WWW Wednesday (Nov-4)

WWW Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading.  All you have to do is answer these 3 questions: 

1. What did you recently finish reading?

2. What are you currently reading?

3. What do you think you’ll read next?

To do something a little different with this, I thought I’d find out what my friends are reading and post that whenever I can get answers out of them!

Anna is finished reading “The Name of the Star” by Maureen Johnson
Anna is reading “Beyond the Picket Fence” by Lori Wick
Anna is next reading “The Hobbit” by JRR Tolkien

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Teaser Tuesday (Nov-4)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Should Be Reading. Share the title and author, so others can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences.

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!!!

Death’s Excellent Vacation by various authors

Whoever said Don’t play with your food sure hadn’t been a vampire.

“He’s a shape-shifter.”
“Boo, don’t be so judgemental, we’ve all got issues.”

Book Review: Fifty Shades trilogy by EL James

Synopsis: Ana Steele literally fell at the feet of Seattle’s richest bachelor, Christian Grey, and it was fascination at first sight. Ana compelled by his looks, intelligence, and mystery; Christian because he thought she’d make a good submissive. When innocence clashes with sexuality, the couple has to find a way to balance their budding relationship, but can love conquer even this?

Author: EL James is a British author who’s works started as fan-fiction relating to Twilight. She was quite surprised when her series became the fastest selling paperback novel, surpassing even Harry Potter. She has been named on Time magazine’s list of 100 most influential people in the world.

Format: While the novel format was good, the ebook was not. Some pages were not full, and some even only had a word or two on it. Also, the second book was actually quite obviously missing some text! I was far from impressed.

Writing Style: After reading the first page of the first book I thought the writing to be rather unskilled and cliché. It did improve as the story progressed, but still maintained some mixed metaphors and similar structural errors. The author also has a tendency to use certain word-combinations repetitively rather than providing a variety of description, and some phrases that appear to be strictly British.

Character: My favourite characters in the book were not even people, but Ana’s subconscious and inner goddess. The devil/angel antics of this pair were rather humorous, and a good part of the reason I kept reading.

Character Development: There wasn’t any growth in the characters at all.  Yes, Christian was less inclined to the extreme end of BDSM, but that was due to the self-control he had always maintained. To the end the two main characters were still struggling with self-esteem issues, something that seems like it might have been repaired between the last chapter and the epilogue.

Romance: I know little of the BDSM culture, but I find it unlikely that someone thoroughly enmeshed in it would choose a virginal college kid with no inclination of that kind to be a submissive. Outside of this, if you look at the dom/sub aspect in general terms of an obstacle requiring compromise, Ana and Christian’s relationship going from first meeting to after marriage is true to form –every couple has their struggles to make love work for them.

Point of Interest: The last book of the trilogy includes “bonus features” of additional scenes that did not fit within the books. Things like Christian’s first Christmas after adoption to the meeting between Christian and Ana from his perspective.

Personal Thoughts: I picked up this book due to it causing such a fuss in the literary community. The last time I declined to step onto the bandwagon due to wagging tongues was for Harry Potter, and I regretted not picking up a book until the series was nearly finished. I knew this series started as fan-fiction for Twilight, which I didn’t mind, and so was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt.

Quote: “Christian found himself in a situation where his methods of coping are no longer effective. Very simply, you’ve forced him to confront some of his demons and rethink. “

The Verdict: Given what I had heard of this book, I found it to be less salacious than was rumored.  It thankfully had plot, though it followed quite closely to that of Twilight without the supernatural aspects, and provided a level of escapism. Now that I have read it I can cease wondering what the draw is.  The series was not as bad as I expected, but I will quite likely never pick up a book of this trilogy again.

WWW Wednesday (Nov-3)

WWW Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading.  All you have to do is answer these 3 questions: 

1. What did you recently finish reading?

2. What are you currently reading?

3. What do you think you’ll read next?

I am finished reading “Fifty Shades of Grey” by EL James
I am reading “Fifty Shades Darker” by EL James
I am next reading “Fifty Shades Freed” by EL James

Teaser Tuesday (Nov-3)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by Should Be Reading. Share the title and author, so others can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences.

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!!!

Fifty Shades Darker by EL James

I flush and my inner goddess grabs a rose between her teeth and starts to tango.

I could read on my iPad, but right now I want the comfort and reassurance of a physical book.

Simple Smile Saturday

If you want to know what made me smile today, go read this blog post written by a friend of mine… The giving heart of a child always gives me hope for the future. If you want to make the day even better, go here and give some child something to smile about, too.

Book Review: Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie

Synopsis: Lawyer Emma Tupper goes on a dream vacation that turns into a nightmare. When an earthquake interrupts her trip, Emma is stranded in Africa… and presumed dead by her friends and coworkers. Finally able to get home, Emma realizes that she cannot pick up where she left off when she finds her apartment has been sublet, her clients reassigned, and her boyfriend had moved on. With everyone suggesting that she take this opportunity re-evaluate her life, Emma struggles to find her place.

Writing Style: The storyline starts just before Emma leaves Africa for her home, but in each chapter there is a memory of her time in Africa. Sometimes these recollections have a relatable theme as to what is currently happening in Emma’s life, while other times it just seems to be there as a means to satisfy the readers curiosity about the missing six months.

Pacing: The tale manages to keep things interesting through emotion rather than always something fascinating and/or drama-filled happening. Even when Emma is doing nothing more than going to work or making dinner, you’re still on the edge of your seat in expectation as you wonder what Emma will do about the dissatisfaction she is feeling.

Location: For the most part, the story appears to take place somewhere in the North America. I think. To be honest, I don’t recall any specific mention of the city where Emma lives, though some American locations of photographs are mentioned and a layover in England leave you to believe that it must be somewhere in either the States or possibly even Canada (as the author is Canadian).

Plot: At first it seems rather improbable that someone would be temporarily removed from their life and trying to regain their place in it but, when you think about it, the situation can actually be all too true. You realize it is rather reminiscent of what people in the military or undercover cops or others with similar careers must endure after returning from their mission… as well as those who have endured natural disasters that leave their homes ravaged and their lives taking unexpected turns.

Character: Sophie is Emma’s nemesis, a character whom you love to hate… until the end where she unexpected becomes rather human. While she now becomes a bit more of a sympathetic character, you don’t really want her to be likeable unless she’ll be the heroine of an upcoming book.

Character Development: The odd thing about this novel is that Emma doesn’t really grow as a character. She doesn’t seem to change in any way other than realizing that life doesn’t always happen the way you expect it to. She does learn a few lessons that could affect the way she has lived her life to this point, but she remains innately the same.

Romance: The relationship between Emma and Dominic begins in the expected way, and starts to follow the expected pattern until it reaches an unexpected obstacle. Instead of any huge blow-up or outside source attempting to rip them apart, it is actually just the knowledge that they both need time to adjust to their new circumstances in life before they are emotionally ready for another relationship. How utterly, and rather enjoyably, realistic of them.

Quote: “I feel kind of lost in the middle of my own life, if that makes sense.”

The Verdict: This is the third book by Catherine McKenzie that I have read, and my favourite to date. When I read the previous two I was surprised by liking the one I didn’t expect to like more than the one I did, which allowed me to be a little less pre-judgmental when I cracked the cover of this one. If you are going to read only a single book by Catherine McKenzie, make it this one.