Nonfiction

#BookReview Truly, Madly by Stephen Galloway @GrandCentralPub #TrulyMadly #StephenGalloway #GrandCentralPub

#BookReview Truly, Madly by Stephen Galloway @GrandCentralPub #TrulyMadly #StephenGalloway #GrandCentralPub Title: Truly, Madly

Author: Stephen Galloway

Published by: Grand Central Publishing on Mar. 22, 2022

Genres: Nonfiction

Pages: 416

Format: Hardcover

Source: Grand Central Publishing

Book Rating: 8.5/10

In 1934, a friend brought fledgling actress Vivien Leigh to see Theatre Royal, where she would first lay eyes on Laurence Olivier in his brilliant performance as Anthony Cavendish. That night, she confided to a friend, he was the man she was going to marry. There was just one problem: she was already married—and so was he.

TRULY, MADLY is the biography of a marriage, a love affair that still captivates millions, even decades after both actors’ deaths. Vivien and Larry were two of the first truly global celebrities – their fame fueled by the explosive growth of tabloids and television, which helped and hurt them in equal measure. They seemed to have it all and yet, in their own minds, they were doomed, blighted by her long-undiagnosed mental-illness, which transformed their relationship from the stuff of dreams into a living nightmare.

Through new research, including exclusive access to previously unpublished correspondence and interviews with their friends and family, author Stephen Galloway takes readers on a bewitching journey. He brilliantly studies their tempestuous liaison, one that took place against the backdrop of two world wars, the Golden Age of Hollywood and the upheavals of the 1960s — as they struggled with love, loss and the ultimate agony of their parting.  


Review:

Scandalous, informative, and dramatic!

Truly, Madly is the intriguing, candid biography of two of the most famous actors of the 20th century, Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier, and their volatile relationship that started in 1937 with a whirlwind love affair and ended all too suddenly in tragic heartbreak.

The writing is expressive and smooth. The characters are talented, tormented, and driven. And the novel is a poignant tale of one couple’s personal and professional successes and heartaches both on and off the screen, including a marriage grounded in love yet littered with insecurity, jealousy, depression, miscarriages, mental illness, and infidelity.

Overall, Truly, Madly is a captivating, descriptive, sobering tale by Galloway that highlights that loving someone means loving them in the good, the bad, and the ugly, and is an important reminder of just how unfortunate and detrimental our lack of knowledge and treatment of mental illness in the last century truly was.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or one of the following links.

                

 

 

Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Stephen Galloway

Stephen Galloway is the dean of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. Prior to joining Chapman in 2020, he was for many years the executive editor of The Hollywood Reporter.

#BookReview Unmasked: My Life Solving America’s Cold Cases by Paul Holes with Robin Gaby Fisher @PaulHoles @CeladonBooks #UnmaskedBook #CeladonBooks #CeladonReads

#BookReview Unmasked: My Life Solving America’s Cold Cases by Paul Holes with Robin Gaby Fisher @PaulHoles @CeladonBooks #UnmaskedBook #CeladonBooks #CeladonReads Title: Unmasked: My Life Solving American's Cold Cases

Author: Paul Holes

Published by: Celadon Books on Apr. 26, 2022

Genres: Nonfiction

Pages: 288

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Celadon Books

Book Rating: 9/10

From the detective who found The Golden State Killer, a memoir of investigating America’s toughest cold cases and the rewards–and toll–of a life solving crime.

I order another bourbon, neat. This is the drink that will flip the switch. I don’t even know how I got here, to this place, to this point. Something is happening to me lately. I’m drinking too much. My sheets are soaking wet when I wake up from nightmares of decaying corpses. I order another drink and swig it, trying to forget about the latest case I can’t shake.

Crime-solving for me is more complex than the challenge of the hunt, or the process of piecing together a scientific puzzle. The thought of good people suffering drives me, for better or worse, to the point of obsession.

People always ask how I am able to detach from the horrors of my work. Part of it is an innate capacity to compartmentalize; the rest is experience and exposure, and I’ve had plenty of both. But I had always taken pride in the fact that I can keep my feelings locked up to get the job done. It’s only been recently that it feels like all that suppressed darkness is beginning to seep out.

