Reviews

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

Trigger Warnings: This title contains the following topics that might be difficult for some readers such as: cheating, profanity, sexual assault.

  • Published: August 16, 2016 by Simon & Schuster Audio
  • Genre: Memoir
  • Edition: Audiobook
  • Time length: 8 hours
  • Rating: 3.5 stars

The Emmy Award-winning comedian, actress, writer, and star of Inside Amy Schumer and the acclaimed film Trainwreck has taken the entertainment world by storm with her winning blend of smart, satirical humor. Now, Amy Schumer has written a refreshingly candid and uproariously funny collection of (extremely) personal and observational essays.

In The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy mines her past for stories about her teenage years, her family, relationships, and sex and shares the experiences that have shaped who she is-a woman with the courage to bare her soul to stand up for what she believes in, all while making us laugh.

Ranging from the raucous to the romantic, the heartfelt to the harrowing, this highly entertaining and universally appealing collection is the literary equivalent of a night out with your best friend-an unforgettable and fun adventure that you wish could last forever. Whether she’s experiencing lust-at-first-sight while in the airport security line, sharing her own views on love and marriage, admitting to being an introvert, or discovering her cross-fit instructor’s secret bad habit, Amy Schumer proves to be a bighearted, brave, and thoughtful storyteller that will leave you nodding your head in recognition, laughing out loud, and sobbing uncontrollably-but only because it’s over.

This year, I have taken it upon myself to read more memoirs, specifically celebrity memoirs. I had originally made the decision to skip this one; I love Amy Schumer, don’t get me wrong, but I just didn’t think that she would write about any topics I would consider important. I can now admit that I couldn’t have been more wrong! Schumer’s writing style reminds me of Gabrielle Union in her memoir: We’re Going to Need More Wine. The author openly discusses her struggles with her readers, openly throws out profanity, and openly gives readers a glimpse into her personality aside from the humor we have grown to adore.

To the outside world, it is easy to picture Amy Schumer as having the perfect life, but that wasn’t always the case for the comedienne. Schumer does not shy away from providing her readers with background information about her rough upbringing; she writes about how her mother’s cheating had consequences beyond her family, about how her family wasn’t wealthy and she had to work several jobs throughout her adolescence in order to cover expenses, about how her father was diagnosed with an illness that made it difficult for them to spend time with one another more often, and more that you won’t want to miss out on.

I don’t know if I’m the only one that feels this way, but I often feel as if celebrities avoid opening themselves up to their readers and connecting on a deeper level; unfortunately, this results in a book filled with content that is already public knowledge and a disappointing read. However, I’m happy to announce that Amy’s book was the opposite; I know that profanity may not be every reader’s cup of tea, but it happens to be mine. I felt like the author’s use of vulgar language made her more relatable and provided me with many opportunities to laugh.

Readers are probably well aware of Schumer’s comedic acts and generally associate her with being funny, but in this book she shines a light on some other important traits she exhibits: authenticity, honesty, empathy, kindness…the list goes on and on, but I’ll let you read the book to discover the rest! The author makes you feel as if you are sharing a table with her and engaging in meaningful conversations; she doesn’t once try to sugarcoat things to make herself appear in a better light. There’s a particular chapter in which she discusses how she gave her bonus from one performance to those that work for her and by donating it to a charity that supported veterans; this made me admire her a little bit more because I feel like more celebrities should make an effort in supporting the less fortunate.

This is a book that I feel will stay with me for many more months to come and I highly recommend this book for those that love listening to audiobooks, for those that love learning more about certain celebrities, or for those that love having a quick, light read.

Reviews

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

Trigger Warning: This book contains the following topics that might be difficult for certain readers: bullying, death, physical abuse, suicide, violence.

  • Publication date: October 8, 2019 by Wednesday Books
  • Genres: Dystopian, Suspense, Young Adult
  • Edition: Kindle
  • Page length: 407
  • Rating: 4 stars

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.

In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

This novel just recently began circulating around on social media sites, but I originally discovered this one from seeing an Instagram review from @itsahardbacklife4me. I was hesitant to give it a read because it was being marketed as a young adult dystopian novel, which is a genre that I have not given much attention to. However, I’m so happy that I stepped out of my comfort zone because this one has become one of my top favorites for the year!

