Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy – Book Review

Who hasn’t heard of Fifty Shades of Grey?  I think even those living under rocks have heard of it.  It’s all over the media, and the three books, Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed, by E.L. James have taken the world by storm, holding the top three spots on the NY Times Bestseller list for several weeks running.

Just as a little background, if you didn’t already know, the book started out as fan fiction for Twilight.  If you’re not familiar with fan fiction, it’s taking characters, etc. from another author’s books, and putting them into your own story, either in the same universe that they were originally written in, or your own, alternate universe.  There are several websites dedicated to fan fiction.  Some of it is actually pretty good.  Some is crap, but whatever.

So Fifty Shades of Grey takes place in Seattle, and the main characters are Anastasia Steele (previously Bella Swan) and Christian Grey (aka Edward Cullen).  There are some similarities between the characters and Stephanie Meyer’s characters, as in if you knew that it was originally fan fiction, you could pick them out.  If you didn’t know, it’s not blatantly obvious. Oh, and there’s no vampires.

These main characters have different life stories as well.  When they meet, Ana is a soon to be college graduate who is sent in as a replacement for her best friend Kate, to interview the absolutely gorgeous and intimidating billionaire, Christian Grey.  There is an automatic spark between the two of them, and after the interview, Christian finds ways to see her again.  It very quickly comes to light that he has a very dark side and quite the past.  He is a dominant, among other things, who has had several submissives in the past, and is very eager for Ana to become one of them.  She of course, has never even had a boyfriend, and is as inexperienced as he is experienced in the world of sexual pleasure.

It’s not really giving anything away to say that the two fall in love, and they have sex, sex, and more sex.  All three of these books are quite explicit sexually, and that, combined with the fact that Christian is depicted as an absolutely drool-worthy, complicated, very vulnerable man who uses BDSM as a means to have control – stemming from his childhood and the horrific nature of it, and I think that’s why these books are so popular with the middle aged mommies.

The books follow these two characters and their story together, with the supporting cast being somewhat similar to those in Twilight, but again, no vampires, and no wolves.  The story weaves in and around the bedroom scenes, and elevator scenes, and boathouse scenes….you get the idea.  We see, as Ana slowly chips away at Christian’s cool, controlled demeanor, why he is the way he is, why he does what he does.  As we go through the story, we see them both struggle with Christian’s constant desire to be in control of everything, and the boss of everybody, including Ana.

In Twilight, the relationship between Edward and Bella is in my mind not healthy at times, with how completely attached they are to each other.  How totally ones existence depends on the other.  Edward is controlling of Bella, mostly because he doesn’t want her to get hurt, but for the most part, though it annoys her, she goes along with it.  Though she does finally grow a bit of a backbone and goes against Edward when it comes to protecting her child.

In Fifty Shades though, Ana is slightly stronger than Bella I think.  She at least is willing to stand up for herself a little more and learns very quickly to set limits with Christian, whose controlling nature does get pretty old pretty fast.  Though she does put up with a lot more than many women would, which I think might annoy any feminists that may read these.

As far as my impression of the books, when I heard all the hype surrounding them, and what they were about, I could hardly not read them!  I purchased them all as e-books, and devoured them all pretty quickly.

These books are not literary masterpieces.  The writing is not fantastic, they are not polished.  The sex scenes are good, and though they are varied, the language used to describe them is quite repetitive.  The thing that kept me hooked I think was the way the author wrote the character of Christian.  He is absolutely beautiful, but very tortured.  The intensity with which he loves Ana is something that we all crave at one point or another.  The feeling that a gorgeous, powerful man can be brought to his knees simply because he loves a woman so much, is quite enticing.

Do I recommend these books?  Well, it definitely depends on who is asking!  If you like romance novels, if you liked Twilight I guess (but are old enough for these books), than I say go for it!  Heck, you should just read them because then you’ll be able to join in the conversation about them.  If you’re a woman, and you’re married or attached, I think that they will get you revved up enough for your significant other to thank you for it!