When I look back at my long career, there is a lot I am proud of. I have caught some of the most notorious killers of the twenty-first century and brought justice and closure for their victims and families. I want to tell you about a lifetime solving these cold cases, from Laci Peterson to Jaycee Dugard to the Pittsburg homicides to, yes, my twenty-year-long hunt for the Golden State Killer.

But a deeper question eats at me as I ask myself, at what cost? I have sacrificed relationships, joy—even fatherhood—because the pursuit of evil always came first. Did I make the right choice? It’s something I grapple with every day. Yet as I stand in the spot where a young girl took her last breath, as I look into the eyes of her family, I know that, for me, there has never been a choice. “I don’t know if I can solve your case,” I whisper. “But I promise I will do my best.”

It is a promise I know I can keep.


Review:

Candid, eye-opening, and fascinating!

Unmasked is the intriguing, informative story of Paul Holes’ personal and professional experiences, successes, frustrations, and accomplishments as a CSI for the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, focusing specifically on cold cases and serial killers with one of his most infamous cases being that of the Golden State Killer.

The writing is detailed and precise. And the novel is an introspective, compelling, absorbing tale of one man’s dedication, passion, and almost obsessive commitment to identifying the most heinous of criminals and making sure there’s enough evidence to put them behind bars for the rest of their lives.

Unmasked is, ultimately, a memoir that I absolutely loved and which gives a valuable, insightful, disturbing look into crime scene investigation, scientific advancements and their effect on the evolution of the crime-solving process, and how pieces, evidence, and clues are collected and reviewed in order to identify and eliminate suspects, and prosecute criminals successfully.

 

This novel is available April 26, 2022.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                

 

 

Thank you to Celadon Books for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Paul Holes

In 2018, Paul Holes retired as a cold case investigator after spending more than twenty-seven years working in Contra Costa County, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Paul specialized in cold case and serial predator crimes, lending his expertise to notable cases, including the murder of Laci Peterson and the kidnapping of Jaycee Dugard. Most prominently, Paul’s career culminated with his identification of the Golden State Killer, Joseph DeAngelo, the most notorious and cunning serial predator in U.S. history.

Since the arrest of DeAngelo, Holes has been very involved on the media side, continuing to assist law enforcement and victims’ families with their unsolved cases through the television shows The DNA of Murder with Paul Holes and America’s Most Wanted and the podcast Jensen & Holes: The Murder Squad.

Photo by Steve Babuljak.

#BookReview Miss Dior by Justine Picardie @JPicardie @FaberBooks @PGCBooks #MissDior #JustinePicardie

#BookReview Miss Dior by Justine Picardie @JPicardie @FaberBooks @PGCBooks #MissDior #JustinePicardie Title: Miss Dior

Author: Justine Picardie

Published by: Faber & Faber on Oct. 18, 2021

Genres: Nonfiction

Pages: 448

Format: Hardcover

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

Miss Dior is a story of freedom and fascism, beauty, and betrayal, roses and repression, and how the polished surface of fashion conceals hidden depths.

It paints a portrait of the enigmatic woman behind the designer Christian Dior: his beloved younger sister Catherine, who inspired his most famous perfume and shaped his vision of femininity. Justine Picardie”s journey takes her to Occupied Paris, where Christian honed his couture skills while Catherine dedicated herself to the French Resistance, until she was captured by the Gestapo and deported to the German concentration camp of Ravensbrück.

With unparalleled access to the Dior family homes and archives, Picardie”s research into Catherine”s courageous life shines a new light on Christian Dior”s legendary work, and reveals how his enchanting ”New Look” emerged out of the shadows of his sister”s suffering.

Tracing the wartime paths of the Dior siblings leads Picardie deep into other hidden histories, and different forms of resistance and sisterhood. She explores what it means to believe in beauty and hope, despite our knowledge of darkness and despair, and discovers the timeless solace of the natural world in the aftermath of devastation and destruction. The result is an exquisite and unforgettably moving book.


Review:

Captivating, descriptive, and well researched!

Miss Dior is the sincere, informative biography of the remarkable Caroline Dior, the youngest sister of renowned fashion designer Christian Dior who, after falling in love with a married resistance leader in 1941, spent the next three years reporting to British Intelligence on German operations until July 1944 when she was arrested by the Gestapo and sent to Ravensbrück and other satellite concentration camps before returning to Paris, after surviving a death march in April 1945, where for the remainder of her life she rarely spoke of the horrors she had endured but surrounded herself with her brother’s love and the flowers she adored.

