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Welcome! The ultimate luxury for me is curling up with a good book and a warm blanket. The next best thing is reviewing books and sharing them with others.

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16 05, 2016

Review: The House That Made Me

By | May 16th, 2016|Categories: Essays & Correspondence, Memoirs, Nonfiction|Tags: , |0 Comments

Rating:

house that made me book coverReviewed by Poppy Johnson

The House That Made Me, edited by Grant Jarrett, is a book of essays by 19 contemporary writers who were prompted to look at Google Earth and find their childhood homes, then write about how those homes shaped their writing today. On paper, this is a grand idea. Many of the writers describe life altering moments and poignant snapshots from their childhoods to lead the reader through personal family tragedies, joys and triumphs, as well as their accomplishments as writers.

In each story, the home is definitely used as the backdrop, and it either starts to brighten or darken the writer’s landscape for the future. Most of the essays begin with a shout out to Google (I wish they hadn’t). Some of the writers do provide vivid portrayals of their childhoods–these portrayals definitely made me want

24 02, 2016

Review: Motions and Moments by Michael Pronko

By | February 24th, 2016|Categories: Entertainment, Humor, Memoirs, Nonfiction, Travel|Tags: , , , |4 Comments

Rating:

motions and moments book coverReviewed by Lauren Cannavino

In his third book of essays about living in Tokyo, Japan author Michael Pronko provides an insider’s view of the city, with the perspective/respect of a one-time outsider. As an American writing and teaching at the University level and living in Tokyo for over eighteen years, Pronko has learned how to navigate the city, the customs and all of the quirks, while still being open to adventure and new discoveries. Always ready to explore and discover something new, Pronko is proud of his residence in Tokyo, proud of the citizens, his students and the hustle and bustle. This hustle and bustle is explored in a deeply intimate and well thought out manner and Pronko’s perspective, often reflected through observations made at the train station or on the train, show that there is much

9 02, 2016

Review: Letters for Lucia by David Brown Jr.

By | February 9th, 2016|Categories: Happiness, Health, Mind, & Body, Memoirs, Motivational, Nonfiction, Self-Help, Spiritual|Tags: , , , , |3 Comments

Rating:

letters for lucia book coverReviewed by Lauren Cannavino

It is often said that the true test of strength is how we react in situations of strife and even tragedy. Letters for Lucia is the work of one such critical and heartbreaking test for David Brown Jr. Placed in a terrible situation that would have caused so many to head in the opposite direction, in a way almost rightfully so, David instead shifts his focus to opening his heart, mind and life to love and light. The book is a story of forgiveness, of lessons and growth and offers proof that even in times of terrible hardship, it is possible to not only go on, but also to thrive.

David Brown Jr. was young, successful, ready to have fun and looking for love. Coming from a close, warm family, David wanted to

1 02, 2016

Author Interview & Giveaway: The Las Vegas Madam by Jami Rodman

By | February 1st, 2016|Categories: Biographies, Giveaways, Memoirs, Nonfiction, Women's Studies|Tags: , , , |4 Comments

Rating:

jami rodman headshotPlease welcome Jami Rodman, author of the new book, The Las Vegas Madam: The Escorts, The Clients, The Truth!

Enter the giveaway below – open to US residents

An interview with Jami Rodman

How did you get involved in escorting? To my friends and I, escorting was more logical, and often safer, than the dating scene. We were young and living in a city where one night stands were the norm following a long night of clubbing. Online dating, like Match.com, or otherwise nicknamed Snatch.com, didn’t fare any better. Peeping Toms and stalkers came from both routes. Beautiful people selling sex was seemingly everywhere, on billboards, in magazines, ads for nightclubs and restaurants, and the more provocative one was, the better she did financially. So when the tipping point presented itself – I was cocktail waitressing and dancing at

21 01, 2016

Review: Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

By | January 21st, 2016|Categories: Biographies, Entertainment, Health, Mind, & Body, Humor, Memoirs, Nonfiction, Self-Help, Success|Tags: , , , , , |4 Comments

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year of yes book coverReviewed by Meg Massey

Shonda Rhimes is the mastermind behind popular TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. She’s created complex and bold characters like Meredith Grey and Cristina Yang–strong women that have encouraged their audience to live with passion and boldness. But in the Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person, Shonda admits what some would never believe: she’s an introvert!

