Saturday, August 31, 2013

Book Review - Fifty Shades Darker

I recently wrote a book review about Fifty Shades of Grey which can be found here.

I liked it so much that I immediately picked up the second book and blew right through it! So I figured I may as well write a review for this one, too.

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

Our story begins only a few days after the first book ends. I think this is great, as it allows you to see each and every moment of their relationship as it unfolds. It really creates a connection, as if you were in a relationship yourself - seeing it from every angle. I don't want to get into specifics about the plot because I don't believe in revealing spoilers during book reviews, but I will say that this book is much more action-packed and suspenseful than the first. It keeps you entertained from start to finish. As far as Fifty Shades erotic reputation is concerned, it definitely gets a little more risque in this book - but still probably not as bad as you might imagine. Even with the "S&M" stereotype that this book holds, all the sexual interactions in the book revolve around love first and foremost.

The sequel involves many of the characters that were included in the first, as it revolves around the same people. Christian and Ana are still the main characters, and they are joined by all of Christian's family in this book... as well as a few shady antagonists. This is a breath of fresh air, since the first book mainly revolves around Christian's lifestyle taking center stage as the "antagonist". As for this one, it seems he has made the jump successfully to a full-fledged protagonist, which leaves room for plenty of colorful characters to test Christian & Ana.

Like the first book, this one revolves mainly in Seattle. Although I would have to say that it doesn't give you quite the same in-depth feel as the first one does, it doesn't take away from the book any. There is plenty of other stuff going on - you really don't miss it much.

If you read my book review for the original Fifty Shades, you know I gave E.L. James a pretty hard time about her writing style. It seemed amateurish, jumped around a lot, and could be confusing at times. This book was much better. She improved a lot, I have to be honest. There were still moments where it could get repetitive - particular in the love-making scenes - but all-in-all it was better.

I give this book a 5 out of 5, which is amazing because in my last review I only gave the original book 4 out of 5. I could not put this book down. Upon finishing it, I definitely felt like the first book was only a stepping stone to get to this one. It was that good. I definitely recommend putting this book on your reading list if you haven't already.

Having finished the 2nd book, I will admit that I have begun reading the third book in the trilogy: Fifty Shades Freed. To be honest, I am not loving it so far. I am only a hundred pages in, but so far it has been torture to even force myself to read that much without giving up on it so I'm not optimistic about the outcome. I have made a promise to myself to finish reading it, though, even if only in the interest of being thorough. I sincerely hope that my opinion changes by the time I can write the review for it, but for now it may be hard for me to even find time to read it with school being back in session. (I don't attend school, but my son is in Kindergarten now so I must read to him longer every night for his homework, plus I have extra family responsibilities now that my love is busy with his 2nd year of college.)

Although I am reading my son the first Harry Potter book, so that's fun. =)

Until next time, thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Pinterest Review - Rainbow Butterfly Footprint

You guys. My little girl is growing up way too fast.

I'm sure my fellow Mommies understand.

One minute they are a tiny little bundle of blanket in your arms, and then you blink and they are running around and speaking to you.

Believe it or not (I sure as heck don't!), my baby is turning 2 in just a couple of months. I know! Crazy!

So like the crazy party-planning-person I am, I have already started preparations for her 2nd Birthday Bash. Her birthday parties are especially fun because they are also my birthday party! (Our birthdays are only 8 days apart.) So this year our birthday theme is:
Rainbow Butterflies!

You can follow all my fun party prep here:

But today I am here to show you one pin in particular - 

Rainbow Butterfly Footprints

This pin originally comes from Sawdust & Embryos and it is such a fun, easy, not to mention ADORABLE project to do with your little girl of any age!

Notice how my pin says "but with pastel colors" - that is the beauty of this project. It can be done in ANY color(s). Here is how mine turned out:

Sooo cute!! It is totally fool-proof, too. Ok.... Maybe not totally. I will admit that we had 1 or 2 (or 4) "oopsie" pages first, but as long as you don't make any of the same mistakes we did you should be fine.

First - put the cardstock you are going to be using on a FLAT, HARD surface - we tried it on the bed first and the footprints didn't come out well at all. That resulted in having to re-ink Eva's feet which she wasn't terribly thrilled about. Second - (and this really isn't much of a tip, just more of an FYI) your child's feet will by dyed for a little bit afterward even after you wash the excess ink off... Just be aware of that before you start inking away! And third - just in case you are wondering, the ink pad that I used for this project can be found here

Hope you all have fun trying this one out with your wee ones, please let me know if you try it! I would love to hear what you thought, and I'd also love to know if there are any other tips or tricks that helped you make this project different, easier, or more fun!

Thanks for joining me! See you next time!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Book Review - Fifty Shades of Grey

I have had a new obsession recently. It has been consuming my days, and I have to reluctantly admit that my house is not in the condition that I normally keep it in because of it...


