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Monday, 9 April 2012

Fifty Shades of 'Oh My' Part 2 ~ The Series Summary

  Anastasia is young woman, a student about to graduate and enter the real world. She meets Christian Grey, a successful 27 year old billionaire. They are very attracted to one another, but Christian has some dark and unusual secrets. 
Ana is a naive virgin who has her work cut out for her when Christian offers her a special 'contract' that outlines the type of relationship he is after. The novels follow the two as they try to make things work. Ana is introduced into his dark and extremely kinky S & M world. Christian needs to work on battling his demons and has to learn to change his ways so he can keep her.  It’s captivating, it’s surprising, and it’s incredibly sexual.

I had this trilogy downloaded and read in two and a half days. I ignored the dishes, forgot to make dinner, carried my kobo everywhere, and stayed up past midnights two days in a row to finish the series! I read it every spare moment I could find, between diapers, playtime, and all the rest.

What had me so captivated? I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was not the 'cheesy dialogue smut fest' that I had envisioned. The storyline was an emotional roller coaster, and I was sucked into it. The books have several raw sexual scenes, that are incredibly important to the plot.  I’d be spoiling it if I explained why, so I will perhaps touch on that subject another time. I refuse to give away any spoilers, so here is the gist of it from my point of view.

The first novel ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ I found to be the most explicit.There were times while reading it I was getting angry on Ana’s behalf. I cried toward the end. Emotional to say the least.It was definitely the best book of the lot.

The second novel ‘Fifty Shades of Darker’ had a lot going on. It picked up right where the first book left off. Lots of ups, downs, surprises, and you see the characters grow and mature a bit more while dealing with some members of Christian's past.

The last novel is called ‘Fifty Shades of Freed’. While I liked it because it was the final chapter of their story, I didn’t enjoy the flashback aspect of it, and found it ‘hastily’ written. I wish there had actually been a fourth and final novel with a tidier ending. I tend to be picky about the last novel in any series.

I have read a lot of criticism about the series, from how it is ‘poorly written’, to ‘boring sexual scenes’, to 'non-relatable characters’. I found those remarks quite interesting, after all it all depends where your particular tastes lie.  I have also read rave reviews, singing the praises of E.L. James and the incredible tale she has woven. There is a reason this series is being talked about, and why battle lines are being drawn.The question is, which side are you on?

Here is my official take:

If you prefer books fresh off Oprah’s List, don’t buy it, don’t read it. This series isn’t going to win a Pulitzer Prize unless there is a 'Porn Category' that I am unaware of. If your tastes run towards the likes of 'The Time Travelers Wife', 'Eat Pray Love', and 'The Help', but you aren’t into mainstream romantic fiction, this trilogy  is probably not for you. If you are uncomfortable with intense sexuality, than you may want to look elsewhere for your next read.

If you just love to read or are looking for a romantic series, and enjoy getting lost in an interesting story, than this ‘off the beaten path’ trilogy is for you. It’s essentially 'Twilight' for Adults (minus vampires and werewolves) and if you do your research, than you won’t be surprised to learn how it originated. A fact I learned only after I made the comparison on my own. 

Those of you who have skimmed past all that and are foaming at the mouth wanting to know what the ‘Erotic’ hype is about. Well here you go. There is a reason this book has been dubbed ‘Mommy Porn’. It has some 'Passionate Pages', some 'Steamy Scenes' lots of 'Orgasmic Originality'.  The scenes are highly descriptive and explicit. If you shock easily, than some of the scenarios may have your eyes bugging out of your head.  There were times I was reading eyes open wide saying ‘Oh HELL no!’, and other times I was popping chocolate in my mouth, sipping wine saying ‘Ooooh my,my, my... you go girl!’..and perhaps I was even taking notes ready to call my friendly Passions Party Consultants on where to find some of the 'toys' (yeah, uh-huh it's called a flogger...?) ;) But that's neither here nor there. Oh calm down mother!

