Friday, December 4, 2009

The Caged Bird by Kristen_Nicole

The Caged Bird





All Human AU – Shy Bella Swan lives with her religiously zealous mother, Renée. When she has a chance meeting with town hellion Edward, Bella begins to realize that perhaps the sheltered life she’s been leading isn’t so much a comfort as it a cage.


Someone recently asked me if I read The Caged Bird. I looked at the Gchat window and tried to raise an eyebrow in dismay. Do I READ The Caged Bird? Has this girl not been following my tweets? Rude. I talk about it constantly! I have an entire Thursday morning ritual dedicated to reading the updates which includes blocking off twenty minutes on my calendar and running off to the bathroom or small conference room in my office. Do I read The Caged Bird? My question to her was: who doesn't?

And if you don't, you really should. I'm serious. Start. Reading. Now.

I thought that would be enough to convince you to read this story, but I was told to elaborate. Since I talk about it so often, this should not be too difficult.

So here we go.

1) Best. Bella. Ever.

Bella lives with her overbearing, very religious mother and attends a private Christian school. She lives a very sheltered life which consists of school and her part-time job at the local library, where one day she runs into - no, literally runs into - Edward Cullen. He's a bad boy. He is delicious. I haven't tasted him in real life, but when I read about this Edward, I can actually hear/feel/see him. It's like I know him. He makes me squirm in my seat and blush and embarrass myself at work when someone interrupts my reading. If he has this effect on me, imagine what he's doing to good girl Bella. The girl is dazzled. I mean even canon Bella wasn't this dazzled. And I know you people will kill me, but canon Edward's got nothing on this Edward. Nothing.

Now that I am done gushing over Edward, let's return to Bella. She is one of my favorites. She is in my top three (I have lists). Her inner monologue is hilarious. We experience everything with her, and the author does an incredible job of describing every single emotion that is going through Bella at any given time. She may be inexperienced and naïve, but Bella is strong, and as you watch her grow stronger you can't help but fall in love with her and pray that everything in her life turns out well.

2) Edward Cullen

I know half of my Bella paragraph was about Edward, but let me just say this again: if you are an Edward fan (you know you are, even if you pretend to be on Team Jacob), you must read this story. Must. He's bad, he curses a lot, and yet he is so incredibly sweet, so fascinated with Bella, that reading about these two will take your breath away.

3) It is hot

I mean just picture it. All of this is very new to Bella. Half the time she is bewildered and shocked and a little embarrassed, but she wants it. Boy does she want it. And her thoughts every single time Edward touches her, or does something new... brilliant. Sometimes you laugh, because it is outrageously funny, but then you get lost in the hotness. And your mouth sort of falls open and it starts getting really warm and a little uncomfortable and you keep scrolling down like a madman and not once do you roll your eyes at any lemony fic clichés. Because Kristen Nicole wouldn't do that to us. She is too good, too awesome.

Throw in a shower head, Edward's ridiculously long fingers, some painkillers, and Bella praying with her mother while Edward hides under the bed, and we have one of the best stories out there. Trust me, I don't exaggerate and I certainly don't fangirl over anyone or anything unless I am completely in love, but this story and its author deserve all the fangirling this fandom has to offer. Please don't miss out on a wonderful experience.

I just can't even begin to tell you how much I love this fic. I've heard this talked about on and on via Twitter for months and I just never got around to reading it. Generally when a fic is discussed that much, I am inevitably disappointed in what I find. Was it as such with TCB?

The only thought that went through my head (over and over again) was: Why in the fuck didn't I read this sooner?!

We've got such a unique premise on this overly religious mother that shelters her daughter to the point of damage, basically. It's interesting how Kristin weaves the religious themes throughout the fic, yet I never feel like it's a heavy presence there. Sort of like that soft music playing in the background that you kind of tune out, but manage to recognize it again every now and then.

Besides the basis of the story, we have two main characters that I actually like. Yes, that's right, I enjoy this Bella. *gasp* I know, I'm as shocked as you are. But, it's true. She's funny, she's witty, and when she's pushed far enough, she stands up for herself. Well, I mean, has there ever been an Edward that I haven't liked? Probably not. But, TCB Edward knocks me off my feet. There's something about his honesty and his vulnerability combined with his utter crassness that makes me fucking swoon over this semi-soft (though not that way *wink*) bad boy.

