Book Review: Daisy Jones and The Six

I had been wanting to read this book since I’d heard about it in the promotions prior to its release last Spring. The title was intriguing and the book cover was as well. However, life got busy and it just kept getting pushed lower and lower on my To Be Read list during the year last year.  As I’ve been a little less mobile the last few months I’ve had more time for reading – and so this seemed like the perfect time to dive into what I hoped was going to be a great escape novel.

It’s received rave reviews – and earned Reese Witherspoon’s praise (and has been optioned for a TV series that Witherspoon is producing – which I can’t wait to see)

So, knowing all this, I was excited to dive in. Daisy Jones & The Six did not disappoint.

The book reads like a rock documentary – like one of those shows you’d find on Saturday afternoons or late-night TV that would suck you in with the tragic story of a rock star or band that had a meteoric rise to fame and even more epic fall.  And it is somewhat like that.  I love the point of view of the story – it’s told from the main character’s perspectives, sometimes (often) overlapping a scene with multiple points of view and conflicting accounts.  In that way, it is very real-life in the way it reads.

While it appears at first glance that the story is going to be centered around Daisy Jones, it’s really the story of the band and Daisy – from their humble, anonymous beginnings all the way through to their rise to fame and mega-stardom and the ultimate crash that you can see coming from a mile away.

The book starts out with Daisy’s childhood, which is unconventional and somewhat sad.  A “rich white girl, growing up in L.A. She’s gorgeous – even as a child.” And yet she has no one – her parents are too wrapped up in their own lives to even care about Daisy’s comings and goings or to notice when she’s home or not.  We see this fragility set up early on, and Daisy’s need to belong, to be accepted as a fundamental part of her character.

Balancing out Daisy’s story is the story of the band, in particular the lead singer, Billy Dunne and his brother Graham.  Once again, Reid does a great job building the character profiles and showcasing the driving factors for the rest of the story.  Two brothers, abandoned by their father, raised by their hard-working single mother.  Billy craves that family unit, Graham craves recognition and visibility as he copes with being in the shadow of Billy who is the band’s frontman and lead singer.

Daisy, immersed in the drug culture that was the sixties, hanging out at LA’s hot spots and living the freewheeling lifestyle of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, eventually finds recognition and opportunity after being spotted at one of the Sunset Strip clubs.  She viewed herself as a songwriter first and singer second and was insulted when the industry execs wanted her to sing other people’s songs.  In an artistic snit, she essentially ignores the contracts, recording executives and managers and lives in a drug-induced haze.

Meanwhile, The Six is making its rise into fame.  They record a debut novel and begin to tour, living the high life when they are not on stage. More sex, drugs and rock and roll – this is the sixties after all.  The book chronicles Billy’s fall into addiction and how it impacts the whole band through this time – including his wife, Camilla, who has been with him from the very beginning.

The inevitable intersection of the two acts comes as Daisy is tapped to record a duet with Billy for the upcoming album The Six is working on – and what happens next is as they say “the stuff of legends.”

The band and Daisy join forces and the remainder of the book focuses on their tumultuous rise to fame and the dynamics that rock the band as they record and perform together. Without giving the rest of the story away, I’ll just say that Reid does a great job of building tension and keeping you holding your breath for what you think is coming soon and yet seems to never happen.

You want the happy ending, but you know that it’s probably not going to happen. The characters are just too broken, too messed up and the fates have aligned for tragedy not happiness. But how that actually plays out keeps you reading and reading, way past your bedtime, as you hope and pray things work themselves out and the next page is not a headline story of an overdose or death.

I’m so glad that the book is going to be made into a mini-series. I hope that Witherspoon and her crew can really give it the gritty realism that the story deserves. It’s got all of the elements of a classic, watch over and over again type of movie. That train wreck you know is coming and you watch and wait for it anyway. Kind of like A Star is Born. You knew something awful was coming but you didn’t know quite know what was coming.

Overall, a very solid story – and if I were the kind of person who read books multiple times, I’d read it again. But I highly recommend the book. It’s a quick read, a great escape and will keep you up way past your bedtime. All in all, it’s a winner to me.

