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review 2019-03-11 16:47
Unique novel about the trappings of fame and the 70’s music scene will captivate you; Daisy Jones & The Six is like nothing you’ve ever read before
Daisy Jones & The Six - Taylor Jenkins Reid

The true story behind the meteoric rise of the infamous 70’s band Daisy Jones & The Six is chronicled in this captivating book. As quickly as they shot to fame they fell back down to earth; how this happened is revealed by the band members’ tell-all, with details never heard before. The inner workings of a popular band such as Daisy Jones and The Six often come as an eye-opener once you see past the glitz and the glam and begin to see the trappings of fame. This is their story.

 

At least this is all what we think we see when we first take a glimpse at this new book from Taylor Jenkins Reid. The fact that this interview-based novel about a fictitious band comes from the genius of Reid, and is not based in reality, is one of its greatest appeals. Telling the story of all the characters by way of their own conversation with the interviewer (who we only find the identify of at the end) is complex and unique; no additional descriptions of what is happening are really given, so the storytelling is driven by each individual’s perception of their experience.

 

Daisy is the outsider to the group and the story really ramps up when she joins The Six. The numerous relationships between the members of the band are central to the book, as are their many problems. We learn about struggles with addiction, fidelity, loyalty and the challenge of maintaining any semblance of normalcy once they reach the realm of stardom. All of the characters are expertly defined by Reid, and although it takes a little while to keep all the individuals’ names straight, their experiences all become clear the further you go into the book. None of them are entirely redeemable and it’s hard to feel sympathetic to any of them once they get caught up in it all, but I don’t think that’s the goal of the novel.

 

There are some topics contained within that may be hard for some readers to read about: drug and alcohol abuse and addiction, infidelity, parental neglect, abortion, and promiscuity. Nothing is glamorous or trivialized about with any of these issues when you see them in the way they’re presented in this story; there isn’t any ‘fluff’ to make excuses for the characters since it’s all presented in the rawest of forms. Reid writes about these issues in a way that vividly conjures up the music scene of the 70’s and convinces the reader that she was actually there herself witnessing it all. The anecdotes come across as though they’re based on documented events but translate into a realistic presentation of a band and their story being told to an interviewer. It’s just all presented as fact and you can make of it what you will.

 

Although it’s a little hard to get used to a story being told through individuals being interviewed, this is an amazing book, just so unique and memorable. Any early considerations that it may not be the story for you because of the way it’s told should be dumped at the wayside because the payoff for reading it all is immeasurable. This is the sort of book that sticks with you and transports you to another time and place.

 

Complete with all the lyrics to the songs contained in the story, the experience is further added to with a playlist on Spotify, including tracks from Fleetwood Mac and Linda Ronstadt. It’s easy to imagine this being adapted for film, and if you love music, song-writing, or are even fascinated with the seventies and eras past, this book will be a fast favorite.

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review 2015-03-23 05:21
The Bullet
The Bullet - Mary Louise Kelly
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
ASIN: B00U6HOCYM
Publisher:  Blackstone Audio
Publication Date:  3/17/2015 
Format: Audio 
My Rating:  5 Stars +
 
THE BULLET by talented, Mary Louise Kelly an outstanding psychological suspense crime thriller with some dark family secrets! Love, loved it...glued to my iPod all day and evening,daring anyone to interrupt me.

Caroline Cashion, age thirty-seven, beautiful, and single, a professor of French Literature at Georgetown University, well-traveled, cultured, a career she loves and a lovely family. She has recently been experiencing some pain in her wrist and is diagnosed with Carpal tunnel syndrome. Due to this issue she had a routine MRI; however, the news she received was anything but routine or normal. She has a bullet lodged in her neck next to her spinal cord. She is speechless, as she has never been shot.

Immediately, she goes to her parents for answers. Shocked, she finds out she was adopted at age three. Everything she has known has been a lie? Her parents, her much loved brothers--why weren’t they honest with her? They explain the events and it unfolds. Her parents were murdered in cold blood. She was shot in the same attack and left for dead. She survived, the bullet was so close to her spinal cord that they couldn't get it out. Until now no medical problems.

A murder, a break-in and no one was ever charged. The authorities were not able to find any family to care for her. Her adoptive parents already had two sons and wanted a little girl. It was a closed adoption and they were told it would be better to keep this news from their daughter, since it was such a traumatic event. Caroline is totally shocked, and needs answers. She has to learn more about her real parents and the events surrounding their death.

