The Bling Ring: How a Gang of Fame-Obsessed Teens Ripped Off Hollywood and Shocked the World

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Author: Nancy Jo Sales

My Rating: 5/5

My favourite movie director is without a doubt, Sofia Coppola. (I loved her Marie Antoinette and The Virgin Suicides; my two favourite movies of all time.) Learning she recently directed a film starring Emma Watson kind of made it impossible to turn it down. At the time, it was on YouTube, but a couple of days after I watched the movie, it had been taken down. I’d just like to say that the soundtrack for Coppola’s Bling Ring, was epic. Also, Emma Watson starring in it was a gift from the heavens, god bless.

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*Swoons*

The movie trailer.

Anyways, a few weeks passed and while in the Bargain Books section of McNally Robinson, I stumbled across The Bling Ring…the book edition. It was written by the same author who wrote the article that Ms Coppola based her film on.

Let me just start off by saying the book is a very light and has a teenage-magazine kind of vibe. It certainly is not a great piece of literature, but that is why I liked it. It felt like I was reading a reality tv show instead of watching one, which was a new experience for me.

In case you are not familiar with “The Bling Ring,” it is a story about a gang of teenagers who broke into the homes of Hollywood’s rich and famous back in 2008-2009. They robbed Paris Hilton’s house multiple times, and stole Orlando Bloom’s Rolex watches.

The teenagers themselves, are very self-absorbed and Hollywood obsessed kids. This made them feel like any ordinary group of spoilt rich kids trying to reach A-list fame through a ridiculous avenue.

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Above: The Hollywood portrayals.

Below: The Real Bling Ring.

The book itself, was engrossing. I gave it 5 stars for that reason. The Bling Ring has a fairly low rating on Goodreads, and I can understand why. The book feels chopped into multiple articles; but I feel given the story, the style worked.

While the real kids above really did break into Hollywood’s rich and famous (including Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan, Megan Fox, Rachel Bilson, Orlando Bloom and Audrina Patridge, to name a few,) I kind of felt myself cheering them on.

Obviously, there is nothing right about breaking into people’s homes. But when you find out how much designer crap Hollywood stars have, you can’t help but not feel any sympathy for them.

ESPECIALLY given the celebrities never turned their alarm systems on and Paris Hilton left her friggin house key under her welcome mat!!! I shit you not, this is how the Bling Ring kids got into her mansion multiple times. While every celebrity mansion had a high-tech security system, none of them were turned on. Some of the doors weren’t even LOCKED! Dude, I’m sorry, but if you don’t even bother to lock your doors, what do you expect would happen?

The Bling Ring had the assumption that since these celebs had so much materialistic things, if the Bling Ring only took some stuff, the home owners probably wouldn’t notice. And you know what? They were right. They robbed Paris Hilton multiple times before she discovered she was a victim of the infamous Bling Ring.

I’ll be given crap for this, but I really have no sympathy for Paris Hilton or the other celebrities they robbed. (I won’t give out any spoilers as to what happens in the end.) All I can say is I didn’t find them terrible criminals. This may be because most of my True Crime reading involves murderers. They were just thieves; stealing from people who honestly could do just fine with a fraction of what they own.

What I took away from this story is really how much the Hollywood elite has. The Bling Ring stole millions of dollars of jewelry along with tons of designer clothes and accessories with none of their victims noticing in the beginning. They have THAT much designer crap.

The ultimate 1%.

The characters were vain, narcissistic at times, but hey, I think the celebrities they robbed deserved it to some degree.

I also have to give these kids credit for actually having the guts to pull these robberies off.

And hey, they kind of got what they always wanted, they got their 15 minutes of fame in the end.

I recommend this True Crime story to people who like trashy Hollywood stories, rebellious partying teenagers and just generally can’t stand Paris Hilton and her stupidity.

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Bathory: Memoir of a Countess

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My Rating: 5/5

Author: A. Mordeaux

If you are looking for a historically fact-based biography on Erzsebet Bathory (pronounced Elizabeth Bathory,) for an essay or school project, this is without a doubt, not the book for you.

However, if you are looking for a scandalous, fast paced, erotic and incredibly dark story, I can not recommend Bathory any higher. I absolutely loved this book, and was sad when I finished reading it. I already know this will be one of the books I will be rereading for a long time to come, it is just absolutely amazing.

I am assuming this is one of those books that you will rather love it or hate it. I happened to fall in love with it, a historically accurate memoir, but also reads like excellent fiction. I could just not put it down.

The Countess has been accused of torturing and murdering more than 600 people, including children, so that alone will make many people dislike Bathory based on the subject matter. There are a lot of descriptive erotic and torture scenes, so I am strongly discouraging this book to anybody who dislikes creepy, disturbing and gruesome topics.

On the other hand, If you are into serial killers, lust, dark and twisted people, you simply cannot pass on Bathory.   

Or if you are more of a movie person, check out this creepy half hour documentary on Erzsebet Bathory:

Two Is Enough: A Couple’s Guide to Living Childless by Choice

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My Rating: 4/5

Author: Laura S. Scott

This is an excellent book, but the title is misleading, “A Couple’s Guide to Living Childless by Choice.” This gives you the false impression that Scott’s book is a guide, when in fact the book stemmed from the author’s “Childless by Choice Project,” a research project with several components.

At the beginning of the book, Scott explains her two main goals for the research project which were:

1) To determine what people identified as their most compelling motives for remaining childfree.

2) To better understand the decision-making process which led to someone identifying themselves as childless by choice.

Based on these goals, Scott created a questionnaire and recruited a hundred and seventy one childless by choice individuals to take the survey. I was surprised and disappointed that the research pool was so small as it was, less than two hundred participants. Scott also conducted several in depth interviews with childless by choice couples.

This book is coming mostly from the statistical point of view on being childless or childfree. The book explores the motives of living childless/childfree from couples and the myths and stereotypes of being childless.

While it is not a guide, it does give comfort and a sense of acceptance to those who are childfree by choice, and that they are not alone in their decisions. I would highly recommend this to anybody who has already chosen to live childless by choice or those who are interested in understanding the mindset of those who have decided to live childfree.

Pretty Little Killers: The Truth Behind the Savage Murder of Skylar Neese

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Authors: Daleen Berry and Geoffrey C. Fuller

My Rating: 4/5

I first heard about the murder of Skylar Neese on a Dr. Phil episode. (Okay, don’t judge me, but I do watch a lot of Dr Phil.) So when I came across this book I already had a general idea what this was going to entail.

Continuing with my current obsession with true crime novels and underage murderers, this looked like another disturbing book to sink my teeth into.

I was correct. It was twisted, and a mystery of its own. What would drive two sixteen year old girls, Sheila Eddy and Rachel Shoaf, to kill their best friend? And when asked why they did it, the response was “We just didn’t want to be friends with her anymore.” Had there been an ulterior motive? The book has a possible answer to that question.

Pretty Little Killers is very creepy, unbelieveable and above all, sad. It really gives you a glance as to what happened through the eyes of the two teen killers.

I highly recommend this for anyone who heard about this case and would like to learn more about what happened. The book is very detailed and gives you a lot more information about what had happened, the families involved and the timeline of the events that occurred. As always, I also recommend it to people like me who find kid killers interesting.