Fifty Shades of Love: Vanilla, Spice, Loyalty & Everything Nice

Before you read- Possible spoiler alert!***My take on 50 Shades- just read and reflecting on it! Hint may be mild spoilers ahead- is an overview of the trilogy)***

Ana fell for her first love. Christian (or Mr.Grey- as she first knows him by) was an experienced suitor/lover and they both were experiencing new things for the first time with each other. What they didn’t realize was that the other truly, deeply loved them. They doubted each other and fought for control. Ana became his first ever girlfriend- all the others had been “submissives” only to him- that he didn’t love, but that he could control. That was the “first” for him. The first for Ana was the sexual side of things, the pleasure, the carnality. She lost control sexually with Christian, as he did with her because of his love for her and because  of her unique abilities as a temptress- she did what she liked and went for what she desired, unlike his submissives who only did as they were told.  Christian didn’t mind her temptress, seductive, take-what–she wanted- ways. He loved her and wanted her. All of her. For who she was to him. On the other hand, she enjoyed giving Christian this pleasure and playing this role to please him- and because she enjoyed it as well, as she admitted. He also enjoyed those times when she did take control and loved her all the more for her independence and fiery spirit.


When she first meets him- and has no idea of the future together or who he will become to her (so mysterious!)

Their love for each other went very deep. It was their own brand or “flavor” of love, but it was true, long-lasting and solid. They each went through their own doubts and had their own fears and avoided things or ran away from each other at certain times. But their love was of the lasting variety.

One example of Ana’s love for Christian was that she accepted him for who he was- flaws and all- yet always challenged him to be free and to be better- so they could be the best they could be- for each other. She sought out answers to fully understand him and his past and the ways he was affected by things. She accepted his past- the abuse, the choices he made. The lovers he had. And she wanted healing for him so they could be closer together and because she wanted the best for him. She didn’t want him to be trapped in his past. She wanted him freed from his prior bondage- in various ways. Pun intended 😉



One example of how she “freed” him with her love was when he allowed her to draw in marker around his “no touch” zones where he did not allow anyone to touch him because of past wounds and scarring- as it was literally painful for him. Yet he saw her need to touch and recognized his own need to be touched by her- physically and emotionally so that there was nothing between them. As he stated- he craved her touch. He enjoyed when she touched him; it was just painful with the past wounds in those certain areas where he had been hurt before. This is true to any real life relationship- we don’t want to be “touched” or hurt in ways or areas where we were wounded before and we tend to guard ourselves from this and not allow new lovers to touch us or affect us in these ways where there is scarring from the past- so we set up walls and don’t allow people in who may hurt us in the same way or we naturally react or have a reflex to defend ourselves from this possible pain. Ana freed Christian by pressing this boundary and working with him so that he could get to the point where he could allow himself to be touched- symbolizing the healing he could experience in a long-term, lasting, healthy loving relationship with her. He opened himself up to her. He allowed the “light” in and  the healing could begin. They took steps together. He was brave and allowed her to work with him in this until she was surprised and pleased of how she could hold him and touch him in the former “no touch” zones as he experienced healing and freedom from his past.


Christian also deeply loved Ana and showed this to her in many ways. He was patient and even though they had a rough start and few stops along the way, he allowed her to go at her own pace with things so that she was comfortable. Yes, they both fought each other along the way, with their stubborn independence. But. He consistently showed his tenderness and protectiveness for her- always holding her best interest at heart. I may be old-fashioned in this sense- but I crave a protector in a loving relationship with a man. I enjoy being taken care of and taking care of the ones I love. He put her own needs first when he “became vanilla” (or sort of vanilla 😉 ) for her- putting her as a person first and his sexual desires second. Yes, he still craved her carnally and wanted all of her. He wanted to take her and own her. But he realized after she left that he didn’t “need” those things of BDSM- he needed and wanted her. And so he chose her first. He was willing to go full “vanilla” for her- stating that she became his priority. He missed certain things- but valued her above all. And when it became clear that they both liked certain things- that was just the icing on the “not so vanilla after all” ice-cream cake. They learned they both liked “vanilla” and non-vanilla things. After all, as Ana so aptly put it, “variety is the spice of life.”


