Title: CAPTIVATED BY YOU (Crossfire Series #4)
Author: Sylvia Day
Availability: 18 November 2014 (Paperback and e-Book | Berkley), 368 Pages
Where to buy: Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | Amazon (US) | Amazon UK paperback
Series Info: A Crossfire Novel, #4 (Bared to You (#1), Entwined with You (#2), Reflected in You (#3))
Giveaway: Leave a comment ON THIS POST telling me why you love the Crossfire Series and you’ll be eligible to receive a signed hardcover copy of BARED TO YOU (Crossfire #1), the book that started it all! If you’re not familiar with the Crossfire Series (*gasp*), comment telling me what you look for in a steamy read – chances are you’ll find it here!(contest ends November 25, open to U.S. residents only, winner selected using random number generator).
Captivated by You captures the reader from the first line and doesn’t let go until its satisfying end. As can be expected by a Crossfire novel, we witness the exhilarating and passionate love of Gideon Cross and Eva Tramell as they face ghosts from the past while working toward the happy future they both dream of and finally realize they deserve. On their path, they must deal with jealous exes and meddling parents, complicated by juggling friendships, business dealings, and their own emotional baggage. Loving Eva has opened Gideon up to change and acceptance, allowing him and Eva to deepen their connection as she learns to let go of her past and embrace a future with Gideon. They must fight for each other and their shared goal against numerable obstacles, including themselves.
Gideon calls me his angel, but he’s the miracle in my life. My gorgeous, wounded warrior, so determined to slay my demons while refusing to face his own.
The vows we’d exchanged should have bound us tighter than blood and flesh. Instead they opened old wounds, exposed pain and insecurities, and lured bitter enemies out of the shadows. I felt him slipping from my grasp, my greatest fears becoming my reality, my love tested in ways I wasn’t sure I was strong enough to bear.
At the brightest time in our lives, the darkness of his past encroached and threatened everything we’d worked so hard for. We faced a terrible choice: the familiar safety of the lives we’d had before each other or the fight for a future that suddenly seemed an impossible and hopeless dream…
It took me over 24 hours after finishing Captivated by You to sit down and write this review. I needed at least that long to process all the feelings this book brought out in me. All day, while folding laundry or putting away groceries or whatever chore I was engaged in, my mind kept coming back to this book. That’s what a good book does, it stays with you even after you’ve read the last page.
And let me tell you, I didn’t want that last page to come. As I raced toward the finish, my e-reader kept me informed of exactly how far it was to the end and I kept complaining “there isn’t enough time!” Well, at least I can be comforted by the news there is another Crossfire novel ‘coming soon’ from Berkley Books, One With You (no release date yet – Grrrrrrr!).
As the fourth book in a five series, Captivated by You doesn’t really work as a stand-alone novel. Yes, a reader can pick up this installment without ever having read the others but the nuances of the characters would not be as rich and the character/relationship growth would not be as rewarding. The first three books in the series are great and I strongly recommend them (see my reviews of #1 Bared to You here, #2 Reflected in You here, and #3 Entwined with You here).
Now on to the good stuff: 5 Things I Loved about Captivated by You and 1 Thing I Didn’t
#1 Gideon Cross’ Point of View
As the book opened to Gideon’s voice for the first time, I actually bounced in my seat with excitement. As a fan of the series, I (like his fictional love Eva) have been frustrated by the character’s brooding alpha male tendencies. Gideon has always been open and honest with Eva regarding his feelings for her, his insecurities and failings. However, there has been much that he’s held back. Reading his thoughts and seeing events from his perspective really brought a whole new layer to an already complex character. Kudos to Ms. Day for giving Gideon his own distinctive voice. [This doesn't mean I wasn't thrilled to read Eva's perspective in the alternating chapters told in her POV – it was like catching up with an old friend.]
#2 Character Growth
This is one strong positive I think a new reader to the series might not appreciate if staring with book four. I have to admit it, I’m proud of these two crazy kids and how they have grown, making mature decisions and dealing with problems head-on, together (for the most part, more on this later). Gideon’s character arc especially, has impressed me. As pointed out above, reading his point of view emphasizes the changes loving Eva has helped him with. It was also refreshing to see Eva respond differently, with more reasoned reactions (usually).
#3 Scenes of Past Abuse
I can’t sugar coat it, there are some intense, emotionally raw depictions of sexual abuse of a minor told through flashbacks and dreams. These scenes were hard to read – and it’s a testament to the quality the writing that something so horrifying doesn’t turn a reader off but rather draws them further into the story. Reliving these events through the character’s eyes was an important part of novel and the reader’s relationship with the characters. Thank you to Ms. Day for not shying away from the realities of abuse and it’s effect on the victims.
