Tag Archives: Books

BHBC Review – “Touch & Go” by: Lisa Gardner

A description of the book, thanks to Amazon.com:

This is my family:  Vanished without a trace…

Justin and Libby Denbe have the kind of life that looks good in the pages of a glossy magazine. A beautiful fifteen-year old daughter, Ashlyn. A gorgeous brownstone on a tree-lined street in Boston’s elite Back Bay neighborhood. A great marriage, admired by friends and family.  A perfect life.

This is what I know:  Pain has a flavor…

When investigator Tessa Leoni arrives at the crime scene in the Denbes’ home, she finds scuff marks on the floor and Taser confetti in the foyer.  The family appears to have been abducted, with only a pile of their most personal possessions remaining behind.  No witnesses, no ransom demands, no motive.  Just an entire family, vanished without a trace.

This is what I fear:  The worst is yet to come…

Tessa knows better than anyone that even the most perfect façades can hide the darkest secrets.  Now she must race against the clock to uncover the Denbes’ innermost dealings, a complex tangle of friendships and betrayal, big business and small sacrifices.  Who would want to kidnap such a perfect little family?  And how far would such a person be willing to go?

This is the truth:  Love, safety, family…it is all touch and go.

This is the first book by Lisa Gardner that I have read and will certainly not be the last! I could not put it down (and that doesn’t happen often for me!). I enjoy reading true crime books and this reminded me of that genre except (obviously) not real. Lisa grabbed my attention from the very beginning and left me asking questions and wanting to know more… How does an entire family of 3 get kidnapped? Why are they kidnapped? How come the kidnapper(s) don’t kill them? Although I think some disagree, I was left not knowing or really even suspecting who was the mastermind behind things until almost the near end.

The book was written from the prospective of two different characters which make the story more interesting but yet still easy to follow. An added plus for me was the fact that the book took place in the Boston area and other parts of New England. Having grown up in New Hampshire and law school in Boston, I found myself picturing each and every place Lisa described.

I can’t wait to read more of her books! Join the conversation over at BlogHer this month!

Disclosure: This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.



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BHBC Review – “Here I Go Again” by: Jen Lancaster

A description of the book, thanks to Amazon.com:

Twenty years after ruling the halls of her suburban Chicago high school, Lissy Ryder doesn’t understand why her glory days ended. Back then, she was worshipped… beloved… feared. Present day, not so much. She’s been pink-slipped from her high-paying job, dumped by her husband and kicked out of her condo. Now, at thirty-seven, she’s struggling to start a business out of her parents’ garage and sleeping under the hair-band posters in her old bedroom.

Lissy finally realizes karma is the only bitch bigger than she was. Her present is miserable because of her past. But it’s not like she can go back in time and change who she was…or can she?

Oh man. Who can’t relate to this story?! Thankfully, my high school experience didn’t involve anyone quite as mean as Lissy Ryder because she was one mean girl! But karma came back to bite her – after taking advantage of everything and everyone, she finds herself without it all. And everyone who worshipped her in high school? Far from it now. In fact, most of them despise her.

The story has an “It’s a Wonderful Life” vibe to it and we can to see Lissy “re-live” parts of high school, making changes to who she is and seeing whether it affects her present life. Everything we do has a ripple effect to it. So as Lissy changes everything she did wrong in high school, she learns that there so much more is affected. More than she realized.

This is a perfect summer, beach/vacation-read type of book! It’s my first Jen Lancaster book but definitely not my last!

If you could re-live your high school days, what would you do differently? Anything? Join the conversation over at BlogHer this month and let us know!

Disclosure: This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

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BHBC Review – “Diary of a Submissive” by: Sophie Morgan

A description of the book, thanks to Amazon.com:

The “real” Fifty Shades of Grey… A true life erotic story of female submission to rival The Story of O.

In Diary of a Submissive, Sophie Morgan candidly explains what exactly an independent, 21st century woman gets out of relinquishing her power and personal freedom in a submissive relationship with a dominant man for their mutual sexual pleasure.

