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The Last Party

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Some guests were not invited. . . The authors of Santa Monica once again illuminate the dark truths of life in sunny California in this twisty and atmospheric psychological thriller about a 50th birthday celebration on a remote mountainside in Topanga Canyon, where things go terrifyingly wrong. For Los Angeleno Dani Sanders, turning 50 seems like one more disappointment. He Some guests were not invited. . . The authors of Santa Monica once again illuminate the dark truths of life in sunny California in this twisty and atmospheric psychological thriller about a 50th birthday celebration on a remote mountainside in Topanga Canyon, where things go terrifyingly wrong. For Los Angeleno Dani Sanders, turning 50 seems like one more disappointment. Her career has stalled, her nineteen-year-old daughter with developmental issues is regressing, and Dani’s ex-husband Craig, a fertility doctor worshipped by Hollywood’s elite, is forever upending her life. Though she doesn’t feel much like celebrating, she can’t say no when her best friend Mia Markle, a flamboyant and strong-willed actress, insists on planning a “creative” birthday weekend in the wild, wealthy bohemian enclave of Topanga Canyon. On the weekend of the Summer Solstice, Dani and her six closest friends gather in the hills above the canyon at “Celestial Ranch,” 18-acres of rugged, wooded mountainside where they’ll spend three glorious days hiking, practicing meditation and reiki, and enjoying lavish catered cuisine. They will also indulge in a little DMT, a short-acting psychedelic drug meant to open their senses and transport them to a higher plain. But as the weekend unfolds, long-buried tensions, unresolved grievances, and old secrets emerge, leaving Dani desperate for clarity about her life. Dani and her friends take the drug late at night on an open hillside beneath the glittering stars. When Dani returns from her intense and revelatory "trip," she learns that one of her friends has gone missing. Then another disappears. And soon, Dani finds herself alone on the dark mountainside, seemingly abandoned by the people who are supposed to love her most. Or have they somehow been taken from her? What could Dani have possibly done to deserve a devastating birthday night like this—and how will she make it to the morning alone?


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Some guests were not invited. . . The authors of Santa Monica once again illuminate the dark truths of life in sunny California in this twisty and atmospheric psychological thriller about a 50th birthday celebration on a remote mountainside in Topanga Canyon, where things go terrifyingly wrong. For Los Angeleno Dani Sanders, turning 50 seems like one more disappointment. He Some guests were not invited. . . The authors of Santa Monica once again illuminate the dark truths of life in sunny California in this twisty and atmospheric psychological thriller about a 50th birthday celebration on a remote mountainside in Topanga Canyon, where things go terrifyingly wrong. For Los Angeleno Dani Sanders, turning 50 seems like one more disappointment. Her career has stalled, her nineteen-year-old daughter with developmental issues is regressing, and Dani’s ex-husband Craig, a fertility doctor worshipped by Hollywood’s elite, is forever upending her life. Though she doesn’t feel much like celebrating, she can’t say no when her best friend Mia Markle, a flamboyant and strong-willed actress, insists on planning a “creative” birthday weekend in the wild, wealthy bohemian enclave of Topanga Canyon. On the weekend of the Summer Solstice, Dani and her six closest friends gather in the hills above the canyon at “Celestial Ranch,” 18-acres of rugged, wooded mountainside where they’ll spend three glorious days hiking, practicing meditation and reiki, and enjoying lavish catered cuisine. They will also indulge in a little DMT, a short-acting psychedelic drug meant to open their senses and transport them to a higher plain. But as the weekend unfolds, long-buried tensions, unresolved grievances, and old secrets emerge, leaving Dani desperate for clarity about her life. Dani and her friends take the drug late at night on an open hillside beneath the glittering stars. When Dani returns from her intense and revelatory "trip," she learns that one of her friends has gone missing. Then another disappears. And soon, Dani finds herself alone on the dark mountainside, seemingly abandoned by the people who are supposed to love her most. Or have they somehow been taken from her? What could Dani have possibly done to deserve a devastating birthday night like this—and how will she make it to the morning alone?

