Once again, I love the FIFTY SHADES series. DARKER is as stunning as its predecessor, if not more. It was mo...moreOriginally posted at A Bookalicious Story.
Once again, I love the FIFTY SHADES series. DARKER is as stunning as its predecessor, if not more. It was more intense, more emotional, more heartaches and drama, and of course, there were more beautiful, heartwarming Ana-Christian moments.
Ana's miserable after leaving Christian - er, who wouldn't be? But not the point - and when Christian offers to take her to Jose's Photo Show, she accepts it immediately. Well, even if she can't have him, one more look's good too, true?
But when they meet again, Christian's determined to keep Ana this time, no matter what he has to change, in their agreement, or the way he treats her. Or not treat her...y'know, in their playroom?
Ana moves back into Escala, but she is still not safe. One of Christian's ex-subs, the one who also wanted more, Leila, is back with a vengeance. She's demented (like really gone batshit crazy), and she's stalking Ana and Christian. She even got the certificate to legalize carrying a weapon with her. That was when Christian had bodyguards patrolling around Ana, her workplace, and such. Ana's not happy, but who can go against Fifty when he's in his you-listen-to-me-or-suffer-the-consequence mode?
But their problems don't stop at an ex-sub gone mad, Ana's also got to deal with Mrs. Robinson, the woman whom Ana thinks is a child molester who screwed Christian up when he was fifteen, being a close confidant and business associate to her Fifty. And when she sees Christian going all tender towards his ex-subs, she can't help dam all her insecurities from rushing in and think that she will never be enough to satisfy all of Christian's needs. So, how will this end? Will Ana up and leave Christian again? How far will Christian go to keep Ana by his side?
Ok, I'm not doing the synopsis any justice. There was a lot happening, and I can't spill all the goodies in one shot, right? So the above minefield is only a simplified times 10 gist of the story. Anyway, AHHH! I loved DARKER so much! I thought I wouldn't like it as much as Book 1 initially, but as I continued reading, it became so emotionally intense I actually cried, not teared, cried...thrice! First time was because it was very saddening, then it became tears of joy. I tell you, James is one hell of a writer.
I said that I didn't like the front that much (well, not really "didn't like", more of a 4 stars than 5 stars didn't like) because Ana was getting bolder. I liked her meek yet quietly-strong character in Book 1, so her being bold was a little unnerving, and frankly, I'm not used to it. But then it was because of her newfound inner-strength that saved her relationship with Christian at the end of the book, so I'm lovin' her boldness now.
Another part that I liked a little less - I still like it even tho it's less likable cause I cannot not like any part of this series (Am I making sense? As my friends say, if you don't make sense, make dollars! Ok lame, moving on) - was Ana being overly obstinate when Christian does something extreme to protect her. There's a freaking killer after her, of course he's going ballistic, and rightfully so. And at the same time, there was this minor crisis going on in his company, so Ana, trying too hard to be independent, going against Christian didn't help the situation or Christian at all. But that's the only part where she was annoying, so I do still really like her. Especially when she's with Christian.:D
About Christian.... Have I ever told you how hot Christian becomes when he's jealous? Being rich has its perks, but there's something about him that makes him so......panties-combusting. Even in such a dark mood.
I like the secondary characters too, especially Taylor. He's cute. In a bodyguardy-fatherly sort of way.
DARKER focused less on BDSM this time and more of the changing scenery, though there was this one scene that was pretty intense. (See, this book is all about intensity.) Christian's willing to accomodate Ana and have more vanillas than BDSM sex, if you get what I mean, but Ana still has that naughty bone in her, and she does want a little BDSM to make things interesting. But that one scene...WOW, real hot. As for the changing scenery... Christian was telling Ana how he wanted to take her on all surfaces of his house so they went at it in the yacht that Christian owned, on the piano, billiard table, lobby table, elevator WITH people inside, you name it.
James' writing style is, once again, a stunner. She writes so beautifully! And very emotionally; Everything very vivid, very intense (again with the word), and her diction is fantastic (very unlike mine. I keep using the word "intense", and I can't seem to find a suitable word to replace it..>:|).
