Tag Archives: mystery

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 Woman in Cabin 10 blog tour

9 Jan

woman-in-cabin-10-blog-tour

 

Today I am super excited to be hosting Ruth Ware for her The Woman in Cabin 10 blog tour! My review will be posted below, but first, here’s my Q&A with Ruth.

Lavender Lines: First of all, thank you so much for joining me on the blog today. I’m a super big fan of your books. 🙂

Ruth: Thank you for having me – it’s great to be here!

LL: Do you listen to music when you write?

R: No! In fact I find it incredibly distracting. I used to be able to write while watching TV, but that was years ago. The older I get, the more intolerant I get to interruptions, and now I find I work best in complete silence. In fact my neighbours have building work going on right now (as in, literally, I can hear hammering while I type this) and even that is annoying me, but music gets into my head in a really infuriating way. I find it drowns out what my characters are trying to say. I’m definitely not a writing in coffee shops type person.

LL: Tea or coffee?

R: Definitely coffee! None of my characters are very autobiographical, but that’s the one trait of myself that I put into Nora as a straight cut and paste. I am a coffee addict and find a week without coffee (or even just a week without my preferred type of coffee) really hard work.

LL: Who is your favourite mystery writer?

R: Oooh, this is hard! I have too many, and it changes all the time. I tend to say Agatha Christie just because I really admire her plots and because I think she’s critically very under-rated. But today I’m going to say… Dorothy L Sayers. Strong Poison is probably the crime mystery that I have read and re-read the most number of times.

LL: Your books have the most delicious twists and turns. How do you come up with them?

R: I have no idea! Sometimes they are plotted from the outset but more often they just arise naturally as I write. The final page of The Woman in Cabin 10 (people who’ve read it will know the bit I mean) was a complete surprise to me, and I had to go back and re-write quite a few bits to make it work.

LL: If you weren’t an author you would be _________(and the skies the limit)?

R: Well, I used to work in PR so I guess the prosaic answer is that I would probably still be doing that! Alternatively, I have always really loved numbers (I very nearly did maths at university) and I find accounts and figures very satisfying, so maybe I would retrain and become an accountant? Sorry, I realise those are not very “the sky’s the limit” type answers!

LL: Thank you again so much!

R: Thanks for having me!

 

REVIEW

Okay, I loved this book. Lately I have been reading some awesome mysteries with unreliable narrators and enough twists and turns to pull a muscle and The Woman in Cabin 10 is one of the coolest.

Through most of the book I had no freaking idea what the hell was going on and I often stopped reading to try to puzzle things out. And just when I thought I had it figured out the author threw something else in that made me once again not know what the frig was happening.

The timeline was somewhat wonky and that only added to the WTF feeling I had through most of the book. But it wasn’t so wonky that I was so confused I was frustrated. Nope, this was the best kind of puzzle to try to figure out.

Most of this book takes place on a ship and I’m also starting to love the whole mystery where no one can leave thing. Ware also did this in In a Dark, Dark Wood and once again it works perfectly for the story.

The characters were very believable and I never felt 100% like I had a solid grip on them. Once again, as in all the great mysteries, the good guys and the bad guys weren’t clear at all.

This was a well written, well thought out mystery and Ware is fast becoming one of my favourite mystery writers.

The Twilight Wife — A.J. Banner

22 Dec

twilight

 

Publisher: Touchstone
Released: Dec 27th, 2016
Genre: Mystery, suspence
Source: ARC from publisher

 

Thirty-four-year-old marine biologist Kyra Winthrop remembers nothing about the diving accident that left her with a complex form of memory loss. With only brief flashes of the last few years of her life, her world has narrowed to a few close friendships on the island where she lives with her devoted husband, Jacob.

But all is not what it seems. Kyra begins to have visions—or are they memories?—of a rocky marriage, broken promises, and cryptic relationships with the island residents, whom she believes to be her friends.

As Kyra races to uncover her past, the truth becomes a terrifying nightmare. A twisty, immersive thriller, The Twilight Wife will keep readers enthralled through the final, shocking twist.

