#BookReview: Trejo by Danny Trejo

A Hell Of A Life. Danny Trejo didn’t start acting – professionally – until he was almost 40 years old. Mostly because a large part of the rest of that time, he was high and/ or in prison, including some of California’s most notorious. Today, Trejo is known as one of the more prolific and high profile actors out there, with over 400 acting credits to his name + his line of Trejo’s Tacos restaurants.

Here, we see at least pieces of pretty much all of his 70+ years, from his early childhood as the only male in a house full of women and girls to his first time using various substances to his first robbery and the time he was worried he was about to face capital charges after a prison riot. Much of the front half of the story in particular focuses on his times in and around prisons during the first 2-3 decades of his life, and we see how he gained his “tough guy” persona. He lived it. It was either be tough or be dead.

Which actually makes the discussions of his confrontations with none other than (then *recent*) Oscar nominee Edward James Olmos over the movie American Me even more epic.

And yes, the back quarter ish is primarily about Trejo’s life in Hollywood and how that impacted him and his family. It is here that we see some of the things that will cause many of us to go “I remember that movie!” and “Oh Trejo was [insert opinion here] in that one!”.

In between, we get to see what Trejo was doing in between – which aside from a lot of personal mistakes, was saving a lot of lives and helping a lot of people recover from drug addiction – a passion he pursues to this day.

Serious yet hilarious throughout, this book doesn’t pull any punches. Trejo, an ex-con, openly admits to many things in this book that many would probably try to hide, including things that weren’t known world wide before now (at least to casual observers). And yet we also get to see behind the scenes of just how much good Trejo has been able to accomplish throughout his life.

Truly a remarkable man, and a memoir well written and told. Very much recommended.

This review of Trejo by Danny Trejo was originally written on June 30, 2021.

PS: Special thank you to the publicist at Simon & Schuster – they know who they are – who sent me the *hardback* version of this book! First one of those I’ve read in at *least* 2-3 years!

#BookReview: The Secrets of Lost Stones by Melissa Payne

Loose Threads Come Together Quickly. And Explosively. The front half of this book is very much setup for the back half, but it is intriguing in a very mysterious way in its own right. But then at around the halfway point, Payne inserts a “Holy Hell!!!” moment that explosively changes everything and sets in motion the back half of the book – with some explosive revelations of its own, up to almost literally the last page of the tale. Truly excellent book, and I’ll very much be looking for future books from this new author. Very much recommended.

This review of The Secrets of Lost Stones by Melissa Payne was originally written on August 27, 2019.

Featured New Release of the Week: The Same Blood by M. Azmitia

This week we’re branching out further than I knew when I picked up this book from NetGalley due to its release date and the fact that it sounded interesting. Today, we look at The Same Blood by M. Azmitia, releasing on August 1, 2018.

I went into this book expecting a novel about a girl who is struggling with the death of her twin sister and subsequent revelations about herself. And I was highly surprised to find not a novel, but a long form narrative poem – a type of literature I hadn’t read since college, when I had to read Beowulf for a world lit class. In 2001.

Even with the unexpected writing device though, this book offers a strong tail of a young teen’s struggles – perhaps made more effective due to its writing and printing style, though I still believe that a stronger tale could have been told in a more traditional novel form. Overall, its examination of mental health, guilt, addiction, longing for home, and the struggles of Puerto Ricans generally and specifically after Hurricane Irma destroyed large swaths of the island last year are strong and worthy of considerable thought – which seems to be the overall goal of the author.

My only complaint this week is of a more technical issue – apparently the publisher only made a certain file type available via NetGalley, and that forced me to get creative to actually be able to read and review this book. Instead of reading it on my Kindle Oasis, as normal, I had to download the Overdrive app to my laptop and read this book on my dual monitor setup there. The book itself was perfectly fine for what it was, and a very recommended read – if for no other reason than a bit of diversity in story format.

And the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
Continue reading “Featured New Release of the Week: The Same Blood by M. Azmitia”