She becomes obsessed with finding answers surrounding this night in the late seventies. As she begins her research, she discovers her parents had moved from Charlotte, NC to Atlanta, GA and purchased a nice home in the Buckhead area. They were a good looking couple, with friends, and a beautiful daughter three years old, when one night someone breaks into their home, murdered them, and left her there to die.

She travels to Atlanta, and begins digging into the archives of the Atlanta Journal, meeting with the journalist who covered the story, and the detective who worked the case. She learns this was the late seventies and Atlanta’s crime and murders were some of the highest in the US. The Atlanta police force --good ole boys, unfortunately, not enough manpower or budget in order to keep the case open, as there happened to be murders occurring every day. What about their will? Did her mom or dad have enemies, or perhaps one having an affair?

At the time of the investigation, there were several suspects and everyone seemed to have an alibi. Carolina is tenacious, and continues to dig, as she feels there has to be something more than a typical burglary. When she meets up with a former neighbor the southern woman suspects her mom was having an affair, as she was quiet beautiful and sexy, with a married prominent attorney, an old football star at one time. However, the police say he had an alibi and he and his wife are upstanding citizens in Buckhead community, and was ruled out.

Carolina spends time in Atlanta doing some research and of course her doctor follows her, with much fun at the St. Regis-very nice, (they are total opposites--a little romance here). She stirs up the case again in the media, after thirty some years. The police in Atlanta urge her to have the surgery to remove the bullet to see they can gather more information.

In the meantime, back in Washington, the night before someone attempts to break into her home, and she is in danger. Someone knows she is getting to close to the truth. Her family is concerned for her safety; however, a picture the old neighbor later sends her is shocking and she begins putting the pieces of the puzzle together.

She sets out on a dangerous journey, taking the law into her own hands with a well laid out plan for sweet revenge. Too funny!! Travels from Washington, to southern Atlanta, to sophisticated Europe, readers are taken on a suspenseful roller coaster ride, with twists and turns around every corner.

WOW, fast-paced, a likable kick-ass heroine you root for, and some really witty humorous parts which will make you laugh out loud, especially if you are from the south—a well-written mystery page-turner, I thoroughly enjoyed.

Loved Caroline- Intelligent, intuitive, smart, multilingual, witty, able to get "down and dirty" when she needs to, putting the pretentious "Buckhead Bettys" in their place, works her magic with the good ole' boys in the south, while choosing the most elite spots in Paris, with elegance and flair.

What makes this noir crime fiction psychological suspense so unique and intriguing --the protagonist, Caroline. Her adoptive family is quite different than her southern biological family, and as the two worlds collide, you cannot imagine how this elegant calm personality will react. It was so much fun seeing her transform, using her strengths to cleverly maneuver her way through the bull with the best of them, as she risks it all to try and solve the mystery of her dark family secrets.

On a personal note: Having spent my entire media career, and home in Atlanta (Buckhead, Vinings, and Midtown), I loved re-visiting all my Buckhead hot spots, and felt I was back at home--funny, could walk to Georgia Grille from my condo on Peachtree Road.

Karin Slaughter fans are assured to enjoy this scandalous Atlanta suspense thriller, especially since the crime was set in the 70s, when times were at their worst.

Highly recommend the audiobook. Cassandra Campbelldelivers an extraordinary "award-winning" performance--every voice, perfectly matched--impressive!

Love Kelly's writing style and creativity. Enjoyed reading about the inspiration behind the book, and can't wait for the next. The characters are too good to end; how about a sequel? A Must.
Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1224068377
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review 2014-12-04 18:53
House Broken
House Broken - Sonja Yoerg

By Sonja Yoerg 

ISBN: 0451472136
Publisher: NAL Trade
Publication Date: 01/06/2015
Format: Other
My Rating: 5 Stars

 

A special thank you to the author and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Don’t be fooled by the adorable dog cover (loved the cover -hats off to the designer), as between the pages of Sonja Yoerg’s brilliantly written and remarkable character-driven debut novel, HOUSE BROKEN is an intense and compelling “grown-up adult novel.” Tackling highly-charged topics, and multi-generational dark family secrets and complexities, mixed with humor and wisdom, for a bittersweet “Must Read” of love and forgiveness!

Dr. Geneva Novak is a local veterinarian married to Tom for eighteen years, owner of a wood working shop (he comes from a large lovable supportive family), and they have two teenagers, Ella and Charlie. As the books moves on, we learn Ella and Charlie have secrets from their parents, as does their Nana.Trying to protect one does not always work in the big scheme of things.

