Tag Archives: Book blog

Review: Fade by Lisa McMann

12 Apr

Simon Pulse, 2009


For Janie and Cabel, real life is getting tougher than the dreams. They’re just trying to carve out a little (secret) time together, but no such luck.

Disturbing things are happening at Fieldridge High, yet nobody’s talking.When Janie taps into a classmate’s violent nightmares, the case finally breaks open — but nothing goes as planned. Not even close. Janie’s in way over her head, and Cabe’s shocking behavior has grave consequences for them both.

Worse yet, Janie learns the truth about herself and her ability — and it’s bleak. Seriously, brutally bleak. Not only is her fate as a dream catcher sealed, but what’s to come is way darker than she’d feared….

From Goodreads

Sheesh, what can I say about Fade? The second book in McMann’s Dream Catcher trilogy,  Fade was just as amazing as the first book, Wake.

McMann continued doing what she did in Wake: using her writing style to influence the tone of the book.  Seriously, her writing does a terrific job once again of accentuating the plot and Janie’s life in general.

We also get to see some character growth in this book and Janie got a chance to further explore the extent of her gift and what it means for her, her future and Cabe.

Just to go back to the writing style for a moment. With the short sentences and sometimes one lined paragraphs, at times this book leaned more towards a poem-like structure than an actual novel.   McMann doesn’t waste words and you get the feeling that if something was included in Fade, it had a purpose.  The plot and writing were tight, producing an enjoyable story, despite some of the topics discussed.

Like Wake, Fade isn’t a light, fluffy read. What it is is an amazing book about courage, discovering who you are, who’ll you’ll become and dealing with it.

Browse inside Fade.


Review: The Vinyl Princess by Yvonne Prinz

22 Mar

HarperCollins Canada, 2009

Summer is here, and 16-year-old Allie, a self-professed music geek, is exactly where she wants to be: working full-time at Berkeley’s ultra-cool Bob and Bob Records. There, Allie can spend her days bantering with the streetpeople, talking the talk with the staff, shepherding the uncool bridge-and-tunnel shoppers, all the while blissfully surrounded by music, music, music. It’s the perfect setup for her to develop her secret identity as The Vinyl Princess, author of both a brand-new zine and blog. From the safety of her favourite place on earth, Allie is poised to have it all: love, music and blogging.

Her mother, though, is actually the one getting the dates, and business at Allie’s beloved record store is becoming dangerously slow—not to mention that there have been a string of robberies in the neighbourhood. At least her blog seems to be gaining interest, one vinyl junkie at a time….

From HarperCollins website

The Vinyl Princess is one of those books that I’m kind of meh about. There were aspects that I liked, but, man, there were some elements and characters that I think the book would have been much better without.

Unfortunately, I can’t say a whole lot more without giving away some of the plot, and I really don’t want to do that. What I can say is that I didn’t find the main character, Allie, all that likable. Actually I found her a bit pretentious. We’re supposed to believe she’s “uncool”, but she’s that uncool that is actually cooler than the cool kids, you know? She’s always eating ethnic foods at cute little restaurants and cafes, listens to vintage rock on vinyl and seem to have every rock T-shirt known to man.  And while I know the whole point of the book is that she’s the vinyl princess, I found the constant references to music a bit annoying. I don’t know, it’s kinda hard to explain. I just didn’t like her very much.

And at one point she has an important decision to make, and really, it’s a no-brainer, but because it involves a guy she’s into, she struggles with it. At this point in the book I was ready to scream at her and wanted to give her a good shake. I mean, he’s just a guy! (And no, the decision has nothing to do with sex.) There were a few times I wanted to jump into the book and throttle her.

What I did like was the author’s writing style and while I did find the music references a bit much, I sure can appreciate the author’s vast knowledge of music.

So, yeah, I wasn’t a huge fan of The Vinyl Princess. I’ve heard from lots of others who actually really enjoyed the book. But it certainly wasn’t my cup of tea.

Browse inside The Vinyl Princess.

Thanks to HarperCollins Canada for providing a review copy of The Vinyl Princess.

