Cheers! My Birthday Celebration with the Napa Valley Wine Country Tours

After losing my grandmother a few weeks before my birthday, I really needed to celebrate life. I know she would want me to do that. This year, I decided to ring in a new year of life in wine country. My soror traveled up from So Cal to visit. This would be her first time in Napa. I didn’t want to drive so instead, we bought bus tickets for the Napa Valley Wine Country Tours.

Let me tell you something, going on this bus tour was one of the BEST decisions I made. The Napa Valley Wine Country Tours bus isn’t just any bus. It’s a limo bus that looks like a VIP club lounge on wheels. We paid $119 for an 8-hour trip, visit to 4 wineries in Sonoma and Napa counties, continental breakfast and lunch. It was worth every penny. The tastings aren't covered in the bus fare, but they ran about $10-$25. Wineries won't charge you for tastings if you buy a bottle. I recommend this for tourists and any Bay Area locals who have folks visiting from out of town and want a short excursion to Nap…

Holy Cow!
I Can't STAND Fifty Shades of Grey's Anastasia Steele



***SPOILER ALERT! DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE NOVEL***

I had to see what the hype was over Fifty Shades of Grey. I've studied erotic lit, but this was my first time reading BDSM fiction. I heard E L James' writing isn't great and the storyline is fluffy. I don't mind fluff. Sometimes I need a break from serious reading. I also heard the novel is far from being good erotica. But no one warned me about one of the most annoying characters I have ever read in my life-- Anastasia Steele.

Anastasia Steele should be named Anastasia Cotton. She is far from being strong. The college senior falls for Christian Grey. He's a hot, rich, powerful, young businessman who has a hard time getting turned on unless it involves him inflicting control or pain. He's into BDSM and Anastasia is in love. She's desperate to have Grey. So desperate, that she’ll submit to BDSM fetishes. Grey is her first lover and her introduction to sex is through bondage and control. Ouch. That wouldn't be a problem to me if she weren't so thirsting for his love.


The girl is pathetic and her self-esteem is low. Everyone says she's beautiful, but Anastasia can't see it.  And she's immature. She's a grown woman saying things like, "Holy cow, what is he going to do now?" or "Holy crap, I made him mad." Anastasia is a 20-ish college student with a passion for classic British literature. Yet, "holy crap" is the best the author can do with Anastasia's dialogue?  She sounds more like a teenager than a college senior. The repetitive use of "holy cow" and "holy crap" was getting on my nerves. Unfortunately Anastasia is the narrator, so it's hard to escape her whining, uncertainties, desperation and pathetic thoughts.  And don't get me started on this "inner goddess," she refers to, which I assume is the "empowering" voice of her conscious. And I use "empowering" loosely.

As for naughty boy Christian Grey,
he's an abusive, controlling, stalker. He is not boyfriend material. I know he's hella fine, but I couldn't date him seriously. Now, if he wanted to be tied up at night and cook French toast for me in the morning, then we could talk (I don't know why I envision Christian Bale when I read about Grey).  But Grey has issues.  He's a victim of molestation. His mother's friend introduced him to BDSM when he was a teen. The man needs help. He warns Anastasia from the beginning that he's not a flowers and hearts kind of guy because of his past. I liked his honesty and wanted to learn his secrets.  He's so damaged that sleeping in a bed with a woman after sex is too much for him.  But the goddess of desperation takes the hits, hair tugs, necktie burns and spankings for his "love." She interprets his following her to Georgia when she told him not to, buying her a new car, cellphone, etc. as "love." The guy is so controlling that he has his women inspected with his own hired gynecologist. He treats women like property.

I sense the author wrote this book as to be both erotic and romantic. But there's nothing romantic about these two. Yeah, he takes Anastasia to meet his parents, something he never does. And his family is so happy to see he's dating. I feel the only reason why Christian is with Anastasia is because he can control her.

Other things I'm not feeling:
--The author uses British language, but the characters are Americans and live in the U.S.  Americans don't say, "I'll fetch the mail." That's British lingo.

--At times the book reads like a broken record. I can't count how many times Christian says, "Don't bite your lip" or "Don't roll your eyes."  And you know how I feel about that "holy crap, holy cow" stuff.

--Anastasia is a grown woman with a college degree and can't say "vagina." I think only one time in the novel she says, "vagina." Usually she refers to it as, "my sex." Am I reading a Harlequin novel or erotica?

