Friday, June 29, 2012

50 Shades of what? 18 + *Spoilers*

I like every other woman on the planet has read the 50 Shades of Grey series.  Everyone keeps asking, "when are you going to post about this one?" Well here it is.  I wanted to write something in response to the negative reviews that I have seen regarding this book series.  First let me say that the author E.L. James is a fantastic writer.  Her ability to write in first person (a style I'm not all that fond of) is nothing short of astounding.  In the same style as Stepanie Meyer and the Twilight series, Ms. James captures the thoughts and feelings of one individual and takes it to a whole different (and certainly more R rated) level.  I also have never wanted to know what another character was thinking more than I did with Christian.  Her little teases at the beginning of each consecutive book as well as the bonus chapters at the end of the third were titillating (pun intended) to say the very least.

All in all I really enjoyed the books.  The email correspondence alone was hilarious and incredibly sexy at the same time.  *twitchy palm* and my husband and I now say goodbye with "Laters, baby".  But what about the "risque bondage and sex" that everyone is spouting about this book?  Honestly, although the sex is very hot (and I mean very very hot) it's really nothing that's not already out there, it's just written much better than most.  I think due to it's great marketing it has found it's way to women who haven't ever read this kind genre of romance novel and believe me this BDSM stuff is out there and in some very good book series that I have already read.  The Hell's Eight series that I have blogged about before makes use of toys and bondage and these are very well written books.  My favorite author J.R. Ward and book series, Black Dagger Brotherhood has a character who's sole focus until he meets his HEA is bondage and dominance (ahhh Vishous still so damn hot).  Again another very well written series.  Unfortunately with the vampire angle this type of book is geared toward a very specific group of people so it doesn't get to be mainstream.  I hope that will change.

Christian Grey is of course sexy as hell but it's not the sex that got me.  It was his dialogue and his banter with Ana that made my breath pant.  To have someone who is capable of taking care of every need (both in bed and out) is really very sexy.  The idea that some people view this book as a glorification of an abusive relationship is ridiculous.  First of all Ana LITERALLY asks for the spankings and other things.  There is something to be said for a good spanking.  Also, if it were a truly abusive relationship Christian would have done more to isolate Ana from her friends and family, but he never does (even though he's not fond of Kate or Jose).  Yes he is possessive, but again I say, read most romance novels and the guy is always possessive.  I can tell you that in every book I've read somewhere the guy growls "Mine".  Believe me when I say that although I would never want a guy who isolates me, a guy who wants to possess me (both body and soul) and wants me that badly is a total arousal waiting to happen.  And guys I'll let you in on a little secret, most women want this (at least in bed).

Christian is the epitome of the Lost Boy.  The one all women want to hold, protect and save (not to mention have wild, crazy, kinky fuckery with).  He's scarred and flawed yet perfectly beautiful and commanding both in the board room and the bedroom.  Not to mention he's loaded!  But it's really his vulnerability that slides into you and makes you pant.  I for one was nearly laid flat when Ana was finally able to "touch" Christian.  There was no sex in these books more erotic then the first time Christian actually allows her to touch him.  I know the stereotype that most men see is a woman wanting a knight in shining armor and for the most part this is true. Only it is more that we want the guy to be able to fight for us with passion but more than that, I think (well I know I) we want to be able to do some saving too.

There is much talk about turning this book series into a movie (and with all the hype this is a very real possibility).  I don't know how I feel about this.  First of all in all the books I read, I of course picture myself as the main woman (so in my head I am sooooo totally Ana).  I am too often disappointed in the adaptation because they rarely consult with the author and then they go and change so much of the dialogue (which is what I love most about a book).  And then there is the casting.  No one ever agrees that they picked the right person because everyone has a different picture of what Christian looks like in their head.  Many actors have said they would love to play Christian (but have they really read the books).  As most of you know I have a majorly bad case of lust for Joe Manganiello (who has said he would play Christian Grey)and as much as I like to picture me as Ana and him as Christian (on the boat outside Monte Carlo with two sets of hand cuffs..mmmm ... where was I?  oh yeah..) and as much as I believe he could play the part and play it well, he just doesn't LOOK like Christian to me, no unruly copper colored hair and no intense gray eyes although he does definitely have the body.  I know all this can be fixed with contacts and hair color but I don't know.  Again this is the downfall of adapting books into movies... there is honestly no one who I know of who looks like what I picture (which is a sort of mash up of different people's attributes).  Maybe this is my hang up but I love this character and I would hate to see it chopped to bits by writers and producers.  And I'm pretty sure most women would hate whatever actress they got to play Ana, because like I said we all picture ourselves in this role with Christian.