I like how the covers of the FIFTY SHADES series are simple yet sophisticated. It brings out the sleek, elegance but dark world of Christian Grey.
I cannot stress how much I love this book, and how much I recommend this series to any romace lovers out there. I was a little reluctant to start reading Book 1 before because I don't read Contemporary-Romance or anything Contemporary for that matter, other than Urban-Fantasy, but I did, and hell if I regretted it. The characters were amazing, the plot was intense, the writing was fantastic, especially her diction and the way James' could make you cry with the characters...This is really my favourite series of the year. Stunning. Brilliant. GAH! It was so good, so much so that I felt so emotionally bereft when the The End popped out on me..:(
I find it funny how Ana has this thing for gays. Everytime she sees one, she's like,"I like him already." Lol!
FIFTY SHADES FREED is only going to be out one month from now...NOOOOO!!:((
P.S. This review is considerably shorter cause my sentiments for DARKER is the same as Book 1's, and I don't want to repeat myself overly much.
P.P.S. This review is long overdue already, I know. But it's just so hard to write a five-star review cause I feel like I'm not doing it enough justice.:/["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
*4.5 stars* LOSING IT, I admit, is one of those little guilty pleasures I let myself indulge in once in awhile to take a break from all the PNR/UFs th...more*4.5 stars* LOSING IT, I admit, is one of those little guilty pleasures I let myself indulge in once in awhile to take a break from all the PNR/UFs that I normally read. I usually like my romances interlaced with some crazy action going on, but sometimes, a girl just needs a nice, clean and sweet romance to curl her toes and accompany her to the beach. Ok, I admit, it was the cover that first attracted me. I mean, look at that, that that..that.. Handsome male specimen alert~
LOSING IT wouldn't really be a guilty read, seeing as it is still within the premises of the YA genre, just with a little sexual content in it. Looking at that synopsis, you'd think that there'd be tons of pages on Bliss Edwards having some mind-blowing horizontal tango, but no, fortunately or unfortunately (haha). Well, I thought that little in this case was really good; It was still intense, but slow, sweet and romannnnnntik. It is YA also because the plot was rather simplistic and it just lacked the dark and dirty element of eroticas/adult romance novels.
I won't go much into a summary of the book, cause what you see in the synopsis is pretty much what you'll get, and since this is a pretty short novel I don't want to spoiler it to much. It's basically Bliss Edwards (lead girl) still having her V-card which her best friend thought was totally not natural, so naturally, she saw fit to take Bliss to this high end club immediately to hook up with a guy and have a one-night stand. Just when she thought the night would be as futile as any other nights in the past, she may just have stumbled upon her happy ever after... Literally!
Let's go into the characters first, shall we? Let's see, who do we start with......hmm...... Let's start with Garrick Taylor. OMG GARRICK. He has this certain similarity to Christian Grey but more realistic. No troubled, dark past, not as intense (come on, who can be as intense as Grey?) or overbearing, and wealth is totally out of the question. Garrick just graduated from the college Bliss is at and is working as an actor somewhere in Philadelphia when Bliss' school's stage director called on Garrick and offered him a job as an instructor in their school, being one of the best students when he was still there. I won't say much on how Bliss and him met and their subsequent encounters and all cause I really enjoyed slowly savoring every one of them and I don't want to spoil it for you. But the embarrassment when Garrick walked into class and was introduced as their new acting teacher-instructor... That scene was priceless! Carmack described it so well I could totally see the scene unfolding in my head and laugh with sadistic glee, anticipating the embarrassment when Bliss recognized him as the man she'd left naked on her bed a mere few hours ago and all that tension (both sexual and non-sexual). Oh, and did I mention that Garrick has a British accent? Yeah, and I'll leave you to find out every sexy piece of him yourself.
Bliss was a really witty character, so full of emotions and life, and also clumsily cute! She's conservative, she mature, and she's sooooo funny when she rambles and crazy-talks. The side characters were well-developed too, all having their own distinct personalities.
