O was one of the first bloggers I connected with when I began my blog and joined Twitter in February of this year. Of course, her blog is named Read, Sleep, Repeat, and at the time, my blog was named Read, Rinse, Repeat. She popped up on my Twitter feed one day, and I realized that I had inadvertently squatted on her blog name. I reached out to her, and she was totally cool about it, even as other bloggers started to get us confused. I doubt I would have had the same reaction if I was her! But I’m glad it happened, because I might not have gotten to know her otherwise.
O’s blog is one of the few I regularly visit. I love her no-holds-barred take on books, blogging, and life in general. And I really love when she tweets pictures of the delicious meals she cooks, especially when I’m sitting here eating a microwaved Lean Cuisine.
Now, on to the purpose of my visit here today. O asked me to share my first review. I actually started writing product reviews on Amazon back in 2010. For some reason, I did not write a book review until March 2012, and that book was…Fifty Shades Darker. (I’m sorry, O, to put this on your blog, but you asked!) Here we go with my virgin review:
“You are a pervert.”
“I know.” He raises his eyebrows and his grin broadens.
“My pervert,” I whisper.
This is actual dialogue between Ana and Christian, the narrator and her billionaire boyfriend. These books have conflicted me. The dialogue, plot contrivances, and most of the characters are completely ridiculous. And yet, for reasons I don’t fully understand, I am on book three of the trilogy. I guess I want to see what happens with these characters, even though every page makes me cringe and/or laugh. Starting with Christian, the billionaire…who is also incredibly hot…with an insatiable sexual appetite…and he pilots his own helicopter…and he’s a philanthropist…and a concert-level pianist…and an expert dancer…and of course, he’s completely head over heels in love with Ana. I am fully expecting that he will find a cure for cancer by the end of the third book.
Fifty Shades Darker introduces a new character who is a sexually harassing villain. He serves no other purpose in this book than to attempt to abuse Ana. We all know sexual harassment exists in the workplace, but E L James beats us over the head with it. The harasser is SO over the top, and it’s stated that he’s a habitual offender; it’s hard to imagine he could exist and prosper in a real world workplace. But then, men like Christian don’t exist either, so at least James is consistent.
On a side note, the most shocking part of this trilogy’s success is that the movie rights just sold for $4 million. I will be very interested to see how these books could be turned into a successful movie franchise. I don’t envy the screenwriter who, no doubt, will need to rewrite every word of dialogue.
All this said, congrats to E L James who has made a ton of money from a bad series of books and who has gotten me to read all three, despite myself.
Now, because I can’t bear the thought of having this review be the sole representation of me, I also would like to share the first review I wrote for my blog. This was on February 6, 2013, and it was Where She Went by Gayle Forman:
“Where She Went,” the sequel to “If I Stay“, is a very different story, and not only because the sequel is narrated by Adam, rather than Mia. If you read “If I Stay,” (and if you didn’t, I highly recommend it), you know that it ended with an incredible cliffhanger, and here with the sequel, we have the resolution.
Maybe Gayle Forman has more of a knack writing romance from the male perspective, but I have a much better sense of the (former) love between Adam and Mia in this book than I did with Stay. I just didn’t really get it when Mia narrated, but with Adam, I could feel his love, his heartbreak, and his longing.
As the title indicates, we learn what happened to Mia during the three years after she squeezed Adam’s hand in the hospital bed until their somewhat chance encounter after her concert at Carnegie Hall. Mia is now a famous cellist, and Adam is a rock star with an actress girlfriend and constantly hounded by paparazzi. (A little unrealistic, but let’s go with it.) Mia disappeared soon after her recovery and rehabilitation, leaving a devastated Adam in her wake. Adam is still tortured by Mia’s decision, and we feel it on every page. The tension between the two is palpable, and neither one is willing to broach the topic of their break-up. When Adam finally explodes, we readers, along with Adam and Mia, can finally breathe. The wall between the two is shattered, and the rest is just…beautiful.
Are we feeling better now? Did I wash away the Fifty Shades taint?
Since I’m still fairly new to reviewing, I’m (hopefully) continuing to improve. I have to admit that I have a lot of fun writing the “bad” reviews, and I don’t think that will change. They’re also relatively easy to write, aren’t they? I mean, a review of a book like Fifty Shades really just writes itself.
To celebrate O’s milestone, I’m going to give away a copy of Where She Went to an international winner. (Sorry to anyone hoping for Fifty Shades instead.) Thanks, O, for letting me visit today, and I look forward to many years of book rants and raves with you!