Monday, April 25, 2011

Reviews of TLS Fantastic Four - Fics of the Week 4/19 - 4/25/2011

A May to December Romance by Positively Fourth Street
My name is Isabella Swan and today, I signed a contract that would put me in the steel tight clutches of a man I didn't know, for four years. A girl's gotta pay for college somehow, right? AH. Come meet 'Sugar daddy' Edward.

Twilight - Rated: M

Review by LaMomo and PixieKat

For this week’s review of Positively 4th Street’s amazing story I have enlisted the help of her No. 1 Fangirl and partner in crime PixieKat.

Kat has been gracious enough to share with me a few of her notes and reviews on this story and I must say that her thoughts are on the same page as mine. I take, however, full responsibility for putting them together and for my other general ramblings.

As usual, a quick rundown of key elements in here, so that you all know what you are getting into.
Location, location, location: story starts in Seattle, we end up in a classy brownstone in Bethune Street, NYC.
Suspects: the usual, except that Bella is a penniless 18-year-old wanna be undergrad student who doesn’t qualify for scholarships and student loans. Renee and Charlie are unusually callous, unfeeling, selfish and downright repulsive characters. She is left to fend for herself and her dream to become a writer. What to do?
She hops online and…tries to reconcile what she knows of herself, her beliefs, her notion of right and wrong with her goal, and with the faint possibility that her dabbling with a seedy website with less-than-stellar moral standards might help her achieve it without losing herself and her dignity in the process.
Here comes the knight in shining armour, aka Edward.
Edward is a 39-year-old successful architect who lives in NYC. A good friend of his goads him and teases him to no end that he is a loner and has no companionship of any sort outside work.
Fate has a very alternative, very challenging, and extremely unexpected plan for them. They are matched. They will enter into an arrangement – a signed contract – that binds them for four years. What’s in it for both of them?
Let’s see, if you are not squicked out by the age difference – if you are, this story is not for you (although PixieKat and I think you are missing out on something great).

What’s in it for Edward?
Edward is a loner, an over-achiever, a golden boy since college days, but his life and his work don’t leave him any time for relatioships. He craves companionship but without the hassle of romantic entanglements.
He needs food for thought and intellectual exchange of ideas. He wants to nurture Bella’s talent and take care of her, in every way.
Overprotective, caring, insanely handsome, smart, profound, witty, intense. Canon Edward much? Oh yes, and the idea of a 107-year-old virgin with a 17-year-old girl didn’t trigger the yuck factor, right? But the idea of “an old soul” was there. And it’s here as well.
And don’t forget – he is completely mesmerised by Bella, but he’s not pushing her.

What’s in it for Bella?
She can leave her shitty parents behind. She gets to go to college, all expenses paid. She lives in a gorgeous place in Manhattan, lavished with attention, every material comfort imaginable, and…the most generous, caring and sweet man she has ever met, who thinks she is the most special being on earth.
She can’t wrap her mind around this, because she has lived neglected by her nearest and dearest until now, and barely has one friend.
She craves human companionship too, and tenderness. She begins craving Edward’s hugs. Until the warring sides of her subconscious (cleverly dubbed “Inner” and “Hussy”) begin detecting other feelings and cravings bubble under the surface.

This story is, up to now, characterised by some amazing writing, incredible research into the location and wonderfully detailed settings and descriptions.
There are some unexpected turns of events and some mysteries to uncover. E&B have their whole relationship to build, with their mutual doubts, hang-ups, and misconceptions. Life throws curved balls in the form of an uber-bitchy sister (Rose), friends in all places (James and Victoria, for once, are good and wholesome people), but there’s always some tenderness at the end of the day.

Edward lavishes Bella with gifts. She learns to accept them gracefully as she understands how important it is for him to indulge his “nurturing” side. The sweetest ones are charms for a Tiffany charm bracelet that he’s given to Bella. They chronicle key points and highlights of their life together. He’s just given her a silver heart with the word “happy” engraved on it. Can anyone swoon alongside me on the floor?
-LaMomo and Pixie Kat

Bella Swan: Kidnapper by Kambria Rain

Um. Hi. I don't really know how to say this, but I have your kids with me, and I was thinking maybe you would like them back. So yeah… call me.

