I tend to give it a pass.

    Janine, my feelings on Bared To You match yours to a T! I loved Eva (at first….), I LOVED the NYC setting. This was the first thing that stood out as I was reading the book. It felt alive and vibrant as a character and she did a great job of incorporating aspects of NYC’s diversity in supporting characters that are always lacking in most books. I also thought Gideon was the liability in the story. I got that she was making him tortured but instead he came off as weird. The only thing I disagree a bit is with Cary. I didn’t like him as much as you did.

    I also finally started to go off Eva in a big way about 50% of the book because all my earlier good will toward her had evaporated. Gone was the smart, scrappy chick I loved to be replaced by a tortured teen who was always running away and obsessing over how much Gideon really wanted her. Bleh.

    I have a soft spot for Sylvia Day. Her ‘The Stranger I Married’ was the very first romantica book I’d ever read and I went on to enjoy a lot more of her Brava published romantica novels. Just a few weeks before I’d read BTY, I’d read her book Seven Years to Sin and that was a nearly a five star book for me. So while I am not a fan of BTY and do not plan to read the follow-ups, I definitely plan to continue to read her historicals.

  9. Kati
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 14:04:24

    @Janine: I quite liked Gideon, again, I’ve read 50 Shades, so he shines in comparison to Christian Grey, IMHO. But then again, I’m a sucker for a *serious* alphahole – the holey-er the better. :)

  10. Lorenda Christensen
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 14:10:07

    How funny. I didn’t mind Gideon at all – it was Eva who got on my nerves. And maybe Gideon wasn’t annoying because I was reading about him through Eva’s eyes, so anything over the top I attributed to her character.

    There were a couple of places where Gideon would say “How did I f*ck up this time?” and I would smile, because that was the same question I wanted to ask. It seemed like the irritating things he did were glossed over (i.e. his call-me, call-me thing bothered Eva, but I expected a MUCH bigger reaction from her given she had already gone through this with her mother, and her mom actually had a good reason.)

    Eva came across to me as very wishy-washy and unable to answer the basic question of “what do you want?”

  11. Janine
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 14:11:20

    @Tina:

    Janine, my feelings on Bared To You match yours to a T! I loved Eva (at first….), I LOVED the NYC setting. This was the first thing that stood out as I was reading the book. It felt alive and vibrant as a character and she did a great job of incorporating aspects of NYC’s diversity in supporting characters that are always lacking in most books. I also thought Gideon was the liability in the story. I got that she was making him tortured but instead he came off as weird.

    Yup, yup, yup. I nodded along with all of the above. And I agree that Eva had started getting less appealing by the time I quit. I don’t think Gideon had a positive effect on her. The beginning was the best part of the book.

    Thanks for the Seven Years to Sin rec.

  12. Anne
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 14:15:47

    Isn’t that the result of the usual romance alphamale trope paired with the rake in modern times and a whiff of housewifey kink? I usually have big trouble seeing something even faintly erotic or maybe just touching in the set up.

  13. Janine
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 14:20:59

    @Anne: Not sure what you mean by “houswifey kink.’” Gideon is supposed to be alpha and a rake, but as Tina said, he seems weird — too much so IMO to so easily attract women who let him treat them like all they’re there for is sex. Maybe the money explains why they’d be drawn to him, but that part of his character felt like overkill to me and therefore not believable.

  14. Anne
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 14:29:25

    I mean that fantasy-style kinkiness that already E.L. James invested into her book, only slightly more covert in this instance (overcontrolling, stalking, domineering, etc,). It seems to have become (unfortunately) a staple feature lately. I found it unbearable already in 50 Shades, I contemplated buying this one on Amazon reviews, but what you describe obviously is the same tired old nonsense. The sole reason had been the promise of erotic sex scenes, but those seem to be rarer than hen’s teeth.

  15. Janine
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 14:38:53

    @Anne: I see. When I stopped reading, I had not reached the library scene that was described as “infamous” in the podcast. I don’t know if I would describe the sex scenes I read as kinky — there’s a BJ in Gideon’s office and some boss/secretary roleplay, does that count?

  16. Anne
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 14:58:31

    I didn’t mean the sex acts, I meant the general controlling behaviour, that’s what lately goes by kinky/dominant/acceptable.

  17. Robin
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 15:01:13

    I actually resisted reading 50 Shades for a long time because of its fanfic origins and read Bared to You first. And I absolutely hated it, for many of the same reasons you cited. The descriptions of NY were the only things that felt geniune, while Eva and Gideon felt like recycled cardboard. I somewhat liked Eva at first, but by the end I didn’t give a rip about either of them. I had to start skimming to actually make it to the end, and when I got there, even though I knew it was the first in a trilogy, it was still a shock to realize their story was going to be dragged out over two more books (which I obviously won’t be reading).

    Then I finally broke down and read 50 Shades, both to see how it stacked up against Bared and because it’s hard to dialogue with any authority about a series one hasn’t read. I had to do a fair bit of skimming because it was so repetitive, but I liked the characters enough to finish both the book and the series. Which makes it hands-down the winner between the two series, at least for me.

  18. Sandra
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 15:03:05

    @Janine: I don’t know if I would describe the sex scenes I read as kinky — there’s a BJ in Gideon’s office and some boss/secretary roleplay, does that count?

    They might have been kinky 40 years ago. Nowadays that seems rather tame….

    “Gideon was a stretch in multiple ways. First, we are asked to believe that at only twenty-eight years of age, he has acquired wealth and CEO status. As cbackson commented during the discussion that followed Jane’s review, that is a lot to swallow.”

    I take it Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t count?

  19. jmc
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 15:03:53

    I did not read 50 Shades but did read Bared to You, so I can’t compare the two. I managed to finish, despite thinking both MCs were whining twats who both needed to grow up. Readers are told that she’s smart, etc., but shown that she’s TSTL; Gideon pinged my creep-o-meter from the get go.

    In terms of sex, BtY didn’t strick me as particularly kinky, although the repetitive descriptions of the size of Gideon’s penis and the pounding sex were pretty unimaginative and boring.

    The first 20-50 pages were the best part of the book, and persuaded me to buy a copy, but ultimately they do not (IMO) reflect the pedestrian (at best) nature of the book as a whole.

  20. cleo
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 15:18:55

    @Heidi Belleau: That’s exactly what I thought at the beginning of the review – I hope she gets together with her roommate.

    ETA – oh, wait, I read the rest of the comments and Cary’s a guy. Not as interested in that scenario coming true, though it’s always nice to see bi char actually get to have a romance.

  21. Janine
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 15:24:18

    @Kati: I didn’t see Gideon as a serious alphole. His life was a caricature and as I was just saying elsewhere, he had the emotional maturity of a mollusk, so it was hard for me to view him as a serious anything.

    @Lorenda Christensen:

    And maybe Gideon wasn’t annoying because I was reading about him through Eva’s eyes, so anything over the top I attributed to her character.

    Some OTT things, like his hotness, I could attribute to Eva’s character, but others, like that Gideon owns every building in the story, cannot be attributed to Eva.

    It is interesting that you liked Gideon better though. I was tired of him by the halfway mark. Eva did waffle, but given the way Gideon was, I could understand why she kept pulling away. What I didn’t understand was why she kept going back to him.

    @Anne: Thanks, I understand now.

    @Robin: I’m still on the fence about reading Fifty. From the reviews I’ve read, it doesn’t sound like my cuppa.

    @Sandra:I forgot, they also had sex in a limo.

    Zuckerberg is the exception that proves the rule. Also, he actually invented something new that took off. Gideon wasn’t in high tech nor did he invent anything, but somehow, by 28, he’d managed to acquire all the relevant Manhattan real estate.