I liked this book series a lot and would be interested to see follow-up stories from Christian's point of view as well as the stories behind Christian's sister and Kate's brother and Kate and Christian's brother.  I'd really like to know Christian's brother's story.  All in all I think it's a great story and even my mother-in-law has read them and it's actually given us something to talk about which is cool (not so cool for my husband though).  BDSM aside the story is poignant and sexy and a truly great read and if they make it into a movie and do cast Joe, I'll be the first one in line to see it.  Hell, I'll be in line to see it no matter who they cast in the role.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Brothers - Wrath

After reading most of the Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter series I was looking for another vampire series that would hopefully be just as good as the one I had just finished. The nice thing about the Nook is that when you’re in shopping mode it gives you suggestions of what others who have bought the book you’re looking at have also bought. This was how I discovered J.R. Ward (she has also written books under the name Jessica Bird).

The series that came up first was her Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I thought Black Dagger Brotherhood? It’ll probably be really campy and she can’t possibly write as good as Sherilynn Kenyon does but it seemed to be quite a popular series among those who had read the Dark Hunter series so I took a chance and read the synopsis of the first book…

Dark Lover : The first novel in J.R. Ward’s New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series features a unique take on vampire lore and heavy doses of sensuality. The vampire Darius fears for the life of his half-breed daughter, who is unaware of her unusual destiny. To oversee her transformation, Darius seeks help from Wrath, a dangerous loner and the world’s only purebred vampire.

Okaaaaay, I’m game! I purchase the first book and the love affair with these men was instantaneous. The twist on vampires in this book was one that I had never considered. The WARDen (as her fans have affectionately named her) creates this world (Caldwell, New York) where vampires are really a separate species created by a benevolent (albeit a mysterious) creator. They cannot “change” humans into vampires and they are not immortal they just age very, very slowly once they go through their transitions, and they heal rapidly which makes them hard to kill. Much of the same vampire lore is true such as amazing strength, increased senses (particularly the sense of smell), and the inability to process sunlight. The interesting thing here is they don't have this sensitivity until after they go through the "transition" from child to adult at around the age of twenty-five. Until this time they are scrawny, weak, can go out during the day and have no sexual drive whatsoever. But within a twenty-four hour period they go through a transformation that most humans take over five years through their teens to accomplish. As you can see the amount of detail in creating this world is astounding!

The WARDen has a supernatural ability to not only create this entire race (creation story, language, biology, government, social hierarchy, and theology) but weaves them in along side the human race and the reader actually has to remind themselves that this is fiction.

She instantly drags you into this other world and introduces you to some of the most interesting characters you have ever met. Immediately upon opening the first book you get to know Darius and even in the few pages that she uses to introduce him, you find him to be strong, courageous, but most of all a family man who wants nothing more than to unite his brothers and keep his last remaining child (a half-human/half-vampire daughter) alive. She endears you so quickly to these characters that when Darius dies within the first two chapters you're devastated by the loss. I've never grown to care for a character so quickly.

Wrath initially refuses to help Darius with his daughter but with the tragic death of his fellow warrior, Wrath is compelled to see out his friend's last wish (little does he know how she will effect him when they first meet). Wrath is your typical brooding hero type but the WARDen describes him in such a way that you don't feel sorry for him and you don't roll your eyes thinking "God what a whiner"! He does anything and everything to protect Beth but he doesn't keep her from being who she is and allows her strength and skills to flourish. When you meet Beth you find that she is strong and full of spirit and you like her instantly. She doesn't take any of the boys' shit, which is something all of the women who end up with a brother will need to be able to do. The dialogue is very easy to follow and the characters have well developed senses of humor. Each one has their own unique brand of sarcasm that only builds on their personality.

I fell in love with this series because of this first book but there are others in the series that just really solidified this series as being the best I have ever read. The thing about this book is it sets up and depicts most of the other characters who will appear later in the series. Unlike most series where the focus is mainly on the two main love interests, the WARDen expertly weaves tales for several other secondary characters as well as provides you with an insight into the thoughts and plans of the villains. It's these side stories that keep you reading. You know the main characters are going to have their HEA (Happily Ever After) but it's the other stories that keep you hooked. Will there be a book for this or that character and if so what will their story be? After ten books in the series I'm still not tired of them and hope there are many many more to come. For sure there is an eleventh as mentioned in another post... Lover At Last will be out in March of 2013!!! This couple's tale has been anticipated for almost six books now!

