Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. JamesFifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
Series: Fifty Shades #1
Published by Vintage Books on June 20, 2011
Pages: 514 pages
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
five-stars

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.
Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Before I start voicing my thoughts about Fifty Shades of Grey, I would like to say how sorry I am for my actions towards this book and series. It saddens me that I was so willing to discredit an entire book and series because I didn’t like the first five chapters. Usually, when a book is unappealing to me that early I chalk it up to a bad experience and move on, but never do I take the time out to voice my confusion and disgust to the public, especially when I haven’t read the whole book. If it hadn’t been for the movie I would’ve still been making a fool out of myself by yapping away at the mouth every time news involving this book and series would surface on my newsfeed somewhere. I sincerely apologize to anyone who felt any negative way from the things I said, I am truly sorry.

My redemption comes in the form of me actually purchasing all three books in this series and cracking open their pages to get the full story of who Christian Grey is, why does almost all of my book friends love him, what made Ana fall in love with him, and will I love or continue on with the hate? It brings a smile to my face to say that I loved this book. Yes, the beginning was truly rocky and would’ve costs this book a star in the rating, but I chose to take into account that the beginnings and endings are always the hardest parts for an author. Also, once I got to the end of Fifty Shades of Grey I was able to understand the beginning so much more.

I truly don’t know what to say about Christian that hasn’t already been said before, so I will just do a slight comparison about what I enjoyed about Christian Grey in the movie and the Christian Grey in the book. Jamie, in all honesty, is not how I pictured Christian Grey, but I believe the mannerisms and expressions that Jamie Dornan made helped a tremendous amount in bringing authenticity from the Christian Grey in the book.

Christian was such a complex character that I sometimes felt that while he seemed so confident and in control he didn’t really know his true self, if the number of times he was shocked by Ana’s reactions and his own responses are anything to go by. Just how Ana craved his attention, I found myself obsessed with any mention of his name, his past, his present, and yes, his facial expressions through Ana’s eyes. My fascination doesn’t just stop with Christian, Ana proved a challenge to understand as well.

Ana ended up being who grabbed my attention first, with her quirkiness-slash-awkwardness, and also because I could relate to her since we shared similar experiences, pre-Christian Grey.

While some readers and reviewers viewed her “inner goddess” in a negative way, I quite enjoyed its presence. To me it showed a rebellious and accepting side of Ana that was rarely seen in her day-to-day life. While at the beginning she did have her naive moments she really redeemed herself when she started making changes to that contract, proving that she could think for herself and she was prepared to take her life in her own hands. I was probably her biggest and happiest cheerleader, having my own “inner goddess” chanting, “Go girl, go,” over and over again!

Now as I am reflecting back on the story, the only things that I didn’t like about Fifty Shades of Grey comes in the form of two characters; Kate, who felt her interfering was justifiable when I’m sure if the tables were turned she would’ve blown a gasket and went off on whoever dared involve themselves in her relationship, and Mrs. Robinson, or Elena, who I think is going to become a problem in the future for the simple fact that she still interacts with Christian even after she’s lost her husband because of their involvement, it shows she has more feelings for Christian than Christian, himself, knows.

Ugh! So happy I took the plunge and read this baby, truly worth the read. Book two will be in my hands shortly, since it’s looking at me from my bookshelf, because I need to know what’s next for Ana and Christian! I need answers!

About E.L. James

Hello and welcome. I’m the author of the adult romance Fifty Shades trilogy, the first instalment (British spelling) of which was published in May 2011. I’ve been delighted and honoured by the positive response from readers the world over, and I’m looking forward to bringing you some new love stories I’ve got planned.

Hard to Break by Bella Jewel

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Hard to Break by Bella JewelHard to Break by Bella Jewel
Series: Alpha's Heart #2
Published by St. Martin's Press on October 13, 2015
Pages: 219 pages
Format: Kindle
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
five-stars

Quinn has spent her whole life working in her dad's garage, leaving her more comfortable with a carburetor than a curling iron. Her world is turned upside down when her beloved garage is bought by none other than world famous, sexy as sin, custom car builder, Tazen Watts. He's the one man she can't stand...even though he makes her hotter than a high performance engine in top gear.
Tazen has no use for Quinn, at least not professionally, and he's making sure she knows it. But there's a spark between them that she's finding hard to ignore. She's determined to prove her talent is as impressive as her sassy mouth. When she finds out Tazen is hiding a secret that could bring down his career and everyone involved in it, she wonders: is falling for him is going to be work the risk?

I am a long time Bella Jewel fan, I have read almost all of her books. After reading Hard to Break, all I can say is that if the first book in this series is even a small portion of how good this book was, then it’s a winner. Hard to Break, was phenomenal.

