LOOSE GIRL: A NOVEL OF PROMISCUITY by Kerry Cohen with Book Trailer

PUBLISHER: Hyperion, 6/2008
GENRE: Nonfiction/Memoir
AUTHOR SITE: link
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: A-

FROM PUBLISHER: Loose Girl is Kerry Cohen’s captivating memoir about her descent into promiscuity and how she gradually found her way toward real intimacy. The story of addiction–not just to sex, but to male attention–Loose Girl is also the story of a young girl who came to believe that boys and men could give her life meaning. Never less than riveting, Loose Girl re-creates what it feels like to be in that desperate moment when a girl tries to control a boy by handing over her body, when the touch of that boy seems to offer proof of something but ultimately delivers little more than emptiness. The unforgettable story of one young woman who desperately wanted to matter, Loose Girl will speak to countless others with its compassion, understanding, and love.

MY THOUGHTS: This was very sad and very honest. Kerry (born 1970), from a very early age, 11/12,  has been looking for love and attention from males and would have sex with just about any of them in hopes of becoming their girlfriend. She felt she was unlovable because she didn’t often have a boyfriend but had plenty of males willing to have sex with her. She didn’t use condoms much either and has gotten STD’s.

She comes from a well-off dysfunctional family in New Jersey, felt like she didn’t get attention from either parent, and was jealous of her sister’s relationship with their mother. I’d have liked for her to have interviewed both parents to get their opinions of her feeling neglected. Oddly enough she never mentioned whether or not she was ever depressed, but I would imagine she was, at least back then.

Here’s her speaking at The Mystery Box in 2013.

 

KEEPING SECRETS by Suzanne Somers

PUBLISHER: Warner Books, 2/1988
GENRE: Nonfiction/Memoir
PURCHASE: link
AUTHOR SITE: link
MY GRADE: A+

FROM PUBLISHER: This is the story of the Suzanne Somers the world never knew…the shy, frightened child trembling at her father’s drunken rages, the troubled teenager who became a pregnant bride, the young model struggling to support her son, the rising star still haunted and controlled by her past. It’s the story she wrote for America’s millions of adult children of alcoholics, people who don’t drink, yet suffer from and need help against the ravages of this insidious disease. And it’s a story of incredible courage, a candid, sometimes shocking autobiography of a woman who dared to face the dark side of her soul and triumph over it.


MY THOUGHTS: This memoir was much darker than I’d anticipated. Actually, I didn’t expect anything like it. Suzanne’s father (born to Irish immigrant parents) and all three of her siblings are recovering alcoholics, or were before the book was published in early 1988. Her father’s side has quite a few in the family.

Her father was an angry, verbally abusive foulmouthed man who was never not drinking. The house was constantly filled with chaos and there was some violence. The father was assaulted by three of the children at different times when they were teenagers. Suzanne once hit him in the head with a tennis racket when she was sixteen, resulting in a bloody head injury that required medical attention, her older sister kicked him in the ribs and broke them, and her younger brother broke his ribs too. Suzanne wet the bed until she was in her early teens, her younger brother did too, and Suzanne began having nightmares in first grade. She’d hide in her bedroom closet a lot too to get away from the yelling. Her mother stood by her man and allowed her four children to be raised up in a mess but Suzanne holds nothing against either parent.

Suzanne didn’t have it easy in her early life and career. She comes from a religious Catholic family and went to Catholic schools. She got expelled from one when she was 14 because a snooping nun found in her locker a somewhat explicit poem she wrote about a boy she was interested in. She got pregnant when she was not quite 17 1/2, got married to the father, had the baby, Bruce Jr., in November 1964, one month after her 18th birthday, then began having an affair with a much older man (47). Her marriage ended a few years later and she began dating her current husband, Alan Hamel, even though he was married with two children. They married about nine years later, in 1977. Acting and modeling jobs were few and far between so she had major trouble paying bills and was even arrested for bouncing checks. She got pregnant by Alan shortly after and had an abortion and almost hemorrhaged to death in the days following. She shot nude test photos for possible publication in Playboy magazine but changed her mind about it and never signed the release. Playboy released the photos anyway years later after she became famous by being on Three’s Company.

