Between the covers book club 

Hello there, lovely ladies 🤗

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Happy Valentine’s Day! While I love the institution of V-day, I do hope you love your loved ones HARD – Every. Single. Day! 😍

So, by this time, I’m guessing most of you saw the movie. Whatever will be chat about now? LOL! 😂 But despite the proverbial show being over, I do have some news:

Firstly, Susan shared this, a fantastically entertaining review of Darker on Buzzfeed.

Then, I saw some clips on YouTube during the week showing the Easter Egg that came after the credit roll of Darker, but as far as I can tell, they’ve all been removed. I suspect copyright infringements. 😳

Movie Pilot chats about the H.O.T. scenes that ended up on the cutting floor because they were apparently too H.O.TTTTT for the movie going public.

From the 50 Shades of Grey Support page on Facebook I saw an ABNewswire report on the launch of a new book: Fifty Shades Deeper, a book by fans, for fans. If you’re keen to “delve deeper into the messages and insights of the Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy” this might be the read for you. 

And lastly, Sharon sent me the following: Cringeworthy Sex Ed Stories, again as featured in Buzzfeed (boy, there are some real winners in there), plus this cute kitty meme in honour of V-Day:

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Must’ve been a very naughty kitty! 😂

BC
This week I read:

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Raw Deal by Cherrie Lynn, book one in the Larson Brothers series. I read my first book by this author not long after I turned to this genre, and despite having one of the worst book covers I ever saw, I LOVED her story and style. It’s been a long while since I’ve had the pleasure of reading a new book by her, but, I can confirm that I STILL love her writing. I am going to be totally cliched and say that she has a way with words. These may not life changing stories, but consistently good ones with just the right side of yummy.

Currently I’m reading:

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Fidelity by Aleatha Romig, book five in the Infidelity series. Let’s hope THIS is the final one. Five books for this particular range is a book or two too much – at least IMHO.

On my shelf I have: 

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Royally Matched by Emma Chase, book two in the Royally series. I loved the Cinderella-esque nature of the first novel, so I’ve got high hopes for this.

And finally, this week, in the search of the perfect V-day gift for my hubby, I came across this… uhm… practical gift…

Imagine the fun your man could have with this in the shower!! 😂 And I love the “ONE SIZE FITS MOST MEN” disclaimer! 😂

Have a beautiful weekend, girls. Remember to share your loveliest reads with us. 😘

Monique kiss

Between the covers book club + SPOILER-filled Darker review

Hello there, lovely ladies 🤗

Well, what a week it’s been. With the movie premiere here in Brisvegas, and a house full of guests, my free time for reading went out the window. Aww, well. Perhaps this week things will return to normal. 😜

Before I start with my review, let’s take a look at the news:

  • If you want to see MORE of the glamorous L.A. Darker premiere, check out this link from Sharon on the Any Second Now site.
  • USA Today reports on 7 secrets from the set of Darker.
  • Marie Claire features 11 behind the scenes facts about the film.
  • And if you want a vacation package to make your kinky Fifty fantasies come true, see what Cosmo has to say about this “clothing optional” resort in Mexico. Oh my…

The final clip is not related to FSOG, but I couldn’t help sharing this absolutely ESSENTIAL training app that will get your man up to speed on his lingus technique – lickety split!

Wahahahahaha! 😂😂 Thank you, Sharon for making me spray tea all over my phone! Though I’m a little concerned about the hygiene of this tongue-in-cheek (or is it somewhere else??) app, I do appreciate a man that can give a good tongue lashing! 😉

Okay then, let’s get on to the main event of today’s post: the Fifty Shades Darker movie review. I made an effort NOT to read any reviews before the film or before I posted my own. I didn’t want anything to influence my thoughts while I took in Erika’s vision. The only bits I caught was of the ladies raving in general about the L.A. premiere.

Again, if you DO NOT WANT TO SEE EVERY STITCH AND DETAIL UNRAVEL, skip this bit! Also, this review reflects my personal opinion only. Please feel free to disagree, but as I mentioned last week, let’s play nice 😉 

Spoiler alert  Spoiler alert

So, I’ll start with the things I DID like. This time around the movie was MUCH more accurate, the flow and events treated with a sensitivity that reflected Erika’s wish to do right by the fans. Little details like clothes choices, etc. might not have been strictly adhered to, but as far as the BIG details were concerned, it was true to the book. And if I had to venture a guess, the folks who did not read the book would probably find this movie more appealing than FSOG.

I enjoyed Ana’s smart mouth, her quips often funny and a great replacement for her inner goddess.