When we meet Quinn it’s during a very heart breaking scene, we see her lost and unsure of what the future will hold, but the hope that remains in the form of a her garage, called Pixie Wheels, outshines her worries. We then see her doing everything possible to keep her home, her LIFE, afloat when everything around her is falling apart. One would think that during this troubling time she would be able to rely on her family, but even he’s letting her down. In these situations and scenes Quinn’s character is like a shinning star. Yeah, she has flaws but they are stuck in the shadows of her ability to stand strong and keep pressing forward. She continually claims to not have friends or much family, but with her strength and determination she’s able instill love, loyalty, and trust in those around her, even strangers are not immune to her persona.

You truly believe after all that Quinn has had to battle on a daily basis that it would be enough to keep her on her toes and alert for whatever might come next, but sadly there are always surprises around every corner.

A bigger and deadlier bomb is dropped, but with Quinn’s character she doesn’t fold, instead she stands taller, and looks her adversity in the face and plans on succeeding no matter the sacrifice. Once again you see glimpses of the steel spine that has been holding her up and keeping her going for years.

Finally, things are looking up for Quinn and her crew. She’s doing what she’s always had to do, fight for what she wants. Again, sadly, the hope that ignites in Quinn’s heart slowly becomes extinguished when Tazen enters her life.

Tazen, while extremely attractive, really showed his ugly side when he and Quinn first met. He was, at first, everything that I loathed in a male character. He was arrogant to the point of irritating, he was disrespectful and unsympathetic to anyone’s struggle, especially if they were in the way of him getting what he wanted. In his pursuit of Quinn he mistook her for someone trying to play in a field that he thought was out of her league, he didn’t take her seriously. When things started to look bad for him, in the sense that Quinn had no problem embarrassing him and reacting in ways he couldn’t predict, it made him realize that Quinn wasn’t like the other women who fawned over him and fell to their knees (sometimes literally) to worship him. Sadly, the moment he was able to make some headway in claiming Quinn, his ambitions raised their ugly head and ruined his chances. The unique qualities that Tazen admired in Quinn eventually ended up being the thing he hated for a good period of time, Quinn made his life hell and it was very entertaining to read about. Once sexual tensions ran too high for either Quinn or himself to resist they both ended up having their world rocked. No fire extinguisher in the world could’ve cooled them down.

I admire the motivation behind this series. I love when women characters are placed in a male dominated industry and are still able to hold their own without hardening their hearts, or adopting masculine tendencies just to survive. But, they instead are able to remain women and still stand tall with their heads held high, even amongst the ridicule and scorn that they sometimes face in their male dominated profession.

Usually, with Bella Jewel’s books, it’s a toss up with whether or not I’m going to like the heroine, but in Hard to Break, I didn’t have to worry about that. My dislike for some of the heroine’s in this author’s books stems from them subsequently doing stupid and irrational things, usually in fits of anger, fear, or naïveté. I was expecting one or more of those things to happen here with Quinn, there were a lot of opportunities for it to happen, but thank goodness it didn’t. Keeping a level head on her shoulders is what made me love Quinn’s character even more.

It saddened me when I realized that I was already at 83% finished with the book, I didn’t want it to end! I tried everything short of putting my reading device down to prolong the time I had still to read, but nothing worked. I was surprised, as well, at how quick of a read this was. Once you’re pulled in, the adventure and drama doesn’t stop until the last page.

Great read, and I highly recommend.

About Bella Jewel

Bella is a fun loving australian and a multiple USA Today bestseller. She spends her days in sunny north QLD with her husband and two adorable daughters. She’s been writing since she was fifteen, and after her success with her debut novel, Hell’s Knights, she has been head down, bum up creating new stories. She is the author of the MC Sinners series, Number Thirteen, Enslaved by the Ocean, Where Darkness Lies, Life After Taylah, Angel’s in Leather, The Jokers’ Wrath series and ‘Til Death.

Spiral of Need by Suzanne Wright

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Spiral of Need by Suzanne WrightSpiral of Need by Suzanne Wright
Series: The Mercury Pack #1
Published by Montlake Romance on September 29, 2015
Pages: 322 pages
Format: Kindle
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
five-stars

Ally Marshall isn’t just a wolf shifter — she’s a Seer. But a girl doesn’t exactly need special powers to know that Derren Hudson despises her entire kind. Disdain practically rolls off the Beta of the Mercury Pack . . . disdain mixed with a healthy dose of desire. And no matter how much the ruggedly handsome male appeals to her, this is one call of the wild she’s determined to ignore. After one betrayal too many, Derren doesn’t have much use for Seers — except for Ally. Forced into acting as her protector, he finds himself intensely and passionately drawn to the woman who incites his primal instinct to claim. And when enemies target the pack, Ally’s gift may be just what the Mercury Pack needs. Can he put his distrust aside, or will he force himself to turn his back on the one woman who makes his inner beast howl?

From beginning to end of Spiral of Need I was hooked!

