Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Place of Yes (Bethenny Frankel)

Let me start off by stating that I love, love, love Bethenny Frankel. She is so refreshingly candid, funny, and down-to-earth on her reality shows (The Real Housewives of New York City, Bethenny Getting Married?, and Bethenny Ever After), that I was fully expecting the same from A Place of Yes: 10 Rules for Getting Everything You Want Out of Life. Did I get it? Read on.

Bethenny's life is an open book....natural food chef, businesswoman extraordinaire of Skinnygirl, wife to Jason, mommy to Bryn (the cutest baby I have ever seen) and Cookie the dog (who has her own Twitter feed), and boss to Julie, the assistant, and Gina, the baby nurse. On her show, she even tapes her therapy sessions. A Place of Yes sets up what Bethenny has learned along the way...from an extremely difficult childhood to the very blessed life she has now.

There is nothing new here. Rules like "Find your truth" and "Act on it" have been in every self-help book ever made. She simply illustrates each rule with anecdotes from her own life, making it an autobiography also. Bethenny definitely lives every minute of her life to the fullest; however, her life doesn't really translate well to a book. As much as I advocate reading, one can learn more from Bethenny by watching her than reading this.


This review can also be found on

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Heretic's Daughter (Kathleen Kent)

When someone mentions the witch trials to an American, they most often think of Salem. However, trials happened in the towns around Salem as well. The Heretic's Daugter is the heartbreaking story of an Andover, Massachusetts family that was unjustly destroyed during that horrible time in American history. Interestingly enough, Kathleen Kent is a descendant of Martha Carrier, one of the characters in this work of historical fiction.

While reading this, I found myself shaking my head at the trivial things that we worry about in this day and age. If a car cuts us off or we break a freshly manicured fingernail, it ruins our day. What if we had smallpox and the plague to deal with? Or being unjustly accused and held in absolutely deplorable conditions with the probability of being hanged?

The members of the Carrier family have a lot to deal with from the very beginning when they move to Andover. Horrible illness runs through the family, resulting in a death, brain damage, and the children being forced to move to a distant relative's home. Upon returning, the main character, Sarah (Martha's daughter) finds herself constantly at odds with her stern mother. The eventual reconciliation and understanding of each other is as much a part of this novel as the inevitable witch trials. Kent effortlessly weaves some of the main historical figures of the trials throughout, from Cotton Mather to Tituba.

The fact that Kent has this in her history makes The Heretic's Daughter even more compelling. I look forward to reading Kent's latest, which is a prequel focusing on Martha Carrier's childhood.