Sadly she didn’t discuss the controversy surrounding her firing from Three’s Company in 1980 but she may discuss it in her second memoir, 1998’s After The Fall.

I think the book is well written, I loved it and have nothing bad to say about it.

 

FROZEN IN FEAR: A True Story of Surviving the Shadows of Death by Jane Carson-Sandler

PUBLISHER: True Directions, 6/2014
GENRE: Nonfiction/Memoir/True Crime
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: A

FROM PUBLISHER: Jane Carson-Sandler, a native of Northern New Jersey, entered the US Air Force Nurse Corps in 1969 and retired in 1999 after serving 30 years of active and reserve duty. Seven years after entering the military, she was raped in her own home while her three year old son was lying beside her. Thirty eight years have passed. This notorious rapist and serial killer, known as the East Area Rapist (EAR), has raped 50 women and has murdered twelve people including men and women in California. He still has not been caught. With raw emotion, Jane’s story entails how she survived not only this trauma, but some other bruising encounters with death such as her battle with alcohol and other serious health issues. Through the Grace and love of God, Jane went from being a victim to a survivor. She describes her God inspired journey in making this transition in hopes of helping and inspiring others.

MY THOUGHTS: This book is very condensed yet very informative about Jane’s life. She survived a prolific California serial rapist in October 1976 (50 known victims) who went on to become a serial killer (The Original Night Stalker/ONS) of at least 10 people.

Jane’s had a very interesting life. She’s the daughter of a sometimes violent alcoholic electrician father and a mother who’s a nurse. She became a nurse herself and has lived throughout the U.S. and Europe and now resides in South Carolina with her third husband.

I really wish she had expanded on her experience with talking to prison inmates about being a rape survivor. I’d love to know what they had to say about her story, especially since some of them are rapists themselves.

She’s been a recovering alcoholic since 2003. I take issue with her comment, “God removed my addiction”. An addiction doesn’t get ‘removed’ by anything or anyone.

Jane’s known as victim #5 in this case. You can see her interviewed on The Original Night Stalker episode of I.D.’s Dark Minds, season 2, episode 1.

MY STORY by Marilyn Chambers

mystoryPUBLISHING INFO: BearManor Media 7/2014, updated
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: Warner Books 1975
GENRE: Nonfiction/Memoir/Pornography
MARILYN ARCHIVE: link
MY GRADE: D

FROM PUBLISHER: The intimate, uncensored reissued erotobiography that is pure-as-Ivory Snow. The sexy girl next door who turned on the world talks openly in detail about her fantasies and what turns her on. Twenty-six pages of personal photos of the star of Behind the Green Door and The Resurrection of Eve.

MY THOUGHTS: This autobiography started out good with all the stuff you’d expect in one. Where she grew up, what her childhood was like, how she got into the sex business, and so on but damn, it’s a nonstop sex fest and I got so sick of reading it, and it’s a short book…couldn’t wait for it to end. Literally almost every single page was just graphic sexual ramblings of how horny she is. We get it, Marilyn, you like sex, but your filthy language was too much.The page count for the original publication of this book was around 200 and nineteen of those was taken up by sexually graphic fan mail letters she received, which I didn’t care at all about. Another twelve pages was taken up by letters people wrote to her for her sex advise column in Genesis magazine in the 70’s. Total waste of space.

There’s a three-page forward by her daughter that was really pointless and unnecessary and just a two-page afterward/epilogue. Since this book was written thirty-nine years before the reissue in 2014, the epilogue should have been at least a chapter long and should have been written by someone who actually knows something about her and could have given some useful, interesting information on the woman, who is a legend in the porn world.

