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review 2022-02-09 02:19
The Final Revival of Opal & Nev
The Final Revival of Opal & Nev - Dawnie Walton

That Opal was a hoot!  I couldn’t believe the transformation of this lady from the beginning to the end of the book.  I was grinning from ear to ear as I heard her, her spunk, determination, and compassion just fell out of the book.  Being a black woman, she knew exactly where her place was but that wasn’t a place were Opal wanted to be. If you think about the time period that Opal and Nev were an item (1970’s), equality was a hot issue.  Liberation, racism, and equal rights were being sought after and it seemed that everyone was on edge. 

 

On stage, I could only image what their performance was like and I would have loved to just see them up close.  I doubt any performance was ever the same as their personalities, feelings, and the chemistry of the stage all came into play when they took the stage. Opal seemed to be the one who pushed their performances, who shined, while Nev filled in where he was needed and he worked on other matters. 

 

Set up like an interview, this book is an oral history of the lives of Opal Jewel and Nev Charles, a singing duo from 1970’s.  I loved the book, Daisy Jones and the Six so I knew I would enjoy this book also.  The two books are alike yet they’re different.  I liked how this book was an interview which consists of flashbacks that told the story of Opal and Nev.  We hear from their friends and family, they speak about their ups and their downs, and we forget that this book is a work of fiction. As I read the book, I imagined hearing Opal’s voice as she talked about her relationship with Nev and then, I had to get the audio of this book to actually hear her words being spoken.  Her voice brought strength to the words that I had previously read, for it solidified what I had previously thought about her.  I really enjoyed the audio version of this book and the books was fantastic also, I got the best of both worlds!   

 

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest opinion.

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review 2020-07-13 09:30
'Her Final Words' by Brianna Labuskes
Her Final Words - Brianna Labuskes

Tightly plotted and tensely told mystery that kept me guessing and gave me a strong sense of a place and its people.

 

 

The only thing I didn't like about 'Her Final Words' was the opening. It's the hook the rest of the book wriggles on: a teenage girl from rural Idaho drives for five hours, crossing a State line, to the FBI field office in Seattle, asks for agent Lucy Thorne by name, confesses to having murdered a twelve-year-old boy, explains that the boy's body has a bible verse carved into it and then refuses to say more. It's a great hook that was never going to need much to sell it, yet I felt like everything in the opening was too bright and too loud and trying too hard to tell 'look how dramatic this is!'


I almost stopped there. Except it really was a great hook and I wanted to wriggle on it a little so I persisted. I'm very glad I did. The tone changed as soon as Lucy Thorne arrives in Idaho, with a long weekend to check out the details of an apparently open and shut case that feels off because there is no motive. The image of the Sheriff standing in the rain waiting to meet Thorne and take her to where the body was found was dramatic without being pushed hard.


It quickly becomes clear that the teenager who confessed to the killing and the boy who was killed were both members of a local Church/Cult and I wondered for a while if we were up for Federal Government rescuing the poor country folk from an abusive cult sort of story, because that never ends well but, thankfully, Brianna Labuskes was more ambitious and more original than that.

This is a story where good guys and bad guys are hard to tell apart. Where everyone is connected to everyone else but how and what it means are not clear and where the only thing the FBI agent is certain about is that she doesn't understand what's really going on.


The false simplicity of 'the bad cult must be to blame' is quickly replaced with something denser and more textured. I liked the way Brianna Labuskes brought out the geographical isolation of this rural community while showing how aware everyone is of what everyone else is doing and who they're doing it with.


Telling the story through multiple points of view and cross-cutting timelines that flip from 'Now' to 'Three Days Earlier' really tightened the tension and kept the surprises coming. The more Agent Thorne learns about the people and their history with one another, the more complicated the puzzle becomes and the fewer people she can trust. Discovering the story from the point of view of the teenagers involved and the Sheriff as well as Agent Thorne made everything more personal and more human as well as deepening the mystery.


The plot, the characters and the tightly controlled pace kept me engaged all the way through. The denouement was unexpected, memorable, believable and deeply sad.


I'll be back for more of Brianna Labuskes' stories.

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review 2020-06-15 05:42
Final Girls by Riley Sager
Final Girls - Riley Sager

Basically a slasher movie in book form, complete with dumb decision-making and shallow college students. It has a few good misdirections and an unexpected (for me) final reveal, but the path to get there feels convoluted. The narration for the flashbacks sounds rather unnatural and robotic, although I suppose it's meant to come across as eerie.

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review 2020-05-06 01:54
A Thrilling Countdown
The Final Days - Carl Bernstein,Bob Woodward

Title: The Final Days

Authors: Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein

Publish Date: November 1, 2005 (first published in 1976)

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Format: Paperback

Page Count: 480 pages

Source: Personal copy

Date Read: April 16-22, 2020

 

Review

 

A thrilling day by day account, starting around late January 1973 and going to August 9, 1974. This book is both a stand alone on what happened to end Nixon's presidency and yet it also a great sequel to All the President's Men. I think this book is better written than Men because there is no focus on Woodward's and Bernstein's working relationship or how to publish articles in the paper while lawyers from the White House and the Washington Post went head to head in court. The sole focus of the story was how the house of cards that Nixon built came crashing down around everyone. 

 

I have to say there are more than a few similarities that a reader can make between Judy Nixon and Ivanka Trump. Man, Judy was a real dope to believe her father past the time of his resignation and how she coddled him when Dick was living up to his name. I can't believe she married an Eisenhower, much less the former president's grandson - what the fuck did he see in her, I don't know. I do know that dear David Eisenhower believed in his father-in-law's guilt and tried to open Judy's eyes; for that she lashed out at David and dug in her heels. David was as astute as to Richard M. Nixon's darker side as his grandfather. Pat Nixon was pretty much drunk the entire time (I mean EVERY DAY), probably since summer of 1972 after the news broke. She didn't even try to get herself involved in her husband's PR campaign. 

 

Seeing how Nixon threw Haldeman and Ehrlichman under the bus, then backed up that bus and drove it over them again and again was fun, especially after reading what these three stooges did in Men. At the same time, John Dean had already turned state's evidence, so watching Dean throw Nixon on under that same bus and driving it over him and his very special personal attorney from Boston gave me a downright giddy feeling. 

 

I was surprised by new VP Gerald Ford's insistence of keeping a low profile, but enough public support of Nixon to show an united front. Ford didn't want the job in the executive branch - he was happy on the legislative side of Washington DC. It was as if Ford was in a wholly different administration while the rest of the White House was crumbling. He was as big of a rube as Judy Nixon. But this book did make me want to read more about his presidency. 

 

A fun and interesting ride through politics.

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review 2020-04-18 22:23
Final Girls
Final Girls - Riley Sager

The front cover of this book has a quote from Stephen King that says, "If you liked Gone Girl, you'll like this." I have no idea if this is accurate as I've never read Gone Girl. That being said, I did enjoy this.

 

The story is focused around Quincy Carpenter, the sole survivor of a massacre at a remote cabin 10 years ago. Her, and two other survivors of two other mass killings have been dubbed by the press as the Final Girls.

 

Quincy has seemed to put the past behind her as much as she can. But then one of the Final Girls is found dead and the other shows up on her doorstep soon after.

 

The story is told alternating between first person from Quincy's perspective and third person in the form of flashbacks to the night Quincy and her friends were attacked.

 

The pacing is pretty good, and I thought I had it all figured out only to find that I was wrong.

 

I'll definitely look into other books by this author.

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