Buzz: A Stimulating History of the Sex Toy by Hallie Lieberman #Mini-Review

Buzz: A Stimulating History of the Sex Toy cover

The first person to receive a PhD in the history of sex toys, Hallie Lieberman has written a fascinating book that tells you everything you wanted to know on the subject, and more. For example, did you know that until as recently as 2008, it was illegal to sell sex toys in Texas? Obscenity laws there (and elsewhere) set the stage for decades-worth of headaches and careful maneuvering for anyone involved in selling them. Regardless of the specific topic—whether it’s about manufacturing, advertising, or selling—there is always a story to tell on how things were done, and how they evolved over the years.

If you enjoy learning the history of how commonplace items came to be, this is an interesting read.

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Pegasus Books via Netgalley.

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Author: Hallie Lieberman

Title: Buzz: A Stimulating History of the Sex Toy

Genre: Nonfiction, History

Published: November 7th, 2017 by Pegasus Books

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

About the Book

Once only whispered about in clandestine corners, vibrators have become just another accessory for the suburban soccer mom, showing up in all manner of pop culture, from sitcoms to talk shows to the pages of glossy women’s magazines. But how did these once-taboo toys become so socially acceptable? The journey of the devices to the cultural mainstream is a surprisingly stimulating one.

In Buzz, Hallie Lieberman—who holds the world’s first PhD in the history of sex toys—starts at the beginning, tracing the tale from lubricant in Ancient Greece to the very first condom in 1560 to advertisements touting devices as medical equipment in 19th-century magazines. She looks in particular from the period of major change from the 1950s through the present, when sex toys evolved from symbols of female emancipation to tools in the fight against HIV/AIDS to consumerist marital aids to today’s mainstays of pop culture. The story is populated with a cast of vivid and fascinating characters including Dell Williams, founder of the first feminist sex toy store, Eve’s Garden; Betty Dodson, who pioneered “Bodysex” workshops in the 1960s to help women discover vibrators and ran Good Vibrations, a sex toy store and vibrator museum; and Gosnell Duncan, a paraplegic engineer who invented the silicone dildo and lobbied Dodson and Williams to sell them in their stores. And these personal dramas are all set against a backdrop of changing American attitudes toward sexuality, feminism, LGBTQ issues, and more.

Both educational and titillating, Buzz will make readers think quite differently about those secret items hiding in bedside drawers across the nation.

About the Author

Hallie Lieberman
Hallie Lieberman

Lieberman obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin Madison in 2014, with a dissertation on Sex Toy History. Her writing has been published in Bitch, Bust, Eater, The Forward, and Inside Higher Ed, among others. She is often featured on podcasts such as “In Bed With Susie Bright” and Bitch Magazine’s “Popaganda.” She has given talks at many university events and conferences. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Author photo and bio via author’s website.

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Stacking the Shelves (Nov. 4th, 2017)

Stacking the Shelves graphic

Stacking the Shelves is a meme co-hosted by Tynga at Tynga’s Reviews and Marlene at Reading Reality, where you share the books you’ve added to your shelves in the past week. You can include books you buy, books you borrow, review books, gifts, and ebooks.

This is my first time to participate in this meme, but I’ve seen it popping up on various book blogs for a while now. It looks like fun, so now it’s my turn to share what I’ve added to my shelves lately!

The Girl in the Moon cover

The Girl in the Moon by Terry Goodkind

ebook, 488 pages

Expected publication: February 6th, 2018 by Skyhorse Publishing

Source: Edelweiss

In his newest heart-pounding novel, #1 New York Times bestselling author Terry Goodkind introduces the world to his most unforgettable and deadly character yet.

Angela Constantine is a girl born broken.

When Angela was young, before she came to realize she had a rare ability, she was a rather ordinary girl. At least, that was what everyone said. But Angela is anything but ordinary. The daughter of a meth addict, she is convinced she was born a freak. Haunted by an abusive childhood, she was forced to become a woman far too soon. And in the process, she became more.

Angela Constantine has a secret life.

