Fifty Shades Darker

 

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Grade: F

Doing it at:  no early and often doing it can save this book. The sex scenes were so repetitive that I was high speed skimming through, just trying to find the end of this.

Catnip: BDSM; Hate Read; Controlling Sociopath; Bad Writing; Dom Jeans; Stalkers; Abusive Relationship; Fan Fiction

Shame Scale: Red hot burning shame, this is the most shameful thing a romance reader can be caught reading, because this crap is what everyone derivitively thinks we are reading

Fantasy Cast:  Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan

Book Description:

Daunted by the singular tastes and dark secrets of the beautiful, tormented young entrepreneur Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele has broken off their relationship to start a new career with a Seattle publishing house.

But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought, and when he proposes a new arrangement, Anastasia cannot resist. They rekindle their searing sensual affair, and Anastasia learns more about the harrowing past of her damaged, driven and demanding Fifty Shades.

While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront the anger and envy of the women who came before her, and make the most important decision of her life.


I know that I am like six years late to this garbage heap of a book. I started reading it way back when the Fifty Shades craze was just sweeping the country (complete with sex toy product tie ins!), but it was just so badly written that I couldn’t finish it and moved on to actual GOOD romance. Flash foward to January 2017, the Fifty Shades Darker movie is set for a Valentine’s Day release, and Mary and I are planning another installment of Drunk at the Movies! Somehow Mary decided that she didn’t want to be the only one who had read this horrible thing, and told me if I didn’t read it, I couldn’t accompany her to the movie. And I love movies with my bae. So here we are, guys. Here. We. Are.

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Grey, by E.L. James

Grey

Grade: D-

Doing it at: 20%

Catnip: Panty Sniffing; Nipple Orgasm; Light Bondage; BDSM; Hate Read; WTF

Shame Scale: If you make it all the way through this book it’s because you really loved the first one and needed more, or you’re masochists like us. Either way: Red Hot Burning Shame

Fantasy Cast: We’re going to be safe and just go with Dornan and Dakota.

What do we taste like: Mint and tea and an orchard of mellow fruitfulness

Book Description:

See the world of Fifty Shades of Grey anew through the eyes of Christian Grey.

In Christian’s own words, and through his thoughts, reflections, and dreams, E L James offers a fresh perspective on the love story that has enthralled millions of readers around the world.

Christian Grey exercises control in all things; his world is neat, disciplined, and utterly empty—until the day that Anastasia Steele falls into his office, in a tangle of shapely limbs and tumbling brown hair. He tries to forget her, but instead is swept up in a storm of emotion he cannot comprehend and cannot resist. Unlike any woman he has known before, shy, unworldly Ana seems to see right through him—past the business prodigy and the penthouse lifestyle to Christian’s cold, wounded heart.  

Will being with Ana dispel the horrors of his childhood that haunt Christian every night? Or will his dark sexual desires, his compulsion to control, and the self-loathing that fills his soul drive this girl away and destroy the fragile hope she offers him?

This book is intended for mature audiences.

Disclaimer: We love romance, the trashier the better generally. We love formulaic plots and alpha heroes. We love accidental pregnancies and #teamanal threesomes. We are in no way book snobs: check out some of our top rated reviews. So if we say this book is capital B Bad, you should probably trust us.

Mary: Alright friends. We sucked it up and read this fucking horrible book for YOU, and as much as we’d like to never give it another thought, it’s time to put on our DJ’s (our Dom Jeans) and get this over with.

I confess that I read the original trilogy, and while the writing was terrible, I did actually enjoy the plot. #sorrynotsorry. There’s a stalker! Kidnapping! A Virgin! A helicopter crash and missing hero! Accidental Pregnancy! All the catnip. The story as a whole is dare I say it, kind of enjoyable? It’s tempered with some of the most WTF dialogue we’ve ever read, but I don’t think it’s fair to categorically write this series off. What I’m saying is that if you enjoyed the original Fifty Shades series, I’m not judging. I kind of did too.

And of course, C and I saw the movie. It was our very first Drinking at the Movies, the very first time we ruined a movie for an entire theatre, even before we had a blog. It’s how we fell in <3.

C: I made it through the first book, and a few chapters into the second one and then I just couldn’t finish. To me, the Fifty Shades trilogy, is the definition of Can’t Even. When we pre-ordered Grey, I thought that it would be ok. We could mock it, I could take one for the team. It surely wouldn’t drag endlessly and make me contemplate what exactly I was doing with my life. It wouldn’t make me yearn for Faulkner and consider writing hate mail to E.L. James, counting her piles of money on her full-sized bed made up with Shabby Chic sheets. But it did. It made all those things reality.

can't even

M: This book was a complete verbatim 576 page rehash of the original book – with ALL of the dialogue, ALL of the emails, ALL of the contracts. The only difference really is that instead of hearing about Anastasia’s stupid inner goddess doing gymnastics moves on the pommel horse, we get Christian Grey’s obnoxious inner monologue and notification every time his dick twitches.