The writing is evocative and expressive. The characters are humble, heroic, and unique. And the novel is an engaging look into how two siblings in a time of upheaval and uncertainty, one in the spotlight and the other in the shadows, made a resounding impact on French history and the world of fashion.

Overall, Miss Dior is a candid, intriguing tale by Picardie with an abundance of beautiful photos and illustrations, and even though I would have liked to learn more specifically about the life of the woman who inspired the perfume, I still found it an insightful, fascinating tale of not only second-hand accounts of the times, events, and situations she would have faced, but the ultimate evolution and rise of the House of Dior and the incredible array of infamous people who over the years have been lucky enough to don their couture.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or one of the following links.

                

 

 

Thank you to Publishers Group Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Justine Picardie

Justine Picardie is the author of six books, including her critically acclaimed memoir, If the Spirit Moves You: Life and Love After Death, and the international bestseller, Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life. She is a contributing editor to Harper''s Bazaar, having previously been its editor-in-chief. She was formerly an investigative journalist for the Sunday Times, a columnist for the Telegraph, editor of the Observer Magazine and features director of Vogue.

Photo courtesy of Author's Goodreads Page.

#BookReview In the Shadow of the Mountain by Silvia Vasquez-Lavado @silviavasla @HenryHolt #IntheShadowoftheMountain #SilviaVasquezLavado

#BookReview In the Shadow of the Mountain by Silvia Vasquez-Lavado @silviavasla @HenryHolt #IntheShadowoftheMountain #SilviaVasquezLavado Title: In the Shadow of the Mountain

Author: Silvia Vasquez-Lavado

Published by: Henry Holt and Co. on Feb. 1, 2022

Genres: Nonfiction

Pages: 320

Format: Hardcover

Source: Henry Holt and Co.

Book Rating: 10/10

Endless ice. Thin air. The threat of dropping into nothingness thousands of feet below. This is the climb Silvia Vasquez-Lavado braves in her page-turning, pulse-raising memoir following her journey to Mount Everest.

A Latina hero in the elite macho tech world of Silicon Valley, privately, she was hanging by a thread. Deep in the throes of alcoholism, hiding her sexuality from her family, and repressing the abuse she’d suffered as a child, she started climbing. Something about the brute force required for the ascent― the risk and spirit and sheer size of the mountains and death’s close proximity―woke her up. She then took her biggest pain as a survivor to the biggest mountain: Everest.

“The Mother of the World,” as it’s known in Nepal, allows few to reach her summit, but Silvia didn’t go alone. She gathered a group of young female survivors and led them to base camp alongside her. It was never easy. At times hair-raising, nerve-racking, and always challenging, Silvia remembers the acute anxiety of leading a group of novice climbers to Everest’s base, all the while coping with her own nerves of summiting. But, there were also moments of peace, joy, and healing with the strength of her fellow survivors and community propelling her forward.

In the Shadow of the Mountain is a remarkable story of heroism, one which awakens in all of us a lust for adventure, an appetite for risk, and faith in our own resilience.


Review:

Honest, affecting, and incredibly inspiring!

In the Shadow of the Mountain is a candid, memorable memoir that takes you into the life of Silvia Vasquez-Lavado, from her childhood in Peru where she was sexually abused by a family friend, her post-secondary education as an immigrant and lesbian in the green hills of Pennsylvania, an incredibly successful career in silicon valley, to her love of climbing that not only gave her an extreme physical challenge but an outlet to emotionally heal herself and touch the lives of other exploited souls.

The prose is heartfelt and genuine. And the novel is a forthright, sincere tale of one woman’s personal experience with abuse, loss, love, support, friendship, family, addiction, heartbreak, shame, determination, and ultimately the grit and strength needed to scale the Seven Summits of the world.