In Garner County, the time for another grace year has arrived; a punishment for girls aged sixteen due to the town’s belief that they possess magic that creates temptations for the male inhabitants. This year, Tierney James is the next girl in her household to receive this suffering. She will be one of thirty-three girls sent into the woods to begin working on expelling her magic, battling the harsh elements, and avoiding death at the hands of poachers.

Once the girls arrive to their destination, one girl in particular seems to demand control over the others: Kiersten Jenkins. She begins making claims that her magic has already came in and sets out to release the magical abilities for others in the encampment. Tierney, however, does not feel like she possesses any type of magic and quickly becomes an enemy of Kiersten’s when she expresses that she is not interested in her offer.

It’s the beginning of autumn when the girls arrive at their encampment. They start assessing their surroundings and conclude that the confinement lacks clean drinking water, adequate food supply, and the resources to stay warm during the upcoming winter. Tierney’s father, the county’s healer, taught his daughter basic survival skills that prove to be beneficial; she builds rain barrels that will collect rainwater that is safer for the group to drink, she uses seeds her sister provided to grow produce, and chops down some trees to use as firewood. However, all her efforts go unappreciated by the other girls as they begin separating themselves from her and continue to obey the instructions of Kiersten.

As if the elements of nature wasn’t enough to worry about, the bigger threat remains in poachers. The poachers hide outside of the encampment waiting for a grace girl to venture outside the boundaries; the poachers hunt down grace year girls and offer up their corpses in exchange for payment.

At the end of their trial, only fifteen girls managed to survive. The events of the year have caused the remaining girls to be forever changed and they decide to join forces and leave the encampment in better conditions than previous years. If you haven’t read this one yet, be sure to preorder now from Target, Amazon, or any other place you shop for books. If you love dystopian novels, the Handmaid’s Tale series, or want an empowering read on your TBR, then be sure to give this one a read!

* I was given an advanced reader’s copy of this book via NetGalley and MacMillan in exchange for an honest review.

Reviews

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

  • Published: February 5, 2019 by Celadon Books
  • Genre: Psychological Thriller
  • Edition: Kindle
  • Pages: 297
  • Rating: 5 stars

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him….

When I first joined “bookstagram” in April of this year, this book was all the rage. I immediately placed a hold for a copy at my local library fairly soon after seeing all the publicity the book was receiving; after waiting around four months for my hold to come through, I finally had the chance to sit down and read this thriller. I’ll be honest, halfway through this book it was looking to be a solid three star read for me; however, towards the end it took a turn and pulled out all kinds of twists that blew my mind.

The story starts out with Alicia being committed to a mental facility due to the murder of her husband, where she begins a vow of silence. Theo, a psychotherapist, has been waiting for an opportunity to meet Alicia and be the one to get her to speak again; when a position opens up at the facility housing her, Theo hops on it and ends up filling the role. Throughout the course of their therapy sessions, both individuals begin to uncover the events surrounding the murder. The answers they uncover will not only leave them in shock, but the readers as well!

There is so much that I want to spill about this book and its contents, but it’s impossible to do so without revealing any spoilers. I want to take a moment and state, though, that if you have not read this one yet: grab a copy today and get to reading! This book is the perfect cure for those facing the dreaded reading slump or those facing a tough choice on what book would make the ultimate creepy read for Halloween.

Reviews

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

  • Published: August 6, 2019 by Delacorte Press
  • Genres: Fantasy, Teen, Young Adult
  • Edition: Hardcover
  • Pages: 416
  • Rating: 3 stars

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor with her sisters and their father and stepmother. Once there were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last–the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge–and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that her sister’s deaths were no accidents. The girls have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who–or what–are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family–before it claims her next. House of Salt and Sorrows is a spellbinding novel filled with magic and the rustle of gossamer skirts down long, dark hallways. Get ready to be swept away.

