Official Review: The Craynes Greatest Hits by Gina Marie

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Official Review: The Craynes Greatest Hits by Gina Marie

Post by micoleon13 » 20 Aug 2017, 11:03

[Following is an official review of "The Craynes Greatest Hits" by Gina Marie.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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It’s the start of 1965, the era of free spirits, love and flower power. In Gina Marie’s novel, Good Vibrations (The Craynes Greatest Hits), four young men, strangers, individually embark on a personal journey across the United States which brings them together in one of the hubs of hippie life, Los Angeles, California.

Alex, Jamie, Sebastian, and Danny are very different people but they are brought together by fate and form the best sort of bond. One that’s built on instant connection, carefree living, mutual interests, genuine friendship and musical talent. Together the four form a band, The Craynes, and head into the rock scene of the sixties. Jump forward several years and the end of an era is looming. In helping Jamie pack his bags as he moves on to the next stage in his life, the friends find various mementos, bringing back events in their mutual history. The packing is put on hold as the group reminisce about their friendship together.

Written in third person, the story builds on the four characters, making them both three-dimensional and realistic. Jamie is like a big puppy, over excitable, energetic and good hearted, throwing himself into every new experience which comes his way. He has a sense of innocence about him that makes him both likeable and relatable. Alex, as the sensible one of the group, is all the more believable when he finally breaks down, either in anger or jealousy, as it shows that not everyone is perfect. Both Danny and Sebastian are easy go lucky characters from such different walks of life, that they themselves epitomise the very essence of the sixties, where people were easily accepted for who they were rather than who they’d been. A character in itself is the beach house where they all live in Miami. Vividly described, it has seen the joining of the friends, their ups and downs, as well as changed their lives for the better.

While not fast paced or action packed, the story flows well and is easy to read. It’s full of good natured humour as the characters tease each other, exactly how you would expect a group of young male friends to do. While there are also some serious issues brought up, such as bisexuality, homosexuality and overdose, it is done with such candor and ease that it never overwhelms the story.

There were unfortunately some editing errors which, while not affecting the flow of the story, did bring the overall quality of the novel down a little. It’s also important to note that there is a lot of drug use throughout the book in the form of smoking marijuana. While in keeping with the era of the story, there may be those readers who it would not appeal to.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It had a sense of warmhearted innocence and friendship about it, making me remember the sort of friends which I had in my twenties with fondness. The sort of friendships that are flexible and accepting and the notion of a spontaneous road trip across the country is met with immediate enthusiasm. If I could give half marks I would give 3 1/2 stars, but as I can't, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars due to the editorial errors. Classified as other fiction, this is a book for anyone who likes to relive the era of flower power, good music, friendship and freedom and who also enjoys a good simple romance.

The Craynes Greatest Hits
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Post by gali » 31 Dec 2017, 07:08

A book about the era of free spirits, love, and flower power should be enlightening. It is good that the insertion of serious issues into the tale is done without overwhelming the story, and that the characters are three-dimensional and realistic. Too bad about the editing issues, though. I don't think it is for me, but I am glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for the review!
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Post by jwalker73 » 31 Dec 2017, 07:15

I think I would enjoy reading about life in the 60's. It sounds like the characters have been well-developed and display their own individual personalities. I particularly liked how you described the beach house as being a character in itself also. Thanks for the review.

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Post by Chuks Daniel » 31 Dec 2017, 07:49

I like the way this review analyzed the characters of the four young friends. The novel highlights the facts that we need each other, no matter the character differences, to achieve good progress. I will enjoy the novel.
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Post by ReyvrexQuestor Reyes » 31 Dec 2017, 08:11

You hit it nicely with your review, good job. The sixties were the years of liberated spirits. There was no mention of the Beatles in the review, but I should expect it as they were part of the flower power scene. The flower people who were the proponents of free love, as well as the bands among them accounted for all the musicality in this era. Thanks for your review.
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Post by Damorela00 » 31 Dec 2017, 08:23

This free book is outstanding and a praesto. It's a plot from an interesting era about four young men & strangers who individually embarked on a personal journey across the United States which then brings them together in one of the hubs of hiippie life, Los Angeles, California.

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Post by Mwanaidi » 31 Dec 2017, 08:32

Definitely reading my free copy. Interesting, wonder how things were in that era, the challenges they overcame etc.
Loved your review
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Post by Sahani Nimandra » 31 Dec 2017, 08:42

Three dimensional sounds interesting, but I'm sorry the book sounds plain. The memoir sounds good, the remembering of past is like traveling back through time, specially remembering good memories. Thanks for the details in the review, but I will pass this it is not for me.
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Post by Katungu » 31 Dec 2017, 08:50

I love the idea of friendships that are accepting and free. Not having been there in the 60s, sounds like a good read. Nice review.

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Post by BoyLazy » 31 Dec 2017, 08:58

Long time that I've read a simple love story. Thanks for the review 😊
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Post by Ferdinand_otieno » 31 Dec 2017, 09:06

Interesting historical fiction story that plays a good role in educating drug abuse. The review of this book was well written but the book had a few spelling errors that interrupted disliked.

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Post by mindyg123 » 31 Dec 2017, 09:24

Reliving the era of flower power, free love, good music, friendships and the 60's can't wait to read it. Congrats on being BOTD
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Post by readywriter59 » 31 Dec 2017, 09:50

Ah, a time when music and love themes truly meant something more than getting rich!!! Looking forward to reading this book.

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Post by kandscreeley » 31 Dec 2017, 10:05

Reliving a great era sounds fun. I love that the characters are well done. The banter between them seems like fun. Thanks for the review.
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Post by Fatima70 » 31 Dec 2017, 10:39

Thanks for sharing an in-depth analysis of the storyline. One can conveniently gather, the joyousness in the ambience of the plot. Also admirable is making a past era vividly palpable to its readers. It also seems there is detail to the nature of each character thus making it a robust depiction.

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