Sunday, 17 August 2014

Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy: Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, Fifty Shades Freed.  E L James.



I've had Fifty Shades lurking on my Kindle for a couple of years. Initially, not knowing anything about it, I got it because it was on the best sellers list and I was looking for something new. But, then the whole Fifty Shades phenomena exploded and the hype just put me off reading it. With the release of the movie trailer my attention was once again drawn to the book and so I decided to take the plunge and go see what all the fuss was about.
The only thing I regret about reading the Fifty Shades trilogy was that I didn't read it before now! I was glued to it for two days and when I finished the third book I wanted to start straight away with book one all over again. It was that good.

Don't get me wrong, it is not perfect. It is not particularly well written. Ana's character can be quite annoying as she drones on about how incredibly good looking Christian is and she punctuates all her observations with a repetitively irritating 'Oh my.' Parts of the first book made uncomfortable reading as the relationship between Ana and Christian is not a healthy one but, this is fiction after all and if I met a Christian Grey in real life I'd tell him to F off, knee him where it hurts and run in the opposite direction. But as I said, this is fiction and so I gave fictional Christian Grey the benefit of the doubt in the hope that all was not as bad it it seemed. You really have to read all three books though to fully appreciate his character.

The novel can be seen as a cliché story about the sexual awakening of an innocent young woman. And it is that, but, it is equally the story of Christian's own awakening- from being an emotionally closed off man to one who can appreciate love and being loved. You can trace the beginning of his emotional evolvement from his first meeting with Ana to the end where she has well and truly tamed the beast.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book apart from a few erotic scenes but the BDSM scenes are not as horrifying as I thought they would be. I wasn't expecting the other characters to be as well developed and the lovely sense of family and friendship that support the story.
The second book 'Fifty Shades Darker' was my favourite of the three. The characters are established and there is a welcome element of suspense to the plot.
My favourite aspect that ran through all three books was the texts and emails sent between Christian and Ana. Initially, this was their way of communicating what they couldn't articulate out loud, but, it became their 'thing' and the messages, most often, are both romantic and hilarious.

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Invincible by Diana Palmer

A light, quick read, full of romance and suspense. I enjoyed this book and would read the others in the series.

A few things I didn't like though, for one, the plot is a little weak and refers to a previous book that I haven't read. (although I think I will go and find it and read it.)

Carlie's kidnapping scene had me rolling my eyes from start to finish....she just opens the door to a complete stranger and goes off with him on his say so even though she knows people are after her. Carlie's kidnapper, a former policeman, takes a shine to her and does a complete u- turn in personality, ending up as a friend by the end of the book!

 Why can't Carlie remember to carry her phone? How can a person with a photographic memory not remember to bring a phone about with them when constantly reminded? Most people in this day and age have their phone permanently attached in some way.

Her father is another odd one. He reads like a character from a comic book. He is some kind of former super-kick-ass-special forces guy who abandoned Carlie and her mother when she was a child and who is now a minister trying to make up for all his past sins.

Apart from that, I enjoyed the banter, and budding romance between Carlie and Carson. The side characters also added extra entertainment. Although formulaic, fans of Diana Palmer should enjoy this.

The Echo Falls Trilogy by Jaime McDougall

Book 1     Echo Falls   
Pheobe Martin is on the run from an ex-boyfriend and ends up in Echo Falls looking for a safe place to call home. Echo Falls proves not to be the safest haven as someone is attacking and killing members of the Falls werewolf pack. Pheobe, herself, is attacked but rescued by Aidan O' Bryan, the local police chief and alpha of the pack. Phoebe is his only witness but she is reluctant to give any information about herself or the attack. Aidan knows she is holding back and doesn't understand why, but nonetheless he is attracted to her and wants to help her.
After more attacks on the pack they realise that a hunter is in town and that maybe they also have a traitor in their midst. It is only then that Phoebe admits that her ex is a hunter and has tracked her to Echo Falls. He killed her brother and is out to kill her also because she is a werewolf.
There is plenty of action as the pack prepare to take on the hunter and the traitor. A nice romance also builds up between Aidan and Phoebe. The pace really quickens and tensions build in the last quarter of the book. This is an enjoyable quick read that fans of werewolf fiction will enjoy.

Book 2 Fading Echoes
The story picks up twenty years after 'Echo Falls.' Baby Charlotte from book one is working as the doctor's receptionist. Charlotte is special as she is a 'pure bred' werewolf and the first of that kind in the Echo Falls pack. Charlotte is obsessed with all things hunter related and spends much of her time researching and filling her scrap book with any information she can garner about hunters. She fears an organised attack from hunters and believes that werewolves should band together and be prepared. It has been twenty years since the last hunter attack so Charlotte's research falls on deaf ears.
When Adam, the new doctor, comes into town there is an instant attraction between him and Charlotte. He becomes suspicious about the townsfolk and it is inevitable that he finds out about werewolves. However, Adam is keeping secrets of his own. Charlotte is highly suspicious of 'Compass,' a genetic research company that has set up in Echo Falls and takes an instant dislike to Calvin Stephens its CEO. Calvin is working on isolating the werewolf gene so that he can eradicate them from the world. Calvin sets his sights on Charlotte for his own special plan. With the very survival of the werewolf race at stake Charlotte has no option but to take a chance on trusting Adam to help her defeat this threat.

This was my favourite out of the three books. It is well written, fast paced and filled with suspense and action. A real page turner.

Book 3   Dark Echoes
This story takes place a few years after Fading Echoes. Charlotte's younger sister Lily is a strong willed young werewolf. She hunts alone and has tasked herself with ridding the area of  drug dealers, especially those that supply young wolves with a new drug called bane. She is full of guilt after an attack left her friend permanently human and she wants to find the people responsible and stop them from hurting other wolves.
She meets another werewolf, Jason North, a Neuri with special abilities. They both share this strange feeling that they've met before even though they know they haven't. He is determined to stay close to her until he figures things out. The werewolves are under threat again from hunters and a war is coming. In this final showdown where friends become the enemies Lily must embrace her destiny and save the werewolves once and for all or die trying.

A fitting conclusion to a dramatic and engaging trilogy.
Highly recommended to any fans of werewolf fiction.