10 review for The Last Party

  1. 5 out of 5

    Erin Clemence

    Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free, electronic ARC of this novel received in exchange for an honest review. Expected publication date: April 26, 2022 Dawn is turning fifty years old, and after a tumultuous last few years (from divorce, to raising a special needs daughter, to becoming estranged from her close friends), she is excited to be invited to Celestial Canyon- a secluded property in the California canyons- by her (former) best friend, Mia Meadows. Dawn is hopi Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free, electronic ARC of this novel received in exchange for an honest review. Expected publication date: April 26, 2022 Dawn is turning fifty years old, and after a tumultuous last few years (from divorce, to raising a special needs daughter, to becoming estranged from her close friends), she is excited to be invited to Celestial Canyon- a secluded property in the California canyons- by her (former) best friend, Mia Meadows. Dawn is hoping for a reunion and a reconciliation with Dawn and the other invitees, and of course, maybe have a drink or two to celebrate her birthday. But what she gets is far more, and far worse, than what she expected, when uninvited guests show up and issues from the past rear their ugly head. Cassidy Lucas is the pen name for a pair or female authors from Santa Monica, California. “The Last Party” is the pair’s second novel, but it was my introduction to Lucas as a writer and I’m on the fence with how I feel about this story. I did not connect with any of the characters in any substantial way. Dawn was a pushover who willingly complied with narcissistic, self-centred Mia, regardless of what was at risk (even doing ayahuasca), which was completely unbelievable as a fifty-year old woman and mother. I was curious about the backstory of Sybill the psychic but got only tidbits of information, which was disappointing. I thought the author(s) had enough of Sybill to craft an entire novel (and I would’ve gobbled it up!). The story is told from the perspective of various party goers, so the reader gets to know a little bit about everyone. With the chapters easily labeled, this writing style was easy to follow. This novel touches on the topic of vaccination (not Covid vaccines in this case, just general vaccinations) and reinforces a lot of “special needs stereotypes” a la Jenny McCarthy (such as “vaccines causing autism”, autism being a ‘disease’ that requires a ‘cure’, etc.), although this is portrayed more as the opinions and thoughts of a certain group of people, and not the writers specifically. (It definitely should be noted for trigger value though, for its content related to vaccines, vaccine hesitancy, autism and other neuro-atypical challenges however). “The Last Party” had good form and style, but the characters lacked substance. Also, there was a lot of sub-storylines in this novel that I would’ve loved to have seen take centre stage in the plot. Overall, I was just invested enough in the ending of the story to plow through and get to the end

  2. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    This was *chef’s kiss* I absolutely loved it. The Last Party is a cheeky critique of the COVID culture wars and a glimpse into the collapse of the collective American psyche and the descent into madness in which we’ve found ourselves. We have A LOT going on here. I was nervous about the different POVs for a minute but it quickly fell into place. Dawn is an esthetician whose career has hit the skids. She was working out of her home during the shutdowns and got busted. She’s recently gone through a This was *chef’s kiss* I absolutely loved it. The Last Party is a cheeky critique of the COVID culture wars and a glimpse into the collapse of the collective American psyche and the descent into madness in which we’ve found ourselves. We have A LOT going on here. I was nervous about the different POVs for a minute but it quickly fell into place. Dawn is an esthetician whose career has hit the skids. She was working out of her home during the shutdowns and got busted. She’s recently gone through a divorce and her adult daughter on the spectrum is failing to thrive. The one thing she has in her favor is that she’s reconnected with some old friends during the pandemic. We don’t know why they lost touch, but Mia reached out to her. Mia is an actress who, despite some hiccups in her personal life, is relatively successful. She’s playing a Disney mom on TV. We find out Mia and Dawn’s other friends were all brought together by the Nurtury, which is basically a small support group for parents of kids with autism. We know whatever causes the falling out is related to this group and their causes and of course it will be controversial. For Dawn’s 50th birthday, Mia is getting the gang back together again for a rendezvous at Celestial Ranch atop Topanga Canyon. There, we meet our other cast of characters. Sybil, a disgraced psychic and the couple who own the establishment. Twyla works so hard to keep the place up so they have a chance at keeping it in their old age, while Arnold runs around like Kevin from Home Alone setting booby traps to annoy everyone basically. Why not add some hallucinogens? As if that’s not enough, we have Raj, who’s living off the land there. He’s a former tech guru turned refugee from LA, who seemingly came here to escape the dreaded cancel culture. You could just tell in the first few chapters that these are the type of people who rally against 5G and say they trust their immune system and I love picking their brains because it’s unusual to me. I can’t resist COVID fiction OR nonfiction so when I heard it played a role in this, I was immediately intrigued. I worried a bit that it would be TOO political and gang up on one side and it didn’t do that. A lot of people don’t remember that anti-vax was always a thing and it doesn’t necessarily have a political party. Mia’s invite asks us to join them for a weekend of true beauty and beautiful truth and I had a great time! Wait til you see where this leads. Very twisty.. and twisted! This book is getting some rough reviews. I hate to see that. I think it’s underrated and will probably get a second wind later on with a cult following. It’s probably a niche book but we all have to remember that this kind of thing will be historical fiction someday. That’s wild to think about. It’s too soon for some people, the COVID wounds are still fresh. Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read and review and thanks to the authors for showing us a good time!

