Reader Poll Time! What Should We Read Before We Start Crossfire?

Hello, readers. This week we finish our reading of Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Oblivion, the ending of which you hopefully don’t lose as much sleep as Ariel and I did trying to comprehend. As you might know, we’re returning to the world of Sylvia Day’s Crossfire to fill our erotic romance shoes (they are not practical shoes) with, Captivated By You, the fourth book in the series that even the fans seem to kind of despise, given how the conversation on Goodreads is dominated by how the book’s release took a whole year and a half. The poor souls.

But we have a decision to make. We’ve spent quite a while reading a terrible, padded novel about an abusive relationship. Should we dive right into another one? And there’s the upcoming mid-February release of that thing to consider (we have… plans…). Should we wait? Could we all use a palate cleanser?

So we want to hear your voice. What should we do?

Option One: Dive right into Captivated By You

We could do that.

Option Two: Take a break with a new series, Sweet Valley High

We could briefly dive into the new-for-us, beloved-for-others world of Sweet Valley High before starting the new Crossfire. Ariel and I could regale you with the tales of identical twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield in Sweet Valley, California. It will be all “Oh, that Elizabeth is so popular!” and “Oh, that Jessica is such a bad girl in contrast to her identical twin!” It’ll be great. I have no idea what these books are about.

sweet valley high

Option Three: Take a break with a new series, Bailey School Kids

We could sojourn into a supernatural series of stories! Stories with weirdly exclusionary titles, in retrospect.

That's kind of Zombie-racist, book.
That’s kind of Zombie-racist, book.

It’s a series of children’s books that Ariel remembers! I totally don’t remember these and thought she was talking about something else. I’m goddamned useless. But we could read a book from this series, which includes entries such as Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots, Aliens Don’t Wear Braces, and the definitely phoning it in by this point Witches Don’t Do Backflips. Who says witches don’t do backflips? What kind of non-witch gymnast sociocultural institutions are in place at Bailey School?

Option Four: Return to Magic Tree House

We could return to the adventures of Jack and Annie, who are surprisingly incompetent even for little children. We saw them almost get eaten alive by dinosaurs when they first discovered the time and space-traveling magic tree house. We could see them go on some other incredibly ill-advised adventure.

Why. Why would you do this.
Why. Why would you do this.

So. What’s it gonna be? Make your vote now! If you have suggestions for specific books in any of the series, leave them below!



  1. Madeline Reply

    I was gonna suggest diving straight into Crossfire but Sweet Valley High is my ultimate pick. I never read them as a kid, but I’ve read all the posts about them on (a website I found from the comments section here btw) and they are fucking insane. To sum it up: Liz is a doormat and Jess has serious psychological issues that rival the Maddox brothers’. So make of that what you will.

  2. malcolmthecynic Reply


    My favorite part:

    GIDEON: Of course, We will do this for you Cary. If my angelic wife wants to give you an orgy. You will have one. Also, you can stay with us at the penthouse. Don’t worry the walls are soundproof.
    CARY (eyes popping wide) : Wife??!! Baby girl you married this man??!! but you guys only met yesterday!

    EVA (Lifting her chin, flashing her ring): Well we love each other. We are dependent on each other in the worst of ways. We can’t even pee without each other. So yes we got married on a remote island, who Gideon bought just for me!! I love you so so much, Gideon.
    GIDEON (tearing up a little): Oh angel mine! Thank you for making a honest woman out of me. You showed me how to be sensitive and pussy whipped…most importantly you showed me how to love, Evaaaa!! Let’s have sex now!

    EVA (Turning towards Cary): Yes, it’s time for Gideon and me to have sex, Cary. So go away.

    The series in a nutshell, in those four chunks of dialogue.

    • 22aer22 Reply

      The last line was amazing and the most accurate summary of Eva’s relationship with Cary I’ve ever read!

  3. shreya Reply

    Sweet Valley High,please! Because 1.there are a lot of things in the series you can make fun of(without even trying) and 2.I disliked the series even when I was a kid.

  4. Shreya Reply

    Sweet Valley High,please! Because 1.there are a lot of things to make fun of(without even trying) and 2.I disliked the series even as a child. Oh and I cant seem to vote : And that seems like a necessity right now since Crossfire and SVH are in a tie!

  5. Kate Reply

    Holy mother of god, Sweet Valley High. I promise you, they are so much worse than anyone remembers, in so many ways that I never even considered the first time I read them. If you don’t do Sweet Valley High now, I’d still really hope that you consider it somewhere down the line. The potential here is unlimited.
    Also, just throwing this out there: if you want to COMBINE the horror of Sweet Valley High with the horror of shady romance novels, plus the added “bonus” of, uh… badly written historical fiction, I guess? Sweet Valley Saga is also a thing. There are four books (one each for like, the Patmans, the Fowlers, the Wakefields, and the Robertsons) in the series, and they’re like, these fat little bodice-ripper lookin’ things, but they read really fast. I recently found one in my basement and went through the whole thing in a few hours. It’s absolute garbage masquerading as romance! and history! and quality! which is always a good time.

  6. KayMia Reply

    Lila’s Secret Valentine and Cupid Doesn’t Flip Hamburgers would be appropriate for this month. (Not sure if previous comment posted). Don’t ask how I remember these.

  7. future venusian Reply

    Ooh, ooh, do Sweet Valley High! Those books suck eggs. A whole dozen, even. There’s two in particular I remember–one was about the twins’ friend and her oh-so-dramatic struggles with her evil stepmother, and one was about Jessica seeing this older guy and wearing a red bikini and being called jailbait.

    There was another Sweet Valley series that followed the twins in college, but I couldn’t read it because it was so freaking depressing. (Spoiler: Elizabeth’s boyfriend turns into a dick with ears)

  8. Kristin Reply

    I freaking loved SVH when I was a tween. Pretty please with sugar on top?! I loaded Captivated by You on my Kindle a couple months ago but haven’t touched it nor have I read any reviews. Interesting that the fans don’t like it, but she set the bar ridiculously high with the long delay in release. I’m almost tempted to read it tonight to see the fuss, lol.

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