Category Archives: Book Review

Book Review: “Flower Power Fatality” by Sally Carpenter

Flower Power Fatality Psychodelic Spy Mystery Sally CarpenterFlower Power Fatality: A Psychedelic Spy Mystery is the third book I’ve read by Sally Carpenter and reviewed on this blog. Sandy writes the Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol series of mysteries and now she’s branched out with a new series. She’s a huge Beatles fan and whenever possible, she’ll mention them in her books. In fact, her first novel, The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper is about a mysterious murder at a Beatles convention.

Flower Power Fatality is based in 1967. The lead character Noelle McNabb finds herself knee deep in helping to solve the mysterious murder of a man who knocks at her door on a cold rainy night and falls to her floor from a gunshot wound when she answers. It isn’t long before a secret spy organization shows up looking for information about the dead man that she doesn’t have. Or does she?

I love the way Sally can write a great story that’s so easy to sit back and relax to. These are the books that are true beach books or books for when you just need to escape into another world. There’s not a lot of gore, swearing, sex or nudity. Just simply good writing in a whodunit. Throughout this book, she names some of the chapters after Beatles songs and at least twice, the Beatles are mentioned, whether it’s Noelle putting their album on her turntable to chill out to or some other small incident. No matter where you go, there’s always room for more Beatles. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: “Tune In: The Beatles – All These Years” by Mark Lewisohn

Tune In The Beatles All These Years Mark LewisohnPublished in 2013, Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years comes in at a whooping 932 pages (803 without the bibliography and index). One would think that’s a lot of pages for the first of three books that author Mark Lewisohn has planned for this series, until you realize that Tune In: The Beatles – All These Years – Unedited/Extended Special Edition has 1728 pages! So…why did I wait so long to read this book? Well, over the past 5 years I’ve probably said at least 5 times, “I will never read that book. It’s just too long!” And what changed my mind? Well, it was you, dear readers. The guilt of not posting anything of real substance over the past several months finally made me take this book down from my bookshelf.

I thought I could sit down and read the entire book in a weekend, but it proved to be just too much information coming at me all at once. And even though I’ve read dozens of books about the Fab Four, Mark Lewisohn’s in-depth research left me with so many more questions that I actually wonder if I should pick up the unedited edition some day. Eegads folks…what kind of introverted, anti-social monster has he turned me into? So many details and yet so much more to learn, Lewisohn turns his readers into Fab Four junkies before hitting the halfway mark in this book. The Beatles are my sugar of choice and Mark Lewisohn is my candy man!

One thing about the book that left me scratching my head, though, was that throughout, Lewisohn goes into great detail to describe pictures that were taken during the early stages of the Beatles career, yet these pictures are not contained within the book. Some of them are, but the majority is not. Whether or not they’re in the extended edition, I don’t know. Hopefully, one of my readers can enlighten me on that fact. Also, the author really did his homework when it comes to the women that John, Paul, George, Pete and Ringo dated in their pre-fame days, mentioning so many of them by name and even providing details and quotes from them. Yet, Cynthia Powell seems to not be as prominent even though by the end of the book she’s 4 months pregnant and living with John’s aunt Mimi. I’m not sure if Lewisohn is just downplaying her part in John’s life (since it is a book about The Beatles and not John), or maybe so much has already been written about her, or maybe no one close to Cynthia (including Cynthia) would talk to Lewisohn during his research. It’s a question I’d love to ask him.

Still, I can’t blame Mark for the faults in this book when I obviously took the easy way out and read the shorter version. Maybe all of my questions would be answered in the unedited edition. Maybe someday I’ll read it! LOL More likely, I’ll buy the audio version (if it’s ever made available). Never the less, this book is the bible for all Beatles fans and leaves me with one final question…why would anyone need to read another book about the Beatles after reading this one? And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: “Klaus Voormann – It Started in Hamburg” by Klaus Voormann

I took several hours away from reading a 900+ page book about the Beatles to read something new that showed up in my mailbox. Klaus Voormann It Started in HamburgIn April (in conjunction with Klaus Voormann’s 80th birthday), a pre-order for the Exclusive Signed Edition of Klaus Voormann – It Started in Hamburg became available, so I placed my order. Over this past weekend, it finally arrived! This book is only available through Klaus’ website. It’s listed for €39 ($45.19 or £34.49) + shipping. There’s also the Limited Deluxe Edition with a special contribution by Ringo but it’ll cost you €480,00, and well, most of us can’t afford one of the just 80 copies, so we’ll move on. This book was released on June 11, 2018.

