Thursday, June 23, 2022

Book Review: The Littlest Library


A little red telephone box full of stories, a chance to change her life...

Jess Metcalf is perfectly content with her quiet, predictable life. But when her beloved grandmother passes away and she loses her job at the local library, Jess’ life is turned upside down. Determined to pick up the pieces, Jess decides it’s time for a new beginning. Unable to part with her grandmother’s cherished books, she packs them all up and moves to a tiny cottage in the English countryside. To her surprise, Jess discovers that she’s now the owner of an old red phone box that was left on the property. Missing her job at the local library, Jess decides to give back to her new community—using her grandmother’s collection to turn the ordinary phone box into the littlest library in England.

It’s not long before the books are borrowed and begin to work their literary magic—bringing the villagers together... and managing to draw Jess’ grumpy but handsome neighbor out of his shell. Maybe it’s finally time for Jess to follow her heart, let go of her old life, and make the village her home? But will she be able to take the leap?

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Book Review: Groupies


It’s 1977, and Faun Novak is in love with rock ‘n’ roll. After her mother’s death, Faun, a naïve college dropout, grabs her Polaroid and hops a Greyhound to Los Angeles. There she reconnects with her charismatic childhood friend Josie, now an up-and-coming model and muse. To make their reunion even sweeter, Josie is now dating Cal Holiday, the frontman of the superstar rock band Holiday Sun, and Faun is positively mesmerized.

Except it’s not just the band she can’t get enough of. It’s also the proud groupies who support them in myriad ways. Among the groupies are: a doting high school girl at war with her mother; a drug-dealing wife and new mom who longs to be a star herself; and a cynical mover-and-shaker with a soft spot for Holiday Sun’s bassist.

Faun obsessively photographs every aspect of this dazzling new world, struggling to balance her artistic ambitions with the band’s expectations. As her confidence grows for the first time in her life, her priorities shift. She becomes reckless with friendship, romance, her ethics, and her bank account. But just as everything is going great and her boring, old life is falling away, Faun realizes just how blind she has been to the darkest corners of this glamorous musical dreamland as the summer heats up and everything spirals out of control . . .

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Book Review: The It Girl


April Clarke-Cliveden was the first person Hannah Jones met at Oxford. Vivacious, bright, occasionally vicious, and the ultimate It girl, she quickly pulled Hannah into her dazzling orbit. Together, they developed a group of devoted and inseparable friends—Will, Hugh, Ryan, and Emily—during their first term. By the end of the year, April was dead.

Now, a decade later, Hannah and Will are expecting their first child, and the man convicted of killing April, former Oxford porter John Neville, has died in prison. Relieved to have finally put the past behind her, Hannah’s world is rocked when a young journalist comes knocking and presents new evidence that Neville may have been innocent. As Hannah reconnects with old friends and delves deeper into the mystery of April’s death, she realizes that the friends she thought she knew all have something to hide…including a murder.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Book Review: Wham! George Michael and Me


In 1975 Andrew took a shy new boy at school under his wing. They instantly hit it off, and their boyhood escapades at Bushy Meads School built a bond that was never broken. The duo found themselves riding an astonishing roller coaster of success, taking them all over the world. They made and broke iconic records, they were treated like gods, but they stayed true to their friendship and ultimately to themselves. It was a party that seemed as if it would never end. And then it did, in front of tens of thousands of tearful fans at Wembley Stadium in 1986.

Andrew Ridgeley—one half of one of the most famous bands in the world—tells the inside story of Wham!, his lifelong friendship with George Michael, and the formation of a band that changed the shape of the music scene in the early eighties. Andrew’s memoir covers in wonderful detail those years, up until that last iconic concert: the scrapes, the laughs, the relationships, the good, and the bad. It’s a unique and one-and-only time to remember that era, that band, and those boys.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Book Review: The Memory Librarian


Whoever controls our memories controls the future.

Janelle Monáe and an incredible array of talented collaborating creators have written a collection of tales comprising the bold vision and powerful themes that have made Monáe such a compelling and celebrated storyteller. Dirty Computer introduced a world in which thoughts—as a means of self-conception—could be controlled or erased by a select few. And whether human, A.I., or other, your life and sentience was dictated by those who’d convinced themselves they had the right to decide your fate.

That was until Jane 57821 decided to remember and break free.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Book Review: Babysitter


From one of America’s most renowned storytellers—the best-selling author of Blonde —comes a novel about love and deceit, and lust and redemption, against a backdrop of child murders in the affluent suburbs of Detroit.

In the waning days of the turbulent 1970s, in the wake of unsolved child-killings that have shocked Detroit, the lives of several residents are drawn together with tragic consequences. There is Hannah, wife of a prominent local businessman, who has begun an affair with a darkly charismatic stranger whose identity remains elusive; Mikey, a canny street hustler who finds himself on a chilling mission to rectify injustice; and the serial killer known as Babysitter, an enigmatic and terrifying figure at the periphery of elite Detroit. As Babysitter continues his rampage of abductions and killings, these individuals intersect with one another in startling and unexpected ways.

Monday, June 6, 2022

Book Review: Influenced


Individuals seeking to widen their tribes of friends, fans, and followers have an abundance of resources for building their digital footprints and social media popularity. All of this seems well and good from the perspective of revenue, exposure, and perhaps ego-building, but what is the impact of this on the human brain and our behavior? Is anyone paying attention to the lurking side effects of the social media influencer revolution?

As “Dr. Brian” Boxer Wachler—one of the world’s most esteemed authorities on human perception—reveals in Influenced: The Impact of Social Media on Our Perception, we are oblivious to the mental evolution that is already in process. Science is proving that our addictive reliance upon social media and its influencers is having a demonstrable impact on how we think, feel, and perceive everything around us— and even how we react to stimuli. One might think that a “Like” is nothing more than a split-second tap on a device. However, brain scans tell a different story. Our brains literally light up with every buzz, ding, alert, and ring in anticipation of how our network is responding to us. As we tap away at our devices, we anxiously seek the approval of others—often people we don’t know.