Book of the Month YA made this book one of their five picks for the month of August. I chose this book initially due to the stunning cover, but when I began reading this one as part of a buddy read with @happygolovelysleeves and @literarypengwyns I quickly found myself devouring it. The author combines family with a combination of magic and mystery; it ultimately makes the novel a fast-paced read that can’t be put down for long.

The Thaumas family has endured a lot of death and mourning within their household lately, so much so that everyone is convinced they are cursed; the introduction has the readers attending the funeral of Eulalie, who is the fourth sister out of twelve to die. Ava died after battling the plague; Octavia fell from a ladder; Elizabeth drowned in her own bathtub; Eulalie, last but not least, fell to her death from a cliff. However, it is the last death that has Annaleigh questioning whether her death was an accident, or if it could possibly have been a murder.

There is so much that this plot unveils to the readers that it is difficult to give a spoilers-free review, but I will do my best. Annaleigh, who is second in line to the throne next to sister Camille, begins investigating the circumstances surrounding Eulalie’s death; the others may be convinced that it was an accident, but she cannot seem to shake off the feeling that it was anything but. The journey is an exciting one: a secret is exposed, an old crush returns home, another family death, attending magical balls, a family member having peculiar visions…this book contains a little bit of everything!

Craig’s writing is wonderful and her characters are well-thought out, but my only issues with the book occur towards the end of the storyline. Towards the end, the author throws out some unfamiliar characters and that led to some confusion for me; she also uses one character in particular as part of the ending, which also confused me a bit. I feel like if Craig had provided more insight onto the history of the gods and developed some of the prominent characters she included in the ending, then I may have felt less confused and as if she had rushed the ending. However, this book is still worth reading and I’d recommend it for those that love fantasy, for those that are familiar with the Twelve Dancing Princesses, or those that want to read something different for them.

Reviews

Josh & Hazel’s Guide To Not Dating by Christina Lauren

  • Published: September 4, 2018 by Gallery Books
  • Genre: Comedy, Romance
  • Edition: E-book
  • Pages: 320
  • Rating: 3.5 stars

Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.

Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.

Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them…right?

I must confess that I am one of the few readers that is not a fan of romantic comedies; I find the genre too cheesy and predictable. After reading The Unhoneymooners by this writing duo earlier this year and surprisingly enjoying it, I knew I wanted to read another of their works. I couldn’t pass this one up, as it was everywhere on my social media feed; I’m glad I didn’t pass this one up because it has a little bit of something for everyone: endearing friendships, humor, and the right amount of steamy scenes.

There were two prominent friendships that I fell in love with while reading this book. The first would be the bond between Hazel and her best friend, Emily. From the very beginning, the readers understand that Hazel is a person that has her quirks and that she can be on the wild side. This information doesn’t affect Emily’s views on her; she always looks out for Hazel and keeps her in check without preventing her from staying authentic. The second relationship would be that between Hazel and her mother. Hazel’s mother is eccentric in her own right and she is the reason that Hazel has managed to stay true to herself despite it hindering her in the dating world; they share an open line of communication and she always seems to know what Hazel needs, even if she is trying to convince herself it isn’t.

I absolutely adored Hazel’s character; she reminds me of myself: funny with no filter involved. This trait of Hazel’s provides for some lighthearted reading with ample amounts of laughter. For example, there’s a scene where she sends an email to her TA while being heavily sedated on pain killers after an oral surgery; another scene involves playing bingo for a prize that will have you laughing too. Basically, each chapter will have you laughing and it’s always nice to have a read like that to pull you out of a slump or serve as a refreshment after a heavy read.

A title that includes the word dating, it is a no-brainer to expect some level of sexual content to be involved. I think this duo knows how to provide sexy content, without overdoing it. It keeps the storyline in check and prevents any cringing from occurring. I would definitely recommend this book for those that love rom-coms, those that have read works by this pair, or those that enjoy quick, lighthearted reads.

