Hello, and happy Monday! I’ve got two book reviews to share today. Both of these are five star reads which I highly recommend. I devoured the first in one day, the second in two days. I also read them back-to-back which was interesting given they are so different in style and subject.
Point of interest—if you’re a Prime member, Daisy Jones & The Six is being made into a series with season one launching on March 3rd. I will definitely be tuning in!
VAMPIRE OF THE MIDNIGHT SUN
By Priscilla Bettis
There are two stories contained in this single volume, and I found them both riveting. Although they’re classified as horror, I’d put them more in the vein of Rod Serling and Night Gallery.
In the first, the vividly-described Alaskan wilderness is as much a character as Frasier and Billy, two friends who become stranded after a rafting accident. With no supplies, no food, and increasingly cold weather, that would be a challenge for any stalwart hiker. Compounding the situation is Billy’s belief he was born a vampire. Several scenes will make the hair prickle on the back of your neck. I loved the author’s deft touch in building suspense and making me wonder right up until the end.
The second story has an almost folklore type of feel to it. There are a few biblical allusions, but what I loved best was the eerie use of a steam locomotive to fatten the plot. Once again, the descriptions sucked me into every richly-detailed scene, and I found the Widow Vandermeer particularly creepy.
Both stories, though short, benefit from strong characters, incredible settings, and tight writing. I’ve read and enjoyed this author’s work multiple times before, but she really hit it out of the ballpark with this book!
DAISY JONES & THE SIX
By Taylor Jenkins Reid
This book had been on my reading radar from the time it was released. I don’t know why I waited so long to become lost in the pages, especially given how much I enjoyed Malibu Rising.
With Daisy Jones & The Six, Reid gives us the story of an iconic 1970s rock band—from their early days through their meteoric rise to the top of the charts, then finally to what ultimately disbanded them at the height of their fame.
Told in a quasi-interview format, we get snippets of individual memories from the band members and those who moved in their orbit. At first, I thought that would make the story difficult to follow, but it played out brilliantly. The inclusion of song lyrics and Rolling Stone interviews made it feel like this band truly existed, especially given how well the author captured the 1970s.
Parts of the book harken to Fleetwood Mac, others reminded me of the Beatles. Each band member is given a distinctive personality, and not all of them play well together. There are parts of the story that unfold like a train wreck, others that will wreck your heart. If you love rock n’ roll, if you love the 1970s or the music scene, you don’t want to miss this incredible story that shines a spotlight on all three. I loved the complex relationship between Daisy and Billy, and Billy’s wife. The closing line brought a flourish of perfection.
I devoured this story in two days, but might have easily done it in one if time permitted.