Also, I think her hubby did a great job adapting the book to the screenplay. Naturally there are a lot of things that can be done in writing that won’t translate to film, and with the first movie, I felt that some of those additions took away from the general veracity. This time, I didn’t sit in my seat, slack jawed and outraged at sudden new scenes that seemed senseless in its place. The one scene that did leave me frowning, (and this brings us to my list of grievances), was the masquerade ball bit: in the book as well as the movie, when Ana prepares for the night, she looks through her sexy new undies and selects a fetching number that leaves CG speechless. The Ben Wa balls follow, and then, off she goes to be the belle of the ball with a side helping of sexual frustration that leaves her breathless and achy. Later, when Christian buys her for the first dance auction and they steal away to his childhood bedroom, he strips her of that silver dress, but in the movie, she’s wearing nothing underneath. It made the whole flow seem ridiculously pointless. Why get dressed in heartstopping lingerie, only to take it off before you slip on your dress? Strange. (And yes, I could tell that the undies she wore wouldn’t fit underneath the cut and style of the dress, but the two acts are one in the book. A little finer planning would have gone a long way to ensure continuity here).

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Personally I felt that CG came across as unlikable, an asshole even, in the first movie, something that I NEVER thought of him in the books. I understand that he was closed-off and broken, but his beauty – inside and out – shone through even in the earliest of chapters. I also understand that in Darker he came around to “the light” – as Ana calls it, but he NEVER became Mr. Straight-Laced-Vanilla-Nice-Guy. Certainly he had moments of playful, boyish charm and a sense of humour, but Fifty ALWAYS lurked in the background, whether it was in the sternness of a command, a searing look, his mercurial mood switches, or his jealous growls. And further, I get that they had to find a visual way to portray his transformation, however, THIS movie painted him as an all-round teddy bear, a picture perfect boyfriend. It’s probably the part of the movie I disliked the most. Where was our Dom, not the belt wielding one, but the one that LOVED with his domination rather than hurt? I missed the dark looks, the brooding pouting, his trademark distraught hands shoving through his unruly hair in exasperation, and that sexy, OTT jealousy. Over and over he tells her that he’ll never change, that his controlling, overbearing nature will always keep her on her toes. And we see that in the book too, even in moments where they are blissfully happy. In Darker they fight so much as they forge their way, as they come to grips with loving each other in the infancy of their relationship, but the film shows them resolving conflict too easily, like a well-adjusted couple with years of compromising experience. It took so much away in terms of the chemistry between them, the anger, the passion, the deep; new feelings that they both struggled to deal with. You have to ask yourself if the outrageous cries of abuse from the ill-informed public steered their decision to make him sweet as apple pie.

As far as the sex was concerned, there was definitely more, but with markedly less skin. I didn’t mind the more tasteful version of the bedroom antics, but, I’m sad to say, it contained little heat. In fact, the audience in the movie theater giggled through so many of the sexy scenes because the acts seemed stilted in their heavily edited state. And having been edited so harshly, it left no time for you to feel the connection between them, to see the desire building into the beautiful crescendo that is their strong bond. We saw a LOT of Ana’s reactions, and, in my opinion, way too little of Christian’s, especially considering that the movie’s demographic is overwhelmingly female. One of the most appealing things about him is the way he turns her on with just a look, the intensity of his desire evident in those deep, gray depths. Those heated gazes are, instead, replaced with playful smirks that yet again hint at well-adjusted guy, rather than the broken MAN using his exceptional skills to win his girl ANY way he can.

The sex scenes were not the only parts of the film that bent under the pressure of time constraints. At a supposed 118 minutes, I was hopeful that MORE time would give us, well, MORE, but the fact of the matter is that it went by in a blink of an eye. One of the biggest criticisms of the first movie was that it lacked some pivotal scenes. This time the director took that to heart and decided to include EVERY crucial moment, but – and this is a big BUT – it left the movie feeling like a reel of highlights, a montage of clips, a photo album of the book, rather than the full story itself. Rushed does not begin to describe the unnatural jumps from act to act. Vital, story-changing scenes like when Christian admits that he loves Ana, the bit where he goes full Dom on Leila to get her to heel, and then, the most important one of all, where CG lets Ana touch him for the first time, was devoid of emotion because they felt so abrupt. If you didn’t have the book as reference I have no idea how you would interpret these flash-card moments as significant. It is my understanding that more than expected landed on the cutting room floor (including the pool table shenanigans that we saw in more than one trailer), however, personally, I could have lived with less in terms of sequential accuracy, but more of their love and connection.

