Monthly Archives: July 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James

I’ve been encountering this title for quite some time now, but somehow, I kept ignoring it. I guess the title and the book cover aren’t eye-catching enough to attract my attention. However, curiosity got the best of me when I came across the title again as I was browsing through the best selling audio books. I read the summary and that’s the time when I finally understood what the hype was all about. It didn’t just end there because I decided to buy a copy.

Here’s the summary from the back cover of the book:

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.

My reaction after reading this book can be summarized into this statement: Curiosity killed the cat. The story is far from my expectation and it disappoints me that I didn’t end up liking the book.

Ana, a naïve and inexperienced college graduate, falls for a guy like Christian Grey, a successful yet control freak entrepreneur. At a glance, it seems that Christian already has everything in a package, but beneath the surface, he’s not at all what he seems or what we expect. I really don’t understand why Ana allows herself to be needy and desperate. She evidently becomes helpless when Christian is around. As much as she is confused with her decision, I also got confused with her emotional turmoil.

Furthermore, throughout the story, I feel that the characters remain static. To me, the impression I have of them from the beginning remains the same until the end. The relationship Christian Grey and Ana shared is built from a weak foundation. One has to be dominant while the other is submissive just so the agreement could work. Although it’s nice to read that Christian shares a lot of first experiences with Ana, I don’t think what they have is even called a relationship. Their actions are even supposed to be constricted to a contract.

Overall, I believe the story is written poorly. I find some statements repetitive – the author keeps using the words “inner goddess” and phrases that involves lip-biting. Plot-wise, the book comes out as shallow and senseless for me. There’s no depth in it. In fact, it frustrates me that this book made it to the bestselling list – perhaps it’s because of the graphic content. People may have different views regarding this book, but I guess my stand would be the same with those who dislike it. I don’t think I would read the remaining books in the trilogy.

I’ve heard that this book is originally a Twilight fan fiction, and to be honest, comparing the two series, I would prefer Twilight more than this. But despite my disappointment in this book, I don’t think this should hinder other people to read it. If you enjoy erotic fiction, then Fifty Shades is the one for you.

 

 

 

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Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein

I stumbled upon this title on Twitter a few months ago. As I plan to broaden my reading genre preferences, I decided to give this book a try. I don’t think it’s available locally, so I bought it from Book Depository.

Here’s the summary from the back cover of the book:

Amy is fine living in the shadows of beautiful Lila and uber-cool Cassie, because at least she’s somewhat beautiful and uber-cool by association. But when their dates stand them up for prom, and the girls take matters into their own hands—earning them a night in jail outfitted in satin, stilettos, and Spanx—Amy discovers even a prom spent in handcuffs might be better than the humiliating “rehabilitation techniques” now filling up her summer. Even worse, with Lila and Cassie parentally banned, Amy feels like she has nothing—like she is nothing.

Navigating unlikely alliances with her new coworker, two very different boys, and possibly even her parents, Amy struggles to decide if it’s worth being a best friend when it makes you a public enemy. Bringing readers along on an often hilarious and heartwarming journey, Amy finds that maybe getting a life only happens once you think your life is over.

It’s evident that Amy’s insecurity and low self-esteem mainly have to do with the pressure from people she’s surrounded with. She feels that she’s being deprived of having a choice and freedom – merely doing things what others tell her to do. Tired of this routine, she thinks that going the wrong path would be the key, that this crucial decision will make her feel belonged. After all, according to her, being rebellious gives her freedom and more happiness.

And that’s where Lila and Cassie come into picture. By discovering their true personalities, I can already sense that they’re bad influencers. Amy, on the other hand, thinks otherwise. She can be who she is with Lila and Cassie because both of her friends can think highly of themselves while Amy can just be plain and ordinary. I really don’t understand why Amy allows this thing to happen to her. But throughout the course of the story, readers can actually see that Amy has confused feelings. Being the dynamic person that she is, Amy starts to change as the story progresses. Will she become meaner? Or will she go back to her good old self? That’s for you to find out!

Lila and Cassie remind me of the worse version of Mean Girls movie. Cassie may still seem tolerable despite her bad attitude, but Lila is the worst. She’s so superficial and vain and self-centered, so much so that I want to slap some sense out of her. It’s obvious that she takes advantage of the weak – definitely not a role model.

Moving on, this is the first time I’ve read a book with smoking, a little bit of drugs, and the what-nots being natural and normal in a person’s life. I may not be in favor of this book to be read by younger readers, but I guess this is also one way of getting a glimpse of the other side of reality we often choose to ignore and perhaps learning from it as well.

Overall, it’s a good book, but I didn’t enjoy it the way I expected to. Some parts are a bit predictable and I had a hard time getting into the story, hence the reading slump I experienced during the span of reading this book. However, one way or another, I like how readers can look into Amy’s mind because that way, they can understand her thoughts and feelings. Despite not being like Amy, I can still understand her situation and what she’s going through. She may be angry at the world, but on the other hand, I also understand her parents’ concern over her. At least I get to explore the bad side and contrast it with a good side to balance it out. I’m actually satisfied with the ending and I can say that this book gave me an open mind and bigger perspective about my surroundings.


