Tag Archives: book review

Blog Tour — The Party — Robyn Harding

9 Jun

 

I am so freaking HAPPY to be a part of this blog tour! Robyn was sweet enough to answer some questions, and below our interview you’ll find my review of The Party.

Hi Robyn! Thanks so much for stopping by the blog and answering some questions. 🙂

Lavender Lines: Coffee or tea?

Robyn: Coffee. 1.5 cups with honey and milk.

LL: Do you have any writing rituals? (Fave place, certain music you listen to, etc.)

R: I have a cheerful, sunny little office in my home that I rarely use. Despite having had a professional ergonomic assessment of my workspace, my neck and shoulders seize up when I sit at my desk. Now I am mostly on the couch with my laptop, but I just bought a cardboard standup desk. I am hoping for the best!

I am most creative in the morning. After my husband and kids leave for work/school, I pour my coffee, grab my laptop, and start writing. I don’t shower, dress, brush my teeth… I pity anyone who comes to my door before 10:00 A.M.

LL: Some of the main characters in The Party are, well, not really nice people. Was it hard to write unlikeable characters in a way that would keep readers interested?

R: It was fun! I had never written such odious characters before. I love reading books about nasty people. I don’t need to like the characters, I just need to be interested in them. In The Party, everyone has secrets, everyone has issues, everyone has a motive…. I hope this will keep readers’ attention, even if they hate every character.

LL: Where did the idea for The Party come from?

R: I have two teenaged kids, so underage drinking is a relevant issue in my life. I talked to other parents of teens and found wildly differing opinions on substance use. Some parents are zero tolerance, while other take the “they’re going to drink anyway, I’d rather they do it at home” approach. This made me imagine the worst-case scenario of kids partying at home, and how parents would really deal with that fall out. I also thought it would be fun to have this happen to strict parents who are truly blindsided.

LL: Can you tell us about anything you’re working on now?

R: I’m writing a novel inspired by Canada’s most notorious serial killer, Karla Homolka. She has served her time and is now free, a mother of three, and living a normal family life in Quebec. With this book, I’m confronting some hard questions: Can people really change? Do they deserve a second chance? And can you ever outrun your past?

LL: Again, thanks so much for popping by!

R: And thank you so much for the interview!

 

 

 

 

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada
Released: June 6th, 2017
Genre: Mystery, literature
Source: ARC from publisher

 

Sweet sixteen. It’s an exciting coming of age, a milestone, and a rite of passage. Jeff and Kim Sanders plan on throwing a party for their daughter, Hannah—a sweet girl with good grades and nice friends. Rather than an extravagant, indulgent affair, they invite four girls over for pizza, cake, movies, and a sleepover. What could possibly go wrong?

But things do go wrong, horrifically so. After a tragic accident occurs, Jeff and Kim’s flawless life in a wealthy San Francisco suburb suddenly begins to come apart. In the ugly aftermath, friends become enemies, dark secrets are revealed in the Sanders’ marriage, and the truth about their perfect daughter, Hannah, is exposed.

Harkening to Herman Koch’s The Dinner, Christos Tsiolkas’s The Slap, and Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, The Party takes us behind the façade of the picture-perfect family, exposing the lies, betrayals, and moral lapses that neighbors don’t see—and the secrets that children and parents keep from themselves and each other.

From Goodreads

Holy Hell, fellow book nerds! This book was a super great read, but I am afeared it will be hard to review, because the thing I like the best about it is the ending and I sure as heck don’t want to give that away. All I will say about the ending is that it is one of the most surprising and OMG endings I’ve read in a long, long time and I absolutely love it.

The second thing I love the most about this book is something I can talk about, and that’s the fact that pretty much every character in the book, in one way or another, is a douchenozzle. I am not one of those readers that has to like main characters in order to enjoy and like the book, nope. This was a favorite read for me, but my God I definitely wouldn’t want to meet any of these characters.

Writing a riveting book with unlikable characters is a hard hard thing to do, I imagine, and Harding does it wonderfully. I read this book in two sittings and when I was done I spent some time thinking about the characters and their motivations behind what they did. Even now, writing the review weeks after I read it, I can’t help but think back on it and wonder not only about their actions in the book, but also what their actions would be AFTER the book.

If you are looking for an engaging, make-you-think read, you can’t go wrong with The Party.

The Work Boyfriend — Deanna McFadden

3 Sep

workboyfriend

 

Publisher:Farringdon Road Books
Released: December 19th, 2014
Genre: Chick-lit
Source: Purchased eBook

 

What happens when the life you have isn’t the one you want…

Kelly has a great life. The kind of life people wish for, in fact. She has an upwardly-mobile career, and a stable, loving relationship with her college boyfriend, Rob. At this very moment, anyone looking in from the outside would see her life moving in exactly the right direction.

