Friday, July 20, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey - Review - SPOILER ALERT!!!

SPOILER ALERT - If you haven't read the book yet, please don't read this review unless you want to know things that are important in the book.  It does have several spoilers that I would prefer you read in the book.

I truly wondered how I would feel about this book. I borrowed it from a neighbor, as I truly could not bring myself to buy it. I’d heard the hype, read the bad reviews, the good reviews and the comments about the horrible writing. I think that was the pull for me. As an author I wanted to see what others called horrible writing.

Every book written will be loved by some and hated by others. Entertainment is a matter of personal choice. I think had I been 35 years younger and naïve about love, life and what goes on in the real world I would have loved this book.  Fiction is fiction, but there is always an underlying element of truth or it has to have a small possibility for belief unless you’re reading fantasy. Readers are normally turned off by an everyday man or woman on the street who can run three miles in three seconds. We know that isn’t possible, so if we read it in a book we tend to turn away. Thus, age and experience does make a difference in our views on books.

Rating—I would probably give this book 5 stars for two main reasons. 1) Ms. James wrote the book in 1st person, which is difficult for any author to carry off and do it well.  Ms. James did it very well.  2) She created characters that give the reader a reason to read on – what made Christian the way he is? What will an innocent like Ana do when faced with the reality of his world?

I didn’t find the writing horrible. I think the book is well written, although there were some parts that I found irritating on a personal level. For instance – I. Want. You. So. Much.  I know this was done for emphasis, but truly found it rather irritating.  I’m not sure how many times Ana calls Christian beautiful without really giving us any clue to what he looks like, but I found that irritating.  It also made Ana appear a little shallow to me as she seemed so captivated by his beauty.  Perhaps it was purposely done in order to throw in a little analogy on men being captivated by a female’s looks.  It didn’t work for me. The repetition of the rules, the contract and the lists also was irritating to me and I skipped those pages. The constant discussion of food and eating and making Ana eat was irritating.  Those are all personal preferences though, as I prefer to stay in a story with the characters and that type of thing takes me out of the story.

Ah, the Erotica.  This is where age became a problem for me. I’m 57. And here I found myself laughing just a little. I mean what man doesn’t want a woman who just by the heat in his eyes becomes all panted breath and willing to jerk her clothes off and do anything anywhere.  And what woman doesn’t want a man with an energizer bunny battery that can keep going and going and going…well, I think you get my point. Although the erotica portions are well written (if you like erotica) and very informative about the Dominant/Submissive community, it wasn’t really my cup of tea. And yes, there were points were I saw Christian Grey as a sexual predator. One of course with “good” qualities that can be hopefully “saved”.  That’s how the book is written. That is the underlying basis of following Christian and Ana to the end through book one and hopefully into book two and three. Can she save him? Does he want to be saved?

I did have some problems with the age of the characters. At 27 Christian Grey is a billionaire with huge corporations.  Now he has a good side and truly wants to feed the world.  Perhaps there’s some underlying issue about wanting Ana to eat, however, if so his character at least in book one is not fleshed out well enough to give us those reasons.  Secondly Christian served as a submissive in the Dominant/Submissive world from the age of 15 through 21.  He credits this woman (an older friend of his mother’s) as saving his life. He can’t stand to be touched which is related back to his birth mother who was a crack-head whore.  He was adopted by the Greys at the age of 4.  Something here doesn’t mesh for me.  1) How much memory of his real mother would he have from the age of four?  And if he was adopted at the age of four he was probably somewhere in the system for at least a year or more before that, so he would have been less than four when taken away from his mother.  He’s raised by what appear to be loving, well-adjusted, rich parents.  He’s given a great education, he can play the piano, fly a helicopter and he virtually excels in every area of his life.  And yet he’s screwed up because of his birth mother.  That doesn’t work for me.
Perhaps if I take the time to read book 2 and 3 I’ll find out more of what makes Christian Grey tick.  

Truthfully, I’m not that interested.  It’s an age thing.  I’m much too old for the Christian Grey story to capture and hold my attention, and sweet Ana doesn’t do it either.  One minute she’s the innocent who is terrified, the next she’s begging to be f*****.  Not exactly the language I would expect from a sweet innocent.  And although I don't mind a little sex in a good romance or mystery or even horror book--erotica is definitely not a reading preference of mine.

