The Grey Finale

There are books that come along and captivate you, pulling you into the world that the author has so masterfully crafted. Books that have you staying up until 2 a.m., promising that you’ll go to bed after “just one more page”. Needless to say, Fifty Shades Freed (as well as the entire The Fifty Shades trilogy) was it for me. And now that the series is over… Well, I just don’t know what to do with myself.

In the final installment of the Fifty Shades series, Ana and Christian are married, but that doesn’t mean that it’s all roses and sunshine for the happy couple. Not only is there the mystery of trying to find out who’s trying to kill them — the suspense definitely has its heart-pounding moments — but the newlyweds are also adjusting to married life and learning even more about each other. There’s more than just nail-biting suspense, though. Of course there’s also plenty of spicy bits to go around — I mean, c’mon, Christian was a Dom when he first met Ana. Obviously their bedroom (and other room) scenes are going to sizzle! But their sexual interactions are beautifully interwoven with humorous and somber plot points, character arcs, and the infamous email exchange between Ana and Christian (love those!).

Ana and Christian’s character evolution throughout the trilogy is unlike any I’ve ever seen. She started off as a naive, shy college student, while Christian (AKA Fifty) was a cold, aggressive businessman. By the end of Fifty Shades Freed, not only are they closer to one another, but they’re also more confident in themselves.

After reading Fifty Shades Freed, I kept trying to decide which of the three books I loved best. After thoughtful deliberation, I honestly could not come up with a favorite because I love them ALL. So much so that gray may be my new favorite color. Kidding… sort of.

*Click here to read my review and view my star rating on Goodreads.

**I received Fifty Shades Freed as a complimentary copy for review from the publisher.

Fifty Variations of “Squee!” and “OMG!”

Have you ever come across a book you loved so much you just wanted to crawl inside it and never let go? No? Okay, well, call my metaphor crazy if you want, but I recently read Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James and nearly wept when I realized I’d reached the end. I actually finished the book a few days ago, but it took a couple days to write a review because I honestly couldn’t think of a way to describe it without using the words “OMG” “squee” and “totally” — with exclamations after every sentence too. Fifty Shades Darker is the sequel to Fifty Shades of Grey (which I also loved beyond words), and as this is a trilogy, I find myself chomping at the bit for the next book yet again. Christian and Ana take spicy to a whole new level and readers are in for a surprise with the amount of suspense that’s been sprinkled throughout. This is a series that will stick with you for weeks after reading, and one that I know I’ll be rereading — probably soon! — and I almost never reread books!

SYNOPSIS: When we last left our protagonists, shy, sweet Anastasia had just stormed out on the troubled and sexy Christian Grey because his overwhelming “fifty shades of f*cked up” became just too much to bear for our naive heroine. The story picks up just weeks after their last meeting and Ana can’t help the insane magnetic attraction she still feels for Christian and vice versa. The young couple manages to work things out and get back together (hallelujah!), but don’t think that it means happily ever afters for all! Oh, no. In fact, quite the opposite. This time around, the couple must battle conflict left and right in order to stay together. From death threats to inappropriate email exchanges, Fifty Shades Darker is an emotional tug-of-war like none other. Additionally, Christian’s elusive “Mrs. Robinson” makes an appearance, as does Ana’s loveable friend, José. Strap on your seat belt and grab a fire extinguisher because you’re in for one HOT wild ride!

Yet another grand slam for Ms. James! I can’t even begin to articulate how much I loved this book, so excuse my squealing attempt at explaining why I am absolutely head-over-heels for all things Fifty. Since Christian and Ana are actually in a relationship this time around, we get a chance to delve deeper into the couples’ personality and spend more time finding out what makes them tick. Sure, Christian is still a tortured soul with some demons to battle, but we also see how romantic he can be and just how much he cares for his family. And, boy, has Ana come a long way since the first book. She’s still amiable and polite, but she’s grown a proverbial pair of balls and learned to start sticking up for herself — not only against Christian (their constant back-and-forth is tense, funny AND erotic), but also against other bad-guy characters in the story.

In terms of pacing, I would describe the story as a rollercoaster — one that begins with a slow, tortuous climb and then quickly plummets, lifting your stomach into your throat (you know the feeling to which I’m referring!). Then, just when you think it’s time for a calm, even moment, you’re thrust into plot twists and sensual loop-de-loops. By the time you finally catch your breath you’re dizzy, emotional and overwhelmed… and want to do it again.

*Click here to read my review and view my star rating on Goodreads.

**I received Fifty Shades Darker as a complimentary copy for review from the publisher.

E. L. James on Rocking in the Corner

How do I overcome my natural British reticence when trying to promote my own book? Well, it’s something I’m learning. Part of me just wants to mumble shyly from the back of the room “I’ve um… kind of written a book. Um… It’s a bit rude in places… but I’d love you to read it.” Then I could just shuffle into a corner and rock to and fro trying to quell my nerves while I wait. But no, I have put on my big girl panties and do my best to discuss Fifty Shades of Grey.