One of my only grievances about this book is not explaining what "mono" was. Some STD, I think. It might be a slang from somewhere (America, perhaps?), but I didn't, and still don't, know what it was.
LOSING IT made for an easy read, and it has one of my favorite endings! It'll make any reader smile. Seriously, this is such a fun and addictive book with humor and romance that is sometimes intensely sexy and others heartwarmingly sweet. I'd recommend this to any fans of YA contemporary romance!
P.S. Carmack's biography at the back of the book's kinda cool too! Haha here's just a portion of it:
“She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too.” (Ditto!)(less)
*3.5 stars* TEARS OF TESS is a dark NA Contemporary Romance that crosses into heavy BDSM Erotica. It explores the world of dark desires and the danger...more*3.5 stars* TEARS OF TESS is a dark NA Contemporary Romance that crosses into heavy BDSM Erotica. It explores the world of dark desires and the dangerous underworld of human trafficking in Mexico to the elegant reaches of France.
For me, the simplistic plot and narrative are within the realm of YA/NA, but the emotional development and complexities and of course, the explicit sexual scenes are clearly tending towards Adult. (And the heavy BDSM is really not for older teens at all!! More for adults with a hardier heart.) I thought that TOT is a dangerously sexy book, and Tess's journey throughout very vivid and heart wrenching. From a girl who leads a life of simple acceptance and constantly hiding her true, more violent inner desires to a woman who fights for what she wants.
When she was in captivity, she had time to think and reflect about her life before, and she resolved that she will not let herself be debased, even if she has to fight like an animal and be brutalized. To the time where she met her new master, the tortured and enigmatic Q. Mercer.
Talking about Q, he's uncannily like our dear Christian Grey from the Fifty Shades series. He's reserved, powerful man with sadistic sexual needs, though when juxtaposed with Fifty, I must say that Q pales in comparison. Q has an equally screwed up childhood (or actually I think Q was dealt a worse hand in life) and he has worked hard to build on his father's empire, but he just didn't give the truly aloof and poised vibes. One issue I had with Q was that he hit Tess when they were quarreling outside of the bedroom. I mean, I'm fine with a little bondage and pain, but slapping when you don't see things the same way? *inner diva rising, snaps* Hell to the no. This will obviously lead to domestic abuse in the future, you listen to Mama Peng.
Another issue I had with TOT was the...do you call it idealistic or naïve? Circumstances of Tess. I mean, being kidnapped and trafficked is one of the worst things that can happen to anybody, but to end up as a slave to such a, well, magnanimous master such as Q? Slaves usually end up dead or abused beyond sanity, so all I'm saying is that Tess is lucky. I mean, who gets kidnapped and trafficked into the hands of your one true match/love? But ok, there are always those one in a gazibijillion cases.
After all that you'd think I didn't enjoy TOT, but actually, Winters have this unique style of writing (this is my first attempt at her books but there's this way of her storytelling that I'm thinking will permeate throughout all her works) that is quite compelling. She uses the senses to lure Tess to Q. You'll have to read it to understand it. Tess's emotional journey tugged at my heart strings - her dilemma, denial, struggles, desire, everything! She didn't let her kidnappers dampen her fighting spirit, and she learnt to cope with Q.
TEARS OF TESS is actually a pretty smexy read in all it's screwed-up glory between slave and master (in the literal sense, not role play in the bedroom. Though there is a little role play involved...). I'd recommend it to BDSM Erotica readers who's looking for a lighter read.(less)
*3.5 stars Not a bad adult contemporary romance! It's definitely steamy and piled with sexual tension, but it's the instant physical attraction kind t...more*3.5 stars Not a bad adult contemporary romance! It's definitely steamy and piled with sexual tension, but it's the instant physical attraction kind that doesn't do much to leave a deep enough impression on the reader to let the memory last.
Olivia "Liv" Townsend is a sheep farmer's daughter who's responsible, loyal, has a unique blend of humor and...is always attracted to the bad boys. It's the reason why she's had her heart broken one too many times in the past, and the reason why she avoids them at all costs.