I might have finished the trilogy if Anastasia wasn't the narrator. And I hear from other readers her character has not developed.  This was my first BDSM novel, so the sex scenes weren't bad to me. They lose their heat when Anastasia's voice comes in the picture. I think being naïve and experimental can be sexy in erotica. But poor Anastasia wants this man so bad, that she drastically lowers her standards.  She'll accept an ass spankin' over a hug just so Christian Grey will touch hair. That's sad. I would have had more respect for Anastasia if she was with Christian to explore her sexuality and wasn't in love.

On the upside, the novel has given sex shops more business because readers want to buy the toys mentioned in the book. That's good for the economy. And reading the novel has caused me to start reading good erotica again. I haven't picked it up in a long time. I hope strong erotic writers benefit from Fifty Shades' popularity.   

Finishing the novel was like saying goodbye to an annoying woman at your friend's get together. You don't understand why your friend invited her, but you're so happy when the annoying friend leaves.  And you toast a glass of Stella Rosa to not having to hear her silly stories again. 

Did I like the book? Hell no.  Am I going to see the movie? Hell yeah! LOL I hope the movie is better than the book. Who do you want to see play Christian Grey?


Comments

  1. I heard about the trilogy, but I haven't been inspired to read it. I was wondering what all the hype was about.

    I'm a fan of BDSM, but I always feel like it's handled in a way that makes a lot of people misunderstand how the power dynamic works.

    The way you describe the female character absolutely makes me not want to read the book, as she is a woman who absolutely should NOT be involved in such a relationship; at least not until she's had time to learn herself. Your description of her character makes me want to hurl.

    So no, in spite of my appreciation for the subject matter, I won't bother with the book. Thanks for reviewing it and taking one for the team.

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  2. The book is great. Anastasia yes is very annoying at first. But her character develops and gets a little stronger in part two.

    And Christian is controlling, but there isn't anything that's in not sexy about it lol. He protects her. Cares about her. All the material things he bought her in part one appeared initially to be a sense of control, but really...when you make appr. $100,000 an hour (revealed in part two I think) buying a girl an ipad and laptop is nothing.

    She breaks through many of his insecurities. He lets down his guard for her. And later on he gives up all his NDA stuff, etc. because he wants just her. Anastasia appears weak, but she's actually strong. Only someone with her challening patience and strength can handle someone like Grey.

    BUT I do agree the language is very elementary and repetitive. But you have to keep in mind the author's target audience ranges from ages 15-65. All women. And I personally don't have time to read a book and dicitonary to understand a good storyline! LOL

    Overall, the book is definitely worth reading. For me it's not a "can't put down-stay in the house all day and read"...it needs much drama and suspense to do that for me. But it's definitely given me much entertainment recently.

    Excuse any typos.

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  3. ha! I did a video review on it earlier in the month..well..a month ago I think OMG..this book is total crap.

    smh...you gotta check it out when you get chance.

    When my BDSM comes out...please buy it. ;)

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  4. @Amaya- LOL Yes it did feel like I took one for the team. I've never read any BDSM so I couldn't really judge that part. But I could not connect with the main character/narrator. I'd love for you to read it and let me know your thoughts on the BDSM scenes since you're a fan.

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  5. @ Lee I don't see her as strong, but desperate. I just have a problem with someone who wants a man to touch her so bad, that she'll settle for a painful touch.
    As for the language, the book started off as Twilight fan fiction. So I'm not sure what's her target audience. Age 15-65 is a very big gap. She's writing about adult issues but Anastasia acts like 15 year old. I agree there are some entertaining parts of the book. Thanks for your feedback.

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  6. @Mocha Peach-- Girl you're writing BDSM erotica??!! Oooh, let me know when it comes out. I want to watch your review. Please post the link!

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  7. Hey here is the link!! :
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqBwr0eISKs&list=UUokLKtqetdMZpql7QI0FOjQ&index=5&feature=plcp

    Yeah I am writing. I have no idea where I wanna go with it...but...I might can combine two idea's I've had.

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  8. Hey Mocha Peach,

    I'll check out your review this weekend. Good luck with your book!

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  9. I watched your video Mocha Peach and it was funny. I agree w/ much of what you said. Add me to your private blog.

