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Book Review: 10 Blind Dates

10 Blind Dates was a really cute book.  Sophie doesn’t want to go visit her sister over Christmas break with her parents, so instead she goes to her grandparents house.  Before she leaves, she goes to a party, only to overhear her boyfriend, Griffin, saying he wants to break up with her because the rest of their time in school should be “fun”.  She shows up on her Nonna’s porch in tears and Nonna devises a plan to get her mind off of it – Nonna and her very, very large family will pick out 10 blind dates for her to go on – one every night she is there (minus Christmas Eve and Christmas, of course!)

The book then follows Sophie on these 10 dates – some are sweet, some are horrible and some are even worse than that… but the whole time she ends up realizing she may have feelings for her cousin’s best friend that she has been friends with practically her whole life. But one problem. He has a girlfriend.

I enjoyed reading this book and following Sophie’s journey to get over heart break.  I couldn’t keep track of all her family members though! There were just so many of them! (I don’t envy the author for having to come up with that many names and personalities either, whew!)  I even teared up a couple times reading it. (Aww.)  Definitely a sweet, quick read.

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

About the Book

Sophie wants one thing for Christmas-a little freedom from her overprotective parents. So when they decide to spend Christmas in South Louisiana with her very pregnant older sister, Sophie is looking forward to some much needed private (read: make-out) time with her long-term boyfriend, Griffin. Except it turns out that Griffin wants a little freedom from their relationship.
Heartbroken, Sophie flees to her grandparents’ house, where the rest of her boisterous extended family is gathered for the holiday. That’s when her nonna devises a (not so) brilliant plan: Over the next ten days, Sophie will be set up on ten different blind dates by different family members. Like her sweet cousin Sara, who sets her up with a hot guy at an exclusive underground party. Or her crazy aunt Patrice, who signs Sophie up for a lead role in a living nativity. With a boy who barely reaches her shoulder. And a screaming baby.
When Griffin turns up unexpectedly and begs for a second chance, Sophie feels more confused than ever. Because maybe, just maybe, she’s started to have feelings for someone else . . . Someone who is definitely not available.
This is going to be the worst Christmas break ever . . . or is it?

Book Review: Vagina Problems

Lara Parker wrote “Vagina Problems” because talking about it is taboo and she wants to help normalize it.  She suffers from endometriosis, a condition that effects 1 in 10 women, yet it took her years and years to be properly diagnosed all the while she had to deal with terrible pain that no one was really able to help her with.  I can’t even imagine!

I think this is a great book for anyone who may be dealing with the same kind of condition – she talks about what did and didn’t work for her (and while everyone’s bodies are different, it could be a good place to start for some) and how she dealt with dating when she couldn’t have sex because it was to painful and just dealing in day to day life before she could get things properly diagnosed and a bit more under control.

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

About the Book

Shrill meets Everything Below the Waist in this raw and sharply-funny account of Lara Parker’s experience of endometriosis from diagnosis, to dating without sex, to work-life balance and more

When Lara Parker first started experiencing what she calls her Vagina Problems, she was just 14 years old. She hurt everywhere, but especially in her abdomen and vagina. The pain was constant, and worse around her period. But if she’d learned anything about periods before she even started her own, it was that you didn’t talk about that shit.

So she mostly just tried to ignore it, even as her period made her throw up, pass out, miss school, and wrecked an entire week of her life every month. She convinced herself that everyone must be feeling what she was feeling, but that they were just better at hiding it. When she finally brought it up to her doctor, the doctor brushed it off and made her feel stupid. “Periods are supposed to hurt,” she said. This was only the beginning of Lara’s seven-year journey to find out what was going on in her body. It took multiple doctors, thousands of dollars, and a refusal to take no for an answer for her to finally have some sort of understanding of what was causing her so much pain.

Now Lara is ready take an honest, funny, relatable, and raw look at how Vagina Problems have affected every single part of her life. From fighting to get a diagnosis, to maintaining relationships through illness and depression, to working a full-time job with chronic pain, to navigating the dating scene when she can’t have sex—this book will have it all. Lara acts as a guide, a confidant, a friend, an outlet, and a support system to anyone who has ever gone through Vagina Problems.