Wikipedia has more info on her, like her drug addition that wasn’t even mentioned in the epilogue, and her death in 2009.

You can read her adult fimography here.

You can read my review for her 1980 porn Insatiable here.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Same review here.

INSIDE SEKA: THE PLATINUM PRINCESS OF PORN by Seka with Kerry Zukus

sekaPUBLISHING INFO: BearManor Media, 9/2013
GENRE: Autobiography
PURCHASE: link
OFFICIAL SITE: link
MY GRADE: A

FROM PUBLISHER: Seka—The Platinum Princess, the Marilyn Monroe of Porn, the queen of XXX cinema’s Golden Age, and John Holmes’ favorite leading lady. Seka is a legendary performer in the annals of adult cinema, and many would say the greatest. Seka’s name was so big in XXX that her name above the title was not enough—her name had to be in the title!

Seka’s real life story, though, is as enigmatic as her screen persona. She was never a victim—on-screen or off. This is no tale of remorse, abuse, or self-destructive behavior. Seka was post-feminist before the term was born. Inside Seka is the story of a survivor, a trailblazer, and an icon—still one of the most popular and famous porn stars ever; the last of the natural beauties.

MY THOUGHTS: Seka (Dorothiea ‘Dottie’ Hundley) is very honest and blunt. She’s not very humble and is a touch arrogant when it comes to her looks and popularity. Despite that I like her a lot. She was a true porn star in the seventies through the mid-80’s. Her career came to a halt when AIDS came on the scene heavily. She wanted to use condoms but the production companies didn’t want to so she left but ended up making a few more films after that. She was never very responsible with her finances.

Her life has been pretty interesting. I got a bit tired of hearing about the nonporn celebrities she’s met over the years. She’s childless and has been happily married to Carl, husband number two, since the 2000’s. She didn’t mentioned why she never had kids. Did she just never want any or did she never find the right man to settle down with? She didn’t say.

There are many black and white photos peppered throughout the book including a few topless ones. Thankfully she never got implants. She did have three breast lifts.

She did an interview to promote her book in September 2013. There’s more info about her films here.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

FINDING ME: A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed: A Memoir of the Cleveland Kidnappings by Michelle Knight with Michelle Burford

michelle knightPUBLISHING INFO: Weinstein Books, 5/2014
GENRE: Nonfiction/Memoir/True Crime
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: A

FROM PUBLISHER: Michelle was a young single mother when she was kidnapped by a local school bus driver named Ariel Castro. For more than a decade afterward, she endured unimaginable torture at the hand of her abductor. In 2003 Amanda Berry joined her in captivity, followed by Gina DeJesus in 2004. Their escape on May 6, 2013, made headlines around the world.

Barely out of her own tumultuous childhood, Michelle was estranged from her family and fighting for custody of her young son when she disappeared. Local police believed she had run away, so they removed her from the missing persons lists fifteen months after she vanished. Castro tormented her with these facts, reminding her that no one was looking for her, that the outside world had forgotten her. But Michelle would not be broken.

In Finding Me, Michelle will reveal the heartbreaking details of her story, including the thoughts and prayers that helped her find courage to endure her unimaginable circumstances and now build a life worth living. By sharing both her past and her efforts to create a future, Michelle becomes a voice for the voiceless and a powerful symbol of hope for the thousands of children and young adults who go missing every year.

MY THOUGHTS: What an ordeal Michelle went through. She suffered the most abuse of them all. Out of the three kidnapped girls, Ariel Castro hated her most, for some reason, and Amanda Berry was clearly his favorite and may not have suffered as much abuse as the other two. Michelle was raped, physically abused, and emotionally abused every day for eleven years and even had five babies beaten out of her. Hopes of seeing her son again one day seems to be the only thing that kept her alive.

She tells of her terrible childhood, her pieces of garbage parents, and her molester. She wasn’t even allowed to bathe for the first eight months of her kidnapping, not once. Her hair was so filled with Ariel’s semen that it was hard.

