Monday, April 30, 2012

Fifty Shades Freed by E L James




Title:  Fifty Shades Freed
Author: E L James
My Rating: A+



Genre: Erotic Romance
Series: Fifty Shades #3
Main Characters: Ana and Christian
Release Date: April 2012
ISBN: 9780345803504
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday
Links to Purchase:
Amazon  


Sexual Intensity: erotic


Story Overview:
When unworldly student Anastasia Steele first encountered the driven and dazzling young entrepreneur Christian Grey it sparked a sensual affair that changed both of their lives irrevocably. Shocked, intrigued, and ultimately repelled by Christian’s singular erotic tastes, Ana demanded a deeper commitment. Determined to keep her, Christian agreed.

Now, Ana and Christian have it all—love, passion, intimacy, wealth, and a world of possibilities for their future. But Ana knows that loving her Fifty Shades will not be easy, and that being together will pose challenges that neither of them would anticipate. Ana must somehow learn to share Christian’s opulent lifestyle without sacrificing her own integrity, identity, or independence. And Christian must overcome his compulsion to control as he wrestles with the demons of a tormented past.

Just when it seems that their strength together will eclipse any obstacle, misfortune, malice, and fate conspire to make Ana’s deepest fears turn to reality. Alone and desperate, Ana ultimately finds herself face to face with the darkest secrets of Christian's past, and finally confronts the poisoned legacy of the man she loves.

My Review:
OMG, I love this series!!! All the books have been wonderful, but this final book...OMG! The beginning of this book starts a little slow, but the second half reads like a suspense novel. I loved that.

In this book, Ana and Christian are married. The book starts off on their honeymoon with a few flashbacks into scenes we've missed since the end of book #2. Overall, they are in a good place. They have their minor issues when Christian has an over-the-top reaction, but they've learned to talk through these for the most part. They are learning to have a truly functional healthy relationship.

Yep, then something happens, but I am not going to say anything more about this besides the fact that I have read these scenes at least 3-4 times since I finished the book. Emotional doesn't even begin to cover it... for EVERYONE!

The series....the characters in this series are so complex and the basis of the story line is really harsh stuff. Christian has some serious mental issues that are based from a really traumatic childhood that he experienced up to the age of four. Then, as a teenager, not knowing how to cope, he was taught coping skills through a Dom/sub relationship that never should have been. Honestly, he was too young for that kind of relationship. He is definitely fifty shades of fucked up and has the fifty personalities to go with it. Ana talks about him being mercurial and she is so right. 


It's serious issues that this book series deals with, but in the midst of it all, E L James manages to insert humor and fun and LOVE. With the wonderfully fun and insightful emails between Ana and Christian to the internal quips and actions of Ana's inner goddess, there are moments when you can't help but to smile and giggle as you read. Then there are such beautiful, romantic, heartrending moments between the two. It just leaves you gasping for more.

I cannot even begin to fathom how E L James started to work with Christian's character. He's so complex and mentally scarred from his horrific childhood. So many times he can be really harsh, but at the same time, she manages to keep him as a character that you still love. With the fact that these books are written entirely from Ana's point of view, I am astounded with her skill in that. 

On the other hand, Ana is such a strong character. In the first book, she starts out as this vulnerable, shy, inexperienced young woman, but as the books progress, she finds her inner-strength and uses that to connect to Christian. She fights for their love and truly for Christian's sanity. Together their characters are dynamic and, I've said it before...JUST RIVETING. You get caught up in their story and their love and it's just gorgeous.

These books are erotic and there is a LOT of sex, but for me, I connected to the love story and the complexity of the characters. I understand now why these books have been so incredibly popular. Just an amazing series.

Fifty Shades Darker by E L James




Title:  Fifty Shades Darker
Author: E L James
My Rating: A



Genre: Erotic Romance
Series: Fifty Shades #2
Main Characters: Ana and Christian
Release Date: April 2012
ISBN: 
9780345803498
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday
Links to Purchase:
Amazon  


Sexual Intensity: erotic


Story Overview:
Daunted by the singular tastes and dark secrets of the beautiful, tormented young entrepreneur Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele has broken off their relationship to start a new career with a Seattle publishing house.

But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought, and when he proposes a new arrangement, Anastasia cannot resist. They rekindle their searing sensual affair, and Anastasia learns more about the harrowing past of her damaged, driven and demanding Fifty Shades.

While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront the anger and envy of the women who came before her, and make the most important decision of her life.

