Genre: Non-Fiction

Nonfiction Review – The Bird Market of Paris: A Memoir by Nikki Moustaki

November 6, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Non-Fiction, Read in 2014 2 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Nonfiction Review – The Bird Market of Paris: A Memoir by Nikki MoustakiThe Bird Market of Paris: A Memoir by Nikki Moustaki
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) on February 10th 2015
Pages: 256
Genres: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads


four-half-stars

An avian expert and poet shares a true story of beloved birds, a remarkable grandfather, a bad-girl youth—and an astonishing redemption

Nikki Moustaki, author of The Bird Market of Paris, grew up in 1980s Miami, the only child of parents who worked, played, and traveled for luxury sports car dealerships. At home, her doting grandmother cooked for and fed her, but it was her grandfather—an evening-gown designer, riveting storyteller, and bird expert—who was her mentor and dearest companion.

Like her grandfather, Nikki fell hard for birds. "Birds filled my childhood," she writes, "as blue filled the sky." Her grandfather showed her how to hypnotize chickens, sneak up on pigeons, and handle baby birds. He gave her a white dove to release for luck on each birthday. And he urged her to, someday, visit the bird market of Paris.

But by the time Nikki graduated from college and moved to New York City, she was succumbing to alcohol and increasingly unable to care for her flock. When her grandfather died, guilt-ridden Nikki drank even more. In a last-ditch effort to honor her grandfather, she flew to France hoping to visit the bird market of Paris to release a white dove. Instead, something astonishing happened there that saved Nikki’s life.

​’Birds had filled my world the way blue filled sky, with a wholeness so natural that an existence without them seemed a perverse impossibility.’​

The Bird Market of Paris is a memoir detailing the author’s experience growing up in the 1980’s in Miami, Florida. Her parents traveled frequently for business so Nikki spent the majority of her time being raised by her grandparents. Her grandfather, whom she called Poppy, became a close companion to her at an early age and was the one that shared his lifelong accumulation of bird knowledge with her. He taught her how to properly care for them, how to identify them and most importantly how to appreciate them and love them. He also told her the most vibrant stories of his travels across the globe, but the one story that stood out most for her was his descriptions of the Bird Markets in Paris and she vowed to go there someday to experience it firsthand.

I adored the small stories within these pages. The story of how her Poppy would get her a dove every birthday and that they would release it thus ensuring another year of peace until the next birthday dove. The story of how Nikki obtained Bonk, a baby lovebird that caused her desire to care for all the featured creatures to grow. This part of the tale reminded me greatly of a favorite memoir of mine, Wesley the Owl, which details the tremendous bond that develops between bird and human. Other stories weren’t quite as ebullient though. The story of the devastating hurricane that ravaged her house causing her an all-consuming guilt over the deaths of many of her birds that never quite dissipated. And when she lost her grandfather and her alcoholism quickly earned the upper-hand. The stories themselves were compelling enough but it was the authors’ skillful writing that truly captivated me.

The Bird Market of Paris is an incredibly poignant memoir that explores Moustaki’s deep adoration for her grandfather, for birds and her unfortunate decline into alcoholism. The ravaging effects it had on her were thoughtful, raw and brutally depicted. Nikki Moustaki’s story is an intensely affecting and emotional tale that is quite unforgettable.

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Book Review – Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

May 20, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Non-Fiction, Read in 2014 3 Comments

Book Review – Girl, Interrupted by Susanna KaysenGirl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
Published by Vintage on April 19, 1994
Pages: 192
Genres: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


four-stars

In 1967, after a session with a psychiatrist she'd never seen before, eighteen-year-old Susanna Kaysen was put in a taxi and sent to McLean Hospital. She spent most of the next two years in the ward for teenage girls in a psychiatric hospital as renowned for its famous clientele—Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, James Taylor, and Ray Charles—as for its progressive methods of treating those who could afford its sanctuary.

Kaysen's memoir encompasses horror and razor-edged perception while providing vivid portraits of her fellow patients and their keepers. It is a brilliant evocation of a "parallel universe" set within the kaleidoscopically shifting landscape of the late sixties. Girl, Interrupted is a clear-sighted, unflinching document that gives lasting and specific dimension to our definitions of sane and insane, mental illness and recovery.

“The only way to stay sane is to go a little crazy.”

