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Book Review: I Love My Computer Because My Friends Live in It

I was pretty pumped to read “I Love My Computer Because My Friends Live In It” because I could totally relate to the title.  Unfortunately I was expecting more about the friends in the computer than I got, although I could totally relate to almost everything the author was writing about since she is only a few years older than me.  Replace her Bette Midler online chat rooms with Hanson and you’ve got me. She even went to Oklahoma to meet up with someone she had met online – I do that yearly.  The book became more about her life and how technology played a big part in it than what I was expecting with more about the relationships and friendships she had made through the internet.  Jess is funny though, so I really enjoyed her dissection of twitter, facebook, instagram, etc.  We are both from Connecticut and both have engineers for Dads so when my friend thought that perhaps I wrote this book, she really wasn’t too far off.  The only difference is she is married and met her wife on match.com, and while I’m not looking for a wife I have tended to shy away from dating sites.  The rest of our lives do seem to parallel though so maybe I should give it a try….

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

I Love My Computer Because My Friends Live in It is tech analyst Jess Kimball Leslie’s hilarious, frank homage to the technology that contributed so significantly to the person she is today. From accounts of the lawless chat rooms of early AOL to the perpetual high school reunions that are modern-day Facebook and Instagram, her essays paint a clear picture: That all of us have a much more twisted, meaningful, emotional relationship with the online world than we realize or let on.

Coming of age in suburban Connecticut in the late ’80s and early ’90s, Jess looked to the nascent Internet to find the tribes she couldn’t find IRL: fellow Bette Midler fans; women who seemed impossibly sure of their sexuality; people who worked with computers every day as part of their actual jobs without being ridiculed as nerds. It’s in large part because of her embrace of an online life that Jess is where she is now, happily married, with a wife, son, and dog, and making a living of analyzing Internet trends and forecasting the future of tech. She bets most people would credit technology for many of their successes, too, if they could only shed the notion that it’s as a mind-numbing drug on which we’re all overdosing.

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Book Review: Encore

When I started reading Encore I had the feeling that I had already read it.  It turns out this is a second book in a a series and I had previously read Amplified as part of the Good Groupie’s rock reading novel club. The beginning of the book is a bit of a recap with what is going on in Jasmine’s life – she bluffed her way into a band after being kicked out by her father.  Now her father is coming to visit – and well, she may have bluffed to him about the genders of the band members she is living with…

This story revolves around the band on tour, mostly on the west coast and dealing with traveling in the van, figuring out when to shower and dealing with crazed fans.  In addition to the story there is also snippets from the bands social media, a blog they are keeping while on tour as well as some of the nice and not so nice comments from “fans”.  There is one crazy fan in particular, Jeremy, who takes a liking to Jasmine and offers to show her around when they are in his home town.  Except he takes things a little too far and ends up showing up everywhere – both online and off.  But that is just one of the conflicts that the band has to contend with on twitter.  The lead singer seems to have a breakdown on stage, resulting in them being kicked out of the venue. Another band member gets beat up while they are on an off day for what he is wearing.  There is of course the will they / won’t they conflict of Jasmine and Sean… and of course Jasmine’s Dad giving her an ultimatum and her running off to join the band is still looming over her as well.

I thought this book was a fun and quick read, it seemed somewhat realistic to the tour life (not that I’ve ever been in a band on tour but it seemed to match what I think it would be like.)  There are characters to love and hate and some in between as well.  I am looking forward to more stories from Tara Kelly.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

I lied my way into a band, humiliated them on stage, and got my heart broken by the bassist. Now…we’re on tour together.

Of course my dad, who I haven’t seen since he kicked me out, makes a surprise visit the day before we leave. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t go well. I have to quit the band and go to college or he’s cutting me out of his life for good.

This tour is the best opportunity we may ever have – and it’s already a disaster. We’re broke. We can’t stop fighting. And being in such close quarters to Sean isn’t exactly helping me get over him. Even though we’re just friends now, every time our fingers brush or our eyes catch, my heart betrays me. He’s the kind of distraction I can’t afford to have right now…no matter how much I wish things were different.

This is one road trip that will be hard to forget…

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Book Review: Gone

Gone is the second book in a series. I had not read the first, but it didn’t seem to make a difference.  From what I can tell, each book in the series seems to focus on a different set of characters that are all somewhat connected.

