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Throwdown Thursdays: Crossfire Series vs Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy

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Since the beginning of time, similar things have always been compared to each other: Pepsi or Coke? Lemon or Lime? Boxers or Briefs? And books are no exception!

Throwdown Thursdays: On the first Thursday of every month I play the ultimate game of “Would You Rather” with books that are inevitably compared to each other. After 3 rounds, I pick my winner. Feel free to join in by commenting, making your own response (just link back) or vote in my poll! Here is this month’s match:

Crossfire Series by Sylvia Day | Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy by E L James

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Round 1: The Hero

Mysterious, Tortured Millionaire vs Mysterious, Tortured Millionaire

Both Gideon Cross and Christian Grey are top dogs in the business world but who wins the hearts of readers?

I’m not a fan of alpha males so I really don’t care for either Gideon or Christian. Their constant need to “own” their respective love interests nauseates me. I’m all for confident characters but these guys are extreme.

I never warmed up to Gideon Cross. I never got his appeal and his intensity was just WAYyyy to high for my tastes. He actually scares me in his intensity and it makes me question the relationship he shares with Eva.

Christian on the other hand, I grew to like. While his intensity was strong in the first book, I really felt like he made some significant progress as the series progressed. Given his past, I understood why he acted the way he did (for certain things). I just felt like he took things down a notch instead of amping up like Gideon did

Winner: Christan Grey. While Christian is intense, he never took things to the extremes that Gideon did.

Crossfire: 0 | Fifty Shades of Grey: 1

Round 2: The Heroine

Experienced, Flawed Woman vs Inexperience, Flawless Woman

Who compliments their male counterpart the best? Eva, equally damaged woman or, Ana, the naive student fresh from collage?

What I initially liked about Eva is that she wasn’t a naive virgin. Not that there is anything wrong with that, it just seemed so cliche in Fifty Shades. Eva has a dark past and I liked that it made her think more about starting something with Gideon. She was also very independent in the first book but that quickly changed as the series progressed. She got wayyy to dependent on Gideon and it became nauseating to read. She quickly fell from a favourite contemporary heroine to one of my least.

Ana on the other hand I always liked. Sure, she was naive and her attributes are so cliche they serve as the definition of contemporary romance tropes BUT, I felt like she really grew as a character (well, as much as she could in a contemporary erotica romance). I appreciated her ability to stop when certain things were going to fast and that she wanted to be an independent woman and not get everything handled for her. I guess I just

Winner: Ana. I just found her to be more consistent in her character delivery.

Crossfire: 0 | Fifty Shades of Grey: 2

Round 3: The plot/Romance

Learning to Love vs Learning BDSM

Two people trying to love each other despite the many obstacles in their way and their own personal demons.

The  Crossfire series is definitely more of an erotic romance than anything else though it has its suspenseful and dramatic moments. The best part is that these elements are present from the first book  whereas Fifty Shades doesn’t really start until the second.  And these books really have a darker element to them as things escalate. Unfortunately, I think this series suffers from over popularity, resulting in the series being 5 books long instead of the 3 or 4 books it was supposed to be. I really feel like the plot lines are being stretched thin and the characters are suffering from it. I haven’t enjoyed the last two books very much (I actually haven’t finished the latest one yet).

As for their romance, I find it to be extremely unhealthy in the later books. It’s a shame because I really saw why they would work together earlier on and I liked them together. However, their dependencies on each other and the extremes they go to later on makes me very uncomfortable. It gives me the heebee-jeebees and it’s really turning me off of this series.

It was the opposite with Ana and Christian in Fifty Shades of Grey. I started being a little creeped out by Christian’s intensity to be with Ana after only briefly meeting but as the series progressed, I was really rooting for them. I felt like their relationship evolved to be more than just BDSM experimentation and Ioved that (no pun intended). Is it a completely healthy one? No, but it could have been a lot worse.

It’s also no secret that the first book of the Fifty Shades Trilogy is basically just sex scene upon sex scene (I think all but two are not described). I’m not a BDSM fan so I really didn’t enjoy exploring this side of sexuality. I definitely liked the later books that focused more on uncovering Christian’s past and other dramatic events and those are the highlights of the series to me.

Winner: Crossfire. While I really don’t like the direction the series has moved, I feel like the earlier books were more fine-tuned when it came to balancing the sexy-times with the more dramatic elements.

Crossfire: 1 | Fifty Shades of Grey: 2

Ultimate Winner: Fifty Shades of Grey

Final Comments: Love it or hate it, Fifty Shades of Grey has done a lot for the contemporary erotic romance genre. Other authors have taken the basis of the trilogy and upped the ante with better writing, more dramatics and hotter romance. So it might not be the greatest novel ever, but, I still enjoyed reading it and appreciate that it never tried to be more than it was (well, the movie tried but that’s a whole other review 😉 )

What are your thoughts: which one would you rather read? Leave a comment below!