Now...the smut. I was apprehensive when I started reading this, thinking that a religious basis for a fic would be the equivalent of a total cockblocker. Well, thank fucking God that wasn't the case. While they have yet to actually seal the deal, they have been...uh...practicing. And, well, you know what they say about that. Practice makes perfect.

TCB managed a feat... I give this 5 out of 5 good gollys.

Yet again I need to snog Nina - as it were she that tempted me with this delight of a fic!

As soon as I started the first chapter - I was completely hooked. It is a complete breath of fresh air! Sweet, light, but with substance and oh so sexy.

This story is the journey of Bella. As she begins to experience life, love & lust.... Who is the cause or catalyst for this awakening? Why gadabout town Edward Cullen of course. His feelings for Bella are also a catalyst for his own change - he suddenly has something/someone he wants and needs to protect, love, do right by & make happy. He thankfully does not tone down the cussing & bad boy sexy talk but he does change his pace and demeanour for her. I am in love with this Edward as he has such a squishy middle of sappy love for this Bella. He schools and guides her through her innocent eyed approach to sexual exploration. He's tender, gentle and sweet but still leaking with lust for her (quite literally! ;] )and goes out of his way to make sure she's comfortable, happy & secure. I really cannot praise the writing too highly. Its tight, a delight and a very unique story & approach. Kristen's use of language is an absolute joy to behold and I now have my speech littered with Caged Bird-ism's.. :) READ THIS NOW! NOW! NOW!!! GO...

4.75 Good Golly's out of 5 from me (the remaining smidgeon is for when the sexing happens!!!)

I love this story. Wait I don't' think I was clear. I FUCKING LOVE THIS STORY! Oops, I cursed. Renee would not approve and I'll have to do an extra 15 minutes of devotionals. Like Nina says, there's opportunity for this story to be cliche and the characters to be over exaggerated caricature's. But with a blend of humor and seriousness Kristen_Nicole prevents that from happening.

Honestly if not for the humor this story would be a major drag. Only because of the dismal sheltered nature of Bella's life up to the point that Edward enters it. Bella has absolutely no concept of the world outside of her mother, her close knit Christian school and working at the town library. It's sad and pathetic and makes you want to kidnap her so you can take her to the mall, a Starbucks and maybe to get some fast food. She's naive, but not stupid. She's only naive because of the way she was raised and kept away from the evil society that would 'taint' her. There's an innocence and charm to her that draws people to her. Through being with Edward she changes; grows stronger, grows a backbone, and takes a cold hard look at her life. At the end of the last chapter she stood up for herself in a really big flipping way. I can't wait to see what happens next and what the fallout will be. I have to say there isn't a Bella quite like TCB Bella. I simply love the flipping frilly heck out of her.

Now our dear little Edward. He's the quintessential bad boy. But he doesn't want to be bad, not really. It's just something to do. He wants to be loved, to be touched with gentleness and reverence. Awww, shucks. He's got a potty mouth on him, that Bella ignores for the most part. That is unless his hands are on her. Bella is a foreign entity to him, so unlike anyone he's ever meet. I think that's what draws him in at first, or it could be that she hold his head in her lap and prays for him the first time the run in to each other. Either one really.

At the heart of it they are opposites. But not really. They both are just trying to make due and survive their dysfunctional lives. It bonds them together.

Now, lets talk about smut. These two kooky kids haven't done the deed yet. Honestly, they don't need to. Not saying I don't want it, I do. Just's not the focus of the story. Sure, the smut is really fucking good and it expresses the development of their relationship; emotionally and physically. Bella being the pure virgin she is (she only just discovered the joys of a detachable showerhead) tends to lead in the bedroom department. Not to say that she's the aggressive one, but she allows Edward to do the next thing, to unbutton that button, etc... She dictates the pace of their physical relationship. Because she is so sheltered and has no point of reference she lets her body lead and they progress physically rather quickly. But it doesn't feel rushed, ya know?

you've read my ramblings, what are you waiting for?

5 out of 5 Good Golly's from me.

Okay, you have to love a story that starts with lines like:
“Wouldn’t you like that, my baby Bella? Staying home with Mommy all day and learning about the miracles of Jesus, our lord and savior?”
Who would have ever thought they'd see that on the Perv Pack?

