Category Archives: Fan Fiction

Book review: “Get Back: Imagine…saving John Lennon” by Donovan Day

Guest reviewer David Thomas takes on the new novel Get Back: Imagine…Saving John Lennon by Donovan Day.

This is the author’s first novel, and it shows in many ways. For starters, consider the title. This is a time-travel fantasy about the possibility of “saving John Lennon”, so the 2nd half of the title is clear and purposeful. I could understand “Get Back: Saving John Lennon” or “Imagine: Saving John Lennon”. Juxtaposing 2 song titles as an opening seems like he’s trying too hard or just couldn’t make up his mind. Not an auspicious start.

The author also says that he “wrote it for young adults”, but thinks “everyone — baby boomers, their kids and grandkids — will enjoy this trip back in time.” That’s true to a point.

It is certainly written on a level for young adults, but playing fast and loose with facts does not make for a good introduction to history. One of the main characters is a girl named Yoko (no, not that one) who is the granddaughter of someone named Lily Chang who supposedly was a close friend of The Beatles and even sang back-up on some of their records. The problem is, Lily Chang never existed, nor was she apparently modeled after any actual historical person. Furthermore, the main character time travels several times over the course of the story, with no more than a passing nod toward the consequences that his trips have on other events. It would not give too much away to tell you that for instance, Jim Morrison (The Doors) is now still alive and is living as a Shaman in the desert of Arizona.

The actual portion of the book that deals with what happens if John had lived, (which, given the title, one would think is the focus of the book) is not only quite short, but quite ludicrous. That was a major disappointment. The rest of the story was mainly about the main character, Lenny Funk, and his relationship with the aforementioned Yoko. All of that is pleasant enough, and somewhat entertaining, even for the adult reader.

My main problem with the book is this: If you’re going to write a time-travel fantasy about John Lennon, and would like to speculate on what happens to him beyond December 8, 1980, let your imagination run wild; this author failed pretty miserably at that, in my opinion. However, if you are trying to write a book as an introduction to The Beatles for a new generation, or to educate younger Beatles fans, I think it’s important to stick to the facts regarding events prior to that date, unless you explain (via time travel interference) how they were changed.

I rate it 2 out of 4 Beetles.

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Book Review: “The Quirky Quiz Show Caper: A Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol Mystery” by Sally Carpenter

QQSCFour and a half years ago, I reviewed Sally Carpenter‘s first book in her Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol Mystery series.  The book was called, The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper and you can read my review of it here.  A couple weeks ago, Sally announced that her fourth book in the series,  The Quirky Quiz Show Caper, had been released and she told me that there were a couple Beatles references in it!  Yay!

This book is another brilliant mystery written by Sally Carpenter.  I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I haven’t been able to figure out who the culprit is in her stories until her hero, former child star and teen idol Sandy Fairfax, solves the mystery and announces the bad guy!  And though this is the fourth book in the series, Sally does a great job of making sure that she reintroduces her returning characters from the previous stories so the reader doesn’t feel lost or left out.

These books are a nice easy, quick (under 250 pages), adult read or they would be great for older kids or young adults.  Much like a modern day Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys mysteries, these books could easily become a hit among the younger sect…and still in style for we Beatles fans!  And for that reason…

 

I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!

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For more information about the books or author, go to the Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol Fan Page.

This book is also available on Kindle  for just $2.99.  Or, you can buy the entire series in paperback here.

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Book Review: “The One After 909: A Mystery with a Backbeat” by Tony Broadbent

I’d like to thank author Tony Broadbent for sending me a copy of his latest book, The One After 9:09: A Mystery With A Backbeat.  Tony is a Brit, born and raised, who now lives in North Carolina, USA.

This book is incredibly well written.  Even with over 400 pages, a reader can easily read through it without feeling like it’s never going to end.  The book contains, what I believe, to be three stories revolving around the early days of the Beatles career in the Liverpool and Hamburg days.

The first story is that of Raymond “Spike” Jones, the young man who apparently was the first Beatles fan to walk into NEMS record store and request a copy of “My Bonnie” with the Beatles singing back-up.  This particular storyline is fictitious, even though Raymond is said to have been a real person.  The second story is that of the mysterious private life of Brian Epstein and his (illegal) gay lifestyle.  The third story is that of the Beatles in their early days of getting to the toppermost of the poppermost.  Included in the all of the stories are Sam Leach, Mal Evans, Bob Wooler and many other well known Liverpool personalities.