You may be asking yourself why at this point I would give this book 5 Stars.  Well, let’s look at a book review and what it should be about – the book.  The book itself is well written, it does have a decent story underlying the erotica, and the characters do have a certain appeal.  Secondly, this isn’t a book I would normally pick up or read and I read it simply to find out what all the hype was about, so in fairness to Ms. James I’ll keep my review and rating based on the book itself as I’m sure there are millions of readers out there who would not be irritated by the things that irritated me, and would totally enjoy the book.  After all a fiction book is supposed to be entertaining, and I did find it entertaining although perhaps not in the way it was written, but more as a fantasy love story. Had this all been a dream for Ana—well, it would have been a fantastic dream and easier for me to believe. I probably won’t be watching the movie, but it also won’t bother me if it grosses millions at the box office. As a reader and an author I can clearly see the book’s appeal.  I think perhaps I was just a little old for it, and perhaps a little jaded in the subject matter from my work with the judicial system and law enforcement. Not every Ana finds a Christian Grey, and the stories don’t usually end on such an easy note.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Five great Kindle Books - FREE

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Grab A Nook Mystery for $3.99

Foul Justice by Mel Comley


Trisha Dobbs cowered in the corner. She wrapped her trembling arms around her two small children and kept her gaze on the three men ransacking her immaculate home. “Don’t hurt us anymore, please!”
The man snarled and ordered, “Get the rope and tie them up.”
Trisha gasped, and he turned to look at her, his eyes narrowed. She quickly averted her eyes, not wishing to annoy the man further. She’d already lashed out at him while trying to protect her son and daughter when the three brutes had forced their way into the house. He had a gash above his right eye where her flailing fist had connected, and she had a gash across her cheek where he’d retaliated without hesitation. She’d sensed, then, that she and her children were in for a rough ride and that the man was used to getting his way with women, one way or another.
“Mummy, I want to go toilet,” little Rebecca said as tears welled in her bright blue eyes. Trisha comforted the child and kissed her forehead reassuringly.
“Sssh, hon, try and hold on. Go through your alphabet to take your mind off it, like I told you. A is for apple, B is for—”
“Shut the fuck up, bitch,” the man snapped, his voice filled with venom.
“I… I’m sorry—” Trisha stopped when the man rushed at her and ripped her daughter from her grasp.
“No! I’m sorry. Please don’t hurt my baby.” Trisha sobbed and clung tightly to her two-year-old son, Jacob.
The man picked up Rebecca and roughly dropped her on the large white leather sofa opposite her mother. Trisha soon saw the trickle of yellow liquid drip down the sofa onto the rug below. Sensing danger, she placed a finger to her lips to warn her daughter to keep quiet. Rebecca covered her mouth as her shoulders trembled, and tears cascaded down her flushed cheeks. Too far from her mother’s reach, the four year old was petrified.
The man in charge towered over Trisha, his body blocking the light from the crystal chandelier overhead. “What time will he be home?”
With the man intimidating her, Trisha found it impossible to think properly. She glanced up at the lion head–shaped gold wall clock hanging above the fireplace. “Dave should be home at any minute,” she told him in a quivering voice.
The men had come at eight o’clock, and it was now half past ten. Trisha’s husband always arrived home around eleven on match days when he played at home. He generally declined going for a drink with the rest of the team after work. He was the type who preferred to keep out of the limelight, and he hated the notoriety connected with his job. Given the option, he would choose to be home with his family, unlike most of his teammates, who appeared to revel in fighting off the paparazzi at London’s elite nightclubs.
One of the men tied her arms behind her back before moving on to little Jacob. Her heart went out to her baby, and wanting to protect him, she pleaded, “Stop! He’s only a child. What harm can he do? Please don’t tie him up.”
Appearing uncertain, the man looked over his shoulder at his boss, who glared and nodded for him to continue.
Jacob cried out in pain as the man roughly wrapped the rope around his fragile wrists.
“It’s okay, sweetie. Show Mummy how brave you can be.” Trisha tried to reassure him, hoping to prolong the charade that they were all playing a bizarre game.
Soon both children were sobbing uncontrollably, and Trisha, numb with helplessness, felt as though she’d been stabbed numerous times in the chest. My God, what can I do to get out of this?
“Go upstairs and start on the bedroom. Tear it to pieces if you have to,” the man in charge ordered.
Trisha tried hard not to give anything away with her facial expressions under the man’s intensive stare. She felt confident the gang wouldn’t find the safe tucked under the floorboards in the master bedroom, but considering the mess they’d made of her beautiful home since their arrival, anything was possible.
The man in charge took a step toward her. “If you don’t tell me where the jewellery is, I’m gonna start hurting the kids.”
Knowing she couldn’t delay the inevitable any longer, she sighed. “In the back bedroom.”
“In the wardrobe. On the shelf, there’s a box.”
He leaned close and ran his thumb from one side of his throat to the other. “If you’re tricking me…” Jacob was sitting beside her, and the man yanked the boy’s head back. “He gets it, you hear me?”
“Yes, I understand. My jewellery is in that room. I don’t have much. You think we’re rich, but we’re not. This house is mortgaged to the hilt. All our furniture is on Hire Purchase. Dave doesn’t make the kind of wages reported in the papers, I swear,” she told him between sobs. Stay strong for the kids’ sakes.
“You think I’ve got ‘fucking idiot’ tattooed on my forehead, bitch? What do you take me for?”
“I’m sorry. It’s the truth. You have to believe me.”
“Oh, do I now? You blondes are all the same—thick as shit! You think you can wrap us men around your fingers, don’t ya?”
Trisha remained silent.
The man went into the hallway and shouted up the stairs, “The spare room at the back, in the wardrobe, on the shelf. Let me know when you find something.”
Trisha squeezed her eyes shut and tried to visualise what jewellery she had put in the specific box. Her heart sank when she remembered she’d placed nothing spectacular there. All her best jewellery, Christmas and birthday presents that Dave had bought her, were safely tucked away under the floorboards. She hoped and prayed the children wouldn’t give her away, for all their sakes.
“Something wrong?” The man was in her face again, his eyes glinting with pure evil.
She wanted to be her usual sarcastic self, but the present time wasn’t appropriate. “No. Just hoping Dave returns home soon.”
“So am I,” he said, before releasing a full belly laugh.
A few minutes later, the other two men returned to the living room and handed the box to the man in charge. He threw the glass of brandy he’d poured himself across the room and marched towards her. “Is this it?”
 She gulped. “Yes, I told you, we’re not wealthy. I—”
“That’s bullshit, lady, and we both fuckin’ know it. Where is it? This is your final chance or the kid gets it.”
Words stuck in her throat as the three intruders eyed her with contempt. Suddenly, the man in charge reached out and yanked Jacob to his feet. The man pulled out a knife and placed it against her terrified son’s neck. Trisha watched in horror as the blade sank into her child’s skin, and droplets of blood trailed down onto his white T-shirt, followed by his terrified tears.
“Please! I’ll tell you. Don’t hurt my baby.”
“I’m waiting.”
“In the main bedroom—you have to move the bed—there’s a small safe in the floorboards under the rug.”
He nodded for his men to go back upstairs and check. Seconds later, he received a shout that they’d located it, and seconds after that, little Jacob lay in a heap on the shag carpet, his throat slit from ear to ear.   