After a phone call to her boyfriend to advise him of her impending suicide, Susan swallowed 50 aspirin then remembered her mother asking her to pick up milk and headed for the store. Her halfhearted suicide attempt, she states, was not an attempt at death but rather an attempt  at partial suicide to get rid of the part of herself that no longer wished to live. A year later on June 15, 1967, she has an appointment with a new psychiatrist and twenty minutes later she’s agreeing to a two week stay at McLean, a psychiatric hospital, for a rest the psychiatrist insists she needs. She remains there until she’s eventually discharged on January 3, 1969.

‘In a strange way we were free. We’d reached the end of the line. We had nothing more to lose. Our privacy, our liberty, our dignity: All of this was gone and were stripped down to the bare bones of our selves.’

Girl, Interrupted is a collection of nonlinear essays that tell of her time spent at McLean hospital. She describes in detail the constant room checks, the punishments, the medications and treatments, the hovering nurses and how their memories of privacy quickly became a thing of the past. The writing is simplistic but powerful and quietly brings to life the claustrophobic horrors of being incarcerated. What was truly startling to me though was the ease in which Susan found herself in this position. Twenty minutes spent with a new psychiatrist and he quickly classified her as having Borderline Personality Disorder and is putting her in a taxi to the local mental hospital. The same hospital that at one time housed Robert Lowell, Anne Sexton and even Sylvia Plath.

‘…my discharge sheet, at line 41, Outcome with Regard to Mental Disorder, reads “Recovered.”‘

These essays are not only a glimpse into life inside a mental institution but are an insightful look into “recovery”. Borderline personality disorder isn’t something that someone can be cured of so her recovery is more or less watching her come to terms with her disorder and learning how to live with it. Girl, Interrupted is a distressing read but one that is replete with immense strength and perseverance.

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Audiobook Review – Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson

February 13, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Read in 2014 9 Comments

Audiobook Review – Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny LawsonLet's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson
Published by Penguin Audio on April 17th 2012
Length: 8 hours and 41 minutes
Genres: Funny-ha-ha, Memoir, Non-Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


five-stars

Internet star Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, makes her literary debut, and narrates this audio version.

Jenny Lawson realized that the most mortifying moments of our lives - the ones we'd like to pretend never happened - are in fact the ones that define us. In Let's Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson takes readers on a hilarious journey recalling her bizarre upbringing in rural Texas, her devastatingly awkward high school years, and her relationship with her long-suffering husband, Victor.

Chapters include: "Stanley the Magical, Talking Squirrel", "A Series of Angry Post-It Notes to My Husband", "My Vagina Is Fine. Thanks for Asking", and "And Then I Snuck a Dead Cuban Alligator on an Airplane".

“I told my boss that I had a book inside of me, and that I needed to get it out even if I had to squeeze it through my vagina. Because that’s exactly what the world needs. A book squeezed from my vagina.”

Jenny Lawson, also known as The Bloggess, is an internet sensation that I only recently became aware of. I’m not quite sure how I survived in life without her hilarious stories to be quite honest. I guess it should be mentioned for those with delicate sensibilities that Jenny cusses a lot, but considering you’re visiting my blog I would expect you’re used to that from me by now.

This book is absolutely fucking hilarious but it’s that type of funny that is only funny when it doesn’t happen to you. Like when Jenny talks about that time she walks into a deer carcass. Or when her dad brought home a talking squirrel only to find it was actually a squirrel puppet and her dads hand was shoved up inside its dead body. Or when Jenny brought home her future in-laws to meet her folks and her dad was out back boiling animal skulls. Or when she practically overdosed on laxatives and a burglar was shoving notes to her from under the bathroom door except it ended up being her cat. (I literally almost fell off the treadmill at the gym laughing at that scene. People were looking at me with serious concern.) But seriously. What horrible things to have to live through. But since I didn’t they were some of the funniest fucking things I have ever heard.

“Oh my God, calm down, Darwin. Don’t get all crazy just ’cause I threw a vampire monkey wrench in your faulty Jesus-zombie logic.”

All of the back and forth verbal sparring between Jenny and Victor was the absolute freaking best but I could go on and on with my favorite scenes. So what the fuck, I will! Like when she asked the nurse if they could make her cesarean scar the shape of a lightning bolt so whenever she had menstrual cramps she could pretend Voldemort was close. Or when she purchased a giant metal chicken (named it Beyonce), put it in front of her front door, rang the doorbell and ran so that she could scare her husband. You cannot make up funnier shit.