I love that pure, innocent, religious Bella bumps her library cart into outspoken, dirty Edward. When she learns Edward is going to be shadowing her at the library, her world seems turned upside down.

Kristen Nicole writes this story with such beauty that I frequently find myself reading a line and imagining it in my head, like a movie. A lot of stories try too hard, or use big words in an attempt to dazzle you with their wit and intellect, but every word here feels so well-used and placed.

Chapter 6(ff)/5(story) totally killed me with:

I’ll never manage to stay away from that darned detachable shower head now!

I really love the complexity and layers of the characters in this story. There's something going on with Bella's mom, a side plot with Jake and Leah, Rosalie... lots of things to keep you engaged and focused through the story.

There are little drops of citrusy goodness sprinkled all through this story, as well as hysterical bits like Bella's mom leaving her notes that read “God is watching.”

Chapter 14(ff)/13(story) almost killed me. Chapter 16/15 was so sweet and tender, and juicy good.

NGL, my tears came in chapter 20/19. You know I cry at every sappy thing, and it hit me right then, where it hit Bella, that she doesn't have to be alone anymore. She's been alone basically her whole life. It was a very poignant moment in the story, and amazingly well displayed and told.

The lemony goodness through this story is so sticky sweet, but perfect. There is angst here, I'm not even going to lie. I cried more than once. This story only has one more chapter left, and an epilogue. I don't know how Kristen Nicole is going to wrap this up, but I trust her to do it in spectacular style, and with fabulous grace and beauty, as she has written the whole story.

5/5 Good Gollys

It's hard for me to express fully how much I adore both Kristen and this story.

It's exceptionally well written, interesting and one of the funniest stories I've read. It's unique first of all. The storyline has the potential to be cliche, but, Kristen masterfully never, ever allows that to happen.

Bella, the sweet and holy daughter of the best wackadoo Renee's ever. She makes my Catholic mama look like a heathen. Poor Bella practically bathes in holy water, would probably have to brush her teeth with a Jesus shaped toothbrush and they're just shy of having Bible scripture place mats. She works diligently with Mr. Jasper and is introduced to Edward. A wonderfully written bad boy Edward.

I don't know why this line makes me laugh so much but it's just so perfect. This takes place at their first meeting when Bella knocks Edward over with a bookcart.
“And Lord, if I have to knock down people with the book cart as part of your plan for my life, can I at least just maim the really annoying, unattractive ones?”
Her good golly's, oh jeez's and other vanilla verbiage is something that makes this story so charming. Aside from her seemingly innocent outer dialogue, her inner is almost more entertaining. Especially in relation to Edward.

All in all Kristen writes these two in such a magnificent way, that I'd love to find someone who doesn't like this story in all it's glory. It's sweet but comedic, snarky and more importantly hot. Edward is stifling and she's certainly no slouch either. Together they're off the charts.

4.5/5 good gollys from me

Oh my frilly heck do I love this story. I had heard 10000 tweets about it, but was trying to wait until it was complete to read (as my overloaded brain tends to get confused lately with 500 updates vying for attention). But, alas, it was up for review, so I had a good excuse to read it.

There have been very few Bella's I have loved more. Her innocent naivete, yet sharp wit and ability to see things in a different light makes her completely endearing. I love how she's willing to overlook the things that are said about Edward and really get to know him.

Edward, the "bad" boy. Oh how I love him. And he's been done beautifully here. Yes, he's a bit on the bad side, but he is also really, oh-so-good. It's impossible not to like him and his flirty, corrupting ways.

Renee is one of the most wacked out versions I've seen. I feel for Bella being stuck living the life she is. Overbearingly religious Renee shoving her beliefs down Bella's throat kind of makes me cringe. Though we do come to see that things aren't always what they seem.

Then we have the absolutely palpable UST between Edward and Bella. Though not completely unresolved as each new chapter brings them just a little bit closer, a bit more experimentation and learning on innocent Bella's part. I am dying for the final act, so to speak, because it's gonna set the world on fire.

4.5 out of 5 Good Golly's from me (just waiting for the sexy times to bump it to a full 5!)