From Goodreads

Ahhhhh a mystery with an unreliable narrator. My favourite! I like a mystery where I feel off-kilter, not really sure if I can believe what I’m reading. And I definitely got that with this book. When the narrator’s memory is touch and go, how can you trust what she’s saying?

Trying to piece together what was real and what was imaginary as Krya was doing the same thing really made for a delicious read. And when I kind of figured out what was going on before she did? It’s like when you watch a horror movie and you know the heroine shouldn’t open the door and you’re yelling “DON’T!!!!” It was that kind of thing. I felt super anxious for Kyra because she was still clueless but I had all the clues lined up.

I can’t really go into much more without giving anything away. This was a quick read for me that really drew me right in.

I really enjoyed The Twilight Wife. It’s an awesome mystery and I definitely recommend it.

 

Far From True — Linwood Barclay

26 Oct

fartrue

 

Publisher: Doubelday Books
Released: March 8th, 2016
Genre: Mystery, crime
Source: Review copy from publisher

 

 

After the screen of a run-down drive-in movie theater collapses and kills four people, the daughter of one of the victims asks private investigator Cal Weaver to look into a recent break-in at her father’s house. Cal discovers a hidden basement room where it’s clear that salacious activities have taken place—as well as evidence of missing DVDs. But his investigation soon becomes more complicated when he realizes it may not be discs the thief was actually interested in….

Meanwhile, Detective Barry Duckworth is still trying to solve two murders—one of which is three years old—he believes are connected, since each featured a similar distinctive wound.

As the lies begin to unravel, Cal is headed straight into the heart of a dark secret as his search uncovers more startling truths about Promise Falls. And when yet another murder happens, Cal and Barry are both driven to pursue their investigations, no matter where they lead. Evil deeds long thought buried are about to haunt the residents of this town—as the sins of the past and present collide with terrifying results.

From Goodreads

This was a really weird read for me. While there were some things I really really disliked about this book, I couldn’t seem to put it down once I started reading it.

I didn’t realize Far From True was part of a trilogy (it’s the second book) so at first I was a bit confused when characters referenced things and I had no idea what they were talking about. Once I realized it was a sequel, then I understood why some things were a bit beyond my grasp.

There are A LOT of characters in this book and A LOT of difference points of view(POV). I’m not a huge fan of books that switch POV a lot. I find it confusing, especially if a new POV is introduced later in the book. The various POVs overwhelmed me at times, and I sometimes got confused about which POV I was reading.

There’s a lot going on with the plot, and sometimes I struggled with keeping all of the different threads and connections between the characters straight. But this could have been in part to the fact that I didn’t read the first book in the trilogy. But I did feel that there was just a smidge too much going on.

With that being said, I kind of enjoyed this book. I’m not sure if it was the way the book was written, the main plot or the time that I read the book. Normally when I have issues with POV I don’t finish the book. But I literally parked my butt in my reading chair and didn’t move until I finished it, all the while complaining to my husband about all the POVs and how confusing I found some of the plot.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, I would. But I would suggest reading the first book beforehand.

Am I going to read the final book in the trilogy? I’m not sure yet, to be honest. But if you enjoy complex mysteries with a large cast of characters, then you’ll definitely enjoy Far From True.

In a Dark, Dark Wood — Ruth Ware

26 Sep

 

 

darkwoodcan

 

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Released: July 30th, 2016
Genre: mystery, thriller
Source: ARC from publisher

 

In a dark, dark wood

Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back.

There was a dark, dark house

Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her?

And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room

But something goes wrong. Very wrong.

And in the dark, dark room….

Some things can’t stay secret for ever.

From Goodreads

This book was just delicious! Honest characters who don’t really know each other (or like each) stuck together at a house in the middle of nowhere and something happens. This is one of my favourite types of mysteries. It’s also the hardest type to review because I don’t want to give anything away.