In the wake of Fifty Shades of Grey, here is a memoir that offers the real story of what is means to be a submissive and follows Sophie’s story as she progresses from her early erotic experiences through to experimenting with her newfound awakened sexuality.  From the endorphin rush of her first spanking right through to being collared, she explains in frank and explicit fashion her sexual explorations.  But it isn’t until she meets James, a real life ‘Christian Grey,’ that her boundaries and sexual fetishism are really pushed. As her relationship with James travels into darker and darker places, the question becomes: Where will it end? Can Sophie reconcile her sexuality with the rest of her life, and is it possible for the perfect man to be perfectly cruel?

Daring, controversial, and sensual, Diary of a Submissive is filled with a captivating warmth and astounding honesty such that no one— man or woman—will be able to put Sophie’s story down. Once you read the book you will understand why Sophie Morgan is a pseudonym.

I might be one of the last people left who hasn’t read any of the “50 Shades of Grey” books. But man, if they’re anything like this book then I’m not too sure I’m up for them!

Using a pseudonym, “Sophie” writes about her personal experience and her journey as she experiments with the D/s world and a submissive relationship. The story is definitely graphic and explicit, to say the least (mind you, it is classified as Erotica)! Most of the time, I wished I was reading it on my Kindle for fear that someone would see the book cover or spine (I kept it hidden on the train, obviously)!

I knew this sort of “relationship,” if that’s the right term, existed but I don’t think I was aware of the true extent of D/s and what it entailed. Many times the book was uncomfortable to read – it was THAT graphic. For everything women have done to gain equal status and rights, it’s hard to understand how someone could enjoy being humiliated, shamed, degraded and having their personal boundaries pushed to such limits. But then again, I don’t partake in that sort of relationship which would explain why it’s hard for me to understand.

If you LOVED 50 Shades and found yourself wanting more, this book is for you. If you’re into harlequin romance novels and find yourself wanting more, this book is for you. And, especially, if you’re into erotica, this book is for you!

Interested in learning more about “Sophie Morgan”? Follow her on Twitter. You can also join the conversation over at BlogHer all month long.

Disclosure: This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.


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Review – “America, You Sexy Bitch” by: Michael Ian Black and Meghan McCain

Earlier this summer, @SnarkyAtLaw tweeted about a giveaway that Mandy at the Well Read Wife was doing. Mandy was giving away 47 46 copies of America, You Sexy Bitch (published by Da Capo) by Michael Ian Black and Meghan McCain. To participate, the rules were simple: read the book and post an honest review (and, ideally, participate in Mandy’s discussion).

A description of the book, thanks to Amazon:

She is a single, twentysomething, gun-loving, Christian, Republican writer and blogger, the daughter of a Senator and 2008 Republican presidential nominee. He is a married, forty-year-old, gun-fearing, atheist, Democrat comedian, the son of a lesbian former Social Security employee. Meghan McCain and Michael Ian Black barely know each other. But they are about to change the way politics is discussed in America.

Or at least the way politics are discussed in their crappy RV.

In America, You Sexy Bitch, Meghan and Michael embark on a balls-out, cross-country tour starting in California, the heart of liberal America, and ending in the state of Connecticut, the home of blue-blood Wall Street billionaires. Along the way, they visit such cultural touchstones as Graceland and Branson, party in Las Vegas and New Orleans, pretend to be Mormon in Salt Lake City (only for a second), and go to a mosque in Dearborn, Michigan. They tour the nation’s capital; they fire semiautomatic weapons. But mostly Meghan McCain and Michael Ian Black talk to each other: about their differences, their similarities, and how American politics has gotten so divided.

I loved this book for what it did discuss. And I hated this book for what it did not discuss. I felt myself wanting more a lot of the time, not just a gloss over.

I’m a political newbie. I vote in the presidential elections and I know where I stand when it comes to major issues. However, and without getting all political on you, there are a lot of issues that I don’t know much about. And without that knowledge, I can’t really formulate a position or my own opinion.

This book helped me learn a little more about some of those things and figure out which viewpoint is typically the Republican one versus Democrat. I just wish the book went a little more in-depth on some of the authors’ viewpoints and why they felt the way they did. A lot of the focus seemed to be on how Meghan and Michael didn’t know each other, travelling in a RV, sight-seeing… and not on the current political issues weighing on our nation.