Shonda’s story begins in Thanksgiving 2013 when her sister spoke these words to her: “You never say yes to anything”. This exchange set events in motion that Shonda could have never predicted. Her sister’s words challenged her to step out of her comfort zone; to make a commitment to saying yes to everything that terrified her for one year.

This memoir is equal parts poignant

4 12, 2015

Review: In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park

By | December 4th, 2015|Categories: Gift Ideas, Memoirs, Memoirs, Nonfiction, Women's Studies|Tags: , |3 Comments

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in order to live book coverReviewed by Neriza Billi

Yeonmi was born in Hyesan, a city in North Korea, next to the border with China. Together with her parents and older sister, they tried every possible way to survive in the ‘Hermit Kingdom’. When she reached 13, their situation went from bad to desperate. Her sister decided to escape to China to have a better life. After some time, Yeonmi and her mother did the same, not knowing that women were being sold as brides on the other side of the border. Once in China, Yeonmi and her mother had to again fight for survival; this time, they were fighting against groups who drugged women and passed them around to other men. Both realizing they were still in hell, they chose to cross the freezing Gobi desert to reach Mongolia, towards freedom in South Korea.

Yeonmi

18 11, 2015

Review: Living with a SEAL by Jesse Itzler

By | November 18th, 2015|Categories: Exercise & Fitness, For Men, Gift Ideas, Health, Mind, & Body, Memoirs, Memoirs, Nonfiction|Tags: , , |1 Comment

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living with a seal book coverReviewed by Jennifer Jensen

Self-made entrepreneur Jesse Itzler lives a comfortable lifestyle with his wife, Sara. Between the two of them, they run two successful businesses: Marquis Jet and Spanx. Jesse also has an interest in fitness and has competed in marathons. After deciding on the next marathon he wanted to run, he dragged his wife out to the race with him. One of the competitors, a solidly built African-American male, caught Jesse’s eye. He tracked down the man’s name and called him up, inviting him to live with his family and train Jesse for an entire month.

The man, known only as SEAL in Jesse’s memoir, Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet, promptly moved in and began a rigorous training with Jesse, pushing his body and mind as

29 10, 2015

Review: A Thousand Miles to Freedom by Eunsun Kim

By | October 29th, 2015|Categories: Memoirs, Nonfiction|Tags: |3 Comments

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THOUSAND MILES TO FREEDOM BOOK COVERReviewed by Lauren Cannavino

A Thousand Miles to Freedom is Eunsun Kim’s courageous, introspective and raw story about her escape from North Korea as a young girl and the struggles that she endured both in her home country and also on the run. Kim’s memoir provides a glimpse into life in North Korea that is rarely seen, discussed or even documented. The bravery that she has shown is admirable and her strength and perseverance make the book impossible to put down. The evolution of Eunsun’s thoughts and beliefs are poignant, emotional and astute; she shows knowledge and strength far beyond her years many times throughout her journey.

Eunsun’s story begins as a little girl alone and afraid in her apartment. Starving and cold, she is awaiting the return of her mother and her sister who had left their

10 09, 2015

Review: Fat Girl Walking by Brittany Gibbons

By | September 10th, 2015|Categories: Humor, Memoirs, Nonfiction|Tags: , |4 Comments

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fat girl walking book coverReviewed by Holly Madison

It is hard to put into words just how much I love this book. I finished this book feeling like I had made a new friend, and I would recommend it to absolutely everyone.

This book is a memoir, but is very untraditional. Brittany talks about her life from the time she was a child until the present, and discusses the struggles she has endured due to her weight. This book is absolutely chalked full of humor… it is one of the funniest books I have ever read. I found myself reading snippets out loud to my husband as we both laughed. Some of the humor is very crude, but it also feels very real. Brittany talks about things that I would never openly discuss with anyone but my husband, and she does so in a

8 09, 2015

Review: The Husband Swap by Louisa Leontiades

By | September 8th, 2015|Categories: Memoirs, Nonfiction|Tags: |1 Comment

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the husband swap book coverReviewed by Jessa Larsen

Louisa met Gilles one night in a bar and they quickly fell head over heels in love with each other. It seemed to be a perfect match until, unfortunately, paradise became stale and they were at a loss for what path to take next. They didn’t want to separate as there was no question that they were still in love, but it just didn’t seem like their paths were destined to continue together.

This is when they make the choice to explore polyamory, the idea that it is possible to fall in love, and maintain that love, with more than one person simultaneously. After much thought and research, they meet another couple and quickly find themselves falling in love with the other spouses. Their lives are changed forever as they begin what is known as a