“It’s an anniversary gift for you, asshole. Two whole weeks early. FIFTEEN YEARS IS BIG METAL CHICKENS.”

This is a book made for the sole purpose of enjoyment. Because you will laugh, I guaran-fucking-tee it. But the bottom line is this book only goes to show that those crazy moments in life are the character building moments that make us who we are, for better or worse, so you might as well embrace it.

If I’ve (hopefully) convinced any of you to read this, I’ll let you know right now that you absolutely MUST listen to the audio. You’re totally missing out if you don’t. The sound effects were the freaking best and I can’t imagine reading this book without them. There was the cocking shotguns, the crazy clucking chickens and Jenny’s singing introductions and an odd assortment of other sound effects that had me non-stop rolling with laughter. Whenever I finish an audiobook I immediately delete it from my phone and move right on to the next one. But this one stayed put because whenever I’m in need of a gut-busting laugh I’ll always have this on hand to get the job done.

“In short? It is exhausting being me. Pretending to be normal is draining and requires amazing amounts of energy and Xanax.”

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Audiobook Review – Just Kids by Patti Smith

January 10, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Read in 2014 2 Comments

Audiobook Review – Just Kids by Patti SmithJust Kids by Patti Smith
Published by Harper Audio on July 26th 2011
Genres: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Goodreads

Also by this author: M Train

five-stars

It was the summer Coltrane died, the summer of love and riots, and the summer when a chance encounter in Brooklyn led two young people on a path of art, devotion, and initiation.

Patti Smith would evolve as a poet and performer, and Robert Mapplethorpe would direct his highly provocative style toward photography. Bound in innocence and enthusiasm, they traversed the city from Coney Island to Forty-second Street, and eventually to the celebrated round table of Max's Kansas City, where the Andy Warhol contingent held court. In 1969, the pair set up camp at the Hotel Chelsea and soon entered a community of the famous and infamous—the influential artists of the day and the colorful fringe. It was a time of heightened awareness, when the worlds of poetry, rock and roll, art, and sexual politics were colliding and exploding. In this milieu, two kids made a pact to take care of each other. Scrappy, romantic, committed to create, and fueled by their mutual dreams and drives, they would prod and provide for one another during the hungry years.

Just Kids begins as a love story and ends as an elegy. It serves as a salute to New York City during the late sixties and seventies and to its rich and poor, its hustlers and hellions. A true fable, it is a portrait of two young artists' ascent, a prelude to fame.

“‘Nobody sees us as we do, Patti.’ . . . Whenever he said things like that, for a magical space of time, it was as if we were the only two people in the world.”

​Admittedly, I knew next to nothing about Patti Smith or Robert Mapplethorpe before picking up Just Kids. This didn’t prevent me from becoming immediately enthralled in their tale. Patti Smith lived with her parents and slept on a cot in the laundry room until she boarded a bus to New York City with a measly $32 in her pocket. The friends she had planned to stay with had moved but was more serendipitous than she knew because this is where she would first meet Robert Mapplethorpe. Their bond with each other had almost a preternatural feel and was truly extraordinary.

We were Hansel and Gretel and we ventured out into the black forest of the world.​ ​There were temptations and witches and demons we never dreamed of and there was splendor we only partially imagined. No one could speak for these two young people nor tell with any truth of their days and nights together. Only Robert and I could tell it. Our story, as he called it. And, having gone, he left the task to me to tell it to you.​​

​This is a poetic story about a time that I didn’t personally experience. It’s a time period that would be difficult to fathom yet Patti Smith writes with such crisp clarity that allowed her story to truly come to life. Listening to the audio version of this and hearing Patti Smith personally narrate this was a wonderful way to experience this book. (Listen to a clip here.) Just Kids is a poignant story that showcases the innocence of her life before she became​ ​well​ ​​known by the world. ​It’s a stunning yet haunting dirge to everything that once was and everything that was lost.

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Audiobook Review – The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff

August 2, 2013 Bonnie Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Read in 2013 3 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Audiobook Review – The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin HoffThe Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
Narrator: Simon Vance
Published by Tantor Media on January 23rd 2012 (first published 1982)
Length: 2 hrs and 46 mins
Genres: Non-Fiction, Philosophy
Format: Audiobook
Source: the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads


five-stars

Winnie-the-Pooh has a certain Way about him, a way of doing things that has made him the world's most beloved bear. In The Tao of Pooh, Benjamin Hoff shows that Pooh's Way is amazingly consistent with the principles of living envisioned by the Chinese founders of Taoism. The author's explanation of Taoism through Pooh, and Pooh through Taoism, shows that this is not simply an ancient and remote philosophy but something you can use, here and now.And what is Taoism? It's really very simple. It calls for living without preconceived ideas about how life should be lived-but it's not a preconception of how life-it's.... Well, you'd do better to listen to this book, and listen to Pooh, if you really want to find out.