Her story is an honest one and for that, the book gets five stars from me. You can read about the kidnappings here.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

DIRTY ROCKER BOYS: Love and Lust on the Sunset Strip by Bobbie Brown and Caroline Ryder

bobbiePUBLISHING INFO: Gallery Books, 11/2013
GENRE: Nonfiction/Memoir
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: A-

FROM PUBLISHER: SHE’S MY CHERRY PIE. Tastes so good, make a grown man cry.

Who could forget the sexy “Cherry Pie” girl from hair metal band Warrant’s infamous music video? Bobbie Brown became a bona fide vixen for her playful role as the object of lead singer Jani Lane’s desires. With her windblown peroxide mane, seductive scarlet lips, and flirtatious curves, she epitomized every man’s fantasy. But the wide-eyed Louisiana beauty queen’s own dreams of making it big in Los Angeles were about to be derailed by her rock-and-roll lifestyle. . . .

After her tumultuous marriage to Jani imploded, and her engagement to fast-living Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee ended in a drug haze–followed by his marriage days later to Pamela Anderson–Bobbie decided it was time Hollywood’s hottest bachelors got a taste of their own medicine. Step one: get high. Step two: get even.

In a captivating, completely uncensored confessional, Bobbie explicitly recounts her encounters with some of the most famous men in Hollywood: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kevin Costner, Mark McGrath, Dave Navarro, Sebastian Bach, Ashley Hamilton, Rob Pilatus of Milli Vanilli, Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, Orgy’s Jay Gordon, and many more. Whose bedroom did Bobbie (literally) set on fire? No man was off limits as the fun-loving bombshell spiraled into excess, anger, and addiction.

Bobbie survived the party–barely–and her riveting, cautionary comeback tale is filled with the wildest stories of sex, drugs, and rock and roll ever told.

MY THOUGHTS: Unfiltered doesn’t even begin to describe Bobbie’s mouth. She’s blunt and doesn’t hold back much and is hilarious. The memoir flowed nicely and I really didn’t want to put it down. It was a quick read, 264 pages, but it’s not for everyone because of her coarse language.

Bobbie came from an abusive home (her father Bobby, for whom she’s named after, was a wife beater, as was his father) in Louisiana but wasn’t abused herself. She went on to be in countless dysfunctional, sometimes abusive relationships (Tommy Lee, who grabbed her by the throat in front of people). She’s been on drugs most of her adult life and  I don’t think she’s ever been to rehab. She never mentioned wanting to go. She never mentioned how she felt seeing the abuse then or how she feels about it now and if she thinks it may have to contributed to her drug use.

She detailed some of her sexual exploits with many men. The most memorable one was with Leonardo DiCaprio in 1996. He had her perform oral sex on him while wearing a condom. It tasted bad so she took it off.  She said his penis was huge, ‘on steroids’, bigger than Tommy Lee’s, and she could hardly fit it in her mouth. She said Tommy’s was ‘as big as a baby’s arm’. Tommy’s very immature, a big kid, needy, extremely jealous, and a big whoremonger. I think he’s the one she said always wanted to remove her tampons for her.

She barely mentioned having a nose job at around age 19/20 ‘to remove the bump’ and getting breast implants and having them redone. Never once mentioned that they leaked and she got really sick and has lupus now because of it (according to her). A few years ago I watched a documentary that she narrated on VH1 called “Do It For the Band: The Women of the Sunset Strip” and she mentioned the leakage. She failed to mention being diagnosed with trichotillomania yet mentions it in interviews. I found out about it online when I should have just read about it in her own book. That developed during 2005 during what she says is the worst relationship she’s ever been in but I don’t recall reading about it and I don’t know who’s she’s talking about. How on earth can you write your memoir and leave out the most important things of all?! You can’t have surgeries and barely mention them. I want details. I want to know why you had the surgeries, what it was like recovering from them and all that. What lead to wanting them? Any regrets?