I had thought that Taryn was my favorite heroine out of those that Suzanne Wright has written before, but I think she’s been knocked down to second place, or tied with, Ally here in Spiral of Need.

From the conflicts that Ally faced (which were a lot), to her familial relations with the sociopathic Cain, and his diabolical uncles I was captivated. The opening paragraph is what let me know that I would not be putting down this book until I was finished.

Derren, the pack’s beta, initially comes off as a complex character with his history being surrounded in mystery. Questions that immediately surfaced were, how did he end up in juvie with Cain and Nick, and what made him so guarded and stoic? As soon as Ally comes into his life with her take-no-crap personality and empathic abilities, she picks up on a lot of the things that would’ve continued allowing his character to remain in the shadows, which in turn helped me (the reader) understand him in light of all that he’s gone through and continued to go through throughout the story.

I have to be honest, in Carnal Secrets, I couldn’t stand Shaya, those feelings changed as I began reading Spiral of Need. This introduction to the Mercury Pack series did a really great job of including all past characters and showing their better parts. Each heroine is so unique, that seeing how they interacted with the newest mate in their close knit group, made me proud to see that kind of camaraderie amongst dominant women. With the negative feelings I had towards Shaya from her book, Carnal Secrets, it tickled me pink when I ended up loving her character here in Spiral of Need. I loved that she took up for Ally when she needed the support of the Alpha pair, as well as the hand of friendship she extended to her right off the bat with no added strings and stipulations.

A small part of me hoped that Ally and Cain would end up true mates (I have a thing for twisted alpha males) but I am glad that Ally and Derren were destined to be together. They completed each other in ways that I know Cain would’ve been capable of seeing as he’s a sociopath with violent tendencies.

I also have a thing for jealous ex-girlfriends and/or current girlfriends with insecurities towards the ex-girlfriend, this book delivered that in spades! Maybe I’m not reading enough books that feature this, but it needs to be said that Rachelle takes the cake for being the most vengeful current girlfriend that’s insecure of her man’s ex. She played the game as if she knew the rules or created the game herself. Her one mistake turned out to be that she underestimated her opponent. She tried everything, and I do mean everything, to make Ally fold, but, laughingly, she kept forgetting who she was messing with.

Spiral of Need, was truly a great read, I can’t wait for the rest of the books for this series, I hope Cain’s book is next (fingers crossed). I highly recommend this read for both paranormal romance readers and Suzanne Wright fans. Even though there are references to books from the Phoenix Pack series this book can be read as a standalone, just make sure as soon as you’re finished to purchase or borrow, and read the Phoenix Pack series.

About Suzanne Wright

I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing something, whether it was stories, poems, or even songs – though I can’t carry a tune. I only have one rule when I’m writing a book which is that it has to have a happy ending. Other than that, pretty much anything goes. I write stories that I would enjoy reading and then I just hope that others will enjoy them too.

I was born and raised in England where I live with my husband (a person who doesn’t judge me for hearing voices in my head – how often do you come across people like that?), and my two demanding children.

Coletrane by Rie Warren

Coletrane by Rie WarrenColetrane by Rie Warren
Series: Bad Boys of Retribution MC #4
Published by Self Published on August 25, 2015
Pages: 219 pages
Format: Kindle
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Coletrane
Her name is Sinclair Chatham. Sin. That’s exactly what she is—walking, talking, in the flesh sin. She’s haughty, privileged, so goddamn starlet sexy, with an ass I want to grab and spank raw. I want her to give herself over to me. I want her to lose that polished princess veneer. I want to strip away the money, the manicures, the maids, the immaculate façade. I need her to be mine. But I’m a grunt. A biker. A tattoo artist. I’m blue collar all the way, and her family will probably shit bricks if they ever meet me. Not to mention, I’m running from a bad past that’s about to catch up with me.
Sinclair
I would never go for Cole in a million years. He’s gruff, rough around the edges—and covered in ink. He’s unapologetic, demanding, and sometimes scary as hell. He tells me what he wants, how he wants it, and why he’s going to ruin me for all other men. Coletrane destroys my vanity, gets inside my head while he gets into my bed, and I can’t say no to him. He’s not what I expected—tender at times, taking no prisoners at others. He breaks me down, builds me up. He is not my type. They say opposites attract, and they’re right. I just didn’t expect him to turn my cushy life upside down and inside out. But it’s too late, and someone’s going to get hurt.

In Coletrane we learn about Coletrane “Cole” Sawyer. He’s Mr. Mystery Man, to me at least, until now. I truly don’t remember hearing his name in Kinkaid (the other book I’ve read in this series), so he must be new (I think it was mentioned that he became a character through Bo’s story). Besides all of that, I knew he had to be an alpha male since that seems to be the defining requirement to be a member/brother at Retribution MC.

I love Rie Warren’s stories.