Overall, In the Shadow of the Mountain is a moving, impactful, lovely tale by Vasquez-Lavado that delves into all the physical, psychological, and emotional effects of being a victim, survivor, addict, lover, extreme adventurer, and mentor. It is truly a beautiful tale that, at its core, is empowering and an important reminder that we have within us all the power to conquer anything.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

               

 

 

 

Thank you to Henry Holt and Company for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Silvia Vasquez-Lavado

Silvia Vasquez-Lavado is a humanitarian, mountaineer, explorer, social entrepreneur, and technologist living in San Francisco. In 2014, she launched Courageous Girls, a nonprofit that helps survivors of sexual abuse and trafficking with opportunities to find inner strength and cultivate their voices by demonstrating their physical strength. Courageous Girls has had projects in Nepal, India, the United States, and Peru. Vasquez-Lavado was recognized by Fortune magazine as one of the Corporate Heroes of 2015. CNET named her one of the 20 Most Influential Latinos in Silicon Valley. She has also been recognized by the Peruvian government as one of the “Marca Peru” ambassadors (country brand ambassadors). She is a member of the Explorers Club and one of the few women in the world to complete the Seven Summits.

Photo by Emily Assiran.

#BookReview Manifesto by Bernardine Evaristo @PGCBooks @groveatlantic #Manifesto #BernardineEvaristo

#BookReview Manifesto by Bernardine Evaristo @PGCBooks @groveatlantic #Manifesto #BernardineEvaristo Title: Manifesto

Author: Bernardine Evaristo

Published by: Grove Press on Jan. 18, 2022

Genres: Nonfiction

Pages: 198

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

From the bestselling and Booker Prize-winning author of Girl, Woman, Other, Bernardine Evaristo’s memoir of her own life and writing, and her manifesto on unstoppability, creativity, and activism

Bernardine Evaristo’s 2019 Booker Prize win was a historic and revolutionary occasion, with Evaristo being the first Black woman and first Black British person ever to win the prize in its fifty-year history. Girl, Woman, Other was named a favorite book of the year by President Obama and Roxane Gay, was translated into thirty-five languages, and has now reached more than a million readers.

Evaristo’s astonishing nonfiction debut, Manifesto, is a vibrant and inspirational account of Evaristo’s life and career as she rebelled against the mainstream and fought over several decades to bring her creative work into the world. With her characteristic humor, Evaristo describes her childhood as one of eight siblings, with a Nigerian father and white Catholic mother, tells the story of how she helped set up Britain’s first Black women’s theatre company, remembers the queer relationships of her twenties, and recounts her determination to write books that were absent in the literary world around her. She provides a hugely powerful perspective to contemporary conversations around race, class, feminism, sexuality, and aging. She reminds us of how far we have come, and how far we still have to go. In Manifesto, Evaristo charts her theory of unstoppability, showing creative people how they too can visualize and find success in their work, ignoring the naysayers.

Both unconventional memoir and inspirational text, Manifesto is a unique reminder to us all to persist in doing work we believe in, even when we might feel overlooked or discounted. Evaristo shows us how we too can follow in her footsteps, from first vision, to insistent perseverance, to eventual triumph.


Review:

Honest, informative, and inspiring!

Manifesto is the insightful, intriguing story of Bernardine Evaristo’s personal and professional successes, hardships, relationships, struggles, and accomplishments as a mixed-raced author from South London.

The writing is genuine and perceptive. And the novel is an introspective, intriguing tale of one woman’s life from being a creative child and one of eight siblings to a strong, sexually fluid woman who has experienced fulfilment by being one of the founding members of Britain’s Theatre of Black Women, writing rewarding but not so popular novels of poetry, to ultimately winning one of the most prestigious literary awards in 2019, the Booker Prize, for her novel Girl, Woman, Other

Overall, Manifesto is such a forthright, captivating, absorbing tale by Evaristo that covers such an abundance of themes, that as a fellow woman, it was easy to appreciate and thoroughly enjoy it.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

               

 

 

 

Thank you to PGC Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Bernardine Evaristo

Bernardine Evaristo is the Anglo-Nigerian award-winning author of several books of fiction and verse fiction that explore aspects of the African diaspora: past, present, real, imagined. Her novel Girl, Woman, Other won the Booker Prize in 2019. Her writing also spans short fiction, reviews, essays, drama and writing for BBC radio. She is Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University, London, and Vice Chair of the Royal Society of Literature. She was made an MBE in 2009. As a literary activist for inclusion Bernardine has founded a number of successful initiatives, including Spread the Word writer development agency (1995-ongoing); the Complete Works mentoring scheme for poets of colour (2007-2017) and the Brunel International African Poetry Prize (2012-ongoing).

