Tag Archives: Here

Win here, home, hope

Kaira Rouda’s book Here, Home, Hope: A Novel will not be released until Sunday, May 1, 2011 (Greenleaf Book Group; $15.00).   But you can enter now to win one of three copies that we’re giving away!   This is a tale that will appeal to readers of popular fiction who feel like they’re ready to transition into something new in their own lives.

Here is the official synopsis of Here, Home, Hope:

Kelly Mills Johnson becomes restless in her thirty-ninth year.   An appetite for more forces her to take stock of her ordinary middle-American existence and her neighbors’ seemingly perfect lives.   Her marriage to a successful attorney has settled into a comfortable routine, and being the mother of two adorable sons has been rewarding but exhausting.   Meanwhile, Kelly’s own passions lie wasted.   She eyes with envy the lives of her two best friends, Kathyrn and Charolotte, both beautiful, successful businesswomen who seem to have it all.   Kelly takes charge of her life, devising a midlife makeover plan.

Kelly’s witty reflections, self-deprecating humor, and clever tactics in executing that plan – she places Post-It notes all over her house and car – will have readers laughing out loud.   The next instant, they might rant along with Kelly as her commitment to a sullen, anorexic teenager left on her doorstep tries her patience or as she deflects the boozy advances of a divorced neighbor.   Readers will need to keep the tissue box handy, as Kelly repairs the damage she inflicted on a high school friend; realizes how deeply her husband, Patrick, understands and loves her; and ultimately grows into a woman empowered by her own blend of home and career.

In order to enter this contest, just post a comment with your name and e-mail address below while answering the question, “Have you ever reached a point of restlessness in your own life?   If so, how did you handle it?”   This will count as a first entry.   For a second giveaway contest entry, tell us the name and location of your very  favorite bookstore in the U.S.  (Maybe Kelly will decide to pay it a visit, you never know.)

If you prefer not to post a comment here, you can send an e-mail or two to Josephsreviews@gmail.com .   In order to enter this giveaway you must live in the U.S., have a residential mailing address (books will not be shipped to P. O. boxes or business related addresses), and submit your entry or entries by Midnight PST on Monday, May 30, 2011 (Memorial Day).   The 3 winners will be drawn at random, notified by e-mail, and given 72 hours within which to provide a proper mailing address.

This is it for the complex contest rules.   As always, good luck and good reading!

Note:  Kelly Rouda will be doing a book signing and reading in Capitola, California on Monday, May 16, 2011, 7:00 p.m. at the Capitola Book Cafe (1475 41st Avenue).   She will be doing a reading and book signing in San Francisco at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 19, 2011 at Book Passage (1 Ferry Building).   For information on these events, call (831) 462-4415 or (415) 835-1020.


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Coming Up Next…

See how you can win one of three copies of the new book, Here, Home, Hope: A Novel by Kaira Rouda, which will be released on Sunday, May 1, 2011.

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Days Like These

Starting Over: The Making of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Double Fantasy by Ken Sharp (Gallery Books/VH1 Books; $26.99; 262 pages)

starting over book

“You don’t have to do it anymore.   You can exist outside of the music.”   Yoko Ono to John Lennon, 1975

“There’s only two artists that I’ve ever worked with for more than a one-night stand.   That’s Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono, and I think that’s a pretty damned good choice!”   John Lennon, 1980

Before this, only one book took you inside the recording studio with The Beatles, and that was Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles by Geoff Emerick.   Emerick’s book explained the fascinating work performed by sound engineers such as that which led (in some small measure) to the success of the four moptops.   One of the disclosures in HT&E was that the recording sound process at Abbey Road always began with ensuring that Ringo’s drums would sound right and/or unique on each track. (Paul McCartney, who lived around the corner, was the individual who usually tuned the drums used by Ringo and Badfinger’s drummer.)

Now, with Ken Sharp’s book,  we go into the sound studios of New York City circa the winter of 1980, with former Beatle John Lennon, his wife Yoko Ono and a new band of hotshot musicians.   Lennon’s final album, Double Fantasy, would be recorded just weeks before his death (the single “Starting Over” was the track the public heard first), and would be well-crafted enough to preserve his legacy as a musical genius.

This was the happy-husband period for John Lennon who was pleased about everything, even the past:  “He never spoke about the Beatles in a negative way.   Ever.   He only said positive, affectionate things about them…  He was able to look back at their work and realize how great a band they were.”   (Andy Newmark, drummer)

And this was the John Lennon who filled his new album with what some viewed as recordings invading Paul McCartney’s well-marked territory – (silly or non-silly) love songs and songs of domestic harmony and bliss.   John was not at all apologetic about his new-found contentment:  “To work with your best friend is a joy and I don’t intend to stop it…  My best friend is my wife.   Who could ask for anything more?”

“…records do tend to either gain or lose aura as decades pass.   I would say Double Fantasy is one of the many excellent records that has gained a certain aura, glow, stature and presence.”   Robert Christgau

The participants interviewed for this book all display a sense of both bittersweet happiness and sorrow at having worked with John Lennon before his untimely death.   “I hadn’t listened to Double Fantasy in a long time.   I recently put it on and as soon as I started playing it, the tears welled up.   It was a real emotional experience for me.   There was a lot of joy doing that record…  When I hear the songs, I see John working on the tracks.   It’s the closing musical statement of his life and it’s filled with great songs.”   (Hugh McCracken, guitarist)

Well said, and this account is a well-written, detailed and loving tribute to someone who simply left us too soon.   Read this book and you will come to know and admire John Lennon’s honesty and his integrity.   By reading this book you’ll also come to discover the background stories of such great songs as “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy),” “(Just Like) Starting Over” and “Watching the Wheels”.

Think of Starting Over, the book, as the great lost album notes to the original vinyl release.   It will serve you well.

Highly recommended.

Joseph Arellano

A review copy was provided by the publisher.

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Where Did Our Story Go? The Supremes: A Saga of Motown…

Supremes

I keep hoping for another book like Geoff Emerick’s fine account of how he recorded the Beatles in Here, There and Everywhere…  and this is most definitely not that caliber of book.

Not that this is the worst read, but it follows an all-too-familiar formula.   First, there’s the truly interesting tale of The Supremes before we knew them.   Next, we learn how they came together and got their big break.   Then, the trouble with the book begins when every intra-group personality conflict is embellished to the point where the band appears to be on the verge of a nuclear war.   And for any fan wanting to know how The Supremes’ songs came to be inspired or written, or crucial and interesting details concerning how they were recorded, this book is not the answer as such accounts are rare in this Saga of Motown.   What you will find in this book are obsessively detailed descriptions of exactly who slept with who over forty years ago.

What, exactly, did the sex lives of Diana, Flo and Mary have to do with their music?   I have no idea, but by page 180, this dead horse had already been beaten to a bloodless pulp. My excitement over this new music group biography dropped away quite quickly, and I would venture to say that yours will too – unless, of course, you have little interest in the songs of The Supremes and prefer a rehash of everything you might have learned from reading the tabloids for the last 40 or more plus years.

Da Capo Press, $24.95, 426 pages

This review was written by Joseph Arellano.   Reprinted courtesy of Sacramento Book Review.

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