And I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that having him clarify his inner thoughts was completely unnecessary. It’s not like anything he was feeling wasn’t completely obvious the first time around. E.L. James is probably a lovely woman, but subtlety is not one of her strengths. We were hoping we’d get some new insight to the series. I actually had just assumed that this would be Christian’s perspective for the whole trilogy. But Grey only covers the material in the first book – none of the fun action-y parts. Not even any butt stuff. I was hoping that in the time since her arrival on the writing scene, we’d see some improvement in James’s style at least. Tragically, not the case.

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M: I don’t think there’s a person alive who doesn’t already know this story from pop culture osmosis. Anastasia is a plucky, young virgin, who captures the eye of Seattle’s most eligible billionaire when she literally stumbles into his office for an interview for her college newspaper. Christian is pretty much instantly enamored with her; she bit her lip, his palm twitched, we all know the rest.

C: I thought we might get some interesting (what, it could happen) insights into Christian’s past and motivations and why exactly he’s fifty shades of fucked up. Instead it was mostly dream sequences in faked, twee little kid voice and his cock’s internal monologue:

My green car is fuzzy. Covered in gray fur and dirt. I want it back. But I can’t reach it. I can never reach it. My green car is lost. Lost. And I can never play with it again.

…..

The sweet appreciative noises echo through me– to the end of my cock.

M: This was the hardest book we’ve ever read. It dragged. I dreaded picking it back up and forcing myself to read a few more chapters. James is verbose and redundant, frequently repeating things in triplicate:

I run my nose from her ear to her shoulder and back again, inhaling her heavenly scent.

Fuck, she smells good.

You smell as divine as ever, Anastasia.”

I inhale her heavenly scent. She smells good. You smell good! We get it, she smells good. If we hadn’t absorbed the fact that Christian loves the way Anna smells of apples and autumn approximately each chapter, we sure fucking get it now. For the love of god please stop talking about her smell. The whole book is like though: Something happens. We hear his feelings. And then sometimes he repeats them out loud. It’s painful.

C: She also has the characters fondly remember things that happened in “happier times” meanwhile the entirety of the book takes place over a month. Thanks for the reminder E.L.,  but I think we remember the painstakingly boring thing we just read two chapters before.

M: There’s so much that’s cringe-worthy about this book. It’s easy to see why the movie was such a bomb, because there isn’t an actor alive who can deliver these lines:

“No fisting, you say. Anything else you object to?” I ask.

She swallows. “Anal intercourse doesn’t exactly float my boat.”

“I’ll agree to the fisting, but I’d really like to claim your ass, Anastasia.”

C: There is nothing likable about Christian. He’s a smirking jerk who wants to fuck and beat Anastasia because she smells like apples and reminds him of happier times — that’s me giving him a motive. I just delved deeper into his psyche than the book ever does. You can all thank me. Seriously, these quotes:

“Are you gay Mr. Grey?” What the hell! I cannot believe she’d said that out loud! Ironically, the question even my own family will not ask. How dare she! I have a sudden urge to drag her out of her seat, bend her over my knee, spank her, and then fuck her over my desk with her hands tied behind her back. That would answer her ridiculous question.

Important lesson, gentlemen of the world, brutal fucking is the only way to prove to women that you aren’t gay. I hope E.L. has some sons.

I’ll fuck her in time. I’ll fuck her bound and with her smart mouth gagged.

What? Me? Make love? Oh, Grey, let’s disabuse her of this straightaway. “No, Anastasia, it doesn’t. First, I don’t make love. I fuck, hard.”

C: At least Mary and I went through this together and got to text through our frustrations

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C: Christian’s insane obsession with Ana’s eating somehow felt even more annoying from his point of view. We should have kept count how often this comes up. I’d go back and count but I love myself too much.

M: Right? We get it, he was starved as a kid and has weird food issues. Ugh, get over it already. Somehow this book managed to make me feel unsympathetic about an abused child, and that’s saying something.

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C: Pretty sure that Christian has the worst internal monologue of any person we’ve ever read. And we read Beautiful Disaster from Travis’ perspective. I read the online only leaked draft of Twilight from Edward’s perspective. We aren’t novice trash readers. We are experts and this was so so bad. SO SO.

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(wanna know something we do like? Orange is the New Black!)

M: A Baby for my Billionaire Stepbrother was better than this, and we’re pretty sure that was some creepy coded incest fetish shit.

