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The Opposite of Everyone by Joshilyn Jackson ~ Book Review

Cover of The Opposite of Everyone

The Opposite of Everyone by Joshilyn Jackson

Published by: William Morrow

Published on: February 16, 2016

Page Count: 304 pages

Genre: Southern Fiction

My Reading Format: Advanced reader copy sent to me by the publisher as a prize for winning a contest

Available Formats: Hardcover, eBook, and Audiobook

Summary from the Publisher:

Born in Alabama, Paula Vauss spent the first decade of her life on the road with her free-spirited young mother, Kai, an itinerant storyteller who blended Hindu mythology with southern oral tradition to reinvent their history as they roved. But everything, including Paula’s birth name, Kali Jai, changed when she told a story of her own—one that landed Kai in prison and Paula in foster care. With the two of them separated, each holding her own secrets, the intense bond they once shared was fractured.

These days, Paula has reincarnated herself as a tough-as-nails divorce attorney with a successful practice in Atlanta. While she hasn’t seen Kai in fifteen years, she’s still making payments on that karmic debt—until the day her last check is returned in the mail, along with a mystifying note: “I am going on a journey, Kali. I am going back to my beginning; death is not the end. You will be the end. We will meet again, and there will be new stories. You know how Karma works.”

Then Kai’s most treasured secret literally lands on Paula’s doorstep, throwing her life into chaos and transforming her from only child to older sister. Desperate to find her mother before it’s too late, Paula sets off on a journey of discovery that will take her back to the past and into the deepest recesses of her heart. With the help of her ex-lover Birdwine, an intrepid and emotionally volatile private eye who still carries a torch for her, this brilliant woman, an expert at wrecking families, now has to figure out how to put one back together—her own.

The Opposite of Everyone is a story about story itself, how the tales we tell connect us, break us, and define us, and how the endings and beginnings we choose can destroy us . . . and make us whole. Laced with sharp humor and poignant insight, it is beloved New York Times bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson at her very best.

My Review

I love Joshilyn Jackson. Everything she’s written has charmed me. While I didn’t listen to The Opposite of Everyone, she is one of the few authors who narrate their books better than anyone else can. I was thrilled when I won an advance copy of this book at the beginning of the year. I was right to be thrilled. With the possible exception of Gods in Alabama (it’s been so long since I’ve read it, but it’s amazing in my memory), The Opposite of Everyone is Jackson’s best yet.

It isn’t very often that I laugh out loud while I’m reading. Jackson had me laughing within pages. I knew very quickly that this book was going to be my kind of ride. Paula is a broken, lovely, unique, and exasperating woman. As you learn more about her childhood, she could not be anyone but who she is. Jackson writes the best mother/daughter relationships out there and The Opposite of Everyone is no exception. Kai was very young when Paula was born and she grew up within Kai’s self-discovery and influenced the way that Paula views both life and relationships. While not raised in a stable environment, Paula has regrets of her own. Discovering how this all came together was both touching and pure fun.

I can sum up my feelings about The Opposite of Everyone in one word: Fanfreakingtastic! This book was just what I needed to read this winter. It was so good that it started my book funk. It was worth it. Reading one book like that a year is better than reading countless good books. I won a copy of this book through a contest sponsored by the publisher. For the most part, I’d stopped reading pitches or accepting review copies. Despite the long book funk that followed, I very much credit this book for my resurgence of late as a book blogger as well as a reader who has started to take chances with review copies. I’ve found my stride again. That may be too much credit for one book, but The Opposite of Everyone changed the tides for me and I am very thankful.

Bottom line: Joshilyn Jackson cannot be beat for quirky, heartfelt Southern fiction. You can count on her for a great read every time.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Week 7


In an attempt to get my book blogging life back up and running more regularly, I decided to add a weekly meme or two to my schedule. I like the idea of this meme because it focuses on what you’re reading and I can make that as quick as a bulleted list or embellish as much as time permits. Here’s a little more about It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? from the current proprietor, Book Date:

“It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date. And here we are!”