  22. Robin/Janet
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 16:11:09

    Hmm, I haven’t read this yet, but the review and comments gave me shades of Eve and Roarke, too, especially Naked in Death. NYC setting; billionaire hero who owns “all the relevant real estate,” is massively controlling, and pursues heroine with relentless ardor; and a heroine who was abused in the past and still has emotional trauma. Although one of the interesting things about the In Death series is the way Roberts kind of inverts the gender stereotypes for h&h – Eve’s career takes precedence in her life and the couple’s schedule, and Roarke kind of becomes her sidekick/wife/nurturer.

    Despite my burnout from all the 50 talk, I’m curious about this book. Not only for its overlap, but also because some of my friends have really liked it.

  23. Janine
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 16:21:42

    @Robin/Janet: Are you going to read it? I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

    It’s been so many years since I read Naked in Death that I’d have a hard time comparing them. Eva cares about her career too — it was one of the things I really liked about her.

  24. Ducky
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 16:32:10

    I read this a while ago because it was mentioned and/or recced here before. I did finish it but won’t be reading on. I found both hero and heroine tedious and their relationship struggles repetitive and eyeroll-inducing. Their sex wasn’t that sexy either. I also was more interested in the troubled Cary than in the main characters.

    I will say that I read the first 50 Shades book and hated it – obviously I am not the right reader for 50 Shades and its ilk.

  25. cbackson
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 16:38:28

    Aw, I’ve never gotten namechecked in a review before *blushes*.

    I did finish the book, and I enjoyed it fairly well, although it stands out less for me with some distance. I’m not sure I’ll read the sequel – the whiplash effect of their emotional drama started to irritate me. And I don’t like the direction Day seems to want to take their sexual relationship – I don’t buy the dynamic. And as you note, the twentysomething billionaire (REAL ESTATE billionaire. Really? Post-2008?) setup is so unrealistic that I had trouble engaging with the story. It’s too familiar to me for me to handle the WTFery (much like romances about lawyers, which also usually bring out the eyeroll as well).

  26. Ducky
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 16:47:30

    @Robin/Janet:

    Oh, I just read “Naked In Death” for the first time and IMO it’s a much better book with a much more compelling romance than either 50 Shades or “Bared To You”. For one thing thing Eve Dallas is actually an adult with real problems and her back story is genuinely heartbreaking. The heroines in 50 Shades and Bared To You are pseudo adolescents who play at being adults, holding a job, etc. and their issues come across as angsty wallpaper. And Eve’s man Roarke would wipe the floor with the heroes of Bared To You and 50 Shades. They are boys not men.

  27. Janine
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 16:54:04

    @Ducky: The relationship dynamics started to get repetitive for me as well.

    @cbackson: It would have been more believable if Gideon had inherited his wealth.

  28. Tina
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 17:18:23

    @Robin/Janet:
    Early on reading this book, I did think to myself esp. re: the owning everything in NYC ‘How very Roarkian’

    Truthfully though I don’t even remember how Gideon supposedly acquired his wealth. I didn’t get the impression it was family wealth but rather all his. At least with Roarke it was established that he earned his wealth from a wide array of underground criminal pursuits starting at a very young age. And you always got the impression that he was utterly tireless and ruthless about the pursuit of wealth. It also helped that Roarke’s activities came in the wake of the Urban Wars — illegal activities thrive in times with unrest. So I could easily buy Roarke’s massive wealth given the setting and context. Gideon’s requires a more suspension of disbelief.

  29. Ann Bruce
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 19:19:22

    @Sandra: Zuckerberg made his fortune in tech (and most of it’s tied up in stock), where it’s much more common to make a fortune at a young age. And with tech, most fortunes are in the tens and hundreds of millions, not in the billions.

    Real estate…not so much, especially in this current economic environment.

    Of course, a shrewd entrepreneur could use the recession as a buying opportunity. But it would still be a heck of a lot of real estate to generate a 10-figure net worth. And the current crop of real estate billionaires don’t exactly look like Michael Fassbender.

  30. Liz Mc2
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 19:29:07

    Are we really being asked (by the books/authors) to “believe” in these ridiculously hot young billionaires with wealth of vaguely specified origins, though? Whether they pop up in 50 Shades, this book, or the many many other similar books now appearing (or, for that matter, Harlequin Presents, which I tend to see as the origin of this character)?

    Whether my online reader friends enjoyed Day’s book seems to depend a lot on whether they read 50 and if so, whether they enjoyed it. Opinions vary from “way better” to “bad rip-off.” But as far as I can see, enjoyment also seems to depend on how willing you are to go with an unrealistic set-up like this in exchange for a big emotional payoff (which is what readers who do like these books seem to be getting). I tend to stay away from this kind of storyline because what I’d describe as larger-than-life, exaggerated, almost archetypal characters aren’t really to my personal taste and thus I find the emotional payoff doesn’t happen. But sometimes, despite all the unreality, the characters and emotions DO feel real for me. It sounds like for you that’s what was missing here–at least from Gideon. I’m coming to the conclusion that whether this type of story works for a reader depends at least as much on what the reader brings to the book as on the writer’s ability, because emotional response seems to be so key to enjoying them or not.

  31. Janine
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 19:38:03

    But sometimes, despite all the unreality, the characters and emotions DO feel real for me. It sounds like for you that’s what was missing here–at least from Gideon.

    Yes. You put that very well. I can buy into larger than life characters if their psyches and emotions feel real. In this case, I started out liking the way Eva was drawn enough to be able to go with her feelings — until Gideon became a strong presence in her life. He was so much the opposite of attractive to me that once she could talk about nothing else as much as about his attractiveness, and how drawn to him she was, I lost the ability to keep caring.

  32. jmc
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 20:13:47

    I tried to comment earlier, but my comments appear to have not taken so…

    As someone who has not read Fifty Shades, but who has read Bared to You, I can’t compare the two; whatever baggage or biases I have that influenced my opinion of BtY, they have nothing to do with EL James.

    Having said that, I thought BtY was…not good. The best part of the book was in the first chapter or so: the introduction of Eva and Cary, her enjoyment of her new job and new life, and NYC. Once Gideon arrived on the scene, it was all down hill for me. He completely pinged my creep-o-meter; Eva turned into a spineless runaway under his influence. Readers are told she’s smart and strong but shown otherwise. Frankly, both MCs needed to stop being whiny twats and grow up. The sex, which some readers seemed to like, was repetitive and boring to me; how many times did Eva describe the size of Gideon’s penis and how it felt stretching her?

    I wrote a very short and somewhat impatient post about the book, in which I noted the similarity to Roarke and Presents heroes. The difference between Gideon and Roarke, though, is all about the author’s execution. The characters established in Eve and Roarke withstood what could have been interpreted as pushy or domineering behavior by Roarke. Eva’s constant buckling under to Gideon on all things made his pushiness seem all the more controlling and unpleasant. In terms of the billionaire HP hero, there’s minimal character/fortune building, but its a known trope in the category novel. In a stand alone of this length, the vague nature of Gideon’s fortune (real estate? a conglomerate with a variety of real estate related businesses?) needs better grounding.

  33. jmc
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 20:26:17

    Fourth time’s the charm? DA doesn’t seem to like me today. I’ve now tried to comment on this post using two different computers and a mobile phone.

    I haven’t read Fifty Shades but did read Bared to You; although I thought it was not a good book, my opinion was not based on 50 bias. Instead, I thought it was peopled by unlikeable MCs whose characters were cliches that had no individualization, poorly executed in comparison to other characters who’d been done before. I spent most of the books thinking they were whiney twats who needed to grow up. Their sex acts were boring and repetitive.

    The first 40-50 pages of the book drew me in and held promise but they were the best part of the book; as soon as there was any significant interaction between the MCs, the quality of the narrative declined to tropes and stereotypes.

