Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey: What is it about this book?

What can I say about this book, but, “Oh my!”  I bit my lower lip through the entire reading.  And, I frequently cocked my head to one side. 

Okay, yes, E. L. Stine has gone on several talk shows acknowledging the fact that the writing isn’t the best.  And, there were several phrases like those above and more that were repeated over and over and over and ... yes, over again.  Add that to a female main character from Seattle who seems to have oddly more in common with the British author from her use of certain phrases and bewildering, singular interest in British literature.  But then our esteemed author is British and is mega-fan of Twilight, so you do the math.

That said the Fifty Shades did do one thing extremely well.  And, I believe I’ve gotten the answer to my original question of “What is it about this book?”  (Mind out of the gutter, it’s not the fifty ways these two do the nasty.  Although, like a good thriller that has a lot of action scenes, there were a lot of “action” scenes alright.) 

So, what is it about this book?  It’s a fantasy.  It has a healthy dose of naughty.  And, it’s spiked with a secret, unexpected ingredient: romance.  

Fantasies: So many fantasies are covered through the main characters, Christian and Anastasia.  Here’s a brief list:
1. Christian is young, obscenely rich, successful, over-the-top attractive and, most people don’t realize this, also a robot.  It doesn’t actually mention him being a robot in the book, but I have my theories.  He’s either a robot or an alien. 
2.  Anastasia is perfectly thin and beautiful despite never working out and eating plate after plate of pancakes, eggs and bacon.  Oh, if this could be true for all of us!
3.  The sex that was frequent and satisfying to both of them (that’s correct, both of them, her too) every single time (I repeat, every single time).
4.  Anastasia totally gets trashed to the point of vomiting and passing out, yet wakes in Grey’s suite without a hangover and ready for, uh, “action”.
5. And then there’s the whole "she’ll be able to change him – I just know it!"  It looked like it was going to happen. Ana was going to tame Christian.  They were going to have, dare I say it, “more”. 

Naughty:  While the so-called vanilla sex seemed to peg the whole naughty thing.  It was The Red Room of Pain that provided most of it and never once, when Ana was incapacitated by whatever form of bondage, did she ever have the unbearable sensation of having to scratch her nose. 

Romance:  It’s the typical Romeo and Juliet thing.  Christian and Ana seemingly begin falling in love only to be denied by something beyond their control.  In this case, Christian’s past abuse prevents a nice, happy love story from developing and instead, steers the plot toward two mildly violent spanking scenes.  Ouch!

As for me, my biggest fantasy would be to have E. L. Stine’s newly heavily padded bank account.  Ah, a girl can dream …     

You have got to check out Ellen DeGeneres doing a reading of Fifty Shades:

And, Gilbert Gottfried:  (You'll need to remove the kids from the room for this one!)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Guest Post: How To Love Your Life Like An Italian

Welcome back Barbara Conelli with a wonderful and inspiring guest post!

We often forget that the most important relationship in the world is the love we feel for ourselves and our life - with the good, the bad and the occasionally embarrassing. We see life as a burden, stubbornly refusing to accept what a divine gift it is. We complain pettily and we become experts in putting off happiness and waiting for the next best thing, without realizing that the best, juiciest stuff is happening right now, at this very moment.

Well, I refuse to play this game. My Italian grandma Lily would disown me if I tried to: Italians don't wait for happiness, they live it. No matter how tough things might get - and they always do and always will - there's always something to enjoy and savor and laugh at.

Forget about grandiose gestures and stop waiting for someone or something to make you happy. Live, laugh and love like an Italian, and design your own, unique happiness mix. The art of loving your life is not taught in schools (although it should be). It's the art that you get to create for yourself.

And what does a happiness mix look like? This is my personal Chique recipe that I swear by:

1. Food
Italians live for food - food is a connector, a family savior, a friendship keeper. How often do you prepare a candle-lit dinner just for yourself? How often do you actually stop to savor the food? Do it now. Experiment with new spices, styles and cuisines. Cook for yourself, or go to a fancy restaurant by yourself. Enjoy every bite and the company of the most fabulous person in the world - you!

2. Style
Italian women have a sacred rule: Instead of trying to squeeze your delicious butt into your high-school skinny jeans (there should be laws against keeping them in your closet after your 18th birthday), buy another pair that hugs your curves like a perfect lover and show the world what you've got! Elegance is an attitude and beauty is in your head and heart. Be proud of who you are and love yourself the way you are now. Perfection is something you get to define for yourself - it's not determined by sizes, shapes, colors or supermodels destined to die on the catwalk.

