Review: Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, Book 1) by E.L. James

fifty shadesDisclaimer: I read parts of the story as a fanfic called Master of the Universe. It was okay, but nothing special. Still when a fanfic becomes a mainstream published novel I expect the flaws to be fixed and the glaring irregularities to be corrected. I expect someone to say to the author, “Hey you, what were you thinking, this makes no sense” or… “There is no way on the face of this planet a guy like your hero would ever say or do….” So the fact that I didn’t see any of that irks me and my review reflects that. If you loved these books stop now. Here is what I hated:

It relied heavily on readers already knowing the dynamic and personality and characteristics of the Twilight characters, especially Edward and Bella. If you hadn’t read Twilight and fallen for the romantic pair’s unique story, going into the BDSM relationship of this book is going to send up red flags. Allow me to explain in detail…

Ana is a novice when it comes to men, dating, sex, and submission. So if you didn’t know Ana and Christian were fated for each other and that it was true love, you would tell this girl to run as far and as fast in the other direction as possible.

Who would want to be with a guy that says to you, “I love hurting you and I need to hurt you to be turned on around you?” When you (and I am really speaking for Ana here, not someone into BDSM) wants Christian to want her in a vanilla relationship? There are some screws loose. All the sex scenes read like sex for sex sake and not as a spicy hot romance story. Lots of telling about feelings, and little showing.

Then there was inner monologue hoo-hah that had me cringe in the fanfic that managed to make it to the final draft. Did anybody read all that inner goddess crap and actually like it? Seriously—it’s crap, trying to be cute. Ana has multiple personality disorder and is oft times schizophrenic. That’s not sexy.

After the inner monologue, comes the real dialogue. Can we say, awful? Not to mention quite painful to read sometimes. Christian Grey’s “Laters, Baby” comes to mind right away. Shoot me now. There is no way this guy would say that because he is a stoic, uptight, always-in-control billionaire making 100K an hour. So no, I don’t buy it—the poor grammar, or the stupid nickname. He’d call her something else or leave it at just plain old Anastasia.

That’s just a few of the reasons I don’t like this story. Have you read it? What do you think?


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Buy: Fifty Shades Trilogy Bundle: Fifty Shades of Grey; Fifty Shades Darker; Fifty Shades Freed

Review: Keys to Submission by Jennifer August

Keys to SubmissionReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Regency London isn’t normally the setting for a treasure hunter in the style of Lara Croft, but Sophie Turner has a goal and can’t risk not getting it – she has to decipher what is in the contents of a journal and hope she can use it to find a long lost treasure that could mean the difference between losing her house or keeping it.

What she doesn’t know is that someone else wants to sabotage her efforts to get what she wants and keep a roof over her head – someone mysterious and dangerous to boot!

When both her and Lord Ryder Ashford meet, he is taken completely by her beauty, and once he gets to know her, he finds her scandalous in the most delicious way. He has had enough of entertaining dull, boring, women and listening to their frivolities, he wants a woman who can intrigue him, indulge his more sensual side, and he feels as though he has found her at last.

Lord Ashford decides to embark on her quest with her to find the treasure, and maybe he can also have her lovely body into the bargain on the way – he is pretty sure she will yield to him as she’s not the type of lady to tease him too much, but she will have to learn submission if she is going to be in his arms for long.

As soon as the two of them leave for their treasure hunting it is time for them to get to know each other more, what their likes and dislikes are and what her boundaries are with Lord Ryder (not that I think she will worry too much about that.) Sophie has needs too, and it isn’t long before he finds them out when they are alone at night. He finds her interesting, intelligent, and she thinks he is the sort of man she has been looking for all her life. I enjoyed how they played off each other, and how the story felt fluid all the way through to the end. If you like Regency romps with a difference, read this – it is sure to entertain.


Buy: Keys to Submission

To Contest or Not?

by Belle Sloane, guest blogger

Looking back over all the years I’ve been writing I can’t actually account for the number of contests I’ve entered.  It’s a good thing too, because I’d probably have a heart attack if I actually knew how much money I’ve spent on entry fees, not to mention postage and printing, before contests became primarily electronic.

I was driven to participate in contests from the very beginning of my writing adventure.  I’ll admit I’m a pretty competitive person.  But it wasn’t just that.   I needed to hear what others thought of my work.   People who didn’t already know and love me.

In the beginning all I received were mostly kindly, encouraging remarks which I realized over time, were the judges way of telling me I had a long way to go, as nicely as they could.  I appreciate all you judges out there who took the time out to read my work and give me feedback over the years.  And I mean I thank all the judges.  There were of course the judges who were not so kindly in their comments.  Those harsh comments didn’t feel at all helpful at the time.  In fact sometimes I had to put those particular entries away for a week or two and go back and look at them later to be able to read them.  Then again over time those tough comments did end up helping me as well.  They got me ready for the rejections I received when I finally started submitting.

