REVEIW: “Zoey and the Moment of Zen” Cat Lavoie

Zoey and the Moment of Zen Book Cover Zoey and the Moment of Zen
Cat Lavoie
Chick Lit
Marching Inc
304

When coffee shop owner Zoey Everwood takes her obsession with ex-boyfriend Braden too far, everyone — except Zoey — is convinced a bit of fun in the sun at the Moment of Zen Wellness Resort will help her get over him once and for all.

But Zoey's relaxing vacation turns out to be anything but peaceful when she meets Shane Lawson, a resort guest who bears a striking resemblance to Braden. And things get even more complicated when the resort's owner starts spilling secrets about Zoey’s aunt Nessa, the woman who raised her. Add a snarky Wellness Coordinator and Nate Holmes—Shane's grumpy friend—to the mix, and you've got the recipe for a perfect tropical storm.
When Zoey comes back home with a new husband instead of tacky souvenirs, she must convince everyone she hasn't completely lost her mind. As Zoey and Shane struggle to keep the magic alive outside the resort, Zoey discovers that she isn't the only one having trouble letting go of the past. And when Nate drops a bombshell that changes everything, Zoey must decide if the old saying is true—what happens at the Moment of Zen stays at the Moment of Zen.

I received a copy of this e-book in exchange for a review and my honest opinion. 

I find myself somewhat wavering in my opinion of this book. On the one hand, I found quirky Zoe to be fairly relatable, with her inner monologue reminding me of my own. Her inability to get over her past relationship was frustrating, but also completely recognisable. On the other hand, I found the shotgun wedding around which much of the story is based to be completely unbelievable.

When Zoe’s friends and family force her to go on a holiday to get over her crummy ex, she meets a new man. In the course of four days, she meets, kisses and marries a stranger. It’s not that I’m opposed to the idea of a lightening fast marriage, but Lavoie married off these two characters before they’d even had a deep-and-meaningful conversation, and it felt forced. And, I suspected, doomed to fail.

The marriage was crucial to the progression of the book, and even though it annoyed me a little, I can see it’s usefulness as a plot tool. So, putting that aside, and focusing on what happened before and after the speedy nuptials, I can honestly say that I liked everything else much better!

I found Zoe’s friends to be believable, and I liked the incorporation of Zoe’s coffee shop business and her poet employee. The side stories involving her family and friends were interesting, but didn’t detract too much from the main storyline. Sure, Zoey’s final decision about who she wanted to be with seemed quick and slightly unsubstantiated, but it was what I was rooting for, so I was happy with it!

All in all, as far as chick lit goes, I think this is a great book, with an awesome cover (which, I’m sure you understand, always makes a book even better). Sure, there were a few things in the plot that bugged me a little, but overall the likeability of Zoey and her friends, and the fun twists and turns that they faced kept me intrigued. In fact, I’d like to read more about her antics and how she settles into her new relationship. How about a sequel, Cat? It would make an excellent beach read. And really, what more could you want on a sunny December day?!

Keen to read about Zoey’s relationship disasters? You can buy Lavoie’s book on Amazon here.

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REVIEW: “Won’t Last Long” by Heidi Joy Tretheway

Won't Last Long Book Cover Won't Last Long
Heidi Joy Tretheway
Chick Lit
300

Can two people who are totally wrong for each other ever be right? She's a feisty, sly marketing exec intent on hiding her small-town roots. He’s a laid-back engineer with a shaggy mutt and a pushy ex.
 
When Joshua asks Melina out, she asks what kind of car he drives. She’ll do drinks, not dinner. She’s always in control. But with Joshua’s easy confidence and sharp wit, Melina is soon breaking the dating rules she made for herself.
 
Opposites attract—but friends think Melina and Joshua can’t possibly last. When crisis throws their world off its axis, Melina must confront her childhood family, the people she’s come to care about, and the destruction of her pristine image.

I received a copy of this book from Chick Lit Plus in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

I loved this book! I read quite a lot of chick lit, and can get sick of the oft repeated plot lines that make many of them very similar. Refreshingly, I found that “Won’t Last Long” stepped outside of the mould. Written from the perspectives of both the male and female main characters, the book did centre around their budding relationship and the baggage that they brought with them. However, the progression of their relationship was believable from the outset; there was no love-at-first-sight, or cliched one liners.

I found myself relating to the characters quite strongly; the idea of having an ‘ideal’ relationship in mind and trying to reconcile that with real life was one I’ve also struggled with, as well as the idea of maintaining a certain image for the sake of my career. So, personally, I could really empathise with the characters. That said, I suspect that many people would be able to identify with one character or another!

I did find that the second half of the book galloped along at a very rapid pace, compared to the first half, and some plot lines were wrapped up a little simply, but I didn’t especially mind, as I liked the ending! I thought it was a little strange that the ‘big secret’ that Melina was hiding didn’t create much drama, given the foreshadowing in the book, but overall that didn’t detract from the novel too much.

Always the benchmark of a good read, I read most of the book in one setting, because I was so intrigued by the plot. It had all the marks of great chick lit (romance, a DIY project, an adorable dog, and plenty of drama), without the same-old feeling. On the whole, I’d definitely recommend putting it on your summer ‘Must Read’ list!

If this book catches your fancy, you can purchase the book from Amazon here.

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

books - book club

“Winning means fame and fortune. Losing means certain death.
The Hunger Games have begun…”

Suzanne Collins - Hunger Games Trilogy

There’s no denying that Suzanne Collins’ depiction of kids killing each other for sport has sparked both controversy and obsession into the hearts of children and adults alike across the world.

I’ll admit, I fall into the ‘obsessed’ category. Having read all of the books last weekend in preparation for the movie release (which, by the way, smashed all of the box office records – take that, non-believers!), I now understand what all the fuss is about.

 For those who aren’t in the know, The Hunger Games is set in a post-apocalyptic America, where the Capitol strikes fear into the outer districts through its annual televised reality show, where each district sends two tributes to battle to the death. The teen still standing at the end of the games will be showered with rewards and become the hero of their district. However, when Katniss Everdeen volunteers as tribute to save her sister, the Capitol gets an unpleasant shock. Through her actions before and during the games, Katniss becomes a symbol of hope to the poor people in the outer districts, planting the seed of rebellion amongst the masses.

The trilogy that I repeatedly overlooked in bookstores because, yes, I do judge books by their covers and blurbs, are addictive. They aren’t just the story of violent pubescent mass murder; they’re about hope, justice, family, and freedom. Emotional in a way that former phenomena (*cough* Twilight) aren’t, The Hunger Games has something for everyone. Bloody battles for the boys, romance for the girls – or vice versa if you want to break away from stereotypes, like heroine Katniss Everdeen. There’s even some crazy couture fashion, advanced technology, and sneaky governmental conspiracy thrown in for good measure.

Even harder than writing a trilogy that can capture the imaginations and win the hearts of generations of readers is turning those books into a box-office smash. But, with careful casting, an amazing setting, and a script fairly true to the novels, The Hunger Games became a multi-billion dollar success almost overnight. With the sequel about to be released in Cinemas, you can expect a similar uproar in late November.

I would suggest reading the books before seeing the movie[1], for the sake of the extra background knowledge you’ll have, but it’s not necessary. If you do want to, you can get the trilogy (with the pretty covers) online here. Everyone who loves the story of the underdog beating the all powerful and mighty will get something out of this movie. I’m addicted to the point where I’m slightly depressed that there are no more books coming out (something that Harry Potter had going in its favour…).

 “May the odds be ever in your favour”

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[1] But be careful when purchasing from Book Depository, as the blurbs give away the crucial plot points… frustrating!!