Review: Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid @tjenkinsreid @HutchinsonBooks

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They sold out arenas from coast to coast. Their music defined an era and every girl in America idolised Daisy. But on July 12 1979, on the night of the final concert of the Aurora tour, they split. Nobody ever knew why. Until now. This is the whole story, right from the beginning: the sun-bleached streets, the grimy bars on the Sunset Strip, knowing Daisy’s moment was coming. Relive the euphoria of success and experience the terror that nothing will ever be as good again. Take the uppers so you can keep on believing, take the downers so you can sleep, eventually. Wonder who you are without the drugs or the music or the fans or the family that prop you up. Make decisions that will forever feel tough. Find beauty where you least expect it. Most of all, love like your life depends on it and believe in whatever it is you’re fighting for. It’s a true story, though everyone remembers the truth differently.

My review:

Last year, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo became one of my favorite books. Not of that year. Ever. I was super excited to read Taylor Jenkins Reid’s new book DAISY JONES AND THE SIX. And I devoured like I was addicted to a drug, which is kind of fitting, now that I think about it. This one was a buddy read with lovely Steph (here’s her review) and we both LOVED it so much! It was a great book to discuss together 🤗

Disclaimer: I love 60s and 70s music. It’s my favorite musical era and I love many bands from those years. When I found out DAISY JONES was about a music band, I was super excited. I had a feeling I would love it as much as Evelyn. And I did. I still can’t decide which one I love better. But if there’s one thing that I’m sure about is that DAISY JONES AND THE SIX will be among my favorite books of 2019.

I don’t really want to say too much because I wouldn’t want to ruin the experience for anyone, but this is quite a unique book. The structure is strange: there are not chapters and everything is told in interview-biography format. I think that’s what made it so compulsively readable. It was such a delightful book, so easy to read and it was also so easy to become immersed in Daisy and Billy’s story.

I know I’ve said other times how much I love stories spanning many years. And this, like Evelyn Hugo, was one of those. You get to see the characters grow and evolve and you are witness to their relationships growing as well. I’m not a fan of romance books (loved chick-lit when I was younger, but never romantic dramas) and I usually find it annoying when an author tries to pair up the main characters when it’s not necessary at all. BUT let me say this: I love how Taylor Jenkins Reid writes love stories.

Without entering into much detail, I have never been a fan of love triangles. But when they’re written in such an honest, realistic and beautiful way like this one was… well, I WAS DYING to know what would happen. And, most importantly, I could feel for every character, as there were no villains in this story.

A wonderful, unique and epic story that I’m still thinking about today.

Do you enjoy Taylor Jenkins Reid books? Who was your favorite character? Mine was Camilla and I was totally rooting for them 💙 Don’t miss the Spotify soundtrack!

Review: The Forgiving Kind by Donna Everhart

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For twelve-year-old Martha “Sonny” Creech, there is no place more beautiful than her family’s cotton farm. She, her two brothers, and her parents work hard on their land—hoeing, planting, picking—but only Sonny loves the rich, dark earth the way her father does. When a tragic accident claims his life, her stricken family struggles to fend off ruin—until their rich, reclusive neighbor offers to help finance that year’s cotton crop. Sonny is dismayed when her mama accepts Frank Fowler’s offer; even more so when Sonny’s best friend, Daniel, points out that the man has ulterior motives. Sonny has a talent for divining water—an ability she shared with her father and earns her the hated nickname “water witch” in school. But uncanny as that skill may be, it won’t be enough to offset Mr. Fowler’s disturbing influence in her world. Even her bond with Daniel begins to collapse under the weight of Mr. Fowler’s bigoted taunts. Though she tries to bury her misgivings for the sake of her mama’s happiness, Sonny doesn’t need a willow branch to divine that a reckoning is coming, bringing with it heartache, violence—and perhaps, a fitting and surprising measure of justice.

My review:

As I said in my My Most Anticipated Books post, Donna Everhart books are always a priority. I requested this one as soon as I saw it on Netgalley, because her other two books had been favorites of mine. And while THE FORGIVING KIND was a different experience for me, I still believe Donna Everhart is a wonderful writer and this is a great and important book.

