Book Review: The Secret Life of EL James

eljamesIf you don’t know who E.L. James is – please let me know what rock you have been hiding under. (kidding, kind of) She is the author of the wildly successful “Fifty Shades of Grey” series which has most recently turned into a movie franchise.  She is a middle-aged mother and wrote the story based on characters from Twilight – it started off as a fan fiction and turned into something much, much more.

It talks about how Erika’s husband was incredibly supportive when she started writing at home and he even took over some of her house chores like cooking dinner to help out. It talks about how she was writing with two sons in the house – and how sometimes they’d pop up and be behind her so she’d have to turn off the screen so they couldn’t see what she was writing.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the author and what made her write these stories and how she went about doing it and finding out pretty much everything you’d like to about her life – then The Secret Life of EL James is for you.

I received an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book
Everyone wants to know how EL James, a middle-aged mom of two from the London suburbs became the best-selling author of all time, with over a million books selling worldwide in less than a year, and now a major motion picture.

Read this book to find out exactly how she did it.

Inside you’ll learn how she wrote her first draft based on Twilight fan fiction, and how she rewrote it as the book we know and love today, the rough and tumble process of editing, and how she assembled a group of dedicated fans herself that brought this smutty masterpiece to the rest of the world,

Inside these pages is the step-by-step process by which this middle-aged British mother came up with the international best-selling erotic romance series that has sold more copies than Harry Potter and Gone with the Wind combined!

NY Times best-selling biographer Marc Shapiro uncovers the inspiration and secrets behind this writing sensation, explaining how she did it with exclusive interviews with her editors and early fans.

Book Review: Beneath The Surface


I feel like I should preface this review by saying I have not seen Blackfish and I am not sure if I intend to see Blackfish.  John Hargrove used to be a trainer at Sea World (and worked with orcas in other locations as well) but has since retired as of 2012 and appeared in Blackfish.  The first half of the book is about how working with the whales was always John’s dream growing up and how he worked very hard to make sure that he was able to achieve it.  He talks about Orcas and how they know if they have been separated from family and get upset over it and there is an especially strong bond between mothers and daughters.  The second half of the book talks about how the whales live in captivity and how he doesn’t think that they should anymore. The whales are no longer captured, instead they are bred by artificial insemination. He also talks about how he had developed a pain killer addiction after being injured by one of the whales.

I am not sure how I feel about the whole situation – I can see both sides and I love going to SeaWorld.  I know a lot of their employees love the animals they work with and want them to stay safe.  I also know that you can’t just release these whales into the wild. Most of them were never out in the wild and would have no idea how to survive.  John agrees with this.  I do hope that there can be a happy medium found, if there is one.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review.

About the Book

Over the course of two decades, John Hargrove worked with 20 different whales on two continents and at two of SeaWorld’s U.S. facilities. For Hargrove, becoming an orca trainer fulfilled a childhood dream. However, as his experience with the whales deepened, Hargrove came to doubt that their needs could ever be met in captivity. When two fellow trainers were killed by orcas in marine parks, Hargrove decided that SeaWorld’s wildly popular programs were both detrimental to the whales and ultimately unsafe for trainers.
After leaving SeaWorld, Hargrove became one of the stars of the controversial documentary Blackfish. The outcry over the treatment of SeaWorld’s orca has now expanded beyond the outlines sketched by the award-winning documentary, with Hargrove contributing his expertise to an advocacy movement that is convincing both federal and state governments to act.
In Beneath the Surface, Hargrove paints a compelling portrait of these highly intelligent and social creatures, including his favorite whales Takara and her mother Kasatka, two of the most dominant orcas in SeaWorld. And he includes vibrant descriptions of the lives of orcas in the wild, contrasting their freedom in the ocean with their lives in SeaWorld.
Hargrove’s journey is one that humanity has just begun to take–toward the realization that the relationship between the human and animal worlds must be radically rethought.

Book Review: Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates

mikeanddaveMike and Dave each needed a date for their cousins wedding. So they decided to post an ad on Craigslist. And then it went viral and they became internet famous.  Then they wrote this book all about it and some other stuff too.  Trips to Las Vegas, dating advice, etc.  They are funny guys and this is a funny book.