“…the basic Taoism that we are concerned with here is simply a particular way of appreciating, learning from, and working with whatever happens in everyday life. From the Taoist point of view, the natural result of this harmonious way of living is happiness.”

There are some things that I’ve accepted that my brain is just not built to understand. Calculus and Economics are a couple of examples. But the one shining example is Philosophy. My freshman year of college I signed up for Philosophy 101 but I knew right from the start I was going to have difficulty. Most people would have stuck it out and studied super hard, but I? Timed it just right and booked it out of there when the teacher’s back was turned to the class. Yes. I am a coward. So suffice it to say, Philosophy and I don’t have a good track record. But if my Philosophy professor spoke of Philosophy (and maybe incorporated some Pooh-isms into his lecture) as Benjamin Hoff does in ‘The Tao of Pooh’ I think I would have lasted more than 10 minutes.

‘You’d be surprised how many people violate this simple principle every day of their lives and try to fit square pegs into round holes, ignoring the clear reality that Things Are As They Are.’

The Tao of Pooh discusses many Taoist principals by relating them to the characters from Winnie the Pooh. Winnie the Pooh symbolizes the Taoist ideal of a still and calm mind and his ability to accomplish tasks “effortlessly” and is a true personification of the Taoist foundation. At heart ‘The Tao of Pooh’ manages to be a simplified and practical introduction into the ideals of Taoism and how to go about incorporating them into your daily lives in order to change things for the better.

‘You can’t save time. You can only spend it, but you can spend it wisely or foolishly.’

While I had already read this book years past, the narrator of this audiobook was perfection and truly made this book even more spectacular. I had the pleasure of listening to Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner on audio (narrated by Peter Dennis) and I must say that Simon Vance did an incredible job with the different voices of Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore and the rest of the gang from The Hundred Acre Wood. This production was nominated for an Audie in the Solo Narration—Male category and is in my opinion completely deserving of the nomination.

‘The wise know their limitations; the foolish do not.’

While ‘The Tao of Pooh’ may not be the most profound study in Philosophy or Taoism, it makes it clear and concise and thoroughly enlightening.

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Book Review – The Tao of Martha by Jen Lancaster

July 23, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2013 0 Comments

Book Review – The Tao of Martha by Jen LancasterThe Tao of Martha: My Year of LIVING; Or, Why I'm Never Getting All That Glitter Off of the Dog by Jen Lancaster
Published by NAL on June 4th 2013
Pages: 335
Genres: Funny-ha-ha, Memoir, Non-Fiction
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Here I Go Again

two-half-stars

One would think that with Jen Lancaster’s impressive list of bestselling self-improvement memoirs—Bitter Is the New Black; Bright Lights, Big Ass; Such a Pretty Fat; Pretty in Plaid; My Fair Lazy; and Jeneration X—that she would have it all together by now.

One would be wrong.

Jen’s still a little rough around the edges. Suffice it to say, she’s no Martha Stewart. And that is exactly why Jen is going to Martha up and live her life according to the advice of America’s overachieving older sister—the woman who turns lemons into lavender-infused lemonade.

By immersing herself in Martha’s media empire, Jen will embark on a yearlong quest to take herself, her house, her husband (and maybe even her pets) to the next level—from closet organization to craft making, from party planning to kitchen prep.

Maybe Jen can go four days without giving herself food poisoning if she follows Martha’s dictates on proper storage....Maybe she can grow closer to her girlfriends by taking up their boring-ass hobbies like knitting and sewing.…Maybe she can finally rid her workout clothes of meatball stains by using Martha’s laundry tips.… Maybe she can create a more meaningful anniversary celebration than just getting drunk in the pool with her husband....again. And maybe, just maybe, she’ll discover that the key to happiness does, in fact, lie in Martha’s perfectly arranged cupboards and artfully displayed charcuterie platters.

‘…ready or not, happiness, here I come.’

