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Review: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Title: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Author: Susanna Clarke
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication Date: September 8, 2004
ISBN: 9781582344164
Number of Pages: 782
How I Got It: personal collection
Format: hardcover
Goodreads Description:
At the dawn of the nineteenth century, two very different magicians emerge to change England's history. In the year 1806, with the Napoleonic Wars raging on land and sea, most people believe magic to be long dead in England--until the reclusive Mr Norrell reveals his powers, and becomes a celebrity overnight. Soon, another practicing magician comes forth: the young, handsome, and daring Jonathan Strange. He becomes Norrell's student, and they join forces in the war against France. But Strange is increasingly drawn to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic, straining his partnership with Norrell, and putting at risk everything else he holds dear.
My Review:
This book has been sitting on my bookshelf for years and I've thought it would be a perfect read for the month of October. This year I decided I would hunker down and read the doorstopper. It took me quite a while to finish not just because of the length but because I haven't had a lot of reading time for the last couple months. Well, after all that time spent on reading it, I completed it and thought "That's it?" I liked the magic and the characters but there was a lot of battles and military stuff that I am not interested in at all. As historical fiction, I am okay with some history but I was snoring through a bunch of the government, Napoleon, and soldiers details. I'm glad I read this but I won't be recommending it to anyone. 
***Disclaimer:: I was given a copy of this release in exchange for an honest review. I received no additional compensation. ***

Review: Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison

Title: Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny
Author: Holly Madison
Publisher: Dey Street Books
Publication Date: June 23, 2015
ISBN: 9780062372109
Number of Pages: 352
How I Got It: library
Format: hardcover
Inside Cover:

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 number one girlfriend and star of The Girls Next Door

A spontaneous decision at age twenty-one transformed small-town Oregon girl Holly Cullen into Holly Madison, Hugh Hefner's number one girlfriend. But like Alice's journey into Wonderland, Holly's plunge down the rabbit hole took her to a world where she discovered that not all was as it seemed. What appeared to be a fairy-tale life inside the Playboy Mansion--which included A-list celebrity parties and Holly's own number one television show--quickly devolved into an oppressive routine of strict rules, manipulation, and battles with ambitious, backstabbing Bunnies.

My Review:
I was interested in reading Holly Madison's account of life behind the mansion's doors as soon as I heard about and even more so when she made her initial press appearances to promote the book's release. As I watched her make her rounds on the talk shows I was impressed that she was actually speaking candidly (and not so nicely) about Hef, the constant parade of girls at the mansion, and her Girls Next Door costars. I also thought that these were probably the few stories she would tell to draw readers in and that she would then tell us about the parties and her sugary, happy personal account of what viewers saw in The Girls Next Door. Wrong!! She totally spills the tea about EVERYTHING! Some was to be expected but there were some great "secrets" and I really loved that she talked about the mental and emotional drama and abuse that surrounded her everyday. There was an especially great story about Playmates being escorts and flying to Turkey in the early 2000's as well as what (or who) really goes down in the bedroom. Most shocking to me wasn't the sex but the money, as in how little (or at all) she, Bridget, and Kendra were being paid for their appearances and use of their likeness for promotional materials. Beyond her time at the mansion, readers are also given a glimpse into her life after leaving. Her relationship with illusionist Chriss Angel was painful but shows how easy it is to keep making the same mistakes in life (and relationships.) Although I didn't initially follow her career after The Girls Next Door, I was really excited for her when reading about her success in Las Vegas with Peepshow. She worked hard to be granted the role and did 8 shows per week. You've got to have a strong work ethic to pull that off. While this is her side of the story and their are two sides to every story, I have to say I believe that her version is probably closest to the truth. I only wish I could ask her how the Playboy PR machine handled her tell-all.