Posts Tagged ‘non-fiction’

Sliding into Home by Kendra Wilkinson

There aren’t too many other girls that I know who DIDN’T watch the original “The Girls Next Door” on E!.  It was just one of those shows where your curiosity got the best of you and you just wanted to know what went on behind the scenes of the Playboy Mansion and what it was like to be a girlfriend of a rich (VERY rich), old man who likes to wear robes and sailor hats.

I went into reading “Sliding into Home” not expecting any literary work of genius (and literary work of genius it was not).  This is the story of Kendra Wilkinson, the third and youngest former girlfriend of Hugh Hefner during the “Girls Next Door” days.  Kendra sets out to explain what made her the person she is today, including her rough upbringing.  As a child, Kendra’s father walks out on the family and she is raised by her mom and grandma.  Once she reaches her teen years, she begins to rebel and gets involved with the wrong crowd.  She gets heavily involved in alcohol and a variety of different drugs and is in and out of high school and even does short stint in rehab.  Everything her mom tries to do to help doesn’t work.  At one point, when Kendra almost overdoses, it wakes her up and makes her realize that she doesn’t want to her life to be THAT anymore.

Once she cleans herself up and finishes high school, she begins dating another guy who she feels is so much better for her.  She gets a job as a dental assistant and her life seems to be on the right track… until she begins to get bored of her job and is looking for a new way to make ends meet.  She and her boyfriend attend a lot of car shows and she starts to get attention by photographers and begins to model with cars and motorcycles.  That helps her build confidence in herself that she didn’t really have before and leads her to a new job as a stripper.

My memory is a little fuzzy on how the transaction from stripping to Playboy happened (that’s what I get for not blogging immediately after I finish a book and it’s too hard to look something up again on my Kindle), but basically she was called to work at a Playboy party and Hef took a liking to her and asked her to be his girlfriend and move in (very quickly, I may add).  She was a little hesitant at first, especially because she still had a boyfriend, but figured she couldn’t pass up an opportunity like that.

Then, as you know, she met Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Hank Baskett, they got pregnant, married, and are living happily ever after.  The book goes into a lot more detail about how they met (and had to keep their relationship a secret for so long) and what her life is like now.

The part of the book that I was really interested in was went on behind the scenes of “The Girls Next Door” and the mansion.  I’m not going to tell you those juicy details – you’re going to have to read the book and find out yourself!  It was pretty much what I expected, I guess, but it is just a bit shocking for someone to actually confirm those things.  Kendra talked about her relationship with Holly and Bridget and the mansion staff and how she really felt about Hef.  I also had no idea she was a stripper or how bad her drug problem really was, so that was a surprise for me.  Overall, it wasn’t the best book I have ever read, but I find it interesting to go “behind the scenes” and learn about someone “famous”.  I also give Kendra credit for ‘fessing up to her sketchy past and putting it all out there (in more ways than one).

P.S. So while doing a little bit more research and planning on venting about how much I can’t stand the new girlfriends (mostly the twins, I don’t mind Crystal as much), I found out that the twins are actually no longer his girlfriends (Wikipedia stated that they both had other boyfriends and moved out earlier this year).  The spin-off show, “The Bunny House”, aired a pilot in August where the twins moved into the guest house or whatever it’s called with some more of the Playmates.  I have no clue if it got picked up or will be continued though – I don’t remember even hearing about it or seeing it.  Crystal is apparently his only girlfriend now.

Amazon’s Best Books of the Year… So Far

Amazon has announced what they think are the Best Books of the Year… So Far

… But am I a total loser or something?  I have not read ANY of these and not even heard of most of them!  The only one that I’ve even heard of is the Steig Larsson book, “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.”  I’ve been meaning to read that trilogy, but other things/books/authors have taken precedent and I haven’t gotten around to buying them yet.

Has anyone read any of the ones on their top 10 list?  Or the Fiction or Nonfiction list?  Maybe I just have particular taste in genres and authors, but I thought I would have at least heard something about some of these.  It’s just a random list that doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but still.  I like looking at these lists sometimes to get recommendations if I run out of books to download.

Still looking for some new books to get for your vacation?  Here’s Amazon’s list of summer reads.  Some of them sound really good!  Amazon Wish List, here I come!

Summer Reading Guide

My local paper, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, just published a list of fiction and non-fiction books for summer called “Summer Reading: From beach blankets to cool mountain evenings, vacation days call for a good book“.   You can click on that link and go and read the whole article and descriptions of each book, but here is a quick list of the books and links to the books on Amazon:



Need a last minute Father’s Day gift?  I’m sure a lot of bookworm dads out there may like some of these titles!