Who’s Afraid of Mr. Wolfe? by Hazel Osmond

I first discovered this title, Who’s Afraid of Mr. Wolfe?, last year from Chachic of Chachic’s Book Nook. At that time, I was still hesitant to explore new works from new authors, afraid that I might not end up liking the book. Several months later, though, something urged me to pick up this book and read it. I guess my mood also affects my reading preferences. Anyway, the plot suddenly intrigued me, so I immediately bought a copy from Book Depository.

Here’s the summary from the back cover of the book:

Ellie thinks she’s in love.

But then, she doesn’t know Jack…

Ellie Somerset loves her career-obsessed boyfriend Sam and she loves her job as an advertising copywriter. But Sam is always at work and her fresh ideas keep being overlooked.

Her life gets more complicated when her new boss Jack Wolfe – Heathcliff in a Suit – arrives at the agency. With his brooding good looks, trademark scowl and plans for change, he challenges Ellie to smarten up and prove herself.

To Ellie’s horror, she finds herself both repelled and attracted to the sexy and dangerous Jack. But this particular wolf has an awful lot to hide…

Who’s afraid of Mr Wolfe? Not Ellie.

Not until it’s far too late.

I have to admit, the book cover easily catches my attention. It projects a romantic aura that sparks my curiosity on how the characters’ lives will be intertwined. Plus, the texts on the cover are also printed in glitters! With that said, I won’t deny that both factors pushed me further to read this book ASAP.

Getting a glimpse of how an advertising agency company works behind the scenes fascinates me. The output of a project may seem simple, but the process of coming up with a fresh, creative, and unique idea is the hardest, especially during a pitch presentation wherein the creative team must sell their concept. I really learned a lot from this book. One of the crucial points required in advertising is that the team should show how they strongly believe in the product in order to be motivated to attract the audience and make a positive long-lasting impression of the product ad. Reading this makes me feel nostalgic over my college days when our class did a marketing paper on a niche product. The experience surely was hard, but worthwhile.

As the title suggests, one might think that a werewolf would be literally involved in the story. But no, Hazel Osmond merely utilizes the name as a metaphor.

Jack Wolfe, whom Ellie Somerset regards as Heathcliff and is likened to have a wolf-like behavior and appearance, becomes an antagonist at one point in Ellie’s life. Jack and Ellie often engage in arguments, squeezing in humorous lines here and there that end up offending either one of the parties. There are parts which makes me crack up silently and reread those witty lines again. They’re just fun to read because of the metaphorical meaning. Moving on, despite their unfriendly remarks to one another, I like how their relationship with each other slowly develops. This proves that beneath Jack’s wolf-iness which tends to make him an insensitive jerk, there’s also a gentler, more loving and caring side of him. Add to that his perfect look and stature, too. He would undoubtedly make girls swoon over him.

Jack and Ellie may be in denial, but it’s pretty obvious how both of them are strongly attracted to one another. The things Jack does for Ellie might give a wrong impression on her, leading her to more confusion, but we know his true intentions – he’s just not straightforward with his feelings. The same goes for Ellie as well. But as readers, we come to understand their point of views and inner thoughts. I like how we become spectators in each of their lives because it makes us fully comprehend their actions and feelings.

And Ellie’s Great-Aunt Edith – oh, I just love her. She acts like a mother who tries to look out for Ellie and sometimes, to enlighten Ellie’s confused feelings. Their bond is certainly strong and it shows that they really need each other’s support once in a while.

Moving on to Ellie, throughout the course of the story, we can see that she’s a changed, better person in the end. From the timid, introvert woman she was, she becomes more confident, with self-esteem, and more outspoken. Evidently, Ellie’s interactions with Jack, Edith, Lesley, and the endeavors she faced have greatly affected her life as a person.

It’s amazing how Hazel Osmond brilliantly and creatively structures her sentences that make the story more addictive to read. She just knows when to use the perfect words and metaphors, depending on the mood of the scenes. Furthermore, I came to love the characters as well. I may not have experienced what they experienced, but somehow, I still feel connected to them – I feel and understand what they feel. In fact, this is one of the few books that touched my heart deeply to the point where I even got teary-eyed at some parts.

All in all, I really enjoyed the book to the fullest. I never thought the story would be this good! The author did not fail to get me so absorbed in the story. Up to now, I still can’t get over the Jack and Ellie moments. They simply make me feel giddy inside. Reading this definitely triggers my desire to have my own Jack Wolfe in my life, too. Nuff said.

So, if any of you want to temporarily get away from the stress life is giving you, this would be the perfect book to read. I must say, it’s effective.