Saturday, 26 April 2014

Life of the Party by Christine Anderson


Life of the Party
by Christine Anderson

Genre: Dark / Drama / Romance / Sociology-Abuse

, 500 pages

Published November 19th

Seventeen-year-old Mackenzie Taylor can't wait to be free; free from high school, the shadow of her perfect older sister, and her disapproving parents. The rebellious party girl has a perfect accomplice in best friend Riley, a boy from the wrong side of the tracks who scores them drugs, booze and under-age entry into the only club in town. But then everything changes. A traumatized Riley suddenly decides to give up the party life, and a wide-eyed Mackenzie meets Grey Lewis, a broodingly talented, gorgeous older man she falls instantly in love with. Though Riley warns her to stay away, the aspiring rock star's body and ample drug supply are too tempting for her to resist. Previously inseparable, Riley and Mackenzie go their separate ways.

When summer hits, Mackenzie has new friends, a new apartment and new drugs to mask the pain of Riley's absence. And of course, she has Grey. But despite the fierce, consuming passion they share, the mysterious bad-boy always leaves her guessing. Is Grey really a good guy? Or was Riley right about him all along? Mackenzie's in too deep to care. Unable to curb her mounting addictions, before long the lust-for-life teen totally loses control. She forgets Riley, forgets life, forgets everything but Grey and their next hit.

But luckily for Mackenzie...Riley has never forgotten about her.

This novel contains mature themes and graphic content.

Find the Book:
Barnes & Noble


My Review
5/5 stars
Life of the Party is one of those books. You know the type…it makes you think, and I mean really think; it sticks with you long after you have finished because you have become invested in the characters; it makes you cry. I hate it when books make me cry.

Mac and Riley are best friends. Their favorite pastime is to get drunk and high. Hey, they're young, why not? Everything is great until Riley decided he needs to get clean. Mac, feeling abandoned by her best friend, delves deeper into the world of drugs, trying to forget Riley and everything that is wrong with her life.

I loved, loved, loved the characters in this book (which I guess is why I felt so much for them that I was bawling my eyes out by the end). The author let us get into Mac's head and really enjoy being there. Mac, though young and stupid and obviously making mistake after mistake, was real. She had real problems and real choices and real feelings. And Grey…I so love Grey. It is obvious from the way he treats her that he loves Mac, but he is young and free and has the world ahead of him, so of course he makes mistakes, too. When he realizes, however, that things have gone too far he does the only thing he can think of to fix it, even if it is the wrong thing. We do not see much of Riley for most of the story and mostly get to know him through Mac's feelings and memories of him. Though Mac feels he abandoned her, he had always been there just waiting for the right time.

I think the thing I really loved about this story was about how realistic it is. From Mac's mom and dad (just ignore the problem, it will go away) to her sister and Mac's feelings of inferiority around her (which I can relate to having two perfect older sisters myself) to the drug use. The author did an exceptional job (in my humble opinion) of detailing and describing Mac's drug use and feelings. I did find myself thinking a few times, can someone really use that much cocaine and still be alive/walking/standing/coherent? But, I have absolutely no first-hand knowledge of the subject so it could be true. Even if it's not accurate, the author did a great job faking it and making me believe it was real.

I sincerely hope this author writes more books in the future. I loved everything about this story from the characters to the story to the writing style. She is an amazing storyteller and I thank her for sharing her story with us.  


Making Connections would like to welcome Christine Anderson today!

Q:  Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
Mackenzie Taylor is a rebellious seventeen-year old who lives for a good time. She tries to be a bad ass but she’s really sweet, and naive. Her anger stems from feelings of inferiority and jealousy towards her very perfect older sister, and feelings of abandonment from her parents who live very busy lives.

Riley is her best friend, from the “wrong side of the tracks.” Despite dealing drugs, he’s a good guy. Brought up by his single mother in the trailer court, Riley is loyal and sweet. He never stops caring for Mackenzie, even when they’re miles apart.

Grey Lewis is the ultimate bad boy, a mysterious older man who steals Mackenzie’s heart. He had a hard upbringing and threw himself into music to cope. Talented and gorgeous, he could have any girl he wants, but he only has eyes for one.

