Monday, March 18, 2019

Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

It's the typical rock and roll story arc: youngsters form a band, tour and party, find fame, then eventually self-destruct. Always captivating, and somehow I never get tired of reading it!

This time it's fictional, but that's sooo easy to forget while reading this one. The book's written in the typical music bio style of quotes drawn from interviews with those involved. The players don't agree about what happened exactly, and we get multiple perspectives on the drama.

The Six is a 1970s group led by Billy Dunne. He recruits his brother, another pair of brothers, and a couple other musicians (including a female keyboard player), and they eventually get some notice as a straight-forward rock band. They get along, they fight, somebody has a crush on the girl.

Daisy Jones is a wild child with a killer voice and the face of an angel. She wants to be a star, but she doesn't want to sing somebody else's words. Plus, she's got major rock star "habits," even before the fame. Eventually, somebody decides The Six and Daisy should work together.

You think you know what will happen, but you can't be sure - no Wikipedia to check the stories, and there's no YouTube clips to watch because THIS IS FICTION! (Continually, I wanted to actually hear these songs!) And there are surprises along the way.

I loved this one a whole lot. It's like "A Star Is Born" mixed with the juiciest rock bios. Love, ego, drugs, and flashes of genius. Divine.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Inspiration: celebrity endorsed

The easiest way to find a good book is to ask: "Hey, what are you reading?" People love to tell you about the books they're enjoying (or hating) and celebrities are no exception.

Sometimes they're hawking their own books or promoting a friend (or sponsor), and sometimes it's legitimately because they're inspired or in love with a book and want to share. Understand the difference, and you'll be happier!

Celebrity book clubs:


Learn about what inspires your heroes: Locate the online presence for someone you idolize, and see if they discuss what they're reading and what inspires them. Or follow an author you've enjoyed reading to see what they're reading.

So what are you reading this week that was endorsed by a celebrity?

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

The end is nigh (or maybe not)!

An unlikely angel and an odd devil work together to stop Armageddon in this genius partnership between two of my favorite writers. I picked it up now because it's about to be released as a TV series with Gaiman at its helm.

A kid in England is actually the Antichrist, but nobody knows that. Every time he thinks about something hard enough (Atlantis, UFOs, or tunnels to China) it happens - and let's just say Adam is a real thinker.

It's very funny, and wicked smart, so I can't wait to see how they film it, since Neil's overseeing it so maybe they can't bleed the fun out of it.

Monday, March 11, 2019

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson

Strangers meet in an airport bar and end up planning a murder. Is it just folly, or will they follow through?

Ted's a rich dude with a cheating wife and a mansion under construction. Lily is a librarian with no connection to Ted, and a plan that might help him. But wow is this twisty, and even right up to the last line there's a surprise.

I picked up this pop suspense novel because a friend said she couldn't put it down. And I have to say - I didn't see it coming, and that's not what I thought would happen. (Which is the highest praise I give - I hate it when books are super predictable!)

Saturday, March 9, 2019

The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara

Dancing through the New York drag ball scene of the 1980s, this is a heartbreaking, fantastic story of love and friendship.

A young queen in love begins the first Latino house on the circuit. But we know gay love stories of the 80s usually end badly, so she must rely on friends to be her real family. There is music and fashion, there are drugs and there are tears. There is money to be made the hard way, because there is always rent to be paid.

But don't let me depress you out of reading this, because it's wonderful. Angel and Venus and Hector and Daniel and all the rest are friends you'll be glad to have met.

Also, the 80s weren't so long ago, and we should not forget.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Armada by Ernest Cline

If we stand a chance, it will be the gamers who save us. Because maybe, just maybe, they've been training us as drone warriors through video games.

Zack lost his dad before he was a year old, and he's spent his youth a little obsessed about the same movies, music, and games his dad loved, just to feel a kinship. So on the day of the alien invasion, Zack finds he's perfectly positioned for a top spot in the real-world fighting force he's been trained on in his favorite game.

In the face of potential extermination, much about the world changes: the bonds of friendship and family are stronger, and so is the possibility of love at first sight. But is human nature what will save us, or what dooms us? We'll have to play out this game to see.

I loved Ready Player One, and this is just as good.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Inspiration: retelling

Are we running out of good ideas? Has it all been done before? In any event, today's movies, television, and books are full of derivative works: reboots, reinventions, retellings and twisted adaptations.

So this week's prompt is a retelling - and it will be even better if you're already acquainted with the original source works!

What are the most retold stories of all time? This film article says it's the logical problem-solving of Sherlock Holmes, Cinderella's rags-to-riches story and the spine-chilling horror of Dracula and Frankenstein. This article says there are only six core plots to choose, anyway.

Places to find books based on classics:


Some lists of NEW materials that fit the theme:


And if you're just looking for something in a general theme (Me Against the World, Quest, Stalker) Vulture has a break down: An encyclopedia of every literary plot, ever.