What I’m Reading Right Now: Executive Privilege

What I'm reading right now

I just finished this book not too long ago and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. I found it via a new service I’ve subscribed to (Book Bub) which sends me links to discounted ebooks based on the genres I’ve selected and the format I chose (I chose Nook, Kindle and Apple Books because I can read any of these on my iPad.)  So far, it’s been dangerously good. Some of the titles have been iffy once I’ve clicked through to research them a bit more, but for the most part I am finding some new authors to check out and certainly filling up my to-read list on Good Reads.

Executive Privilege is a story that explores the mystery surrounding a set of serial murders in the D.C. area and their possible tie-in to the President of the United States.   As the story opens, a private investigator, Dana Cutler, is asked to follow a young woman for a mysterious, and anonymous client.  At the same time, FBI agent Keith Evans is called in to investigate the latest murder in a string of murders committed by the “DC Ripper.”  Out in Oregon, a young attorney is tasked with handling an appeal for a death row inmate who is convicted of being a serial killer.

As you read, these three people are entwined in an increasingly dangerous and twisted story as they independently work through their tasks and ultimately find themselves all facing the same conclusion – that there is a third serial killer on the loose and it just might be in the Executive Office.

Dana is an emotionally-scarred ex-cop who makes her living as a private investigator.  She’s asked to watch a young woman who is working in the campaign office of the presidential candidate.  As she is on surveillance, the young woman meets up with Secret Service agents in a shopping mall parking lot and goes to a secret rendezvous with the President.  Dana follows and watches from the woods, taking pictures, as the young woman’s tryst turns sour and she storms out of the hideaway with angry words and tears for the President.  As Dana tries to leave to follow her back, she is attacked by Secret Service agents guarding the President and barely escapes.  As she is fleeing, she realizes that the pictures she just took could get her into serious trouble.  She leaves her final update for her mysterious client and tells them she is quitting the job.  She’s on the run and hoping to keep herself alive.

Meanwhile, in Portland, Oregon, young Brad Miller, a new attorney, is asked by his boss to represent a convicted serial killer on his final appeal.  It appears to be an open and shut case and Brad is surprised when the killer, Clarence Little, wants to meet with him and insists that he has been wrongly accused of one of the murders and wants Miller to clear his name.  As Little gives him details to prove his innocence, Brad is sucked into the mystery and can’t stop looking for the answers – even as his boss warns him off and threatens him if he doesn’t.

FBI agent Keith Evans solves the D.C. Ripper case only to find that there is another murder that is being linked to the Ripper.  Except in this case, things don’t add up and he starts to wonder if there is a copy-cat killer on the loose.  The murder victim is a young woman who was working on the campaign of the presidential candidate.

As each main character continues to work their way through the maze of clues and lies they find their paths crossing and the reader is left to wonder – is the President the killer? Is it his right-hand man who is scarily loyal to him and has a military background and will stop at nothing to protect the president?  As they continue to figure things out, forces are working against them on both coasts, trying to keep what has been buried, buried.

This is a great story and kept me engrossed right up until the end. Although, I have to admit, I had figured out “who done it” pretty much halfway through the book, I still enjoyed reading to find out how Margolin was going to reveal the murderer’s identity and wrap up the story.  I would definitely recommend it – especially for a plane flight or vacation read.  It’s not one you want to put down once you get going.

Final Verdict: Read it

And in other news… this is what happens when you leave your editor window open and go cook dinner:

Hi this is MB mommy had a edit open so I added my own note heheSmile

 

What I’m Reading Right Now

I’ve just finished a really good book that I was asked to review: Searching For Captain Wentworth by Jane Odiwe. I have to say, I felt very lucky to have been given the opportunity to read the book. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The baseline of the story revolves around a young woman named Sophie Elliot who is adrift in life and in her career and hoping to restart her writing career by staying in Bath, England in the townhome owned by her family. She is fascinated with Jane Austen and when she learns that the townhome is next door do the one that the Austens lived in when they were staying in Bath, her decision is finalized.

What follows is an interesting journey backwards and forwards through time as Sophie mysteriously passes back into time in the body of her cousin who is living next door to the Austens and has befriended the young Austen ladies.  Sophie becomes more and more entwined with the story of her cousin and her friendship with Jane and her sister – and brother, Charles.