In this book, we meet Alec and Raegan at the hospital.  A girl has just been found in a park and they think that it may be their daughter, Emma, who was abducted three years earlier.  The couple split after the abduction but decide to work together to try and figure out who took Emma, if she is still alive and if other kids being abducted are related.  They have found patterns between the other abductions, but Emma doesn’t fit it.  Is her abduction related or is Alec right and his biological father is to blame?

There are a lot of twists and turns in this story and I couldn’t put it down once things really started taking off!  Definitely a great read if you’re into mystery and thrill!

I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Three years ago, Alec McClane and Raegan Devereaux lived every parent’s worst nightmare: their one-year-old daughter, Emma, was abducted from a park when Alec turned his back for just a moment. Emma was never found, and presumed dead. The crushing trauma, plus Alec’s unbearable guilt, ended the couple’s marriage.

Now a four-year-old girl matching Emma’s profile is found wandering a local park. Alec and Raegan are heartbroken to discover she’s not their daughter but are newly motivated to find closure…and each secretly feels desperate to be in the other’s presence again.

Alec suspects his vengeful biological father is behind Emma’s disappearance. But as Raegan investigates other abductions in the area, she sees a pattern—and begins to wonder if Emma’s kidnapping is actually linked to something more sinister.

As Alec and Raegan race to uncover the truth, a long-burning spark rekindles into smoldering passion, and they realize they need each other now more than ever.​

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Book Review: Red-Blooded American Male

Red-Blooded American Male is a book of photographs taken by Robert Trachtenberg.  The opening of the book notes that “American” may be a bit misleading and that it actually means all of North America (since it includes some Canadians) but also some Brits are included as well.  As the majority of this book are photos, I’m not sure really how to review it, but the beginning of the book has an interview with Robert and some of the photos have captions which explain how and why the photos and their poses came to be.  A very large (and heavy!) coffee table book filled with great photos.

I received a free copy of this book from Blogging For Books in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

A collection of 100 inspired and surprising portraits of celebrities and everymen alike from the award-winning photographer Robert Trachtenberg.

Paul Rudd checking out the merchandise; Jimmy Kimmel playing dress up; Jack Black getting a one-of-a-kind pedicure; Elon Musk unveiling his newest Tesla; Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David taking a coffee break.

From leading men to comedians, ballet dancers to quarterbacks, war veterans to Broadway veterans,Red-Blooded American Male features more than 100 imaginative, striking, and sexy portraits from award-winning photographer Robert Trachtenberg. Pithy captions about each shoot accompany the photographs, giving readers a peek behind the curtain of a famed portrait photographer’s creative process and his world-renowned photographs.

Uncovering a unique (and often self-deprecating) side to such talents as Jimmy Fallon, Seth Rogen, Channing Tatum, Waris Ahluwalia, Will Ferrell, and Kevin Hart, this collection goes beyond mere portraiture to challenge conventional notions of masculinity and traditional male imagery.​

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Book Review: Dream Big

Dream Big is basically my motto in life. So of course I had to check out this children’s book of the same name.  There are a lot of animals and they are all making wishes of their wildest dreams.  The baboon thinks that these things can never come true, but one by one they start happening for the animals because they are wishing and believing that they can do anything.  This is a great message and the animals in the book are really cute 🙂

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

One by one, Caterpillar, Tadpole, and Flamingo gaze up at the night sky and wish upon a star for their wildest dreams. Baboon, who can’t help but overhear, insists these dreams could never come true. But when he sees Caterpillar turn into a winged butterfly, Tadpole into a dancing frog, and Flamingo into a beautiful pink bird, Baboon realizes that a transformative power exists between these stars and the animals once they truly believe in themselves and their dreams. When Baboon tries out this secret, CATCH-M, his Magical, Mystical, Wished-Upon Star, whooshes down from the heavens to wham! ignite the courage in his chest too, and what happens next is fantastic!

Inclusive of an Arts/Activities resource section, this richly illustrated book demonstrates that together we can all be inspired to identify and pursue our dreams, no matter how big or impossible they may seem. Dream Big is the perfect heart-warming gift of encouragement for anyone starting a new phase in their life or a great send-off for grads—preschool, high school, college, and beyond!