Q:  I haven't read a single review where the reviewer wasn't in tears by the end of this book. Your characters deal with some tough issues and the consequences of choices. Was this a hard book for you to write, and where did your ideas come from?
This book was definitely a challenge to write, but also very satisfying. The main idea for this novel stemmed from wanting to share some of my own experiences. I wanted to show the dangers of drugs and addiction in a real, authentic, personal way…for the reader to relate to the addict and see, firsthand, how hopeless the situation can become. Deep stuff aside, I love angst and romance and teenage drama. The hardest part for me to write, hands down, was the ending… I have an obsession for happy endings! The reality of drug addiction doesn’t always end that way.

Q:  What do you see as the biggest challenge for new authors and what have you been doing to overcome that?
I think the biggest challenge facing a new author today is just trying to be seen! Never mind writing a book, that seems to be easy in comparison, lol. There are so many great books out there now, especially with self-publishing gaining such popularity. Trying to stand out and effectively market your novel are definitely huge challenges for the self-published author. What worked for me was simple, I gave copious amounts of my novel away, for free, in exchange for honest reviews. Once the reviews built up and word spread a little, I was able to start selling some copies. It’s always a work in progress. Sites with an author/reader community like Goodreads have played a huge part in getting my novel out there.

Q:   I heard a rumor about a possible sequel to Life of the Party. Is there any certainty to that, and if so when, and what can your readers expect from that story?
I’m writing the sequel right now! I hope to have it finished and published sometime in 2014. This novel focuses on Charlie, picking up where Life of the Party ended, following her journey through the aftermath. I don’t want to give too much away, but Mackenzie will make an appearance.

Q:  What do you do to unwind and relax?
I’m a huge introvert, so to really unwind I like to be totally alone. Preferably with a coffee and my laptop and basking in the sunshine.

Q:  Hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
I’m a fan of a good paperback, but I’m not picky as long as it’s instantly available.

Q:  What book are you reading now?
I am working through the fifth Game of Thrones book, I can’t remember what it’s called. George R.R Martin’s writing is just so brilliant and the story lines are so complex…it’s not an easy read by any means, and I’m constantly forgetting the characters, but I’m a huge fan.

I’ve had a love affair with writing for as long as I can remember. Growing up on the farm left me ample time for imagining, and having the longest school bus ride in history really helped me hone my craft. I spent countless hours listening to Everclear on my tape-deck, staring out at the prairie fields season after season and happily writing stories in my head.

Having a license changed all that. Actually, from age sixteen to nineteen I don’t think I wrote a word (and that includes homework). Those years I lived in a haze my father will never approve of. And from that lengthy blur in my life comes my first novel, Life of the Party.

I should emphasize that Life of the Party is not an autobiography…but it’s not entirely fiction either. While it was inspired from the experiences my friends and I shared when we were younger, it was also inspired by the lessons I learned from them.

In my blog, you’ll find a little bit of everything pertaining to Life of the Party–some book excerpts, book info, random stuff on music and clothes, and anything else I find helpful or inspiring. And of course, my current addiction of choice–writing.

Thanks for checking it out.






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Friday, 18 April 2014

Worlds Apart (Hope Valley Saga #2) by Amy McGuire: Interview + Giveaway


Worlds Apart (Hope Valley Saga #2)
by Amy McGuire

Genre: Young Adult Romance
Paperback, 342 pages
Published December 24th 2012 by Createspace 
You never forget your first love.
Even if it hurts your chance at second love.
In Ontario Anjaline realizes her dream of becoming a journalist for one of Toronto’s leading newspapers.  In Hope Valley Gabriel apprentices to become a skilled carpenter. Together they were two kids in love. Apart they have a chance to grow into the people they were meant to be. If part of that growth means taking a chance on new love, will they embrace it? Or will they cling to what they once had and miss out on what the future has to offer? And if they do take a second chance on love, does that mean they will never see each other again? Maybe there is something even better in store for them both.


       I would like to welcome Amy McGuire to the Making Connections blog!  Thanks for being with us today!

Q:  Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
Anjaline Rodriguez is originally from the bustling city of Quito, Ecuador and changes her name to Charity Sutherland near the beginning of the book. She’s beautiful though she doesn’t seem to realize it and her sweet nature draws the attention of the high school star quarterback. Transplanted from Quito to British Columbia and now Ontario, she has a lot of culture shock to get over before she really feels like she belongs anywhere. From the start though, she knows she wants to be a journalist and enters the University of Toronto Journalism Program, to accomplish her dream.

