BOOK REVIEW: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara

35068432Michelle McNamara hit a home run with this true-crime book about her obsessive search to find the serial rapist and murderer who she dubbed the Golden State Killer.  This book tells the story of her search for the elusive killer.  McNamara passed away 2 years before her book could be published — and the book was finished after her death by her husband, American actor Patton Oswalt, with the help of writers.

This brilliantly told story of the serial rapist and murderer, who is believed to have committed over 45 rapes and 12 murders,  is more disturbing then any slasher film — because it is real — it really happened.

If you read any true crime book this year, make sure it is this one.

Check out this book on Goodreads: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35068432-i-ll-be-gone-in-the-dark

BOOK REVIEW: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

34273236I really liked Little Fires Everywhere.  Opening with a fire in the Richardsons’ home, this book delves into the past to tell the story of the complicated reasons why one of the main characters and the black sheep of the family, Izzy Richardson, set her family home ablaze. “Sometimes you need to scorch everything to the ground, and start over. After the burning the soil is richer, and new things can grow. People are like that, too. They start over. They find a way.”

The main theme of this book is what makes a mother a mother? Blood alone or love? The author carries this theme through 3 main storylines (which I will not divulge as it would spoil the overall story).

At the center of the book are two families, the Warrens and the Richardsons, and more precisely the juxtaposition between the matriarch of each family, Mia Warren and Elena Richardson.  “One had followed the rules, and one had not. But the problem with rules… was that they implied a right way and a wrong way to do things. When, in fact, most of the time they were simply ways, none of them quite wrong or quite right, and nothing to tell you for sure what side of the line you stood on.”

 

Mia Warren, an artist, and her daughter Pearl, decided to end their nomadic existence in Shaker Height Ohio, a planned suburban community.  They rent an apartment from the Richardsons, who have 4 children of their own.  Thinking that she will not have to move around anymore, Pearl allows herself to finally make friends, and befriends each of the Richardson children — their relationships blossom in different ways, and are fraught with all the complications of teenage relationships.

This book is centered around the relationship between the Warrens and Richardsons and is told through many interwoven and sometimes complicated threads.  The story also touches on themes of race, white privilege, motherhood, and family secrets.

I was particularly moved by the back story of the Chinese immigrant who abandoned her child in a misguided attempt to give the baby away for adoption, only to regret the choice and fight for the baby’s return. The Court case centered on whether it was in the best interests of the child to be adopted by a privileged family (mother + father with good jobs), or the biological, single, mother, who struggled to make ends meat.

As Eleanor Henderson writes for the New York Times: “The magic of this novel lies in its power to implicate all of its characters — and likely many of its readers — in that innocent delusion. Who set the little fires everywhere? We keep reading to find out, even as we suspect that it could be us with ash on our hands.”

Check out this book on Goodreads: Little Fires Everywhere http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34273236-little-fires-everywhere

Jægersborggade, Copenhagen

Once ruled by gangs, this cute little street in Copenhagen has been taken over by unique shops, including artist galleries, second-hand clothing stores, organic eateries, and cafes.

My boyfriend and I spent hours on this street, just popping into the little shops and browsing.  On the weekend there are limited hours (sometimes only 11-2pm), so if you plan to visit, you should pay attention to the opening hours.

Some of our favorites:

1. The Coffee Collective: Roastery and Coffeebar

20181102_1050151482861734.jpg

Copenhagen is much more expensive than in Austria.  In Austria, a good latte can be purchased for around €3-€4 at a cafe.  In Copenhagen, we spent around €6 per latte.  Since I cannot eat gluten, I left it to my boyfriend to try the Danish pastries.  The one depicted below is basically a cinnamon roll, which I am told was delicious.  And, since I am addicted to Kombucha, I had to try the coffee Kombucha.  It had a very unique flavor which I will definitely have to try to recreate at home.

Continue reading “Jægersborggade, Copenhagen”

BOOK REVIEW: Sugar: My Life as a Sugar Babe by Monique X

40667863Title: Sugar: My Life as a Sugar Babe

Author: Monique X

Book Length: 328 pages

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Genre: Nonfiction, Erotica, Autobiography, Memoir, Romance

Read Start Date: October 28, 2018

Read Finish Date: November 5, 2018

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: After her divorce, Monique decides to inject some fun into the drudgery of life as a single mother, by dating a wealthy older gentleman, which is known as ‘sugar daddy’ dating. It all starts quite innocently, but when Monique finds a thousand pounds in her wallet after one night of hot, steamy sex, she realises that sugar dating could be her way to survive as a single mother.

Soon life is a whirlwind of wealthy men, luxury hotels and glamorous experiences. She goes skydiving in Dubai and flies to Paris, Barcelona, Vienna, Milan, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong. Thanks to her sugar daddies Monique can take care of her children, she gets a new sense of independence, discovers her sexual drive, and experiments with a whole new range of sexual fantasies.

But when she loses her job and her ex-husband stops paying alimony, she is prepared to do anything to safeguard her children and keep a roof over their heads. Money becomes her main focus and she starts living on the periphery of the escort world. Now she realises the truth: she needs to find a way out.

My Review: I received an advance copy of this book via Netgalley.  As with all books that I read, I went to Goodreads to mark that I was “currently reading” the book.

However, the cover of “Sugar” by Monique X, is basically exactly the same as “Sugar Daddy” by Sawyer Bennett.  So, that’s super confusing.  Are these by the same person?  Or did one copy the cover art of the other??  I have included both covers for comparison.

Anyway, this book (told as a memoir) is about a single mom raising two kids after her divorce from her deadbeat husband.  In order to make ends-meat, the main character “Monique” joins a sugar daddy dating site called “Seeking Arrangements”.  Basically, a “Sugar Babe” is a woman who receives money from older, wealthy (sometimes married) “Sugar Daddies”.  In general, from what I understand, a Sugar Babe is like a kept mistress who gets a monthly allowance, and in return,  accompanies the guys on fancy dinners, trips abroad, and of course, engages in very illicit sexual activities.

Sugar Daddy (Sugar Bowl, #1)

As the author says: “what all men really want: a lady on their arm and a hooker in their bed.”

I haven’t really read many erotica books, except for maybe 50 Shades of Grey 1-3, and like 50 Shades of Grey, this Sugar story is more interesting than the writing is good.  But, as Stephen King says, a book is about the story, and not the writing technique — and this story is fast paced, entertaining, adventurous, and full of very sexually graphic scenes (which are exciting).  The men Monique met were fun and exotic and took her around the globe on world-wind adventurous filled with fine dining, high priced wine / cocktails, and mind blowing sex.

If you have ever fantasized about what it could be like to live dangerously or on the edge, this book will definitely intrigue you.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”