Surprisingly (to me, at least), I really kinda liked Meghan McCain. She helped me see that you can side with a political party and yet still have conflicting viewpoints on certain issues. That really helps me during this election where I find myself siding with both main candidates but on entirely different issues, making it particularly difficult to decide who to vote for.

That said, it’s not a bad book to read. I wasn’t left raving about it but had enough of an attention span to finish it. I’d give it 4 out of 5 stars.

And now I leave you with some quotes du jour:

As they tour the Senate and House of Representatives, their tour guide points out the status of Lady Freedom:

“If you notice, her eyes are facing off into the east because the sun never sets on freedom,” he says.  We all look up at her and I sort of say under my breath, “That’s because America is one sexy bitch.”

Final chapter, as they drive from Washington, DC to Redding, CT where Michael lives:

There might not be a worse drive in the United States than the I-95 Northeastern Corridor.  Traffic is always horrible and the view sucks, particularly after you cross the Delaware Water Gap and inch your way up the New Jersey Turnpike.

There was a third page I flagged for some apparent reason but going back to it now, for the life of me, I cannot figure out why I bookmarked it. So instead you’re just left with the above two!

Thanks to Mandy’s Blogger Book Club (#MBBCWRW on Twitter) for providing a hardcover copy of “America, You Sexy Bitch.”

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Thirty Things

Glamour just came out with a new book titled 30  Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30:

And while I have about a year and a half to go before I turn the big dirty 30, I thought it’d be interesting to see how I was doing on the list.

By 30, you should have:

1. One old boyfriend you can imagine going back to and one who reminds you of how far you’ve come.
Well, seeing as I’m married, I won’t be going back to any old boyfriends. However, looking back at the exes, there is one that might still fit the mold. We were just too young to be together (and that serious) at the time. Unfortunately, there’s more than one old boyfriend to remind me of how far I’ve come. But that’s life – you live and learn!

2. A  decent piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in your  family.
We replaced almost all of our furniture within a year or so of moving out here. I don’t really know what’s considered “decent” though. I think it all depends on one’s taste.

3. Something perfect to wear if the employer or man of your dreams wants to see you in an hour.
I think I’ve got something… I have a classic little black dress which would fit the bill. It looks similar to this but scoops a little lower in the front and has a thin belt around the waist.

4. A purse, a suitcase, and an umbrella you’re not ashamed to be seen carrying.

5. A youth you’re content to move beyond.
Absolutely. It’s a part of me and who I am but I have no need to relive it.

6. A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in  your old age.
There are parts of my past that are juicy enough to retell. And parts that are not to be retold!

7. The realization that you are actually going to have an old age—and some money set aside to help fund it.
I joke that my husband and I are squirrel-ers but really, we are. We are savers. Not to the extreme where we have a rigid budget or anything. But we don’t buy breakfast, coffee or lunch during the week. I rarely shop for clothes. We do go out to dinner about once a week. And we love concerts, sporting events and to travel. But we are extremely determined to one day own in Manhattan. And we’re about halfway there. We still live off the same salaries as when we moved here nearly 4 years ago (despite earning more).

8. An email address, a voice  mailbox, and a bank account—all of which nobody has access to but you.
I feel like this one is a little dated… Might have applied when this list was first created but today everyone has all of those. But the whole “nobody has access to but you”? Doesn’t really apply. What’s mine is J’s and vice versa. All bank accounts are joint. He knows most of my passwords because I have nothing to hide.

9. A  résumé that is not even the slightest bit padded.

10. One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry.
This is probably not the “right” answer but for me, it’s J. He can make me laugh, he can let me cry. Tell me when I’m in the wrong or totally right. Yes I have girlfriends that make me laugh but he’s my permanent shoulder to cry on. Well, unless I’m crying about him 😛

11. A set of screwdrivers, a  cordless drill, and a black lace bra.
So I’ve got two of the three down. Want to guess which one I don’t have? The black lace bra. I have a black bra, I have bras with lace. But none black AND lace. But hey, I got screwdrivers and a cordless drill!

12. Something ridiculously expensive  that you bought for yourself, just because you deserve it.
Truthfully, I can’t think of anything. I’m not one to go out and just buy “ridiculously expensive” items. (And now I have a husband who can do that for me!)