Geneva, the youngest of a family of four Riley children, comes from a dysfunctional and mysterious family. Father, deceased; mother Helen is a raging alcoholic, and siblings – brother Dublin, (LA) they are close, Florence (NY), a little distant and removed, and Paris (Africa), totally estranged.

Yes, Helen named her four children after European cities to give them the sophistication lacking in their one-horse South Carolina town. However, to Geneva their names had come to represent their distance from their mother and one another, as she had not seen Paris in ten years and Florence rarely leaves Manhattan. Only she and Dublin phone and visit each other regularly as they were very close growing up.

As the book opens, Helen, now age sixty-five currently residing in California (having left the small SC town as too many bad memories); has just found herself in the middle of another fiasco driving drunk and involved in a car accident and needs care (she is trouble, and this is not the first time). Her mother is too old and too stubborn a dog to learn new tricks.

Her brother cannot take care of their mother as they have their hands full with an autistic child, and forget the older two sisters, so the burden falls upon Geneva. Needless to say, they are not close and never have been; however, possibly this may be the turning point to repair their mother-daughter relationship.

However, when she moves in with Geneva, new problems surface as Helen is like having a third problematic teenager. Underneath her nose, her two teens are involved in all sorts of illegal behavior which she seems blind to and her mother is front and center in the middle of all the trouble. (Definitely will keep you laughing in the midst of tragedy).

Told from the POV of three generations of women, Helen (Nana), Geneva (Mother), Ella (Daughter), switching back and forth from past to present; each with their own unique and gripping voice with insights and perspectives for life lessons and many takeaways well after the book ends.

I have so looked forward to reading HOUSE BROKEN, as enjoy connecting with Sonja Yoerg via Twitter, and Goodreads; however, had no idea the depth of this powerful well-written and thought-provoking debut novel. Trust me when I say, "it exceeded all expectations"; brilliantly written, a page-turner and one hard to put down (you will not be able to go to sleep until you finish). If is a debut, wow, cannot wait to see what comes next!

There is so much to say about this novel, as ideal for book clubs and discussions (included). Helen was my favorite intriguing character, as guess I can relate as a baby boomer, closer to her age; and grew up in the small town south. I loved the way the author developed this character, at first you do not sympathize with her; however, as she peels back a little more throughout the book, unveiling the heartfelt struggles, of Helen and her mysterious background. As an innocent and poor teen of sixteen being caught up in a big world for a better life; when she became a real woman, and in her own way, trying to protect her daughters and the guilt she lives with presently—you realize she and Louise had limited choices in a different time and era; however, interesting to explore the what ifs.

I loved the relation to dogs as not front and center, but always in the background with comparisons and analogies to the human characters, and their role in the plot, with faithful adorable companion Diesel (Geneva/Dublin), Argus/Paris connection, and Aldo/Eustace/Paris’ dark disturbed side.

Without saying too much, brilliant strategy with Yoerg’s twist using a willing participant (denial and brainwashed), versus the helpless victim, which added another dimension. And Louise, she made for a true down home southern connection and ally for Helen (two women; victims of a time in a man’s world, left powerless).

In summary, cannot wait to recommend riveting HOUSE BROKEN and this dynamic and talented writer, Sonja Yoergone you will want to follow for years to come! Thank you, for a remarkable and beautiful novel of loss, love, and forgiveness.

Fans of Eileen Goudge, Diane Chamberlain, and Jodi Picoultwill devour, and appreciate the author’s style—keeping the book real with flawed characters, without wrapping up neatly with a big bow. One you will not want to miss-Well done! Cannot wait for the next book, Middle of Somewhere, coming September 2015. 

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1063176341
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review 2014-06-05 03:30
Dollbaby
Dollbaby: A Novel - Laura Lane McNeal

By Laura Lane McNeal 

ISBN:  9780670014736

Publisher:  PENGUIN GROUP Viking

Pamela Dorman Books

Publication Date:  Jul 3 2014

Format:  Hardcover 

DEBUT NOVEL 

My Rating:  5 Stars +++  

 

This is one you will want to Pre-order today!  

 

Move over Southern writers, this newfound author is here to stay! THIS GIRL IS ON FIRE! Laura Lane McNeal, where have you been? Hands down, DOLLBABY, THE BEST DEBUT NOVEL OF 2014A predicted bestseller chart topper. 

From the exquisite and stunning front cover, beautiful fonts, and the intricate filigree throughout the book—resonating the elegant New Orleans style of southern charm and sophistication, worthy of this much loved historical setting—matched with a beautifully- written, impressive debut novel, from the first page to the last. 