Except, the path in front of her might not be the way for Kelly at all, and the only person who gets this is her “work boyfriend” Garrett. He’s the one who really gets how trapped she feels.

And then everything spirals out of control during the holidays, and when Kelly should be celebrating the future, she finds herself questioning what she really wants from her life . . . and who she wants in it.

From Goodreads

 

I can be very picky about my chick-lit. I’m okay with romance but it can’t be the main purpose of the book. The female lead has to be relatable. And the plot has to be engaging, not cliche. Thankfully The Work Boyfriend has all these things and then some.

What a smart, smart read! Just awesome. The writing is snappy and the dialogue just flows.  None of the characters are stereotypical and I found Kelly very relatable, even though I am nowhere near where she is in life. I think the reason for this is because her insecurities about life, and whether she should do what she’s supposed to do or what will make her happy, is something that a lot of us struggle with.

OMG the ending. I don’t want to give anything away, but the ending made me want to give the author a hug. It’s unexpected but so real and made perfect sense for the story and Kelly. It was perfect.

If you enjoy a smart story with relatable characters, then The Work Boyfriend is right up your alley. I look forward to reading more from McFadden.

Robbed of Soul — Lois D. Brown — Blog Tour

3 Mar

robbedofsoul

Released: January 1st, 2015
Genre: Mystery
Source: eBook for review from author

 

 

 

Rescued but psychologically damaged from a failed mission, ex-CIA officer Maria Branson takes the job of police chief in the quiet town of Kanab, Utah. Rest and relaxation are the doctor’s orders. She gets neither. Instead, a missing mayor, the spirit of a dead Aztec warrior, and the over-confident-yet-attractive head of Search and Rescue await her in a town whose past has almost as many secrets as her own. As Maria investigates a modern-day murder, she disturbs a world of ancient legends and deadly curses. Yet most lethal of all is Maria’s fear someone will discover just how empty her soul really is.

Whether you’re interested in the treasures of Montezuma, enjoy squeaky clean mysteries, or have a soft spot for light romance and suspense, Robbed of Soul fits the bill.

From Goodreads

OMG guys, so you know how I’m not a super fan of romance and sometimes I don’t read a book because I have a sneaking suspicion that the level of romance will make me all cranky and such? When I agreed to review Robbed of Soul, I knew that it was technically a romantic suspense. Or romantic mystery. Anyhoo, I knew that there was romance in it. But I LOVED the cover and the premise and thought “Hey, let’s give it a try.” And I am so happy that I did. Because this was an awesome read and it was super light on the romance. There was just enough of the boy-girl stuff to make the characters more rounded and believable but not enough that it took over from the main story.

And the main story? Well, there are technically two: the missing mayor and the search years ago for Montezuma’s treasure. I really liked how these two stories were running parallel to each other and how they were interconnected. It didn’t seem forced at all and really upped the element of mystery and suspense in the book.

As did Maria’s past. We are slowly let in on what happened on her failed mission and why she ended up so damaged. I spent a lot of the book trying to figure out on my own what had happened to her. I love mystery books where I really don’t know the full story and I’m left wondering for a while. I also like when the reveal finally happens and it totally makes sense.

I really liked Maria as a character. She was definitely damaged, but she didn’t come of as weak or whiny. I also really liked Rod, although he didn’t seem nearly as overbearing or overconfident as Maria thought he was. I would have liked to have seen more interaction with Beth. She seemed like a really interesting character, but we don’t see her a lot.

I loved this book and was a bit bummed when it ended. I wanted more!  If you are a fan of interesting mysteries with just the teensiest bit of romance, then I think you’re going to want to pick this one up.

How the White Trash Zombie Got Her Groove Back (White Trash Zombie #4) — Diana Rowland

24 Feb

groovebackPublisher: Audible Studios
Released: July 1st, 2014
Genre: Urban fantasy
Source: Audio book purchased
Narrator: Allison McLemore

 

 

It’s zombie versus zombie as the Saberton Corporation declares war against the Zombie Mafia, kidnapping several of their party. It falls to Angel to lead the remnants of her gang halfway across the country to claw their way through corporate intrigue, zombie drugs, and undead trafficking to rescue her friends – and expose the traitor responsible for their abduction.

From Goodreads

*Spoiler alert* IF YOU HAVEN’T READ/LISTENED TO THE FIRST THREE BOOKS, YOU MAY WANT TO SKIP THIS REVIEW

OMG how great is The White Trash Zombie series? So freaking great! This was my introduction to audiobooks and still remains my favourite series to listen to.

