Archive | Book Reviews RSS feed for this section

The Camino Club – Kevin Craig

6 Oct

I reviewed one of Kevin’s first books, Boy on Fire, ages ago and I absolutely loved it. We became Twitter friends and he’s one of a handful of peeps I love talking to on a regular basis. He’s so sweet.

Anyhoo, when I saw he had a new book coming out, I knew I had to read it. I was hearing great things about it too. So I requested a review copy from Netgalley (thanks y’all!) and dug in.

Aw, this book! It was everything I needed to read and if you are looking for a genuinely great and happy book that will just raise your spirits and hug your heart, The Camino Club is that book.

I’ve heard it compared to The Breakfast Club, and yups, that’s a good comparison. Watching the teens grow into themselves and form relationships while doing the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage had all those John Hughes vibes.

The landscape itself was one of the best characters and really help bring the story to life.

The writing was wonderful and the plot and characters were complex and well developed and now I want the stupid pandemic to be over so I can do the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage.

Read this book,k? I loved it so much I ordered my own copy.



Reader’s Block

1 Oct

Ugh, y’all I have READER’S BLOCK. I have so many amazing books and I can’t find anything to hold my interest. I’ve tried all my fave genres, and it’s a no-go.

I get like this every once in a while and it sucks so so bad. I know most of the books I have are brilliant, but I just can’t get into them. And I’m not forcing myself. I’ll find the right book and get my readin mojo back at the right time. But it’s frustrating. I WANT TO READ. Honestly, I do.

I just can’t. Not right now.

So what am I doing? Colouring and art. Watching TV. Chatting on line. A bit of writing.

The silver lining is it gives me a change to get somewhat caught up on my reviews.

Do you ever get reader’s block? How do you deal with it?


September Book-a-palooza

24 Sep

Y’all, the books out this month were INSANE. So many good books all competing for a bit of that reading pie. I wanted to share with you two cool books that are out this month. A lot of the books I read that I loved are getting oodles of attention, so I’ll be staying away from those. This is all about the books out this month from small presses or indie authors that I’m super excited to dive into.

Okay, here we go!!

Tamora Carter: Goblin Queen Paperback by Jim C. Hines I ordered this book last week and I CANNOT WAIT to get my grubbies on it! The thing that instantly drew me to it was the title. I am a sucker for a title with a colon in it. I also like longer titles. Then when I checked out the cover I thought, Yup, this is def for me! And then I read the opening phrase: One night after roller derby practice… and I couldn’t press that order button soon enough.

Night Shine by Tessa Gratton There are certain people who will say, “You NEED to read this book” and I’m all like, “HELL YEAH I DO!!!!” For me, one of those people is the lovely Rogier aka @rocapri. We just have the same book jam and read a lot of the same things. I trust his opinion so much that I ordered the book without even reading the synopsis. But it looks like a lush, gorgeous, romantic fantasy and gods know I could use something like that in my literary life. Oh and it’s apparently gay as fuck, so BONUS.

What September books did you love/are you looking forward to reading? Which ones do I need to check out?


Well Played – Jen DeLuca

23 Sep

A romcom set at a Ren Faire? OMG yes, please!

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the review copy*

I loved Well Played so so much. It was such fun and had some of my fave romance tropes (confused identities, sexy hookups that were a bad idea, misunderstandings at key moments…). I didn’t read the first in the series but I’m definitely going to. I need all the laugh out loud romance I can get. (And don’t we all?)

The setting was super fun and the characters were great. And the swoon-worthy moments were, well, swoon-worthy. The twists in the story took me by surprise. At first I thought they were kind of predictable, but then I was like “Whoa, did not see THAT coming” which is always a treat.

I love my romcoms awkward and funny with just enough sadness to make it feel real and that is exactly what I got with this book.

Way too long

21 Sep

It’s been way too long since I’ve blogged. Almost a year. See, I had a breakdown last September after a year where I completely lost sight of who I was and what was at the core of my moral center. And then, just as I was beginning to feel better, well, Covid. So I took another nose-dive. I’m finally on the right meds (fingers crossed) and am feeling strong and safe enough to deal with what happened and what lead to the breakdown.

I want to get back to blogging and reviewing. I went on a serious reading binge the first few months of the pandemic but didn’t feel like blogging about them, which is AWFUL since most were eARCs. So I’m going to make an effort to get caught up with some mini-reviews. Because I’ve read some AHMAZING books, y’all.

