Review: Bowie on Bowie

Book Title: Bowie on Bowie

Book Author: Sean Egan (Editor)

Book Rating: ☆☆☆ (3 out of 5 stars)

Published: May 1, 2015

Synopsis: “Bowie on Bowie presents some of the best interviews Bowie has granted in his near five-decade career. Each interview traces a new step in his unique journey, successively freezing him in time as young novelty hit-maker, hairy hippie, Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, the Thin White Duke, plastic soul man, fragile Germanic exile, godfather of the New Romantics, eighties sellout, Tin Machinist, and, finally, permanently, artistically reborn beloved elder statesman of challenging popular music. In all of these iterations he is remarkably articulate. He is also preternaturally polite—almost every interviewer remarks upon his charm.”

I originally received this book from the publisher via Netgalley well over a year ago, and unfortunately put off reading it for far too long.  It wasn’t until David Bowie passed away at the beginning of the year that I picked it up, and I’ve been reading these interviews off and on ever since.

Each interview provides readers with a look into who David Bowie was as both an artist and a person, and the articles span several decades–from 1969 to 2003 to be exact.  Most of Bowie’s most famous interviews are included, in particular the interview he conducted with Melody Maker in 1972 where he stated that he was gay.  It was quite fascinating to read about him over such a vast about of time and through all of his musical personas.  Overall, as a huge David Bowie fan, I found this collection pretty enjoyable.  But do I think you should purchase this book?  Well, maybe.

There aren’t any new or never before read interviews, and I don’t think it would be difficult to find most (if not all) of these articles on-line.  I think that my biggest complaint is that the book has no photographs.  I feel that a least a few photos throughout would have been a nice touch and broken up some of the text well. The editor does include some background and insights as to preface to each interview to help put them into context, which some readers may appreciate. Mostly I think this would be a nice addition to a fan’s memorabilia collection, and my 3-star rating has more to do with the originality of the book rather than a lack of interest as a fan and/or reader.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley.

Review: Me Before You

Book Title: Me Before You

Book Author: Jojo Moyes

Book Rating: ☆☆☆☆ (4 out of 5 stars)

Published: January 5, 2012

Synopsis: “Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.”

WARNING: This review contains spoilers!  I usually try to avoid spoiling the plot of the books that I review, but it was going to be impossible for me to completely express my thoughts on this one without giving anything away.

Despite my high rating, I do have conflicting feelings about this book. I think most people know what this story is about, and I’m not going to get into an ethical debate over patient assisted suicide on this blog.  I will say that I am actually glad that I knew how the book ended before I began reading it.  I think if I hadn’t known, I might have been a lot more angry.  And yet, despite knowing it wouldn’t be the case, I kept hoping that Louisa would be able to change Will’s mind, that Will would see that his life really and truly was still worth living.

This book wasn’t really on my “I need to read that” radar until I saw the movie trailer a few months back. It looked like a really unique take on a typical contemporary romance and I was interested in seeing it in theaters. I wanted to be sure to read the book first, though.  I wasn’t really sure if I would enjoy it or not, most people have categorized this book as “chick lit”, but it was so much more than that.  I was deeply moved by this story, and the characters stayed with me even when I wasn’t actively reading the book.

Despite how the book ended, I loved watching the relationship between Will and Lou unfold from her being the caregiver to his grumpy self, to them developing a genuine friendship and trust and bringing out the best in one another, to finally falling in love.  The ending chapters broke my heart, I felt as though I could feel Lou’s pain.  I wanted so desperately to comfort her in some small way; that is truly how invested in the story I was, and how well the author developed these character.

I am glad that there is a sequel (I started it pretty much immediately after I closed Me Before You for the last time), although I have heard mixed reviews for it.  I am just not ready to let the character of Lou go yet.

Review: The Girls

Book Title: The Girls

Book Author: Emma Cline

Book Rating: ☆☆ (2 out of 5 stars)

Published: June 14, 2016

Synopsis: Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.

Emma Cline’s remarkable debut novel is gorgeously written and spellbinding, with razor-sharp precision and startling psychological insight. The Girls is a brilliant work of fiction—and an indelible portrait of girls, and of the women they become.”