Before I get into the book I have to give props to Allison McLemore, the narrator. She is perfection in this series. Not only does she nail the main character’s drawl, but she all the other character voices are distinct without coming off as a parent reading a kid a storybook. (I have a particular love for Angel’s dad’s voice.)

Okay, the book. Holy crap but things have gone to shit in more ways than one. But it wasn’t too much or over the top. With the ongoing story arc of Saberton as the big bad, this was a natural progression. And there are some big, juicy WTF moments that are big, BIG game changers.  A couple of tidbits were thrown at us at the end that left me wondering if one of the secondary characters was going to become a major player in up coming books.

I need to take a second to devote to how much I ship Angel and Phillip. There, I said it. Yeah, Marcus is great, but I really, REALLY want to see something happen between Angel and Phillip.

Angel Crawford is an amazingly fun character. She’s snarky and funny and fearless (usually) and generally doesn’t give a shit what people think of her. She’s had a lot of growth from the first book, but she got a bit annoying in this book at times. She was super insecure through a good part of the book and it turned into whininess sometimes. I understand she was truly out of her element, but the sever insecurity just didn’t feel like it was in tune with what I know of the character. But I still love Angel and will definitely continue with the series.

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.

Blog Tour: U.S. Launch of Forgotten – Catherine McKenzie

16 Oct

So, today is the U.S. launch of Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie!!!! If you know my blog, then you know I majorly heart Catherine and her books. In fact, I believe I have taken part in all the different blog tours for the Canadian AND American launches of her books. Yups, that’s how much I dig them.

I”m re-posting my original review of Forgotten, which I abs ADORED. I also have a copy for one lucky US reader. Just comment on the review for your chance to win a copy. I’ll run the contest until Oct 22nd.

Emma Tupper is a dedicated lawyer with a bright future. But when she takes a month-long leave of absence to go on an African vacation, she ends up facing unexpected consequences. After she falls ill and spends six months trapped in a remote village thanks to a devastating earthquake, Emma returns home to discover that her friends, boyfriend, and colleagues thought she was dead and that her life has moved on without her.

As she struggles to recreate her old life, throwing herself into solving a big case for a client and trying to reclaim her beloved apartment from the handsome photographer who’s taken over her lease, everyone around her thinks she should take the opportunity to change. But is she willing to sacrifice the job, relationships and everything else she worked so hard to build?

*Sigh* Don’t you love when you have an author that you just know is going to wow you? Over the past couple of years Catherine McKenzie has become one of my go-to authors. I wait impatiently for her to have a new book out, then do what I have to do to get a hold of an ARC. Then I devour it in one sitting, hug it to my chest happily and begin the whole process over. Seriously.

Forgotten is a bit different than Catherine’s first two books. While it once again deals with a woman who finds herself in an unusual predicament, I found it a lot darker and more serious than Spin and Arranged. But I still loved it to bits. Despite the different overall tone it still had the snappy dialogue, great characterization and gut-wrenching scenes that I’ve come to expect from Catherine.

I don’t want to give anything away, but there’s a subplot that pops up about half way through the book that I thought was a wonderful addition to the main plot. It added another layer to Emma and really  helped her character to grow. And that’s what’s really at the heart of this story: growing. I think it’s great that Emma comes back all ready to take over her life again. But is that really the life she wants? And if so, will that life still be there for her? It’s these questions, and the way that Catherine approaches them, that makes this such a great read.

Oh, and the handsome photographer ain’t too shabby, either. :0)

The Devouring – Simon Holt

3 Feb

When Reggie finds an old journal and reads about the Vours, supernatural creatures who feast on fear and attack on the eve of the winter solstice, she assumes they are just the musings of some lunatic author. But soon, they become a terrifying reality when she begins to suspect that her timid younger brother might be one of their victims.

Risking her life and her sanity, Reggie enters a living nightmare to save the people she loves. Can she devour own her fears before they devour her?

Ah, sometimes you just need to read a scary, creepy book to get your juices flowing and your heart beating, you know, clean out of your chest. And for me, that’s what The Devouring was.

Here’s a little story: see, I wasn’t always the reader that I am today. I was what you could call a late bloomer. In my early teens I’d read a book or two a month, but that was it. Until I discovered Stephen King. Then I couldn’t read enough. And horror was the only way I would go. For years it was all I would read. Not so much anymore, so when I dug into The Devouring it took me back to those days of furiously reading and scaring the crap out of myself.

This was gross, creepy and several times I was pretty damn happy I wasn’t eating. Now, for you hard core horror fans, you might not find it all that scary. But for someone delving back into the genre after a long hiatus, it was just scary enough.  And I seemed to have discovered a love of legends that come to life, which is kinda cool.

The Devouring read like a scary movie, which is high, high praise in my books. I’ll definitely be devouring the rest of the series. (Yeah, I couldn’t help myself.)