Organization = happiness? That’s what Jen Lancaster has set out to prove. Her life is in dire need of some organization not just within her house but in her life in general and she thinks that in doing so she’ll be less stressful and have more happiness. She decides to emulate the Queen of Organization: Martha Stewart. The Tao of Martha is her personal accounting of incorporating Martha’s ideals into her daily life, both when it goes right and when it goes horribly wrong.

Having read all of Jen’s memoirs, it’s become a requirement to pick any new ones up even if they have steadily declined over the years. I’m thinking it’s a combination of lack of new material that’s actually worth writing about and a dramatic change in lifestyle from what we originally saw in her first memoir ‘Bitter is the New Black’. In ‘Bitter’, Jen is a much more relatable person as she’s struggling to survive as her and her husband both are unemployed. With each memoir she is slowly transforming into the person who talks only of her cleaning ladies, monumentally expensive landscaping plans and her shopping excursions to affluent stores that I couldn’t even afford to breathe the air of. While the writing still manages to sustain (somewhat) the snark that we’ve all come to know and love, the stories have become achingly superficial. Prime example:

‘Shoot, I haven’t even reserved an organic turkey yet! (“I’ll take ‘The Most OverPrivileged First-World Complain to Ever Be Uttered’ for a hundred, Alec!”)’

Admitting that you’re being shallow still doesn’t make it funny.

While there were a few laugh out loud moments, I found the majority of ‘Tao’ to be incredibly boring. Early in the beginning there’s a 7+ page accounting of her cleaning her desk which includes an itemized description of everything she had stored from over the years. (Considering she just moved/bought her house a few years ago, all this excessive garbage she dragged to the new house makes it even less funny. Like the broken wine glass shards. Really?) One thing I’ve always loved about her memoirs is how each chapter is a story in and of itself but in ‘Tao’, again, wondering if she was just running out of material, there were several stories that lacked any sort of point and entertainment value (and a few stories that were entirely way too personal and included info I would rather just not know). Like the chapter where we receive entirely way too much info regarding her digestive system. Or the chapter where she discusses her massive love for zucchini for several pages. Or the bit how she’s attempting to figure out why her roses are dying when her friend points out that she probably shouldn’t be watering them with a high pressure hose (duh?)

While the funnies were lacking in consistency, this was still a fun and easy read that also managed to teach me a few things:
-15 pounds of Easter candy for 9 kids = bad math.
-When gardening make sure you don’t wear your older underwear so ticks can’t crawl up and attach themselves to your lady-parts.
-If I start stocking up on emergency rations, six jars of marshmallow fluff is not essential.
-If my doctor ever prescribes me Ambien, I’m chaining myself to the bed.

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Early Review – A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven by Corey Taylor

July 11, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013 3 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven by Corey TaylorA Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven by Corey Taylor
Published by Da Capo Press on July 16th 2013
Pages: 256
Genres: Ghosties, Memoir, Non-Fiction
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Seven Deadly Sins: Settling the Argument Between Born Bad and Damaged Good, House of Gold & Bones, You're Making Me Hate You: A Cantankerous Look at the Common Misconception That Humans Have Any Common Sense Left

four-half-stars

In this book, Corey Taylor undertakes something never before attempted in the history of rock superstardom: he takes you with him as he journeys undercover through various ghostbusting groups who do their best to gather information and evidence about the existence of spirits. Some are more credible than others, and, frankly, some are completely insane, but all are observed with appropriate seriousness as Taylor attempts to better understand some of the spooky things that have happened to him in his life, especially that night at the Cold House.

But that’s not all, folks. Taylor once again gives you a behind-the-scenes tour of his crazy life and the many beyond-the-grave events he’s encountered. (You’ll be shocked how often Slipknot has been invaded by the supernatural.) Taylor also touches on his religious background and how it led him to believe in much more than the Man in the Sky.

‘Thinking back now, it was really just a creepy house that creaked and shuddered, but to impressionable nine-year-olds, it was the vacation spot of the devil itself.’

To give you all a proper introduction for those who are unaware, Corey Taylor is the lead singer of Slipknot and Stone Sour and the author of Seven Deadly Sins. ‘A Funny Thing Happened’ is a worthy follow-up novel and another tantalizing look into the mind of an incredibly interesting man.

At face value I was expecting ‘A Funny Thing Happened’ to be a random smattering of ghostly encounters he has had over the years, and it is, yet it’s a fascinating exploration into the reasoning behind ghosts. His scientific details will definitely get you wondering because his hypotheses generated some genuinely possible answers. Surprisingly intellectual and educational, ‘A Funny Thing Happened’ is definitely a conduit that spurs some serious debates regarding the existence of the paranormal.