Are you going to go out and pick up any of these books for your summer vacation?  Or do you already have a stack of books in your beach bag ready to go?  Please feel free to share your recommendations!

From Baghdad with Love: A Marine, the War, and a Dog Named Lava by Jay Kopelman

In honor of Memorial Day, I wanted to write about a book that I bought about a year or so ago about a dog rescued from Iraq.  As you may know, I love animals, and I also have a personal interest in supporting the military and veterans and am involved in some projects at work around that effort.

First of all, how can you NOT love the cover??  Please forgive me because it has been awhile since I’ve read this book, so I don’t remember a lot of details.  ”From Baghdad with Love: A Marine, the War, and a Dog Named Lava” is about… well, exactly what the title says.  Lieutenant Colonel Jay Kopelman is fighting the war in Iraq and one day while he’s on patrol, he hears something that he thinks may be a person coming to attack him, but it’s really a tiny little stray puppy.  The military has very strict rules forbidding soldiers from keeping pets, but Kopelman just can’t let him go back out into the streets.  Dogs over there are not like dogs here in America – they are wild animals and are not pets.  Kopelman smuggles him back to camp, and they name him Lava after the name of their battalion, the Lava Dogs.  Lava is a typically puppy – a mixture of cute and a troublemaker and that’s what makes everyone love him even more.  Kopelman knows that he is not allowed take him home once his tour of duty is over, but he can’t bear the thought of leaving him there in Iraq because he knows what happens to other dogs there.  The story explains how Kopelman has some other helpers in the quest to hide and protect the dog over in Iraq and who supported his efforts in getting Lava to the US.

The book was a very interesting read.  I loved reading the parts about Lava and his antics, but the details of military life in the middle of a war zone were also very insightful and I learned a lot from it.  The story does have a good ending, so don’t worry about that part!

Kopelman wrote a follow-up called “From Baghdad to America: Life after War for a Marine and His Rescued Dog” that deals with Kopelman’s adjustment from soldier to civilian and Lava’s transition into a real pet.  I also purchased this book but haven’t read it yet.

Happy Memorial Day and thank you to all who have served our country and given their lives for our freedom.

Booth’s Sister by Jane Singer

As you know, I like reading historical stories based on the lives of women, especially if they’re from different cultures.  This book kind of falls into that category, but it’s based on a true story.

Booth’s Sister” is based upon the memoir of Asia Booth, the older sister of John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln’s assassin.  It starts out right after Lincoln was killed; Asia had some visitors come to her house asking where her brother was, convinced that she knew details that could help the investigation.

The story then reverts back to Asia and John’s childhood.  To be honest, this part of the story was realllllly slow to me.  I almost put the book down (well, I didn’t have the actual book, so I guess you could say that I would have just moved onto the next book on my Kindle book list).  The story is told from the first person perspective of Asia.  As a child, she envied her brother, who was going to follow in their father’s footsteps and become an actor.  I guess back in that time, women could not be actors/actresses.  The family is really into Shakespeare, and his quotes are peppered throughout the dialogue.   From the get go, it seemed to me like Asia had more than just a jealousy or admiration of her brother, it almost seems like she is in love with him – it’s kind of odd.

Finally, after learning about Asia and John as children and teenagers, we get to their young adulthood when John becomes a pretty famous stage actor.  Asia tries to go see his plays as much as possible and is in awe of her brother just like everyone else.  When Asia gets married and invites her brother to dinner, a huge argument ensues between John and her husband (also named John) and the other guests regarding Lincoln, slavery, and the government.  That’s when you start to see the signs that he has a bone to pick with the Prez.  Next thing you know, men are beating down Asia’s door looking for John and hold her captive for about almost two weeks before they finally find and kill him.

Coincidentally, at the same time I was reading this book, my boyfriend is reading a book called “Manhunt” about the search for Lincoln’s killer (which he says I “must read”, which I will, eventually).  ”Booth’s Sister” was interesting; it wasn’t exactly what I expected.  The beginning parts about their childhood didn’t seem entirely relevant to the rest of the story of their lives (some thing did, but not all), but maybe I was just missing something.  Maybe it was because this book was BASED on the true story, so perhaps some things were “fluffed” for entertainment value.  For all of you men out there (okay, probably only a few who actually read this), this is a book that you could read – it’s not targeted specifically toward women, even though it’s told from the woman’s perspective.  You’d probably like “Manhunt” better, though.

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Jaci has read 1 book toward her goal of 35 books.

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