While the book is not especially well-executed, James has tapped into a female sexual and psychological curiosity that can...

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY

From the Fifty Shades Trilogy series , Vol. 1

Innocent girl meets billionaire boy with some serious issues; they fall for each other anyway, but is attraction enough to overcome his need for control and her need for independence?

Anastasia Steele interviews local business magnate Christian Grey for her college paper. Despite her misgivings on his control tendencies, Ana is attracted to him, and shocked to learn the feeling is mutual. Overwhelmed by his seductive presence and staggering wealth, Ana still chooses to enter into a confusing emotional and physical relationship with the enigmatic billionaire. Grey is a tormented, damaged hero, and Ana feels out of her league dealing with his frequent emotional distance, and his sexual need for control and dominance, especially given that his attraction to her stems from her down-to-earth personality and independent spirit. Through Grey she explores her own awakening sensuality, but finds herself unwilling to enter into his darker passions, all the while growing more and more attached to his companionship, his powerful charm and his desire to overcome his demons. On the heels of Twilight (literally and figuratively, since Fifty Shades was originally conceived as Twilight fan fiction), James has concocted the latest controversial mega-bestseller targeted to the female reader. Considering the cultural impact this book has made, you’ve likely heard of it, and possibly already read it.  So here’s the straight scoop: this book is not particularly well-written, nor is it hard-core porn that’s going to burn your socks off once you open the pages. Neither is it a piece of fiction that will take the women’s movement back 60 years. It’s fan fiction and fantasy fiction. Hundreds of thousands of women are reading this book because it’s the type of scenario that never happened to us, will never happen to us, and is one from which we’d likely flee as fast as possible if it ever did happen to us—wouldn’t we? That’s the point. It’s intriguing, conceptually, to wonder “what if...?” This book is not for everyone. It could have used a good editor. If you want great characterization, perfect construction, or if the repetition of words or phrases bothers you, probably best to not pick it up. However, it was more entertaining and compelling than expected.

While the book is not especially well-executed, James has tapped into a female sexual and psychological curiosity that can be disturbing if taken too seriously, but is somewhat fun and entertaining in the imagination stage.

Pub Date: April 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-345-80348-1

Page Count: 530

Publisher: Vintage

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2012

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Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable...

THE UNHONEYMOONERS

An unlucky woman finally gets lucky in love on an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii.

From getting her hand stuck in a claw machine at age 6 to losing her job, Olive Torres has never felt that luck was on her side. But her fortune changes when she scores a free vacation after her identical twin sister and new brother-in-law get food poisoning at their wedding buffet and are too sick to go on their honeymoon. The only catch is that she’ll have to share the honeymoon suite with her least favorite person—Ethan Thomas, the brother of the groom. To make matters worse, Olive’s new boss and Ethan’s ex-girlfriend show up in Hawaii, forcing them both to pretend to be newlyweds so they don’t blow their cover, as their all-inclusive vacation package is nontransferable and in her sister’s name. Plus, Ethan really wants to save face in front of his ex. The story is told almost exclusively from Olive’s point of view, filtering all communication through her cynical lens until Ethan can win her over (and finally have his say in the epilogue). To get to the happily-ever-after, Ethan doesn’t have to prove to Olive that he can be a better man, only that he was never the jerk she thought he was—for instance, when she thought he was judging her for eating cheese curds, maybe he was actually thinking of asking her out. Blending witty banter with healthy adult communication, the fake newlyweds have real chemistry as they talk it out over snorkeling trips, couples massages, and a few too many tropical drinks to get to the truth—that they’re crazy about each other.

Heartfelt and funny, this enemies-to-lovers romance shows that the best things in life are all-inclusive and nontransferable as well as free.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2803-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.

Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2801-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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