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Book Review: I Don’t Belong To You

I don’t think I have ever felt more OLD reading a book.  Keke Palmer’s “I Don’t Belong To You” is an autobiography and also an inspirational and potentially “self help” book.  However, I couldn’t get past all the use of “lol” and hashtags throughout the text.  Maybe if I was about 10 years younger I would find it appropriate – but it was written more like she was writing you an email than an actual book – which maybe was the point, but again, I’m just realizing that at 32 I am old. Watch out, or  I may bust out a “kids these days”.

LOLs, emojis and hashtags aside, the book did have a lot of lessons that Keke learned throughout her career and learning to love herself and the secrets and struggles that she went through and would be perfect for a teen or twenty something to read as I think that a lot of kids, especially girls, go through some of these same things.  Of course, I grew up before social media was a “thing”, so I don’t relate to all of the struggles that Keke mentions, but anyone her age would totally get where she is coming from.

I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

A sometimes serious, often hilarious, and always inspiring guide that encourages young women to live a life full of ownership, confidence, and freedom from singer and popular Scream Queens and Grease Live! actress Keke Palmer, delightfully illustrated in four color with Keke’s favorite inspirational quotes, journal entries, and memes.

As a successful singer, actress, and talk show host, Keke has always used her huge social media following as a platform for real talk about the issues that matter to her generation, but now she is speaking out candidly and for the first time about the secrets, struggles, and practices that have guided her to succeed. On the surface, it may appear that Keke has it made, but under the success, she has grappled with the same issues all young women wrestle with—identity, pressure, self-worth, love, sexuality, heartbreak, and family.

With this in mind, she created I Don’t Belong To You—an inspirational guide that encourages young women to change their mindset and live with more freedom, confidence, and love as they navigate the rough terrain of the twenty-first century. Full of revealing stories from Keke’s personal and professional life, this book tackles twelve topics—sexuality, race, anxiety, success, bullying, and body image to name a few—with refreshing honesty.

Within each chapter is a personal interview with one of the many people that have inspired and motivated her, including Serena Williams, Drake, Nicki Minaj, and Lee Daniels; quotes, texts, song lyrics, and funny memes that have inspired her; and practices that can help you stay on a path of always growing, never grown. With a voice of empathy, tough love, and determination, Keke speaks about the challenges and triumphs she has experienced on her journey to finding her own voice and creating a beautiful life. I Don’t Belong To You is the motivation you need to move past pain and fear to lead a life full of creativity, spirituality, passion, and unlimited success.

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Book Review: Everybody Curses, I Swear!

Everybody Curses, I Swear is by Carrie Keagan.  I recognize her from VH1 Morning Buzz Live but you may recognize her from her YouTube videos.  The beginning of this book warns that if you offended by curse words (and at about 2 paragraphs in, she has already used a LOT) then you should pick out a different book to read.  A couple of paragraphs below that she lists 80 curse words – since the average person swears 80 times a day! The list is in alphabetical order and some of these I don’t even consider to be swears so I would venture to guess I’m well above average in the “Daily Cursing” department!

The book is part autobiography and a bit more “crude” than most, but that is what made me love it.  It’s not written all prim and proper, it’s written as if you’re sitting around and having a real conversation with Carrie – average of 80 swear words per day and all.  (Although I think her average is a bit more than 80 too…)  Throughout there are also conversations she’s had with celebrities that were full of swears and double entendres. (Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck to name a couple)

There is even a word search puzzle – full of curse words! And a crossword puzzle!  And no book about curse words is complete without a Profanity Index at the end of the book.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

She’s been called vulgar, crass, sophomoric, offensive and dirty…and that was just in one article. But there’s so much more to talk show host, internet entrepreneur, and original YouTube sensation, Carrie Keagan. You may know her as host, writer, and producer of VH1’s hit morning show Big Morning Buzz Live with Carrie Keagan, but before Judd Apatow made being dirty mainstream, she was pioneering the R-rated, A-List celebrity digital video to an audience of tens of millions on one of the first and most successful YouTube networks ever, No Good TV. She’s turned swearing into an art-form and invited all of Hollywood to join in.

