Review: The Party by Robyn Harding

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

In this stunning and provocative domestic drama about a sweet sixteen birthday party that goes horribly awry, a wealthy family in San Francisco finds themselves entangled in a legal battle, their darkest secrets revealed, and their friends turned to enemies.

One invitation. A lifetime of regrets.

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 picture perfect life in a wealthy San Francisco suburb suddenly begins to unravel. A lawsuit is filed that irrevocably changes their relationship, reveals dark secrets in the Sanders’ marriage, and exposes the truth about their perfect daughter, Hannah.

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 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.

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

The Party will be available June 6, 2017.

This is a hard book for me to review. On the one hand, I kind of hated pretty much everything about it. But on the other hand, I couldn’t stop reading it.

The characters are awful people. All of them. All the time. I thought maybe Jeff and Kim had just been through some bad times and they would get better as the story went on. They did not. Their daughter, Hannah, and her friends were all awful. Lisa, the mother of the girl to get hurt at Hannah’s party, is awful. All of Jeff and Kim’s friends are just as horrible – the one exception being Lisa’s boyfriend, Allan, who tried to be the voice of reason in her vendetta against the Sanders. It seemed like every time a character was faced with a decision they chose the wrong one. At first I was getting so upset over their actions, screaming at them in my head to stop being idiots. But around halfway through the story, I became a little more resigned to their behavior and just began waiting for the next stupid thing. There is no one to root for in this book, so for awhile I was just rooting for all of them to have their comeuppance. Unfortunately, I didn’t find the ending to be satisfactory at all.

Even though I hated all the characters, I just kept reading. At first I wanted to see the characters redeem themselves, but even after I realized that wasn’t going to happen I still wanted to see what happened. The story is told through the POVs of Kim, Jeff, Lisa, and Hannah and I thought they were all done effectively. Even though I hated them, it has to say something about the writing that I still wanted to keep reading about them.

Overall, The Party has good writing and an interesting premise, but I absolutely hated all the characters. For awhile I did enjoy hating them, but I found it really unsatisfying that they didn’t get the level of comeuppance I was hoping for, nor did they really seem to learn anything from the experience. I’m bumping my rating up a little bit, though, because the author still made me keep reading, despite my feelings about the characters.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars 

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Reviewing the Unreviewed: May 2017

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. Reviewing the Unreviewed is my monthly post where I share my few thoughts on all the books I didn’t formally review.

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Always My Girl (The Shaughnessy Brothers #3) by Samantha Chase. Read May 6-7. 3 Stars.

There were some cute moments in this book, but I spent a good deal of time being frustrated at either Anna or Quinn. It was a pretty well done Friends-to-Lovers story, though. I might check out some of the other books in the series.

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Into the Water by Paula Hawkins. Read May 5-10. 2 Stars.

I applaud the ambitiousness of the many, many narrators in this book, but unfortunately it really didn’t work for me. Some of the POVs were 1st person POV and some were 3rd person. The perspective changed so quickly that I never really felt a connection to any of the characters. However, the quick chapters were also the only thing that really kept me reading. I felt like the story dragged on for much too long. Information was given about each character one little piece at a time and by the time things were actually explained I had already guessed it so it felt really anti-climactic. There was absolutely zero shocks or surprises in the whole thing. This isn’t one I would recommend.

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The Party by Robyn Harding. Read May 11-13. 3 Stars.

Even though I hated all the characters in this, I still wanted to find out what happened, so this is getting 3 stars instead of 2. Full review to come closer to release date.

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Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1) by Renee Ahdieh. Read May 21-25. 2 Stars.

Well, this was disappointing! Good concept, but really lacking in execution. I thought a great deal of the book was really boring. There’s a ton of inner monologues where the characters just go back and forth and back and forth on any and everything they’re thinking about. I’ve read all these reviews about how Mariko is this bad-ass warrior, but, like, am I reading the same book?? I thought she was immature and kind of self-centered. She went on and on about having honor, but didn’t really do anything very honorable. There’s a part where she talks about how she outsmarted some people several times over and it made me laugh. The romance was ok, but not as good as I was hoping it would be after loving Shazi and Khalid from The Wrath and the Dawn series. Overall, I was just really disappointed in this. But, obviously, I am the black sheep of hype, so I’m sure may others will love it.

****************RE-READ****************

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My Lady Jane. I loved this book just as much as I did the first time around. I still really recommend it if you haven’t read it yet!

****************BACK ON THE TBR****************

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Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. I admit I requested this from the library based on the cover and hype alone. I didn’t even really know what it was about. I read the prologue and knew that I was definitely not in the mood to try it, so I decided to put it off for some other time. I actually just found out yesterday I won a giveaway of this book, so it’s definitely one I will be reading in the future.  The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon. I got this from the library, but it’s going to expire before I get to it. Plus, I really think I need to read the first two books again before I try to continue with the series.

Blogger Stats Book Tag

I saw this tag awhile back over at Cover to Cover (go check her out!) and thought it looked fun. Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like.

The last three books you read?

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The Party by Robyn Harding, Into the Water by Paula Hawkins, Always My Girl by Samantha Chase

Spoilers or spoiler free?

I usually try to write my reviews spoiler free, but sometimes I can’t help myself and need to talk about something specific and spoilery. I always put up a spoiler warning, though. When it comes to reading other people’s reviews I’m fine with spoilers as long as there’s a warning. There are some books I go looking for spoilers for and others that I don’t want to know anything about.

How long have you been book blogging?

Almost 4 years. Crazy!

A book you read in one sitting?

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This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

Your favorite genre?

This year has been mostly mysteries and suspense. I’m finally getting back into contemporaries, though, too.

Preferred book size? (novella, tome, etc)

I read most books on my Nook and the page count is always way off from what Good Reads says. But in Nook world, I would say I like around 250-350 pages.

Amount of books on your TBR?

473.

A book you have DNF’d?

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I hated the main character and just couldn’t get into the story at all.

Recent awards or milestones?

Nothing I can really think of.

Best interaction with an author you enjoy?

Meeting Leigh Bardugo was pretty cool.

Average number of books you read per month?

Around 10 or so

Top three publishers?

I don’t really have favorite publishers. I just read what looks interesting.

Social media sites your blog uses?

Twitter.

Average amount of time you spend on networking?

Um, about zero. I know, I suck.

Most comfortable blogging position?

I do all my blogging while sitting on my couch.

Music or quiet when writing reviews?

Tv on in background, but if I’m having trouble writing one I need quiet.

Can you sum up your blogging style in 5 words?

When I Feel Like It.

A blog you looked up to starting out?

There isn’t really one in particular. I didn’t really look at blogs before I started mine. But probably all the ones I followed in the beginning helped shape mine.

The best book you have reviewed so far?

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So far this year the best ones have been Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton and Making Faces by Amy Harmon.

Best piece of blogging advice?

Don’t force content. I know everyone says you should post every day, but if you’re not feeling it or just throwing something together so you have a post, it shows. Some people can come up with great stuff and post every day and that’s great for them. But I started having much more fun with my blog when I stopped trying to keep up.