Liv is living with her rich, snobbish cousin in Atlanta to finish her college degree in accounting. She goes to school, bartends at a friendly club at Salt Springs every weekend, and goes out with her friends occasionally to club a little or just to chill. She never factored in meeting the sexy bad boy owner of the club that her friend held her bachelorette party at, Cash, or his twin brother, Nash, who's a lawyer, equally sexy, and her cousin's boyfriend...
Both drives her insane, both are equally desirable. Thing is, she's always been drawn to the bad boys, but she knows that Nash will be better, safer choice, the kind of guy she needs in her life. The only end she sees with Cash is one that ends in heartbreak, but she's not that kind of girl that'll steal an attached guy. Therein lies the problem: She's drawn to both brothers. Both brothers are drawn to her. But both also brings with them a whole lot of consequences that Liv'll have to contend with.
Thoughts: I'll admit it - the cover was the thang that drew me in. Dang, I mean, look at it! Haha, it's the kind of once-in-awhile, guilty pleasures that a girl wants to indulge in. It's a quick, steamy read that'll guarantee tide you thru this need-for-a-guilty-pleasure phase, girls! Not sure about the dudes out there, though. It's told in multiple POVs, from Olivia to Cash to Nash, so it's a little different from your ordinary contemporary romance.
I liked DOWN TO YOU, the only reason why I docked off a few stars is because there were times where I just thought that the characters were a little shallow - bimbotic, for lack of a better word. Shallow, yes, but it made for quite a fun read! One of Liv's friends, Ginger, can swear reaaaal colorfully! A quote:
"Stay in you lane you limp-dick, candy-ass, crazy mother fu--" "Ginger?" I interrupt. She quiets immediately. "Oh, Liv. Hi, sweetie. I didn't hear you answer."
Hahaha, you have been warned!
One thing that I really liked about DTY is that plot twist at the end! I didn't even see it coming when it hit! Though I don't think that it's really plausible in real life, it still made for quite a big shock. That's some real cool writing right there.
Anyhoo, all in all, I thought that DOWN TO YOU was a quick, steamy read full of lighthearted fun and laughter with a neat plot twist at the end that'll sure to catch readers off-guard. Enjoyed it!
P.S. Not sure whether I'll start on the next few books yet though. I think I'm back into the intense plot and action novels now, so I think I'll place UP TO ME somewhere in the middle of my Mt. TBR. :)(less)
I am in awe; In pure and undiluted awe and shock over FIFTY SHADES OF GREY. This is seriously some heady stuff; I'm addicted! FSoG is the very first novel where I would be more than willing to give a rating higher than 5/5. It really is beyond perfection, and I was utterly ensnared by its characters, plot, and James' writing throughout the reading process that I felt so sorry when it ended. In a freaking cliffhanger, no less!!! But we will come to that later.
Anastasia "Ana" Steele is in her last year doing her degree in WSU, Vancouver. Her best friend, Katherine "Kate" Kavanagh - or the Kathering Kavanagh Inquisition, as Ana calls her when she gets into her interviewer-reporter mode - managed to snag a time slot to interview Christian Grey, CEO of Grey Enterprises Holdings, one of the richest, most eligible bachelor in the country, but she fell prey to the flu bug, and so Ana has to take Kate's place as interviewer.
Ana is a jeans and T-shirt person, so when she dresses in a casual-formal skirt and shirt to the gleaming glass fortress that was Grey's office, she feels a little intimidated. What's worse is that the moment she steps into his office, she falls flat on her face. She feels arms around her, and when Grey helps her up and she takes her first real look at him, oh you know she's a definite goner. He was absolutely gorgeous, but with a cold and distant demeanor. She's intimidated, and as the interview went on, she embarrasses herself multiple times, and so she flees as soon as she's done with Kate's list of interview questions, trying her best to put him out of her mind. Well, she's probably not going to be seeing such a high profile person again, right?