Photo courtesy of Author's Goodreads Page.

#BookReview The Redhead of Auschwitz by Nechama Birnbaum @AmsterdamPB #TheRedheadofAuschwitz #NechamaBirnbaum #AmsterdamPublishers #HolocaustMemoirs

#BookReview The Redhead of Auschwitz by Nechama Birnbaum @AmsterdamPB #TheRedheadofAuschwitz #NechamaBirnbaum #AmsterdamPublishers #HolocaustMemoirs Title: The Redhead of Auschwitz

Author: Nechama Birnbaum

Published by: Amsterdam Publishers on Nov. 28, 2021

Genres: Nonfiction

Pages: 280

Format: Paperback

Source: Amsterdam Publishers

Book Rating: 10/10

Rosie was always told her red hair was a curse, but she never believed it. She often dreamed what it would look like under a white veil with the man of her dreams by her side. However, her life takes a harrowing turn in 1944 when she is forced out of her home and sent to the most gruesome of places: Auschwitz.

Upon arrival, Rosie’s head is shaved and along with the loss of her beautiful hair, she loses the life she once cherished. Among the chaos and surrounded by hopelessness, Rosie realizes the only thing the Nazis cannot take away from her is the fierce redhead resilience in her spirit. When all of her friends conclude they are going to heaven from Auschwitz, she remains determined to get home. She summons all of her courage, through death camps and death marches to do just that.

This victorious biography, written by Nechama Birnbaum in honor of her grandmother, is as full of life as it is of death. It is about the intricacies of Jewish culture that still exist today and the tender experiences that are universal to all humanity: family, coming of age, and first love. It is a story that celebrates believing in yourself no matter the odds. This is a story about the little redheaded girl who thought she could, and so she did.


Review:

Honest, powerful, and memorable!

The Redhead of Auschwitz is a candid, insightful, moving biography that tells the real-life story of Rosie Greenstein from being a young Jewish girl in Crasna, Romania, a teen who endured horrific persecution, inconceivable loss, and extreme cruelty during WWII, to the unimaginable strength, perseverance, and stubbornness she used to not only endure and survive but go on to be the loving redheaded matriarch of five children, twenty-eight grandchildren, one hundred and twenty great-grandchildren, and seven great-great-grandchildren.

The Redhead of Auschwitz is ultimately a heart-wrenching, affecting, personal family tale by Birnbaum that highlights the extreme hardships, suffering, and horrors endured during a heinous time in history when millions of lives were violated and senselessly lost, and reminds us that our greatest power against such evil, truly, is never to forget.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

             

 

 

 

Thank you to Amsterdam Publishers for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Nechama Birnbaum

Nechama Birnbaum knew since she was a little girl that she wanted to write her grandmother's story. Her friend's grandmas brought them presents. Hers brought her stories, and stories were her favorite thing of all. When her grandmother told her how she would rip petals off flowers to see if the boy she liked, liked her back, and how she would crumple up the flower that landed on "he loves me not," and start again until it landed on "he loves me"; that was when Nechama knew for sure she would write her stubborn, determined grandma's story. She knew her grandma's tenacity started long before she told her friends in Auschwitz that she was going home from there.
Nechama lives in Brooklyn NY with her husband and daughters and nearby her redhead grandma. She is currently finishing her master's degree in nutrition.

#BookReview Meghan and the Unmasking of the Monarchy by Andrew Morton @andrewmortonuk @GrandCentralPub #MeghanandtheUnmaskingoftheMonarchy #AndrewMorton #GrandCentralPub

#BookReview Meghan and the Unmasking of the Monarchy by Andrew Morton @andrewmortonuk @GrandCentralPub #MeghanandtheUnmaskingoftheMonarchy #AndrewMorton #GrandCentralPub Title: Meghan and the Unmasking of the Monarchy

Author: Andrew Morton

Published by: Grand Central Publishing on Oct. 19, 2021

Genres: Nonfiction

Pages: 336

Format: Paperback

Source: Grand Central Publishing

Book Rating: 8/10

The New York Times bestselling biography of Meghan Markle, the American actress who won Prince Harry’s heart.

