Monday, August 29, 2011

Team Anything Goes: Disenchanted Lullaby by mjinaspen


The Team Anything Goes Pick is...

Title: Disenchanted Lullaby
Author: MJinAspen
Chapters: 9
Words: 49,922
Reviews: 146
Summary:AH. Rose's life was on the verge of absolute perfection – the ring, wedding bells, babies and lullabies. Then, one day, she learned Happily Ever After didn't really exist.

Jeanne - There is something about the pairing of Rose and Edward that immediately puts you on guard. For some people that’s a bad thing, and some people (like me) consider it a good thing. Either way, we can all agree that any relationship between Edward Cullen and Rosalie Hale is going to be...complicated.

Disenchancted Lullaby is no exception to this rule. Rosalie and Edward are both at their own crossroads in life when they meet. Their relationship is tentative, intense and very real. As we watch them get to know each other we can’t help but see how all the ways they are so suited for each other, as well as all the potential issues that could prevent them from having a HEA.

That is one of the things I LOVE about MJinAspen’s writing. I never feel like I’m reading a story. I feel like I’m watching real people, because they stumble, fall and fuck up just like all of us do. These incarnations of Edward and Rosalie are so beautiful flawed.

Edward is a mysterious and brooding figure when we first meet him. Our only impression, other than him sexily washing his car in a tank top, is that he is the younger brother of Carlisle. Oh and he is covered in tattoos. That’s right, ladies. This is a Tattward story, but interestingly enough Edward’s looks and ink aren’t what makes him one of the sexiest Edwards I have ever read. It is nothing as simple as looks. It’s Edward’s mind and his words that leave me moaning and writhing on the floor every time I read an update.

I want that for you. You're a strong, beautiful woman, and you deserve to rise above anything holding you down. I see it in you every new meeting we have, and I hear it in your voice when we talk.

While Edward is hot, complicated and awesome, if I’m honest Rose is hands down my favorite character in the story. Truth be told, she’s my favorite Rosalie ever. I love her because she is so very real. She is beautiful and yet she has issues with her body. They’re not huge issues (this isn’t a story about eating disorders), in fact the way that Rose picks on her self is VERY familiar.

"My thighs look enormous in these pants."

She also has a checkered past that strikes close to home. The beginning of this story finds Rose having a bit of a wake up call about her ex-fiance Royce King, though it’s not what you might think. The mistakes that Rose made with Royce is one that many women have made in their own dysfunctional relationships. Through the story Rose gets a chance to reflect on her past (featuring some familiar characters) and comes to understand how her own issues sabotaged many of her relationships.

Disenchancted Lullaby isn’t a simple love story. It’s about two very real people finding a real connection, and trying to navigate through the issues of their past to make a future together. It isn’t going to be easy, but real life and real love rarely is.

He leaned against the counter and studied me with a soft smile on his face.

"What?" I asked.

He was still distractingly shirtless and suddenly self-satisfied.

"You like me," he said.

"Yeah…?" I rolled my eyes playfully and tried to walk away.

But he wouldn't let me. He grabbed the back of my robe and pulled me close to him.

"I like you, too," he muttered in my ear and hugged me.

That’s what sets this story apart from others for me, not just because of the pairing, but because the approach to the entire story. From beginning to end we are treated a slice of life, of heartache, wonder and even romance, but in the end it’s that realism that drives ever word of this story home.

Chele - Rosalie Hale was convinced that she was content with following the natural course of her life. She would soon be someone’s wife, which negated her need to take care of herself in any way that wasn’t geared to pleasing Royce King. Sometimes it takes something dramatic give a person a true chance at happiness. Sometimes, someone has to die.

Rosalie’s journey through the loss and humiliation following Royce’s death cuts to the heart of lost dreams and personal expectations. We see early on that Rosalie’s biggest obstacle is her unwillingness to value herself. Her friendships had fallen stagnant as she placed her self-worth in the hands of a man who kept her a secret. Her successes in re-igniting these friendships bolsters her, and we see her start to bloom and make efforts to become whole and independent, and yet, her inner monologue of self-hatred continues to persist.