Twilight - Rated: M

Review for BSK by OneBraveLamb
Ever thought that fate has strange ways of bringing people together? Ever seen a parent/nanny/crazy lady harming children and just wanted to smack her and take the kids away? Well Bella Swan sure does some crazy things... This story will suck you in from the beginning. You get all of the key players, some minimal angst and LOTS OF CHUCKLES! If you haven't read this story yet, then you need to get on it RIGHT NOW! If you have read it... re-read it! ;-) Trust me when I say it's worth it! ~MzB

Let’s see, what does Kambria Rain give us in Bella Swan: Kidnapper?

- A kickass Bella.
- Hot as hell Daddyward.
- Kids so cute your biological clock will start ticking faster.
- Officer Goodbody.
- TMNT, ftw.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, ladies.

Okay, so I’ll totally admit it, I’m a wussperv. Truly, I am. I have a serious love/hate relationship with angst. So, every now and again, I’ll find myself clutching a quart of Ben and Jerry’s, tissues surrounding me on the couch and spiraling into a massive depression from some of the amazing ficcage out there.

These are the times when I go searching for funny and light-hearted fics that will bring the sunshine back into my life.

Bella Swan: Kidnapper is one of those fics. Don’t believe me? Check out her summary:

“Um. Hi. I don't really know how to say this, but I have your kids with me, and I was thinking maybe you would like them back. So yeah… call me.”

Yeah. Told ya so.

The story starts out with our Momma Bear, Bella out shopping with her adorable son Leo. Now, for all the moms out there, we’ve all had our ‘slapabitch’ moments, where you spot someone else being all mega bitch to a kid. Maybe the person woke up on the wrong side of the bed, maybe that person is just a mega bitch - who knows. But we’ve all had those moments. I fell in love with Bella in the first chapter, because when she has one of those moments - she actually does something.

"For the love of God, would you shut up?" Oh great. The banshee and the poor crying girl were now outside.

"Don't talk to her like that!" A boy about Leo's size yelled back.

The beast rounded on the little guy with fire in her eyes. She dug her claws into his little arm. "You. Do. Not. Yell. At. Me."

"Let go," he whimpered. "You're hurting me!"

Leo came back to stand beside me, his eyes worried as he watched the scene, "Mom?"

"I don't give a shit. I want you and that little brat to shut up and get in the car," she practically screamed at him.

"Get in the truck," I told my son. He hesitated, but did as I told him.

"You can't tell me what to do. You're not my mother!" the other boy shouted at the woman defiantly.

When she raised her hand to hit him, I was over there before she could even blink. "You hit that kid, and I'll kick your ass."

"This is none of your business," she snapped back. "Ethan, get in the damn car. I'll deal with you when we get home." She started putting her bags in the trunk of her luxury car like I wasn't even there.

Something in me snapped. I shoved her hard, causing her to shriek and fall over in the trunk. Then I grabbed the little girl and took Ethan's hand. He was too busy looking over his shoulder in shock to watch where we were running as I pulled him along. I put them both in the back seat with Leo.

"Buckle in! Buckle in!" The banshee was getting up, and boy was she pissed. I locked the doors and took off.”

Now, by no means should we all go avenging momma’s and kidnap children from evil banshees, but man, it feels good to read about it.

This story is a fun ride, filled with laughs and love. It’s one of those that will keep you smiling and I have personally read it roughly five or six times. It’s just that good. Plus, who doesn’t love a Daddyward and Momella story?


That was the only word that could describe the sight before me. My Bella was sleeping on her side with her beautiful hair splayed out on my old pillow. She had her arm wrapped around my baby girl who was snuggled against her sweetly. I sat down carefully on the edge of the bed and just watched them. When I saw that Bella was wearing one of my old football jerseys, with my last name written across her back, I couldn't help myself. I had to touch her. I kissed Sophie on the forehead before placing my hand against Bella's cheek. When she didn't stir, I slowly moved it upward, letting my fingers run into her soft hair.

"You better have a good reason for waking me up," she said sleepily without opening her eyes.

"I missed you," I replied, continuing to caress her face and hair.

Her eyes fluttered open. She didn't try to move away from hand. "You just saw me last night."

I smiled at her. "So?"

Please insert my dreamy sigh here. Go. Read it. I promise you won’t be disappointed. -OneBraveLamb Fanfic

Expectations and Other Moving Pieces by chrometurtle

Everything I had done in my life seemed to lead up to this moment. The moment when I found myself bound inextricably to a man I didn't love, trapped in a life I didn't want. And if I left him, I would be entirely alone.

