Junkie Love by Joe Clifford

Peanut was not too happy to have her photo taken!

Overview

From the cow fields of Connecticut to the streets of San Francisco, Joe Clifford’s Junkie Love traverses the lost highways of America, down the rocky roads of mental illness to the dead ends of addiction. Based on Clifford’s own harrowing experience with drugs as a rock ’n’ roll wannabe in the 1990s, the book draws on the best of Kerouac & the Beats, injecting a heavy dose of pulp fiction as it threads a rollicking narrative through a doomed love triangle, lit up by the many strange characters he meets along the way. Part road story, part resurrection tale, Junkie Love finds a way to laugh in one’s darkest hour, while never abandoning its heart in search of a home.

Review

When Joe Clifford fell into drugs, he fell hard and fast and he just kept falling. Plus, he took several people along with him for the ride.

I learned a lot in this book and I am a pharmacist. You would think I would already know some of this stuff. But, I don’t think I have ever read about anyone being as desperate to get high they shoot up mouse droppings. Or, the lengths “junkies” go through to find a vein. Very eye opening for me (apparently I am sheltered!)

Joe is strong willed, in other words, stubborn! This tenacity is what gets him into this mess and this is also what gets him out. He had to be this way to come to terms with his situation.

This is a quick read but, it is also an enlightening one. I have read a few “junkie” memoirs in my day. However, I do not believe any have been as honest and as open this one is. I just wanted to jerk him bald headed!

I received a copy of this memoir from the author for a honest review. PLUS HE SIGNED IT!

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My October Reads Wrap-up #octoberreads #reviews #5starreads #christmasreads #historicalfiction

Happy Halloween everyone! I am writing to you from vacation…this is my morning view.

Yes be jealous…be very very jealous. Great reading spot!

This month was packed full of Christmas reads and historical fiction. Hopefully, next month will be more diverse.

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Christmas at the Chalet

This was one of my five star reads this month.

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The Girl They Left Behind

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Dear Santa

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A Well-Behaved Woman

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The Little Shop of Found Things

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The Rain Watcher

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House of Gold

These next three…reviews are coming so stand by….

Have you read any good ones this month? Let me know!

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Audible reads for October #audible #audiblereads

I have many people who ask me what I am reading. I have just as many people ask me about good audible books. So, I want to start posting about my audible reads. I will not really give a review. I will just tell you if I enjoyed it or not.

So here goes…

These are the books I listened to this month

Can you believe I had never read The Bell Jar. I loved it! I enjoyed all of these except one. I did not finish The Third Reich. I just could not get into the story. The Dollhouse is my favorite out of the bunch. This lead me to read The Bell Jar. The Ocean Liner was probably my least favorite out of this selection. But, it was still super good. And My Sister’s Grave is a standard thriller but a perfect palate cleanser. The Shadow on the Crown is set in a time period I usually don’t read much about. I learned a lot in this one.

The Bell Jar

Shadow On the Crown

The Dollhouse

The Ocean Liner

The Third Reich

What are you listening to? Please let me know!

Thanks for stopping by!

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House of Gold by Natasha Solomons

Overview

From the New York Times bestselling author of The House at Tyneford, an epic family saga about a headstrong Austrian heiress who will be forced to choose between the family she’s made and the family that made her at the outbreak of World War I.

Vienna, 1911. Twenty-one-year-old Greta Goldbaum has always hungered after what’s forbidden: secret university lectures, unseemly trumpet lessons, and most of all, the freedom to choose her life’s path.

The Goldbaum family has different expectations. United across Europe by unsurpassed wealth and power, Goldbaum men are bankers, while Goldbaum women marry Goldbaum men to produce Goldbaum children. Greta will do her part.

So Greta moves to England to wed Albert, a distant cousin. The marriage is not a success. Yet, when Albert’s mother gives Greta a garden, things at Temple Court begin to change. First Greta falls in love with her garden, then with England, and finally with her husband. But when World War I sends both Albert and Greta’s beloved brother, Otto, to the front lines–one to fight for the Allies, one to fight for the Central Powers–the House of Gold is left vulnerable as never before, and Greta must choose: the family she’s created or the one she was forced to leave behind.

Set against a nuanced portrait of World War I, this is a sweeping family saga rich in historical atmosphere and heartbreakingly human characters. House of Gold is Natasha Solomons’s most dazzling and moving novel yet.

Review

The Goldbaum family is known the world over in the banking industry. Their wealth is astounding. Greta is from the Austrian Goldbaums. She has an arranged marriage to her cousin, Albert Goldbaum. This is not exactly what she wants out of life and the marriage has a terrible start. These two eventually learn to love each other and create a nice life. Then WWI enters their world and their lives change forever.

Greta is a strong-willed woman! And if you follow this blog, you know those are my favorite characters. The start of her marriage is just about her undoing. However, she is determined to overcome and make her life better. I love her resilience and her intelligence. She is the character this novel could not do without.

This first part of this book has a lot of gardening and a large amount of business dealings. The last half of the book is much more enjoyable, in my opinion. It is full of action and emotion. This story is full of historical detail and rich with information. I enjoyed this time period. I am usually a WWII reader so, I relished reading about WWI.

And isn’t this cover fantastic!

I received this novel from G.P. Putnam’s Sons via Netgalley for a honest review

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The Rain Watcher by Tatiana De Rosnay

Overview

The first new novel in four years from the beloved superstar author of Sarah’s Key, a heartbreaking and uplifting story of family secrets and devastating disaster, in the tradition of THE NEST.