It Started in Hamburg is what is commonly referred to as a ‘turnaround book’. One cover is in English and continues on in English as you turn the pages, but if you flip the book over, the cover is in German and you can read the same book in German. The book is a softcover that is a little over 8″ x 10″ and 224 pages long (only 113 pages for either German or English side). Also, being the Beatles freaks that I am, I’m going to save the packaging the book came in because it’s obvious from the signature on the declaration form, that Klaus himself mailed it.

This book is filled with over 200+ images of Klaus’ artwork. And though I would have preferred to have read about his life’s work in chronological order (he presents it in categories), the story is none the less very impressive. He’s done so much more than I ever imagined, including the producing of the song “DaDaDa” by Trio.

As I said earlier, this book is a turnaround book, but what makes it even more interesting is that after your done reading it in your preferred language is that when you turn the book over, even though the text is the same (but in a different language), the pictures are all different from the flip side. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: “Rock & Roll’s Most Wanted” by Stuart Shea

Rock and Roll's Most Wanted Stuart SheaRock & Roll’s Most Wanted: The Top 10 Book of Lame Lyrics, Egregious Egos, and Other Oddities by Stuart Shea is another book I picked up for free at The Book Thing in Baltimore this past March. Released in August 2006, this 304 page book is an amusing collection of rock n roll Top 10 lists.

There isn’t really much more to say about this book than what’s already in the title. If you’re wondering if they Beatles get mention, the answer is “yes…often!” There is even one Top Ten list of who’s been called or deemed worthy of the title of The Fifth Beatle. I admit that some of the author’s choices in the category are a little shaky in my opinion, but you’ll have to get the book and decide for yourself if you agree or disagree.

I found this book not only entertaining, but also enlightening and educational when it comes to learning about some of my favorite rock stars. At times, though, it does show it’s age when it talks of personalities that are no longer with us on this earth. But, if you can find this book in your local library or cheap used copy online, pick it up for some easy reading and enjoyment. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: “A Dose of Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Nancy Lee Andrews

A Dose of Rock n Roll Nancy Lee AndrewsFor Christmas last year, my daughter gave me a gift certificate for The Fest for Beatles Fans. My intent was to use the certificate to actually go to the fest, but sometimes life has other plans for us, so instead, I headed over to the fest online store and bought myself a copy of a book I’ve been wanting for a long time…A Dose of Rock ‘n’ Roll by former model and photographer Nancy Lee Andrews that was published in 2008 and is 292 pages.

My copy isn’t just any copy…it’s the deluxe signed and number edition and it’s absolutely gorgeous! A hardcover book complete with dust jacket and a hardcover sleeve to keep it safe. A Dose of Rock n Roll Deluxe Edition Nancy Lee Andrews

I picked this up the other day to finally glance through it for review and an hour later I found myself over one third of the way through it. Definitely way more interesting than I had originally thought it would be. Ms. Andrews starts each chapter telling us about her photographic subjects/friends, how she met each one and their history together. And while not all the photos are her photos, but most of them were taken while she was in attendance at an event or party.

A Dose of Rock n Roll Deluxe Edition Nancy Lee Andrews

For those of you ‘not in the know’, Nancy is the former fiancè of Ringo Starr, having spent 5 years with the former Beatle in the late seventies. And even though Nancy already ran with the hip and trendy folks of the seventies because of her career as a Ford model, Ringo opened up a lot of doors that allowed her to photograph Sir Richard Starkey in many a situation and so many other stars in and out of the studio. This collection is awe inspiring and the picture of Ringo and his children and precious.