3. Travel
Nothing in the world teaches you more than travel. Travel opens your heart and your mind, encourages you to understand and truly see the world for what it really is: A beautiful place where we all strive for one single thing - to be happy. There's no better way to honor your true self and the gift of life than to awaken your inner adventurer (yes, you do have it!) and to explore this miraculous planet. And no, it doesn't mean you need to travel to a faraway country (although I would love to put you on the next plane to Italy). You can experience wonderful adventures in your own neighborhood, city or state. Just be open to the new and the unexpected, without fear or judgment.

My personal Chique recipe for loving my life actually includes more sweet ingredients (beagles, horses, the sound of the ocean, sex and dark chocolate with almonds, to name just a few). But I encourage you to start putting together your own recipe right now. Start courting, spoiling and pampering yourself. Look for beauty in simple things. It might not look like a Hollywood movie but I bet it will knock your socks off. Romancing your life beats a date with Prince Charming anytime. Every Italian woman will tell you that. Just ask Grandma Lily.

Downloadable Gift Bag

Leave a comment and receive a downloadable giftbag!
(I will need your e-mail address in order to send it you.) 

Giftbag consists of:

Chique Virtual Tour: The Secret Gems of Italy Every Woman Must Know
1st five chapters of Chique Secrets of Dolce Vita
1st five chapters of Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore
Chique Blog Tour Special Gift (Only for the tour!): E-Book: The Most Romantic Chique Places to Fall in Love in (and with) Milan

WOW-Summer in Italy contests

Barbara is running two contests:

1) An Italian Phrase contest

Learn Italian (and win a prize!)  Visit Barbara’s blog ( every Tuesday & Thursday to see and hear a new Italian word. At the end of the tour put all the words together into a phrase and enter it at Barbara’s blog site ( One winner will be drawn from those with the correct phrase. Prize is a chique leather wallet!

Contest is open internationally. Words will be posted along with audio link. Winner will be announced Thursday, August 23, 2012.

2) Essay Contest
If I Lived in Italy I Would…

What would you do if you lived in Italy? Dream big and start writing!

Your essay should be as long as you need it to be to express yourself! Submit your essays at the Essay Contest page at Barbara’s blog ( One winner will be chosen to receive a Chique Kindle Sleeve!

Barbara will be hosting her own Q & A on her radio show; here are the links to pages where readers can submit their questions.

Questions on writing and publishing on July 20

Questions about Italy and travel on August 17:

Then tune in to the Chique Show on July 20th and August 17th for the pre-recorded sessions.

Amazon Link to Chique Secrets of Dolce Amore. Book is specially priced at 99 cents through August 24, 2012

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Coming Soon: "So I finished Fifty Shades of Grey"

Yes, I did finish reading Fifty Shades of Grey
- or as my husband kept referring to it: Touch of Gray.

I did correct him repeatedly - although his new title is kind of catchy. 
But who am I to argue with a zillion dollars in book sales?

With book club ...
... meeting this Thursday, I've decided to wait on writing a post dedicated to the 50 shades of my thoughts on this book. 
Plus, I'm sleep deprived from staying up late the last few nights trying to finish it. 

Until next post, I'll keep you "tied up" in suspense!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Red, White, Blue and …Grey?

Red, White, Blue and …Grey?

Yes, it’s true, my blog friends, I will be spending some part of this patriotic holiday reading the wildly popular novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, written by none other than a British author.  While the signers of the Declaration of Independence may be offended by my “treason”, I’m sure if this book was around back then, their wives would have been assembling at Martha Washington’s place to discuss it.

 The fact is I’ve succumbed to both peer pressure and an incurable case of curiosity, in part to the fact that I have been chosen as the next book club location and because I’ve been wondering, “What is it about this book?”  So, far I’m four chapters in and not whole lot has happened …yet.  There’s a girl: of course far too innocent, and there’s a guy: hot, wealthy and powerful.  The guy has had a “ghost of smile” about ten times so far and the girl has denied a different guy, Jose, his chance to date her.  I just wish she would have actually said, “No way Jose!”  Anyway, it has been promised on nearly every page that the girl and the guy (not Jose) are going to “do it” and “do it” weird.

Well, the 4th of July is all about fireworks, right? 
…even it if you find them in a book!

Stay tuned for a future post of my thoughts on the book once I finish it!