Audiobook Review, General Fiction (Adult)

The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir

The Book of EssieThe Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After seeing some rave reviews for this book I decided to give it a try. The Book of Essie is the story of a teenager named Esther Hicks who ends up pregnant. But, that’s not the end of Essie’s story. Essie just happens to be a reality TV star, her parents famous religious and social figures. And they have a reputation to uphold. Cue the pregnancy scandal cover up!

If you have ever seen the TV show UnREAL (which basically reveals the sneaky, behind the scenes things that producers do to steer certain reality TV storylines the way they want them to go), this book has a super similar vibe. So many times I wanted to punch Essie’s mom in the face for putting on a false facade in the name of celebrity.

The Book of Essie (cleverly named given its religious undertones) dives into some difficult subject matter and explores a ton of difficult family-centered issues. One things is for sure. I adored Essie’s character and several other main characters as well. And while I couldn’t relate to Essie personally, I applauded the way she handled the situation she found herself in. What a firecracker.

The audiobook version of this book was pretty good. There were times when there may have been a few lulls by overall it held my attention.

It’s definitely worth the read.

View all my reviews

General Fiction (Adult), Historical Fiction, Romance

Giant by Edna Ferber

GiantGiant by Edna Ferber

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So, how did I happen to read a book published in 1952? Let me tell you. While reading Where the Crawdads Sing, I could not stop thinking about how it reminded me of my Grandma Tocco. I felt compelled to send her a copy to read. In our conversation about Where the Crawdads Sing, my grandma said to me, “Have you read anything by Edna Ferber? She’s one of my favorite authors!” As I hadn’t, she recommended that I read Giant so I added it to the list.

I’m not going to lie, I almost did not get past the first 4 or 5 chapters. The writing is so different from anything I would typically read which is likely a product of the decade in which it was published. Let’s just say that the writing is very “vintage.” It was not a quick read. If I were to read it aloud, the language just would not roll off the tongue.

However, I stuck with it and started to develop relationships with the characters. I began to understand the relationships of the characters and their motivations. And eventually, I was invested in their stories.

Giant is about the life of Leslie and Jordan “Bick” Benedict on enormous Reata Ranch in the heart of Texas from the 1930s to the 1950s. And if I can say anything about this book, it oozed Texas. The ranches, the cattle, the size, the culture, and the economic transition from one rooted on agriculture to one thriving from oil. It was Texas through and through.

What did I not like about it? It was slowwwwwww and longggggggg. There were times when I felt like the book could have benefited from editing out about 100 pages and moving the story faster. It would eventually pick up, but then would fall back into a lull. And I guess I was a tad confused about the ending. The story just kind of stopped. I was hoping for more resolution.

Overall, it was not my favorite book ever but it was definitely not my least favorite book ever. It will live in that in between area of “just okay.” Sorry Gram!

View all my reviews

General Fiction (Adult), Historical Fiction

Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy Jones & the SixDaisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Expected Publication: March 5th!

ALL THE STARS!!! SERIOUSLY, FIVE IS NOT ENOUGH!

I adored this book so much. It is only the 6th day of 2019 and I would venture to say that this will probably be in the top 5 books I read this year, if not the best book I read this year. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a powerhouse. After reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, I considered myself a fan of her storytelling. But Daisy Jones & the Six blows it out of the water.

Daisy Jones & the Six is a story about the fictional rock band… you guessed it… Daisy Jones & the Six. It tells the story of their rise to stardom and their later collapse. But the characters are the magic. The individual subplots are superb, and I was able to make a connection with each and every character in the book. I loved the way Taylor Jenkins Reid tied everything together with the ending expertly crafted and told. Although the entire story was fabulous, the last 10% of the book gave me all the feels and really brought it home for me.

The formatting was so unique and different. Written in the form of a transcript, with different characters telling their version of the story was super interesting. It also added a real element as everybody’s version of events was at times different, as they would be if actual people were telling their own accounts of the same story. And the humor. Perfectly placed. I found myself chuckling and laughing many times throughout. It was not overtly humorous by any means. But the way the author crafted conflicting accounts of certain events made me smile.