It’s as tastefully written as can be, and if you would like to disagree with me, I have a ‘novel’ I can recommend to you for comparison on that note, and you can tell me which is worse (or better?)
The sex being a very essential part of the storyline, Fifty Shades would be hum-drum if the author hadn’t taken it to the extreme.  Most romantic authors end up writing the same scenes, scenarios and dialogue in all their books. I congratulate E.L. James for going above and beyond and having the imagination to do so.

I have actually read complaints that the sexual scenes ‘weren’t that interesting’. If that is so, than I want to know what the complainers ‘playrooms’ actually hold! I am sure a lot of these comments are actually coming from people who perhaps read more erotic material and their expectations were higher. To the average romance novel reader, you are getting more ‘bang’ for your buck (Pun Intended)

One of the most enjoyable parts of the novels for me personally had little to do with sex. There are several emails between Ana and Christian throughout the series, and I found them hilarious and amusing. Whether they were arguing or flirting. The playful banter was quite witty and entertaining. It was a nice touch!

 The movie rights have allegedly been purchased by Universal. I’ll be interested to see how they interpret everything on the big screen and who they will cast in the roles. I've heard mention of Dakota Fanning as Anastasia, I don't see it......

The bottom line is, this trilogy is what it is. I don’t think anyone should really go in with any expectations other than it is an interesting read. Mine were poor going in and now I am championing it! Nitpicking over all the details of an adult romance is silly. Read the book, enjoy the story and if you really want to, let it inspire you.

Laters!! xxoo

** If you haven't read Part One of this blog! Check it out!

**If you are interested in the Passion Parties I have talked about, if you click highlighted names, you will be directed to their websites for more information!

Friday, 6 April 2012

Fifty Shades of 'Oh My!'....Part 1

And here I thought ‘The Help’ was going to be my next Kobo Purchase.  

Before I begin, this blog comes with a warning. If the subject of sex makes you uncomfortable, I don’t plan on this blog being very graphic, but please read at your discretion.  

Mother Dearest: I know you are reading this, so to really paint a picture for you on how much you may be uncomfortable with the topic: Remember that time, long ago, when you asked me what was the big deal about the number 69 and why everyone cracks jokes about it? I grabbed a copy of my UK Edition Cosmopolitan, opened it to an article on Kama Sutra, pointed to the ’69 Position’ and said ‘THAT’ is what it means!’ 

Good, now that my mom has run away from the computer turning fifty shades of red, I shall continue.

Have any of you read an Erotic novel before?  I have rarely paid attention to this particular genre before.  Truth be told, it wasn’t even on my radar until an Episode of Friends.  Do you remember it? The one where Joey takes a nap in Rachael’s room, and discovers an Erotic book about the characters Zelda, The Chimney Sweep and The Vicar? My favorite scene is when they are in the coffee house teasing Rachael about her taste in literature. “Dang this coffee’s cold. Hey Rach… Do you mind if I heat this up on your loins?’

Oh, how I miss that show!

Back to the topic at hand....

 Recently, I was asked if I had read the book Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L James. The answer was no, though I had heard about it. I saw a story on a news program on how the sale of Erotic Fiction was on the rise due to the discretion of downloading to one’s e-reader. They described that particular book trilogy and how it is taking the reading world by storm.The news segment really made me laugh, because I remember my first (and only) attempt at reading an erotic novel.

When I was given my kobo as a birthday gift, I immediately started to download the free books that piqued my interest. They had a free erotic short story called ‘Ecstasy’ listed. I avoided it at first, but curiosity got the best of me. So I decided to read it. I am pretty sure my jaw was on the floor the entire time. I’m not prude by any means, and truth be told, I knew what I was in for, but I didn’t expect it to be any worse than the steamy scenes from your typical novel…

Whether it was the cheesy dialogue or the laughable euphemisms, I learned my lesson and decided it just wasn’t my style. 