While I loved reading the first chapter and getting to know Sonny and her father, I admit I lost some interest when he died and the family had to continue with the business. I found the first half of the book rather slow, but I kept on going because I knew it wouldn’t disappoint me. And I’m so glad I did! This is a touching story about a family, about grief, love, racism, and friendship. And the importance of loyalty and never losng hope.

From one particular event on, I found this book unputdownable, and I couldn’t stop turning the pages. This is not a thriller or a fast-paced aventure, but I was so consumed by the story that I needed to know what would happen next. My favorite storyline was the one involving Sonny’s friend, Daniel. There were some scenes that broke my heart and the ending almost made me cry… it’s not a happy story, but it remains hopeful.

This is a book that talks about many important themes and even though it’s set in the 50s, it’s still relevant today. Also, I have never heard of divining water (I’m sorry!), and I found it fascinating. I believe that, like all three books by Everhart, this novel would translate beautifully to the big screen (picture something like The Secret Life of Bees).

Have you read any of Donna Everhart books? 💙

Mini Reviews: November Road & Two Can Keep A Secret

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It’s been ages since I’ve published a mini reviews post, so I guess it’s high time. I finally decided on reviewing two novels that have literally nothing in common, but I don’t think you will mind… (?) The two books featured on this post are a YA mystery and a historical fiction “romance”. But not quite. One I found entertaining yet predictable, the other was a quiet and delightful story.

Two Can Keep A Secret by Karen M. McManus

38225791.jpgI decided to read this book because it was the first book in the ScaredSuspenseBookClub and I kinda wanted to read something light yet  suspenseful. I thought this would perfect for that and I wasn’t wrong. Reading this book was like watching an episode of Pretty Little Liars or Riverdale and while I’m not always in the mood for those kind of shows, YA mysteries are consistently entertaining. However, from what I’ve seen, they’re not really shocking or surprising or maybe I’m just not reading the right ones. I admit I haven’t still read ONE OF US IS LYING, but I might in the future. TWO CAN KEEP A SECRET was super entertaining and I devoured it in practically a day, but it was nothing more than a fun and entertaining mystery that doesn’t really stand out among other similar books. While the twists were predictable if you’ve read other thrillers, I loved Ellery and Malcolm and the double point of view. I wish Ezra hadn’t been such a secondary character, though. I liked him. PS: I hate this cover.

November Road by Lou Berney

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I read THE LONG AND FARAWAY GONE about five years ago and I really liked it. Two of my favorite bloggers (Renee & Steph) raved about his new novel, so of course I decided to read NOVEMBER ROAD, a book about the improbable relationship between a mobster and a bored housewife. First of all, I want to say that the cover is strikingly beautiful and I wish I had bought the physical edition instead. This is a weird book, in the sense that I don’t really know how to define it. It’s historical fiction, yes, because it’s set in the 60s, and I guess it’s also a romance, but not the cheesy and melodramatic kind. I guess NOVEMBER ROAD falls also in the literary fiction category, which is one that I admit I don’t usually read. Nevertheless, this was a quiet and beautiful novel whose characters were complex and interesting to read about. In addition, I found this book even more enjoyable because this next April I’m planning a road trip across the south and Frank and Charlotte visit some of the places that I’m dying to see. So much fun!

Have you read any of these books? What do you think of them? 💙

 

 

 

Review: Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager @riley_sager

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Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. But the games ended the night Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin into the darkness. The last she–or anyone–saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips. Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings–massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. When the paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale, she implores Emma to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor. Seeing an opportunity to find out what really happened to her friends all those years ago, Emma agrees. Familiar faces, unchanged cabins, and the same dark lake haunt Nightingale, even though the camp is opening its doors for the first time since the disappearances. Emma is even assigned to the same cabin she slept in as a teenager, but soon discovers a security camera–the only one on the property–pointed directly at its door. Then cryptic clues that Vivian left behind about the camp’s twisted origins begin surfacing. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing mysterious threats in the present. And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale and what really happened to those girls, the more she realizes that closure could come at a deadly price.

My review:

First of all, I want to thank Inge, who encouraged me to read this book right away. Thanks to her, I spent one day consumed by this book and not thinking of anything else.