Book Review: Once Upon a Time

I haven’t read any romance novels like this one in a while.  The stories are always a little off the wall in these, and this story was no different.  The characters always tend to have names you’d otherwise not hear, and this story was no different.  It had kind of 3 stories going on at once.  The story of Alaric and Caterine, the conflict between Alaric and his family (mainly his father) and then the fictional piece that Alaric was writing about Erica and Charles – a historical fiction romance.

Alaric writes romance books. But he writes them in a way that is a little unorthodox.  He has a “muse” aka a “research assistant” who acts out the scenes with his college roommate, Sim, allowing Alaric to pick up all the little details of the encounters that otherwise might be missed if he were to just write from his imagination.  Each book, he chooses an assistant that looks like the character to “act” these scenes out.  We first meet him trying to find his Erica – he thinks it is Caterine but after she is getting harassed by a dude with a gun in a coffee shop – he doesn’t think it is the time to talk to her about it.  He ends up meeting up with her again later at his book signing (go figure!) and she agrees (after lots of persuading) to take on this odd job offer.  But for Alaric, there is something different about this one.

Alaric and his twin sister are the heirs to the “White Chocolate” fortune – his father is deathly ill in the book and Alaric doesn’t like the man his father is and wants nothing to with with him or the chocolate. (Book is also set in Pennsylvania for some of it, so I imagine this is the “Hershey Chocolate” equivalent – but the families last name is White)  His father ends up giving him a ridiculous task that he MUST complete that oddly links Caterine and his families together.  If he doesn’t complete the task, his twin sister will lose HER inheritance too.  Either way Alaric will hurt someone – his sister or Caterine and he isn’t quite sure who he wants to hurt.

And finally – Erica and Charles.  They got married before Charles went off to war and he comes back disfigured.  Will they consummate their marriage now that he is a beast? Or will he keep going to brothels?

Alaric made a comment to Caterine that the genre all has happy endings – it was just a matter of figuring out how they got there.  Which was of course a bit of foreshadowing for the “real” story line in the book as well… or was it?

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

 

About the Book

Readers are saying, “Holy hotness!” … “the sexiest thing I have ever read” … “5 stars are not enough!

One disowned heir to a chocolate empire.

One recent library science grad.

A roommate who can best be described as sex on a stick.

A job that entails researching Regency era brothels and, um, “acting.”

What could possibly go wrong?

(Damn near everything.)

My name is Sim. This book is about Alaric White—my best friend, college roommate, partner in literary crime. Alaric writes kissing books. And by “kissing,” I mean … well, you know what I mean.

He writes each book with a muse. (If the IRS asks, tell them she’s a “research assistant.”) Yeah, I’ve told him this reflects a certain lack of imagination on his part. But I help out with his books so far be it from me to complain too much.

Usually it doesn’t take him long to find a “research assistant” for a new book. Women send him their “resumes.” Call. Email. Turn up at every stop on his book tours. (I know, it’s a rough life but someone has to live it.)

But his current work-in-progress? Well, it’s different. So he needs a different muse. Someone innocent and untouched … but also brave enough to embark on a journey into her deepest, darkest desires.

After a year, he’s still searching. His agent is getting antsy. (Okay, she’s on the verge of full-blown panic that he won’t finish the book on time.)

Then he sees her, looking like an angel just arisen from a leisurely afternoon of amour. (His exact words.) She’s sitting in a suburban coffee shop … and being threatened by a goon with a pistol in his waistband.

(Dear reader, he rescues her.)

Then a plot twist not even I saw coming.

He should let her go. But he’s a selfish bastard. (I am too, but that’s a different story.) He just needs to keep her long enough to finish the book …

Once Upon a Time is a melt-your-clothes-off scorching hot standalone billionaire boss romance with a sweet happy ever after. (If I might say so myself.) Find out why readers are saying, “Holy hotness!” … “the sexiest thing I have ever read” … “5 stars are not enough!” (Well, I’m one of the reasons why they say that. Modest, too lol.) Of course, everyone wants my story now, too. We’ll see. My story makes Alaric’s look like a damn fairy tale. A twisted sort of fairy tale, but … well, just read this one first.