All these tales and characters’ lives intertwine and overlap throughout the book, but at the same time, each holds it own.  The problem comes, though, when the reader isn’t sure which story is the main focus of the book.  And in the end, the storyline I had thought would figure prominently and close out the book wasn’t the one.  It was as if there was one train of thought that never came to the dramatic conclusion that I was looking for in the end.

Still, this book was a nice light read and the author says that except for the Raymond Jones story, the book is factual and he even provides sources at the end.  And for that reason…

I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!

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Book Review: “From Me to You” by Kelly Marie Thompson and Garry Berman

The book that I had originally planned to review this week was late showing up in my mail.  In the meantime, I had finished reading a book that a friend of mine wrote.  I make it a point not to review friend’s works because it’s not fair to them or to my readers if I feel I can’t be honest.  So, in this case, I’m going to tell you about the story behind this book and a quick synopsis, but I’m not going to rate it.

From Me To You by Garry Berman and Kelly Marie Thompson is the second published work by these writers.  This book is listed as a coming-of-age story, but I believe it would be of more interest to the Young Adult sector.

The story is about two penpals, one in New Jersey and one in Liverpool, UK, who begin writing to each other as part of a high school project.   Maggie, living in Liverpool, introduces Ricky, in New Jersey, to the music of the Beatles by sending him 45 rpms before anyone in the U.S. has even heard of the band.  As Beatlemania grows, so does their friendship.   The book takes you through their ever growing friendship up until the day it’s announced that the Beatles are splitting up in 1970.  But will their friendship last?  That’s the big question!

What makes this story even more interesting is that the two authors, Garry Berman and Kelly Thompson, met on the internet in a writer’s group.  They both like each other’s style of writing so much that they soon started co-writing projects via email, including their original hilarious six episode sitcom Barkers Upon Tyne (currently available as an ebook).

As I said, I think this would be a great book for a young teen girl, but for adults I would recommend getting the $2.99 Kindle version.

 

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Book Review: “Beatlebone” by Kevin Barry


I started seeing mentions of Beatlebone by Kevin Barry on social media about 2 weeks ago. Couldn’t help but notice that major newspapers such at the New York Times were reviewing this book, so I decided to take a quick look see to find out what it was about. I don’t read other reviews of books before I review them…I don’t want to go into it tainted. But once I found out that it was a novel with John Lennon as it’s central character, I decided I needed to read it.

Within three days I was ranting to my husband about how wonderful this book is. The writing is in a style that I’ve never read before now. Conversations are without quotation marks, yet you feel as if you’re there with John and Cornelius as they try to get John to his island in Ireland. There’s darkness, then light. Darkness, then light.

Then…Part Six happens! What the f*ck, Kevin Barry and Doubleday?! Just when I was loving the story, Barry’s writing style, the cave, the hotel, the birds, the rabbits, the elf and the wolf…they dump Part Six in there. Seriously, folks? Why? I wanted so bad to give this book my best rating.

Go out and get this book, but when you get to Part Six, skip over it and then go back and read it at the end. Either that, or read it before you start the book. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!

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Just Published: ‘From Me To You’ – a novel set to the hysteria of Beatlemania! | PRLog

Just Published: ‘From Me To You’ – a novel set to the hysteria of Beatlemania!. Garry Berman and Kelly Marie Thompson are excited to announce the release of their first novel written via email about 1960’s pen pals during the British invasion. – PR12504099

Source: Just Published: ‘From Me To You’ – a novel set to the hysteria of Beatlemania! | PRLog

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Book Review: “Can’t Buy Me Love” by Dan McNeil

I discovered this book after the author Dan McNeil followed me on Twitter.  There is a picture of the book-cover in his Twitter banner.  After looking up the synopsis on Amazon, I thought it sounded interesting enough to download the eBook and give it a read.

This story is based in early 1964, just as the Beatles were about to invade America.  It follows the premise that there were no crimes committed in New York City the night the Beatles appeared for the first time on the Ed Sullivan show on February 7, 1964.

The main characters in this book are four adorable, lovable and awkward ex-bank robbers that will keep you entertained throughout this book.  McNeil takes you step by step through their plans to pull off one more bank robbery, while injecting humor, sex and touching moments into his story.  And though this is one more Fab Four fan fiction book, he stays pretty damn true to the story of John, Paul, George and Ringo’s appearance on the Ed Sullivan show while still mixing them into the antics.

You will laugh.  You will have a tears in your eyes.  You will enjoy this light read.

Available for $2.99 as an ebook at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

 

I rate this book: 3 out of 4 Beetles!

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