    I blogged about this book, and mentioned the Roarke and Presents qualities of Gideon. The difference for me is in the authors’ execution: Eve and Roarke as they are characterized and shown through Naked and Glory in Death (and beyond) show a couple with balance, so that Roarke never seems too domineering in the relationship; Eva and Gideon had no such balance. Further, the billionaires in Harlequin Presents have a pretty standard backstory for that type of novel; it doesn’t exist in BtY and the author never satisfactorily creates an alternate backstory, so his random wealth and youth (real estate magnate at 28? did she do any research at all on the “average” real estate mogul today?) were incongruent and lacked a believable foundation. Maybe she’ll establish one later, but it’s too late for me as a reader.

  34. Janine
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 22:38:25

    @jmc: I thought Eva did have some maturity, especially in the beginning. She seemed to become less mature in her behavior as the book went on, but I only got a little over halfway through so I don’t know whether I would have felt that trend continued. Otherwise, we are of the same mind.

  35. Robin/Janet
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 22:40:23

    @Janine: I bought it, so I will definitely read it at some point. Maybe tonight. Will post here if I do.

    @Ducky: Oh, I wasn’t trying to suggest that the books were equivalent in substance, just that the basic bones sounded a bit similar. My favorite of the In Death series is the next book, Glory in Death, but the run through Portrait is pretty amazing. After that, the books get really hit and miss for me. Holiday is particularly fun, because Eve has to Christmas shop. Heh. I have to admit disliking Roarke in the early books, though — a little too pushy for me. ;D

    @Tina: I always liked the way Roarke acquired so much of his wealth in questionable ways and then had to “reform” to keep it and Eve.

    @Liz Mc2: or, for that matter, Harlequin Presents, which I tend to see as the origin of this character

    For inexplicable reasons, I’ve been watching a lot of TCM movies lately, and is struck me how much I think the old Rock Hudson – Doris Day movies kind of follow this formula, as well, especially Pillow Talk. Actually, I think one of the appeals of 50 is that dynamic, despite the fact that so many of its readers have never read HPs (or any genre Romance novel, for that matter).

    I think the archetype of these characters is much older than HP, although that line has certainly capitalized on the set-up, and perhaps, to some degree, caricatured it, although there are many HPs I really love. Have you read Charlotte Lamb’s Vampire Lover? If not, I highly recommend it, especially if you are familiar with Dark Shadows. It is a provocative book, to say the least.

    @jmc: I didn’t warm up to Roarke until, maybe, Vengeance? I don’t know – it was a number of books into the series. I thought he bullied Eve into moving in with him and marrying him, and that he manipulated her quite handily in the early months of their relationship. I also didn’t feel that he had a great deal of depth until Vengeance, which may have accounted for some of my chilly feelings toward him, as well.

  36. Kaetrin
    Jul 12, 2012 @ 23:25:07

    @Robin/Janet: There is a bit of Roarke in Gideon I think. :) Roarke is about 32/33 when the In Death series starts and he appears to own almost the entire universe. I accepted it in Naked in Death (and beyond) so I didn’t quibble too much about Gideon. There’s a later bit in the book too

    (possible spoiler)

    where Gideon has set up a room in his house for Eva which looks exactly like her apartment/bedroom (I can’t remember which one now, one of them anyway). It reminded me of what Roarke did for Eve when he created her apartment/home office in his house so she’d feel comfortable to sleep there when he was away.

  37. RebeccaJ
    Jul 13, 2012 @ 07:17:49

    I actually DID read 50 Shades and the second book too, but I found them both to be so repetitive that I could barely get through book two, and I think that negatively impacted my view of this book.

  38. Bronte
    Jul 13, 2012 @ 08:15:19

    This one was a dnf for me as well. I keep telling myself I’ll try again but so far no good. I bought it after Jane’s review as I had read fifty shades of grey which induced me to roll my eyes a lot (particulary after one spanking scene)but was actually stranegely readable. I didnt go on to read the others in the trilogy. This book just bored me. I didnt particularly like either character and I dont remember enough from the half a book I made it through to remember why. I have liked previous publications from the author so I’ll probably give her books a try again in the future but this was awful for me.

  39. Jenny Lyn
    Jul 13, 2012 @ 09:18:53

    Janine, I think you might be my long lost twin, in a cerebral sense at least. Your thoughts on this book mimic mine almost perfectly, except I didn’t particularly care for Eva either. I even stopped reading at nearly the exact same spot. I couldn’t stand the way they both acted like children at times, making it that much harder to swallow Gideon’s massive wealth at 28. Why not make him early 40′s? But even that wouldn’t have saved this one for me. My lip curled at some of the dialogue during the sex scenes too. I need to just steer clear of all billionaire alpha-hole books, methinks.

  40. Janine
    Jul 13, 2012 @ 12:18:03

    @Robin/Janet: I’d love it if you drop me a line whenever you read it, just to let me know if you liked Gideon or not. It might appeal to you more than to me; I’m not a big fan of HP’s although there have been some I’ve enjoyed.

    @RebeccaJ & @Bronte: It is so interesting to me the way most people who have read 50 discuss Bared to You in the context of 50. It’s either better than 50, cheap knock-off of 50, I didn’t like either or I loved both. Beyond the young first person narrator heroine, young billionaire hero, do the books have more in common? I’m asking because I haven’t read 50.

    @Jenny Lyn: I think Gideon’s background of never having truly dated anyone before would have been odd on a 40 year old, so in that way his age fit his background, but the real estate billionaire thing clashed with his age at least as much.

  41. mirole
    Jul 13, 2012 @ 13:44:00

    Janine: I am neither RebeccaJ nor Bronte but I would like to answer your question.

    First of all, SD herself admits that she at least drew inspiration from 50 (see her mention of EL James in her The Acknowledgements – I respect her for that). I think she deliberately set out to write a “better” version of 50.
    She took 50 story, set-up, practically everything and had three major changes based on three major criticisms of 50:

    1. The quality of writing and editing. Her writing is supposed to be much superior to that of amateurish EL James’ (not my opinion) so that’s not really a change but a natural difference.
    2. (Ties in with #1) Dragged out/ too long story in 50SoG. This one is about ½ to 2/3 length of 50SoG and it worked for me much worse than 50. A lot of character development slipped through the cracks: Gideon went from “Let’s fuck” to “I cannot live without you” in no time thus their whole romance felt unbelievable to me.
    3. Virginal heroine in 50 – here she’s the opposite (sleeps around, enjoys even one-night stands). Ana uses language like “down there”, Eva says that she’d like to suck Gideon off under the desk in his office.

    That being said, there are too many common points to count, especially with regards to the heroes. For me GC was a nonentity, – he was at once an exaggerated version and a pale copy of CG. There was nothing original about him at all. Sometimes he uses exactly the same phrases as Grey e.g. threatening Eva to spank her – “take her across his knee” as I recall.

    Among dozens of common points are:

    Both heroines start work at a new place both as personal assistants.

    Both fall down at their first meeting with the hero.

    Both live with roommates.
    Both heroes are gathering info on heroines and borderline stalking them. Both had not dated in the past and only had business-like arrangements in their sex lives.

    Both heroes have been sexually abused in their adolescence (I think it’s pretty obvious who did that to Gideon although it’s not revealed yet).

    Janine: I really enjoyed yours and other posters’ perspective of non-50 readers.
    I would recommend 50 – at least the 1st book to you. Most likely you would not like it but hold out at least till their email exchanges – they are hilarious, everybody likes them, even harsh reviewers. I did not mind the length of the book at all, there was so much in it besides the sex scenes – Christian introducing Ana to a lot of things and experiences like very diverse music (I actually went and listened to the book soundtrack afterwards), fine wines, paragliding, etc.