Angela juggles multiple jobs to live a secluded life in a cabin in the mountains. But she also lives a secret life, right under everyone’s noses. Because her family’s bloodline carries the ability to recognize killers, she adopts a solitary, violent existence in service of her own, personal mission in life. When Angela unexpectedly finds herself the prey of a group of international terrorists, she is the only one who knows the truth of what they are about to do. She might look like an unlikely hero. She might also be our only hope.

Angela Constantine is . . . The Girl in the Moon.

Hunger: A Tale of Courage cover

Hunger: A Tale of Courage by Donna Jo Napoli

ebook, 272 pages

Expected publication: February 13th, 2018 by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books

Source: Edelweiss

Through the eyes of twelve-year-old Lorraine this haunting novel from the award-winning author of Hidden and Hush gives insight and understanding into a little known part of history—the Irish potato famine.

It is the autumn of 1846 in Ireland. Lorraine and her brother are waiting for the time to pick the potato crop on their family farm leased from an English landowner. But this year is different—the spuds are mushy and ruined. What will Lorraine and her family do?

Then Lorraine meets Miss Susannah, the daughter of the wealthy English landowner who owns Lorraine’s family’s farm, and the girls form an unlikely friendship that they must keep a secret from everyone. Two different cultures come together in a deserted Irish meadow. And Lorraine has one question: how can she help her family survive?

A little known part of history, the Irish potato famine altered history forever and caused a great immigration in the later part of the 1800s. Lorraine’s story is a heartbreaking and ultimately redemptive story of one girl’s strength and resolve to save herself and her family against all odds.

 Underneath it All: A History of Women's Underwear by Amber J. Keyser

Underneath It All: A History of Women’s Underwear by Amber J. Keyser

ebook, 96 pages

Expected publication: January 1st, 2018 by Twenty-First Century Books

Source: Edelweiss

Throughout history, women’s lingerie garments have played a complex role in women’s lives. Learn how undergarments protected and shaped women’s bodies to fit the ideals of the time, enhanced desire in intimate relationships, made statements about social movements such as women’s suffrage, and provided a way to express individual style and personal empowerment. With each swing of the fashion pendulum, new undergarments forced the body into the preferred shapeflat bust and angular ribcage, lush bosom and high waist, sloped shoulders and ample hipswhich in turn, affected women’s health and activities. Learn how lingerie has been used as a status symbol, a marker of social class, and an economic driver throughout history.

#MeToo cover

#MeToo: Essays About How and Why This Happened, What It Means and How to Make Sure it Never Happens edited by Lori Perkins

ebook, unknown number of pages

Published: November 3rd, 2017 by Riverdale Avenue Books

Source: Netgalley

More than 16 million people had posted their #MeToo story and support against sexual harassment by mid-October as a reaction to Rose McGowan’s brave admission that she had allegedly been raped by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. A groundswell of reaction to and exposure of this sexual predation was unleashed that has spread throughout Europe and beyond. New revelations of unacceptable behavior in every industry break every day as people come forward in response to the viral #MeToo posts. Protests are scheduled such as the “Take back the Workplace” Hollywood march in November of 2017, and legislation is being drafted in New York and California to finally change the way things have been for far too long.

This is the turning point. Things are going to change.

This is a historic moment and it needs to be memorialized, passed around and passed on. Although social media is a fantastic means of igniting a fire, it needs to keep burning, like a torch.

So Riverdale Avenue Books, a woman-owned leading hybrid publisher, is putting its money, words and power, behind this and publishing this collection of 26 essays from people who understand want to make this change, and we, as a society, have got to figure out a way to drive that change forward.

So pass this book around. Share it with your sons, brothers, fathers, your daughters, sisters and mothers, your co-workers and friends. Read passages to them, if they won’t read it for themselves. Leave it on the desk of someone who should know better.

Help us make this movement more than a hashtag.

Silent Fear cover

Silent Fear by Lance & James Morcan

ebook, 708 pages

Published: October 31st, 2017 by Sterling Gate Books

Source: Gift

When you can’t hear…death comes silently.

Scotland Yard detective Valerie Crowther is assigned to investigate the murder of a student at a university for the Deaf in London, England. The murder investigation coincides with a deadly flu virus outbreak, resulting in the university being quarantined from the outside world.