Grab a Mystery for only $.99


Available on Nook - Amazon - Kobo - Itunes- Smashwords


Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for You are with me…
But He wasn’t with her.
She leaned against the cold steel door, her eyes closed in prayer. “Father, why have you forsaken me? What sins have I committed that you would punish me this way?”
When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood.
“Fiank-o!” she screamed.
Her eyes flew open, and she spread her hands in front of her. Blood rimmed her manicured nails. Out of the corner of her vision, she saw the blood-soaked blouse plastered to her chest. So much blood for such a tiny body.
Ripping at her blouse, she mewed like a wounded animal. “Then take my eyes, so I no longer see the blood of my child on my hands. Take my ears, so I no longer hear the shrieks from below, the clanging of the chains.”
Silence met her cry. God was no longer listening. She sank to her knees and ripped at her hair, bordering on madness. How could they do this to her? Had she not served them well for more than ten years?
“You know what you must do, Aggie. I have seen the feux-folet. She is the child of Diablo, and she has cursed you.”
For a moment, rage blocked the pain squeezing her heart. “You!” Her eyes filled with hatred, fists clenched at her side. “You brought this upon us with your superstitions and your curses.”
“Mwen pòv zanj pèdi—you know I speak the truth. I was here when she was born without life, her body blue, her soul already beyond this world. Five years have come and gone. As she grows, so does the evil. They warned you this day would come.”
The old woman’s words washed over her like a river of ice, extinguishing the fire of her rage, leaving only a cold, still emptiness.
“I begged them, Mother. Begged for her life as her blood seeped through my fingers. I have served God, and I have served the spirits. But they have forsaken me.” She raised tortured eyes to beseech the old woman, her efforts met with stony silence and beady eyes filled with accusation. “I begged them!” Her voice tapered to a whimper. “She is only five. I have lost Catherine. Must I lose Mary also?”
The old woman knelt beside her. Taking her right hand, she pried open the fingers and closed them around the cold steel of the knife. “You can’t cure a mad dog, Aggie; you can only put it down. You disobeyed. You have been punished. Now pick up your cross, and carry it.”
The silence in the room was broken only by her whimpers; the old woman had left as quietly as she’d come. The knife lay heavy in her hand, just as the task before her lay heavy on her heart.
She rose and opened the door to the basement, ignoring the shrieks and clang of the chains. Her feet descended the steps slowly, the old woman’s words echoing inside her head: You can’t cure a mad dog, Aggie; you can only put it down.