The series is completely male dominated, the men are the main characters and they rule. The funny thing, though, is that once the heroines come on the scene the scales become tipped more towards their favor than the males. The character dynamics don’t change but the amount of power willingly held changes. The men in each story have absolutely no problem giving over whatever power they hold to their women, it’s mind boggling because they’re still in charge and rule with an iron fist.

I have to give extra thanks to Sin, our heroine, for coming along and pushing everyone of Cole’s buttons – and popping some off – to get to the nitty gritty of all that made Cole, Cole. If it wasn’t for her, Cole’s character would’ve remained a mystery because even his own MC, other than the little bit that Hunter knew, knew much about him.

While this was an enjoyable read, I felt that there was too many sex scenes that would last pages. I’m used to the lengths that the sex scenes in this author’s book take, but for me I would’ve been fine with the first couple sex scenes and the rest be about the story with brief mentions of their sexy times. I really wanted to know why the trouble that came knocking on Cole’s door came for him now instead why there weren’t hints of him having trouble. I also would’ve like to know how Sin got placed in danger close to the end of the book, when the precautions that were put in place have been effective before. What was Sin going before danger literally knocked on her door, and her life was put in jeopardy.

This was a very entertaining read. I can’t wait for Boomer’s book.

About Rie Warren

Rie is the badass, sassafras author of Sugar Daddy and the Don’t Tell series–a breakthrough trilogy that crosses traditional publishing boundaries beginning with In His Command. Her latest endeavor, the Carolina Bad Boys series, is fun, hot, and southern-sexy.

A Yankee transplant who has traveled the world, Rie started out a writer—causing her college professor to blush over her erotic poetry without one ounce of shame. Not much has changed. She swapped pen for paintbrushes and followed her other love during her twenties. From art school to marriage to children and many a wild and wonderful journey in between, Rie has come home to her calling.

Rie’s work has been called “edgy”, “daring”, and “some of the sexiest smut around”.

Where We Belong by J. Daniels

Where We Belong by J. DanielsWhere We Belong by J. Daniels
Series: Alabama Summers #3.5
Published by Self Published on August 18, 2015
Pages: 164 pages
Format: Kindle
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Ben and Mia Kelly can’t seem to catch a break. Grueling night shift and opposing schedules have left the passionate couple geared up and ready for some much needed alone time. There’s only one thing standing in their way. Parenthood. With two curious boys who have mastered the art of cock-blocking roaming the house, Ben and Mia, sexually frustrated beyond reason, quickly resort to surprise sexcapades and naughty little trysts whenever and however they can get them. Who said anything about keeping things legal? Assume the position. Things are about to heat up in the south.

I will never get tired of reading about Ben, Mia, baby Chase, and Sir Nolan. While When I Fall is my favorite, so far out of this series, there’s something so pure and right about Where We Belong, another Ben and Mia story, that the other couples in this series pale in comparison.

I had some idea as to what this novella was going to be about, I was at the same time unsure about what this story was going to be about (I hope that made sense). Any good author can give you the bare bones of a story in a synopsis, but until you  actually experience the story, the book will still be a mystery to you.

Where We Belong, sort of starts where When I Fall ended, which I loved because so many things were thrown up in the air on Mia and Ben’s mental state after the health scare Mia had. While people are able to appear okay on the outside it’s sometimes not the case on the inside and that’s where my worry for Ben and Mia stemmed from. I wondered if they’d be okay, and if they’ll be able to talk about how badly that health scare was to them both.

I was over the moon, with the story that the author presented us. Yes, the worries I had were addressed, but what I didn’t count on was the twist that happened in the story. I do believe my eyes bugged outta my head at that twist, because in no way could I have seen that coming!

Although, this novella is about Ben and Mia, certain conflicts involving Tess and Luke, and Riley and CJ are featured and are finally cleared up. To be quite honest I am so glad that Tess and Luke finally communicated with each other about what’s been bothering them! It’s like pulling teeth with those two! From the interactions we get between CJ and Riley I can already tell their story is going to have a whole lotta drama, and since Riley is Reed’s sister I hope Beth gets some page time too, she’s my favorite heroine out of this series.

This book, heck this series, is a must read. One can never go wrong when reading about an alpha male who will go through fire and a jealous baby mama to make sure the love of his life and his babies are taken care of, or about a woman who’s sweet as pie and loves whole-heartedly the said alpha male and will lay down her life for her babies. Can’t go wrong with this read.

About J. Daniels

J. Daniels is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Sweet Addiction series, the Alabama Summer series, and the upcoming Dirty Deeds series.

She would rather bake than cook, she listens to music entirely too loud, and loves writing stories her children will never read. Her husband and children are her greatest loves, with cupcakes coming in at a close second.

J loves to read anything she can get her hands on, but her favorite stories involve alphas with a sweet side.