Wrong. Grey turns up at the hardware store where she works, and he expresses his wish to see her again. Who is she to refuse? Anyway, Grey tells her explicitly what he wants in a relationship in her - a BDSM one no less. Ana is intrigued with him and his lifestyle, being a complete innocent when it comes to anything sexual. But as they got to know each other better, she finds out that Grey is actually a man with many dark secrets, is haunted by a terrible, abusive past, and is fifty shades of fucked-up. She falls for him, but can she pull him back into the light? Will she be enough for him as she is?
Once again I feel obliged to reiterate: I LOVED this book. This series, actually, since I couldn't concentrate enough to do up this review and gone ahead to devour Book 2 immediately after Book 1. (That cliffhanger is to be blamed!!) I wanted to do a quickie review, combining both FIFTY SHADES OF GREY and FIFTY SHADES DARKER (book 2, and also one of my absolute favourites) initially, but thought better of it cause I am probably going to be gushing about my love for both books. So, the gushing commences.
The plot. There was actually a plot! I shall endeavor to explain why I am in shock. Usually, Eroticas exist as standalones because they consist of insubstantial plots and storylines, harping on about panties-melting, sadistic males, timid as hell pushover heroines, mindless sex and orgasms repeated throughout the whole book, probably on every alternate page, and pseudo-loves. But when I saw that FIFTY SHADES OF GREY belonged to a series, trilogy in fact, I was intrigued. And now that I've read it, my whole view on Erotica-Romances has changed. I wasn't that into Eroticas before, nor Contemporary-Romances (this is the first contemp romance I've read so far, honest), but this story really just makes me want to delve further into this two sub-genres while I wait for their sequel-brother, FIFTY SHADES FREED, to be released. Christian was a little domineering, but he doesn't overstep boundaries. Ok, maybe in a few occasions, but they're done so as to protect Ana, and they're really, heartwrenchingly sweet. So I did like his overbearingness, surprisingly. And Ana stands up for herself. But I will be gushing about the characters in a later paragraph(s).
The writing. I LOVED E.L. James' writing style! She's funny, witty, and her diction is fantastic. I loved how the words are complex, but not overly so, but it actually became a little educational. Haha, I had to unearth my dictionary a few times to check up on a few difficult words, and I did like it. Other than the parts where it gets so exciting and I stop checking the dic. She could express very subtle details in the story, and even in one-sided conversations like when Christian is on the phone and only uses a few words to respond to the caller, I could actually understand who he was talking to, how he felt about the conversation, and most importantly, what he was talking about. I know it may sound like simple matters, but I'm telling you, it's not. James' is really a talented author. She even employed a very special way of communication between the protagonists - via emails! Haha, you must be thinking, "Whaaat?" right? But which other books have you read where the people communicates through emails? It has always been dialogues, isn't it so? Admit it! Haha, and those emails between Ana and Christian are HEE-larious! Wonderfully entertaining and unique and special and...sigh, they are so childish and endearing when they're being cute together.
From: Anastasia Steele Subject: Verbose? Date: May 31 2011 19:08 EST To: Christian Grey
Sir, you are quite the loquacious writer. I have to go to dinner at Bob’s golf club, and just so you know, I am rolling my eyes at the thought. But you and your twitchy palm are a long way from me so my behind is safe, for now. I loved your email. Will respond when I can. I miss you already. Enjoy your afternoon.
From: Christian Grey Subject: Your behind Date: May 31 2011 16:10 To: Anastasia Steele
Dear Miss Steele
I am distracted by the title of this email. Needless to say it is safe – for now.
Enjoy your dinner, and I miss you too, especially your behind and your smart mouth.
My afternoon will be dull, brightened only by thoughts of you and your eye rolling. I think it was you who so judiciously pointed out to me that I too suffer from that nasty habit.
Christian Grey CEO & Eye Roller, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
You should see the continuation, it's gets funnier. But I can't quote the back without the front cause then it wouldn't have made much sense, and I can't quote the entire thing because then it'll be too long, so oh well. But he's very different in real life compared to when he's emailing Ana. Haha, and it really is heartwarming when you see him relax and let the depraved little boy come out.