To be honest, I don’t even know why I didn’t read it when it came out. After all, I loved THE FINAL GIRLS by the same author. I guess I saw some reviews or read something that made me push it down the TBR… And I was so wrong to do that. LAST TIME I LIED instantly became one of my favorite reads of 2018 and I liked it even more than Riley Sager’s debut.

It’s no secret that I love teen horror movies, slashers and everything that Riley Sager seems to write about. So I guess it was obvious that the summer camp setting quickly captivated me and I suddenly couldn’t stop reading. Life happened, and I had to spend all day outside, but then the morning after, I raced through it and finished the rest of the book in a sitting.

This is a deeply atmospheric and twisty novel that follows a similar structure to Final Girls. The flashbacks, of course, tell us the story of Emma’s first summer at Camp Nightingale and the present story focuses on her investigation back at the same location where her friends vanished fifteen years ago.

There are many things I loved about this story. First of all, there was a chapter around the middle that literally made me gasp out loud. If you’ve read it, you probably know which one I’m talking about. It was so well done… so smart. And from that point on, the novel became unputdownable.

Secondly, the reason why Emma felt so guilty about the disappearance. The fact that she felt it was partly her fault. This reveal broke my heart and it’s exactly the kind of narrative that I love in stories. It was perfect.

Finally, I admit that while the present mystery resolution wasn’t as satisfactory, I can’t think of other option that would’ve made more sense. BUT. THAT. ENDING. I’m sure most of you were most invested in the disappearance of Vivian, Natalie and Allison. I know I was. Never in a million years would I have guessed what really happened. And when you think of it, all the clues were there.

This is how it ends... Goosebumps.

What did you think of this book? Did you like it better than his first? Were you as shocked as I was? 💙

Review: The Secret by Jennifer Wells @jenwellswriter @Aria_Fiction

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A tightly woven story full of secrets and lies with a breathtaking finale. London 1920 – Troubled young dancer, Lily, is invited to remote Elmridge House, home of the wealthy theatre benefactor Dr Cuthbertson to escape her troubled past. An isolated guest room and a surprise pregnancy leave her longing to return to the stage and her London life. She soon discovers that Elmridge House is not all that it seems – the house holds secrets which make it difficult for her to leave. Missensham 1942 – Young nurse Ivy Watts is called out to a patient at Elmridge House, home of the aloof Mrs Cuthbertson and reclusive Dr Cuthbertson. Ivy is entranced by the opulence of the house and its glamorous past, but when she tells her mother about Mrs Cuthbertson, her mother becomes fearful and forbids her from returning to the house. What secrets does Elmridge House hold? And why does Ivy’s mother live in fear of the mysterious Mrs Cuthbertson?

My review:

Ever since I read The Liar back in 2016, I have been waiting for Jennifer Well’s new book every year with eager anticipation. The Murderess was another great addition to her Missensham series last year. Don’t worry, even though these books are set in the same location and time period, the stories are completely independent (although there were mentions of The Murderess in this new book, which was super smart!).

The Secret is the new psychological thriller / historical saga by Jennifer Wells. It is a weird combination, but just like in The Cursed Wife by Pamela Hartshorne, there are some gifted writers that combine both genres beautifully. Jennifer is my favorite. She’s not only a wonderful writer, but she’s super nice and sweet if you reach out to her.

I don’t want to say much about the plot, only the basics. This is the story of Ivy, a young nurse who starts unconvering her mother’s life secrets when she meets Mrs Cuthbertson, a mysterious woman who lives at Elmridge House. But who exactly is Mrs Cuthbertson? And why is her mother so adamant that she never sees her again?

This book, like her previous two, has a somewhat complex structure with two different timelines narrated by two different characters: Ivy (the daughter) and Lily (the mother). And like in The Murderess, the book is filled with twists, so it’s quite an exciting adventure. I admit that I thought I had everything figured out when suddenly my suspicions became true at around 50%. And I thought: well, this cannot be it. Of course it wasn’t! How did I ever doubt Jennifer Well’s twisty talents? By the time I reached the ending, my mind was completely blown and I wanted to recommend this book to everyone.

I feel like some of you don’t give these books a chance because of the cover, but you are missing out on great suspenseful stories that will shock you more than once.

Have you read any of Jennifer Wells novels? Are you planning to do so? Let me know! 💙