It's always a good day when I can write about one of the ladies of Marching Ink. Today I'm sharing my review of Peri in Progress, Cat Lavoie's latest novel, as part of a Chick Lit Plus Blog Tour. You should all know by now that I love the books Samantha March publishes and I love Cat. Of course, with that love comes a sense of, "Oh my god, what if I don't like the next book?" Luckily, I've never not liked one of their books :) Peri in Progress was a thoroughly enjoyable novel and Peri was a heroine that everyone will love.
Here's the synopsis:
You know what they say about best-laid plans…As I mentioned, Peri was such a lovely main character. She was so real, with understandable and relatable flaws. Too often chick lit novels will have heroines who are annoyingly messed up at the beginning of the story. That drives me bonkers. I don't want an exaggerated character. I want someone real, someone who I can imagine as one of my friends. Because I know no one is perfect, and a novel about a perfect character would be as annoying as one about someone who is really screwed up, I expect some issues and, in a good chick lit book, those issues will be worked on throughout the novel. Cat writes good chick lit so Peri's journey was really great to read. She identifies her issues easily and early on and strives to work on them throughout the course of the novel. I adored that. It also made for a perfect read for early in the new year, with resolutions and all!
After a disastrous thirty-first birthday party where she gets stood-up by a man she isn’t supposed to be dating, Peri McKenna decides it’s time to change what hasn’t been working—which is pretty much everything. Her love life is going nowhere fast, she’s bored to tears by a job that makes her the office pariah, and the lifelong junk food addiction that used to be somewhat quirky is now positively problematic. To top it all off, her newly-purchased home is falling apart and wishful thinking hasn’t done much to fix the leaky roof.
It’s time be an adult now that she’s officially ‘thirty-something.’ But when the first step of Peri’s self-improvement plan backfires, she starts to wonder if change might be overrated.
Enter Milo Preston, an up-and-coming chef who’s in town to take over a local restaurant. When Peri and Milo begin working together, she finds it hard to ignore his easy charm and captivating emerald-green eyes. Since Milo is her best friend’s estranged brother, Peri has to keep reminding herself that he is completely off-limits. As they grow closer, Milo introduces Peri to new foods, the joy (and pain) of jogging, and makes her think her luck might finally be turning.
But when the past catches up with them, Peri finds herself back at square one. Will she be able to sort herself out—or will the roof cave in on her once and for all?
Cat has a knack for writing such lovely Happily Ever After chick lit novels that have so much heart. I find that some stories that leave you with the warm and fuzzies tend to lack a really good storyline. That doesn't happen with Cat's books. There's also humour in Cat's novels and I love that the romance isn't the main part of the story. Peri's relationship with her best friend, Elsa, is just as important as Peri's relationship with Milo. And, as I mentioned above, Peri's work on herself is the most important thing in the book and that is why this book rocks so much.
Peri in Progress is the perfect pick me up chick lit read - especially with this wintery weather my part of the world has been having. Cat Lavoie has given readers another fantastic and real heroine you can't help but root for. I loved reading Peri's story and think many others will as well.
Read on for a quick Q&A with Cat (it's short because I've interviewed her in 2012 and 2013!) and a tour-wide giveaway.
*A copy of this novel was provided by the publisher, Marching Ink, in exchange for a review as part of this blog tour. All opinions are honest and my own.*
Books Etc.: You're not a full time author (yet) so how do you balance the work that pays the bills, your passion, and life?
Cat Lavoie: It can be a bit tough to balance everything and, sadly, writing time is almost always the first thing to go when life gets hectic. But I try to devote most weekends to my work-in-progress and I also try to get some work done during my lunch breaks. (Working on the dream job can sometimes help brighten up a dreary work day.)
BE: Do you find inspiration for your stories everywhere? How do you decide what to turn into a novel?
CL: I find that I need to "live with" an idea for a little while before I commit to it. I ask myself a lot of "what if?" questions (what if this happened? what if that happened?) and if I'm able to come up with interesting answers, chances are I'll be able to develop the idea into a book. Inspiration can indeed come from everywhere—an overheard conversation, a song, something crazy/funny/weird that happened to me, or my own overactive imagination.
BE: I know you love London and visiting the city. I smiled when Peri peppered Milo with questions about his life there during some of their "get to know you" conversations. What is one thing you have to do the next time you visit London? And do you think you'll set a novel there in the future?
CL: I've visited London twice, but I've never been on a tour of Buckingham Palace. I'd also love to eat in one of Jamie Oliver's restaurant—both things are on my to-do list for my next visit. I'd love to set a book in London and write about a character discovering the city and falling in love with it just like I did so many years ago. (But I think I need to go back before I do that… just to make sure I get everything right!)
Cat Lavoie lives in Montreal, Canada with her tempestuous cat, Abbie. She is the author of BREAKING THE RULES, ZOEY & THE MOMENT OF ZEN, and PERI IN PROGRESS.
If Cat isn't reading or writing, she's most likely watching too much TV or daydreaming about her next trip to London.
Blog Tour Links
January 4 - Chick Lit Plus - Review
January 6 - Cherllynn Writes - Excerpt
January 8 - The Book Chick - Review & Q&A
January 12 - Chick Lit Goddess - Excerpt & Q&A
January 14 - Books Etc - Review & Q&A
January 14 - Living Life With Joy - Excerpt & Q&A
January 15 - Jersey Girl Book Reviews - Review, Excerpt, &Q&A
January 15 - One Book At A Time - Excerpt
January 18 - Around the World In Books - Excerpt
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