My Review:
This book was completely shocking to me as the second book in a three-book series, because it did not follow along the prescribed novel arc that a second book normally follows. For all practical purposes, this is the Happily Ever After book (which is normally the final book.) I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop like it did in Book #1 and it never did...and it was totally refreshing in that fact.

In this book, Christian and Ana have settled into a real relationship. He's accepted the fact that she is his girlfriend and that she is not going to play the sub to his Dom. There are still lots of challenges between the two of them. OMG, Christian is a complicated character, but for the most part this book is about their relationship and the development of it.

They are learning each other and how to be in a relationship which is completely new for both of them. Ana was innocent coming into this, but so was Christian in that he's NEVER had a real honest-to-god relationship. They are both learning their boundaries and each other throughout this book.

This book remains as hot as ever and Christian is volatile as ever, but throughout this book, he has more of a vulnerability about him. He definitely seems younger in this book, which honestly just puts him at his age. Such a good series and that's simply because these characters are written so incredibly well. It's just riveting reading!

Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James

Title:  Fifty Shades of Grey
Author: E L James
My Rating: A



Genre: Erotic Romance
Series: Fifty Shades #1
Main Characters: Ana and Christian
Release Date: April 2012
ISBN: 9780345803481
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday
Links to Purchase:
Amazon  


Sexual Intensity: erotic




Story Overview:

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.
Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever



My Review:
A
I don't plan to write a really long review because I figure most of it's already been said about this book. Before we read this book, we were discussing it at my writers' meeting and someone said they heard it actually wasn't written all that well. When I first started the book, I had to concur. There is a stilted, awkwardness to the writing, but the entire book is told from the heroine, Ana's, POV and she is a stilted awkward person in a lot of the circumstances that she finds herself in. As a result, the style of the prose really works. I'm not sure if it was done on purpose or not, but the entire book is entirely compelling and riveting.


The hero in the book, Christian Grey, is such a scarred person. There are just hints at what his childhood (i.e. formative years) involved and those glimpses are horrific especially when you consider his proclivities. And they are definitely the reason that he is the way he is...extremely controlling and domineering. He's young...only 27 years old and I like that fact in this story line. I'm not sure I would like him as well if he were older. There are moments when his youth shines through and you get to see the man he might have been if he hadn't had the childhood he did.


The heroine of the book, Ana, is a different case. There are aspects of her that are completely unbelievable. She's graduating from college and completely innocent...to the point that she's never held hands or kissed a man before (at least that's what this book basically said...later books say differently...a minor inconsistency). I could deal with the virginity, but I just can't believe the other two aspects especially since she has no particular hang-ups about sex. It's just a little too outside the realm of believability for me with an attractive college-age girl.


Like I said before, this book is incredibly compelling and I think that all comes down to these two characters. They both are written brilliantly. Within the book, we live in Ana's head so everything is skewed from her point of view. She's enthralled by Christian, but more than a little horrified by what Christian is proposing and that she's even considering it. In case you haven't heard the hype from this book, he is very into BDSM...not a mild thing for an inexperienced girl. Her reactions are so honest and genuine....I loved her observations of the world and the split personality she sometimes develops between her inner goddess and her subconscious.


The book ended with a cliffhanger and even though it was midnight, I immediately had to download book #2 and read the first few chapters simply so I could sleep. The first book was amazing and I am pretty sure I will be reading the next two today. Eyeing the review pile which is going to suffer for it, but these books are so good. I simply can't resist....much like Christian Grey himself.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Edge of Passion by Tina Folsom

Title:  Edge of Passion
Author: Tina Folsom
My Rating: C+

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Cloak Warriors #1
Main Characters: Aidan and Leila
Release Date: March 2012
ISBN: e-book
Publisher: Tina Folsom
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

I received a copy of this book from the author and NetGalley in return for an honest review.




Story Overview:
Able to render themselves invisible, immortal Cloak Warriors like Aiden have been protecting humans from the dark power of the Demons of Fear for centuries. But the demons might soon have a powerful tool in their hands to seduce humans to the dark side. And the person to provide them with this elixir is the human scientist Leila. Unbeknownst to her, the drug she’s developing to cure Alzheimer’s has the unexpected side effect of weakening the mind’s resistance to the influence of demons.

The Council of Cloak Warriors is divided, some of them believing the only safe way to eradicate this threat is to eliminate its inventor, others are bent on protecting the human scientist. Aiden is a loyal Cloak Warrior who accepts the assignment to protect her despite his own beliefs that humans can\'t be trusted. However, when her life is endangered, his beliefs shift, and he’s drawn into a battle whose participants are unknown: is he fighting the demons or his fellow Cloak Warriors?