Book Review: Girl Gone Viral

Girl Gone Viral is the 2nd book in the Modern Love series.  I had not read the first one and it did take me a bit to get into reading this one and I am not sure if it is because I was missing some backstory or not, but once things started to take off, I was hooked.  Katrina is an investor that likes to keep things private and stay to herself.  When she finds herself politely sharing a table with a guy at a coffee shop, another patron tweets the whole thing as if it is a first date and they just met their soulmate, causing the encounter to go viral.  Will the public figure out that it is Katrina?  She skirts off for a secret getaway with her bodyguard – the one who knows everything about her and is there to protect her.  She is a client.  But is that all she is?  Katrina is determined to get to know Jas more and get him to talk about his feelings… but was going to his family’s farm to escape really the right thing to do?

I enjoyed this book – lots of sub plots throughout it that kept things interesting and I also liked how it revolved around Katrina’s panic attacks and how she is trying to escape them but didn’t ignore the importance of mental health and several characters mentioned coping mechanisms and how therapy isn’t a bad thing and it could be helpful to put your thoughts and feelings out there.

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

About the Book

In Alisha Rai’s second novel in her Modern Love series, a reclusive investor goes viral, shoving her into the world’s spotlight—and into the arms of the bodyguard she’s been pining for…

OMG! Wouldn’t it be adorable if he’s her soulmate???

I don’t see any wedding rings

Breaking: #CafeBae and #CuteCafeGirl went to the bathroom AT THE SAME TIME!!!

One minute, Katrina King’s enjoying an innocent conversation with a random guy at a coffee shop; the next, a stranger has live-tweeted the entire encounter with a romantic meet-cute spin and #CafeBae has the world swooning. Going viral isn’t easy for anyone, but Katrina has painstakingly built a private world for herself, far from her traumatic past. Besides, everyone has it all wrong…that #CafeBae bro? He isn’t the man she’s hungry for.

He’s got a [peach emoji] to die for.

With the internet on the hunt for the identity of #CuteCafeGirl, Jas Singh, bodyguard and possessor of the most beautiful eyebrows Katrina’s ever seen, offers his family’s farm as a refuge. Alone with her unrequited crush feels like a recipe for hopeless longing, but Katrina craves the escape. She’s resigned to being just friends with Jas–until they share a single electrifying kiss. Now she can’t help but wonder if her crush may not be so unrequited after all…

Book Review: Game On! USA

Game On! USA is Awesome Activities for Clever Kids – mazes, word games, secret codes, brain teasers, spot the differences and more…  With a lot of kids (and adults, too!) home and looking for fun things to do, this seemed to be the best book to check out.  If you get stuck, there’s an answer key in the back of the book 😉  I personally really enjoyed all the secret code activities! There are plenty of different activities in this book and you’ll learn a lot about the Presidents and the States!

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

About the Book

The newest Game On! Awesome Activities for Clever Kids title, this activity book has dozens of new and challenging brain games for ages 8 to 12. More than 100 colorful puzzles feature the excitement and adventure of the United States, including crosswords, secret codes, word scrambles, spot the differences, mazes, and much more. It’s the perfect book for at home or on the go, and the fun starts with just a pencil — no electricity or batteries needed! Complete solutions appear at the end of the book.

Book Review: Katie Cox vs. the Boy Band

A book about a Katie AND a boy band? How could I resist?

Katie Cox is an up and coming pop star.  But her friends just want to use her to get tickets to see the hot new boyband, Karamel, when they come to town.  Katie obliges and gets them 4 front row tickets from the record label, but passes on going to the show herself, even though it is her birthday (something that none of her friends seem to remember.)  While they are all at the showing missing her birthday, she writes a song about how she can’t stand the boyband and sends it to a friend.  It ends up going viral and this is how Katie Cox vs. The Boy Band is born.  Both release their singles on the same day and it is a “competition” to see who will do better on the charts!  Hmmmm… who could it be? The boy band selling out arenas or Katie who is up and coming and playing small gigs? I wonder.