Christian, though he acted many times on his “primal” animalistic/hunter side, expressing dominance and anger when he wasn’t able to protect Ana, also always acted out of his love for her. He was very tender with her. Even the times he was angry, he would still come back to her and show love. He might be on fire, but still loved her and expressed this to her. He compromised. He backed down when necessary. He stood up when necessary to protect Ana and fight to keep her safe. He didn’t always act “super mature,” (50 shades here, people) but he always listened to her needs, her desires and gave them to her. He protected her. He cherished her. He compromised.  He was so tender and gentle and treated her as precious because that’s who she was to him. Above all, his heart was for Ana. To guide her tenderly, protect her fiercely, and love her above all. Dominant or not, she was his and he was hers.




Superheroes in a Virtual World: 101


Everyone secretly wants to be a superhero…

In this virtual world, you can be! Heropa, the world where the superheroes reign, is a place where you can escape and become your own superhero. A great premise for a story makes this a fun read for comic book and superhero fans alike,  along with entertaining trivia for the curious mind.

I enjoyed the way the characters were explored and the twists involved made for an enjoyable ride through the virtual world of comic book heroes  and super heroes.

(Read on to learn how to win the prizes!)

Favorite parts:

  • The love (?) story! The dynamic between the love duos in this book were refreshing and told a brave story where they were willing to fight for each other
  • The awakening of the hero (oes) and how they found their strength and their truth (It does relate, doesn’t it? You need to know the truth to be brave enough to do your part to be a hero! You also need to be brave enough to face what that truth calls you to do!)
  • The lessons learned about what it means to be a hero: We all have it in us. Even those who seem to be a Regular Joe or Plain Jane have it in them to be a brave, passionate and  fiery fighter! You are a hero in your own right! You have it in you to play a special role and can do what no one else can!



  • Slow start to the story
  • Some of the character’s dialogue seemed redundant


  • Would recommend for comic book fans, superhero lovers and those who enjoy exploring a virtual world
  • Those who think about the “What if’s?”
  • Those who like a good action and love story 😉
  • Heropa makes for an entertaining story with a satisfying ending!


Which superhero would you be if you could create your own? Please comment below and tell me what defines a superhero! Any superheroes in your life?


About the Book – About the Author – Prizes!!!

Welcome to another exciting publishing house spotlight tour from Novel Publicity. Join us as thee new titles from Perfect Edge–we’re calling them the Perfect Edge Triumvirate–tour the blogosphere in a way that just can’t be ignored. And, hey, we’ve got prizes!

About the book: A vast, homogenized city patrolled by heroes and populated by adoring masses. A pulp fiction fortress of solitude for crime-fighting team the Equalizers, led by new recruit Southern Cross – a lifetime away from the rain-drenched, dystopic metropolis of Melbourne. Who, then, is killing the great Capes of Heropa? In this paired homage to detective noir from the 1940s and the ’60s Marvel age of trail-blazing comic books, Andrez Bergen gloriously redefines the mild-mannered superhero novel.

heropa cover

Pick up your copy of this Science Fiction/Noir/Fantasy through Amazon US, Amazon UK, or Barnes & Noble.

About the author: Andrez Bergen is an expat Australian writer, journalist and DJ who’s been entrenched in Tokyo for the past 12 years. He put out the noir/sci-fi novel Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat (2011), slipstream tome One Hundred Years of Vicissitude in 2012, and now Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? through Perfect Edge Books – a novel that combines classic comic books, noir, pulp, fantasy and sci-fi. Bergen has published short stories through Crime Factory, Snubnose Press, Shotgun Honey and Another Sky Press and worked on adapting the scripts for feature films by Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell), Kazuchika Kise and Naoyoshi Shiotani. Connect with Andrez on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

About the prizes: Who doesn’t love prizes? You could win either of two $25 Amazon gift cards, an autographed copy of Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?, or an autographed copy of one of its tour mates, Gripped by Jason Donnelly or Spiral Bound Brother by Ryan Elliot Wilson. Here’s what you need to do…

  1. Enter the Rafflecopter contest
  2. Leave a comment on my blog.

That’s it! One random commenter during this tour will win a $25 gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win–the full list of participating bloggers can be found here. The other $25 gift card and the 3 autographed books will be given out via Rafflecopter. You can find the contest entry form linked below or on the official Perfect Edge Trifecta tour page via Novel Publicity. Good luck!