For those who might be keeping track... Wrath and Beth do have a song - Without You by Mötley Crüe

Thursday, June 14, 2012

How to know if you're good to your fans...

I've written a lot about several different book series that I have read and I've mentioned the Black Dagger Brotherhood many times but haven't actually blogged about it yet.  I'm waiting until I finish my third re-read (which if you know me is somewhat of a ringing endorsement since I don't re-read books often let alone a whole series).  I was thinking about why I love this series so much and then speculating on what makes fans of any celebrity (author, singer, actor) scream with excitement.  One word...RESPONSE!  When an author, actor, singer, politician (you name it) responds to your interest in their work and cares what you think that means something.  Not only is it exciting to think that the person you admire (or drool over) has noticed your tweet, post, email, letter, etc., but it makes that individual seem more real.

With the advent of social media that ability to have that six degrees with celebrities is both a good thing and a bad thing.  Good for those who like and respect their talents and want them to know that their work is appreciated but I can see it being bad what with stalking and crazy people (despite what my husband says I don't stalk I merely admire exuberantly).  That being said, it's the good of social media that can get an unknown author or actor a lot of free publicity if they connect with their fans. Yes meeting celebrities in person is fun but it's usually in an organized, well-ordered event (I once met Rob Thomas at a meet and greet which was fun but I was just one the group... he's was SUPER nice by the way) but it doesn't have the same thrill as knowing that something you just threw out there as a compliment or question was actually read, processed by and responded to by that person. 

Although my experiences with responses from the admired elite are not of the unknown variety the fact that these two people saw something I wrote regarding their body of work and were amazing enough to respond to it has raised them to a great level in my estimation of their character and talent.

The first experience with a response from social media was from my favorite author J.R. Ward.  She is the writer of the Black Dagger Brotherhood and Fallen Angels.  I had been posting on her fan Facebook site for a while (and I also might add that this is the best community of fans I've ever seen).  One of my posts was a question regarding timeline in her books.  I merely posted as a question to other readers who might have an answer when to my great surprise one of my responses was from the WARDen herself!!  I was so excited I had to stop my car!  She read my post and took the time to write a response (and an answer to the question).  But it didn't stop there I responded to her response and we kept up a dialogue regarding this question for sometime.

It was the most amazing feeling.  Here was this author whom I really admire and she is interested in my opinion and my thoughts on her work.  I think that was when I decided I would love to write book reviews about the books I've read.  Maybe another author might be interested in what a fan has to say.  I will be posting  more on the BDB book series (probably have whole separate blog for that).  That being said I think this made me appreciate her work more and earned the rank as my favorite author (You feel me?).

My most recent experience with this was last night when I tweeted a link to a YouTube video promotion for the movie Magic Mike (Channing Tatum stripper movie... who could pass up posting a video of that... Premieres June 29, 2012 by the way).  But not only is Channing Tatum in the movie (along with Matthew McConaughey, Matthew Pettyfer,  and Matt Bomer... mmmm) but it also boasts the talents of my unseemly crush and only man who has stayed on my list of five free passes for over two years, Joe Manganiello.  So in my tweet I included Joe in the tweet as a nod to him that I was looking forward to seeing the movie.  I've sent tweets about him and to him before (again admiring exuberantly!) but not really expecting a response as I KNOW he gets thousands if not millions of tweets daily.  Imagine my heart stopping surprise when I checked my email and saw "Joe Manganiello has retweeted one of your tweets" in the subject line.  I nearly had a heart attack.  You'd have thought he had showed up on my doorstep half naked telling me I had my one night shot!  An over-reactive response to a retweet I know but the idea that he had seen MY tweet and took the time to acknowledge that I was the one who tweeted was better than any "meet and greet" where I'm one in a million! Now I'm not saying if he did show up on my door step and said he had my free pass that I'd turn him away but it was still nice to know that for a brief minute he heard me out of all the other thousands.  Oh and it's increased my Twitter following (which will be good for this blog), after his retweet I got like 5 more people to follow me!  So thanks Joe, you are one awesome, bad ass wolf!