In modern times, she befriends her neighbor, Josh Strafford, who happens to be working on an exhibit about Regency Bath, including displays on the Austens.  As Sophie bounces back and forth between time, she begins to have feelings for both Josh and Charles, which she fears will lead her to heartbreak on both fronts.

The story is cleverly woven between the past and present and quickly draws you into both times.  You hope that Sophie finds love with Charles Austen in the past AND with Josh Strafford in the present. You wonder how the events in the past have shaped the current and what changes may occur based on Sophie’s actions in the past.  Will she affect the future?  What will happen with Charles?  What does Josh feel about her? Is she just a friend or more to him?

Odiwe does an excellent job of portraying Regency England and the customs and challenges young women of that era faced.  I was enchanted by her portrayal of Jane Austen as a spunky, creative young woman bound by duty and honor – and most women of that age were.  I’ve visited Bath before and the descriptions she used in the book were true to my memories and took me back to the visits, wandering the streets and walking through the Pump Room.

She handles the time-travel relatively well, and I think, does a good job of portraying Sophie as someone who tries to sort out whether what is happening is a dream or if it is real – and which reality is really real?

I would most definitely suggest you read the book, even if you are not a Jane Austen fan, you’ll enjoy the story line and be enchanted by the characters.

This review is also part of the Layered Pages book review team. Hop on over to find more great books and reviews.

What I’m Reading Right Now

Or, rather, what I just finished reading.

‘cause it was so good I couldn’t stop.

Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen

by Susan Gregg Gilmore

Such a cute, cute book. And a quick, light read. Which is what I needed right now.

The story reminded me of growing up in the South and of living in a small town (which isn’t so small anymore) like we have for the last 20+ years. Living in communities where everyone knows everyone, everyone has an opinion about what you do and what you don’t do – and they usually share whether you ask or not.

It’s the story of a young girl, the daughter of a Southern Baptist preacher who was the son of a preacher and the grandson of a preacher… all having tended to the same flock in the same small town of Ringgold, Georgia. Catherine Grace Cliine’s mother drowned when she was just a little girl.  She and her sister grew up in the shadow of her daddy’s preaching and constantly missing their momma and wishing things were different than they were.

The girls are loved and cared for, both by their daddy (who is doing the best he can) and by their neighbor, Gloria Jean Graves, a divorcee whom her father doesn’t exactly approve of, but he allows her to fill the gap left by their mama’s death.

Catherine Grace decides that she is leaving Ringgold as soon as she is 18 – the story follows her as she grows up, anticipating and planning for that great Exodus.  The storytelling is poignant and beautiful, the language true to a Southern girl – especially one from this neck of the woods. It felt genuine and real. I could imagine this was Catherine Grace telling me the story in real life, not a fictional story.

She finally makes her escape and heads to the big city of Atlanta only to be forced to return home because of a tragedy which changes her life forever.

It’s the story of finding happiness where you are, of how everything we do affects others (whether we intend for it to or not) and of the power of community.

I would highly recommend it – I thoroughly enjoyed it.

What I’m Reading Right Now (2011 Recap)

What I'm reading right nowI’m reading a great book right now- it’s a monster (700+ pages!) but it is so good I don’t even mind the fact that it is quite a project to read.  I’ll share some thoughts about it in an upcoming post, but I thought that today I’d share a recap of some of my favorite reads from 2011.

You will recall I do a monthly “What I’m Reading Right Now” post.  You can check those out for more detailed reviews of the books.

Here are my top five favorite books for 2011: (in no particular order)

  • The Cupcake Bakery Mysteries.  These were sooo cute.  I am looking forward to #4 in the series.
  • A Discovery of Witches.  This was an awesome book. I believe there is another one coming out for this series, too. Can’t wait.
  • The Peach Keeper. I love anything by Sarah Addison Allen. She is such a talented writer.
  • Juliet. Romeo & Juliet reinvented. Very engrossing.
  • Prayers for Sale. This one was so, so good. Great characters, great story.

And one more for good measure:

  • Game of Thrones (I’m reading it right now, but started in 2011, so it counts, right?  REALLY good. More on this one soon.

What about you? What were your favorite books in 2011?

