Daisy Jones & the Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid

**Review**

Daisy Jones & the Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

You know that scene in Almost Famous when they all start singing Tiny Dancer? Every time I watch that, it gives me this intense feeling of contentment. I want to be there on that bus singing that song with those people. Then anytime you hear that song, that feeling hits again.

That is exactly how it felt reading Daisy Jones & The Six. 

It’s like hearing the opening riff to your favorite song. Hitting that impossible high note as you’re flying down the interstate. It’s knowing every single word and singing right along with the band. It’s leaving a concert, flying high and feeling like you’re in the band.

Daisy Jones and Billy Dunne are the stuff rock dreams are made of, but it was Graham and Karen that broke my heart. Billy and Daisy were oil and water, but Graham and Karen were rose petals and thorns. They belonged together, but the stem kept the separated – beauty and pain – to keep them on their own paths.

I could read about Daisy Jones & the Six forever. Each character was perfectly flawed. And, I need Reese to hurry up and make this show so I can hear those songs. Please.

On the Come Up, Angie Thomas

**Review**

On The Come Up, Angie Thomas

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

What I love most about Angie Thomas’s writing is how real and honest it is. Bri’s character is expertly written and defined. You feel what she feels. See what she sees. Want what she wants.

On the Come Up is about a girl with dreams, struggles and a bit of an identity crisis. To get what she wants, she has to be who she isn’t and doesn’t want to be. Each step forward is a step further away from herself.

Garden Heights, where The Hate U Give took place, is a phenomenal supporting character. Thomas puts you in the heart of the city. She’s created a world and characters that pull you in and shows you the beauty and pain that resides beyond the landscape the rest of the world sees.

On the Come Up had me laughing one minute, crying the next and then angry at the world. Sometimes all on the same page.

White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo

**Review**

White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

As white people, we are often more concerned with the fear of being labeled a racist than we are the actual damaged caused by subtle, structural and societal racism.

Some criticism I’ve heard since sharing this book calls out the whiteness of the author, furthering the underlying issue that white people are quick to remove themselves from issues of racism, leaving the onus of racism on POC. If we ever want to move our society forward, we, as white people, need to own, address and acknowledge our racism and unwillingness to talk about it. If we as white people cannot own our role in the issue of race, we will never make progress or see the underlying racism in our words, actions and beliefs. White people own racism and it is our responsibility to recognize and address it.

White Fragility challenged me in a positive way, opening my eyes to my own racism. The clarification between how we see racism (white supremacy, KKK, etc.) and what is actually racism (white flight, economic and education inequities, good vs. bad neighborhoods). As a white progressive, I’ve often fallen into many of the traps of white fragility without realizing it. I may never be perfect, but with this knowledge, I can do better and continue educating myself and challenging both white fragility and racism.

Robin DiAngelo expertly navigated the negative impacts of white fragility. I came into this book with an open mind, ready and willing to accept the information presented. Prior to starting it, I made a vow to let down my defenses and actually listen, absorb and accept the information. This is the only way to approach this book – to remove your own white fragility and be willing to hear the truth. 

The Woman I was Before, Kerry Fisher

**Review**

The Woman I was Before, Kerry Fisher

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I almost didn’t love this book. Kate’s story and mystery kept me intrigued and reading, but it was the twists with Sally and Gisela that hooked me.

In the beginning, I kept turning the page to find out what Kate was hiding. I had an idea, but I wasn’t certain. My assumption in how the reveal would occur was accurate, but despite its predictability, it was still satisfying.

Sally and Gisela were warmer characters, by design, and I could imagine meeting them for coffee or wine. They were relatable and real, despite their high society status and the false pretenses for perfection they touted online.

By the end of The Woman I was Before, I loved all three leading characters. Kate’s story broke my heart, and I felt her raw emotions as she shared the story with her new friends.

The Woman I was Before was charming, heartbreaking and satisfying.

Restless Wave, John McCain

**Review**

Restless Wave, John McCain

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

One of my consistent goals is to learn to listen to and respect views and opinions that differ from my own.

I’ll admit this isn’t always easy and I often struggle to keep my mind open.

Prior to Restless Wave, I just finished James Clapper’s Facts and Fears. McCain and Clapper served in similar eras, so these two books complimented each other.

I may not have voted for or always agreed with John McCain, but it’s hard to dispute his commitment to his country and doing, what he thought, was right. That was evident in the stories he told and the passion he brought to the words.

I listened to the audiobook of Restless Wave and Beau Bridges narrated, which made it even more enjoyable.

This book dives deep into the political side of war, international relations and America. McCain, for the most part, avoids political spats, but does interject his opinions and views heavily.