I read this book via Scribd. If you’d like to try out this book subscription service FREE for ONE MONTH, click here: https://www.scribd.com/g/7ovkvo

Reviews

Unanswered Verses by Tajammul Kothari

Photo taken from Goodreads
  • Published August 1, 2018 by Amazon
  • Genre: Poetry
  • Edition: E-Pub
  • Pages: 51
  • Rating: 3 stars

Unanswered Verses is a collection of poems that strives to capture the varied emotions of life in its rawest form. It aims to indulge the reader in asking questions pertaining to the three entities that govern our lives. Namely the mind, the heart and the soul. Written in a simple and lucid manner, the book is divided into three chapters related to the attainment of peaceful bliss, love and worldly freedom.

I have not read many poetry-based books, but I found myself pleasantly surprised to have enjoyed this one. This book contains several poems that cover a wide variety of topics: bullying, cheating, addiction, anger, etc. My top favorite poems were titled: Prelude, Harassed, Addiction, Unrequited, and The Affair.

Every individual has questioned the meaning of life at some point in their lifetime; in the poem titled Prelude, which serves as the book’s introduction, the person feels like no matter where he/she turns, whether religiously or to others, the answer to life’s meaning is still nowhere in sight.

Every night I cry silently

Hoping that tomorrow they won’t bother me

In the poem, Harassed, the author talks about a child being afraid to attend school due to being bullied. This one tugged at my heartstrings; the author makes you feel like you’re the child and as if the pranks and torture this child feels from his/her bullies is your own.

How I wish I could turn back the clock

Then I would have ignored and looked away

And my life would have been different than what it has become today

Addiction was a poem that spoke to me from the title alone; I’ve never personally suffered from addiction, but have several family members battling the disease. In this particular piece, the author details the how easy it is to pick up a new drug due to peer pressure, not thinking about the long-term consequences. The reader learns that the individual gets hooked from the very first use and is fast forwarded to ten years later with the person still struggling to end the cycle of addiction, but with no avail.

The poem titled “Unrequited” tells the story of a love story with a heartbreaking ending. A guy ends up falling in love with a woman, whom he has established a long-term friendship with. One day, the contact between the two comes to a screeching halt and he drops everything to fly out to see what is the matter; however, once he arrives he is informed that she has recently gotten married.

I closed my eyes for a few moments

Hoping this was just a dream

I felt her warm body embracing me

Opened my eyes and saw no one was there

I rejoiced thinking I had hallucinated

Yet I could smell the dirty stink of betrayal

Last, but not least, The Affair is pretty self-explanatory. A man and his wife have not had much time together in awhile and he decides to try doing something romantic for her, but comes home to see that she has had a romantic evening with someone else. Later, he wakes up next to her and believes he has dreamed of her betrayal; however, the smell of the encounter still lingers in the air.

I want to take a moment and thank Kajammul Kothari for reaching out to me and providing me with a copy of his book in exchange for a honest review.

Reviews

Sweet Poisons by Natalie Bennett

  • June 18, 2019
  • Genres: New Adult, Romance
  • Edition: Kindle
  • Pages: 236
  • Rating: 3 stars

Rhett Sullivan.

Mysterious boy painted in shades of red.

Nova Markov
Eccentric girl dripping in sunshine.

He was the type mother’s warned their little girls about—a cocky, rich asshole with a pretty smile, unapologetically insane and wild.

I was the type guys like him usually ignored—a free spirit who hid my crazy beneath an odd good girl facade, and the art hanging on my studio walls.

We were opposites in every way but one, and we collided like two runaway trains that never had a chance of stopping.

What blossomed between us, our ‘relationship’, was maniacal.

We got stuck in a cycle of madness.

Rhett Sullivan became a bittersweet poison I couldn’t get enough of.

In the end, that’s what destroyed me.

Because in the end?
Our love was nothing but a lie.

Author note: I said I was done slapping warning labels on my book babies this year, but since I have never written full on NA yet, I’m going to give a tiny one now. This will be the only label this duet will have. If you are not a fan of twisted stories that deal with dark themes, rich assholes, and lots of filthy sex, this will not appeal to you. This couple is not unicorns and rainbows and neither is their story

I must confess that the main reason I decided to checkout this book was because of its cover; the cover oozes darkness, but with an adequate amount of sensuality. After reading the book’s synopsis, however, I knew this was one I had to read; boy, must I say, it didn’t disappoint! From the beginning of this book, I was hooked and ended up finishing it in one sitting.

