Wednesday, July 24th 2019

Daisy Jones & The Six

Daisy Jones & The SixDaisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Published by Ballantine Books on March 5th 2019
Pages: 368

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.

If you love Fleetwood Mac, the movie Almost Famous and watching documentaries, this book is for you!

I absolutely love the format this book is written in. It’s written as if all the members of the band are being interviewed for a documentary. As someone who watches and loves a lot of documentaries, this style of writing really worked for me. I could picture the documentary in my mind while I was reading.

I love all of these characters, even the ones who frustrated me from time to time. I loved the setting and the interviewer “reveal.” I also loved that the author created the lyrics to all the songs talked about in the book as well. Just brilliant. Now I have to go and read Taylor Jenkins Reid’s back catalog.


Monday, March 5th 2018

Small Great Things

Small Great ThingsSmall Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Published by Ballantine Books on October 11th 2016
Pages: 480


Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years' experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she's been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?
Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy's counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other's trust, and come to see that what they've been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.
With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn't offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.

I love the difficult topics explored in books by Jodi Picoult. I was a little nervous going into this one as it’s not an own voices novel. But I felt that Picoult handled this difficult topic with great care. The story is told with three perspectives, the nurse, the lawyer and the white supremacist. At first, I was annoyed because I did not want to listen (I listened to the audiobook), to the white supremacist chapters of this book because obviously, I hated him, but his story was just as important because it helped me understand how someone gets involved in so much hate.

I loved all the characters, even the ones you love to hate. I felt the “twist” was pretty good. I feel like Picoult is as well known for her twists as M. Night Shyamalan. The only reason this book got 4 stars instead of 5 from me is that I felt the end was kind of rushed. There was more I wanted to know that I felt could have been included in the end. There was no reason to really rush the end and leave me with some questions. But overall I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it.


Thursday, January 19th 2017

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and ScientologyTroublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini, Rebecca Paley
Published by Ballantine Books on November 3rd 2015
Pages: 228


The outspoken actress, talk show host, and reality television star offers up a no-holds-barred memoir, including an eye-opening insider account of her tumultuous and heart-wrenching thirty-year-plus association with the Church of Scientology.
Leah Remini has never been the type to hold her tongue. That willingness to speak her mind, stand her ground, and rattle the occasional cage has enabled this tough-talking girl from Brooklyn to forge an enduring and successful career in Hollywood. But being a troublemaker has come at a cost.
That was never more evident than in 2013, when Remini loudly and publicly broke with the Church of Scientology. Now, in this frank, funny, poignant memoir, the former King of Queens star opens up about that experience for the first time, revealing the in-depth details of her painful split with the church and its controversial practices.
Indoctrinated into the church as a child while living with her mother and sister in New York, Remini eventually moved to Los Angeles, where her dreams of becoming an actress and advancing Scientology’s causes grew increasingly intertwined. As an adult, she found the success she’d worked so hard for, and with it a prominent place in the hierarchy of celebrity Scientologists alongside people such as Tom Cruise, Scientology’s most high-profile adherent. Remini spent time directly with Cruise and was included among the guests at his 2006 wedding to Katie Holmes.
But when she began to raise questions about some of the church’s actions, she found herself a target. In the end, she was declared by the church to be a threat to their organization and therefore a “Suppressive Person,” and as a result, all of her fellow parishioners—including members of her own family—were told to disconnect from her. Forever.
Bold, brash, and bravely confessional, Troublemaker chronicles Leah Remini’s remarkable journey toward emotional and spiritual freedom, both for herself and for her family. This is a memoir designed to reveal the hard-won truths of a life lived honestly—from an author unafraid of the consequences.

I never watched King of Queens and I never thought much about Leah Remini one way or another. Then I binged watched 5 episodes of the Scientology and the Aftermath‎ mini-series on A&E. Every time there was a commercial break I would just stare at my mother (who was watching it with me), and say, “Oh. My God.” I didn’t know much about Scientology. I knew that some people had said it was cult-like and bad things happened. But mostly I just thought it was a weird religion where those in it thought that people were brought to earth by aliens. I often thought of it like the cult in the show Parks and Recreation, “The Reasonabilists.” Zorp the Surveyor is the 28-foot-tall lizard-god savior of the cult known as the Reasonabilists that took over Pawnee, Indiana in the 1970’s. Zorp was predicted to come down to Earth and end all human existence by melting off everyone’s faces with his “volcano mouth”. And now I wonder if they got their idea from Scientology.

After watching the entire A&E mini-series I have come to the conclusion that Scientology is a cult and not a religion. And I wanted to know more about Leah Remini’s personal experience having grown up in Scientology. The two things complement each other and if you watched the mini-series, you should read her book and if you have read her book, you should watch the mini-series. I applaud Leah for her courage and determination in bringing Scientology down.

This book was very interesting and there was never a moment where I was bored or wanted to skip parts. It is very engaging and very informative. I learned much more about why she is the way she is and why she is fighting so hard. I cannot imagine the hardships she and her family faced for this “church.” Even though you are reading her words about what happened, it is still hard to believe. I didn’t want to believe it. That these people are treated this way and that this cult could be considered a religion in any way is unbelievable.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. I think everyone should be informed and understand how and why something like this could happen. I hope Leah Remini keeps fighting and I hope Scientology is taken down within my lifetime. Obviously hopefully sooner rather than later.