Twilight - Rated: M

First review by Fanfic Anna

E&OMP is an amazing and beautifully written WIP by chrometurtle.  The story begins four years into Edward and Bella's loveless, cold marriage in New York City.  Edward has just received word that his father Carlisle has passed away in Colorado, where he and his wife, Esme, and Edward's sister Rosalie and her husband, Emmett live.  Edward quickly informs Bella that they will be going to Colorado together.

"To Colorado?" I mumbled the question stupidly. "To the ranch house?"
"Yes." His voice was firm. It was all confidence and stability. I hated his voice.
I took a step towards him, away from the door. I could feel all the nervous energy, the desperation running through me, leaking from my pores as sweat and fear.  "You can't do this," I hissed.  His eyebrows rose slightly and I saw the corners of his mouth twitch, the beginnings of an amused smirk. He straightened, pushing his weight off the desk, and took a step towards me in response.  "I think you'll find that I really, really can." His voice was almost entertained.  I couldn't take this. Couldn't stand it, stand him. Talking about my life like it was a joke. Like I was just some kind of pawn to him. He had always viewed me as a possession, not a person.  But I was a person.  "You can't force me to go with you," I snapped with more confidence than I felt.  Something flashed in his eyes for a moment, disrupting the calm. It was gone just as quickly, before I could identify it as anger or hate or violence or anything else he might feel when hearing even a suggestion that I wasn't his property. "You're my wife. You will do as I say." His voice had never been so cold. Not in four years.

Very quickly, we begin to see little glimpses of Edward and Bella's shared and separate pasts.  We get a glimpse into Bella's mind and heart, neither of which are with Edward:   Deep, kind eyes that matched my own. Nothing cold, no green ice like Edward's. Warm, sun-browned skin instead of pale alabaster. Muscles large and toned, rather than slender and sinewy. He could wrap me up and hold me, envelope me, make me feel safe and fragile. Every physical part of him screamed of primal masculinity. Everything I desired by pure instinct, he embodied. We also get a little glimpse of Edward and Bella's first meeting:  The first time I had met him, the same taste had been on my tongue. I was laughing, drunk, watching my friends kissing their boys and wishing desperately that I was kissing someone, too. I wanted to always be kissing someone.  He had slid onto the stool next to me, shy and awkward, but with an irresistible light in his eyes, fixed only on me. "Can I buy you a drink?" he had asked politely, just the hint of a smile on his face. He was nervous, but he was fairly good at hiding it. That, or he had a hell of a lot of self-respect, even if he didn't have much self-confidence. I hadn't know such a thing was possible until I looked at his shy, hopeful face with the teasing smile hint.  I looked him up and down shamelessly, all manners forgotten, assessing him as one would a piece of meat. He was thin and pale, his hair was an unholy mess that looked as if it had never been brushed. He was wearing a white button-down that was buttoned to the very top with a black skinny tie. I smirked at him, about to turn him down with as much tact as I was capable of at that point in the evening which, honestly, wouldn't have been much.  But then I caught sight of Jessica and Lauren, still attached to their boyfriends by the lips and few less savory parts of their bodies. I felt a small twinge of indignation, which was soon replaced by mischief.  I turned back to the boy in front of me and smiled wide at him. I leaned forward slightly and grabbed at his tie. His eyes widened in surprise, but he didn't push me away. I loosed his tie and unbuttoned three buttons, exposing a hint of pale, angular collarbones. Then I turned to the bartender and ordered a gin and tonic.  These little glimpses into what brought these two into the mess of a marriage that they're in now, always gives you just enough, but leaves wanting/needing to know more.

Following Carlisle's funeral, Edward decides that he will stay in Colorado with his family.  "And what about me?" I asked quietly, afraid of his answer, afraid to hear him tell me that I would be forced to stay here with him.  He looked at me for a long time without speaking, his ice green eyes holding me. I hadn't stopped shaking and I was sure he could see it, even from across the room.  "You are, of course, free to do what you want," he shrugged at last. "You're not a prisoner."  I felt a gasp escape my lips as I heard the words that I had not expected, but that I had hoped for. He was giving me permission to leave, to go home, to go back to New York and live my life. To divorce him.  My elation was short-lived as I realized what that would mean.  Going back to a home that would no longer be mine, living in a city where I didn't have a job or a means to support myself. [...] You're not a prisoner.  I met Edward's eyes, finding him standing and waiting and always watching me.  "Aren't I?" I whispered.