I would love to hear comments from those who have read these books.  I don’t know a single man who has read them and would love to hear an opinion from a male perspective, though I can kind of guess what that might be.

Enjoy!

Stephanie Plum Parts 5-17 – Janet Evanovich

Wow.  It’s been a while.  Funny how life gets in the way and something like blogging falls by the wayside.

So I’ve been busy.  Part of that busy-ness has been taken up with reading.  I set myself a goal on Goodreads this year to read 50 books.  So far I have read 61.  I think that a big reason why I have read so many in this time is due to the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich.  Originally I know I was going to take you along and review these books as I went.  Well, I finished reading Smokin Seventeen yesterday, so I guess I fell behind on that too.

I have thought about updating my blog with a review of Stephanie’s adventures, but to be honest, I really don’t think I have anything new to say, even after reading all 17 of them.  There really isn’t too much different about each book.  They are quite repetitive.   They are good, but Evanovich follows a pattern, which obviously works for her, and aside from slightly different storylines in each book, we still have cars getting blown up, Lula on a diet, Grandma trying to pry open a casket at a funeral, and Stephanie managing to get her man, while all the time being torn between two men – Morelli and Ranger.

I’m a fan of Morelli, I’m a fan of Ranger.  They both appeal for different reasons.  I think that Morelli is exactly what Stephanie needs.  He’s steady, capable, sexy as hell, and he does love Stephanie, more than she deserves sometimes.  The problem is that I think Evanovich has written herself into a corner with her readers because she has made Ranger so damn likable, and sexy, that there would probably be a huge uproar from the readers no matter which guy she chooses.

So overall, I like these books.  They are quick, fun reads.  Nothing in them makes you think overly hard.  I’m curious to find out what happens next, so I will continue reading.  I’m happy to take a bit of a break now, as I wait for Explosive Eighteen to come out in paperback.

By the way, if you’re a fan of the Plum books, and are waiting for the next one, there is always the Between the Numbers Books.  Taking place around the holidays, these books don’t really develop the story at all, and they introduce a character named Diesel, who isn’t in the regular books.  Diesel literally pops in and out of Stephanie’s life, and she is roped in to helping him out on his missions.  They’re short, different, and if you like Plum, worth reading.

Stephanie Plum Parts 3 & 4 – Janet Evanovich – Book Review

Well, the saga continues.  What a blast I am having reading these books.  Janet Evanovich is a genius.  In the next two installments of the Stephanie Plum series, Three to Get Deadly and Four to Score, she has once again succeeded in making me laugh out loud.  Several times.

This series is outrageous.  It is insane to believe that Stephanie et al get into the situations they do and remain breathing.  There are a couple of close shaves – and in some cases desperate need for a shave (when you meet Sally Street you’ll know what I mean).  Stephanie is getting a little bit smarter, but is still desperately inexperienced.  She is very lucky to have people around her that are experienced with the bad guys and that care enough about Stephanie to look out for her.

She does things that make you want to yell at her, but Evanovich manages to keep her so likable, so real, that you’re constantly rooting for her.  Luck is not always on poor Stephanie’s side, and often a simple cut and colour job can turn disastrous, but that’s part of what makes you keep rooting for her.

There are new characters introduced (Sally being one of them), we get to know some previously introduced characters a little better, including prostitute-turned-file clerk-turned-wannabe bounty hunter Lula.  Thankfully we get a bit of Grandma Mazur, Stephanie’s hilarious grandmother added in.  We also see the return of Ranger, Stephanie’s incredibly sexy badass bounty hunter mentor, and Joe Morelli – vice cop that has been weaving in and out of her life since she was six years old.  Will she finally get the Morelli induced orgasm she has been needing so badly?  You’ll have to read to find out.

In Three to Get Deadly, Stephanie is on the trail of “Uncle Mo,” an elderly candy store neighbour from the Burg, who has jumped bail and disappeared.  There turns out to be way more to Mo’s story than meets the eye, as Stephanie finds out the hard way.