Last week was a much better week. Not only did I finish The Flight of Dreams (it made me cry at the end), I made significant progress on Belle Cora. This week the family will be gearing up for a holiday weekend visit from my sister, Meridith, and her family. It will be busy, but I’m hopeful that I’ll finish Belle Cora before they arrive. I’m really enjoying it.

The only thing new on my reading plate this week is:


I gave my mother this book for Mother’s Day and she loved it. I’m hoping that I will, too. Cassandra Campbell is always fantastic and the few short hours I have listened to this far have been quite pleasant. I’m looking forward to diving deeper into Patsy’s life.

I must make a confession. As a rule, early American historical fiction doesn’t do much for me. Leading up to the Civil War and after is just fine. Colonial days, not so much. I can’t think of any logical reason behind it. I guess it is just not my preferred place to visit in fiction. Are there any sub-categories to your favorite genres that don’t work as well for you? Do you find yourself trying to read that sub-category often to find the exception to the rule or hoping the switch will flip and you’ll love it, too? I’m hoping very much that America’s First Daughter will do just that?

The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff ~ Audiobook Review

Cover of The Witches

The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff Published by: Little, Brown and Company Published on: Page Count: 512 pages Genre: Non-Fiction My Reading Format: Audiobook review copy provided by the publishers for consideration. Audiobook Published by: Hachette Audio Narrator: Eliza Foss Audiobook Length: 18 hours 22 minutes Available Formats: Hardcover, eBook, and Audiobook Summary from […]

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The Taxidermist’s Daughter by Kate Mosse ~ Book Review

Cover of The Taxidermist's Daughter

The Taxidermist’s Daughter by Kate Mosse Published by: William Morrow Published on: March 29, 2016 Page Count: 432 pages Genre: Fiction My Reading Format: Advance Reader Copy provided to me by the publisher for consideration. Available Formats: Hardcover, eBook, and Audiobook Summary from the Publisher: A chilling and spooky Gothic historical thriller reminiscent of Rebecca […]

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The Crooked Heart of Mercy by Billie Livingston ~ Book Review

Cover of The Crooked Heart of Mercy

The Crooked Heart of Mercy by Billie Livingston Published by: William Morrow Published on: March 8, 2016 Page Count: 272 pages Genre: Fiction My Reading Format: Review copy sent to me by the publisher for consideration. Available Formats: Paperback, eBook, and Audiobook Summary from the Publisher: Ben wakes up in a hospital with a hole […]

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Week 6

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In an attempt to get my book blogging life back up and running more regularly, I decided to add a weekly meme or two to my schedule. I like the idea of this meme because it focuses on what you’re reading and I can make that as quick as a bulleted list or embellish as […]

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Armchair BEA ~ Day 3 ~ Beyond the Blog

It’s been a tumultuous week with my middle school aged daughters. I had every desire to knock Day 3 out of the park, but it’s 11pm and my laptop just died. I’m going to have to wing this from my iPad Mini. Here goes: Beyond the traditional form of the novel, what are your favorite […]

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Armchair BEA ~ Day Two ~ Book Aesthetics

BookCoverLove

Aesthetics: Judging a Book by its Cover Here is today’s topic from Armchair BEA: The Books: How often do you judge a book by its cover? How often are you surprised by what you find? Do you strategize and make sure every book in your series has the same cover design (as far as you […]

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My 2016 Armchair Audies Winners

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Tonight is the night. The 2016 Audie Awards start tonight at 7:30pm EST and I’m really looking forward to it this year. Team Armchair Audies worked hard and judged 14 of the 25 categories this year. While I was sad that there were some veterans who were unable to join us this year (I missed […]

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Armchair BEA ~ Day 1 ~ Introductions and Diversity

This year I am really excited to participate in Armchair BEA. I remember when this event first began and, while I’ve not been an active participant, I think this is an event that does so much to draw book bloggers together as a community. Let the Introductions begin! Group 1 Questions 1. What is the […]

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