Next Time: ebooks vs physical books

Series Review: Heart of Stone by K.M. Scott

Series: Heart of Stone Trilogy
Author: K.M. Scott
# of Books: 3 (Crash Into Me, Fall Into Me, Give in to Me)

There is an epilogue novella called Ever After to be published

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes, though the novella is yet to be published
Genre: Contemporary, Erotica, Romance, Suspense, Mystery
Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: First Person (later books alternate POV)

Thoughts:

I was hesitant to buy Crash Into Me and read it but I hoped it would be like the Fixed Trilogy so I eventually caved and bought it.

The first chapter of Crash Into Me almost made me stop reading. It was one of the most frustrating opening to a book that I have ever had to endure. I encountered some stupid and naïve heroines but Nina is definitely in a league of her own. The best word I can think to classify her as is “delusional”.

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WARNING: this is a bit of a spoiler but seeing as it happens in the first chapter, I’m not going to hide it.

Of course like all cliché contemporary erotica romances, it all starts with a glance at a stranger across the room. I don’t fault the girl for being attracted to him–but what I can fault her for is her stupidity. She gets into his car and is simultaneously wondering if he is going to kiss her or kill her and chop her into tiny little pieces as he takes her outside the city. Um–what?! Why do you want this man who essentially kidnapped you to kiss you? I don’t care how good looking he is! Have some pride you stupid broad!

There are a few other prize winning Nina moments where she wonders if they are going to continue dating after meeting him for the second time; another is when she signs a contract without reading every page despite the fact that she knows something is up. Oh and keep in mind that up until this point she has probably only heard 20 words from him that weren’t a yes or no answer.

I tell you, the number of times I had to put down the book to take a big breath and pull my hair out is astounding–I’m surprised I still have hair.

Tristan isn’t any better. He is the stereotypical alpha male billionaire who sweeps her off her feet. I personally found it extremely creepy and I would be begging Nina to run if I was her friend Jordan–who, of course, thinks it is a brilliant idea to do all of this with a strange but rich man. Emphasis on the “rich” man part because his wanting to take care of her is all that her friend will need to be happy in life. *eye roll* I also found his character to be really unstable in the sense that he would appear one way and then another. His character and personality is never consistent throughout the book which is frustrating. I suppose it is attributed to his past but it really came out of nowhere at times.

*End Of Possible Spoilers*

Considering my rant, it is probably a surprise that I actually continued to read this book. I thought about giving up, but kind of like a train wreck, I just had to keep going. Eventually, it got better once some time passed in the plot. The relationship between Nina and Tristan got to be a lot healthier and I could sort of see their connection together. Near the end of Crash Into Me, we get more plot than their “intense” romance and it makes the story more interesting. I was still pulling my hair out and eye rolling as I read the last half of the book but I was “enjoying” the book I suppose.

Fall Into Me starts right after Crash Into Me but this time we are offered an alternating POV between Nina and Tristan. I welcomed this because it allowed for more insight into Tristan as a character. Even with the added perspective I still feel like I don’t know him too well but I suppose part of his appeal is the “mysterious” part of him. I felt like parts of Fall Into Me were added simply for the sake of making it “risqué” (just like a scene in Crash Into Me which was completely unnecessary). I could have done without them and I think the book would be better off without them. Overall,  the book was interesting and kept my attention though parts just felt like rehashes of the first book.

Give in to Me didn’t do much for me. There was only so much “I love you”‘s and sappy bits I could take before it started to take its toll. I just found it to be dull and even when the “suspense” part of the plot picked up, I just didn’t really care. Some good little twists at the end but not enough to wow me in any way.

I will be reading the novella, Ever After, when is comes out just for the sake of closure though I did like the way Give in to Me ended. I think the epilogue is just a bit of a treat for readers.

Conclusion:

While this series isn’t the worst contemporary series that I have read, it definitely isn’t the best. A promising plot just a poor execution and it really isn’t anything that I haven’t read before. I personally wouldn’t recommend this series to my friends because it irritated me at times; but it you want a story that is heavy on physical attraction and has a bit of a mystery to it, this series might be worth your time. Otherwise, pass.

Rating: 2.5/5

Similar Reads: Release Me by J. Kenner (Stark Trilogy #1); Down to You by M. Leighton (The Bad Boys #1) and Fixed on You by Laurelin Paige (Fixed on You Trilogy #1)

Synopsis for Crash Into Me (from Goodreads):
What would you give up for everything?

Tristan Stone was powerful, commanding, sex incarnate. And he wore it all so well. From the moment his mesmerizing gaze met mine, I had no choice but surrender to everything he was. His power. His decadence. His passion. He was all I never knew I needed.

He wanted to possess me, and I wanted to be his everything. All I had to do was accept what he offered. But everything has a price.

The world he gave me fulfilled my wildest dreams, but would that be enough when the past crashed into the present?