In Four to Score, Stephanie is after Maxine Nowicki, a waitress who has gone and got herself into a ton of trouble, and is on a mission for revenge.  Another tale of crazy hi jinks, that will have you laughing, and shaking your head.

So I’m off to the mall this weekend, Indigo has the “Buy 3 get the 4th free” sale on.  I think I’ll pick up Volumes 5 through 8.  Can’t wait!

Have a great long weekend!

Stephanie Plum Parts 1 & 2 – Janet Evanovich – Book Review

I was looking at my book list lately and realized that I have been reading a lot of series lately.  Usually I like to wait until I’m done reading a series, then review the whole thing.  A little while ago though, I started reading the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich.   There is so far 17 books in this series.  I’ve read the first two so far.  One For the Money and Two for the Dough.  I thought since I’m starting from the beginning and have so far to go, that I’d take you along for the ride, so to speak.

So Stephanie Plum is a laid off lingerie buyer turned bounty hunter from Trenton, New Jersey.  When she gets laid off, things start to get pretty desperate, and she goes to see her cousin Vinnie, who is a bondsman.  The position that she was looking for had already been filled, but she ends up on the case to find Joe Morelli, a vice cop that she has known all her life, that has been accused of murder and jumped bail.  To say that she is not emotionally invested in Morelli would be a lie as the two do share a bit of a past, and she has succumbed to Morelli’s womanizing ways on occasion.

The first two books are actually very good.  They are hilarious, quick reads, not really too thought provoking, but totally worth the time.  The family dynamic between Stephanie and her Mother, Father and Grandma Mazur is awesome, and that is mostly because there is such a ring of truth to the relationships.

In the second book Grandma Mazur plays a larger role.  The antics are truly laugh out loud material.  I have always said, that it’s when something makes you laugh out loud when you are by yourself, that you know it is truly funny.

The relationship between Stephanie and Joe is still changing and evolving, but I think they’re heading in a direction that it’s going to become more.  There’s also her bounty hunter friend Ranger, who seems quite sexy and I think there is definitely potential there too.

Knowing there are fifteen more books to go before I get caught up doesn’t seem daunting at all.  Right now I’m looking forward to getting into Chapters and picking up three and four….and maybe five.  I’ll be sure to let you know how that goes. 🙂

Darkest Powers Trilogy – Book Review

I recently finished reading the Darkest Powers Trilogy by Kelley Armstrong.  This is a YA trilogy that consists of The Summoning, The Awakening and The Reckoning.

I am a huge fan of Armstrong’s Otherworld series.  My almost 13 year old niece loves the Darkest Powers trilogy, and as she is also a fellow Harry Potter fan, I knew I had to give it a try.

The series centers around 15 year old Chloe Sanders, a student at an art school in New York.  Her mother died when she was young, and she is left in the care of her father, a busy, never there businessman, who likes to flip apartments and move around a lot.  Chloe is taken care of mostly by housekeepers, and her Aunt Lauren, her late mothers’ sister.  She is actually a quite likable character.

Chloe is a late bloomer, but when she does finally “bloom,” look out!  She begins to see people that other people don’t, which leads to a breakdown and she is taken to a group home for troubled teens.  She meets up with some other young people there, all of whom are just a wee bit different.

It doesn’t take too long before Chloe realizes that she is a necromancer, and the people she is seeing are actually ghosts.  A little digging reveals that she is not your typical necromancer, and none of her housemates are very typical either.

Armstrong’s Otherworld series was definitely written for adults.  The language used, situations, etc. are all for adult readers.  This was written for tweens/teens.  It’s actually quite mild in comparison.  Where Clayton and Elena (Otherworld) may be tearing each others clothes off and ravaging each other in the forest, in these books we’re working with eye contact, blushing, hand grazing and more of the like.  The nice thing about reading this trilogy is that it is written in the same context, in the same world.  I recognized terminology, locations, etc. from the Otherworld series.  So any young reader that reads DP will find familiarity when they are older and progress into Otherworld.

Very good, very well written, as all of Armstrong’s books are.

Each separately and the trilogy on a whole – 4/5 stars.