Perfect Edge Books was founded in late 2011 to unite authors whose books weren’t “obviously” commercial. Our books tend to sit in various genres all at once: literary fiction, satire, neo-noir, sci-fi, experimental prose. We believe that literary doesn’t have to mean difficult, and that difficult doesn’t just mean pointless. We prefer to cultivate a word-of-mouth approach to marketing, and keep production as simple as we can. Learn more at

Learn more about Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa’s tour mates HERE.

Learn about how to win your gift card with the Rafflecopter giveaway

The Road to Tomorrow: Will it ever come?

Road to Tomorrow cover FINAL[1]

Will I ever get out of here? Was this the best way to do it? Will I really be able to leave him?

Such were the questions that were racing through main character Andrea’s head in Mary Metcalfe’s stirring new novel, Road to Tomorrow.

How will I get away for good? What about the kids? Will he really let me leave? Will I even survive trying to leave or will he kill me first?

Read on to enter to win a $50 Amazon gift card!

With the tension mounting as Andrea prepares her getaway, the reader becomes the character and breathes in the fear and anxiety that Andrea feels when she is trying to make fleeing from her abusive husband a reality. The reader is thrown headfirst into the action and can feel the heat and smell the smells that the character is experiencing.

Everything seems to come crashing to a halt once something unexpected happens that ruins Andrea’s attempt to escape. Will she still be able to get her freedom and her children? At first, it seems doubtful, but many surprises happen that  leave the reader wondering what will happen next.

When the unexpected turns out to  be a blessing in disguise, Andrea finds herself staying with some new friends while she is on the run and she cannot believe her good luck with this new support system that forms around her. She is staying with them while trying to get on her feet so she can get her kids back and into safety with her.

But some things might be too good to be true, after all. Andrea’s husband comes to town and pays a visit. Will he find her and get his revenge?

Not in this town!

One of the highlights (that provided some comic relief as well) was seeing how the town really stood up around Andrea and protected her as one of their own (the military catch phrase for protecting their soldiers. Andrea also has to deal with the military standing behind her husband to protect him. Will anyone still be able to protect her?) The town becomes a force of its own as they rally around Andrea and do battle for her against her abusive husband who tries to come to get her back.

This novel really stands out as a powerful message for how to show support to those dealing with and suffering from abuse and domestic violence and living under fear. It delves into the sometimes scary truth (that happens in real life!) of those whom you go to for help sometimes sending you right back out into the line of fire. But fear must not stop us from helping those we love. Andrea is able to stand strong and her family and friends also stand with her, though it doesn’t all come easily at first.

Also a testament to the courage it takes to be in the military (and to be in a military family!) and how this comes with a duty to protect and not to hurt others, Road to Tomorrow is a powerful story about what to do when you think your world has ended and how to rebuild it.

Even if the trouble comes back to haunt you again.

But armed with a plan, courage and those around her who love her, Andrea just might make it out okay.

This hits close to home for some and it is crucial to know that there is help out there. It may seem impossible, but you are loved and there is help for you. Read here on how to find out about Making a Safety Plan.


Sometimes we don’t know or may suspect that a friend or loved one is facing abuse, read here on How to help your friend who is in this situation.

Remember, there is always hope and you can always ask for help to get to your tomorrow, no matter how rough the road may seem now.

Have you or a friend experienced abuse? What are some ways that you got help? Please share in the comments below, I want to hear your story!

“The road that is built in hope is more pleasant to the traveler than the road built in despair, even though they both lead to the same destination.”

~Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Fall of Atlantis



About the Book – About the Author – Prizes!!!

About the book: Andrea Garrett is trying to escape her abusive marriage. Fearing for her life, she leaves her two small children with her twin brother and flees her home the day before her husband is due to arrive back from a tour of duty. After falling asleep at the wheel and landing in a ditch, her life takes on a new direction when strangers step in and introduce her to a life she could only have imagined and one that could save her soul and give her children the future they deserve. Get Road to Tomorrow through Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

About the author: Mary Metcalfe lives in the foothills of the Laurentians, northeast of Ottawa, Canada with her husband, three cats and a very large dog. Love of writing runs in the family. Their daughter is a published literary non-fiction author. Clarion Review described Mary’s debut novel as a “sparkling debut… readers will love being swept along by Winds of Change.”Road to Tomorrow is her third novel in the Look to the Future series. Connect with Mary on her website, blog, Facebook, GoodReads, or Twitter.

