Tag: 5 stars

Member of the Family

Member of the Family: My Story of Charles Manson, Life Inside his Cult, and the Darkness that Ended the Sixties
Author: Dianne Lake
Published: October 14, 2017
Audible

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

In this poignant and disturbing memoir of lost innocence, coercion, survival, and healing, Dianne Lake chronicles her years with Charles Manson, revealing for the first time how she became the youngest member of his Family and offering new insights into one of the twentieth century’s most notorious criminals and life as one of his “girls”

At age fourteen Dianne Lake—with little more than a note in her pocket from her hippie parents granting her permission to leave them—became one of “Charlie’s girls,” a devoted acolyte of cult leader Charles Manson. Over the course of two years, the impressionable teenager endured manipulation, psychological control, and physical abuse as the harsh realities and looming darkness of Charles Manson’s true nature revealed itself. From Spahn ranch and the group acid trips, to the Beatles’ White Album and Manson’s dangerous messiah-complex, Dianne tells the riveting story of the group’s descent into madness as she lived it.

Though she never participated in any of the group’s gruesome crimes and was purposely insulated from them, Dianne was arrested with the rest of the Manson Family, and eventually learned enough to join the prosecution’s case against them. With the help of good Samaritans, including the cop who first arrested her and later adopted her, the courageous young woman eventually found redemption and grew up to lead an ordinary life.

While much has been written about Charles Manson, this riveting account from an actual Family member is a chilling portrait that recreates in vivid detail one of the most horrifying and fascinating chapters in modern American history.

Kim’s Review:

I think this might be the end of my true crime obsession for a little while. People really are horrible and stupid. Ok, let me go back to the beginning. I decided to listen to this audiobook narrated by Dianne Lake herself. I have read Helter Skelter several times and I wanted to learn more about the family itself and the people in it. This book gave great info in a far more personal way. It’s easy to look in from the outside and criticize and judge, but when you get a glimpse of the realities, that definitely changes.

It’s also an interesting view into hippy culture. The 60s were a very different time and the things that people got away with then would seriously ruin their lives if they tried it today. Who lets their 14 year old daughter just up and go to a completely different city with someone she just met?? I mean Lake’s parents literally pushed her at Charlie Manson even though they knew something was off about him. I put my head down on the steering wheel and just tried to breathe out my frustration. I also learned a lot more about Charlie and his manipulative ways. Of course those girls followed him and loved him unconditionally. He gave them what no one else in the world did, love and acceptance. And he played them like a Hawaiian on a ukulele! I could go on and on about this book, but I’ll just encourage everyone to read it! Very informative and disturbing!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK **The UK version is titled slightly different: Member of the Family: Manson, Murder, and Me**

My Cousin Rachel

Author: Daphne du Maurier
First Published: 1951
400 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

Ashley’s older cousin Ambrose, who raised the orphaned Philip as his own son, has died in Rome. Philip, the heir to Ambrose’s beautiful English estate, is crushed that the man he loved died far from home. He is also suspicious. While in Italy, Ambrose fell in love with Rachel, a beautiful English and Italian woman. But the final, brief letters Ambrose wrote hint that his love had turned to paranoia and fear. Now Rachel has arrived at Philip’s newly inherited estate. Could this exquisite woman, who seems to genuinely share Philip’s grief at Ambrose’s death, really be as cruel as Philip imagined? Or is she the kind, passionate woman with whom Ambrose fell in love? Philip struggles to answer this question, knowing Ambrose’s estate, and his own future, will be destroyed if his answer is wrong.

Kim’s Review:

I totally remember why I love Daphne du Maurier. I first read Rebecca back when I was a freshman in high school. My English teacher (Hi, Mrs. Buck, I love you!), who was easily one of my all time favorite teachers, gave us a list of books and we had to pick one, read it, and write a report on it. I picked Rebecca and it blew my mind. I then read Jamaica Inn and The King’s General and du Maurier was forever established as one of my favorite classical authors.