The most interesting story was when her ex-husband Jani (Warrant), a crying, drunken mess at the time, confided in her about something awful that happened to him years before he was famous. Page 250:

He was nineteen when it happened. It was after a show. And older man, a major rock star, had invited Jani to hang out with him and the big guys. Jani was young, and easily impressed. Later that night, along with an accomplice, that major rock star put Jani through an ordeal he had been to ashamed to talk about until this moment. It was violent. It was ugly. It was exploitative. Jani said he had been too scared to tell anybody and had been pushing the memory under the carpet, pretending it wasn’t there. Jani was a proud man and hated to think of himself as a victim. Now, finally, I understood why he had been acting like one for so many years.’

Bobbie did a lot of acting/modeling when she was in her early twenties, and some things since, so this book should have had a filmography.

Some of the music videos she’s been in aren’t mentioned online so I’ll list them all:

I’m On To You by Hurricane- 1988 (pre-implants and nose job)
Cecilia by Times Two- 1989
Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Great White- 1989
House of Broken Love by Great White- 1989
It Feels So Good To Love Someone Like You by Terence Trent D’Arby- 1989
Sittin’ in the Lap of Luxury by Louie Louie- 1990
Cherry Pie by Warrant- 1990

She misspoke and said model Paulina Porizkova was Czech-American when she’s actually Czech-Swedish.

Here’s a great interview with Screamer Magazine and one with Fuse television she did to promote the book. Here’s a link to the video for Cherry Pie.

I loved the book, thought it was highly entertaining and I do recommend it.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

THE MOST DANGEROUS ANIMAL OF ALL: Searching for My Father and Finding the Zodiac Killer by Gary L. Stewart With Susan D. Mustafa with Book Trailer and Documentary

zodiacPUBLISHING INFO:  Harper, 5/2014
GENRE: Nonfiction/Memoir/True Crime
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: A

FROM PUBLISHER: Soon after his birthmother contacted him for the first time at the age of thirty-nine, adoptee Gary L. Stewart decided to search for his biological father. His quest would lead him to a horrifying truth and force him to reconsider everything he thought he knew about himself and his world.

For decades, the Zodiac Killer has captivated America’s imagination. His ability to evade capture while taunting authorities made him infamous. The vicious specificity of his crimes terrified Californians before the Manson murders and after, and shocked a culture enamored with the ideals of the dawning Age of Aquarius. To this day, his ciphers have baffled detectives and amateur sleuths, and his identity remains one of the twentieth century’s great unsolved mysteries.

The Most Dangerous Animal of All reveals the name of the Zodiac for the very first time. Mustafa and Stewart construct a chilling psychological profile of Stewart’s father: as a boy with disturbing fixations, a frustrated intellectual with pretensions to high culture, and an inappropriate suitor and then jilted lover unable to process his rage. At last, all the questions that have surrounded the case for almost fifty years are answered in this riveting narrative. The result is a singular work of true crime at its finest—a compelling, unbelievable true story told with the pacing of a page-turning novel—as well as a sensational and powerful memoir.

MY THOUGHTS: This was a fascinating memoir/true crime book about an infamous unapprehended serial killer who began killing in 1969.  Like the author said, he was searching for information about his birth father, Earl Van Best, Jr., after his birth mother Judy, who’s a liar that I don’t like, contacted him for the first time in 2002. He researched his father, who goes by Van, as best he could, for twelve years. He found old police reports, talked to an old close friend of his, found family members, and so on. I don’t know what more he could have done in order to find more information on a man who’s no longer alive. I think he researched Zodiac well.

Gary presents us with handwriting samples of his father’s that match up pretty well with known samples of the Zodiac’s that he sent to the newspaper in San Francisco during the time of the killings. We see how this unsolved cipher that Zodiac sent spells out Gary’s father’s name. Zodiac’s fingerprints are compared to Gary’s fathers and they both have an identical scar on the same finger.