MJinAspen has a gift for emotional expression in her writing. Her words find a way to expose your deepest secrets. She can make a canon cold and untouchable character like Rose completely relate-able by infusing a realness and vulnerability that you can’t help but feel.

I wanted to tell her I couldn't do this – not alone, anyway. But it was hard to admit so much failure in one day. I had failed to keep Royce from finding someone better to marry, and I was a failure at figuring out how to feel about it all.

She captures so perfectly in Rose’s inner monologue a moment of self-esteem vacuum. When you so selfishly think little enough of yourself that you believe you’ve changed the course of other’s actions because of your own perceived inadequacies.

Her blossoming UST-laden friendship with Edward, her landlord’s brother, is perfectly timed. He has no hesitation to express his displeasure at her self-recriminations, and she’s too raw not to be honest.

"Do you hate all women or just yourself?"

"I don't hate myself, Edward, I just hate my thighs," I answered with
a teasing smile and a batting of my lashes, trying to lighten the
mood. "I'm not blind or crazy, either. I know there're women out there
who look sexy with curves; I'm just not one of them."

Rose is just a normal girl with a love of good music, the color red, awesome sex, and her one-eyed cat, but she has an amazing propensity for loving people and life which she’d allowed to languish while marching headlong toward her expected life of picket fences and country club lunches. Edward is a man who, despite his protests, wants a relationship with a beautiful woman with a kind heart who can keep pace with him in a conversation, and suck his cock out of desire instead of guilt or obligation. It’s truly a match made in pervy heaven, which we, as readers, see long before they do.

Even if you think you can’t let go of your pre-conceived notions of what Edward and Rosalie’s canon relationship would be, give yourself a chance to be convinced.
MJinAspen’s masterful ability to create characters so real you want to share a bottle of wine with them and them watch them fuck truly shines through in Disenchanted Lullaby. I guarantee that you will be a believer.

Jen - There are some fanfic writers who you know will always deliver, no matter what type of story alert has hit your inbox. mjinaspen is one of those authors. Disenchanted Lullaby, her newest fic, is a Rosalie/Edward story that has had me riveted from the first word.

Rosalie is so complex here. So often she’s a one-dimensional representation of her canon characteristics. Not the case here. On the outside she comes across as fearless, brash, and very much schooled in the ways of the world. When we get to know her a bit better, we see that she’s also a bit naive and simply really eager to be loved. The death of her boyfriend, Royce, leads her to see that she was living on the surface, trying to attain a fairytale life- rich husband, white picket fence, children- which was really her mother’s dream for her. The heart of Disenchanted Lullaby is Rosalie getting to know who she is and what is most important to her in life.

What can I say about this Edward? He’s completely sexy and irresistible from the moment we meet him: shirtless, wet, and tattooed. He’s more than just a pretty face; he’s smart, loyal, and is dedicated to his dog, a rescue shelter bull mastiff.

While Rosalie is immediately taken by his physical appearance, after sharing a meal with him, Esme, and Carlisle (his brother and sister-in-law), she’s not so sure about the man behind the tattoos. Is he really a pompous jerk, or is Rosalie making up stories in her head? She admits her physical attraction to him, and decides that even if he’s not interested in her or is simply a jerk, that she can interact cordially with him.

Edward and Rosalie slowly get to know one another, mostly through long phone calls, and suddenly her attraction is more than just physical. Even over the phone, their attraction is palpable. Their talks are serious at times, yet imbued with playful flirting. Even when Rosalie doesn’t know if their relationship will move beyond friendship, the tender care and regard Edward holds toward her will make you swoon.

Edward let out an exasperated sigh.


I shivered in delight at the sound of him using my new nickname.

"I'm not going to ask you to change who you are," he continued. "But will you try to change the way you talk about yourself? For me?"