I’m also going to blog about other things such as my addiction to allstationary supplies, my mental health journey, and my insane animals. I’ll also be blogging about my business, Savvy Fox Author Services, since I want to get back at that too but don’t have the energy to do a separate blog. Starting off it’ll just be easier to blog about everything in one spot.

So I’d love to have you along on this new blogging journey of mine. I give out virtual cupcakes every Monday morning.

Colleen aka Lavender Lines

Read-a-thon – Three o’clock pm

26 Oct

Yeah, guess I shouldn’t have bragged about not napping, because, well, I just woke up from a nap. Like I said, my current bout of depression and change in my meds means I sleep a lot. But I’m kind of proud I only slept for an hour. 🙂 And I listened to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban while I slept, so that counts, right? I woke up, had some mint Oreos and dug back into The Night Country, which is lovely and the language is so rich, it hurts a little, you know? The writing and story are just delicious.

Read-a-thon – Noon

26 Oct

And I made it to noon! Yes, that’s only three hours, but my current depression and change in my meds has me sleeping all the time, so the fact that I’ve been up since 7:30 is a huge win for me.

So I finished Chosen by Kiersten White and ZOMG I loved it even more than the first book in the series. If you’re a Buffy fan, or a fan of fun, snarky YA, you need to read this series.

I’m a huge Buffy fan, so there were moments where I was yelling across the room to the hubs when familiar faces appeared. And I loved that White nailed the voice of these old friends and the overall tone of the Buffy-verse.

Pretty light on the snacks so far: I ate a muffin and a couple of croissants. I also bought veggie tray, fruit tray, spinach dip and bread, Skittles, and mint Oreos. AND cranberry ginger ale (YUM!). The hubs is on fetch me food duty so I don’t have to. Such love.

Now I’m about to start The Night Country by Melissa Gilbert, the sequel to The Hazel Wood, which I LOVED. Super excited about this!

Pop over to Twitter and check out Rachel Noel’s account to see what she’s reading.


Here we go!

26 Oct

Anddddddddd it’s read-a-thon time! Just back from getting nommies (a nice mix of healthy and not so healthy) and I’m settling in with my first book, Chosen by Kiersten White, which is book 2 in her Slayer series. I started this a couple of days ago, so I’ll be finishing it this am.

My stack of books to choose from is kind of ridiculous, but I wanted to make sure I had lots to choose from. I have a nice mix of physical and ebooks and genres to keep me going.

I’ll post a picture later, as soon as I figure out how. LOL

Okay, I’m off to read!


Why, hello again!

25 Oct

Holy crappola! I know, I know. It’s been EONS since I’ve posted. Kinda fell off the book blogging earth, eh? Well, I’m back.

I’ve still been reading my ass off, but with work, my editing business, and, ya know, LIFE, I got kinda burnt out. But I’ve been thinking about getting back into book blogging for a few months now. And what better time than the night before Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-thon??

Truth be told, I forgot this was taking place. I’ve been having a rough time with my mental health the last month and adjusting to the increase in my meds has been hell. But then I saw a post about it on FB and was like “Dang! I forgot!” Of course I was bummed because I wasn’t ready at all. You know, I didn’t have the most important think for a read-a-thon: the snacks. But my super supportive hubby was just so thrilled to see me interested in something again that he told me “the gas station down the road has goodies”. God, love him. But the read-a-thon doesn’t start here until 9 am, so I have time to slip in and grab some nommies.

Tomorrow morning I’ll post my nommies and my reading list and then little updates as the day goes on. I’ll also be posting about some of my fave book bloggers. But right now I have to go get some sleep.

Looks like I have a big day ahead tomorrow.


Confessions of a Teenage Leper — Blog Tour

17 Sep


Publisher: Penguin Teen Canada
Released: Sept 25th,  2018
Genre: YA contemp
Source: ARC from publisher


Abby Furlowe has plans. Big plans. She’s hot, she’s popular, she’s a cheerleader and she’s going to break out of her small Texas town and make it big. Fame and fortune, adoration and accolades. It’ll all be hers. 

But then she notices some spots on her skin. She writes them off as a rash, but things only get worse. She’s tired all the time, her hands and feet are numb and her face starts to look like day-old pizza. By the time her seventeenth birthday rolls around, she’s tried every cream and medication the doctors have thrown at her, but nothing works. When she falls doing a routine cheerleading stunt and slips into a coma, her mystery illness goes into overdrive and finally gets diagnosed: Hansen’s Disease, aka leprosy. 