Wow, looking back at all that gabbing, I suspect you think that I hated it, but that’s not the case. I just wish that they would stop to think about the true essence of the story rather than the blatantly obvious charms. Would I go see it again? For sure, if only in hope of seeing some new insights and perspectives. Perhaps now that I know what to expect I might see the MORE that I crave.

And for those of you curious about the Easter Egg at the end of the film: if you stayed until after the roll of credits, you would have gotten a tiny taste of Freed! It was a lovely teaser showing bits of their wedding and honeymoon.

————— END OF SPOILERS —————

BC

Currently I’m reading:

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Raw Deal by Cherrie Lynn, book one in the Larson Brothers series. Don’t mistake my snail’s pace for disinterest. I just had NO time to read this week.

Let me wish you well for the coming week with a VERY naughty pic from Katherine:

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I don’t know how many of you are old enough to remember Morph, but my version obviously missed something vital! LOL! 😂

Monique kiss

Stay ’till AFTER the credits!

Hello there, lovely ladies 🤗

Without giving anything away, I wanted to share, for those of you seeing Darker shortly, that you should make an effort to stay until AFTER all the credits. A little bonus surprise awaits… 😉

mo-darker

Thanks to Snapchat’s cool app, here’s me blowing kisses 😘 from my seat in the Darker movie theatre ! #FunGirlsNightOut

Just to get you in the mood, check out this blend of movie edits:

USA Today reports on the AMAZING Masquerade Ball that heralded the release of the movie in L.A.

And don’t forget to take a look at Christian Grey’s apartment

Then, ET Online shared an interesting tidbit: in an interview with Erika, she hinted at the possibility of a fourth book! Oh my…

Lastly, Susan shared this article from Cosmopolitan: Fifty Shades Darker in 1 Weekend. Read it if you want a fall-off-your-chair funny experience. 😂😂

girls

Between the covers book club

Hello there, lovely ladies 🤗

Wow! Another crazy week and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. What’s going on? It feels as though someone hit the fast forward button on my life! 😝

The good news is that this coming week is MOVIE WEEK! Yay! 🎉 And with that the Australian movie competition winners! Congratulations to Aussie babes: KATH IMLACH & KATRINA STUBBS! Enjoy the movie, girls. You’ll be hearing from me shortly. 

And seeing as we’re chatting about Darker, let’s lay down some ground rules for our debrief next Saturday/Sunday. Though I will be seeing the movie on Wednesday, I will NOT be posting about my experience until the Book Club post that weekend. If you’d like to share something before then, feel free to do so, but please do it privately via my email, Facebook messenger, or Twitter message service. By the same token, if you’re seeing the film some time AFTER next week, please note that the special movie post (that will come with the regular Book Club) WILL BE FILLED WITH SPOILERS. So don’t drop by if you’re not ready to see the movie bones picked clean. 

Then, I’m sure I don’t need to remind you, but for the sake of any new readers, please play nicely. We are an extremely varied group, hailing from all over the world, each with different backgrounds and beliefs. Please respect other’s opinions. We don’t all have to agree. I don’t like being a cow, and I very rarely exercise my right to delete a comment, but I will if you don’t share in a kind manner.

Official stuff over, let’s look at some movie news as we race to the big reveal:

Listen to Sia’s Blank Page as featured in Darker:

On Popsugar, see Dakota on The Tonight show doing a Fifty Shades Skit.

Watch Jamie turn Conan’s desk into a pommel horse!

And lastly, on Just Jared, check out Ellen tying up Jamie on the Ellen Show.

And completely unrelated to Fifty, I think I may have found the perfect exercise tool for your man… I challenge you not to laugh!

Oh my! LOL! 😂😂

BC

This week I read:

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Love in Lingerie by Alessandra Torre. This writer is amazing in the sense that her books are so varied, her style changing from story to story so that every one feels fresh. This novel was no different. I loved the drawn-out tension between the two main characters, and then the ensuing delicious heat. A great read and a definite thumbs up from me.

On my shelf I have:

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Raw Deal by Cherrie Lynn, book one in the Larson Brothers series. I so love a story with a fighting theme.

Ever wondered what Aladdin looks like without his pants?

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LOL! 😂😂

Have a wonderful weekend, girls. I’m looking forward to hearing from you and your Darker adventures next week.

Monique kiss

 

 

 

Calling all AUSTRALIAN readers: Fifty Shades Darker COMPETITION

Hi ladies,

Just a quick reminder of the Darker competition….