A lot of teen drama and far fetched-ness. (Yes, this is now a word) But a cute read, just the same.

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

About the Book

Katie is going to have to face the music…

Katie Cox (overnight singing sensation and owner of the World’s Worst Bangs) never meant to become a pop star. And she didn’t mean to start a war with Karamel (aka the World’s Cheesiest Boy Band).

Now her first concert is just days away. Cool? Maybe. Terrifying? Definitely. And with her school friends more interested in her fame than her feelings, and an army of Karamel fans ready to take her down, this battle goes way beyond the charts.

Book Review: Space Between

The Space Between is about actor Nico Tortorella’s life.  They write – as your dreams come true, you start to dream different dreams and it follows their path through growing up, being unsure about sexuality, gender, etc. Ultimately achieving their goal of becoming an actor and now can be seen on TVLand’s Younger!  Nico says that they are not in the wrong body but they are in the wrong WORLD.  Aren’t we all?  The space between… is love.

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

About the Book

Younger star and LGBTQIA+ advocate Nico Tortorella investigates love, sex, gender, addiction, family, fame, and fluidity through their personal story and the lens of their nonbinary identity

“Nico Tortorella embodies the twenty-first-century human.”—RuPaul

Nico Tortorella is a seeker. Raised on a steady regimen of Ram Dass and raw food, they have always been interested in the more spiritual aspects of life. That is, until the desire for fame and fortune eclipsed their journey toward enlightenment and sent them into a downward spiral of addiction and self-destructive behavior. It wasn’t until Nico dug deep and began to examine the fluidity of both their sexuality and gender identity that they became more comfortable in their own skin, got sober from alcohol, entered into an unconventional marriage with the love of their life, and fully embraced a queer lifestyle that afforded them the opportunity to explore the world outside the gender binary. It was precisely in that space between that Nico encountered the diverse community of open-minded, supportive peers they’d always dreamed of having.

Expanding on themes explored on their popular podcast, The Love Bomb, Nico shares the intimate details of their romantic partnerships, the dysfunction of their loud but loving Italian family, and the mingling of their feminine and masculine identities into one multidimensional, sexually fluid, nonbinary individual. Nico has become a leading voice of the fluidity movement by encouraging open dialogue and universal acceptance. Space Between is at once an education for readers, a manifesto for both the labeled and label-free generations, and a personal memoir of love, identity, and acceptance.

Book Review: Teacher in Space

Teacher In Space is about teacher Christa McAuliffe who got the chance to ride in the Space Shuttle Challenger – that was supposed to be heading into space but unfortunately never made it back in 1986.  The forward was written by her mother, who has since also passed.  Christa was from New England – spending time in Boston as well as Concord.  She was selected out of many finalists as the one chosen for President Reagan’s “Teacher in Space” program.  Unfortunately due to problems with an O-ring, the shuttle exploded.  I was too young to remember this happening, but had heard a lot about Christa growing up and remember a trip to the Discovery Center named after her in Concord on a trip to visit my Uncle who lived there when I was a kid.  The book also includes a bunch of photos in the middle, all the prep that went into getting ready to board a space shuttle.  While this event was tragic, I thought this book really did Christa, her life and her love of teaching a great service.

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

About the Book

On January 28, 1986, NASA space shuttle orbiter Challenger lifted off into the clear blue skies over Florida on mission STS-51L, carrying a crew of seven, including teacher Christa McAuliffe. Just seventy-three seconds into the launch, a massive explosion tore Challenger apart. This newly revised edition of Teacher in Space tells the story of how McAuliffe graduated from her role as a much-loved high school teacher to occupying a seat on the veteran orbiter’s tenth and last flight into space.

McAuliffe’s dream was to carry out science projects while in orbit around the earth that were to be telecast live to school students across the United States. Her dream came to a sudden and tragic end that terrible day. Nevertheless, that ambition to educate from space remained an inspiration to many and, in her name and those of the Challenger crew, manifested itself in the establishment of hundreds of youth education programs and institutes of learning across America and around the world.