Review: After the Falls by Catherine Gildiner

8 Feb

Random House Canada, 2009

I’m not normally a fan of memoirs. Quite often I find then self indulgent and more than a little whiny. But when I had the chance to read Catherine Gildiner’s memoir After the Falls as part of an online book club started by Marci at Serendipitous Readings, I thought, What the heck? I’ll give it a go. I started reading it one evening and after staying up until 5 am finishing it, I’m awfully glad I did.

I unfortunately wasn’t around for the 60s, but through the author’s description of the era, I felt like I was there. I was pulled not only into the personal aspects of the book, but the time period as a whole.

While After the Falls is essentially Gildiner’s story, there were plenty of other people weaving in and out of her life. I loved the fact that she would introduce a person and rather than simply let their story end when they were no longer part of her life, she fills the reader in on what happened to them later on. And the switching back and forth from the 60s to other times was done so fluently that it didn’t jar me out of the story at all.

I really, really enjoyed After the Falls. In fact, I enjoyed it so much I just may have to rethink my opinion on memoirs.

Thanks to Marci and the folks at Random House for the review copy.

Browse inside After the Falls.

Q & A with Catherine McKenzie and a giveaway!

19 Jan

If you read my review of Catherine McKenzie debut novel Spin, then you know that I simply fell in love with this book. I was so happy to get the chance to ask Catherine a few questions about writing and the book. AND, I get to give a copy of Spin away. Yay!!!! Nothing is better than sharing an excellent read with another book lover.

Lavender Lines: Besides Katie, which character was the most fun to write?

Catherine: I’d have to say Amber Sheppard (the actress Katie follows into rehab). It was fun thinking up outrageous things for her to do, but also to come up with some of her less stereotypical characteristics. In a way, Amber’s journey is bigger than Katie’s, and just as important.

LL: What are some of your favorite books/authors discovered in 2009?

C: The best book I read in 2009 was Andre Agassi’s Open. I was already a big fan of his (I watched his first televised professional match and his last and hundreds in between), but the book was gripping in a way I hadn’t counted on. I know he wrote it with someone else, but the voice, the honesty, feels like his. It also had extra meaning for me because my sister, who lives in Vegas, went to see him and got him to autograph my copy as a birthday surprise. I also just finished Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall – historical fiction about Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s lawyer who was one of the chief architect’s of the Reformation. I studied Tudor & Stuart history in university, and I can’t even begin to imagine how she organized and learned the history well enough to write that book. Impressive.

LL: There are a lot of references to music throughout Spin and a track list at the end of the book. Are Katie’s musical musings indicative of your personal music preference?

C: In a word: yes. Probably too much so. Not that I love every song mentioned in the book or appearing on the playlist, but I am a huge fan of Bob Dylan, Matt Nathanson, David Grey, Eric Hutchinson and many of the others named in the book.

LL: You take on a very tough and serious topic in Spin (addiction). Was it hard to find the balance between maintaining the humorous tone of the book and addressing the serious consequences of drug and alcohol addiction?

C: It is something I struggled with at some points in the book. I didn’t want the book to come across as an attack on AA or treatment programs, but I knew a lot of the humour in the book had to come from Katie’s denial both of her own problems and the efficacy of the treatment she’s in. I didn’t want to offend anyone, but I did want to explore how someone who doesn’t believe in the fundamentals behind the twelve steps can succeed in treatment.

Contest deets:

Okay, now I get to give away one copy of Spin. This is my very first giveaway, so I wanted to do something fun. Here goes!

To enter to win a copy of Spin, all you have to do is comment with a “chick lit” moment you’ve experienced.  Not sure what I mean? Well, a “chick lit” moment I had was eating at a restaurant where the only other people there were my ex fiance and his whole freaking family.  I kid you not.  Or there was the time I interviewed with a company and half way through the interview realized I had research a different company with the same name (yeah, I so didn’t get the job). We’ve all had “chick lit” moments (even you guys!) so go ahead, dish the dirt. You’ll feel better. And you may win a copy of Spin.

A few small things……

The contest will run until Feb 18th.