The Rain Watcher is a powerful family drama set in Paris as the Malegarde family gathers to celebrate the father’s 70th birthday. Their hidden fears and secrets are slowly unraveled as the City of Light undergoes a stunning natural disaster. Seen through the eyes of charismatic photographer Linden Malegarde, the youngest son, all members of the family will have to fight to keep their unity against tragic circumstances.

In this profound and intense novel of love and redemption, De Rosnay demonstrates all of her writer’s skills both as an incredible storyteller but also as a soul seeker.

Review

The Malegarde family is finally getting together in Paris, just the 4 of them. They are celebrating their father’s 70th birthday. Little do they know Paris is experiencing one of the worst natural disasters of its time. They are trapped and can’t leave the city. Then, the absolute worst happens. Their father falls ill.

Linden is a famous photographer. His sister, Tilia, is a struggling artist with a terrible marriage. Tilia is the only survivor of a wreck years ago. The wreck killed her best friend and left Tilia with a terrible limp. Linden is gay and being with his family in Paris has brought out all his struggles with acceptance.

This novel is just a little boring in places. It really does not have a plot. This is not on par with Sarah’s Key by any means. But, there is something about this book which keeps you reading. The heart break and the love this family shows for one another is uplifting and intense. This is a story about life, family, growing up and growing old. It is about forgiveness and acceptance of yourself and others.

I received this novel from St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley for a honest review.

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The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston

Overview

A new series about a young woman whose connection to antiques takes her on a magical adventure, reminiscent of Outlander

New York Times bestselling author of The Witch’s Daughter Paula Brackston returns to her trademark blend of magic and romance to launch a new series guaranteed to enchant her audience even more.

Xanthe and her mother Flora leave London behind for a fresh start, taking over an antique shop in the historic town of Marlborough. Xanthe has always had an affinity with some of the antiques she finds. When she touches them, she can sense something of the past they come from and the stories they hold. So when she has an intense connection to a beautiful silver chatelaine she has to know more.

It’s while she’s examining the chatelaine that she’s transported back to the seventeenth century. And shortly after, she’s confronted by a ghost who reveals that this is where the antique has its origins. The ghost tasks Xanthe with putting right the injustice in its story to save an innocent girl’s life, or else it’ll cost her Flora’s.

While Xanthe fights to save her amid the turbulent days of 1605, she meets architect Samuel Appleby. He may be the person who can help her succeed. He may also be the reason she can’t bring herself to leave.

With its rich historical detail, strong mother-daughter relationship, and picturesque English village, The Little Shop of Found Things is poised to be a strong start to this new series.

Review

First let me start with COVER LOVE! This is such a fantastic cover for this story!

Xanthe and her mother have purchased and old antique shop. Xanthe has a unique ability with certain antiques. When she touches them….they sing! She feels the objects past and she wants to find out more. She finds an old, silver chatelaine and experiences an astounding connection. This leads her on the trip of her lifetime, and other lifetimes as well.

This story is right in my wheelhouse. Who can resist antiques, historical mysteries, ghosts and time travel. When Xanthe finds the chatelaine, it comes with a ghost. And not a nice one either. This ghost demands Xanthe travel back in time and save her daughter. If Xanthe refuses then her mother will pay.

The story is well researched and extremely creative. But, it is overly dramatic in places and a bit long winded. And Xanthe, she was sort of an enigma. She seems very intelligent but I was not a huge fan of how she interacted with the ghost. Just didn’t fit her characteristics. I expected her intelligence to come out more.

This is a very entertaining read. It has wonderful historical details, especially about the law and the way servants were treated in the 1600s. Enchanting to say the least!

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A Well-Behaved Woman by Therese Anne Fowler

Overview

The riveting novel of iron-willed Alva Vanderbilt and her illustrious family as they rule Gilded-Age New York, from the New York Times bestselling author of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald.

Alva Smith, her southern family destitute after the Civil War, married into one of America’s great Gilded Age dynasties: the newly wealthy but socially shunned Vanderbilts. Ignored by New York’s old-money circles and determined to win respect, she designed and built 9 mansions, hosted grand balls, and arranged for her daughter to marry a duke. But Alva also defied convention for women of her time, asserting power within her marriage and becoming a leader in the women’s suffrage movement.

With a nod to Jane Austen and Edith Wharton, in A Well-Behaved Woman Therese Anne Fowler paints a glittering world of enormous wealth contrasted against desperate poverty, of social ambition and social scorn, of friendship and betrayal, and an unforgettable story of a remarkable woman. Meet Alva Smith Vanderbilt Belmont, living proof that history is made by those who know the rules—and how to break them.

Review

Alva and her family are in dire straits. Her father is sick and they are out of money. It is up to her to land a wealthy husband and keep her family in the style they are accustomed. Alva marries William Vanderbilt. But, as the marriage continues Alva realizes money does not buy happiness.

Alva’s marriage is not what she imagined. The Vanderbilt’s are considered nouveau rich and they are completely shunned by the Gilded Age dynasties. She struggles to have her family accepted into society. This seems frivolous to me, however the author did an outstanding job relating this struggle and what it means to Alva. She needs to be accepted to keep her marriage. Then as time goes on and Alva grows, she understands there is more to life than society and William. She fights for what she wants and what she believes in. She is a lady before her time!

The prose of this author is outstanding. I can just picture the ladies with their parasols walking through New York shopping at Tiffany’s. The wealth in this book is phenomenal. The author portrays this alongside the vast amount of poverty in the slums of New York.

The story is a little long-winded and bogs down in the middle. But Alva with her intellect and her strength keep you absorbed in this tale till the very end.

I received this novel from St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley for a honest review.

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