Ivan’s sister, Ruth, who is seriously one of the coolest people I know, read My Cousin Rachel and she loved it, so I thought I’d give it a try. It’s such a great book! It’s got that gothic mystery quality about it. Though it’s not really horror, it’s definitely psychological thriller. It had me going the whole time. I ended up having to get the audiobook so I could finish it on my drive out to the MKA signing in the Outer Banks. I just couldn’t wait to finish it. There were some unexpected plot twists that really surprised me.

I now have to go back and reread Rebecca and Jamaica Inn and maybe find some new du Maurier books. I absolutely recommend My Cousin Rachel to anybody who likes classic, gothic fiction.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

My Cousin Rachel Movie Trailer:

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A Double Review of Five Feet Apart

Today Kim and I bring you a double review of Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott, Mikki Daughtry, and Tobias Iaconis.  We both enjoyed it and rated it 5 stars!   Kim read the physical book while I listened to the audiobook and we are both looking forward to seeing the movie. 

Authors:
Rachael Lippincott
Mikki Daughtry
Tobias Iaconis
Published: November 10, 2018
288 Pages

Book Description:

Can you love someone you can never touch?

Stella Grant likes to be in control—even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions.

The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments, or a fancy new clinical drug trial. Soon, he’ll turn eighteen and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals.

Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. If he so much as breathes on Stella she could lose her spot on the transplant list. Either one of them could die. The only way to stay alive is to stay apart. But suddenly six feet doesn’t feel like safety. It feels like punishment.

What if they could steal back just a little bit of the space their broken lungs have stolen from them? Would five feet apart really be so dangerous if it stops their hearts from breaking too?


Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
Dates Read: June 10-21, 2019

Jessica’s Review:

If Everything, Everything and The Fault in Our Stars got together and had a baby then it would result in Five Feet Apart.  I loved this novel, and the cover is beyond gorgeous:  Before I knew what it was about, I thought to myself “Those look like lungs on the cover” and they are! 

Stella and Will both have cystic fibrosis. Stella has been going to the same hospital for years to fight the disease.  Will has traveled all over the world for various treatments, but has only seen the inside of hospitals which are all the same.  Stella and Will meet and Stella can’t stand Will…. Then things start to change…

This is a story of first love and the teens in this novel are definitely more grown up than your typical YA characters.  But come on: they know for a fact that their pending death could come at any moment and that would age any teenager. But they are still teenagers.

I don’t know how life-like the novel is with the reality of cystic fibrosis, but this novel feels very real.  I was attached to the characters and you wanted a happy ending and no dumb choices made.  Though we came very close to the dumb choices part. I was thinking “NO!” when a certain situation happened, but at that age and in that situation, who knows what my decision might have been.

Five Feet Apart is also similar to The Sun is Also a Star in the fact that it has a realistic ending. If you are a fan of YA in general or of the other YA novels I mentioned then Five Feet Apart WILL be for you!  I look forward to seeing the movie version soon. I still also need to watch the film versions of these novels as well.

Five Feet Apart is highly recommended.

Kim’s Rating: 5 Stars
Kim’s Review:

What a great book! Finally, a YA book where the teen drama fit in perfectly and wasn’t ridiculously obnoxious! I loved everything about this book. Look at the cover!!! The story was sweet and easy to read. The characters were cute and realistic. They had enough problems in their lives that they didn’t have to create any.

I didn’t know anything about cystic fibrosis before reading this book. I still don’t know much, but I enjoyed learning a little about it. If I have any criticism, it’s very tiny: there were some medical things that needed a bit more explanation to make it all make sense. I had to keep asking Ivan questions and he finally told me that he didn’t want to talk about B. Cepacia anymore!

I became so emotionally invested in these kids. It was an easy book to get through and I finished it in a day. There were some adult things, like some swearing, that would keep me from recommending it to younger readers, but I’d recommend it to pretty much everyone else! The movie comes out soon and I’m cautiously optimistic about it. I had Cole Sprouse’s face in my head the whole time I was reading and it definitely worked!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Movie Trailer for Five Feet Apart:

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