Teacher in Space is a remarkable story of renewed faith, cooperation, and hope for the future and of a dedicated and much-loved teacher who came to symbolize the best of human achievement.

Book Review: All The F*cking Mistakes

The author of this book was considered to be a ‘slut’ at 15 – now she writes books about sex.  This book is about taking back the power – your worth is SELF-determined.  The book shoots down a lot of myths, stigmas and shame about sex and sex related items.  “Fight the assholes until your dying day.”  To try and remove the stigma the author suggests talking about vibrators like shoes! Show off your favorite! (There is seriously a TON of sex toy info in this book if that’s something you’re interested in learning more about)  There’s everything you’ll need to know about being a “nasty woman”… Not everything I agree with but lots to learn and think about!

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

About the Book

Come As You Are meets How to Date Men When You Hate Men in this sex handbook for the millennial feminist on how to own your body and sexuality, and use that confidence to take charge of your life

“This bold, sex-positive book delivers on its promise.” —Publishers Weekly

Stop Apologizing for Your Sexuality and Take Charge of Your Life

If you’ve ever wished you had a big sister or older cousin who could show you all the ropes of womanhood, look no further: Gigi Engle has done it all and is here to tell you all about it in All the F*cking Mistakes, a practical handbook for all the slutty and wanna-be-slutty women out there. It is the ultimate sex-talk book, demystifying female sexuality without any of the awkwardness of “the talk.” From learning how to take back your confidence in a world full of slut shaming, to discovering and owning your sexual empowerment through masturbation, to demanding the love you really deserve, this book is an ode to the women of the world who deserve to be empowered, sexually and otherwise, without guilt.

Offering bite-sized lessons that incorporate Gigi’s own special brand of no-nonsense advice to provide clarity and guidance on all things slutty, sexually normative and non-normative, and everything that falls between the cracks of these brackets, this book is your how-to guide to living your sexy AF, fabulous life.

Book Review: Barnum

Barnum: An American Life is all about one of my favorite people, PT Barnum.  Barnum is from CT and one of his museums is in downtown Bridgeport and I love the building so much it was often subject of my photo class projects and we even have a poster of it hanging in the house.  This book goes into a lot of depth about his life. He also had a museum on Broadway in NY and was a bit of a trickster to try and get money from people.  One of his exhibits was the “Feejee Mermaid” and the story of it essentially starts this book. It was a 161 year old mermaid!   He had all sorts of acts that he would have at his museum to try and get people to tour it.  He ended up meeting Charles who became General Tom Thumb, another CT resident.  It was also interesting to hear about how Barnum was buying real estate with a friend – Noble – Barnum and Noble are still streets to this day in Bridgeport.  A long book,  a fascinating life, and lots of fires.

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

About the Book

P.T. Barnum is the greatest showman the world has ever seen. As a creator of the Barnum & Baily Circus and a champion of wonder, joy, trickery, and “humbug,” he was the founding father of American entertainment—and as Robert Wilson argues, one of the most important figures in American history.

Nearly 125 years after his death, the name P.T. Barnum still inspires wonder. Robert Wilson’s vivid new biography captures the full genius, infamy, and allure of the ebullient showman, who, from birth to death, repeatedly reinvented himself. He learned as a young man how to wow crowds, and built a fortune that placed him among the first millionaires in the United States. He also suffered tragedy, bankruptcy, and fires that destroyed his life’s work, yet willed himself to recover and succeed again. As an entertainer, Barnum courted controversy throughout his life—yet he was also a man of strong convictions, guided in his work not by a desire to deceive, but an eagerness to thrill and bring joy to his audiences. He almost certainly never uttered the infamous line, “There’s a sucker born every minute,” instead taking pride in giving crowds their money’s worth and more.

Robert Wilson, editor of The American Scholar, tells a gripping story in Barnum, one that’s imbued with the same buoyant spirit as the man himself. In this “engaging, insightful, and richly researched new biography” (New York Journal of Books), Wilson adeptly makes the case for P.T. Barnum’s place among the icons of American history, as a figure who represented, and indeed created, a distinctly American sense of optimism, industriousness, humor, and relentless energy.