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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

"Fifty Shades of Grey" - E L James (Plus "Fifty Shades Darker", "Fifty Shades Freed", and "Grey".

The Fifty Shades of Grey Series by E L James
(Including "Grey")

So... there is a lot of controversy over the Fifty Shades of Grey books. Some people love them, others despise them. Books with this much controversy over them are always a must-read on my list. How can you not read a book that makes people love and hate it so passionately? 

I originally was "dared" to read "Fifty Shades of Grey" and post a review on my blog by an old friend. He thought it would funny to see what I thought of the book. Although I am no longer friends with that person, I still think his idea of reading it and posting my thoughts is a fun idea. 

I originally did not set out to own the Fifty Shades of Grey series, but life is funny. I was traveling through the lower 48 (for people NOT in Alaska that means the rest of United States) and wound up in the Minneapolis airport without a book to read on the LONG flight back to Anchorage. While I was with my parents and son, waiting for our food to be delivered, I popped next door to one of those overpriced kiosk stores. There were about ten different books to choose from. Of the ten, this one looked the most interesting. 

So, remember in the beginning when I said that this book makes people love and hate it passionately? Well, when I returned to the table that my parents were at my Mom instantly had a reaction to the book. She thought it was trash and was poking fun that I was reading it. Honestly, her reaction made me even more curious about it. 

The first book, "Fifty Shades of Grey" starts out with two college students, Katherine Kavanagh and Anastasia Steele, frequently referred to as Ana. The beginning is very slow going. Ana meets Christian Grey in the first chapter, with very little build up to their meeting. Their first meeting itself is written ok, with lots of detail to the surroundings. There are little snippets of sexual tension building, but not much in this first chapter.

The second chapter starts this awkward "school girl crush" communications between Ana and Christian. While it can be cute, and playful, at times it is overall slightly irritating. I feel like Ana doesn't really have the ability to stand up for herself. In much of the book she's portrayed as weak and unsure of herself.

Throughout the rest of the book there are a fair amount of sexual encounters, feisty e-mail banter and some unexpected twists. While there is a potentially good story line in there somewhere, it's pretty much smothered by low-key SBDM. 

The second book, "Fifty Shades Darker" starts out with Christian once again chasing Ana and all but stalking her after her rejection in the first book. While some may see what he does as "sweet" and "protective", others may view Christian's actions as needing a protective order in place.

Once again there is plenty of "school girl crush" symptoms flying, along with the "cute" introduction to SBDM littered throughout the book. You start to learn more about Christian in this book, but much of the story line is still difficult to read through Christian's childish actions and Ana's inability to find her backbone.

The third book, "Fifty Shades Freed" actually took an interesting turn and involved a plot line that makes it further than a condom and bed sheets. There are death threats, lies, suspicions and crazy ex-girlfriends with guns. If I had to pick a favorite from these three, I think that I was most interested in the third book.

The bonus book, "Grey" is essentially the first book rewritten from the viewpoint of Christian. I was very surprised to find that the author, quite frequently, referred to Ana's female parts as "her sex" but has no problem describing the male parts in detail. I would have thought, especially with this book being written from Christian's point of view, that there would be more of a description than "her sex". It almost seems like the author was embarrassed to use another term.

I did think, however, that the author did a good job of expressing Christian's personality in this book. He is frequently bouncing between sex, control, business and avoidance of his past. The author creates this powerful, lustful and somewhat lost character quite well.

Overall, I have a hard time recommending this series to everyone. If you are used to reading "smut" books, as some call it, then this book would irritate you because it's not a very well-written "smut" book.

If you are not used to reading descriptive sexual encounters in books then this book would frighten you and make you blush. If this is you then you should just keep walking past it.

However, if you are interested in reading a book to pass the time, and get the occasional blush color on your cheeks, then this book series is alright. I certainly can't say that it was the best book series I've read, but I can say I have read worse.

One word about reading this series though... If you are uncomfortable with people staring at you I do not recommend reading this in a public place. With the hype surrounding the series I got quite a few odd and disapproving stares. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

"The Girl in the Spider's Web" - David Lagercrantz

"The Girl in the Spider's Web" - David Lagercrantz

This book is the fourth in the Millennium series, but it it is not written by the original author, Stieg Larsson's. Stieg Larsson wrote the first three books in the series. Many of you might be familiar with them. They are: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Net.

So, before we discuss "The Girl in the Spider's Web" I'll give you a little back history on me and the Millennium series. 

I received "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" from my Mom as an advanced reader's copy. I was pretty excited but, after getting through the first half of the first chapter, I put it down. It BORED ME TO DEATH! 

Fast forward to the year that the second book, "The Girl Who Played with Fire" came out. There was a lot of hype around the two books so I decided to pick up the first one and read it again. As I forced myself through the dullness of the first chapter I became enthralled in the book. I read it in record time and then HAD to have the next book. I raced to Walmart and bought it on my lunch break.... then finished it that night. 

When the third book, "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" came out I also rushed out and bought it. I was so desperate to read it that I bought it in hard back format. I usually don't purchase hard back books.. they are expensive and take up a lot of shelf space in my tiny apartment. However, I couldn't resist, I had to know what happened to Lizbeth. 

The same story run true for this book. When I heard that the fourth book had been picked up by a new author I couldn't wait for it to be released. I marked every calendar in my house (and at my desk at work) with the release date. 

When it came out I picked it up and read it on a two hour flight. I might say, it's just as exciting as the first three. 

Now on to the review!

While this book isn't my favorite in the series it certainly was well done. The new author, David Lagercrantz, did a very good job of following Stieg Larsson's writing style. There were very few moments where I could tell it was a different author. 

This book is full of surprises, both violent and beautiful. The unlikely heroine winds up with a very unusual companion through a messed up rescue operation. The unperson-able Lisbeth  takes a liking to this companion because she sees herself in him. She understands him. 

My favorite part of the book is who they introduce as the super villain. I won't tell you who it is, but I'll give you a hint. Violent blood runs thick in a certain family! 

Overall Recommendation

My overall recommendation of the book is that it is a must-read, especially if you have already read the first three books in the series. While you could pick the book up and read it on it's own, the series is so much more entertaining and thrilling. This book, and the whole series, is worth every bit. 

As a special note... **DO NOT WATCH THE MOVIES BEFORE YOU READ THE BOOK!!** The movies, especially the American version, do the novels NO JUSTICE! 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

"The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster" - Bobby Henderson

This read has been a very interesting one... The book has you feeling awkward curiosities. At some points you think "Hey, that actually makes a lot of sense". At other times you think "this is a load of crap, why am I reading this?" 

It is that constant bouncing back and forth that kept me interested throughout the book. The anticipation of what historical documentation are they going to place the FSM (Flying Spaghetti Monster) in. 

The pictures were pretty good. The pieces they chose and how they presented the FSM in them were great. I looked forward to seeing "His noodle  appendages"  in action throughout the book. 

In the end this was a long but fun read. I can only imagine how much fun the author had creating this book. After all, who doesn't love a good pasta dish and pirates? ;) 

Go get the book, it'll be the most "interesting" thing you've read in a long time. :)