Women who smash the royal mold have always fascinated the public, from Grace Kelly to Princess Diana. Now acclaimed royal biographer Andrew Morton, the New York Timesbestselling author of Diana: Her True Story, brings us a revealing, juicy, and inspiring look at Meghan Markle, the confident and charismatic duchess whose warm and affectionate engagement interview won the hearts of the world.

When Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were set up by a mutual friend on a blind date in July 2016, little did they know that the resulting whirlwind romance would lead to their engagement in November 2017 and marriage in May 2018.

Morton goes back to Meghan’s roots to uncover the story of her childhood growing up in The Valley in Los Angeles, her studies at an all-girls Catholic school, and her fraught family life-a painful experience mirrored by Harry’s own background. Morton also delves into her previous marriage and divorce in 2013, her struggles in Hollywood as her mixed heritage was used against her, her big break in the hit TV show Suits, and her work for a humanitarian ambassador-the latter so reminiscent of Princess Diana’s passions. Finally, we see how the royal romance played out across two continents but was kept fiercely secret, before the news finally broke and Meghan was thrust into the global media’s spotlight.

Drawing on exclusive interviews with her family members and closest friends, and including never-before-seen photographs, Morton introduces us to the real Meghan as he reflects on the impact that she has already had on the rigid traditions of the House of Windsor, as well as what the future might hold.


Review:

Informative, intriguing, and perspicuous!

Meghan and the Unmasking of the Monarchy is the interesting, candid biography of Rachel Meghan Markle, a divorced, mixed heritage, American actress who grew up in a somewhat dysfunctional family, although supported and loved, before appearing in a successful tv series, and then ultimately capturing the heart of a British prince.

The writing is crisp and clear. The characters are influential, hardworking, and driven. And the novel is a compelling tale of one woman’s life, from a young girl in Hollywood to a grown woman with her very own real-life prince.

Overall, Meghan and the Unmasking of the Monarchy, especially this new updated novel, which includes even the most recent events involving the Monarchy in early 2021, is an insightful look into a strong, independent woman and her struggles to retain a modicum of independence, privacy, and freedom after marrying into an institution ruled by tradition, image, and responsibility.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or one of the following links.

                

 

 

Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Andrew Morton

Andrew Morton studied history at the University of Sussex, England, with a focus on aristocracy and the 1930s. Morton has written biographies featuring the British Royal Family as well as celebrities, including Tom Cruise, Angelina Jolie, and Madonna. His bestselling biography of Princess Diana, Diana: Her True Story, met with international acclaim as “the closest we will ever come to her autobiography.”

Photograph courtesy of GCP Website.

#BookReview My Amy: The Life We Shared by Tyler James @PGCBooks @panmacmillan #TylerJames #MyAmy

#BookReview My Amy: The Life We Shared by Tyler James @PGCBooks @panmacmillan #TylerJames #MyAmy Title: My Amy: The Life We Shared

Author: Tyler James

Published by: Pan Macmillan on Aug. 17, 2021

Genres: Nonfiction

Pages: 336

Format: Hardcover

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

Written with a searing honesty and published for the tenth anniversary of Amy Winehouse’s death, My Amy is an evocative portrait of unbreakable lifelong friendship – and a devastating study into fame, addiction and self-sabotage.

Only one person knows what really happened to Amy, other than Amy herself. He is Tyler James, Amy’s best friend from the age of thirteen. They met at stage school as two insecure outsiders, formed an instant connection and lived together from their late teenage years right up until the day she died, aged just twenty-seven.

Tyler was there by her side through it all. From their carefree early years touring together to the creation of the multiple Grammy-winning Back To Black, which she wrote on their kitchen floor. From her volatile marriage to Blake Fielder-Civil through her escalating addictions, self-harm and eating disorders as the toxic nature of fame warped Amy’s reality. For the last three years of her life, Tyler was with her every day when she’d beaten drugs and was close to beating alcoholism too. He also knew better than anyone the real Amy Winehouse who the tabloid-reading public rarely saw – the hilarious, uncompromising force-of-nature busy taking care of everyone else.