‘Cynics will claims that my “eyewitness accounts” can easily be described as “flights of fancy,” or “the trappings of an overactive imagination.” […] the one I hate even worse than those others: “You saw what you wanted to see and nothing more.”

Let me fucking telling you something: I did not want to see this shit, and I still do not want to see this shit.’

A Funny Thing Happened is written with a humor that is harsh and biting yet oh so entertaining. This is a man that isn’t afraid to speak his mind yet is graciously considerate of others beliefs. He’s mindful and respectful of others beliefs regardless of whether or not he shares them. Simply put, he is a man of many opinions and isn’t afraid to share… such as it should be.

‘Belief is a gift you should cherish; knowledge is a gift you should never squander.’

This book is like one big discussion, all topics are left open to interpretation, without concrete facts, just mindful musings and hypotheses. It will definitely generate antithetical opinions, however, approach this with an open mind and you may find yourself actually considering the possibilities of an alternate opinion. Or maybe you’ll remain a skeptic. Either way, this book will definitely leave you something to ponder.

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Banned Books Week – The Heroin Diaries: A Year In The Life Of A Shattered Rock Star by Nikki Sixx

October 5, 2012 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2012 0 Comments

Banned Books Week – The Heroin Diaries: A Year In The Life Of A Shattered Rock Star by Nikki SixxThe Heroin Diaries: A Year In The Life Of A Shattered Rock Star by Nikki Sixx
Published by MTV Books on September 18th 2005
Pages: 432
Genres: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


four-stars

In one of the most unique memoirs of addiction ever published, Mötley Crüe's Nikki Sixx shares mesmerizing diary entries from the year he spiraled out of control in a haze of heroin and cocaine, presented alongside riveting commentary from people who were there at the time, and from Nikki himself.
When Mötley Crüe was at the height of its fame, there wasn't any drug Nikki Sixx wouldn't do. He spent days -- sometimes alone, sometimes with other addicts, friends, and lovers -- in a coke and heroin-fueled daze. The highs were high, and Nikki's journal entries reveal some euphoria and joy. But the lows were lower, often ending with Nikki in his closet, surrounded by drug paraphernalia and wrapped in paranoid delusions.

Here, Nikki shares those diary entries -- some poetic, some scatterbrained, some bizarre -- and reflects on that time. Joining him are Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars, Slash, Rick Nielsen, Bob Rock, and a host of ex-managers, ex-lovers, and more.

Brutally honest, utterly riveting, and shockingly moving, The Heroin Diaries follows Nikki during the year he plunged to rock bottom -- and his courageous decision to pick himself up and start living again.

‘Welcome to my nightmare.’

On December 23, 1987 Nikki Sixx, bassist from Motley Crue, overdosed on heroin and was pronounced dead, but was miraculously revived by paramedics with two injections of adrenalin to the heart. The Heroin Diaries are his personal diary entries the year leading up to this day.

‘My bones were shaking…my heart was pounding…I thought I was going to explode. I’m glad I have you to talk to, to write this down…I tried to keep it all together, but then I gave in to the madness and became one with my insanity…’

Dealing with depression and a troubling childhood on top of his addictions, The Heroin Diaries is a brutal and raw recollection of life in a downward spiral but was nothing less than fascinating. Fascinating, in that he’s still alive today. December 23, 1987 was not his only encounter with death and certainly didn’t prevent him from staying away from drugs completely afterwards but it set in motion the changes he undergoes to get his life under control.

‘I can’t find a way out of this hole. i would like to say to myself, If you’re in a hole, put down the shovel, but I can’t.’

I burned through it in record time; I was fascinated, appalled, and beyond shocked with each page. This was a brutally honest depiction of the life of an addict, and I applaud him for having the strength to put this out there for all to see. I loved the various pictures, illustrations, and especially the current statements from people (that are still living) that were witnesses to the events that took place. Not what I would consider an ‘easy read’ but is definitely worth your time.

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Audiobook Review – I Suck at Girls by Justin Halpern

July 5, 2012 Bonnie Adult, Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Read in 2012 0 Comments

Audiobook Review – I Suck at Girls by Justin HalpernI Suck at Girls by Justin Halpern
Published by Harper Audio on May 15th 2012
Length: 4 hours and 10 minutes
Genres: Funny-ha-ha, Memoir, Non-Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


two-stars

"Growing up, every time I saw a men's magazine cover that had a headline about '73 Ways to Please Your Girlfriend', all I could think was 'I'm good with one; just tell me one way to please her. Also, I don't have a girlfriend. Is there an article about that?'"