As you know, I’m seeing Darker on the 8th of February, compliments of Universal Pictures and their Launch Preview here in Brisbane, but this time, they are also offering a fun prize to 2 lucky Australian readers. Yay! 

movie-poster-slim

Whether it’s wickedly delicious, heart stoppingly beautiful, or coloured with many shades of intensity, share your favourite scene from reading Fifty Shades Darker here on the blog (or any of my related social media pages, even email if you’re really shy), then tell us why it made you swoon, or cry, gasp, melt, scowl or drool. Up for grabs are 2 double passes (1 double pass for each winner) valid at all Australian cinemas screening the Fifty Shades Darker movie from February 9, 2017.

Get your sneaky peeks of the film on the Fifty Shades Movie site, or enjoy this actual snippet from the movie…

“Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson return as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele in FIFTY SHADES DARKER, the second chapter based on the worldwide bestselling “Fifty Shades” phenomenon.  Expanding upon the events set in motion in FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, which has grossed more than $560 million globally, the film will again become the motion-picture event for Valentine’s Day 2017, in Cinemas February 9, tickets on sale now!” – Universal Pictures

Rules: tickets are for use in Australia only. You have to be over the age of 18 to enter. Enter as many times as you like by commenting on any blog post on this site. The competition closes on the 5th of February, 2017. The winners will be announced on this blog. The prize cannot be exchanged for cash. The winners will need to supply a postal address via (private) email in order to claim their prize. The prize is issued by Universal Pictures, and the author/blogger is not responsible for any loss or damage relating to the prize.

Between the covers book club

Hello there, lovely ladies 🤗

Can you believe how close we are to seeing the new movie? Wow! I remember when Erika took over directorship, and we heard we had to wait two years instead of one to see the sequel. All good things come to those who wait, huh? 😉

And with D-day drawing near comes more quick glimpses of the film:

That elevator scene… *sigh* ❣️

Eonline features an article introducing the new faces we’ll be seeing in Darker. Nothing we didn’t already know, but it’s good to get a recap.

And here’s a quick look behind the scenes with Jamie and Dakota:

Then, here are two beautiful fan-made edits, the latter of which is an extended trailer:

Before we look at the book club, let me remind the Australian readers of Universal Pictures’s movie ticket give-away. Click this link for more details.

BC

This week I read:

ems awfs

EgoManiac by Vi Keeland was adorable! I loved every minute of Drew and Emerie’s offbeat romance. Definitely another of Vi’s books going on my favourites shelf.

After We Fall by Melanie Harlow was another pleasant surprise. I do like this author, but usually her books are sweeter than this touching tale of healing. Sexy farmer Jack is a hard, broken man who finds his soft spot with the love of a cheeky city girl. Gotta’ love a great book!

Currently I’m reading:

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Love in Lingerie, the new standalone by Alessandra Torre.

Then, as it’s that time of the month again, let’s look at what yummy goodies February will bring:

feb-1

feb-2

feb-3

feb-4

*Screenshots taken from the Goodreads site.

Lastly, as we celebrated Australia Day this week, I bid you adieu with a little Aussie humour:

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And let’s not forget the Chinese New Year, the year of the rooster…

Have a good one, girls! 😘

Monique kiss

Australian Reader Fifty Shades Darker Movie COMPETITION

Hi ladies,

Just a quick reminder of the Darker competition….

As you know, I’m seeing Darker on the 8th of February, compliments of Universal Pictures and their Launch Preview here in Brisbane, but this time, they are also offering a fun prize to 2 lucky Australian readers. Yay! 

movie-poster-slim

Whether it’s wickedly delicious, heart stoppingly beautiful, or coloured with many shades of intensity, share your favourite scene from reading Fifty Shades Darker here on the blog, then tell us why it made you swoon, or cry, gasp, melt, scowl or drool. Up for grabs are 2 double passes (one double pass for each winner) valid at all Australian cinemas screening the Fifty Shades Darker movie from February 9, 2017.

Get your sneaky peeks of the film on the Fifty Shades Movie site.

“Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson return as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele in FIFTY SHADES DARKER, the second chapter based on the worldwide bestselling “Fifty Shades” phenomenon.  Expanding upon the events set in motion in FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, which has grossed more than $560 million globally, the film will again become the motion-picture event for Valentine’s Day 2017, in Cinemas February 9, tickets on sale now!” – Universal Pictures

Rules: tickets are for use in Australia only. You have to be over the age of 18 to enter. Enter as many times as you like by commenting on any blog post on this site. The competition closes on the 5th of February, 2017. The winners will be announced on this blog. The prize cannot be exchanged for cash. The winners will need to supply a postal address via (private) email in order to claim their prize. The prize is issued by Universal Pictures, and the author/blogger is not responsible for any loss or damage relating to the prize.