    For me BtY did not work at all, I was also bored with it and could barely finish it but I wanted to be able to have my honest opinion about it and I am trying to be objective and not influenced by my 50 experience which is almost impossible to do. Overall, the book felt too rushed, too fast-paced and at times read like a concise retelling of 50SoG.
    I liked Eva well enough to be a heroine’s best friend but not the heroine (she just felt too crude for my taste as was the overall language used in sex scenes, they did not feel hot to me but very crude and vulgar).
    Also some aspects of her background were problematic to me: e.g. considering her sexual trauma in the past she asks Gideon to do something sexually to her that was just too hard to believe.
    Unlike you, I did not like Cary. I thought he was just a character contrived to be very different from his counterpart in 50.
    I am just mystified why would a talented and experienced romance author like Sylvia Day draw an inspiration from a book like 50 and write something completely unoriginal. She could do better than that surely. I haven’t read her historicals but heard a lot of good opinions and will read at least one.
    I am not going to read the rest of the series but will check out reviews with spoilers just to see if I am right in my conjectures about Gideon. And also it’s interesting for me if Sylvia Day will try to take the series in a totally different direction than 50 or in the same and perhaps to show “how BDSM should be written”. There were mentions of BDSM already in BtY.

  42. Janine
    Jul 13, 2012 @ 14:10:41

    @mirole: Thanks for giving your perspective and answering my question. I had the impression based on the podcast interview with Day that the two works were written independently, but maybe I got that wrong? I haven’t looked at the acknowledgements page yet.

    Obviously I liked Eva better than you did. Most of the time her language didn’t bother me, and I liked that she knew what she liked when it came to sex.

    I think a lot of people who are sexually abused as children grow up to be sexually active — in fact my understanding was that it’s not uncommon for them to be more so than the average person, but maybe I have that wrong too?

    Gideon didn’t appeal to me either as you can see from my review.

    One of the reasons I’ve resisted reading 50 is that it started as Twilight fanfic. I did enjoy the first book in the Twilight saga, but not enough to keep reading. One of the reasons why was Bella — I thought she was a colorless Mary Sue and had a hard time understanding why Edward would be interested. The idea of a heroine who is based on Bella doesn’t appeal to me. So I’m not optimistic that I’ll like 50, although maybe I should read it simply because so many people are.

  43. Maili
    Jul 13, 2012 @ 15:00:26

    @mirole and @Janine: I feel we’re starting to be trapped in a downward spiral fall that might never end:

    Pride and Prejudice (novel) -> Pride and Prejudice (TV) -> Twilight -> 50 Shades of Grey -> Bared to You.

    What’s next? ‘Grey McPrejudice Bared His Pride to You Under 50 Shades of Twilight’?

  44. Anne
    Jul 13, 2012 @ 15:13:29

    @Maili: Do you consider Twilight in any way related to Pride and Prejudice?

    @all: I wonder whether there are *any* romance novels featuring these basic tropes (super-rich MC engaging poor MC, for work and then sex/BDSM or straight for sex/BDSM service) which are all of these things:

    - quality plot including characters which are at least possible
    - quality prose (no vulgarities, I can’t get over women calling their own genitals “cunt”)
    - MCs to root for, as well as engaging secondary characters
    - the sex/BDSM is hot, believable, emotionally engaging and realistic
    - sex scenes which are plot points (rather than tacked on)

    I’ve read a couple of these novels during the past year, including ones which received raving reviews, and somehow none of them manage all these points.

  45. Maili
    Jul 13, 2012 @ 15:29:24

    @Anne: No, I don’t. I’m basing it on Meyer’s word that Twilight was inspired by P&P.

  46. Anne
    Jul 13, 2012 @ 15:42:57

    Oh bugger. I really didn’t need or want to know that she said that ;-)

  47. jmc
    Jul 13, 2012 @ 16:07:36

    @Janine: Re: Eva’s maturity, she seemed mature at the beginning but devolved IMO. Her later behavior was both childish and passive-aggressive: she ran from anything difficult, fled from confrontation, or would drop bombs and run. Also, I found her complaints about her mother’s control over her to be laughable in light what appeared to be her continued dependence on them (ex: they paid for clothing, rent, cell phone, social events, etc.).

  48. Kaetrin
    Jul 14, 2012 @ 02:31:10

    @mirole: That’s interesting. The acknowledgements in my copy of Bared to You say the following:

    Acknowledgments
    My deepest gratitude to my editor, Hilary Sares, who really dug into this story and made me work for it. Basically, she kicked my ass. By not pulling her punches or letting me shortchange the details, she made me work harder and because of that, this story is a much, much better book. BARED TO YOU wouldn’t be what it is without you, Hilary. Thank you.

    To Tera Kleinfelter for reading the beginning and telling me she loved it. Thank you, Tera!
    To all girls who were at Cross Creek at some point in your adolescence: May all your dreams come true. You deserve it.

    And to Alistair and Jessica, from Seven Years to Sin, who inspired me to write Gideon and Eva’s story. I’m so glad the inspiration struck twice!

    No mention of EL James. That was the self published ARC though – maybe it changed later?

  49. mirole
    Jul 14, 2012 @ 11:19:51

    @Kaetrin: Yes, it did.

    In Berkley edition right after acknowledging Tera Kleinfelter :

    “To E. L James, who wrote a story that captivated readers and created a hunger for more. You rocked it!”

    @Janine: Regarding sex life of former victims of sexual abuse – I am sure it’s very different for different people and covers the whole spectrum from being sexually repressive and maybe even celibate through enjoying normal sex life to sexual promiscuity. In this particular instance it was hard for me to believe.

  50. Janine
    Jul 14, 2012 @ 12:44:20

    @jmc:

    @Janine: Re: Eva’s maturity, she seemed mature at the beginning but devolved IMO. Her later behavior was both childish and passive-aggressive: she ran from anything difficult, fled from confrontation, or would drop bombs and run. Also, I found her complaints about her mother’s control over her to be laughable in light what appeared to be her continued dependence on them (ex: they paid for clothing, rent, cell phone, social events, etc.).

    Eva did seem to be devolving in maturity a bit when I quit reading, but not enough to make me dislike her at that point in the book (56% of the way in). I agree completely that her financial dependency on her mother and stepdad limited her right to complain about their overprotectiveness.

    @mirole:

    “To E. L James, who wrote a story that captivated readers and created a hunger for more. You rocked it!”

    I would not read that as an acknowledgement of having been inspired by 50. It reads to me like an acknowledgement that the “hunger for more” 50 created by captivating readers helped boost the sales of Bared to You but no more than that.

    I don’t have a transcript of the podcast interview but it is linked to in the review, so you can listen to it. My impression from the podcast interview was that 50 had not yet been published when Day wrote Bared to You, and that the similarities are coincidental (something that happens sometimes when writers are riding the same cultural wave).

    Regarding sex life of former victims of sexual abuse – I am sure it’s very different for different people and covers the whole spectrum from being sexually repressive and maybe even celibate through enjoying normal sex life to sexual promiscuity. In this particular instance it was hard for me to believe.

    Fair enough. I no longer recall where my information came from, and it could very well be wrong. Whether the reader finds the character believable is the ultimate test. You didn’t buy this aspect of Eva’s characterization and that’s all that matters in the end.

  51. Janine
    Jul 14, 2012 @ 15:26:01

    @jmc: I found your review and have to say that except for being more forgiving of Eva’s flaws than you were, I agree with you in most ways.

  52. Kaetrin
    Jul 14, 2012 @ 19:41:25

    @Janine: I agree – it sounds like Ms. Day was acknowledging that the success of 50 led to her publishing deal with Penguin. I listened to the podcast too and she started writing BtY in 2010. There was 50 discussion in the podcast and she never said that 50 inspired her to write it.