The whole routine one goes through entering a contest mirrors the submission process.  So, I believe it’s a really good way to get yourself prepared for when you’re ready to get your work out there.  There are guidelines to follow, timelines to heed, and the waiting.  Boy does that waiting seem endless sometimes.  Yet, it’s a very real part of the publishing world.  Entering contests also engenders a decent amount of confidence—a much needed commodity in this business.  🙂

Entering a contest, The Rebecca, of the Land of Enchantment Romance Authors (New Mexico RWA chapter) is what led to the sale of my first book, Sweet Charity, an erotic western historical, to Red Sage Publishing, Inc. < >  I’m living proof that one can sell through contesting.  I have to admit I’d been a bit of a skeptic about that possibility before my experience.

If you’ve never entered a contest, look around, try one—there are many, many out there waiting for you.  If you enter them regularly, keep on.  You never know what might come out of taking that chance.

Author Bio: Belle Sloane grew up in one of the great European cities of romance, Heidelberg, Germany. Growing up in Europe gave her an opportunity to travel extensively, which she feels colors and textures her writing in a big way. She lives in New Mexico’s  beautiful Rio Grande Valley, with her dream man, and their wonderful kids. Belle would love to hear from you, so drop her a line at, or visit her blog at

Review: Swap by Jenesi Ash

by Mandy Dougherty, guest reviewer

Jenesi Ash, author of Chain Reaction, sets pulses racing again in her kinky tale, Swap. This story about four friends taking their relationships and their sexual preferences to new levels has one of the steamiest plots that I have yet to read. I can safely say that nearly all of Swap’s 280 pages are laden with sexual situations and saturated with exploration and lust.

Mia is a somewhat wholesome girl from the small town of Clover Bud where everyone knows everything about everyone and secrets don’t stay that way for long. Mia lives with Jamie, her polar opposite and best friend since childhood. When Jamie decides to pack up and head where the road takes her, Mia is left with the decision to either move her longtime boyfriend, Aiden, into her bungalow and take the next step in their relationship or move on from him altogether.

Jamie is proud to say that she has had some of the most unique sexual experiences and partners that the whispering townspeople of Clover Bud have ever seen. Some of her most satisfying moments have been with Caleb, her chameleon of a lover. He will do anything to satisfy Jamie, even if that means putting his fantasies aside. This is what scares Jamie. Relationships were never her ‘cup of tea’ and settling down is not an option.

As Jamie spends her last week in Clover Bud she decides to not only push her best friend to new sexual heights, but to test the men in their lives as well. Will the Swap go as she intended, or will Jamie face the open road alone and lose them all with her sexual suggestions?

***While the sex scenes are steamy, steamy, steamy, the plot is one of the worst I have read. If you are looking for a solely erotic read then Swap is the book for you. If you tend to like something with a little more substance and some semblance of a plot then I recommend you leave this choice on the shelf. All in all I am satisfied with the book. The unique sexual encounters and the connection between the characters is tangible and hot. The Swap was a quick read. If Jenesi Ash wrote a plot line as well as she does a sex scene, this book would be over the top amazing.***

Rating: 2 Stars

Buy: Swap

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Review Blind Seduction by Debra Hyde


I’m going to start off and say that this was a Did Not Finish for me. If it was a print book I would have thrown it at the wall. My biggest problem is the heroine. I just don’t get her. I can’t wrap my mind around a person willing to be that submissive to somebody else especially when humiliation and degradation is involved. The heroine infuriated me to the point where I was ready to grab all the reading material I could find on feminism and start up a local chapter.

As for the sexual content, I was warned by the author, but still I wasn’t prepared. I like to think I’m fairly open-minded when it comes to BDSM and the whole kinky sex scene but I draw the line at urination (which is mentioned as something the couple did in the past). Additionally as a heterosexual woman I was not at all interested in reading about the heroine’s submission under a woman (not once but at least twice with hints of future contact with Dom Blade) because her husband wanted to see it done. All in all the content wasn’t even close to be erotic for me.

Warning: STRONG BDSM, spanking, rope bondage, group sex w/ a single female, F/F & M/F scenes, public sex, voyeurism, domination, submission, side characters telling tales of sex parties, feasts, a girl who is and just wants to be Cunt the dog, etc.

The blurb on the site makes you think you’re getting into a fun sexy story about a married couple looking to explore their sexual horizons. I thought I was in for “Leslie has no clue about the BDSM, Phillip her husband wants to try it out,” but oh no-no…. not even close. Leslie and Phillip have been doing lots of BDSM and Leslie isn’t shocked she’s trained for it.

Meanwhile, readers get to enjoy a creepy pervert called Vincent. He’s strongly attracted to Leslie’s innocence as it were and wants to truly break her in all the way. He’s basically a stalker, identifiable to blinded (by a blindfold) Leslie by rank smell. I’m sure this comes to a head later but I couldn’t make myself read any further.

Rating: 0.5 Stars

Buy: Blind Seduction