Please don’t leave me here.
Catherine Mans heard the whisper over the rustle of the leaves. He was here. She knew it, but her time to find him was running out. A heavy mist had begun to develop over the river, drifting up the ravine into the creek where she knelt beside the water. Her search for twenty-one-year-old Timothy Bond had led her to many ravines in the past two weeks. Her visions were confusing, pieces of jigsaw puzzles that seemed to fit—and not fit—every creek area surrounding the Kentucky River.
Letting the cool water flow over her hand, Catherine closed her eyes. She paid attention to the gentle force as it pressed against the barrier, allowing herself to connect with the emotions it contained. He’d been here. Walked this bank. Trudged through this water. And he’d never left.
She heard Cody’s unasked question and rose. “He’s here, Cody. I can feel it.”
“The fog is rising fast. I’m going to call off the search and bring everyone in.”
His voice held an edge of defeat bordering on disappointment. He’d followed her over snake-ridden banks, through shallow pools, and even into the river twice. She knew he ignored the ridicule of his fellow officers, but he couldn’t ignore the rising wind, misty rain, and fog swirling into ghostly clouds. Failure to call off the search would put everyone in danger.
Catherine turned back to the pool of water and stared into its murky depths. A vision of Mr. and Mrs. Bond appeared, arms wound around each other, eyes swollen and red, beseeching her. We know he’s dead, Ms. Mans, but we can’t sleep at night. Not until our boy comes home.
The not knowing was what aged you overnight, placing dark shadows beneath your eyes, deep-etched lines upon your face. The sorrow emanating from Mrs. Bond’s eyes had touched her in a way she hadn’t expected, opened the door to memories of things she’d worked hard to forget. Catherine touched the scar just above her right breast and wondered if her own mother had looked that way when Catherine had run away.
Catherine shook off the thoughts. Now wasn’t the time to think about her mother. Or the past. Nor was it the time to allow the frustration in Cody’s voice to discourage her. She knew he respected her abilities and believed in her. A smile played around her lips. A lot had changed in the six years since he’d knocked on her door and asked for her help in finding three-year-old Danny Wells. Cody had worked hard to become the head of the homicide division, and through his efforts, a special fund had been established to pay for Catherine’s consulting fees. She also knew his efforts were the reason that other departments had begun to call upon her for help. But the non-believers, the ridiculers, would always persist. Her ninety-eight percent success rate didn’t matter. The two percent failure was what everyone remembered.
A steady rain began to fall as the whisper reached her ears again. Please don’t leave me here.
“I won’t, Timmy,” she murmured, kneeling by the creek and closing her eyes again. Reaching out with her mind, she searched for the small thread of energy she knew was there somewhere.
“Catherine, we’ve got to go.”
“Go ahead and call off the search, Cody,” she answered in a matter-of-fact tone. “I’m staying.”
A strange throbbing started deep inside her head, drowning out the words she knew Cody was saying. The scar on her chest burned, as if someone had suddenly poured gasoline on it and set her on fire. She stood up slowly, catching her breath against the fiery pain as her feet moved involuntarily, trudging into the cool water that swirled around her ankles. The pool deepened, reaching her waist. The swift current pushed her downstream on unsteady feet that no longer seemed to belong to her. A thick layer of fog surrounded her, until she could no longer see the opposite bank.
“Catherine, where the hell are you going?”
Cody’s voice sounded distant. She heard his radio crackle as he called out to the search team and his muffled oath as he splashed through the water, following her across the creek.
The throbbing subsided to a dull ache in the center of her forehead, but the scar continued to burn with fiery insistence, and her feet still moved against her will. The water became shallower, and her feet sank into mushy sand as she climbed the bank of the creek into an open field that led to a cliff overlooking the river.
The fog had dissipated here, and Catherine could see the edge of the cliff. A single oak tree stood outlined against the black clouds rolling across the sky. The jigsaw puzzle came together. The pieces started to fit. The pain subsided, but her feet continued to move, carrying her closer to the edge. She wanted to stop, but an unseen force kept her going until strong arms closed around her, jerking her backwards just as her feet slipped over the edge.
“Jesus, Catherine. What the hell are you doing?” Cody gasped between labored breaths.
“I don’t know. I was… I didn’t…” Catherine tried to clear the fog from her mind, grasping to explain what she didn’t understand herself. “Cody, the tree. It’s the same tree in my vision. He’s here. I know he’s here.”
“Okay. Okay. Give me a second.” Some of her excitement registered in his voice. The tree had been the one clue missing from all the other ravines.
The two crept slowly toward the edge of the cliff. A blanket of fog covered the earth thirty feet below, but they didn’t need to see through the fog. Less than five feet down, on a jutted outcropping, lay the remains of Timothy Bond.

Catherine stood near the edge, listening as Cody gave directions to the search team. A feeling of peace settled over her. She’d found him. “It’s time to go home, Timmy,” she whispered.
“Don’t get too close to the edge, Catherine.”
She didn’t bother to answer, as the wind chose that moment to switch direction and force her back from the edge. Catherine shivered as icy fingers raced down her spine. The sound of laughter echoed on the wind, followed by a whispered challenge: Find me.