As this was a story about a rock band, there was mention of the various songs they wrote and performed. And not only did TJR allude to the band’s songs. She wrote them. At the back of the book are the lyrics of all ten songs for the reader to enjoy. Now if only we could have an accompanying soundtrack, my life would be complete. A girl can dream, right?

I will be recommending this book to everybody I know. And I have to thank BookSparks for helping a sista out with the request for this ARC. Hearts!

You will definitely want to preorder this one so click here to take yourself straight to Amazon and do it! This is one of the most highly anticipated books of the year, and I have a feeling it will be one of the most talked about after it is published.

-I was gifted an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Taylor Jenkins Reid, and Random House Publishing for the opportunity to review.-

View all my reviews

General Fiction (Adult), Historical Fiction, Romance

Firefly Lane (Firefly Lane #1) by Kristin Hannah

Firefly Lane (Firefly Lane #1)Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First book review of 2019! And it’s a good one!!

How could I NOT love a Kristin Hannah book? Honestly.

After reading The Nightingale, The Great Alone, Home Front, and Night Road (so much goodness), I figured Firefly Lane was the next logical choice. And my girl Kristin Hannah did not disappoint yet again.

Firefly Lane was something entirely different from the heaviness of the aforementioned titles. It (for the most part) was a coming of age story about friendship above all else. Beginning in the 1970’s and spanning into present day, Kristin Hannah tells the tale of fourteen-year-old quiet, reserved Kate who meets her new neighbor… life-of-the-party, “it girl” Tully. In time, Kate and Tully become best friends, seeing each other through important life events, supporting each other through obstacles, and sometimes fighting as friends often do. As time goes on, Kate and Tully’s lives split along two separate paths but they always seem to come back to each other. I hate to give more of the plot away because that’s the brilliance of the story so I’ll leave it at that.

To be honest, when I started reading this book I thought to myself, “This is not a typical Kristin Hannah. I don’t have this deep, emotional feeling that I’ve come to love from her writing.” But, boy was I wrong. Wait for it. Wait for it. BAM! It just hits you in the face like a runaway train. And I thought to myself, “There it is!” The magic. The thing that keeps me coming back for more. And of course, the tears. All the tears.

This review would not be complete without mentioning the nostalgic elements that Hannah so perfectly placed throughout the prose. There were tiny glimpses into 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s pop culture that weren’t too in your face, but caught me reminiscing about my own childhood in the 90’s and stories my mother told me about her childhood in the 70’s. I loved those little touches.

This is the first in a series of two books, the second titled Fly Away. Trust me, it is in line to be read very soon so I can continue experiencing this magnificent story.

If you haven’t read Kristin Hannah before, this is a great first choice. Or any of the books I’ve already mentioned. Or all of them. I won’t judge.

View all my reviews

Audiobook Review, Fantasy, General Fiction (Adult), Historical Fiction

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

The ImmortalistsThe Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First, can we talk about the cover? This book kept popping up on social media everywhere, and every time, it stuck in my head because of that gorgeous cover. It is so simple, but beautiful and eye catching.

So what is The Immortalists about? In the 1960’s the Gold children hear about a woman who can tell fortunes. She’s said to be able to tell you the date you will die. So when all four of them pay the woman a visit, they get the answers they came looking for, but will they like what they hear? The story that unfolds is about each of the children’s journeys through life, leading up to their deaths. At times perhaps a bit depressing, it explores the line between our decisions and our fate. And challenges the way we live our lives. Would we live differently if we knew when we were going to die? Would we play it safe or make the most of our days?

I thought the idea behind this book was extraordinary. I enjoyed the philosophical elements and the overall message Chloe Benjamin was trying to portray. I loved the character development as well and really connected with several of the characters as the book went on.

I did struggle slightly with the format. It is really four separate stories that end up tying together. But, they are told in succession. So I would get really invested in one character or story, it would end, and I would have to get my brain back in gear to connect with the next character in line. It ended up working for me, but that is my one slightly gripe.

All in all, this was a fantastic novel and explored a lot of really interesting content. I found it thought provoking, but not at the expense of entertainment.

I would recommend it one to anybody looking for something with deeper and perhaps a little darker subject matter. It’s a quick read but you may find it somewhat emotionally draining.

View all my reviews