Archive | January, 2015

Stronger — Lani Woodland

23 Jan

stronger

 

Released: August 24th, 2014
Genre: Young adult, sci-fi
Source: Ebook from author for review

 

 

It’s been said, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. In the aftermath of an alien invasion, the old saying became literal.

When the aliens attacked Earth, their bombs changed our atmosphere. Through DNA manipulation, humanity survived, but exist now as two distinct classes of people: the Valudis who heal and gain strength from every hurt, and the weaker Debilii, for whom the slightest injury can be fatal. The Debilii are servants for the Valudis, who in turn act as warriors and protectors. And ruling over them all are the alien Orions who decided they liked Earth enough to stay.

Despite being born a Debilii, Lexie Hake bravely joined the resistance to free Earth from the Orions. When several run-ins with Bryant, a handsome Valudis, bring her secret activities to the aliens’ notice, the whole rebellion is put at risk. Lexie is forced to take a more active role in overthrowing the Orions. ‪She might be Earth’s last chance at freedom, and if she fails, the Orions’ ruthless reign may never end.

From Goodreads

Okay, this book has one of THE BEST opening lines I’ve ever read. I mean, it sucked me right in and made me go “WHAT?” right off the bat. The book started off with a bang and pretty much continued right through.

This was a fast read for me. I read about 75% of it in one sitting and often found that I had to do that thing where I force myself to SLOW DOWN AND READ ALL THE WORDS. This was an action-packed book, my friends. A lot of holy shit moments take place and it was a fun and plot-twisty kinda read.

The world-building was top-notch. I could picture each building and also each species. This is super important for me, since I am not a visual person. Usually I can’t visualize what’s being described to me. But Lani did such an amazing job describing everything that it felt like I was there.

Lexie was an awesome main character. Rather kick-ass. She has a lot thrown at her and I liked that while she did have moments of feeling sorry for herself, she never sunk into a damsel in distress. But she wasn’t obnoxious about her ability, either. She was unsure of herself at times, and this just added to the believability of the character.

I really enjoyed Stronger and was sad when the book ended. (Any chance of a sequel, Lani? :D)

The Art of Asking — Amanda Palmer

13 Jan

Art of askingPublisher: Grand Central Publishing
Released: November 11th, 2014
Genre:Non-fiction, self-help, memoir
Source: Audio book purchased

 

 

 

Rock star, crowdfunding pioneer, and TED speaker Amanda Palmer knows all about asking. Performing as a living statue in a wedding dress, she wordlessly asked thousands of passersby for their dollars. When she became a singer, songwriter, and musician, she was not afraid to ask her audience to support her as she surfed the crowd (and slept on their couches while touring). And when she left her record label to strike out on her own, she asked her fans to support her in making an album, leading to the world’s most successful music Kickstarter.

Even while Amanda is both celebrated and attacked for her fearlessness in asking for help, she finds that there are important things she cannot ask for-as a musician, as a friend, and as a wife. She learns that she isn’t alone in this, that so many people are afraid to ask for help, and it paralyzes their lives and relationships. In this groundbreaking book, she explores these barriers in her own life and in the lives of those around her, and discovers the emotional, philosophical, and practical aspects of THE ART OF ASKING.

Part manifesto, part revelation, this is the story of an artist struggling with the new rules of exchange in the twenty-first century, both on and off the Internet. THE ART OF ASKING will inspire readers to rethink their own ideas about asking, giving, art, and love.

From Goodreads

 

Gah, I’m not even sure how to review this book. My love for it, and for Amanda Palmer, is so strong and so big that it’s really super hard to put into words. I know this book and its message will stick with me through life and help guide me. Yes, it sounds a bit cheesy and over the top, but that’s how much The Art of Asking resonated with me. And for this point in my life it was the exact book I needed.

I listed this as self-help, memoir, but those categories don’t 100% fit the book. It was more like sitting in a pub with Amanda and just having a chat with her about everything: her life, life in general, art, crowdfunding, love. These are all things that she weaves into the general topic of being open and asking for help when you need it. And she talks about art, and how as artists, as creative people, we have to accept that what we do has value, something that I know a lot of creative people struggle with. That whole “How the hell can I ask for money for my picture/jewellery/book/play/song etc.?” thing.

The telling isn’t really linear. She bounces back and force to different points in her life. But instead of feeling disconnected and confusing it works and it was really easy to follow the different threads.

This book was beyond uplifting and enlightening for me. It really felt like being enveloped in a big hug and being told “It’s okay, you matter, your art and your work matter, your LIFE matters.” I had several moments where I was so overcome with emotion that I had to stop listening for a bit.