We all think we know what happened to Amy Winehouse, but we don’t. This definitive insider’s story tells us all, finally, the truth.


Review:

Raw, genuine, and affecting!

My Amy: The Life We Shared is a heart-wrenching, touching memoir that takes you into the life of Tyler James and the special, somewhat dependent relationship between his best friend, famous jazz singer, Amy Winehouse and himself from the moment they met in their early teens at the Sylvia Young Theatre School until her tragic death in 2011.

The prose is emotional and sincere. And the novel is a poignant tale of one men’s personal struggles and experiences loving, supporting, and caring for an extremely talented friend tortured by demons and lost in a demanding world that took her soul and freedom, and left her struggling to cope in a toxic environment rife with drugs, addiction, eating disorders, public scrutiny, alcohol abuse, and parasitic relationships.

Overall, My Amy: The Life We Shared is a candid, heartfelt, informative tale by James that reminds us that loving someone means loving them for the good, the bad, and the ugly, and highlights that fame is not always fortunate, and sometimes being surrounded by many can actually be the loneliest existence of all.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

        

 

 
 

 

Thank you to PGC Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Tyler James

Tyler James grew up in the East End of London and met Amy Winehouse at the Sylvia Young Theatre School. He became a singer/songwriter and was signed to Island Records in 2003. By early 2009, after many chaotic years for both himself and Amy, he successfully overcame severe addiction problems of his own. Today, he lives and farms in Ireland, having swapped gigging for lambing. My Amy is his first book.

#BookReview Brat: An ’80s Story by Andrew McCarthy @GrandCentralPub #Brat #AndrewMcCarthy #GrandCentralPub

#BookReview Brat: An ’80s Story by Andrew McCarthy @GrandCentralPub #Brat #AndrewMcCarthy #GrandCentralPub Title: Brat: An '80s Story

Author: Andrew McCarthy

Published by: Grand Central Publishing on May 11, 2021

Genres: Nonfiction

Pages: 240

Format: Hardcover

Source: Grand Central Publishing

Book Rating: 8/10

Fans of Patti Smith’s Just Kids and Rob Lowe’s StoriesI Only Tell My Friends will love this beautifully written, entertaining, and emotionally honest memoir by an actor, director, and author who found his start as an 80s Brat pack member.

 Most people know Andrew McCarthy from his movie roles in Pretty in Pink, St. Elmo’s Fire, Weekend at Bernie’s, and Less than Zero, and as a charter member of Hollywood’s Brat Pack. That iconic group of ingenues and heartthrobs included Rob Lowe, Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, and Demi Moore, and has come to represent both a genre of film and an era of pop culture.

In his memoir Brat: An ’80s Story, McCarthy focuses his gaze on that singular moment in time. The result is a revealing look at coming of age in a maelstrom, reckoning with conflicted ambition, innocence, addiction, and masculinity. New York City of the 1980s is brought to vivid life in these pages, from scoring loose joints in Washington Square Park to skipping school in favor of the dark revival houses of the Village where he fell in love with the movies that would change his life. 

Filled with personal revelations of innocence lost to heady days in Hollywood with John Hughes and an iconic cast of characters, Brat is a surprising and intimate story of an outsider caught up in a most unwitting success.


Review:

Informative, interesting, and entertaining!

Brat: An ’80s Story is the honest, fascinating autobiography of Andrew McCarthy’s personal and professional successes, struggles, motivations, and accomplishments as a young actor in the early 1980s.

The writing is perceptive and genuine. And the novel is an introspective, compelling tale of one man’s life from a NY college student to the lights and fame of Hollywood in a time when high school movies aimed at teens would ultimately change pop culture forever.

Overall, Brat: An ’80s Story is a candid, intriguing, enjoyable tale by McCarthy that gives an insightful look into a talented life filled with hard work, determination, luck, and exceptional moments, but also one unfortunately often riddled with insecurity and addiction.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                

 

 

 

Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Andrew McCarthy

Andrew McCarthy is a director, an award winning travel writer, and—of course—an actor. He made his professional début at 19 in Class, and has appeared in dozens of films, including such iconic movies as Pretty in Pink, St. Elmo’s Fire, Less Then Zero, and cult favorites Weekend At Bernie’s and Mannequin. He chronicles these films and his time as a member of the Brat Pack in his upcoming memoir BRAT: An ‘80s Story (order here), to be published by Grand Central in May of 2021.