C: At least the billionaire in that book didn’t have special jeans he wore just for spanking-sexy times

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C: The most shameful thing of all about reading this book? I had to look up a word. This horribly written book used a word I didn’t know and now I have to do penance by admitting this on the internet for all to know. (The word was louche)

M: hahahahahhaaaah #bookshame

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C: It’s all lowered expectations from here though. Other authors can thank E.L. for our gentler reviews of THEIR crappy books. And we never have to read what Mr. Grey is thinking again. Unless they release the whole trilogy from his perspective. I’ve just jinxed us, haven’t I? We’re fifty shades of fucked.

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Wait for Me, by Samantha Chase

Wait for Me

Grade: D (For no D)

Doing it at: 69% (sort of…)

Catnip: Doing it with the Boss; Snowed In; Ex-Athlete; Hate Read; Bland Characters; All the Cliches

Shame Scale: It’s a non-YA romance without any sex. Like a sandwich with no cheese. It’s not really shameful, but I don’t know why you’d want to read it

Fantasy Cast: NA

Book Description:

There’s no time like the present… Unless you’re still running from your past

Executive assistant Emma Taylor is desperate for a little time away; away from her job, her life and from thoughts of her boss’s son who doesn’t seem to know she even exists. Tired of waiting for the time to be right, she takes advantage of her boss’s generous offer for a little weekend getaway to thank her for helping out with a difficult business deal.

Former NFL superstar Lucas Montgomery is still suffering from a career-ending injury. His self-imposed exile from life is exactly what he wants; a sanctuary where there’s no chance for disappointment or distractions and that’s exactly the way he likes it. While his family has been patiently waiting for Lucas to come around and embrace life once again, they don’t realize that it wasn’t just his career that was lost, but his sense of identity.

Lucas thought everything was fine until sweet, sexy and completely off-limits Emma Taylor comes crashing into his carefully constructed world one snowy weekend and turns his entire life upside down.

I don’t remember how I found this book. I know it was on a list of recommended snowed in titles, but I can’t find the original source to properly shame them. I think some of my anger is stemming from the fact that I wasted one of my precious library hold slots on this book for the TWO ENTIRE MONTHS it took to become available. You know how in older soap operas they would show a couple kissing and falling to the bed, then the camera would pan to a candle and they’d cut, and then the next scene would pick up in the morning? That was this book.

Emma works for Lucas’s father as a bland and mousey, yet terribly competent, assistant. Lucas is the broody youngest son, who injured his knee – ending his pro-football career, and has been living full-hermit up in the mountains in a picturesque cabin. Lucas’s dad has been noticing the “glances” between the two during Lucas’s visit into the office each month, so he decides to play matchmaker and send Emma up to his cabin in the middle of a snowstorm.

This is where I would complain about the inappropriateness of one’s employer meddling in their love life, but office romance/banging the boss books are catnip for me, so carry on with all of these workplace harassment policy violations please.

Things don’t go quite as planned, and Emma ends up crashing her car into a *tiny* ravine in Lucas’s yard, and gets a concussion. She wakes up in his house, very confused, and there’s a bit about being in heaven and why is god shouting so loud???? that makes me think this book is actually a sneaky Christian romance. This is reinforced quite quickly when Emma and Luke start to get down to it, and then the book picks up the next morning.

“I could lie here all night kissing you, Emma,” he said gruffly, “but I’d be lying if I said that was all I wanted to do.”

She smiled with womanly satisfaction. “What is it that you want to do, Lucas?” she whispered, and then let out a squeal of delight as he switched their positions again so she was on her back beneath him.

“I’m not really good with words, Emma,” he said with a wicked smile. “I’m more of a man of action.”

Emma found that she could easily live with that.

Chapter 8

There was nothing like a good full body stretch when waking up. Emma always found that a great way to start her day. The feel of a very warm, hard male pressed up against her back as she stretched, she decided, was an added perk.

So there I was, fairly engrossed, glad that the book was finally getting past the dumb cliches and bad dialog and on to the good parts (remember, we forgive bad books if they give us good spank material here at Mybookshame), when this happened, and I was all What the shit? I tabbed back and forth between pages a few times to see if it was a glitch, because why would you cut the sex out of what is clearly a romance novel for grownups? I don’t know why. Maybe Samantha Chase is targeting the small subset of romance readers who like to order their sandwiches with no cheese.

The rest of the book is lots of implied sex and cliches and misunderstandings. Bla bla bla. I read it to the end, just to make sure nothing good happened. Bottom line, I had to give it a D. It would have gotten the mandatory D- for no D, but it wasn’t completely virginal, and there was one brief mention of feeling a clothed “arousal” which is a D of sorts, I guess?

Plus side: Now I know the title of a book I can throw out there when someone like my mother in law asks for a romance recommendation, or if my dentist asks what I’m reading and I’m eyes deep in something like A Forbidden Rumspringa.