It’s only for us Canucks, so if you don’t live in the Great White North (aka Canada) you’re out of luck.

Keep comments clean, please and thank you. Any comments I deem dirty will be deleted. Sorry folks, that’s just how I roll.

Happy New Year!!!!

11 Jan

Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m a bit late to the party. But I gotta tell you, sometimes life makes it impossible to live. I know it’s been almost a month (yikes!) since I posted and I would love to be able to say it was because I was locked up in jail or on an amazing topical vacay where laptops and work were banned. But the sad reality is that I was renoing the house, packing, moving and getting settled in. In one word I was exhausted.

The downfall of working with our mind is when you hit your wall, you pretty much can’t work. And over the last three weeks I hit that wall over and over again.

But now I’m back and rested (kinda) and ready to go, go, go! I also have some changes in store for this blog, including actually posting regularly.

My main focus will still be book reviews, but I’m going to be approaching them a bit differently than I have in the past. I will be using the publishers’ book descriptions and concentrating more on my opinion of the book. My style of review is also going to be more off the cuff and informal that it has in the past. I find that I talk about books much better than I write about books, so I’m going to attempt to write like I talk. Only without all the cursing.

I’m also going to be talking about my writing a bit more. Once I actually get back at it. Actually I’m kinda hoping that if I talk about my writing, goals, etc, I’ll actually feel accountable to someone other than myself. So expect snippets of writing, goals and general mutterings about my creative process.

So, once again happy New Year. And I hope you enjoy whatever ride 2010 has in store for you.

Review: Secret Society by Tom Dobly

14 Dec

HarperCollins, 2009

Secrets, secrets are no fun. Secrets, secrets hurt someone. . . .

An eccentric new girl. A brooding socialite. The scion of one of New York’s wealthiest families. A promising filmmaker. As students at the exclusive Chadwick School, Phoebe, Lauren, Nick, and Patch already live in a world most teenagers only dream about.

They didn’t ask to be Society members. But when three of them receive a mysterious text message promising success and fame beyond belief, they say yes to everything—even to the harrowing initiation ceremony in a gritty warehouse downtown and to the ankh-shaped tattoo they’re forced to get on the nape of their necks. Once they’re part of the Society, things begin falling into place for them. Week after week, their ambitions are fulfilled. It’s all perfect—until a body is found in Central Park with no distinguishing marks except for an ankh-shaped tattoo.

From HarperCollins website

With the premise, this could have been an amazing book. I love stories where dissimilar people have to come together to help each other through either hard times or a mystery. Secret Society had intrigue, solid characters and a plot that could have been spectacular. And for the most part it lived up to my expectations.

And then it did something that I hate:  it kinda crapped out on the ending. I always feel cheated when a good book jumps  the shark at the very end, and that’s what I feel this one did. Instead of venturing out on a limb, the author chose a pretty cheesy and expected ending.

I’m not saying it had to pull of a Sixth Sense kind of surprise ending or anything, but I was left feeling very meh about the book once I finished it.

Browse inside Secret Society.

Thanks to HarperCollins Canada for providing a review copy of Secret Society.


14 Dec

A few weeks back over on Twitter, GalleySmith asked around if anyone would be interested in a readathon centered around book series. Immiediately a bunch of us went YES!, and SeriesPalooza was born.

This is a very low-key reading challenge that starts today and goes until Sunday. All you have to do is read books from series. It can be all the same series or books from different series you’ve been meaning to read.

I was planning on using SeriesPalooza as a way to unwind after the big move. But seeing as the big move isn’t until Sunday (ain’t life great sometimes?) I’ve had to cut down on my reading list.

I am hoping to get two whole books read! Yes, folks, that’s two books. Since I have been averaging about one book every two weeks, two books is a lot right now. And here are my choices:

Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden.
This is the first in Marsden’s Tomorrow series, which was highly recommended by several people on Twitter.

Extras by Scott Westerield
This is the fourth and final in Westerfeld’s Uglies series. I read the first three earlier this year but never got around to reading the final book, probably because it takes place after the first three with a new slew of characters.