    Gah! I liked the book a lot more than you did Janine – but I found the last 100 pages or so exhausting and I was a bit worn out by the to-ing and fro-ing between the couple, even as I was compelled by them. There never seemed to be a place of rest for them. I’m looking forward to reading the next book but at the same time, I’m a bit nervous because if it’s just more of the same my exhaustion will start much earlier. I’m hoping that the arc will change and grow – fingers crossed. But, what makes me slap myself in the forehead is, for some reason, I find myself defending this book – I don’t think I’m rabid about it but I’ve been drawn in to more discussions in defence of BtY than any other book I’ve read – and it’s not like I think it’s the best book I’ve read or it means anything particular to me. Why is that??? (and, here I am, doing it again!)

  53. Janine
    Jul 14, 2012 @ 19:59:52

    @Kaetrin:

    But, what makes me slap myself in the forehead is, for some reason, I find myself defending this book – I don’t think I’m rabid about it but I’ve been drawn in to more discussions in defence of BtY than any other book I’ve read – and it’s not like I think it’s the best book I’ve read or it means anything particular to me. Why is that??? (and, here I am, doing it again!)

    I wonder if that’s simply because this book is so much in the public eye, which means it comes up more as a topic of discussion (giving you more opportunities to defend it)? In any case, I don’t think you need to slap your forehead for that.

  54. Kaetrin
    Jul 14, 2012 @ 20:43:52

    @Janine: LOL! I only meant that if you looked at all the comments I’ve made about this book, one could be easily forgiven for thinking that I liked it much more than I did (I mean, I did like it but it’s not on my top 10 list or anything). But, I think you’re probably right – it’s probably because there are so many posts about it.

  55. Bronte
    Jul 14, 2012 @ 23:03:28

    @Janine: I guess I interpreted this book in light of 50 because I read Jane’s review that mentioned the comparison. For me, I like category romances (and the set up for both books is really straight from a harlequin presents) when they are done well so the set up for 50 didn’t bother me, it was the execution. When I heard the comparisons with this book I thought why not? For me in answer to your question there is not that much similar between the books except the set up. I also felt that 50 was much more compelling to read although I really disliked much of the content. Ironically, I didn’t dislike as much of the content of bared to you as much as I found it completely boring. I can’t really articulate why I disliked this book so much, but I didn’t connect with either of the two main characters. And unfortunately no matter how well written a book may be if I don’t connect with the characters then I can never finish it.

  56. mirole
    Jul 15, 2012 @ 11:00:48

    @Janine: and@Kaetrin: I don’t intend to change your opinion. I could have believed Sylvia Day wrote it independently from 50 had I not read both books. For me personally there was so much similarity that it was well beyond coincidence. And the publication timeline (almost a year between 50SoG and BtY) supports my theory. Maybe Ms Day started writing in 2010, then read 50 and got some ideas from it. It also seems strangely coincidental that she decided to write one story spanning three books although she had never done this before.

    Kaetrin: you don’t need to defend this book. A lot of people love it and it’s doing pretty good in sales. I think it works better for those who did not like/hated 50 or had not read 50 at all.

    Bronte: I so agree with your last statement. I call it chemistry with the book – the book can be well-written and all the right elements are in place but I still don’t like it.

  57. Janine
    Jul 15, 2012 @ 12:01:21

    @mirole:

    Maybe Ms Day started writing in 2010, then read 50 and got some ideas from it.

    I could be misremembering, but I think she says in the podcast that she wrote it in a matter of weeks. (I’m not trying to change your mind either, just trying to pass along the gist of Day’s public statement).

    @Bronte & mirole:

    And unfortunately no matter how well written a book may be if I don’t connect with the characters then I can never finish it.

    I call it chemistry with the book

    Chemistry is a good word for it. In this case I had some chemistry with Eva but none with Gideon and that was not enough to keep me reading.

  58. Gray
    Jul 16, 2012 @ 21:49:05

    After reading the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy (twice), I was looking forward to another sit-by-the-pool-and-sweat love story. Unfortunately, “Bared to You” was a huge disappointment. Mostly, I was disappointed in Ms. Day and her thinly-veiled attempt to copy R.L. James’s work. It seems that she simply swapped out the story’s setting for NYC instead of Seattle, changed the hair color and names of the hero and heroine (Christian-Gideon? Ana-Eva? please…), and there it was – an “original” work. Sorry, but the similarities were ridiculous (Dom/Sub, nightmares about abuse, control-freak mogul at 28 saved by strong, independent woman, and the list goes on). But thats where the similarities stopped. The writing wasn’t nearly as good, the characters weren’t nearly as well-developed, and the plot was hurried. As a writer myself, I’m a bit of a book snob, but I’m pleased to say R.L. James left me wanting more. Sylvia Day just left me…bored. I won’t be buying the second in the series, or the third, for that matter.

  59. Ali
    Jul 17, 2012 @ 14:53:15

    I can’t wait until this Fifty Shades/BTU drama dies down. I have been reading romance for years, since i was 11. I remember ripping the covers off so nobody would know what I was reading. I had my favorite authors who I would patiently wait to release new books… and then i got a ereader. Now… It’s this world of self publishing and reviews and words i’ve never heard of before like fan fiction and sock puppets and trolling. At first i was so excited to try out all these new authors, until i started realizing that i couldn’t trust the reviews and then I found these blogs and It’s been like a whole new world for me… That being said I read Bared to You first, I’d heard of Fifty Shades of Grey, But I thought it was some women’s self help book, because so many people were talking about it. Personally, I liked Bared To You. But I like my romance novels to be filled with angst and steam and drama. It’s fun to imagine a world where men are beautiful and sex is perfect and pain is bittersweet. We complain that it’s overblown, but be honest, if it was a sweet tepid romance you would complain that it felt like a 1980′s harlequin. :) I know I would. Was it over the top? Yes, but so are books with 1200 year old vampires and werewolves and demons from hell who fall in love with humans or women who let men they just met tie them up in their basement dungeon and invite their best friend over… but hey we read those too. But most importantly, it was well written. I’m wasn’t looking for a top 100 book of all time. I was looking for entertainment for a few hours. After I finished BTU, I discovered that FSOG was actually a romance novel because it was recommended by Amazon. I tried, I tried to read this book. Partly because I was in my BTU love hangover stage and I didn’t want to have to spend days searching for another book like it and because by that time I wanted to see what the hype was about. By this time, I was starting to see that my friends, Who I sometimes didn’t didn’t think KNEW how to read, were joining Christian Grey fan clubs, and sending each other Fifty Shades Ecards on Facebook. These were the same girls who laughed at me when the say my ebooks on my iPad, so i was intrigued. I couldn’t stop rolling my eyes while I read it, it felt like Naughty Twilight but written by someone who hadn’t quite grasped how to write smoothly. I could identify each character that was introduced as someone from the twilight series. The story followed almost the same exact format as Twilight. I found out later that it actually started out as Twilight fan fiction, and the characters were actually named Bella and Edward, etc… I could go on and on about the similarities but I’ve seen it done in other reviews so I won’t. To be fair, however, I will acknowledge how someone who has read the 50 Shades books can see that there are similarities with BTU. That being said, The two points I would make even if you strip the Twilight connections out of FSOG and leave it at the purely romantic themes, which again I acknowledged there are the plot existed before EL James wrote her book. EL James was not the first person to ever come up with a rich troubled guy/innocent virgin girl story line and it annoys the heck out of me that fans are claiming that it’s the case. There are also themes between the two books that are a lot different, but it seems that those are over looked. My second point which I mentioned before is that they also seem to forget is once again, the similarities between FSOG and Twilight. Like I said before, FSOG started out as twilight fan fiction there are copies of it still floating around. Bared To You didn’t. Further, I do think that the company the purchased the publishing rights to the book did a disservice to Sylvia Day by changing the cover to resemble the FSOG books and to Market it as the “next 50 shades.” Ultimately I think it just comes down to a matter of personal preference, Personally I couldn’t get past the writing style of FSOG to enjoy the story, but I liked Bared to You. I just wish that people would stop comparing them and our community could go back to the way it was before.