That said, I have read reviews calling Fifty Shades an 'Adult Romance' rather than placing it under the more suggestible Erotic label. An attempt I am sure to market it among the mainstream. Let's face it, either way, it promises some good old fashion 'naughty hanky panky' inside it's pages! 

I decide to see what all the hype was about and entered ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ into the kobo search engine. You can imagine my surprise when a book titled ‘Mile High Butt Plug Club’ popped up as a recommended read. Well, thank you for the suggestion Kobo, and at 99cents it is a deal I can hardly pass up, but I shall move on. I scrolled down and there was the novel I was really after! A click here, a push of the button there, and voila! It was on my laptop ready to be transferred to my e-reader. I decided I was excited to read it, so I was quite irritated with myself when I picked up my kobo, and the battery needed re-charged. Just one of the few things that irritate me about electronics.

 Once she was charged, I was still eager to read Fifty Shades, but unsure about what to expect from page one. It took a few chapters, but once I was swept up in the story I was hooked.

It wasn’t what I expected. Not at all.

What are my thoughts? Where's my review? Tune into my next blog for my complete rundown on the Fifty Shades Trilogy.

Monday, 2 April 2012

The Most Terrifying Book I Own!!

  I like to think I don’t scare easily.....well....unless (picture this) I’m in a dark basement,  watching a scary scene from the movie IT (Stephen King)  and my young sister runs down the stairs in a clown costume screaming my name. NOT COOL SHEENA!! I eventually peeled myself off the ceiling, changed my soiled 'delicates' to than find her and yell at her! Fifteen years later and I still haven’t got over it. I don't like clowns!!!But I digress….

I went through a Horror novel phase a few years ago and came across some seriously frightening books (by John Saul, Douglas Klegg, Scott Smith, Sarah Pinborough) Entertaining, good for a shiver, but I always maintained ‘It’s just a book’ and moved on with my life.

Enter ‘The Dwelling’ by Susie Moloney. The scariest book on my bookshelf!

Do you remember that episode of Friends, where Rachael finds Joey’s copy of the Shining in the freezer?
 “The Dwelling” to me is my ‘Freak-me-out-Freezer Novel’

Now, I haven’t read it in a long time, and I have only ever read it once. Why? Because I kid you not, it disturbed me so much that I had to hide it on my bookshelf behind other books. Out of sight, out of mind! I didn’t want to be reminded of what the pages contained. Talk about a heart-pounding fright-fest. We have moved several times, and for the longest time, I just left it in one of my many boxes of ‘books I can’t fit on my shelves’. Recently it has ended up back on my shelf, (behind other books of course) and the only reason I am reminded of that is because my toddler decided to rearrange the shelves the other day. Oh look, there it was. Staring up at me, mocking me….

I am curious… if I read it again will it scare me as much as it did before? I refuse to get rid of it, just in case I decide I want to find out. I can assure you though, that wont be any time soon. (Enter horrified shudder HERE)

I am sure some of you are thinking, "well than would you just tell us what the book is about"!!

In short, it is about a house that is constantly on the market.  It shares the story of the people who end up living in it, and you find out why the house is always changing hands rather quickly. Each person in each story seems haunted in a different manner. From what I am ‘willing’ to remember, the stories were well told, and seemed in a lot of ways ‘plausible’ if you believe in the paranormal. The way she writes is fluid and it hooks you. The book is a page turner and will make you chew your nails until they bleed. A good excuse to go for a manicure. It may also make you wet yourself, so a side note, you may want to stock up on Depends while reading.  

At this point, maybe some of you are thinking, 'Oh Irene, I am sure you are exaggerating, it can't be that scary'.
If that thought crossed your mind 'oh brave and skeptical one', you need to find a copy of this book, read it than tell me what you think!

To the rest, that are unsure what to think..I say to you: If you like your Stephen King, if you love your Anne Rice, or are just looking for a good ‘scare’, Than make room in your freezer and read ‘The Dwelling’ by Susie Moloney, at night, right before bed, with only a dim lamp on…..maybe clutching a teddy bear for moral support.....

I DARE you.