Since this is an audiobook I have to talk a bit about the narrator. Amanda narrates the book herself, which is PERFECT. Her voice is soothing and her narration really added to the feeling of intimacy. She also interspersed the book with various songs, most by her and The Dresden Dolls. I didn’t really know Amanda’s music that much but in the last few days I have been listening to pretty much nothing else.

I love that she included music in the audiobook, songs that fit in with what she was talking about. I was listening to it in my car when one of the songs came on. “In My Mind” felt like a hit to my core. I actually had to pull the car over once I realized I was crying my eyes out. I’m an emotional person anyway and feel strong connections to certain songs, but holy shit this one. It was like Amanda looked into my head and my heart and wrote the song that I needed to hear right now, at this moment in my life.

And that’s kind of what the whole book felt like. Like it was exactly what I needed right now. But I have a feeling that if I were to go back and listen to it again in a year, five years, ten years, I may get something different from it, but it will still be exactly what I need.

My husband also listened to and loved The Art of Asking. He’s started drawing again and we’re starting up a business to sell the amazing chainmaille jewellery that he makes. All because of Amanda and her words.

If I could buy every single creative person this book, I would.

 

Rework — Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

8 Jan

reworkPublisher: Crown Business
Released: March 9th, 2010
Genre:Non-fiction, self-help, business
Source: Purchased

 

 

 

Most business books give you the same old advice: Write a business plan, study the competition, seek investors, yadda yadda. If you’re looking for a book like that, put this one back on the shelf.

Rework shows you a better, faster, easier way to succeed in business. Read it and you’ll know why plans are actually harmful, why you don’t need outside investors, and why you’re better off ignoring the competition. The truth is, you need less than you think. You don’t need to be a workaholic. You don’t need to staff up. You don’t need to waste time on paperwork or meetings. You don’t even need an office. Those are all just excuses.

What you really need to do is stop talking and start working. This book shows you the way. You’ll learn how to be more productive, how to get exposure without breaking the bank, and tons more counterintuitive ideas that will inspire and provoke you.

With its straightforward language and easy-is-better approach, Rework is the perfect playbook for anyone who’s ever dreamed of doing it on their own. Hardcore entrepreneurs, small-business owners, people stuck in day jobs they hate, victims of “downsizing,” and artists who don’t want to starve anymore will all find valuable guidance in these pages.

From Goodreads

I liked this book. It was a quick read, which was neat because usually I slog through non-fiction. But I read this over the course of a couple of days during Christmas break.

If you’re looking for a straight forward, step by step how-to on changing your business ways, this isn’t the book for you. Move along. But if you’re looking for a book to get you thinking and excited about your current business or starting a new one, then this is definitely a read you’ll want to pick up.

The chapters are super short and focus on one thing that you can do/change to make your company grow and make your business successful.  It’s the short chapters that made this such a breezy read and made the pacing of the book quick. But I never felt like the authors were rushing through any of the topics.

I loved their enthusiasm for their business methods. It really got me excited and made me realize that some of my “weird” business ideas weren’t weird at all: they just weren’t traditional. Reading the book really helped me to see that I am on the right business track for who I am. Which is super exciting.

If you’re looking for inspiration and some cool counter-intuitive ideas about business, then I recommend this book 100%. However, if you’re looking for a how-to guide, you may want to skip this one.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

5 Jan

mondaywhatareyoureading

Oh yeah, baby! I LOVE this meme. It gives me a chance to let you guys know what I’m reading this week but also lets me check out what other bloggers are reading. 😀

I received my first review copies now that I’m back! The wonderful Lani Woodland sent me eCopies of two of her books Stronger and Pieces of Jade(with Melonie Piper).  I started Stronger yesterday and read about 70% of it. So I’ll be finishing that tonight. (I cannot wait! Loving this book.) I’m just easing back into my love of reading, so my reading list for this week is light. But here’s what I’m hoping to read:

Dreamland — Sarah Dessen (LOVE her books. I imagine this will be a quick read.)
Persuasion — Arlene Dickinson (The hubs bought this for me last year.)
Deadly Heat — Richard Castle (I am OBSESSED with this series.)

I’m BAAAAAAAACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1 Jan

So did you guys miss me? Cuz I sure as hell missed you! *gives hugs and high fives all around*

I am back to book blogging. Lots of changes over the past year and a bit, but I won’t bore you with the deets. The nitty gritty of it is that I have really, REALLY missed book blogging so I’m dusting off Lavender Lines.

For the most part I’ll be reviewing books from my personal stash, but I will be open to review copies from publishers and authors, including indie authors. (Check out my updated review policy page.)

I’ll have the odd non book review post also, about life, music or whatever the hell I feel like blabbing about.

Happy reading!

Colleen