Are you planning any good reads for 2012?  I’m hoping to read the next installment of Game of Thrones and I’ve got these books on my to-read wish list on my Nook:

Well, that’s it for now. I’m sure I’ll be adding more books to my wish list…

I’d love to hear from you on any suggestions you may have!

What I’m Reading Right Now ~ November

Life has been so busy lately – haven’t had time, it seems, for much of anything – and yet I seem (somehow) to have managed to finish three books this month.

Granted, they have been short books… short and sweet ones.  They’re part of a cute series of mysteries – the Cupcake Bakery Series by Jenn McKinlay.

I’m not sure how I ended up with the first one – maybe a Friday Freebie?

I read it pretty quickly – it was really cute and “light” (if a murder mystery can be light) and a great escape at the end of the busy days of October.

The story revolves around three best friends who own a cupcake bakery together… and the murder in which one of them becomes the prime suspect.

There were a few sub-plots involving the main characters, which continue throughout the three stories, developing as they go.

I liked this continuity of story, combined with the different murders in each book – the characters are just off-beat enough to be fun and while it is hard to believe these folks have this many murders surround them (you’d start to wonder – in real life – what was up if you had this many murders around you!) the ongoing stories and goofball characters they encounter keep you engaged and curious enough to see what is coming next.

There’s the hateful owner of the bakery who is their chief competition, the eccentric fashion designers, the couples who take the Valentine’s-themed baking class and can’t stop arguing, the geriatric gentleman who tries to win the raffle for a Valentine’s dream dinner so that he can “get a life” – the books are full of colorful characters.

I’m reading #3 in the series now, which is focused on a cooking contest in which one of the judges is killed. Of course, he was a mentor and close friend of one of the main characters and she feels compelled to investigate his murder at the same time she is competing against her nemesis (the hateful bakery owner) in this competition.  Add to that the fact that her uncle is the investigating detective and her boyfriend is the DA (and her best friend and co-owner’s big brother) and you have some kookiness to come.

If you’re looking for something light and fun – a great escape from everyday life – this is a great series of books to read.

What I’m Reading Right Now

I haven’t had as much time to read since school started a few weeks ago. I’ve been busy with after school activities, homework, and the like – wait, I’m not the one who went back to school! What’s wrong with this picture? Winking smile

What I'm reading right nowI have been getting up before the sun comes up, though, which means that I’ve been going to bed a whole lot earlier – as early as 8:30 or 9:00 most nights – and which translates to less time to read.

In spite of all that, I have managed to pick up a few books. I am currently in the middle of two books – neither of which have really “grabbed” me.  They are good, but not spectacular.  I think my fatigue and busy-ness also have contributed to the fact that I have not been as engrossed in the stories.

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier: Book Cover

Remarkable Creatures

by Tracy Chevalier

I picked this up in a buy one-get one special at a bookstore near my mom’s house this summer. I’ve been saving it for a day when I didn’t have anything handy to read – and that day came just a few weeks ago.

The story is based on a young girl who finds “curies” – curiosities – which are fossilized creatures found on the beaches of southern England.  Also a part of the story is a young spinster who moves to the area and becomes focused on finding curiosities as well.  The story touches on the differences in their social classes and the similarities of their love of finding fossils.

It’s a little slow – which is why I can’t tell you much more about the story – and I haven’t gotten too deep in the story yet.  It looks like a good story, I just need to sit down and read it!

The Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes: Book CoverThe Last Letter from Your Lover

by Jojo Moyes

The Last Letter from Your Lover opens with a young woman in the hospital suffering from amnesia and recovering from a terrible car accident.  As the story unfolds, you discover her unhappy marriage, a happenstance meeting with a journalist that turns into something more, and her rediscovery of her life.

The book is broken into two parts – the first is focused on Jennifer as she recovers from her accident and deals with the amnesia.  The second focuses on a young journalist who stumbles across letters from Jennifer and the journalist and tries to discover what happened to them.

I  have gotten through the first part – just started on the second part.  I got so aggravated with Jennifer in the first part that I had to put the book away for a few days to get some distance from the story. (guess that means it is a good book!) I’m ready to pick it up again, though, and see how things transpire in the second half and find out what happened to Jennifer and Anthony.

I’ll let you know what my final verdict is…

What about you? Reading anything good these days?  Share with us in the comments!