The most disappointing part of this involves current detective John Hennessey and has to do with Zodiac and Gary’s DNA and the mystery as to why Hennessey severed ties with Gary. Another mysterious detective is Harold Butler, who’s clearly hiding information from both Hennessey and Gary. There’s clearly some sort of cover-up going on and I have no doubt that one day it’ll be exposed. Gary, don’t give up on having that DNA tested.

I don’t get into how screwed up Van is but I will say he has all the makings of a serial killer, complete with cold, unaffectionate, unloving, cheating mother. Even if he isn’t the real killer, I enjoyed reading about him.

This hardcover book has the coolest cover. The book itself has Van’s mugshot printed on the front and back cover. The dust jacket is translucent red on the front and back and has all the black writing on it. The spine and flaps are almost clear. Never seen one like that before.

Below is a composite drawing of the Zodiac Killer and the other is Gary’s father, Earl Van Best, Jr., in 1962, seven years before the Zodiac killings. The documentary is an old one from A&E that I’ve seen many times.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Zodiac collage

UNBREAK MY HEART by Toni Braxton

toniPUB. INFO: It Books (HarperCollins), 5/20/2014
GENRE: Nonfiction/Memoir
PURCHASE: link
TRAILER: link
MY GRADE: B

FROM PUBLISHER: While Toni Braxton may appear to be living a charmed life, hers is in fact a tumultuous story: a tale of personal triumph after a public unraveling. In her heartfelt memoir, the six-time Grammy Award-winning singer and star of WE tv’s hit reality series Braxton Family Values is unapologetically honest in revealing the intimate details of her journey.

Toni and the entire Braxton clan have become America’s favorite musical family, but what fans may not know is the intense guilt Toni once felt when she accepted a recording deal that excluded her sisters. That decision would haunt Toni for years to come, tainting the enormous fame she experienced as a popular female vocalist at the top of the charts. Despite her early accomplishments, Toni’s world crumbled when she was forced to file for bankruptcy twice and was left all alone to pick up the pieces.

Unbreak My Heart is more than the story of Toni’s difficult past and glittering success: it is a story of hope, of healing, and, ultimately, of redemption.

MY THOUGHTS: This was a quick read. While I’m not a fan of Toni’s music, I am a huge fan of her family’s reality show, Braxton Family Values that’s on We TV. Toni opens up about her two bankruptcies, lupus, Autism, cosmetic surgeries, and other personal matters.

She grew up in Severn, MD (my home state) with deeply religious parents, her mother more so than the father, it seems. She’s grown up to feel guilty about things she shouldn’t and seems to harbor a small amount of animosity because of it.

What I’ve learned about Toni is that she’s terrible with money but wants us to believe that’s not the case. She’s terrible at using birth control too. She’s been generous with her family financially and I wonder how much. She didn’t get into that much but I’m curious. She never talked about how angry she is/was toward her cheating father or if she ever was. Odd not to mention it.

I’ve never been a fan of her mother, Evelyn (especially since she threatened to ‘slap the piss’ out of Tamar), and after learning that her mother always reminded Toni to not ‘forget about your sisters’ since Toni got a record deal at 23 and her sister’s didn’t, I like her even less. And she had the nerve to seem angry when Toni got the deal. I’ve always had the feeling, and I don’t know why, that Toni has financially supported her mother after her separation, then divorce, from her husband. I’m intrigued by the fact that Evelyn’s ‘guarded’ about her own childhood. At a young age, she moved from the south to live with an aunt in Maryland.

I wish Toni had opened up a bit more about some things but overall this was a good, mostly honest book about her entire life. It’s a bit watered down, like she didn’t want to be completely honest and open about certain things for fear of hurting anyone’s feelings…especially her mother’s.

FYI- Trina’s my favorite!

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.