Review Smokin’ & Cryin’ here.
I literally couldn’t put it down during the final third of the book. To put it simply, it’s amazing. Definitely worth the read.
This novel made me cry on public transportation twice and miss my bus stop once–it was that absorbing and heart-rending.
Ombry’s ability to draw from her vast knowledge of 1970s American rock music to create colorful yet realistic characters makes it incredibly entertaining.
Her storytelling makes me crave the moment I get to pick up my book again. She kept me hooked from start to finish with her details and wit. I cannot wait for her to finish another novel!
This is a brilliantly crafted book set in the early ’70s about a band and its 16-year-old front-man, Robin Chelsea, and (not a spoiler) his disappearance right before the release of their third album. The story unfolds with detail that is wonderfully imagined (such that I often forgot it is totally fiction) but never bogging down the pace.
The combination of tragedy and love is something I could really feel through the characters and the storytelling.
If you have ever loved a band, been an outsider, or struggled to forgive yourself, you will recognize these characters. These anti-heroes will have you rooting for them.
There’s something a bit familiar about The Odette Brothers. I had fun recognizing some of the real-life elements she modified and incorporated into this novel. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did!
Grace has a knack for portraying the music genre and the 70s in a truly engaging manner. I loved everything about this book. She makes the music come alive through the characters and the story. The music is almost another character in the story, and it shines. The characters and their conflicts and quirks make… Read more “Truly Engaging”
This book is about Robin Chelsea, a fairly normal teenager who ends up becoming the lead singer of American rock band Smoky Topaz in the 1970s. The language and writing style are also very simple and smooth, which make this book feel young, laidback and fresh.
Ombry conjures (and occasionally skewers) characters with stunning efficiency. Better than just about any writer I’ve read, she knows how to shine a light on most important truth about them, how to bring whole, complex humans to life using short strings of words. She also writes young children better than anyone I’ve ever read. The relationship between the young rock god and his baby half-sister makes me tear up again just thinking about it.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel! The last 100 pages I had a difficult time putting it down! The author effortlessly transports you back to the 1970s to the rising of the rock band Smoky Topaz.
Grace took on the difficult subjects of love, relationships, abortion, family, and children in this story and wove it together into a compelling tale which left me wanting more and shedding tears.
From the brilliant storyline told through the perspective of each character, the imagery was on point with the nostalgia the author creates from this era.
It’s funny, relatable and refreshingly unpredictable. The characters are fully formed; they endure drama and trauma, but remain buoyant – often hilariously so.
Ms. Ombry does a terrific job of developing the characters and unfolding the twists and turns of their funny/tragic lives. I found the book intriguing and hard to put down! Probably because at its heart the book is about resilience, love, and our common humanity more than rock music.
Grace takes sensitive and painful topics and intertwines them with humor. She skillfully develops her characters, and the reader comes to accept (and maybe even like) all of them (even the ones that have terrible flaws.)
I’m not a big fiction fan, but I am a big Pearl Jam fan and I absolutely loved this book. It’s a great read, real people, real characters and a book I would certainly recommend to anyone.
If you are looking for a great story get this book. Grace is gifted with the ability to bring the characters to life.
Her writing and in-depth storytelling had me asking myself if I’d missed it and they were a real band (confession: I actually googled it to make sure). I highly recommend!
On Facebook, Ms. Ombry revealed she had gotten her first bad review & she shared it. It was sooooo bad, I wanted to understand why. OMG what a gift for Ms. Ombry! She is an amazing author! I was hooked from page one. Obviously the last laugh is with this very talented author!
A State Love and Trust is a captivating read that you don’t want to put down but eventually have to because it’s 2 am and you have to get up in the morning to go to work. It’s that kind of book.
This book was so horribly written, I had to stop after the first 20 pages. She may think she’s Vonnegut, but a child could write better than her. It’s unfortunate that any publishing company would take her seriously and waste our time.
Smokin’ and Cryin’ kept me on my toes like a 70s rock band. Every memory, news article, album review and snippet had me wondering what was next. I devoured this novel almost immediately upon opening it up. The twists and turns in this were excellent, and I found myself desperately missing an era I hadn’t even been a part of.
As a fellow Pearl Jam fan—the author clearly is—I enjoyed appreciating the backstory on a fellow fan.
Grace Ombry has created memorable characters that in equal parts I loved and related to, but also sometimes wanted to punch in the face. 🙂