About the prizes: Who doesn’t love prizes? You could win one of two $50 Amazon gift cards or an autographed copy of Road to Tomorrow! Here’s what you need to do…

  1. Enter the Rafflecopter contest
  2. Leave a comment on my blog.

That’s it! One random commenter during this tour will win the first gift card. Visit more blogs for more chances to win–the full list of participating bloggers can be found here. The other two prizes will be given out via Rafflecopter. You can find the contest entry form linked here on the official Road to Tomorrow tour page via Novel Publicity. Good luck!

Road to Tomorrow Badge[1]

Shadows, Dreams and Nightmares that come true: Into the Shadows by Karly Kirkpatrick

What happens when your society turns against you and your family?

Review: Into the Shadows by Karly Kirkpatrick

If only dreams did not come true

Not knowing quite what to expect from this new author, I was pleasantly surprised. The beginning of the book opens with what seems to be a nightmare, but we soon discover that the main character, Paivi, can sometimes see visions of the future from her dreams. About five years before she starts high school, she has a nightmare or vision of her best friend’s mom dying in a car accident. She awakes horrified and tells her parents. She has had dreams before that came true, so she wants to warn her friend’s mom so that she doesn’t die. To her horror, her parents tell her she cannot tell anyone about this.

Paivi is a very in depth character and reading this book, you really come to feel what she is feeling, as her thoughts and reactions are described very well and she is easy to connect to. She cares so much about those around her that she sometimes even cares more about them than she does about herself. This can be a good or bad thing, but it becomes dangerous when her world turns upside down and she learns that there are others like her, who have special abilities. But they must keep it a secret.

But the secret gets revealed. And now her very life is in danger. The Red Scare and The Salem Witch Trials are combined together and thrown into modern times with fears of “terrorists”, and it soon becomes like Nazi Germany. It becomes a normal thing for classmates and even friends to turn against the people who were declared “enemies of the state.” It is very scary how realistic this is and how it happens-it shows it can very well happen now. Even the principal of the school is no longer able to protect his students, or else he will also be declared an enemy of the state. Everyone lives in fear and fear breeds hate.

You are the enemy

Anyone who tries to protect them, defend them or stand up for them in any way is violently pushed back and warned about putting their own necks on the line. Other students so easily turn against her. She tries to blend in and follow the rules, not wanting to be arrested or put anyone else in danger for her.

When her parents are in danger of being arrested, the world for her and the other “enemies of the state” becomes completely unrecognizable. And when Paivi and her younger brother have to fight to survive on their own, the situation looks even worse. With few people left to trust and not wanting to put anyone in danger, what else can you do to survive in a world that has turned against you?

Could this really happen?

This book will open your eyes to the horror of how fast this can happen and how people could very well react and be led to do anything for fear of the “terrorist” or the “enemy” and for fear of the consequences of standing up for what is right. Definitely a great read, a thrilling adventure, very thought provoking and while it has some emotional road bumps, it is very much worth it and I would recommend you add it to your to-be-read-next pile.

For information on this author, click here. Book 2 of the trilogy, Darkness Rising will be coming out in 2012. She also has another book coming out, The Green. Stay tuned for reviews and for the latest updates- please follow or sign up for email updates at the top right!

Click the picture below to get the e-book free on Amazon for a limited time only!

Hollowland: A new type of thrill: no roller coasters, only zombies

Hollowland: A new type of thrill: no roller coasters,
only zombies

Hollowland by Amanda Hocking

“This the way the world ends – not with a bang or a
whimper, but with zombies breaking down the back door.”

This opening line promises an exceptional out-of- this-world story. And on that, it more than delivers. There is something that is so great about an opening line that really pulls you into the story, making you tense up for the next punch.  That is the way it should be and that is what Hocking gives us.

The pace and nonstop action of the story demands that you keep walking (and running) along to see what happens as you join Remy and her companions on this journey through what is left of the world after zombies take over. There are corpses in the streets (if the zombies didn’t eat them yet) and zombies are not the only things you have to worry about. Oh, and of course you cannot step outside without the risk of becoming a corpse yourself. And what happens when it seems that the zombies can be capable of some type of rational thought and planning? It makes for a very unpredictable new type of horror, I can tell you that.