Andrew has directed nearly a hundred hours of television, including some of today’s biggest hits, including The Blacklist, Grace and Frankie, New Amsterdam, Orange is the New Black, and many others.

For a dozen years Andrew served as an editor-at-large with National Geographic Traveler magazine. He has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, Time, Travel+Leisure, Town & Country, Men’s Journal, Bon Appetit, and many others. He has been named Travel Journalist of the Year by The Society of American Travel Writers, as well as serving as guest editor of the prestigious BEST AMERICAN TRAVEL WRITING anthology.

Andrew is the author of a travel memoir, THE LONGEST WAY HOME and a Young Adult novel JUST FLY AWAY — both New York Times bestsellers.

He lives in New York.

Photo courtesy of Author's Website.

#BookReview The Unfit Heiress by Audrey Clare Farley @GrandCentralPub #TheUnfitHeiress #AudreyClareFarley #AnnCooperHewitt #GrandCentralPub

#BookReview The Unfit Heiress by Audrey Clare Farley @GrandCentralPub #TheUnfitHeiress #AudreyClareFarley #AnnCooperHewitt #GrandCentralPub Title: The Unfit Heiress

Author: Audrey Clare Farley

Published by: Grand Central Publishing on Apr. 2, 2021

Genres: Nonfiction

Pages: 304

Format: Hardcover

Source: Grand Central Publishing

Book Rating: 8/10

For readers of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and The Phantom of Fifth Avenue, a page-turning drama of fortunes, eugenics and women’s reproductive rights framed by the sordid court battle between Ann Cooper Hewitt and her socialite mother.

At the turn of the twentieth century, American women began to reject Victorian propriety in favor of passion and livelihood outside the home. This alarmed authorities, who feared certain “over-sexed” women could destroy civilization if allowed to reproduce and pass on their defects. Set against this backdrop, The Unfit Heiress chronicles the fight for inheritance, both genetic and monetary, between Ann Cooper Hewitt and her mother Maryon.

In 1934, aided by a California eugenics law, the socialite Maryon Cooper Hewitt had her “promiscuous” daughter declared feebleminded and sterilized without her knowledge. She did this to deprive Ann of millions of dollars from her father’s estate, which contained a child-bearing stipulation. When a sensational court case ensued, the American public was captivated. So were eugenicists, who saw an opportunity to restrict reproductive rights in America for decades to come.

This riveting story unfolds through the brilliant research of Audrey Clare Farley, who captures the interior lives of these women on the pages and poses questions that remain relevant today: What does it mean to be “unfit” for motherhood? In the battle for reproductive rights, can we forgive the women who side against us? And can we forgive our mothers if they are the ones who inflict the deepest wounds?


Review:

Detailed, fascinating, and shocking!

The Unfit Heiress is the candid, expository tale of Ann Cooper Hewitt, a young woman who sued her mother in 1936 for involuntarily having her sterilized in order to acquire her inheritance, as well as an inside look into her infamous parent’s history and relationship, and the horrifying practice of forced sterilization.

The writing is intensive and insightful. And the novel is an intriguing tale of one woman’s personal experiences, legal battles, and struggles to find compensation, justice, love and happiness.

Overall, The Unfit Heiress is a thought-provoking, comprehensive debut by Audrey Clare Farley that does a remarkable job of highlighting her incredible knowledge and research into this monumental case, the eugenics movement, and the evolution of society’s perception and acceptance of women’s sexuality.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                   

 

 

 

Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Audrey Clare Farley

Audrey Clare Farley is a writer, book reviewer, and historian of twentieth-century American fiction and culture. Having earned a PhD in English from University of Maryland, College Park in 2017, she occasionally lectures in history and literature at local universities. Her essay on Ann Cooper Hewitt, published in July 2019 in Narratively, was the publication’s second most-read story of the year. Her writing on the eugenics movement and other topics has appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The New Republic, Public Books, Lady Science, Longreads, and Marginalia Review of Books, where she is a contributing editor. She lives in Hanover, Pennsylvania.

Photo by Grace Farley.

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