Amazon

Come Away With Me, by Kristen Proby

Come Away With Me

Grade: D-

Doing it at: 19%

Catnip: All the Cliches; Bland Characters; Free!; Hate Read; Insecure Heroine; Actors; I Can’t Believe This Famous Guy Likes Me!

Shame Scale: I mean, I’m not terribly proud of the fact that I read this the whole way through.

Fantasy Casting: Robert Pattinson; Mae Whitman as Bland (Ann) in Arrested Development

Book Description:

“Being confronted on the beach by a sexy stranger wasn’t part of Natalie Conner’s plans for a peaceful morning taking photos. And why on earth would he think she’s taking pictures of him, anyway? Who is he? One thing’s for sure, he’s hot, and incredibly romantic, feeding Natalie’s wounded soul. 

Luke Williams just wants the world to give him a break, so seeing yet another camera aimed at his face has him ready to pounce on the beauty behind the lens. When he finds out she has no idea who he is, he’s intrigued and more than a little tempted by her. Natalie has a body made for sex, a sassy mouth and Luke can’t get enough of her, but he’s not ready to tell her who he really his. 

Natalie is a no nonsense girl who doesn’t do well with lies and secrets. What will happen to this new relationship when she discovers what Luke’s hiding?”

This book kept popping up on Goodreads lists next to other books I liked, and I’m pretty sure at least one of the authors I follow on FB has made some sort of a shout-out to Kristen Proby. Her name sounded familiar to me, and this book was on a list of romance books featuring pregnancies I was looking through while searching for something to read in anticipation of the new royal baby. I basically wanted Will + Kate fan fiction, and I ended up with Robert Pattinson fan fiction. I checked my kindle library and saw that I had downloaded it at some point (because Hi, my name is Mary and I’m a Free Book Hoarder), and thought hey, this could be ok. As I mentioned in our review of Deep, accidental pregnancy books are one of my fave types of catnip. Well. This book was terrible. I only finished it because I hated it so much.

Basically, our heroine is out photographing nature scenes one morning and is accosted by our hero, Luke, a famous actor that everyone else in the entire books recognizes from his starring role in a series of teen vampire movies, Robert Pattinson, who assumes she is taking his picture and wants her camera. When he realizes that Natalie doesn’t recognize him, he’s so intrigued and refreshed that he falls into deep, deep insta-love with her. Luke Robert decides not to tell her that he’s famous, and she’s a moron so she doesn’t pick up his big secret even though it’s completely obvious with all the anvils dropping all over the place. As you can see from the book description, this deception is the big conflict, and it’s over pretty quickly, with minimal drama. One blow up scene, then a delivery of “at least 50 dozen roses” with the most incredible “aroma” (lol), then forgiveness. I kept waiting for something to happen, for there to be anything exciting, but the rest of the book is mostly predictable mild relationship drama between a Stage 3 Clinger (Luke Robert), and an insecure twat (Natalie). And poorly written sex scenes that feature words like “waxed pubis,” and things like this:

“He’s braced himself on his fists on either side of me and is pushing into me over and over, hitting that sweet spot on the front side of my vagina, sending little glittery sparks of yumminess all through me.”

“He runs one finger down my cleft, from my clitoris to my anus, and I cry out. “Argh!” Ohmygod! “Honey, you are so wet.”

Also, nitpick here:

“I push and pull him in and out of my mouth, my teeth sheathed behind my lips.”

When writing a beej scene, aren’t sheathed teeth implied? I’m pretty sure you’re only supposed to mention teeth if you’re using them.

The whole book reads like a list of bad romance cliches like, “We didn’t fuck, we made love,” and “I need to know if there is any competition, because I don’t share.” And omg, he just loves to see a girl who eats! Can you even imagine? Also, one of Natalie’s big quirks is that she has a bunch of tattoos that sound like inspirational memes, except written in languages she doesn’t even speak, in all the college girl places. Because she’s really deep, you guys. Natalie was a total basic girl. In fact, this whole book was pretty much basic.

The writing made me cringe over and over (and over and over) again. It was a frequent abuser of one of my biggest pet peeves: describing hot clothes that sound ugly (he wears DOUBLE-BREASTED SUITS), and describing amazing meals that sound like Applebee’s dishes. For example, when Robert takes her on some glorious date to a chateau he’s rented out for the night and they sit down for a five-course dinner with wine pairings, they eat: Chili garlic calamari; Hawaiian-style chicken skewers; Mojito-marinated halibut with mango, avocado and black bean salsa; Pork tenderloin and New York steak with Yukon gold potatoes.

Mmmmm Yukon gold potatoes. How gourmet!

If you’re trying to impress me, those potatoes should be fingerling at the very least.

And here is a picture of a jerk in a double-breasted suit so we can all agree how ugly and un-sexy they are:

Double breasted suit

Amazon