From the outset, it is clear that Remy is fiercely independent and outrageously brave even though this newZombieland without the amusement parks scares the hell out of her. It is inspiring and makes for a thrilling, edge of your seat story to see a young woman who fights without stopping for what matters most to her.

No admittance: Ride out of order (or: Ride at your
own risk)

Remy was in quarantine when the story starts, along with a bunch of other young girls placed there for their safety once the zombie apocalypse started. They are living in what is supposed to be a safe place for them, but it soon becomes a death chamber as the zombies break in, killing off the last of the soldiers that were there to protect them and, it seems, on the verge of killing everyone else there as well.

Remy was not about to lock herself in, even though all the other girls did, as they were taught to protect themselves in this way (and only this way) from zombies. She leaves “the safe place” (which at that point was quite safe…for about 5 minutes) to venture out to find her little brother. He had been at the same place as her and he was evacuated because he was sick, which raises some questions about wh they didn’t evacuate all the healthy people as well. She vows to find him and protect him, and two other girls go with her.

After fighting zombies, acquiring an unlikely pet, and meeting a rock star, she is well on the way to finding her brother; at least this is her hope. This is her mission and she will let nothing get in her way.

Zombies with brains?

It is very interesting how the zombies are portrayed in this story, as mentioned before. They seem to be smarter than your averag zombie and can actually communicate with each other in some way- all for the purpose of eating you quicker, my dear. This is definitely not your normal fairy tale zombie story and that, along with the great characterization, tense action and the magnetic pull of what the fight is really for, is what keeps you running to catch up with Remy. Definitely makes me want to learn more about the zombies that Hocking has created.

Dark side of town

The darker side of humanity is also explored in the book. People kill other people without reason and just for the thrill of it and dangerous run ins with cults make for some very scary what if questions. It is interesting to think about how easily some people could lose their so called “humanity”. Then, of course, there are those who have already lost it that Remy must face. She also deals with questioning herself on if she is doing the right thing for everyone around her in her attempt to save her little brother and try to protect her friends.

It is important to realize that no one has all the time in the world and when Remy realizes this, this is what makes her fight her hardest for what is most important and to not waste any of her time.

Title talk: Not so Hollow after all?

Remy can be said to be seen as hollow, emotion wise, at least in how she connects to others. Not that she doesn’t care about them, but her issue is that she does, and wants to protect them. She fears she won’t be able to and so she shuts them out.

She doesn’t want anything to get in the way of her reaching her brother. Nor does she want to get too attached to anyone in this world of death, where it is very likely that you have to leave your best friend or kill them before they kill you if they are bitten or infected by a zombie.

Love in Hollowland?

Nothing to fear for the weak at heart when it comes to love stories, as Remy, as discussed before, does not allow love get in the way of what she is trying to do. There is nothing that is love at first sight, it is a believable relationship that is allowed to develop naturally (as naturally as it can in a world of zombies) and it definitely is not the focus of the story.

In regards to her love interest, she does shut him out as she doesn’t see this as an option with the world the way it is as well as her goal to find and help her brother.

At the end of the novel, she makes a very difficult choice. No one who loves her will be happy with this decision, but it is what she feel she must do. Readers may cry out in protest, as they find themselves loving Remy as well.

This decision also allows her to open her heart to love again, as she confesses how she feels to her love interest. But this may not make much of a difference, after all.

 End of the ride? (Or: those who
survived, exit to the left, those who didn’t, stay on)

The end will leave you hungering for the coming sequel, Hollowmen, (coming out this Fall) in which everything might change again for Remy, but there is no way to tell if these will be welcome changes or not. Be sure to look for my review on the sequel!

Hello world!

Welcome to my new blog– BookwormCastle

dedicated to my love of books and reading! In this castle, you will discover
many rooms and many different bookshelves in the various genres of libraries.

You could find yourself
battling dragons or vampires in one or travelling back in time in another.

You will find out what the latest books are, what are good “classics” and what is a good read!

Feel free to add in the
comments what book reviews you would like to see next as well as any
ideas/suggestions for features for the site.

More to come- many
bookshelves and libraries to build and then fill!