Your Next Great Read: Amy's Book Reviews

Published Wednesday, August 7, 2019
Daisy Jones & The Six
by Taylor Jenkins Reid

4 out of 5 stars

I just have to say that this book was made for audio. The ensemble cast was perfect. Each character really came alive through the narration. I think there's been so much hype about this book. The oral history format of the story really allows for multiple narrators. I truly felt like I was watching a VH1 Behind the Music special. I was pulled into the story about the rise (and fall) of Daisy Jones & The Six. The story is sold upon the premise of finally finding out what happened to cause the breakup of the eponymous rock band in the late 70's after playing sold out shows on their tour for their extremely successful album Aurora, the band just called it quits out of the blue and no one knows why. Until now.

It's an interesting idea and it only helped along by the fact that, at first, I actually thought the band was real. But, hear this: this book is complete fiction. If nothing else, this should give you an idea of the talent of Taylor Jenkins Reid and the promoters / publishers for running with the idea of making this story seem as true-to-life as possible.

I felt like the rock n roll story really proceeds as you might expect. How the world has come to expect: drugs, sex, and rock n roll. But I feel that, despite the slight predictability, it doesn't lessen the impact of the story itself and what the characters went through and where they are today as they relay their recollection of the past.

I was really interested in the variations on how people remember the past. What was important, or what stood out for one person, wasn't necessarily the same for another person. So then, does that change the validity of the "truth" as it's seen? Like the "author" says in the beginning, it lies "somewhere in the middle". I like that idea very much. How the truth is in the middle of any given situation.

Overall, I found Daisy Jones & The Six to be a compelling listen with a richly realized setting of the 70's music scene.

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This Is How You Lose the Time War
by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone

5 out of 5 stars
Red and Blue are time travelers working with the Agency and Garden respectively. They thread themselves through time, altering or influencing events in order to win the war. But what happens when these two agents begin a rivalry correspondence over space and time that eventually forms itself into something more?


Is the first word I have for this book. It's so uniquely eloquent in its execution and so layered with context and subtext.

What really just stands out the most about this story, at its center, is the love story between these beings that are supposed to be enemies. The book uses the she pronoun for both Red and Blue over the course of the story, but I could really feel like they went beyond these labels and I think this comes through so well in the vastness of the many times that are visited and influenced by them in their varying forms.

It's supposed to be a relatively short read, but for me, it starts out pretty slow going. Slowly as readers become acquainted with the setting and the story, the characters and the conflicts facing them. Each chapter alternates between Red and Blue with an end cap to each of a letter cleverly left in some time for the other. As their familiarity with each other grows and their love, you see the balance from the different time threads change to that of the letters dominating the chapters and I loved how you could feel them becoming comfortable, becoming more to one another through letters alone.

It's heartrending in the idea of Red and Blue's separation not only often by time, but because they are on different sides of a war. There's a lot that can be interpreted in this book, and in various ways based upon the reader, but I felt like Blue represented nature and Red technology. And when taken in that context in this day and age that we will, the warring between continuing to develop technology, but understanding that in doing so oftentimes we sacrifice this planet we live on. You can really see the perspective of the war they have going on. I absolutely loved the subtly of it all. But please note, this is only one, my, interpretation of it all, there are so many possibilities that one could reach.

At the center is, can Red and Blue ever get to a place where they can be together cohesively?

So despite being a short read, it packs quite the punch and has some real beauty to it, yet it's not so philosophical that anyone should feel alienated from its overarching message / story. A really wonderful read.

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The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
Abbi Waxman

4.5 out of 5 stars

For the nearly thirty years of her life (twenty-nine to be exact) Nina Hill has been most comfortable being alone. I suppose when you don't know your father and your mother is a photographer who frequently leaves on various jobs around the world, you learn to rely on yourself for company. It goes beyond that, however, whereas Nina has friends and does enjoy a modicum of socialization (in the form of book clubs and trivia nights) she is happy being by herself with a good book.

Then Nina learns that her biological father has died. Along with that, she learns that she has quite the extended family of half-siblings, nieces, nephews, maybe even a great-niece or nephew thrown in there somewhere. Even though Nina has always secretly coveted the idea of having brothers and/or sisters, when she finds out she actually has those people now, she doesn't jump for joy, but more contemplates the idea of having to give up her solitude. Plus, there's the attractive captain of a rival trivia team who has definitely not (but really has) caught her eye. Then, there's the potential that she'll soon be out of a job looming in the background as well. All this happening at once makes Nina want to shut out the real world and curl up by herself with a good book and her cat, Phil.

Nina will have to decide if being alone is truly what makes her happy, or if she's only hiding.

I pretty much loved everything about The Bookish Life of Nina Hill. From the literary/pop culture references to trivia nights to witty banter, and on and on.

I loved they way Abbi Waxman tackles Nina's introvertedness and her anxiety. The way that Nina's preference for being alone isn't degraded, instead making all of these aspects to Nina's character very relatable.

My favorite part was seeing Nina move outside her comfort zone. Not forcefully, but acknowledging the things she wants out of life and deciding not to be too afraid to give it a try, such as when she first talks to Tom (from trivia) or her newfound family members. Sometimes Nina becomes overwhelmed, but she pushes through and comes out the other side not necessarily changed but maybe enhanced. She still prefers a good book and solitude, but she's realizes that you don't have to actually be alone to enjoy the silence.

Seeing Nina reconcile what she learns of her father with how everyone else views him was really interesting. To see the pictures others paint of a person and using that image not as strictly factual but as part of a whole was done really well. It also helps for some self-actualization on Nina's part. The whole nature vs. nurture debate. How much of who we are is inherent and how much is learned? We see that mirrored in the different personalities of Nina's family. Their differences and similarities.

There is so much to love about this book that I really wish we got more. More trivia, more Tom, more family. But I guess that's what re-reads are all about.

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