Restless Wave provided a perspective into the war-hero, statesman and international figure McCain became. The legacy he leaves behind is one I respect, perhaps even more after listening to his story.

The end of the book was hard for me . My father died of brain cancer, not the same that McCaine had, and it was difficult hearing about his final fight. Much of the book was tinged with his acceptance of his own mortality and often referenced things as his “final fight” or “last visit.”

The perspective of knowing your days are coming to a close provided him the ability to share, without filters his honesty. Some of his final votes and thoughts are ones I will always be thankful for.

Nothing but Darkness, Maria Ann Green

**Review**

Nothing But Darkness, Maria Ann Green

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Holy. Shit.

I had a conversation with the author of Nothing but Darkness before I started reading. I’d mentioned how much I despised Gone Girl (legit, hatred). She commented I might not like her book.

She was wrong. And right. Aidan, the main character, is completely hate worthy. He’s a superficial, chauvinistic, judgmental asshole. Oh, and a complete psychopath. Textbook psychopath.

From the first page, you know Aidan is going to do something horrific. He has zero respect for women or men, for that matter. But he hold a special disdain for women, seeing nearly all of them as an object to meet his desire.

Aidan’s nightmares soon become reality when he awakes to find his latest conquest fulfilled more than one of his fantasies.

I’m not usually one to enjoy dark thrillers. I’m especially freaked out when the content is something that could have been ripped from the headlines. (If I have nightmares, I’m coming for you @mariainmadness.) But this book was so well written that I couldn’t put it down. The very definition of a page turner.

It should go without saying, but there are plenty of triggers in this book and it won’t be for everyone. If you love intense thrillers where you actively root for the main character to be caught and thrown into a dark cell for their crimes, you will devour Nothing but Darkness.

The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah

**Review**

The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Every page of this book lived up to the hype. When I started reading, so many friends commented that I should be prepared to stay up all night reading. They weren’t wrong. I maintained my pace for the first 200 pages and then devoured the final half of the book in one night.

I’ve long loved historical fiction, particularly those set during WWII. The Nightingale just may be my favorite WWII novel.

Hearing the perspective from two very different sisters, with incredibly different views on the war and their role in it provided a robust experience.

Isabelle and Vianne captured me from the very first page. I cried with them (a lot) and mourned with them. This is a book that will stay with me for a long time.

After loving The Great Alone and, now, The Nightingale, I’ll be adding Kristin Hannah to my must read list.

Mrs. Everything, Jennifer Weiner

**Review**

Mrs. Everything, Jennifer Weiner (available 6/11/19)

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Where do I even begin? This book had my attention and heart from the first words in the author’s note.

Mrs. Everything follows Jo and Bethie, two Jewish sisters growing up in Detroit in the 1950s. The book tells each of their stories as they grow up, leave home, get married, have kids (or not) and find (or hide) themselves.

Jennifer Weiner’s books have always been among my favorites and her books are pretty much auto buys for me. The instant I saw she had a new one coming out, I preordered it. When I saw it on Netgalley, I immediately wished for it and nearly died when the publisher, Atria Books, granted my wish for the book. (Still keeping my preorder, because I fully believe in supporting authors and buying their books.)

Mrs. Everything just might be my top book of 2019. I know it’s still early in the year, but this book masterfully tackles hard and triggering topics. Weiner painted a beautiful narrative and presented two wildly different characters, yet I was drawn to and related to both in different ways.

As I read, my heart broke, not only for the sisters, but also for all the women who’ve followed similar paths and found a way to fight so no woman ever has to walk alone or broken.

This book was perfect from the beginning until the very last page.

Things You Save in a Fire, Katherine Center

**Review**

Things You Save in a Fire, Katherine Center

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I am not sure I have ever related to and loved a character as much as I loved and related to Cassie.

Things You Save in a Fire is a beautiful story about forgiveness, family, love and perseverance.

What I loved most was how real Cassie was. She experienced severe heartbreak and trauma, and while she closed herself off from emotions, she pushed herself to succeed in a career she was passionate about. She is both fragile and impossibly strong.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the inside view into what it’s like for female firefighters. Through Center’s writing, I felt like I was right there with Cassie fighting for her place, proving herself and finding love and forgiveness.

The Great Alone, Kristin Hannah

**Review**

The Great Alone, Kristin Hannah

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I both loved and hated this book. The story and characters captured me from page one. Leni leapt off the pages and chased me every time I put this book down. I wanted to shake some sense into Cora and make her see her daughter, and herself, as I did.

This is one of those books that makes you scream at the characters as they make horrible decisions after horrible decision.

The Great Alone made me fall in love with a place I’ve never been to. Alaska was a leading character, and the one I loved the most.