Abby is sent to a facility to recover and deal with this new reality. Her many misdiagnoses mean that some permanent damage has been done, and all of her plans suddenly come tumbling down. If she can’t even wear high heels anymore, what is the point of living? Cheerleading is out the window, and she might not even make it to prom. PROM!

But it’s during this recovery that Abby has to learn to live with something even more difficult than Hansen’s Disease. She’s becoming aware of who she really was before and what her behavior was doing to others; now she’s on the other side of the fence looking in, and she doesn’t like what she sees. . .

From Goodreads


I love when books take cliches and topes and approach them in a completely new way, making them something original again. “Mean girl has something happen that takes her down a notch and she redeems herself” has been done quite a lot in YA, but man, Confessions of a Teenage Leper, adds such a unique twist on it.

I had a feeling this was going to be a very different book, and it was. I loved finding out more about Hansen’s Disease and its history and I loved the coming of age aspect to the story, but what I absolutely adored was watching Abby’s relationships develop and deepen, especially the one she had with her brother.

This was a very addictive read and once I got into it, it was nearly impossible to put down.

I had a chance to ask Ashely a couple of questions and I am so glad that I did!

What made you decide to write about Hansen’s disease?

Kind of a long story, but while I was doing my undergraduate degree in creative writing, a prof assigned our class a historical fiction piece. So we had to find something in British Columbia’s history that interested us and then research it using three different sources (microfiche, interviews, encyclopedias, maps, etc. i.e. not the Internet) and then write a short story about it. I found out about a place called D’Arcy Island; a leper colony on a tiny island off the southern tip of Vancouver Island, not far from where I was going to university, in Victoria; it ran from 1891-1924. I did my research and wrote a short story from the perspectives of four men and one woman that had lived there. The idea had always stayed with me because it was so haunting, and the people sent there lived in really poor conditions and were basically sent there to die, not get better. So, about ten years later, I decided it was time to write a novel about D’Arcy Island; I went to the island and stayed three nights and visited the orchard they had kept and saw the foundations of the buildings that had housed them. I did about six months of research towards a historical fiction novel and sometime in the spring of 2015, June, I think, my friend sent me this article because he knew I was researching leprosy/HD, and it basically said that leprosy/HD is alive and well in the United States today in states like Texas, Florida, and Louisiana, because these states have high populations of armadillos and armadillos can transmit leprosy/Hansen’s Disease to humans and vice versa.

And that, just that one line about it still being a disease in these modern times — gave me the idea to do a young adult novel set in present day about a character who is very concerned with appearances and ends up contracting Hansen’s Disease. The whole novel shot into my mind like a single, focused, beam of light after reading that short article. And the next day, or maybe a few days later, Abby started talking to me and after that, there was no shutting her up.

What kind of research did you do for the novel?

Well, I mentioned that I stayed on D’Arcy Island; a former lazaretto. I went to the BC Archives and saw photos of the people who had lived on D’Arcy Island as well as some old newspaper articles about it and –fascinatingly– a letter from a concerned citizen to a doctor, pleading with the doctor to let a woman friend of his go to D’Arcy Island to care for these people (they had no nurses or medical care).

I also did a lot of secondary research through books and film. I read quite a few memoirs from people who had lived at Carville (the centre in Louisiana where Abby goes for treatment in the novel) and an excellent ethnography of Carville as well, which helped me get a lot of the small details right; the fact that Carville does their own Mardi Gras parade for example, and has special gold doubloons pressed for the occasion, featuring an armadillo on both sides. I liked that so I used it in the novel. I read a non-fiction book by a doctor who had worked with Hansen’s Disease sufferers in India for forty years. I read a great novel called Molokai about a young woman with Hansen’s Disease who is banished to Hawaii’s island of lepers, and the films, Molokai: The Story of Father Damien, The Motorcycle Diaries, and a handful of documentaries. I called the Hansen’s Disease Treatment Center in Baton Rouge, the same one Abby goes to, and I told them I was writing a novel about this young woman who contracts HD, etc. and was it okay if I asked a few questions. They said sure and were glad to help me. So that’s how I confirmed a few final details that I needed to know for the novel.