13. The belief that you deserve it.

14. A skin-care regimen, an exercise routine, and a plan for dealing with those few facets of life that don’t get better after 30.
Working on this… The skin-care is slowly getting there. Exercise varies – I know what I like and don’t like, just need a little extra time to do it! And those facets of life that don’t get better? Well, that’s just part of life!

15. A solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship, and all those other facets of life that do get better.
Finally got a start on the satisfying career. Absolutely satisfied in my relationship! And everything else? If I’m not satisfied, it will always get better.

By 30, you should know:
1. How to fall in love without losing yourself.

2. How you feel about having kids.
Only real undecided part is the number. We’ll either be “one and done” or two. Have to wait and see I guess.

3. How to quit a job, break up with a man, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship.
Quit my first big girl job almost 3 months ago! As in, I’m going elsewhere and not, I’m graduating/moving/etc.

4. When to try harder and when to walk away.

5. How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next.

6. The names of the secretary of state, your great-grandmothers, and the best tailor in town.
Ms. Hilary. I’ve only known one Great Grandma – Ann. And I don’t know my tailors name (she knows mine though!) but I know where to find her!

7. How to live alone, even if you don’t like to.
Been there, done that – I truly lived alone my first year of law school. And technically my second year but J and I were dating then so he was over a bit. I didn’t mind living alone one bit!

8.  Where to go—be it your best friend’s kitchen table or a yoga mat—when your soul needs soothing.

9. That you can’t change the length of your legs, the width of your hips, or the nature of your parents.
Some days I totally get it. Other days it’s a work in progress. Oh to be female…

10. That your childhood may not have been perfect, but it’s over.
Amen! And I wouldn’t be where I am today otherwise.

11. What you would and wouldn’t do for money or love.
I’d do anything for love, but I won’t do that? Oh Meatloaf.

12. That nobody gets away with smoking, drinking, doing drugs, or not flossing for very long.

13. Who you can trust, who you can’t and why you shouldn’t take it personally

14. Not to apologize for something that isn’t your fault.
And learning to apologize when it IS your fault!

15. Why they say life begins at 30!
Still have a year and a half to go but so far, life has been good 🙂

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Review – “My Year with Eleanor – A Memoir” by Noelle Hancock

J got me a Kindle for our one year anniversary – it was my “paper” gift. I use to read a ton before law school and then just slowed down during/after law school. I was excited to get this because it would get me back into the reading swing of things. And, so far, it has! I read on my commute to work every morning so some books take a little longer than others. (use to be only 20 minutes, now I get a little longer to read)

A former colleague of mine recommended one of her recent book club reads – “My Year with Eleanor – A Memoir” by Noelle Hancock. First off, the author lives/d in NYC so right there I knew I’d probably like it. I love being able to relate to places and surroundings in books. Another similar book situated in NYC is “Escape” by Barbara Delinksy (another good read!).

A description of the book, stolen from Amazon:

After losing her high-octane job as an entertainment blogger, Noelle Hancock was lost. About to turn twenty-nine, she’d spent her career writing about celebrities’ lives and had forgotten how to live her own. Unemployed and full of self-doubt, she had no idea what she wanted out of life. She feared change—in fact, she feared almost everything. Once confident and ambitious, she had become crippled by anxiety, lacking the courage required even to attend a dinner party—until inspiration struck one day in the form of a quote on a chalkboard in a coffee shop:

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
—Eleanor Roosevelt

Painfully timid as a child, Eleanor Roosevelt dedicated herself to facing her fears, a commitment that shaped the rest of her life. With Eleanor as her guide, Noelle spends the months leading up to her thirtieth birthday pursuing a “Year of Fear.” From shark diving to fighter pilot lessons, from tap dancing and stand-up comedy to confronting old boyfriends, her hilarious and harrowing adventures teach her about who she is, and what she can become—lessons she makes vital for all of us.

I seriously couldn’t put the book down. It was so easy to relate to the author. I found myself thinking of all the things that scare me or that I want to do and just don’t do or haven’t done. (See: 30 Before 30 list – I’m making some headway on it though!)

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