A heartwarming and poignant story of strong women, facing many obstacles, tragedies, and challenges in a time of racial tension during the 60’s and 70’s. From Civil Rights, Vietnam, family secrets, and lies, to the days of Woolworth’s, President Johnson, Black and white TVs to color---in the exciting and beautiful southern backdrop, where architecture, jazz, music, dance, southern creole and Cajun food feed your soul.

What a storyteller---this inspiring, uplifting and funny novel, full of flawed and lovable characters, will keep crying and laughing, as they win reader’s hearts. 

It was 1964 and Liberty Alice Bell (Ibby) 12 yr.-old, born on July 4th, from Washington, has just lost her dad, due to a biking accident (they were on their father-daughter outing). Ibby’s mom, Vidrine, (not a very caring mom), dumps her daughter, (with no explanation), along with her dad’s ashes and an urn---on her eccentric grandmother, Fannie’s doorstep, in the historical area of New Orleans. Of course, Vidrine does not care for her mother-in-law, and the feeling is most definitely, mutual. 

Ibby is not aware she has a grandmother prior to this date, nor is she knowledgeable of her southern roots, her dad’s family, or anything about this foreign culture. She is grief stricken, and now left alone with a grandmother she does not even know, in a strange town.

Boy, is she in for a treat of her life, when she is greeted by Fannie’s black, smart and wise housekeeper, and cook-- Queenie, who seems to run the household. Queenie came with the house, and has been with Miss Fannie since she was eighteen. She has seen and heard it all, and well equipped for the job! 

Queenie’s daughter Dollbaby (Doll) -- (23 yrs. old), a talented seamstress and manager for Miss Fannie, runs the household as well, keeping everyone in line. One of her main duties is ensuring Miss Fannie, the lady of the house stays calm. 

This group loves hiding things, and keeping secrets to protect their owner. (And let me tell you, this family has plenty of dark, hidden secrets), keeping you engrossed from beginning to end! Doll’s daughter, Birdelia (sassy and fun), also Ibby’s age, so an immediate family and friendship. (If only Annabelle could be so easy to win over). 

Miss Fannie has had a tough life after her husband, and two son’s death. She has a colorful past, yet is the foundation of the town, and knows everyone. This house has so many stories and secrets (you have to love it). Fannie is rich, street smart, has guts, tough, funny, and well respected. (Even though she does like to drink now and then, and go a little nuts). Her main family-- Queenie and Dollbaby, and of course, their immediate family. Fannie will do anything to protect them, as they her. 

Even though Fannie is strange in many ways---she has a wonderful and giving heart and takes Ibby under her wing. However she wants to protect her in the event her mom comes back for her. 

The funniest is Fannie’s love of betting – tennis, golf, football, race horses, etc…..she is sharp, has a thumb on the winners, and a town of followers, ready to follow her lead. She begins to teach Ibby, the ways of the south from-- the way you dress, entertain, manners, and how to win at life! (The white gloves and pearls, a trademark of the South)—yes I am a southerner! 

Queenie and Doll informs Ibby the rules of the house from their point of view: 
Rule #1: Don’t ever go asking Fannie about her past (gets her all emotional) 
Rule #2: Fannie talks about her past, let her talk, but don’t go asking no questions.
Rule #3 You see her hand start twitching, you better change the subject or she gone have one of her spells
Rule # 4 You got something you want to know you come ask one of us (Queenie or Doll) 
Rule #5 I will tell you what you need to know, but don’t never let on to Miss Fannie that I said nothing.
Rule #6 Keep Miss Ibby away from Miss Annabelle

"Just remember those rules and we won’t have no troubles!"

As Ibby searches for a family and her own identify, she finally comes to know her real grandmother, with all her secrets and flaws; and love of the other powerful women in the house on Prytania Street, who irrevocably shaped and nurtured her grandmother, past the ghosts she left behind. 

From the flash backs to the fifties to the present time of sixties through the seventies – what a ride, from loss and love, to forgiveness and redemption. 

Loved these quotes:You can’t choose the day or time when you will fully bloom. It happens on its own time, when you least expect it. “Whenever there’s a loss, there’s bound to be a gain somewhere else. You just have to know where to look for it.”

Fans of Dorothea Benton Frank, Beth Hoffman, Karen White, Susan Rebecca White, Fannie Flagg, Joshilyn Jackson, Mary Kay Andrews, Wiley Cash, Charles Martin, Kathryn Stockett, Sue Monk Kidd, Sarah Addison Allen, Julie Kibler, and Diane Chamberlain (just to name a few of my favorites), will welcome Laura Lane McNeal’s DOLLBABY, and assured to enjoy her unique style and authentic first-hand knowledge of the south, its characters, and dialect. 