Three quarters of this book had me on the edge of my seat. I knew something had happened but I wasn’t sure. The writing flicks back between after the event and leading up to it, leaving the reader feeling as unsure as Nora, the main character. I do feel that toward the end of the book things fizzled out a bit as far as the mystery goes but it wasn’t a huge letdown to me. It was the natural denouement of the story. It’s just that up until that point things were just so enticing that it was a bit of a jolt.

I’m fascinated by group dynamics (blame it on my sociology degree) and the way these characters interacted with each other just drew me in. No one is perfect, some of them are a bit on the crazy side and each one is dealing with their own baggage. This just added to the overall tension of the story and the mystery of what happened.

In a Dark, Dark Wood was a solid mystery, the perfect book for curling up with on a chilly fall night.

City of the Lost — Kelley Armstrong

16 Feb

citylostPublisher: Random House Canada
Released: January 2nd, 2016
Genre: Mystery, thriller
Source: Hardcover review copy from publisher

 

 

 

Casey Duncan once killed a man and got away with it. But that’s not why she’s on the run. Her best friend’s ex has found Diana again, despite all Casey has done to protect her. And Diana has decided the only way she’ll ever be safe is if she finds the mythical town she’s heard of where people like her can go to hide. Turns out the town really exists, and will take Diana, but only if Casey, a talented young police detective, comes too.

Imagine a hidden town, isolated in the Yukon wilderness, where everyone is pretending to be someone they’re not. Even good people can get up to some very bad stuff. The laconic town sheriff dispenses his own frontier justice, but he’s more accustomed to sobering up drunks in the horse trough, than attempting to solve the series of brutal murders that has rocked the town. As much as he hates it, he needs Casey. As for Casey, coming to the far North may have started out as a sacrifice she was willing to make for her best friend. But maybe, just maybe, she needs Rockton as much as the town needs her.

From Goodreads.

OMG I JUST FOUND OUT THIS BOOK IS #1 IN A SERIES AND SQUEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So yeah, I loved this book. Hard. I love certain kinds of thrillers/mysteries and City of the Lost was right up my alley. The premise was way, way cool and the characters were interesting, believable and also surprising. This was another book that I devoured in a couple of days.

A city where everyone is hiding from something that happened in their life? Holy intrigue and sketchy characters! But none of them seemed over the top. And what a cool place for a whodoneit. There were some twists and turns that I really wasn’t expecting, like, AT ALL, and I always love when an author can fool me in unexpected ways.

As always, Armstrong’s writing was spot on and Casey’s voice was both tough and vulnerable at the same time. She’s dealt with a lot of shit in her life and while Rockton is a bit of a party for some, she continues to have to deal with shit. Some her own and some belonging to others. That’s what makes her such an interesting character. And as you can tell by my opening sentence, I’m super excited to get to delve deeper into her psyche and get to know her better in upcoming books.

Armstrong gives readers another thrilling, page-turning read. Fans of mysteries should eat this book up.

Dark Seed Blog Tour

22 Apr

darkseedbanner2

Hey everybody! I’m very happy to feature a spotlight today for the Dark Seed blog tour. This sounds like an AWESOME read and has been added to my TBR pile. Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

A disillusioned journalist and the grieving daughter of a murdered scientist uncover an immoral and destructive global plot by the largest developer of genetically engineered seed and its parent pharmaceutical conglomerate.

Nick Barnes and Morgan Elles learn that the goal of the man behind these organizations is the complete control of human existence. He eliminates opposition and interference without hesitation or remorse.

The couple quickly find themselves fighting for their lives. And yours.

Grad hold for a wild ride with this exciting, high concept thriller that tackles one of the big issues of our time.

Dark Seed cover

 

 

About the author:

Head shot 1Lawrence Verigin’s goal is to entertain readers while delving into socially relevant subjects that need more attention brought to them. Since 1999 Lawrence has spent a considerable amount of time and effort learning the writing craft.

In his spare time Lawrence enjoys cooking good food, rich red wine, travel, running, reading and numerous rounds of golf.

Lawrence and his wife, Diana, live in beautiful North Vancouver, Canada.