Forbidden desire flares between Aiden and Leila as they are forced to rely on the only people they can trust: each other. And even if he can save her and defeat their enemies, a union between them might be the most dangerous undertaking of all.



My Review:
This book was the start of a new series for Tina Folsom. In this world, there are Cloak Warriors who are trying to protect mankind from the influence of demons. The Cloak Warriors have charges who are important to mankind who they "cloak" from demons to keep the demons from influencing them. Aiden is one of these warriors and the book starts out with him losing a charge to demon influence. His twin sister was killed by one of these "turned" charges and overall he doesn't have a great perspective on what he considers to be "weak-minded humans."


Leila is a scientist on the verge of finding the cure to Alzheimers. What she doesn't realize is that her drug opens the human minds to easier manipulation by the demons (but really for her to realize that, she'd have to know demons exist...LOL). As a result the Council wants her drug gone. The demons want her so that doesn't happen. Aiden is in charge of her protection.


Overall this is an interesting premise. Unfortunately, I had a really hard time connecting to these characters. Their actions seemed to be all over the place...one minute they felt this certain way, the next minute they were doing a complete 180 with very little reason for the change. The thing is...I could have really enjoyed this story. I liked Aiden (for the most part) and I enjoyed the Cloak Warriors story. From the reviews I've read, I am thinking that my issues were definitely personal ones. Most people seem to really love this book.


While I didn't fall in love with this particular book in the series, the book had great action and suspense...and some seriously HOT Cloak Warriors. It should be a fun series to follow.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

10 Ways to Steal Your Lover by Dee Tenorio

Title:  10 Ways to Steal Your Lover
Author: Dee Tenorio
My Rating: A


Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Love by Numbers #1
Main Characters: Kane and Delilah
Release Date:December 2011
ISBN: e-book
Publisher: Dee Tenorio
Links to Purchase:
Amazon  
Sexual Intensity: hot


Story Overview:
His best friend's wedding just turned into the craziest hangover ever...

Kane Wilkensen's buddy was about to marry the girl of Kane's dreams. Which would have been fine—heartbreaking but fine—if Kane hadn't woken up in a Las Vegas honeymoon suite with her, a giant sack of money and a great big blank spot in both their memories first.

He'd always thought a good man would never steal his best friend's lover, but one crazy night may be just the chance Kane needs to show his "wife" that she's with the right husband after all...

My Review:
OMG, this book was so good. I knew that the story line appealed to me and I already know that I love Dee's writing, but this book was even better than I expected. So funny....definitely The Hangover (i.e. the movie) meets a gorgeously romantic love story. So funny and so sweet. I really did just love it!

The book opens...well, let's just say that the book opens with a scorchingly HOT scene, but neither of the participants are fully aware of what's happening. ;o) It's the morning after and they are both half-asleep, half-dreaming...and the entire scene is entirely HOT!! The thing is neither of them, Kane or Delilah, know how they got there. All they know is that they are wearing wedding rings, have obviously been seriously intimate, BUT she was supposed to be getting married to Craig, Kane's best friend, not Kane. Oh and they are in this incredibly over-the-top honeymoon suite with a couple of bags full of money. No memory of the night before at all, so they start to retrace their steps and make some startling discoveries.

For all the craziness, this truly is one of the sweetest, most romantic books I have ever read. Kane has always been in love with Delilah. Craig just saw her first, so he never had a chance. Now that Kane has her within his grasp, he is doing whatever he can to keep her with him...and his impassioned speeches about his feelings for her...OMG! *swoon* So romantic and so sweet. God, this man loves her so much and he has such a romantic soul.

For her part, Del has always been really aware of Kane, but she's involved with Craig, so she has never let herself "go there" in her mind. Fortunately, for all of them, Rainbow (Del's crazy grandmother) slips something into Del's champagne and things domino from there. Craig was the ideal guy for her...even if they didn't have overwhelming passion. They work. He's a banker and is the stability she thinks she needs. Del grew up with a domineering Colonel for a father who always saw her flightiness as a flaw. As a result, so did Del. Marrying Craig is the right thing to do. It's a good match even if it's not a passionate love match.

It's a great story and truly what makes the story so good is Kane's passion. He sees his dream almost within his grasp and he's doing everything he can just to hang onto it. In this book, there are moments that make you laugh, there are moments that make you smile. It's definitely a book that makes you feel better for having read it. You would think with the premise, that there would be sad or angry moments, but there aren't. It's all good. Craig's book is next in this series and I can't wait to see who Dee pairs him up with. Because for all the flaws between him and Del, he is truly a wonderful guy. That does come shining through in this book too. Like I said, it's all good!