Lola by Melissa Scrivner Love

Who reads crime thrillers anymore?

Oh, that’s right, everyone but me. I did give it an honest go earlier this summer, though, when I picked up Lola, a fast-paced crime thriller, by Melissa Scrivner Love. Did I fall in love with the book? Not exactly. But I did enjoy it, and I think people who usually read books in this genre will like it, too, even if they won’t admit it to their friends.

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So why’d I pick up Lola if I’m not a fan of books in this genre? For one reason, really: the protagonist is a fierce, Mexican-american woman who secretly leads a gang in South Central L.A. and I wanted to live vicariously through her.

And isn’t that the whole point of opening up some books? To step into the lives of outrageous characters and for a few, brief hours, living their adventures as if they were our own? Don’t we all want to be kingpins and spies and space travelers? I know I do, and that’s the experience I was looking for when I read Lola. 

Scrivner Love’s story follows Lola and her gang, The Crenshaw Six, as they struggle to stay alive after the cartel taps them for an impossible job. No one but Lola’s crew knows she’s actually in charge, though, and she operates in secrecy under the guise of being nothing more than the fake leader, Garcia’s, girlfriend.  As the story progresses, Lola’s life is threatened by the cartel and the world she’s built for her makeshift family starts to crumble. Drama ensues.

Some of the better qualities of the book are that it’s quick-paced, there’s rich character development, and the author wasn’t afraid to delve into tricky, but often real, complications in life, including abuse, betrayal, and poverty. And like I mentioned before, I appreciated that the protagonist is a minority woman who isn’t weak or enmeshed in a sappy love affair. Instead, she’s (ahem) a mother-fuckin’ boss. This, in and of itself, was very refreshing.

Unfortunately, the book has a few problems that I couldn’t overlook while reading, starting with the quality of the writing. The narrative is choppy and overly dramatic, with cheesy lines sprinkled across each page. Every time I opened Lola, I felt like I was reading an unadapted movie script instead of a novel. There were also too many antagonists without any redeeming qualities. I mean, we all love to hate a guy, but a story is much more interesting if you give me a few reasons not to. 

Overall, I’d only recommend this book to someone who really enjoys crime-thrillers, or maybe to someone who can’t let go of Law and Order (just let it go, guys, let it go…). I would not recommend it to any of my lit-loving friends. As soon as I finished reading it, Lola went straight into my guilty-pleasure reading pile. And if any of you were to find it in stashed somewhere in my apartment, say behind On Tyrrany or The Giver, I’d probably say “I’m just holding it for a friend” and look the other way.

 

*Note: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a review. 

Wake Up to the Joy of You by Agapi Stassinopoulos


It took me two months to sit myself down and write this damn book review.
But not for the reasons you might think. The book isn’t badly written or boring (it’s wonderful on both accounts), nor is it long or stuffy. The simple truth is that my [love] life exploded into a hundred little pieces this winter, and I was forced to stop, evaluate, and pick up each and every little bit of myself (whether I liked what I found or not) and build myself back into the woman I thought I was, the woman I wanted to be.

wake-up-to-the-joy-of-youWhy am I telling you all this? Especially after trying my best to keep it under wraps online and among friends and family? Well, because Wake Up to the Joy of You by Agapi Stassinopoulos, gave me some clarity and helped me hold onto my personal truths as my marriage (and I) fell apart. It was probably the best book I could’ve picked up at the time, and because of that, I feel like it’s worth sharing. This book couldn’t have landed on my doorstep at a better time.

And before you ask, let me just come out with it: no, this book didn’t save my marriage, nor was it meant to. It did save my sanity, though, and god bless it for that. Wake Up to the Joy of You: 52 Meditations and Practices for a Calmer, Happier Life, is a compilation of not-so-pushy-or-preachy essays focused on living a happier, more self-aware life. It doesn’t suggest making drastic life changes or overhauling your approach to people or problems, it simply calls for being more ‘awake’ to your own wants and needs, to participating in a little self reflection in order to build a better life.

Continue reading “Wake Up to the Joy of You by Agapi Stassinopoulos”

Nonsense by Jamie Holmes

Some books grab your attention the minute you start reading them, and some don’t. It’s a simple fact of being a bibliophile that every now and then, no matter how much careful attention you put into researching and selecting a book, learning about an author’s background, or reading a few pages between the aisles at a bookstore before you buy the litle beauty you’ve been holding for the last 30 minutes, you’re bound to get a dud every now and then. Unfortunately for me, Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing by Jamie Holmes was one of those duds.

Nonsense.jpgI did not enjoy reading this book. The biggest reason was that Holmes uses far too many case studies in any given chapter to prove his points. Most the content within each chapter consists of long-winded examples with have an unclear connection to the author’s proclaimed ideas. I’m talking 15-20 pages of detailed narrative in each chapter about seemingly random people or organizations struggling on their professional journeys. The author’s own viewpoints about ambiguity, uncertainty, and making sense of an unclear world are unceremoniously shoved into the last page or two of each section. Continue reading “Nonsense by Jamie Holmes”