When more Deaf students are murdered, it becomes clear there is a serial killer operating within the sealed-off university. A chilling cat-and-mouse game evolves as the unknown killer targets Valerie and the virus claims more lives.

A stunning, claustrophobic, “whodunit” murder mystery, Silent Fear (A novel inspired by true crimes) is the eighth novel by father-and-son writing team Lance & James Morcan. Included is a commentary by Deaf filmmaker Brent Macpherson on the unique aspects of Deaf culture the story covers. Together, the Morcans and Macpherson are currently developing a feature film adaptation of Silent Fear.

What do you think of the titles I added to my shelves this week? Do any of them interest you?

 

Silent Lies by Kathryn Croft #Review @KatCroft @bookouture

Silent Lies cover

Five years ago, Mia Hamilton’s husband, Zach, committed suicide. On the same night, Josie Carpenter,  disappeared and was thought to have been murdered by her university teacher—Zach Hamilton. The coincidence of Josie’s disappearance and Zach’s suicide happening on the same night had everyone convinced Zach murdered Josie and disposed of her body before committing suicide. Josie’s body was never found and there was no absolute proof Zach murdered her, but the discovery of his corpse in Josie’s flat was enough for most people to believe it.

Five years later Mia is a counselor and in love with a man named Will, whom both she and her daughter, Freya, adore. Mia is starting to feel she can put the past behind her when she meets a new client named Alison who drops a bombshell during her first counseling session—saying Zach didn’t kill himself, only to deny having said it moments later.

Desperate for answers yet unsure if Alison can be trusted, Mia is determined to find out what Alison knows, and if she’s telling the truth. As she learns more about Alison, she questions her agenda and fears for her own safety—but she can’t stop until she finds out what Alison knows about the night Josie disappeared and Zach died.

Full of secrets, deceptions, and jaw-dropping plot twists, Silent Lies is guaranteed to keep you reading through the wee hours of the night. The story is told from the perspectives of Mia (in the present) and Josie (five years ago) in alternating chapters. While both perspectives are interesting, I found myself far more captivated by Josie’s tale. She went through something truly horrific in her past, and to see the way she coped with that—let alone, everything else she faced in her everyday life—was simply fascinating to me. Through her interactions with Zach, we see the sort of person he was, and even get glimpses of the way Mia was in the past in the rare moments he talks about her. The more I learned about Josie, the more theories I had about that fateful night, and her role in it.

Alison—who features in both perspectives—definitely kept me on my toes. Just when I thought I had her all figured out, something would happen to change my mind. She is definitely a complex character who constantly gives you a feeling of unease every time she shows up.

I can’t say why, of course, but the ending totally blew my mind! I was so shocked, I actually had to reread several paragraphs to make sure I hadn’t read it wrong. Just… WOW.

If you love psychological thrillers, you definitely need to add this one to your TBR pile!

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Bookouture via Netgalley.

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Author: Kathryn Croft

Title: Silent Lies

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Published: October 25th, 2017 by Bookouture

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the Book

‘Your husband didn’t kill himself.’
Five years rebuilding your life. Five words will destroy it again.

Mia Hamilton lived the perfect life with her husband, university teacher Zach, and their two-year-old daughter, Freya. But everything changed when Zach committed suicide on the same night one of his students, Josie Carpenter, vanished.

Five years later, and Josie is still missing but Mia has finally found some happiness with new boyfriend Will.

Until one day when stranger Alison walks into her life and tells Mia that her husband didn’t kill himself.

Desperate to find out what really happened to Zach, Mia is forced to put her trust in Alison. But she soon discovers that Alison has her own agenda behind exposing the details of Zach’s death. Can Mia really believe anything Alison says?

Mia must decide how far she is willing to go to uncover the truth – even if she risks losing everything she loves.

About the Author

Kathryn Croft
Kathryn Croft

Kathryn worked in HR and management training before her passion for literature led her to train as an English teacher. She spent six years teaching secondary school English; a job she believes was invaluable to her writing career. Kathryn now devotes all her time to writing.

Author photo and bio via Bookouture.