Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Rating: 5 out of 5.

HOLY *&%$@)%&!!! I just finished the audiobook version of Daisy Jones & The Six and then I cried, at the office. THIS is what a five star read looks like. I have so many thoughts, and they’re literally all good. Prepare yourselves.

Daisy Jones & The Six tells the story of a rock band in the 70s: what brought them together, what tore them apart, and everything in between. It’s told in a series of interviews, pieced together to create a whole picture of what happened here between Daisy Jones, Billy Dunne, and the five other bandmates who spent the late seventies making incredibly angry, romantic, heartfelt, and heartbreaking music.

You all know how much I hate band books. I think I’ve mentioned it once or twice when the trope comes up in romance novels. It feels over dramatic, repetitive, I could go on…but this? This. It’s just such good stuff! This book is so much more than glorifying the “band life”. It’s a poignant drama about seven talented artists whose lives are so entangled it becomes beautiful and messy. About love. About life. About anger. About addiction. About reality, not the dramatization of a life on the road singing songs. I adored this book. And I only picked it up because a friend told me it wasn’t something you can pass over.

Of course, this book is loosely based on Fleetwood Mac. Because of course it is. I love Fleetwood Mac, and Stevie Nicks. I could see their charm all over this book, and see some of the parallels Reid was drawing. Maybe that was part of the draw for me – but I know for sure, whatever did it, I cannot recommend this book enough.

I think part of what makes this novel so amazing is these characters. Listening to it, I thought it might be a struggle to keep track of SO many people, but they are so unique and with such unique struggles, I caught on pretty quickly. The Dunne brothers were cast with similar voices, but their personalities couldn’t have been more different, and I could pick up fairly easily who was who when they began talking.

But truly, these are some of the best written characters I have read, maybe ever. Yeah, ever. Inside of these pages, I felt I had known this band my entire life. And despite not liking the choices of many, I loved them all. I was rooting for every single one. They were all so likeable in their own way. Even Daisy, who when I first heard her description, her biography, I thought I would hate. I thought this would be a book about a normal band, torn apart by this spoiled brat Daisy Jones…but you know what? They were right when they said she was magnetic. Iridescent. Reid wrote her that way, then made it happen. You can’t not like Daisy Jones, or at least root for her. She is incredible, and this book is pulled directly into her orbit, no matter how messy that gravitational pull may be.

And Billy Dunne? You’ll think through Debut that you hate him. He makes poor choices. He’s not terribly likeable. And even as he continues to dominate conversations and spaces throughout the book, I couldn’t help but love him, too. He changes and evolves, but he is who he is. Never in my life have I rooted harder for characters than the cast of this book. Karen was admittedly my favorite; the keyboardist is voiced by Judy Greer, so she already had that going for her, but her character is just straightforward awesome. Everything she does, the way she lives her life, and her connections to the others.

Now I’m certainly not going to ruin it, but I have to say – I wasn’t expecting a twist. Any twist at all, no matter how small. But it was that very twist, that unexpected shift in thinking, that got me choked up at the office as I organized some files. I can’t wait to talk about this very thing with SOMEONE. I just thought it tied everything up so beautifully.

So I texted my friend to tell her that I had FINALLY finished this book, months after she told me to read it – and she thought I meant the show. Upon which I’m like, OH MY GOD IT’S GOING TO BE A SHOW??? And what an awesome show it’s going to be. Reese Witherspoon is producing it, so you know that someone who read it and loved it is going to be involved with it.

Now that I’ve rambled – if you haven’t read this book, it’s time to pick it up, friends. This novel is a true masterpiece. I cannot recommend this enough. Daisy Jones & The Six is not only one of the best books I read this year, it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. And I don’t hand out that praise lightly.

Please, please grab yourself a copy. Right now. Like run.

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Rating: 5 out of 5.

After having reviewed The Final Girl Support Group, I realized I had never shared my initial reviews and reactions to The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, which honestly feels like a crime. This book was one of my favorites of last year; I got all my coworkers to read it, and I converted them all to Hendrix fans. It’s a must read and I decided if I can get just one more person to pick it up, it’s worth reviewing in full!

Patricia Campbell’s life on the outside looks like a picture-perfect southern woman’s – but on the inside, she’s terribly bored. The few highlights of her dull existence are the true crime book club she’s a part of, and the new neighbor up the street who mysteriously appears and grabs her attention.

But now kids in town are going missing, and Patricia is desperate to get to the bottom of it – captivated by the growing concern that the same new neighbor may have just brought something terrifying and vicious down on her small town life, threatening everything as she knows it.

This book is SO. GOOD. I have been a prolific reader for maybe ten years now, and every time someone asks me who my favorite author is, I can never tell them. How do you pick a favorite? So many good ones! But after having read The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, I officially have a favorite. And I will tell everyone, screaming from the rooftops: it’s Grady Hendrix. An absolute master of horror.

This is Hendrix’s third novel that I have read, and I’ve loved them all. Every time I pick one up I am absolutely transported to the time and place he writes about; he’s got a great talent for world building that helps you dive deeper into the horror story he’s weaving. Which, speaking of, is some of the greatest horror I’ve ever read. It’s dark and disturbing, and paints some vivid images in your brain…I was reading some of the more gruesome parts of this story in my dark room alone at night, and it makes you want to turn on the light.

The gut-wrenching reaction I have to the way Patricia is treated by her friends, family, and other people in town says a lot about how deep I fell into this story. Reflecting a looking back, this is what I remember most about the reading experience, and what stuck with me. Despite how hard Patricia looks into this concerning disappearance of children, she’s doubted and denied at every turn, called crazy, or straight up ignored. That sense of “What if no one believed me?” is what haunts me the most when I think of this book, even a year after my initial read.

I think Hendrix’s background in 70’s and 80’s horror research helps him spin these incredible webs of stories that you just get stuck in. I feel like I’m living that time in its glory, and I don’t know why we ever left behind this masterful horror storytelling. Hendrix is the most unique horror writer out there today and his work should be praised. It’s original, playful, and still deeply unsettling. Five out of five stars from me, really.

An advance copy of The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. PLEASE go pick up a copy for yourself!!

Have a lovely week, everyone!