Honestly, I’ve never been a fan of romantic novels; I find those reads to be redundant and predictable. If you think this book is going to be another one of those reads, then you are mistaken and are best to leave this one behind. Yes, this book follows a budding romance between Nova and Rhett, but it is far from a “match made in heaven” or having a “fairy-tale ending.”

Nova is a twenty-two year old who has recently experienced the loss of her parents while Rhett is the mysterious new guy around town. As best as Nova tries to keep her distance from Rhett, their paths continue to cross and she finds herself no longer trying to push him away. However, the newfound relationship is in jeopardy of being destroyed before it even has a chance to evolve into something long-lasting; Rhett has a secret he’s hiding and when Nova begins to uncover the truth, the outcome will be unexpected for both of them.

I would recommend this book to those that enjoy romance novels that have a darker storyline. This book contains expletive language, sex, and violence; if mentions of these topics are triggering for you, then I highly suggest you steering clear of this book altogether.

Last, but not least, I want to thank Giselle for having me be a part of this Xpresso Book Tours event.

Reviews

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

  • Published: July 2, 2019 by Penguin Random House Audio
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Edition: Audiobook
  • Time length: 10 hours
  • Rating: 2 stars

No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings.

Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind. As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story…until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.

Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew’s sordid past and into the secrets kept within its walls. What she discovers pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.

At the start of this book, the readers are introduced to Jules Larson. Her life has not been an easy one; her sister, Jane, went missing at the age of seventeen has yet to be found and her parents died when she was nineteen. She has recently broken up with her boyfriend and is currently crashing at her best friend’s house until she can find a job that will allow her to have her own living space. This makes it easier to understand why Jules acts quickly when she sees an ad seeking an “apartment sitter” for the luxury building named the Bartholomew. The protagonist meets the employer for an interview and is offered the position; she will stay in the apartment for three months and receive twelve thousand dollars after the entirety of her stay. However, the position comes with certain rules that must not be broken; at the beginning, the rules do not seem to be an issue until her next door neighbor, Ingrid, goes missing.

Ingrid and Jules had made plans to meet up at a nearby park when Ingrid turns out to be a no-show. After several texts go unanswered, Jules confronts the employer on her whereabouts. The employer of the building provides little explanation to her sudden disappearance, but does tell Jules that Ingrid left in the middle of the night and the apartment was left the way she found it. Jules, unable to accept this news, decides to start an investigation and questions the other residents hoping to uncover clues that will aid in finding her neighbor. Sadly, the other inhabitants provide little to no information that is helpful; this leaves Jules on her own to uncover the truth and it lands her in the fight for her life.

It is at this point in the book that the plot falls flat for me. I do not want to give too much away, so I will just state that the “twist” the author introduces as an explanation to the disappearance(s) comes out of nowhere. Sager does not lay down any sort of foundation that serves as a build-up to this development, which made it hard to follow and leaves quite a bit of loose-ends that I feel needed tied-up. I also found it frustrating that the author provided no resolution for Jane’s disappearance as it seems she was prominent in the protagonist’s character development. This is the first book that I have read by this author and even though it was not the book for me, I will look into reading other works by him.

*I listened this book on Scribd. If you would like to have ONE FREE MONTH of this book subscription service then click this link: https://www.scribd.com/g/7ovkvo

Reviews

The Whisper Man by Alex North

  • Published: August 20, 2019 by Celadon Books
  • Genres: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Edition: Kindle
  • Pages: 368
  • Rating: 3 stars

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…

Everyday, I would log onto my “bookstagram” and see several fellow readers currently reading this book, or giving it a five star review. The hype made me eager to get my hands on a copy of this book; I tried NetGalley and Edelweiss+ to no avail. I finally obtained a Kindle copy once the book was released and sadly, it missed the mark for me.

From other reviews, this book was supposedly creepy and not the type of read for late nights; however, I found it not creepy at all. Maybe I have a higher threshold hold for all things creepy since I love the works of Stephen King and other authors of horror? Aside from that, I found myself having a hard time getting into the story. The author throws in a lot of subplots without a clear explanation; for example: Jake’s ghost friend, or Pete’s connection to Jake and Tom.