I feel like there must be something wrong with me. I keep hearing such wonderful things about this debut novel, and I was completely underwhelmed. The Girls is filled with prose that just screams “I am Literary!!! Look at all of these pretty words!” And while I love descriptive writing that draws you into a story, there is such thing as overkill. I am also a little irritated by the comparisons of this novel to The Virgin Suicides. I love The Virgin Suicides and can see the parallels about growing up in a world that is not always kind to teenage girls, but The Girls is just not as engaging and not nearly as well-written.

The story begins with an aging woman named Evie, who we quickly learn was part of a cult during her early teenage years. I think the author intends for readers to be shocked by this fact that this unremarkable woman has such a sordid past. After the first chapter, the book flashes back to the year 1969, and describes how Evie went from being a typical 14 year old girl to a member of one of the most infamous cults in history. Unfortunately, the story just seemed to drag on and on. Of course we need background on our character to understand why she would be interested in joining a cult, but it was just too much. Too much mundane description and not enough plot.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley.

Review: The One Thing

Book Title: The One Thing

Book Author: Marci Lyn Curtis

Book Rating: ☆☆☆☆ (4 out of 5 stars)

Published: September 8, 2015

Synopsis: “Maggie Sanders might be blind, but she won’t invite anyone to her pity party. Ever since losing her sight six months ago, Maggie’s rebellious streak has taken on a life of its own, culminating with an elaborate school prank. Maggie called it genius. The judge called it illegal.

Now Maggie has a probation officer. But she isn’t interested in rehabilitation, not when she’s still mourning the loss of her professional-soccer dreams, and furious at her so-called friends, who lost interest in her as soon as she could no longer lead the team to victory.

Then Maggie’s whole world is turned upside down. Somehow, incredibly, she can see again. But only one person: Ben, a precocious ten-year-old unlike anyone she’s ever met. Ben’s life isn’t easy, but he doesn’t see limits, only possibilities. After awhile, Maggie starts to realize that losing her sight doesn’t have to mean losing everything she dreamed of. Even if what she’s currently dreaming of is Mason Milton, the infuriatingly attractive lead singer of Maggie’s new favorite band, who just happens to be Ben’s brother.

But when she learns the real reason she can see Ben, Maggie must find the courage to face a once-unimaginable future… before she loses everything she has grown to love.”

I am really surprised that this book isn’t receiving more attention…it was pretty great! As the synopsis states, Maggie has recently gone blind, but she hasn’t taken the time to properly process and deal with her loss.  Instead, she cuts off all of her old friends, and completely closes herself off from the possibility of moving on with her life. That is until she meets young Ben Milton…a person she can actually see…and she learns her disability doesn’t have to prevent her from living again.

For a book dealing with such a heavy subject, this story was hilarious.  I absolutely adored Maggie and all of her little quips. I thought that the reason Maggie could see Ben was way too obvious, so I never really considered it as a possibility, but it ended up not taking too much away from the story.  Other than that, the romance was sweet, but I particularly enjoyed seeing Maggie’s relationships with her friends and family begin to repair over the course of the book.  The author took us through the process of Maggie dealing with and healing from the tremendous loss of her vision in a way that was very believable.

Please read this book, I don’t think you will be disappointed!

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley.

Review: The Truth About Forever

Book Title: The Truth About Forever

Book Author: Sarah Dessen

Book Rating: ☆☆☆☆ (4 out of 5 stars)

Published: May 11, 2004

Synopsis: “A long, hot summer…That’s what Macy has to look forward to while her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp. Days will be spent at a boring job in the library, evenings will be filled with vocabulary drills for the SATs, and spare time will be passed with her mother, the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of Macy’s father.

But sometimes, unexpected things can happen—things such as the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Or her sister’s project of renovating the neglected beach house, awakening long-buried memories. Things such as meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for Truth-telling, and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl’s world upside down. As Macy ventures out of her shell, she begins to question her sheltered life.”

This book isn’t exactly new, and I don’t know how much I can add by writing another review, so I will keep this brief.  I do want to mention that what I have noticed about most of the negative reviews about this book are the words “too slow” or “boring”.  This book does take a few chapters to get really interesting, but once it got good…it was really good.  Even if this book doesn’t immediately hook you in, don’t give up on it!  By the end, I promise you will love Macy as much as I did.

I feel that the synopsis doesn’t really do this book justice.  It makes it sound like just another young adult romance (which I guess it technically is), but it is about so much more.  It is about learning to deal with an overwhelming loss, moving forward, and finding yourself again.  The completely swoon worthy boy is really just an added bonus.🙂