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  10. I completely agree! I decided to read this book after all the hype but didnt get around to it until just now..after watching the trailer it motivated me even more to read it! I really don't like ana and the book is repetitive in her voice with the "holy moses" and "don't bite your lip" by christian.. I don't like how she continued to be skeptical about agreeing for a big chunk of the book..she knew it and was just so desperate! I could rant about the entire book but you took care of most of the points lol :)

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    1. I agree with you 100% If they have a lot of that "holy moses" in the film, I don't know if I can stomach it. I agree she was desperate. But the film version could be really good with the right script. Zane is releasing an erotic film too. Addicted will come out in October.

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    2. People I know into BDSM say the book isn't accurate.

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  11. First, I'm glad I'm not alone. Thank you for that.

    I bought the book two years ago. Read the first ten pages and wanted to puck.
    Anastasia annoyed me so badly I couldn't keep on reading.
    Two years later and I finally finished the first book, honestly , I don't think I would buy the other two.
    Two years ago I threw my book somewhere inside my closet and promised to sell it. I forgot to do so.
    Now I had a dramatic foot surgery and am recovering... I found the book and thought " why not?"
    Yes, it took me a serious foot surgery and inability to walk to want to finish this book. All because of Anastasia.
    Childish, irritating, immature, demanding and annoying would be enough to classify this girl. I say girl because a woman wouldn't be as annoying as she is.

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    1. LOL that you wanted to puke! It took you 2 years and foot surgery to finish the book. Wow! Tell me how you really feel. LOL I agree Anastasia's annoying, immature, etc. To some degree she unrealistic. Who loses their virginity during BDSM?

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  12. Oh, I'm sorry.
    Continuing...
    What I really meant to say was " it wouldn't be enough to classify this girl".

    With that said, I really think that Grey is a whole lot of hot ... That guy needed a woman, not a girl... Poor Christian...
    It's true that he's a creep , but he's a hot creep, I would take that for a spin.

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    1. Ha! A hot creep. I don't care for Christian either. He does sound hot, but he's way to controlling. And he has issues. That's a turn off for me. But I can't wait to see the movie. Although, I'm not sure if the guy playing Christian is hot enough for me.

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  13. i don't understand, how could you say you read the book and then say christian treats anastasia like property because he made her see his gynecologist? first of all he did not made her go to gynecologist, ana apparently does not have a doctor of her own( yes written on page), it is expressly mentioned that their relationship is negotiable and hence she can say no if she choses to not opt for any birth control except condom .also if treating like property is seriously your point, then how about the fact christian is infantalizes anastasia is a valid point and it is (on page) protested even if nothing much comes out of it( off-page). you started by saying you already know that this book has idiotic prose but proceed to complain about it anyway providing nothing new on the table. there were excellent points to be made on how e l james manage to make a college graduate without an e-mail address!! forget about computer( when choosing between less college fees and computer borrowing , i guess it is a straightforward conclusion) between how is she registering for SAT without e-mail id????

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  14. i don't understand, how could you say you read the book and then say christian treats anastasia like property because he made her see his gynecologist? first of all he did not made her go to gynecologist, ana apparently does not have a doctor of her own( yes written on page), it is expressly mentioned that their relationship is negotiable and hence she can say no if she choses to not opt for any birth control except condom .also if treating like property is seriously your point, then how about the fact christian is infantalizes anastasia is a valid point and it is (on page) protested even if nothing much comes out of it( off-page). you started by saying you already know that this book has idiotic prose but proceed to complain about it anyway providing nothing new on the table. there were excellent points to be made on how e l james manage to make a college graduate without an e-mail address!! forget about computer( when choosing between less college fees and computer borrowing , i guess it is a straightforward conclusion) between how is she registering for SAT without e-mail id????

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    Replies
    1. It’s been so long since I read this 50 Shades mess. But if I recall, she had no choice in an OGBYN. He wanted her to see his OBGYN. She should have a choice in a doctor since it’s her body. And that was not the only reason I listed for why I think he treats her like property. You mention she has more choice in birth control. But he chose the doctor he wanted to examine her, and I’m sure do a pap smear.

      As far as my mentioning that I didn’t like the language, and listing examples of why, that’s what you do when you write an argument. You list examples to back up your argument. And yes I heard the writing wasn’t great before reading it, but instead of taking other people’s word for it, I wanted to see for myself. That’s what critical thinkers do.

      As for the e-mail address, I’m confused about that portion of your response because your writing isn’t clear.

      The book sucked. No person in their right mind would lose their virginity in a BDSM sex act. People into BDSM are usually more sexually experienced. Most people I know who are into BDSM say the is not a true reflection of that kind of relationship. If you want to read real BDSM check out Push The Button by Feminista Jones.

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