Even though this book wasn’t a five star read for me like it was for many others, I would still recommend this book to those who enjoy reading books in this category because it’s still a quick and enjoyable read. Who knows? You may find that your opinion is different from mine! That’s the beauty of reading; everyone reacts differently to what they read.

*I read this book via a buddy read hosted by the lovely Hannah, a.k.a. @girlsturnpages. She’s such a sweetheart and her account features several beautiful bookish posts. Go give her a follow at: https://www.instagram.com/girlsturnpages/

Reviews

Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison

  • Published: June 23, 2015 by Dey Street Books
  • Edition: E-book
  • Page length: 355
  • Rating: 3 stars

The shocking, never-before-told story of the bizarre world inside the legendary Playboy Mansion—and, finally, the secret truth about the man who holds the key—from one of the few people who truly knows: Hef’s former #1 girlfriend and star of The Girls Next Door

A spontaneous decision at age twenty-one transformed small-town Oregon girl Holly Sue Cullen into Holly Madison, Hugh Hefner’s #1 girlfriend. But like Alice’s journey into Wonderland, after Holly plunged down the rabbit hole, what seemed like a fairytale life inside the Playboy Mansion—including A-list celebrity parties and her own #1-rated television show for four years—quickly devolved into an oppressive routine of strict rules, manipulation, and battles with ambitious, backstabbing bunnies. Life inside the notorious Mansion wasn’t a dream at all—and quickly became her nightmare. After losing her identity, her sense of self-worth, and her hope for the future, Holly found herself sitting alone in a bathtub contemplating suicide.

But instead of ending her life, Holly chose to take charge of it.

In this shockingly candid and surprisingly moving memoir, this thoughtful and introspective woman opens up about life inside the Mansion, the drugs, the sex, the abuse, the infamous parties, and her real behind-the-scenes life with Bridget, Kendra, and, of course, Mr. Playboy himself.

With great courage, Holly shares the details of her subsequent troubled relationship, landing her own successful television series, and the hard work of healing, including her turn on Dancing with the Stars. A cautionary tale and a celebration of personal empowerment, Down the Rabbit Hole reminds us of the importance of fighting for our dreams—and finding the life we deserve.

Holly Madison is mainly known as being number one girlfriend to Hugh Hefner, but in this book the readers get to see her in a different light. Madison gives inside scoop on the feuds going on with the other females she was living with, her battle with depression, and how she ultimately overcame it and found a new life.

When Holly Madison was given the invitation to live in the Playboy Mansion, she didn’t hesitate to accept; it felt like a dream come true for her, but that quickly changed. Madison describes the rivalry she faced with the other females and how they all seemed to stick around long enough to become the centerfold before deciding to up and run. Luckily, she did befriend one woman: Bridget Marquardt; Marquardt remains one of her closest friends till this day.

If the hostility with the housemates wasn’t enough to deal with when Hef started limited Madison’s independence, she knew she couldn’t stay around that atmosphere for much longer. The decision didn’t come easily to Holly; Hef had taken her under his wing when she was struggling to make it on her own and he had blessed her with some of the greatest luxuries life could provide. When she took all those things into consideration, her thoughts of leaving seemed like the ultimate betrayal; however, she knew that her happiness and well-being was what mattered most and that was confirmation for her to leave.

After she managed to leave Hef and everything with him behind, she found herself in a new relationship with Criss Angel. At first the pair was happy, but Holly quickly noticed Angel to be jealous and possessive over her; it didn’t take long until the couple were fighting constantly and the toll of the relationship caused her to spin into a deep depression. Madison ended up being put on an antidepressant called Effexor, which causes a high dependency rate, and she struggled for years to wean herself off the drug completely after ended the relationship with Criss.

Through all the craziness that was thrown the author’s way, there was light at the end of the tunnel when she found her husband. The two now share a daughter together, Rainbow Aurora.

I’d recommend this book to those that would like to know more about Holly’s life during the Playboy years or those that enjoy celebrity memoirs.