Soon after Sh*t My Dad Says began to take off, comic writer Justin Halpern decided to propose to his then girlfriend. But before doing so, he asked his dad's advice, which was very, very simple (and surprisingly clean): "Just take a day to think about it." This book is that day. Crossing the warmth of The Wonder Years with the candour and observational humour of David Sedaris, this follow-up to the hottest comedy debut of last year is a hilarious, toe-curlingly true book about life, and love.

After loving the random tweets from Justin Halpern I was ecstatic to read his debut full-length novel. Sh*t My Dad Says was absolutely hilarious and had me laughing profusely. Clearly, I was on board for anything else this man came out with.

Unfortunately it was a pretty huge disappointment as far as what I was anticipating. I Suck at Girls chronicles the authors bad experiences with girls which dates back to his early childhood. Obviously the intention of these stories is humor; however, I ended up feeling sorry for the poor guy more than anything. His first crush gets him in trouble after he spends all night drawing her one seriously disturbing picture, his dream prom ends up being a nightmare, he doesn’t lose his virginity until he’s 20, the first two people he slept with ended up leaving town shortly after… the list goes on. We see a lot less of ‘dad’ in this one and he was definitely the highlight of the story. Considering I can count the number of times I laughed out loud on a single hand (and they were only short chuckles at that) and the fact that the writing itself was less than mediocre and the humor felt forced this one does not receive high marks from me.

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Cookbook Review – Allergy-Friendly Food for Families

March 12, 2012 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011 0 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Cookbook Review – Allergy-Friendly Food for FamiliesAllergy-Friendly Food for Families by Editors of Kiwi Magazine
Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing on April 10th 2012
Pages: 256
Genres: Non-Fiction
Format: eBook
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads


three-stars

Feeding a family with food allergies doesn’t have to be boring or tasteless. Kiwi, the premier magazine about raising families the natural and organic way, presents 120 great recipes to keep your family happy, healthy and sane.

Allergy-Friendly Food for Families is the most trustworthy, comprehensive, practical, and kid-friendly collection of recipes that exists for the important and growing audience of allergy-aware families. Unlike other allergy cookbooks, this book covers not one or two allergens, but the five most common allergens in kids: wheat, dairy, eggs, nuts, and soy. Each of the 120 recipes is free of at least three of these allergens; most are free of all five.

When parents are desperate for ideas for what to make for dinner (or lunch, or snack time), they want recipes from someone they trust, for food that tastes good, that doesn't require a lot of fancy ingredients, and that the whole family can eat. Allergy-Friendly Food for Families is the ultimate resource. From the three crucial mealtimes (breakfast, lunch, dinner) to the "fun" foods families can't live without (desserts, snacks, parties), parents are completely covered. Perhaps most importantly, all of these recipes are simple for parents to make.

Recipes such as Carrot Cake Breakfast Cookies, Pear Yogurt Dunkers, Good-for-you Nachos, Polenta Mini Pizzas, Giant Cookie Cake, Veggie Bite Soup, and Cool Zucchini Noodles will make kids forget they have allergies. Parents will love the additional informational sections on spotting food allergies, stocking an allergy-free pantry, deciphering labels, and other frequently asked questions.

Food should be delicious; family time should be fun. This book reflects those values.

I was extremely interested in taking a look at this cookbook as I’m plagued by several food allergies and it can be downright difficult for me to find a recipe I can follow to a T without having to replace this and that. When I read ‘120 Gluten-Free Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, Egg-Free, and Soy-Free Recipes Everyone Will Love’ I thought I had found the cookbook of all cookbooks; however, it ended up being just like any other cookbook I’ve picked up. My interpretation of the SubTitle was that ALL of their recipes were gluten-freen, dairy-free, etc, when in reality it was a gluten free recipe and then a dairy free recipe; there were few recipes that were actually free of all the common allergens. This brought nothing new and I still found myself replacing ingredients in order for me to be able to eat it.

Another thing that I love from a good cookbook is the pictures that correspond with the recipes and I found pictures weren’t provided for all recipes. There were some interesting recipes that I did try and (after substituting) did actually enjoy, but as I said above this really didn’t bring anything new to the cookbooks I already own.

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