This big-hearted, coming-of-age debut novel, is the type of book, you cannot put down. A page-turner, keeping you wanting to know the next secret and fate; yet at you come to the close, you do not want it to end as you want to savor each word. Makes me yearn for Commander’s Palace–and my favorite seat in the garden patio). Please, let’s hope for a sequel, as these characters are too good, to end. You have to love New Orleans and this house! 

Would love to continue to hear more about future adventures of Ibby, Doll, Birdelia, and T-Bone. Fans will definitely root for a movie –as can you image the cast? 

A powerful, thought-provoking, inspiring, and satisfying read. I highly recommend! A talented author you will want to follow for years to come-can’t wait to see what comes next!

A special thank you to PENGUIN GROUP Viking, Pamela Dorman Books, and NetGalley for an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

 
Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/941930899
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review 2014-06-03 07:10
Cop Town
Cop Town - Karin Slaughter

 

By Karin Slaughter  

ISBN:  9780345547491

Publisher:  Random House Publishing Group - Bantam Dell

Publication Date:  June 24, 2014 

Format:  Hardcover

Pages: 416 

My Rating:  5 Stars 

 


Loved this Atlanta Crime Thriller, COP TOWN!, Karin Slaughter’s upcoming new stand-alone crime thriller based in Hot Atlanta. A dark encounter of life on the streets, back in the seventies in a controversial city full of hatred and crime, in a predominantly male law enforcement world, with no respect for women, or other minorities. 

The 70’s were proving to be a bad decade for police officers. Atlanta had suffered more losses than most and in the past two years they caught five cop killers though only one of them had seen the inside of a courtroom. The others had mysterious accidents and the fifth one had walked out of the courtroom a free man.

It was great returning to Atlanta, to all the familiar neighborhoods, with a beautiful, kick ass rookie cop, named Kate, a Jewish Buckhead gal, who recently lost her husband in Vietnam. 

Kate, walks into the Atlanta Police Department, blindsided with every kind of racism, sexism, discrimination, and abuse you can only imagine, especially being a woman in a man’s world--- as readers get to experience firsthand her first EIGHT days on the force. (they are not pretty ones).

Kate gets paired with seasoned partner, Maggie Lawson. Maggie of course is under the thumb of her Uncle Terry and brother, Jimmy and her life is not easy (they even treat their own family like dirt). A lot of bad cops and not too many good ones. 

No one gives Kate, the new girl a break, as she quickly gets introduced to hookers, drug dealers, crack houses, pimps, violence, bigotry and the down and dirty Atlanta (all the evil is not within the town, but inside the police force). Kate is not sure she will make it through day one. These people are crude, violent, sexist, and obnoxious. - She is not safe anywhere, and little does she know the killer is on her trail, as well.

A brutal murder has taken place and a serial killer is targeting cops and a divided police force with the mission of bringing a madman to justice. Maggie and Kate team up with Gail (this is one crazy and funny woman), to try and crack down a madman with no help from the macho pigs. No liberals, gays, or minorities are welcome by these guys.  

As the suspense builds, readers hear from three POVs -Maggie, Kate, and the Killer, (Shooter/Fox). The killer remains a secret, as Slaughter does a bang up job keeping you guessing. There is much more to the novel than the actual murders and crime. The author dives into the life of Kate, her past, family, and her struggles with people being good and bad at the same time. 

Maggie is quite a mystery; however, she and Kate learn from one another and develop a trust. (Liked the little sexy diversion of Dr. Philip Van Zandt -Dr. Zipless). Maybe more from Maggie in another book.

A fast-paced, heart-racing, riveting crime thriller which keeps you on edge-- from Chester Bridge, Little Five Points, Howell Mill, Cabbage Town, Midtown, Buckhead, Grant Park, Downtown, to Grady Hospital---getting a glimpse into the dark alleys and secrets of Atlanta’s finest—truly engrossing, filled with humor and sarcasm for a satisfying bestseller read. 

Having moved to (Buckhead) Atlanta in the early nineties, missed all the happenings in the earlier times; however, have heard horror stories. Slaughter did an outstanding job with the fictional account, research, and reality of this devastating time. 

For those who do not reside in the area, you will be glad to know a number of these seedy dark areas are now quite trendy and hip, with lots of lofts and restaurants.

A special thank you to Random House Publishing Group-Bantam Dell and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

 

 

 

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/939502052
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