  60. Kim Wyant
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 15:59:35

    I took a long time to read the 50 Shades Trilogy because of all the negative reviews. I’m an avid reader of all sorts of genres but especially read romance. I checked out FSOG from the library and read it – fast. It was an entertaining light read, in my opinion. I didn’t think it was as bad as many of the reviews had made it out to be. I found it interesting and found myself drawn in by the character Christian. He had issues, but I found myself wanting to know his POV. (I never read the Twilight books, so don’t know how similar they really are.) I read the second two books, but liked the first one best. The second two books could have easily been condensed down into one, or none! I read “Bared to You” after listening to the pod cast. I enjoyed it. Eva and Gideon aren’t perfectly developed characters by any means and the plot has some issues, but I couldn’t put it down. I was intrigued by the story and wanted to know more about how these two are going to resolve their issues. I read to escape into worlds unfamiliar to me – I guess that’s why enjoyed these stories. I think some people tend to overanalyze books. They, are, after all supposed to be read for fun. That’s why I read unless I’m reading non-fiction to learn something. We can overanalyze every book ever written and many people will find fault with even some of the most revered books in history written by some of the most admired authors.

  61. GiGi
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 01:56:39

    Hi everyone, I have been reading the discussions about the two authors and have read the both the books and I have to say that I enjoyed the Fifty Shades Trilogy a little more. I found EL James writing to be more refined and factually accurate. The places referenced in the book does exist and therefore lend a certain authenticity and cohesiveness to the writing. A play list from the Fifty Shades soundtrack was mentioned but I wonder if anyone had the opportunity to look at the lyrics from those songs and the many others mentioned? I happened to have a lot of the music mentioned and I sat down and listened to the lyrics. I gained a deeper understanding of the characters and where he/she were coming from emotionally…I think a line the in the book said something along the lines of “The music says it for me…”. True. Sylvia Day does not seem to have that same level of cohesiveness in her writing for me. She would have me completely in the moment with her writing and then would throw in a completely over the top line which would ruin the effect. An example of this would be the first time Gideon came over to Eva’s apartment. SD had me right there with the characters when Gideon was describing what he was going to do to Eve, but the moment was broken when he stated something about how they were going to have “primal, explosive, no-holds bar sex…”. Too much. I would classify her style of writing as direct, modern day fantasy. Isn’t the point of the writing for the reader to have a few fantasies of their own while reading said stories? Having said that, who doesn’t like a little over the top fantasy now and again? The whole point of reading is for a person to be able to suspend their everyday life for a moment and step into another world, whatever that world may be and take a journey with the author.

    There were also comments about the gathering of information on the female characters in these books. It may seem far fetched but I can assure you that individual of certain wealth can obtain the most intimate of details on a person if they so choose. I say this from personal experience (not that there was a lot of information to be gathered) but overall it was very alarming. Given the situation with Eva, could it be that she didn’t aggressively confront Gideon about his “information gathering” because she was choosing her battles. The story supposedly takes place over a two week period…one minute the characters are up and the next down… I would think that Eva would have been emotionally exhausted.

    Much has been made about Eva’s flaws and I have to say that on some level she is believable. I am just throwing it out there to all the ladies in the forum; which one of us has not had a moment of unbridled jealousy…serious green eyed jealousy? Can anyone of us say that there wasn’t one instance in our lives that led us to irrational thought or action? I would find that more than hard to believe. Yes I know that Eva is an adult, but she is a young adult, carrying around a lot of baggage that has shaped her outlook on life in many ways and as a result, her impetuous behaviour can be explained. It is these moments of raw emotion that makes me believe or at least want to believe.

    A lot has also been said about the believability of the Gideon character. Personally I would much rather read about a wealthy, extremely handsome and seriously flawed character than a paunchy, gassy, tired ,old windbag. Some how I couldn’t see droves of avid readers flooding their local Barnes & Nobles/Amazon bookstore to buy that “love story”. One would only need look to a friend, neighbour or relative to see that story play out and somehow I think it would be “sans” the “accoutrements”.

    I think that key to any of these stories or any others for that fact is a person’s ability to suspend their reality and take a look at the character through the authors’ eyes. In order to do that a person has to read the book in its entirety in order to be fair to the story and to the characters. How can a critique be factually accurate and fair otherwise?

    These are just my thoughts about the book. Thank you for taking the time to read. :) I look forward to the discussion. :)

  62. Shannon
    Aug 09, 2012 @ 14:15:45

    I am dying after finishing Fifty Shades of Grey. My husband encouraged me to read it hoping I’d “get some ideas,” but it’s totally backfiring. I read it emotionally. It brought me back to memories of an old boyfriend that I had a deep connection with like Ana and Christian…minus the S&M and billionaire status :P Now I’m questioning my attraction to my husband and think I might have to write a novel called “Fifty Shades F!#$ED Up My Marriage.” Ha…or not. Reading this review actually put things into perspective a little more…that it really is fantasy and there is no one on the planet like Christian or Gideon. However, now I need to read Bared to You…hopefully it will help me snap out of it.

  63. Janine
    Aug 09, 2012 @ 14:18:58

    @Shannon: I’m glad if the review was of help.

  64. Donna Hamill
    Aug 12, 2012 @ 10:23:08

    Having read FSOG and loving it , the trilogy infact, even though it has flaws, I was looking for something to fill the void. I came across BTY, which had a sticker on the cover that stated…”If you liked FSOG then you’ll love this”. I couldn’t wait to go home and start reading, which I did as soon as I walked through the door. I have got to say I was extremely disappointed, It felt to me as though Sylvia Day had read FSOG herself then took what could have been a decent story and included alot of content from the 50 series…The mega rich tycoon who isn’t interested in a relationship but then must have one, the stalking by tracking phones,the background checks, the move with a roommate to a new city, whilst starting a new job, having a driver who doubles as a body gaurd(Although Taylor in 50 is involved in the story alot more) going to see a shrink, a female spiteful friend who wants to keep the 2 main characters apart, all sound familiar?, I felt it was all too much to be purely coincidental. This had the promise to be a decent story but its all too similair to 50 and rushed, are we seriously meant to believe that after only wanting to bed Eva, Gideon has fallen head over heels and has a photo of her on his desk within a day. I wont be rushing to the store to buy the next book.

  65. Angie Larson
    Aug 18, 2012 @ 20:21:15

    I was very upset to find this to be a knock off copycat of 50 shades of Grey I feel there were some copyright laws crossed here! I loved 50 shades of Grey and this Bared to you was to much of a similar storyline that I can’t say i would recommend it.

  66. maria
    Aug 20, 2012 @ 16:51:02

    Ive read the book and really enjoyed it, but i am the only one who thinks shes ripped alot of ideas from 50 shades. It was like reading the same book with different names!

    Still good tho! thought i’d still prefer christian over gideon any day! (if only!) lol

  67. anne
    Aug 21, 2012 @ 20:24:13

    Sorry but it was boring.

  68. Judy
    Aug 29, 2012 @ 13:42:16

    Very boring.

  69. Tracy
    Sep 02, 2012 @ 16:33:17

    I have not yet read BTY, but I have read the 50 shades trilogy. This sounds very much like 50. I enjoyed 50, so I’m going to give BTY a try. I just finished Seven Years to Sin & thought it was pretty good. Not as racy as 50 shades, but I liked the story.

  70. Terri
    Sep 04, 2012 @ 14:17:21

    @Angie Larson: @Donna Hamill: @Donna…Angie …Marie and any of you other intelligent women who could realize that Sylvia Day should be charged with copyright infringement….KUDOS…has the woman no imagination of her own?