Gabriel Walker lives in the tiny village of Hope Valley in British Columbia and has his own dreams of becoming a talented woodcarver, or artisan. He has a shy side that women find attractive and he’s kind. His heart has been affected by the loss of a family member as well as Anjaline when she left Hope Valley to move to Ontario. After having his heart smashed by a recent girlfriend, he takes solace in his carving and shows enough talent that one of the local native people mentors him. 

  Q:  What is your favorite part about writing?
Watching the storyline unfold. Since I write romance, I get to choose who falls for whom and how it comes about. Then there’s the writing of scenery. I have been told I do a good job of writing description and that’s probably because I can see it all really clearly in my mind. 

   Q:  How long have you been writing, and when did you first consider yourself an author?
I have been writing stories since I was probably five or six years old. My mom has a few of my first stories, and while they’re not Pulitzer Prize material, they’re not half bad either. I think I started writing full length novels in high school though. As I am in my thirties now, that’s a minimum of eighteen years. I think I first officially considered myself an author in 2009 when I started looking for an agent for my Hope Valley Saga. That was kind of the turning point for me.

 Q:  What is the best advice you have been given?
When my daughter was really small and seemed to change constantly she wasn’t a big sleeper. One day she would nap, another she wouldn’t. I was getting tired and frustrated because I had some ‘well-meaning’ friends telling me I needed to get her on a schedule and everything would be fine. My sister told me to ‘roll with the baby’, as in, let her set her own schedule and don’t stress over it all. I started listening to my baby’s cues and not worrying so much and it saved my sanity

Q:  As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a veterinarian. I always loved animals and thought I could help them better when they were suffering if I actually knew what I was doing. I discovered, after three years as a veterinary assistant, that animal care isn’t what I really wanted to do after all.

  Q:  If you could be on one reality TV show, what would it be?
I think Fear Factor would be neat, just because I would love to prove to myself that I can get over my fears. It would also be worth it for the money and added publicity for my books. I mean, I write for young adults. Imagine how much respect I would gain from that audience for doing something extreme?

  Q:  Hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
I love how easy it is to carry around ebooks and how convenient it is to carry my Sony eReader in my purse but I will never give up on paperbacks. I love the feel of the paper under my fingers, the smell of the paper and ink and the ability to dog ear my spot or put a real book mark in when I have to pause. I love the weight of the book in my hand and that I’ll never have a ‘software glitch’ like I had with my Sony eReader shortly after receiving it as a gift. I was getting my hair done (a rare enough occurrence that I like to really enjoy it with a good book) and my reader froze up on me. I was halfway through The Importance of Being Ernest and was not amused. That never happens with a paperback. Hard cover books are too heavy. They’re definitely not my favourite.

  Q:  What book are you reading now?
The Long Cutie by Dan Alatorre. It’s the fourth in a non-fiction series about his daughter and a little known condition called Long QT Syndrome or LQTS for short. I read his first book and could relate to so much of what he has been through as a dad. I also am learning so much about this condition. It’s really fascinating stuff.

Amy was raised in Africa by missionary parents and has gained a rich perspective of the world in her travels. She has been writing stories since she could hold a crayon but was officially published in 2009 through Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace. A great reader of romance, it was a natural step for her to start writing it. Amy lives in Toronto with her husband and young daughter. Worlds Apart is her second novel. 

Goodreads Profile:

Coming Easter 2014! Dreams Come True

Back Cover blurb:

Nearly six ago, Anjaline promised Gabriel that she would make it back to Hope Valley, no matter how long it took. Will keeping her promise mean a second chance for them, or just more heartache?

Shortly after ending her engagement to Tom Sawyer, Anjaline Rodriguez is given an assignment which leads her back to Hope Valley. Over the past six years she has become Charity Sutherland, a reporter willing to set aside her dreams to protect her heart. In becoming Charity she gave up with it meant to be Angie, a girl from Quito, Ecuador with a compassionate heart. When she sees Hope Valley and her old friends again, she longs to return to being the girl she once was. Gabriel finds her on the bridge where they first met and she can’t deny the spark of attraction. Can that spark become a flame of true love? Will she have the courage to say yes to her future and no to a past that has only caused her pain? Will all her dreams come true at last?

If you are interested in this book, please email me to sign up for my email list. Readers on my email list are the first to learn the launch date as well as any sales, contests and promotional deals. You may sign up by emailing

All links to Amy’s books can be found here:

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