I think perhaps the WARDen should keep this one in mind when building a new character for the Brotherhood or the Angels!  I'd definitely like to see what he could do as a vampire or maybe even a Fallen Angel.  I already know he's killer as a wolf!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Save a Horse...

Everyone knows I have an obsession with the supernatural.  Due to an overwhelming neck fetish that I have had since I first saw the love scene in Top Gun when I was 13, those supernatural characters that put emphasis on the neck have an unbelievable appeal for me.  Mainly I'm looking at vampires and werewolves (they tend to have neck fetishes too).  Every once in a while though I find my needs gravitate to a good old fashioned western....romance that is. 

There's just something about a cowboy working a ranch, riding the range, having sex on the back of a horse (apparently it happens...quite a bit although I don't see how that works but hey it's fiction).  I find that taking a break from vampires and werewolves is refreshing as long as the men I switch to are just as strong and commanding.

I still don't go for those simpering stories where the woman is helpless and is in need of her man to protect her.  I just can't stand it when I watch a movie or read a book and all the heroine does is scream for the guy!  Hasn't anyone ever heard of pepper spray?

That being said I found a great book series when looking for a good cowboy, old west romance.  The Hell's Eight series by Sarah McCarty is an excellent read.  Understand that it can be pretty graphic during the love scenes.  Surprisingly though it's done very tastefully.  The dialogue is well written and the sex in the book although may seem over the top in language really fits in with the feel of the book.  It wouldn't be believable if they made the scenes fluffy or God forbid Twilight-ish ("she walked out  into the water ... " next day... gah can you say frustrating?). 

The thing I like most about this series is it's very similar to J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series (without the vampires) in that it introduces you to many different characters all at once and you find you need to keep reading the series to see what happens to those secondary characters.  I have to say I LOVE this in a series.  J.R. Ward does this incredibly well!

The first book in the series is Caine's Reckoning and it not only introduces you to Caine and his love interest Desi but it also introduces you to the other men of Hell's Eight: Sam, Tucker (my most personal favorite... HOT!!!), Tracker, and Shadow.  These are the ones that have books but there is mention of others.  I'll assume that eventually there will be eight.

The books are set in 1858 in the Texas Territory.  There's not just sex (although this is some pretty heart pounding ... pun intended... stuff), but there are scheming evil men out to steal an inheritance, Comancheros, nasty Mexican war lords and lots of action.  Sarah McCarty provides really great description of the area and what it must have been like to live on Hell's Eight land.  I'm not usually one who likes a lot of description rather I prefer more witty dialogue, but her ability to create a picture of what the characters are seeing and experiencing is top notch. 

If you like really hot, rugged, protective men who can ride, shoot and have the most talented hands... and mouths this side of the Mississippi I can't recommend this book series more.  And if that doesn't convince you take a look at Tucker's Claim cover photo and tell me that you CAN'T judge a book by it's cover...

Thursday, June 7, 2012


So I haven't really posted a lot about my favorite book series The Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward but I will in the near future... especially since she just released on Facebook of the prototype and title for the next book in the series.  Lover At Last!!!  I know that all of the WARDen's cellies have been waiting with baited breath for the love story of the two main characters who have been defining their relationship for about five books now!  Below is the prototype for this much awaited book.  Check out the Link above to the WARDen's website to get the scoop on all of the books in her many different series and stay tuned to the blog posts on this series...


I don't know about you but I have always been one for a good soundtrack!  I think the first soundtrack I ever bought was Dirty Dancing ... the first I ever listened to (over and over and over) was Mary Poppins (yes I can say it backwards)...

Even in my life I always have a soundtrack running through my head.  That's how I knew my husband was the one.  Our first night together and I could hear every sappy, romantic power ballad and love song ever written played the whole time.  Corny, I know but I live my life with a running music track in my head.  So why would this be any different when I'm reading some of my favorite books?  Here are a list of songs that I hear each time I read about these books.  Some are suggested by the author and some are songs that have lyrics that make me think of the story line and personality of the character.  Many of my books may have more than one song and I have many different play lists to enjoy whenever I'm in the mood to revisit some of my more beloved worlds.

Feel free to comment with your own play list if you've read some of these of you have characters you love and songs that make you think of them.

Dark Hunter Series - Sherilynn Kenyon:
Acheron - Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd (this song is actually the song mentioned in the book)
Vane - Bad Moon Rising - CCR
Julian - I Touch Myself - Divinyls

Black Dagger Brotherhood - J.R. Ward (my absolute FAVORITE series ever written)