  71. Aneta
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 03:26:57

    @ Donna and Angie… I totally agree with you!
    Well, I’ve been sceptical about reading 50 Shades of Gray in the first place…but I’ve loved it at the end.
    Now I’ve started to read Bared To You and after 3 pages I’m really asking myself, how S. Day got through with copying most of FSOG?!?!
    I just can’t read this one!

  72. Justine
    Sep 12, 2012 @ 10:57:49

    So ive just started reading Bared to you, i bought it mainly because I read the 50 books and adored them.
    Personnaly im not that into bared to you, i find its way too much the same as 50…

    50 = innoncent good girl, rich boy who has issues with his past, her bbf is a girl, she gets a new job and moves to a new town with her bff, …. she meets her rich man falling face firts into his office

    bared to you = rich girl who has issues, rich boy who has issues, bff is a boy, shes gets a new job and moves to a new town with her bff… she meets her rich man falling on her ass..

    how similar is that. and thats only in the first few chapters. its just… boring. its been done before so why practically copy another book???

    The book is a waste of your time is youve read 50 you wont be impressed with this one, specially if its right after reading the 3 books by E.L James.

  73. Bared To You Book Review: Gideon Cross vs. Christian Grey, Who Wins? « Prinsesa's Anatomy
    Sep 13, 2012 @ 00:45:07

    [...] setting, Manhattan, is also great because the Bared to You is a power struggle of some sort. The characters are looking for control yet they do not want to be [...]

  74. natalie
    Sep 13, 2012 @ 21:36:11

    Which came first? 50 shades or bare to you . Someone stole the others idea but once you read 50 shades, the other is just a poor attempt at copy with just the names and places changed.

  75. Sally Lewis
    Sep 25, 2012 @ 13:31:58

    Didnt like this book at all. I did read it to the end and won’t be reading the next one. Too much like Fifty Shades ( I loved fifty) sorry this book just didn’t do it for me !

  76. Sally Lewis
    Sep 25, 2012 @ 13:35:13

    ^^^ Natalie, I completely agree with you.

  77. DeAnna
    Sep 26, 2012 @ 14:38:06

    I was very excited to start this book after reading Fifty Shades and was very disappointed! I couldn’t finish it, only read to chapter 4. I don’t like Gideon, he’s very unrealistic. His first words to Eva are “I want to fuck you” How ridiculous! I understand that its a fantasy story but come on, at least make it a little easier to relate to. Although Christian was a stalker who bordered on being sued for sexual harassment, Gideon is 10 times worse. And on top of it, the story is sooooo much like Fifty the characters are just changed a little. Eva was abused as a child, her parents support child abuse awareness, Eva lives in an apartment with a friend, Gideon owns practically all of the buildings in the city, Eva’s mom has her phone tracked, it goes on and on. I couldn’t read it, it was frustrating.

  78. Aneta
    Sep 26, 2012 @ 15:07:31

    Hi,

    why not put all this comments on S. Day’s Twitter… I did comment there and I don’t think she or any of her “fans” liked it… what a horrible book. Agree with DeAnna and many of you x

  79. Dawn
    Sep 30, 2012 @ 05:08:23

    But what about Cary? D:

  80. Kayla
    Sep 30, 2012 @ 11:20:15

    I so agree I couldnt get that far along at all in this book after reading fifty shades of Grey. I felt like they copied pretty much everything from it. I was looking foward to another good book like it but not the same one with different characters.

  81. Jennifer
    Oct 01, 2012 @ 16:19:22

    call me Ms. Negative, im reading Bared To You right now and i dont like it, but i have this stupid oath (never leave a book unfinished) thats why even tho im suffering from sever headache from reading this book im still here (around chapter 20) reading it. Ive also read 50 shades trilogy and i didnt like it either, Gah! i dont know whats wong with me, but erotic books do not turn me on, dont get me wrong its romantic but i cant find the definition if “romance” between them. all i find is full of stupidity, forgive me, but im being honest. i found myself constantly annoyed but i wont stop reading till i finish it, and still i cant find it interesting gah! whats wrong with me! maybe im just too realistic that theres in no one in the world that young ang bazzillionaire with super handsome, dark and dangerous effect. damn! im so negative i know but gahh! the way eva react with her hormones is that really true? i mean is it possible?? ive been with men and had orgasms but i stil owned my body, and my brain still controls the said hormones! its just too unrealistic with realistic situation im mean they are both a nutcase! i mean c’mon! they love each other alright, past is past. they have sex like everywhere. the book is so full of sex! and its so full of sex its redundant, i skipped most of the pages just to get to bottomlime of the problem. gahhhh im getting migraine. i just want the story alright not the all the fucking stuffs, gahh,, if the we reduce some fucking scenes i think the it will reduce to a short story category instead of a trilogy. im sorry that was my thoughts with the 50shades as well.. his, hers, and her roomate’s past is something interesting alright im curious with that. but i mean c’mon! just get to the story instead of the sex stuffs! and reduce the stupidity and jealousy and possessiveness and control-management! its so shallow and easy to predict the ending, i know love a brain challenging reading materieal but this one is not so challenging at all. i like to get to the bottom of it but gahhhh its a headcase! so impossible and yet making it look like possible like someone out there have the personalities of Grey or Cross, if there is, i dont think they are super bazzillionaire rich and handsome.. and if theyre is someone like Anne or Eva c’mon girls u are better than that.. i know i know u both( Eva & Anne) are inlove with your doms but argh! if ever i find Cross or Grey head over heels with me i’ll take my chances being the one in control. if not screw them both. love is not something accepting the fact that u are willing to be a submissive, im just have too much pride in me to let a man handle me like that, if i am Eva or Anne i wont let Cross or Grey touch me like i dont own my body! gahhh! this story is taking its toll on me! and if ever this thing got me i will seek all your advice and will let u all know that i will swallow my word with all my glory.. thats if it did happened to me and with a loaded bazzillionaire with super handsome, talk, dark, dangerous and mouth watering body. thats it if such thing exist. :-)

  82. Nicole
    Oct 08, 2012 @ 10:51:47

    I believe that Bared to You is a Joke. I read 50 shades of grey . I am embarrassed for sylvia day to say she did not read 50 shades. Of course she did and she plagiarized a book and pretended she came up with the idea. Shame on you Sylvia Day, how embarrasing to be you.

  83. Nicole
    Oct 08, 2012 @ 10:56:40

    @Angie Larson:
    I absolutly agree! I cant believe that this has not come up yet! What a scam!

  84. jane_l
    Oct 08, 2012 @ 19:57:23

    @Nicole – thanks for commenting but I’ve read both BtY and 50 Shades and there is no plagiarism. Plagiarism is a pretty serious offense. If you have proof, then show it otherwise, don’t make those comments here. If you think that the books are similar, that’s fine but “shame on you” and accusations of plagiarism aren’t going to be tolerated without actual proof.

    You do realize that 50 Shades is fan fiction of Twilight, right? I mean, come on. Who should be embarrassed here?

  85. gina
    Oct 16, 2012 @ 19:43:58

    Bared to you was such a blatant rip off of 50 shades that it was an insult to read. Every single element was obviously taken from 50. Come on, the publisher must have said: come up with a young girl who literally falls on her ass over a billionaire who thinks he’s a dom, throw in some beutiful ex girlfriends , nightmares, a charity event, a personal shopper who stocks her closet, the name Taylor, a handsome guy friend, I could go on and on
    A shameless capitalization on another writer’s success.

  86. Kaetrin
    Oct 16, 2012 @ 20:02:20

    @gina: Bared to You (and indeed, the other 2 books which follow it) was written by the author in 2010 before 50 became in any way popular. 50 wasn’t on any publisher’s radar at that time. Ms. Day originally self published the book – there was nothing in the book that was written at the direction of a publisher. After the success of 50, Ms. Day was offered a traditional publishing contract for Bared to You.

