What’s Ashley Reading?: The Last House Guest

The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda

First line: I almost went back for her.

Summary: Littleport, Maine is a small coastal town that spends half the year catering to the wealthy visitors on summer vacation. The Loman family is the richest and most prominent family in the area. One summer the Loman’s daughter, Sadie develops a friendship with a local girl. They become inseparable. As their friendship grows, Avery is brought on to manage the family’s local rental properties and other business ventures in town. Then one summer everything changes. Sadie is found dead. The police rule it as a suicide but Avery feels like things do not add up. Who could want to hurt Sadie and why?

My Thoughts: This is a perfect read for summer vacations. It is set on a coastal town with beaches, bungalows and bistros. While reading it I desperately wanted to be sitting outside with a cold drink.

Miranda does a great job a spinning a tangled web. The story jumps back and forth between the summer Sadie died and the next one without her. But at the same time we get glimpses farther back into Avery’s past as well. There seemed to be so many possibilities for the ending. I was shocked by the big reveal at the end. The last 50 pages fly by so fast. It was hard to put down.

FYI: My favorite Megan Miranda books is All The Missing Girls. It is fantastic. The story is told in reverse. You would think it would give away so much but it does not. Both of these books are perfect for your summer reading list!

What’s Ashley Reading?: Daisy Jones and the Six

Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

*If you would like to listen to the audio book it is available on Libby.*

First line: This book is an attempt to piece together a clear portrait of how the renowned 1970s rock band Daisy Jones & The Six rose to fame—as well as what led to their abrupt and infamous split while on tour in Chicago on July 12, 1979.

Summary: Daisy Jones, a young girl in the late 1960s who spends her time on Sunset Boulevard, sneaking into clubs, drinking heavily and dreaming big of a life as a rock star. Billy Dunne is the lead singer of an up and coming rock band called The Six. They each have a unique sound but when their producer decides that the way to make them superstars is to combine their talents.

Told through interviews with band members, family, friends and colleagues we get the story of the legendary band known as Daisy Jones and The Six.

My Thoughts: If you loved the movie Bohemian Rhapsody then you should definitely check this out! And listen to the audio book. I find that the style of the writing is very hard to read because it is an oral history. The book is composed of interviews which bounce back and forth between different members. But the audio has a full cast and it feels like a documentary. I kept having to remind myself that this was fiction not an actual band.

I did not grow up in the seventies but I can imagine that Taylor Jenkins Reid does a great job of portraying it. Life was wild at the time. I really loved hearing about Daisy. She sounds like the typical female rock star of the time who struggled with drugs and the crazy lifestyle. However, I kept rooting for her to figure it out.

Each of the other characters has their own demons but they are mainly supporting characters. But I did enjoy hearing each ones perspective on the same events. It is crazy how different each person views and remembers the same thing. The one character that I really struggled with liking was Eddie. He drove me crazy. He was constantly complaining about everything, even though most of the stuff had nothing to do with him.

FYI: Pick up Reid’s novel, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo!

Book Review: The Girls in the Picture

The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin

First line: Lately, the line between real life and the movies has begun to blur.

Summary: Hollywood was not always the glamorous place it is today. At the dawn of the motion pictures were Frances Marion and Mary Pickford. Their friendship and collaboration created many of the earliest movies. Each took their careers in hand and made a name for themselves. Marion as a screenwriter and Mary as “America’s Sweetheart”. Through a duel narration, we see the changes of the movies, their lives and the nation.

Mary Pickford and Frances Marion

Highlights: Melanie Benjamin is becoming one of my favorite authors. She writes amazing stories of strong women. I am completely enamored with Mary Pickford and Frances Marion after reading this novel.  I really liked both characters. Each woman is independent but they have a strong friendship that they rely on as well. The history behind the beginning of the motion picture was fascinating to see through the eyes of women who actually experienced it when women were barely working outside the home.

I have inter-library loaned several of their movies as I read in order to watch the movies discussed in the story. Having never watched a silent film, it will be a fun experience. My first one will be Sparrows starring Mary Pickford.

Sparrows starring Mary Pickford

Lowlights: The middle of the plot was a little slow. Especially when Frances was in Europe during the First World War. It is an important point in her life but when the rest of the story is centered around Hollywood and the movies it was not as interesting.

FYI: If you like The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty then read this!

Release date: January 16, 2018