So what’s it about? For me it’s a retelling of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, though Christian – the beast in my version of the tale, is beautiful too. Well, he certainly is on the outside – on the inside he doesn’t feel that way – but I’ll leave you to make your mind up about that.

He’s an enigma. An attractive, sexy, successful, rich, worldly man, who parachutes into shy Anastasia Steele’s life, changing it irrevocably. At heart, Fifty Shades of Grey is a love story – I like to call it a love story with a kink for reasons that become all too obvious as the tale unfolds.

For me, it’s been great fun depicting the freight train that is Christian Grey through the eyes of an innocent like Ana. Like most people new to this writing business, I think, I set first of all to entertain myself. Christian is my fantasy man. He’s powerful, controlling and capable. He’s used to success and getting his own way in most areas of his life. And of course he knows what to do — if you know what I mean — and I mean REALLY  knows what to do, ladies. A woman’s body presents no issues for him at all as he proves again and um… again.

But Ana’s feelings and emotions, and his reaction to those, is a whole different ball game. He’s smitten… but he doesn’t know or understand it. That’s because he needs fixing – boy does he need fixing. He’s not Fifty Shades of F*ucked up (his words) for nothing and I think that’s one of the traits that appeals to women. A fixer-upper… we love those.

Christian is such a mixed up kid: he can be warm and funny one minute, cold and harsh the next. It’s like he’s many different people in one, and I think that’s also part of his appeal. Ana has to try and peel away his cool exterior to find the real Christian Grey beneath, and as she does she falls under his spell. He takes her on a sexual journey of discovery that she never dreamed of, one that we might all wish for, and I think that kind of sexual potency is hard to leave behind.

And I hope, it’s entertaining for the reader to embark on the journey with her.

Okay… that’s me done. I’ll go back to rocking in the corner. In the meantime, thank you to Spencer for giving me some space on her lovely blog.

***

Thank you so much, Ms. James, for shedding some insight on the tortured Christian Grey and Fifty Shades of Grey. I never thought of the couple as a new-aged Beauty and the Beast, but now that you’ve mentioned it, I can definitely see the connection! For those of you who are eager to find out more about the elusive Christian and innocent Ana, leave a comment answering the question below and the first five people to respond (be sure to leave your email address) will win a FREE copy of Fifty Shades of Grey!

ROAMING QUESTION: What is your favorite fairy tale and why?

Also, be sure to check out my review, as well as the rest of the stops on the Fifty Shades of Grey blog tour:

Where to buy

Find out more about E. L. James

Grey is the New Black

Poor gray. It’s often ignored on the color wheel and gets a bad rap as being a bland and often boring color. Well, I’m here to tell you that gray is the new black! Don’t believe me? You will, after reading Fifty Shades of Grey by first-time author E. L. James. From the hero’s name, to the color of his penetrating eyes, to the couple’s complex relationship, there are hues of gray scattered all throughout the story. Still skeptical? Well, if my review doesn’t clinch it for you, then be sure to check back tomorrow for an *exclusive* guest post from the author herself! Plus, I’ll be giving away FREE copies of the book, so that you can read for yourself why gray is the new black.

SYNOPSIS: When Anastasia Steele agrees to interview millionaire Christian Grey as a favor for her friend, she has no idea what she’s getting herself into. The moment she looks into the enigmatic businessman’s piercing gray eyes, she’s literally head over heels, accidentally stumbling to the ground when they first meet. After several sexually-charged interactions, Christian asks Ana out, and though she can’t figure out how such a successful — and hot! — man could be interested in her, she agrees. However, after their date, Christian warns Ana to stay away from him. Talk about mixed signals!

Ana refuses to back down, though, and in return Christian propositions her with a blushing offer to explore her sexuality… together. Despite Ana’s innocence, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to Christian and willing to do whatever it takes to get to know him better. Soon, their relationship begins to transcend physical boundaries and Ana finds herself wanting more from the wealthy tycoon. If only Christian could get past his inner demons to open himself up to Ana’s love…

If I had to describe this book in one word, it would be INTENSE! From Ana and Christian’s relationship to Christian’s internal struggles and Ana’s emotional roller-coaster, the entire 380 pages are intense. The story is told in first-person present tense, which I have to admit thew me at first, but I quickly became engrossed in Ana’s thoughts and intrigued with her perception of Christian and her take on their affair. Christian is a multi-faceted hero. Yes, he’s drop-dead gorgeous, but he’s also troubled, overbearing and possessive. As odd as it sounds, it’s his flaws that really make him alluring — it’s no wonder Ana is willing to submit to him!

The secondary characters  — Ana’s roommate, Christian’s family, etc. — bring another level of depth and complexity to the plot — which, by the way, flies by; I read this book in less than three days! All in all, I’d have to say that Fifty Shades of Grey was not at all what I expected… it was fifty times better! And, if that wasn’t enough, turns out that it’s part of a trilogy, which means that there will be more shades of Grey to indulge in. The only downside, however, is that the story ends on a cliff-hanger, making me more than a little anxious for the next book to be released.

*Click here to read my review and view my star rating on Goodreads.

**I received Fifty Shades of Grey as a complimentary copy for review from the publisher.