Oh my god, why in the hell did it take me so long to read this story? I kept seeing different people praise it on twitter. For whatever reason I just never got around to it. But I did for the rec. Then promptly hit my head against the wall for waiting so long. Ok, so maybe not. But I did sit on my ass for far too long to read it all. So good. So, so good.

Great googly moogly this story pwns me. Bella is so loveable in this fic. I want to be bfffs with her and help in the corruption process. Not like, one on one as is the case with Edward. Just ya know, curse a few times here and there, call her a vagina...basically be another Alice to her. What I love most is that Bella has grown up in a super conservative religious home and is still open to everything (and I'm not just talking about Edward Cullen). Everything is new to her. She doesn't listen to secular music, her mother doesn't want her reading secular books, she has to hide gosh darn snack cakes in her room for frick's sake (see I can not swear too). Yet, she loves knowledge and new experiences. And she is just so fucking responsive (ok, no swears over) to Edward. Yes there are moments of guilt and self loathing after some of the hottest removable showerhead scenes and steamy times inside a certain silver Volvo (this is not even mentiong having a bronze haired bad boy in her bed), but to me, it's all very believable. Very real. Of course she would struggle with this new found sexuality. And even though she struggles, she thrives. By god she thrives.

This Edward Cullen is quite possibly one of the hottest I've ever read about. From the get-go with his inappropriate comments and touches, I just knew I'd love him. I'm pretty sure I mentioned this in one of the bazillion reviews I left, but he has this great ability to know when to push and when to back off. Luckily, the backing off issue isn't really an issue at all. Because as previously mentioned, Bella responds so goddamn well. I can just imagine him lounging back in the library, Doc Martin's kicked up on a desk...or book cart which he will later hold Bella against and dry hump the every loving bejesus outta her. Oh god, where was I? I also like that he is who he is. He's a pervert and kind of an asshole. That doesn't mean he's not trying to be better. But he still makes mistakes and does things that don't make for good boyfriend material. I think those little imperfections make him even more endearing.

Then there's Renee...I. just. don't....gah. I don't now what to say other than ARGGGGGG. There is some angst here people. But it's at an appropriate level to keep you coming back for more. It's not slit your wrist angsty. And most of that has to do with Bella's budding relationship with Edward. Growing up with a mother like Renee has left Bella lacking in the nurture department. Like Kathy mentioned, there is a particular moment where Edward is hiding under Bella's bed as Renee comes home. Sounds sordid, but it is extremely sweet and beautiful and IMO poignant. You'll know when you read it. I don't want to give things away. But seriously, Renee's character is another reason why I was so drawn to this story. She's a complex woman and despite the overwhelming desire to hate her, I also pity. I want an HEA for her as much as everyone else...I just don't know how that's possible.

There's more that I could say, as I'm fresh off of catching up to the most recent chapter. It's all very vivid in my mind. But I don't want to go on, and on, and on, and on about it. So I'll just say: Read it.
5/5 Good Gollys. And that is WITHOUT full on sexin. It's that good.

Okay, I totally related to Bella in this fic. I mean look at sweet, innocent me here with all of these sinful Edwards who are trying to corrupt me!(BULLSHIT xo Nina)


You all know that I am a total perv, and proudly take my place among these wonderful ladies as I tell you that I love, love, love this story!

Lord love a duck! I have never missed my removable showerhead more than I have over the last week since starting this story! Honestly the “non-sexin” in this fic is probably hotter than some full blown smuttin that I have read! Kristin has completely captured that innocent, wide eyed curiosity of not only a first foray into a physical relationship and all that entails, but also into a first emotional one as well. And the juxtaposition (holy crap look at that big word I used!) between Bella’s “good golly” or “frilly hecks” and Edward’s constant “fuck” such a great tool to show how totally different these two star-crossed lovers are.

For me, the sign of a good story, is when I am laughing out loud in one chapter, and the next screaming at the characters. Seriously, without giving too much away, at one point I actually screamed out, “UGH! The car!!”

4.5/5 “Good Gollys” from me!


Anonymous said...

Damn...this fic has been on my "must read" list for months, but you ladies have made it bump to the top of the list! Can't wait to read something that has you all a'twitter...

Anonymous said...

Dear Author !
I apologise, but, in my opinion, you commit an error. Let's discuss. Write to me in PM, we will communicate.