I received an e-copy of this book in exchange for this review.

About the Book

Two reckless but lovable all-American bros make a strong case for maturing slowly through their outrageous yet enlightening misadventures across this great country of ours.

My brother and I are looking for wedding dates for our cousin’s wedding.

We’ve been told by the bride that bringing dates is “mandatory” so we “won’t harass all of my friends all night” and “stay under control.” Rather than ask some fringe women in our lives to go and face the inevitable ‘does this mean he wants to take it to the next level?!’ questions, we’d rather bring complete strangers and just figure it out…

We’re both in our 20s, single, dashingly tall, Anglo-Saxon, respectfully athletic, love to party, completely house trained…love our mother, have seen Love Actually several times…raw, emotional, sensitive, but still bad boys.…You should be attractive or our aunts will judge you, but not TOO attractive or one of our uncles might grope you.

Dave and Mike Stangle thought nothing of it when they boozily decided to turn to the “activity partners” section of Craigslist to solicit dates to their cousin’s wedding. The hilarious, out-of-this-world ad that they came up with—featuring a picture of the two brothers as centaurs—immediately went viral, eventually landing these Wayfarers-wearing, moped-riding, completely reckless but ultimately loveable bros in the annals of the “Internet famous.”

In Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, the Stangle brothers bring their trademark, off-color humor to everything from their most embarrassing adolescent experiences (like getting beat up by a girl on their front lawn…in front of their dad), to the most outrageous predicaments (like tripping on mushrooms with their bulldog, Frank), to proper sexting etiquette, and finally to breaking up a midget bar fight (you have to shoo them away). With the incredible comedic chemistry of Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in Wedding Crashers and the uncensored honesty of Tucker Max, Mike and Dave insist there’s nothing wrong with just seeing where life takes you.

Book Review: Love of a Rockstar

rockstarLove of a Rockstar is about Marlene and her 4.5 year old daughter, Nil.  Nil’s father is a rock star named Luke – who left when she was pregnant to pursue his career.  Since Luke has left, Marlene has moved on and is dating a nice, safe guy named Finn that her mother absolutely adores.  But when Marlene shows up at her job at a hotel, she realizes that Luke is back in town and she’s not sure what that means for her.  Luke wants to meet Nil and Nil has been asking about her Daddy a lot, but Marlene isn’t quite sure how to handle it.  She ends up introducing the two and they both fall in love with each other almost instantly.

Now Marlene is left with a dilemma – does she stay with Finn – who will be opening up a law firm in France, where he wants Marlene and Nil to move with him? Or does she go for Luke – whom she has always loved – but isn’t sure if he will run off and leave her and Nil alone again?

Luke ends up proposing to Marlene – while she is still dating Finn – and she rejects him – FROM ON STAGE. I’m not sure why Luke thought that would be a good idea but the media circus that happened after was probably the best part of the book.

I thought this book was just OK – it was a bit predictable and I didn’t really grow to like the characters – I think I couldn’t get past their names.  The little girl’s name was Nil – and they mentioned what it meant in the book (which I can’t remember now) but all I could think about was it meant “zero”! Marlene was also an odd name choice I thought.  It was a quick read although I’m not sure the ending would really end up happening in real life if you were the baby mama of a rock star.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Marlene Parker thought she met her soul mate at eighteen but when he left her pregnant and alone to pursue a life of rock n roll, she vowed to never love again. Now four years later, she is being offered the dream of a lifetime. Moving to France with her daughter to start anew. There is only one problem. Marlene’s formative ex is back in town, and his pull is strong as ever.

Luke Anderson has everything a man could want. Fame, fortune and enough beautiful women to last him a lifetime. That is until a young runaway shows him what is truly important. Family. A word in which plagues Luke with regret. As a scared twenty two year old he ran away from the love of his life and their unborn child. Now ready to reverse his biggest regret with only three days to do it, Luke’s fate hangs in the balance. The question is, will he be able to convince Marlene their love story deserves a second chance?

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