I loved the name and I loved that he was asking me to do something for him.

When they finally share their first kiss? It’ll make your knees weak, I promise you.

If you’ve never given an Edward/Rosalie story a try, I hope you’ll give Disenchanted Lullaby a try. Mjinaspen is weaving a story that is incredibly sexy and full of emotional depth. Edward and Rosalie are fascinating characters, and I’m loving their interactions. Rosalie’s learned so much about herself so far, but I can’t wait for her to blossom to her full potential.

Jess -Disenchanted Lullaby is the story of two people trying to figure out who they are and what they want in life after a going through relationship heartbreak. On the surface, this appears rather typical, but as you peel back the layers of this story, you find a Rosalie that is deep, desperate to be loved, witty and intelligent, and absolutely beautiful.

Sadly, like many women, she suffers from terrible self esteem, believes she isn’t good enough to be loved and that she has little to offer. Except that’s where she’s wrong. After her so-called boyfriend, Royce, is killed in a car accident, she is forced to really figure out who she is, what she wants, and exactly how she’s going to get it.

Edward, is a video game designer and a self defense instructor, covered in tatts and epically swoony. He proves that sometimes first appearances and perceptions can be misleading, and as he and Rose overcome his past baggage, we find someone who is warm, caring, intelligent, and so, so thoughtful. The thing I love about both Edward and Rose is how real they are. The struggles, the emotions, the fears and insecurities are so real and present. I find myself easily able to see where they are coming from and why they behave the way the do. It just makes sense.

The chemistry between these two is off the charts. Rose has always related and used her sexual prowess, and Edward is certainly no virgin. So, watching them try to navigate the waters as friends and then... more, is full of so much unfy goodness. When things finally heat up, we get this:

My hands were on his shoulders as I rode him slow and soft, rotating, squeezing. His hands explored my hips, my belly, my breasts, and my back.

"You're beautiful," he whispered, and I almost cried.

No one had ever said that to me while we were fucking.

"Fuck me," he said. "Fuck me while I kiss you."

That, I had heard, but the way he said it was so… reverent.

Even in the moment, there are questions of whether or not what they are doing is okay, is it what they both want, and I just love it, because it’s so them! They are vulnerable and intense... and yet, they find that space where they give in to each other, use their strengths, and it is absolutely beautiful.

This pairing rocks my face off in all the best ways. Read it and leave mjinaspen some love!

Teal - So often, Rosalie Hale is proper, though harsh or brash. Sharp-tongued and confident. Strong and snide.

This slightly-rough-around-the-edges Rose can be all those things, yet she’s completely different from any Rosalie I’ve ever read. With her tattoos and the mistakes she’s made in relationships past, I find her one of the most relateable incarnations of this character I’ve ever seen. She’s realistic because she is so many of us. Beautiful, but with a skewed perception of her body. Loves sex, yet needs reinforced praise to feel completely confident in herself.

She’s smart and tough, but she’s still young and trying to find her way through life. She’s flawed, yet somehow perfect.

I think that is exactly the woman Edward sees. Despite her misgivings about herself, he recognizes them and sees past it all. She is woman and sex appeal, a heart with so much she’s willing to give, even while being slightly guarded. There’s something about Edward that Rosalie doesn’t understand yet, and whatever it is, it makes him such a good match for her. It helps him know her, even through all the unspoken aspects of their relationship, and it’s crafted him into the kind of man she never knew she always wanted.

I like that these characters aren’t completely transparent. That I want to know everything about them, but I like the mystery. That their relationship is unfolding in a natural, believable progression of getting-to-know-you versus god-I-can’t-deny-how-I-want-you. They’re learning and growing together, and giving the fandom quite a delicious buffet of intimacy along the way.


MJinAspen said...

Thank you all for your kind words. I'm so pleased to be able to share this story and equally pleased that you all enjoy it and relate to it! &hearts