    As for “a shameless capitalization on another writer’s success” – you do know that 50 was Twilight fanfic don’t you? Oh, the irony. It burns.

  87. Ridley
    Oct 16, 2012 @ 20:21:08

    What the fuck? Where did all these fools come from? Is there some sort of “Fifty Shades is the only book I’ve read in years, therefore it’s the only book ever written and everything else is an imitation” fan club I wasn’t aware of?

  88. Janine
    Oct 16, 2012 @ 20:24:26

    While I don’t want to censor anyone, I’m a little sad to see this thread focus so strongly on comparisons of 50 Shades and Bared to You. I’m wishing I hadn’t asked about that in the comments when the review first posted. The comments are forwarded to my email and every week I hear from fans of 50 who view Bared to You as a ripoff. But beyond that, many of them don’t say what makes Bared to You a disappointing book. I would love to hear more from readers about what they thought of Bared to You on its own merits — what worked for you in this book and what didn’t? If you loved it, why, and if you didn’t, what was it within the book itself that kept you from enjoying the characters and their story?

  89. Sandra
    Nov 06, 2012 @ 15:50:31

    Although this book and “Reflected in You” sounds intriguing it sounds too close to “Fifty Shades” trilogy and not near as satisfying. I apologize Sylvia; “Fifty” got me first.

  90. Sandra
    Nov 06, 2012 @ 15:57:39

    Janine,
    I do not believe the book(s) lack merit; “Fifty” came after this publication; however, the writing techniques and characterizations obviously appear to be very different. I, upon reading reviews, prefer “Fifty”; again I apologize Sylvia.

  91. Valentina
    Nov 15, 2012 @ 01:06:29

    Bared to you is 50 shades ripoff. Not better, not more stylish, not hotter. look at both Sylvia day and EL James . Why are they so desperate? Erotica isn’t only about writing style;it relates deeply with the author’s sexuality and sensuality factors as an individual . Unsexy women can never write proper erotica. deal with it. It’s so funny that IRL women got slammed for “trying too hard to be sexy”-why isn’t the same rule applied to literature?
    Look I’m not trying to show myself as a smart person or anything, I’m just sharing my personal thoughts.

  92. Cassie P
    Dec 02, 2012 @ 04:44:28

    @Robin:

    I agree with you Robin. For all his concerning backstory and the second rate writing (which could have been fixed with a decent editor) I found Christian to be a much more compelling character than Gideon. Anna was annoying and juvenile but that comes from the Twilight fanfiction thing. Eva started off well and then just evaporated into a cardboard character. In comparison Day’s book was better written technically but as far as character goes – James won hands down. Take out the sex and BTY would be twenty pages. Take the sex out of 50 shades and there is still a romance arc and charaterisation.

  93. Tania
    Dec 05, 2012 @ 20:33:48

    My friend (like many others) raved about 50 Shades of Grey so I read it and I was absolutely appalled at the utter tripe the hordes were greedily consuming. Let me say I had no issue with the sex but the writing style was so lacking, basic and repetitive. The characters, setting and plot was weak. Everything between the sex scenes just seemed like filler I was relieved and somewhat mollified by some of the escalating action in parts 2 and 3 but all in all I thought I might have been better off reading a Penthouse as at least there would haved pictures to look at when the story became boring. Feeling disappointed I found Bared to You and a claim that it was “…what 50 Shades of Grey could have been…”. At last someone who agrees with me! So I read it am now even more disappointed. Is it true so many people don’t know a good book from a bad one? And what of the editors and publishers? The writing style was an improvement but there was even less going on than in 50 Shades. It has been many years since I’ve read an erotic novel, the last one was a Mills and Boon that ran circles around this fodder. I’ve decided I will go out and buy a Mills and Boon in the hopes of having some faith restored in erotica and then I will finish the Hunger Games series (which I so rudely interrupted with a foray into 50 Shades etc) as I eagerly await Diana Gabaldon’s next installment due out next year. If you want intelligent, adventure, romance and drama, Diana Gabaldon is hard to beat.

  94. Tania
    Dec 05, 2012 @ 20:35:45

    Oh and did I say plagiarism? I could hardly tell them apart. If it weren’t for the differing writing styles I would’ve thought it was written by the same person.

  95. VALERIE
    Jan 05, 2013 @ 00:41:00

    WELL i agree with you, I read fifty shades of grey and i kind of like it, but with bared to you Im not so sure, the thing is that this book is so similar to fifty, but the way that the author describes the sex scenes is so boring and guideon is kind of a super hero, he can have like 98738463848437 orgasims in one night. I mean I would like to see more realistic things on the book. Guideons owns all NYC hate that, tho.
    I guess I am going to read the other books. pure masochism.

  96. Bee
    Mar 18, 2013 @ 05:08:24

    I thought Eva was childish and in no way ready to for a mature relationship, she still has a lot of years of therapy to go through. Her constant whining and running away was just a reflection of her drama queen attitude as she needed constant affirmations that she is wanted by Gideon. Clearly she did not believe in herself and was not confident. The sex scenes got too much, I mean we get it they had an amazing sexual connection no need to keep repeating it the whole book. I wish there couldve been more substance to the book. it didnt talk enough about what made eva and Gideon get to where they are now. So all in all i kept on waiting for the book to get interesting but towards the middle of the book i realised this is all im gonna get. Disappointing

  97. review21
    Jul 09, 2013 @ 13:39:58

    This is all so true!!!
    The third book is very tedious, there isn’t much of a story line involved, it’s very rushed, and its meant to be a trilogy! It ends up being 4 books instead of 3! I just don’t understand how its meant to be at all believable, a 27 year old owning millions of multi-millionaire businesses, the ‘electric’ between two characters etc. It just happens to be very convenient that she says she doesn’t like him for his money, but isn’t that part of the reason why she’s attracted to him?!

  98. review21
    Jul 09, 2013 @ 13:43:43

    She also cried too much!

  99. Bookworm97
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 23:49:29

    Great review, I’m a little curious now so I think I might check it out even if I have to suffer through Gideon. Just from reading the review I can tell its very similar to Fifty Shades and I would love to compare them for myself. Thanks Jannie!

  100. chandler
    Aug 30, 2013 @ 22:02:07

    I’ve heard so much raving about this book, that I just had to try it out for myself. What a waste of time! I’ve read 50 Shades of Grey and let me tell you Gideon is NO Christian Grey, at all! Eva is a damaged soul and not yet cured, for lack of a better word. She shoved herself onto Gideon just a s much as he did her. Whatever they had happened way to soon and was very unrealistic, at least to me. At least in 50 Shades, Christian took the time to get to know a little bit about Ana and came to her with a written proposal. Gideon lacks Christian’s charm, charisma, and control

  101. Kari
    Jan 18, 2014 @ 06:05:54

    Im not sure where in the book Gideon was EVER ” cold and insensitive” to Eva….I think you confused that with 5o shades. And if you had finished the book you might have realized Cary and Eva would Suck as a couple. Now I have read all three books so my opinion stems slightly from that. The only time Gideon repeated called Eva and wanted her to call back “leaving her multiple messages” was when he was ADMITTING he f** up and wanting to apologizes, which seems like a good quality since most guys could care less if you are ignoring them. Finish the book if you want to give a review so you have the full picture.

  102. Kari
    Jan 18, 2014 @ 06:10:25

    @chandler: Do you not realized in 50shades they met at an interview, he stalked her at work a few days later, then they had coffee, didnt talk for a week before shhe drunk dialed him, she lost her virginity to him the very next day, they were together for a week before she left him for 5day, they got back together on a thursday and he propsed the following Tuesday, she said yes the following Friday morning( just after midnight) and they were married 4weeks later. Id say 50shades relationship moved extremely FAST as well!

  103. Kari
    Jan 18, 2014 @ 06:11:51

    @review21: She RARELY ever cries! What book did you read.

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