Be prepared – it ain’t pretty, but it’s handled masterfully.
#4 Secondary Characters
I’m going to be honest, in the first three books I didn’t really care too much about the secondary characters. Most were either threats to Gideon and Eva’s relationship or took time away from the main crux of the story. My ambivalence has been erased (for most characters, some still bore me). We are introduced to more of Gideon’s circle of friends– he actually has a Guy’s Night with all his wealthy, hot male buds. [Shout out to Arash Madani, Gideon's lawyer and my new bestie! The man is smart and funny *sigh*]
Gideon and Eva even go out on a group date to co-mingle their groups of friends and there’s a scene here that I thought might play as cheesy but ended up kinda hot. [Rule #1: Always Trust Sylvia Day] It was great to have some scenes of fun and lightness in an otherwise dark tale; there’s a nice, and necessary, balance.
We also saw more of Gideon’s relationship with his family, including his step-father. I have become so attuned to threats to Gideon and Eva’s relationship that I actually get a bit wary when new characters enter their sphere. [Note: still hate you, Corrine and Brett] My actual notes on Chris Sr.: “I hope my liking him doesn’t bite me in the ass.” SPOILER ALERT: It didn’t. [Rule #2: See Rule #1]
Oh, and I’m still in love with Gideon’s driver Angus, the red-haired Scotsman (I have a type, don’t judge me).
#5 The “Good Parts” Are Very Good
Sylvia Day is a master of writing erotic romance (please note the emphasis on romance). No matter how raw and sexual a scene between Gideon and Eva becomes, it’s about the love and deeper connection between the two. Let me assure you, there are plenty of raw, nearly animalistic scenes in this book – but these characters are always making love (even if it’s a quickie in the back of a limo or introducing a new ‘toy’).
The Crossfire series is often mentioned in the ‘what to read after 50 Shades’ conversation. Nope, wrong. No contest. This series (and this installment especially, I think) puts that comparison to shame. Crossfire is hotter, has more emotional depth and is just so well-written. Do yourself a favor, skip ’50 Shades’ and go straight to Sylvia Day’s Crossfire novels.
Aaaannnnddd: 1 Thing I Didn’t Love About Captivated by You: Eva’s Overreaction (maybe?)
For so much of this book (I swear 90%), I was gushing over the way Gideon and Eva communicated and worked as a team. I should have known it was too good to last. I’ve sometimes wondered if Eva’s reactions to Gideon’s behavior haven’t been a tad too over the top (couples therapy, really? after a couple of weeks of dating?). Unfortunately that concern reared it’s ugly head again.
There came a time in this book where Gideon set things in motion without consulting Eva (SO hard to not give spoilers!). Unlike his behavior in earlier books, in this instance he confessed quickly and when she (predictably) blew up, he immediately backtracked – two things he wouldn’t have done before (yay growth!). Rather than talk things through, Eva ran off and stopped talking to him for days (feels like this happens every book). She’s all about him opening up but then she shuts down. Gideon was juggling so many threats and emotional issues, I guess I just felt Eva needed to show a little more understanding. The conflict felt a bit too forced for me – but hey, without conflict, you can have make-up scenes. And given her character’s history, her reaction might be entirely proportionate.
Some favorite quotes:
“You make me happy,” he said, in the deep firm tone he used when making an unswayable decision. “I’d forgotten what that feels like. Don’t devalue what you mean to me.” –Gideon
I believed Gideon implicitly. He always told me the truth. The problem was, there was a lot he didn’t tell me. –Eva
“Was that a laugh, Cross? Were you seriously just laughing? Or were you having a stroke?” –Arash
“No fair. You’re all ripped and shiny and mostly naked, and I have no willpower.” –Eva
I couldn’t grasp the dream I’d had, but it refused to let go of me. –Gideon
Take me. Take all of me. The good and the bad. Everything. Take it all. –Gideon
“It’s not the past she’s thinking of […] it’s the future.” –Angus
He had to stop pushing me away to protect me, and I had to stop worrying that I would disappear when I became Mrs. Gideon Cross. –Eva [their issues in a nutshell]
This couple has definitely earned their happy ending. No doubt they’ll find it in One With You, the next, and reportedly last, Crossfire novel.
About Author Sylvia Day:
Sylvia Day is the #1 New York Times and #1 international bestselling author of over 20 award-winning novels sold in more than 40 countries. She is a #1 bestselling author in 23 countries, with tens of millions of copies of her books in print. Her Crossfire series has been optioned for television by Lionsgate.
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