As time passes, and Edward leaves Bella alone in the house more and more, Bella befriends Esme and Carlisle's neighbors, Alice and her husband Jasper.  At the same time, a very uneasy truce is slowly and quietly unfolding between Edward and Bella; one that Edward and Bella may be the last to notice.

Chrometurtle's writing of two people so hurt and angry with one another is so honest and well done.  I love the way she writes imperfect characters, neither of whom are without blame for where they have found themselves in their marriage.  Everything from their basic daily interactions, to their fights, to their more friendly conversations, are so real and true and moving/touching/honest, it's sometimes hard to not want to look away.  Although she's not always very likable, Bella's journey from how she perceives herself, Edward, their marriage and their future is beautiful, and just like the rest of the story, brutally honest.

This is angst done in the best way possible:  With adults who've made mistakes, who still make mistakes and who are trying to right the wrongs they've done to themselves and each other.  If you haven't already, put E&OMP at the top of your TBR.  You will be so happy you did.
 - Fanfic Anna

2nd E&OMP Review by Perry Maxwell

The beauty of chrometurtle’s
Expectations and Other Moving Pieces begins with its title; in that, despite its namesake, it provides no insight into the story about to unfold.  Instead, the reader is thrust into the world of two seemingly mismatched lovers, seen through the eyes of the wife within this couple, Bella Cullen.

Right away, the tone is set as one of resentment, loathing, and maybe even shared hatred between our beloved Edward and Bella, and the reader is left wondering…why?  What the hell happened?  What could make Edward tell Bella, “I won’t forgive you.”?

Then through a mixture of current events interspersed with Bella’s memories, our questions are slowly answered.  These glimpses into the past help us understand and possibly sympathize with Edward, even though his vitriolic attitude towards his wife is often cringe-worthy.

Yet, we’re shown hints of an underlining devotion amidst the indifference and annoyance they harbor against one another.  It’s in the way Bella defends the ostensibly abhorrent actions of her husband to everyone that surrounds him, and the way Edward can’t seem to let Bella go.

Some have speculated that this story mirrors the tone and temperament of The Painted Veil’s Walter and Kitty.  Though Bella’s reasons differ from those of Kitty’s, they both marry men whom they don’t love to escape certain aspects of their lives.  And like Walter, Edward starts out unconditionally in love with Bella.  This love, eventually, turns into a contemptuous anger.

Much like The Painted Veil, Edward and Bella are torn from their everyday lives and forced to deal with thoughts and emotions they have so readily ignored and kept buried.  Will Edward learn to love Bella again?  Will Bella finally unreservedly surrender her heart to Edward?  Or will they just learn to peacefully coexist?

What I love about this story is the pacing.  Chrometurtle gradually details the past and present lives of our somewhat loveable duo without offering any allusions to their future.  For the first time in a long time, I honestly can’t predict, with any sort of confidence, the fate of these two.

I’m sure I’m speaking for the masses when I say; let’s hope Expectations and Other Moving Pieces’ ending differs from that of The Painted Veil.  It’d be nothing less than tragic if Edward and Bella finally figure it out only to lose it soon thereafter.

What I do know is; I trust the author.  She consistently provides thought provoking and emotive chapters, often leaving me in tears.  Or I’m left considering the providences of the two main characters for days.

I know it will all be worth it in the end, whatever that might be.

-Perry Maxwell

Tilt by Lambcullen

MAN WANTED: 52 cards. 52 Positions. Can an internet advertisement really bring two people together? Even if it's only based on sex? AU/AH/OOC Canon Couples. *COMPLETE*

Twilight - Rated: M

Tilt Review by MzBionic

Tilt: Poker term -To play recklessly.
Something that started off as awkward and embarrassing had morphed into something beautiful and perfect. She was like a drug to me, and the plan of a once a week liaison was now spiralling into every night. It excited me, but the faster we got through the cards, the faster our time would be up." -SexDeckWard

Two nerdy book-worms with low self-esteem and minimal sexual experience. They both have sneaky friends who know the ropes of the internet and happen to own a deck of cards that depics some of the greatest positions from the Kama Sutra. Can they go through with meeting up? Can they keep it purely sexual? Great fic with lots of interesting knowledge to gain. ~MzB

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