Ok! I am not a big reader, seriously. I pick up the occasional popular book - for example, I have read the entire Harry Potter series, the Twilight Saga, and the occasional Nicholas Sparks romance novel. I am pretty mainstream with my books, for sure. I just hate investing time in a book that ends up thoroughly disappointing me... I have been hurt before (thanks a lot, James Patterson...) so it's hard for me to commit to a book unless I have heard or read a fabulous review from someone I trust. And that is exactly what happened on our 4th of July visit back home, when my sister-in-law let me borrow/insisted that I read the Fifty Shades Trilogy.

I asked her what it was about, and she immediately started explaining it as if it were some crazy porno or something. At first I was pretty disgusted and didn't want to take them, but she insisted that I would like them and she knows me pretty well, so I took them anyway - fully intending to let them sit on my bookshelf and collect dust for a while and then to return them.

But the other day my husband decided to pick up a book. One of his favorites - Streams of Silver, the 5th installment of the Legend of Drizzt books. It is not unlike Lord of the Rings from what I gather. Regardless, I sat bored on the couch while he was reading and kept pestering him while he was trying to focus on it. Finally he suggested that I pick up a book myself. I told him I had nothing to read, and he mentioned the books that his sister had lent to me. I reluctantly agreed that I should at least try to read it - I figured that if things got too weird then I could always return them to her and say that I gave them an honest shot.

And to my surprise, I spent the entire day reading it. Then, I finished all 500+ pages by Day 3. Yeah, it was that good. I am now happily reading the sequel, and am almost finished with it. So for all you skeptics out there, here is my honest review of the first book.

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

Forget what others have told you, Fifty Shades is a romance novel, first and foremost. Basically, the book revolves around Ana & Christian. It takes you on a journey right from the start of their relationship and forward from there. To my unexpected and pleasant surprise, there was nothing even remotely erotic at all within the first 100+ pages. It was all sweet, basic beginning relationship stuff. It really allows you to care about the characters before it gets into any of that, so that by the time it finally comes around you actually don't mind so much. And don't be afraid, I know that Fifty Shades has a reputation of being a little risque, but trust me - even with the erotic stuff, it starts out totally normally. After all, Ana is a little naive in things herself, and she is new to all things sexual - she does not dive in head first, and thus neither do we.

Christian Grey is a young, mysterious millionaire business mogul who falls for Ana, an almost-college-graduate majoring in literature. We see things from Ana's point of view - she is the storyteller. She is naive and clumsy at times, but she loves old English literature and breakfast tea - she has an old soul and has never really experienced any of the breath-taking romance that she reads about in her novels. Enter Christian Grey, who is full of surprises and secrets - "Fifty Shades" of secrets - and this romance gets very interesting very quickly. But, you must dismiss all those notions you had in your mind about Mr. Grey being a domineering womanizer. He is incredibly sweet and playful, and at times even reminds me of my own husband. You really learn to love these characters - neither one too perfect, and very easy to relate to.

Fifty Shades is set in the Seattle to Portland area mainly, and the feel of the book really exemplifies that. It takes you there. It's a great book to curl up to with a cup of tea because you almost feel chilly as you imagine the hovering clouds in the sky with every page turn.

E.L. James has only written the Fifty Shades Trilogy, and I may not be an accomplished reader, but I still think it is apparent in her writing that she has little experience. Many phrases are used over and over again to describe things, and sometimes the scene can change dramatically in a very short period of time. The most notable time was when a phone conversation took place randomly, and James went through the process of scripting out everything that was said in the conversation, only to have that paragraph end and the setting change completely without having received any pertinent information from it at all. But beside that, she actually has a fun vocabulary that she uses to its fullest extent, which keeps it interesting despite the sometimes irritating and repetitive phrases. That being said though, be wary - this book has a potty mouth, too, which I honestly could have done without.

I would rate this book 4 out of 5 stars. Don't get me wrong, I am totally hooked. But the inexperienced writing, the fact that there is so much language, and the occasional spontaneous unnecessary story shifts make me need to dock a star. That partnered with the fact that there is plenty of erotic scenes in the book, some of which make me a little bit uncomfortable at times (A little bit! Nothing unbearable, and all based on their affection for each other). But I am completely in love with the characters and the romantic settings - definitely worth enduring some of the writing flaws.

So give it a shot, and let me know if you do - I would love to hear if you agree or disagree with my review. I have also heard that they are starting pre-production of a Fifty Shades of Grey movie. I am sort of excited for that, but I am worried about who they might cast - right now my hopes are on Alexis Bledel as Ana and Matt Bomer as Christian Grey. If you have read the book, who do you think should star in the movie?

Thanks for dropping by! I'm sure I will have another review for you shortly on Fifty Shades Darker - the sequel to Fifty Shades of Grey - which I have almost completed. So stop back in for that!

"Laters, baby." - Mr. Christian Grey