And then there's the other funny parts:
" How could he mean so much to me in such a short time? He’s got right under my skin… literally. "
Hahaha, yeah, literally.
The characters. Oh my hell, they were so hot together. I really cannot stress it enough. I am intoxicated by both of them, Ana and Christian/Fifty/Grey. I loved how Ana was a meek yet brave yet obstinate yet compassionate yet intelligent yet witty girl. She is the perfect heroine. I've kind of grown tired of reading the typical snarky and badass heroines nowadays, or the overtly timid pushovers that seem to dominate most of the Erotica genre. I said Ana was witty, not snarky. There's a fine line between those two, but I prefer witty instead of snarky. Snarky just sounds immature and childish. And then there's our dear, aloof, tortured, brilliant male protagonist, Christian who is actually a sweet closet romantic. I adored him. He was showing Ana all these impossibly beautiful sceneries, whispering impossibly tender, sweet nothings to Ana yet it doesn't come off as cheesy. And when they're together, they practically just made my book combust into ashes. Spontaneous combustion, that's how they affected me. Loved, loved, loved them.
Oh, and incidentally, Ana has already described her Fifty Shades quite perfectly in the book:
"I know he’s moody, difficult, funny, cold, warm… jeez, the man is a walking mass of contradictions."
Yep, that pretty much sums him up. He is such an enigma that I love. But not the love love kind of thing, cause I'm not Ana, and I think Ana really is like his other halve, the only other person who can compliment him. They're perfect together, in every sense of that word.
Only one eetsy beetsy thing that I noticed. Christian has well-manicured hands! Or was it nails..? But "well-manicured" sounded so gay to me. Oh well, but after some time I was thinking would you rather go for well-manicured or chipped and caked with black dirt, and I chose well-manicured. And why does he have condoms everywhere he goes?!?! They're at a boathouse, he sinks his hand into his pocket, and OUT comes a condom; They're in a lift, and OUT comes a condom; They're god-knows where, he sinks his hand into a pocket and OUT comes a condom! I mean, really? You might say he's just being an always-ready kind of person..but really?
I loved FIFTY SHADES OF GREY with all my heart; So much so that even before I finished the book, I already wanted to rate this book a rating higher than 5/5, and that's saying something. It has all I ever wanted in a romance book, even though I thought that I was a hopeless Paranormal-Romance-Urban-Fantasy geekfan, FSoG helped changed my perception. Even though one of the things I hate the most is a cliffhanger to sour my mood, I thought that this cliffhanger was the best cliffhanger I've ever encountered (and the fact that the second book was already out lightened my mood considerably!:D). No doubt my favourite book - and maybe series - of 2011. I'd really, strongly encourage ALL romanceaholics out there to give this a try if you haven't done so already.
Random Musings (which you will not understand if you haven't read the book):
(view spoiler)[If you're reading the ebook like me, can you search the words,"Heart failure" into the search box? I LOVED that scene! Haha, it made me laugh so hard, especially at the heart failure in italics part. That was one epic moment. My heart literally stopped together with Ana's. Ohh, Fifty is really such an unpredictable male.
Oh, and the other part where I couldn't stop laughing was:
“Good. Until tomorrow perhaps.” He turns to leave, then pauses. “Oh – and Anastasia, I’m glad Miss Kavanagh couldn’t do the interview.” He smiles, then strides with renewed purpose out of the store, slinging the plastic bag over his shoulder, leaving me a quivering mass of raging female hormones. I spend several minutes staring at the closed door through which he’s just left before I return to planet Earth.
Somehow, I found the phrase "quivering mass" very funny and suggestive.XD (hide spoiler)]
And I love the pun "Fifty Shades of Grey". Haha, think about it. It's really mindfuckingly cool. (Sorry for the language, but this book incites very strong emotions in me.)
Oh, and thanks Midsummer for the recommendation! I really loved it.:)["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)