Now here’s the clincher about why there’s not excuse for every Beatles fan and book collector not to have this book – the original cover price on this deluxe edition is $69.00, but…the Fest for Beatles Fans’ online store is currently selling it for just $29 + S&H. And before you ask, no, I have no affiliation with the fest and I’m not receiving any kickbacks or bonuses for telling you to buy a copy at their site. Hell…I don’t even know if Nancy is still getting paid for the copies the fest owns. But I did email them to make sure they had plenty of copies (which they do) for when I post this blog. And for all the reasons above…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: “Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine” by Joe Hagan

Sticky Fingers Jann Wenner Joe HaganFinally! A book that could hold my attention for entire week. Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine by Joe Hagan was published on October 24, 2017 and is 511 pages strong.

As the story goes (and was told to me by the guy who recommended it to me), Jann Wenner asked writer Joe Hagan to write his biography. Wenner opened up to Hagan with over 100 hours of interview time and allowed him access to all his personal archives, diaries and scrapbooks. But after Joe finished writing this very detailed tome, Jann refused to authorize it because Hagan had dug so deep (he interviewed hundreds of friends, family and colleagues about Wenner), the story was a little too intimate for Wenner’s liking.

This isn’t just the story of Jann Wenner, the narcossistic, egomaniac who drank, smoked, snorted and slept his way through the last 3 decades of 20th century. It’s also the story of his wife Jane, photographer Annie Leobovitz, writer Hunter Thompson and so many more people that were vital in the success and creation of Rolling Stone magazine. This book tells of the Wenner’s hidden homosexuality, his wife’s affairs with both men and women and all the casualties of their sometimes reckless lifestyle.

Hagan interviewed the likes of Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Keith Richards, Pete Townshend, Yoko Ono, Billy Joel, and many more who survived a love/hate relationship with Jann Wenner, but knew the importance and success that came with not only getting interviewed for Rolling Stone, but gracing it’s cover. If you want to know why it took for more years for Paul McCartney to get into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame after he gave the speech at John Lennon’s induction, and why Stella wore a t-shirt that said, “About Fucking Time!” to the ceremony, you’ll find out the story in this book.

This is a book that true rock n’ roll fans are not going to want to miss reading. Not only does it verify all the stories of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll of the ’70’s, it tells of the glamour, glitz and excess of the ’80’s, and the inside and personal story of Jann Wenner’s relationship with John Lennon and Yoko Ono from not only Wenner’s perspective, but that of Yoko Ono’s too (May Pang gets only a few mentions). And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: “The Beatles: All Our Yesterdays” by Jason Quinn and Lalit Kumar Sharma

Beatles All Our Yesterdays Jason Quinn Lalit Kumar SharmaAfter reading the graphic novel – The Beatles Story a couple weeks ago, I decided to search on Amazon to see if there were any other graphic novels about the Beatles. I’d love to find one that really WOW’d me and that I think would really impress other Beatles fans and collectors.

The Beatles: All Our Yesterdays, written by Jason Quinn and illustrated by Lalit Kumar Sharma is one of two graphic novels I purchased. This book, published in 2016 by Campfire Books (a division of Kalyani Navyug Media in India), is 149 pages and is in full color. The publishers were even kind enough to include an adorable guitar shaped book mark in the back of the book which I chose to leave intact.

Unfortunately, the good impression stops there. Despites it’s beauty, vibrant colors and bonus bookmark, this book is filled with falsehoods and just sloppy storytelling.  The author starts his story at the very beginning with the birth of each of the Beatles and ends with the release of their first single. I was impressed to see it even mentioned temporary fill-in bass player Chaz Newby! There is also a short epilogue to bring the reader up to date. The typos are non-existent and the text itself is beautifully written (meaning it’s easy to read), but so much of the Beatles history is just blatantly wrong.

I guess my search will continue for the ultimate Beatles graphic novel. I have another one on standby that I will review next week.

I rate this book, 1 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

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