Some women f*ck their way to the top but she “f*cked” her way to the top. Her naughty interviews with Hollywood’s elite are the stuff of legend, earning her the nickname “Barbara Walters on Acid.” She’s gone toe-to-toe with virtually every celebrity in the world, and she’s been taking notes. Get ready for all the juicy, behind-the-scenes stories from the biggest stars as she shares her journey from being a bullied kid from Buffalo to Hollywood’s most fearless host. After 8,000 interviews, 2 billion views online, her own TV show, and countless appearances including her upcoming season on Celebrity Apprentice, she’s got crazy stories to tell.

Everybody Curses, I Swear! is the quintessential book on the wonderful world of potty-mouthed depravity inside Hollywood!

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Book Review: Bless This Mother-effing Home

Bless This Mother-effing Home is a book of sweet stitches for snarky bitches.  I have seen some similar crafts online and always get a good laugh out of them so when I saw there was a whole book of them, created by someone else named Katie, I had to check it out.  Cross-stitch is a craft I have done before with some success, provided that it is printed and not counted.  Katie has been selling her crafts on her etsy page but after getting some publicity on the show GIRLS things have taken off for her.  The cross stitches in the book are all cutesy and adorable, as one would expect, but the text on them are a bit unexpected and anyone with a sense of humor would surely find one or five that they feel the need to have in their home. My favorites are probably the ones based on rap lyrics like “mo money mo problems” and “y’all gonna make me lose my mind up in here, up in here”.  If you don’t crack a smile at least once when reading through this book you may need to consult a doctor.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

The combination of sugar and spice is irresistible in this adorable and appalling collection of cross stitch. Laugh-out-loud fun through crafting is found in these biting yet precious patterns.
Katie Kutthroat’s warped and witty cross stitch has taken the internet by storm and has been featured on TV shows like HBO’s Girls and The League. Cute but snarky, each cross stitch pattern featured in Bless This Mother-effing Home evokes laughter and irony. Perforated pages allow for readers to hang up or share favorite entries, spreading the cross stitched love.

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Book Review: Goodnight, Batcave

If you’re like me, you may have grown up reading “Goodnight, Moon”.  This book is an unauthorized parody from MAD Magazine and instead of saying goodnight to the moon and everything in the room, Batman says goodnight to his Batcave and everything and every one around.  The illustrations are really nice and the book is cute for the young Batman fan who just needs one more book read to him/her before bed!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

A 100% UNauthorized GOODNIGHT, MOON parody — as only the world-(in)famous MAD Magazine can do it!

Batman may be ready for bed — but crime never sleeps!And before the Caped Crusader can turn in for the night, he’ll have to deal with villains like the Joker, Bane, Mr. Freeze, Catwoman and the Penguin!If the Dark Knight hopes to ever catch some Z’s, he’ll have to catch Gotham’s most dangerous criminals first!

In this all-new story from The Usual Gang of Idiots at MAD Magazine, the bestselling children’s book GOODNIGHT MOON is parodied with the heroes and villains from the world of DC Comics’ BATMAN!

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Book Review: Yarn Whirled

Yarn Whirled: Fairy Tales, Fables and Folklore is another crafty book that I was looking forward to reading.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get the formatting for it 100% correct to be able to read everything, but it seems like these characters may be a better start for me before diving into learning something like crochet.  These are more made of folded yarn. I loved seeing all the fairies and the other folklore characters that were created.  With my limited hand-eye coordination I think that these types of creations are more my style. The outcome is really adorable too.  There are humans as well as other characters shown in the book, like adorable little brown bears and characters from the nutcracker too.  The details on the tutus of the ballerinas and the wings of the fairies are absolutely amazing.  If you’re looking to make some characters in a way that might be a little bit easier than with crocheting, this is the book for you.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Want to create adorable yarn dolls? Give it a whirl! Create a lovable character from the classic stories of Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm with this brand new craft. This unique way of wrapping yarn requires no previous experience or special tools, and uses yarn that can be found at your local craft store. Fun, step-by-step instructions and full-color photographs show all you need to know to create Cinderella and Prince Charming, Hansel and Gretel, King Arthur and Queen Guinevere, Robin Hood and Maid Marian, Snow White, The Little Mermaid, and many other beloved favorites.

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