  3. 5 out of 5

    OutlawPoet

    DNF and a Hell to the no.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    GIRLS WEEKENDS GONE WRONG IS MY FAVORITE MYSTERY GENRE

  5. 5 out of 5

    Erica

    What was this book? Was it written as a drama for the CW but never got picked up because of COVID? I don’t get it. How did any of the events in this book happen? I will write a fuller review later, but this book was a messy plot hole. The Last Party was such a confusing book. I don't understand how this party actually came about. Between all the character narration changes and the actual plot of the book, everything felt muddled. Why was the old man willing to let a drifter scare away these guest What was this book? Was it written as a drama for the CW but never got picked up because of COVID? I don’t get it. How did any of the events in this book happen? I will write a fuller review later, but this book was a messy plot hole. The Last Party was such a confusing book. I don't understand how this party actually came about. Between all the character narration changes and the actual plot of the book, everything felt muddled. Why was the old man willing to let a drifter scare away these guests? Wasn't he concerned about his or his wife's safety? Why did Dawn treat her neurodivergent daughter like a toddler but then leave her alone for hours on end? Why would you go to a party hosted by all the people you screwed over and destroyed their lives? Why were you so casual about committing an affair with your "best friend"? Is getting naked and running around a field a common thing for a birthday party, especially with a married man present? I don't get the brother revenge subplot. I didn't understand most of this book. I also did not understand if the author(s) wanted us to feel sorry for the anti-vaxxer group whose lives were ruined because of Dawn? Like, yes it sucks that you lost your job and had to pay a lot of money, but you are endangering the lives of children so I really don't feel sympathy for your cause. Overall, I found the story problematic and haphazard. I think there were more plot holes than sound plot and I was glad to be done with the book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Caroline | howdidthatbookend

    Looking for spoilers? There's a summary on my blog: https://www.howdidthatbookend.com/cas... If you've read it, please head over there and try to answer some of my questions! Thank you to Harper for a complimentary ARC and to Harper Audio for an ALC in exchange for an honest review. This reminded me a lot of The Long Weekend by Gilly Macmillan. We have a group of frenemies who don't trust each other, a remote vacation rental, and a cooky older couple who own the property. I really like the genre of Looking for spoilers? There's a summary on my blog: https://www.howdidthatbookend.com/cas... If you've read it, please head over there and try to answer some of my questions! Thank you to Harper for a complimentary ARC and to Harper Audio for an ALC in exchange for an honest review. This reminded me a lot of The Long Weekend by Gilly Macmillan. We have a group of frenemies who don't trust each other, a remote vacation rental, and a cooky older couple who own the property. I really like the genre of “girls weekend gone wrong”, so I was excited to dive in. The story started off strong. A group of parents, bound by a support group for their neurodivergent kids? I was here for it. Obviously something had gone wrong within the group, but I was happy to see the rep in the beginning. As soon as the storyline turned towards the anti-vax plot, though, I began to get wary. It could have gone one of two ways: the anti-vaxxers would learn their lesson, or they wouldn’t and I would hate it. I feel like the plot had a lot of potential to be both interesting and informative, but instead it took some odd turns that didn’t make much sense to me. What could have been an interesting look at the harmful effects of anti-vax ideology turned into a somewhat nonsensical revenge plot. If Dawn hadn’t spoken to these people in years, why would she suddenly go on vacation with them (and bring her daughter!) when she thought there might be some bad blood between them? What I loved: Twyla and Arnold’s story. Twyla was certainly cooky, but I really enjoyed her love for her land and animals, as well as her determination to keep doing what she loved. When we finally got to Arnold’s POV I was chuckling to myself, because there’s nothing more amusing than an ornery old man. I also liked how the authors used Twyla, Raj, and Sibyl to give the reader outside opinions of the friend group. Though there were many POVs that changed often, it was done cohesively and was never confusing who was speaking. I also liked that neither Quinn nor any of the other children were made the scapegoat, because I really had the tropes where the neurodivergent person is the bad guy. With both Raj and Sibyl, I didn’t understand the point of including their storylines. While each of their backstories could have made an interesting book on their own, it didn’t really jive with the main plot surrounding Dawn and her friends. We didn’t see enough of them for their stories to feel complete. In the end, I was just left with a lot of questions. Perhaps this was intentional to invite discussion, but to me it just felt incomplete. None of the many storylines were wrapped up in a satisfying way, or even at all. I did read an advanced copy, so maybe some of the plot holes will be ironed out before the final copy is released. I also received my copy a while before I picked it up, so it’s possible they already have been! I will note that the MC was called Dawn in my copy, while she is referred to as Dani in the blurb.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Fowler

    2.5 - ARC NetGalley - The Last Party left me with more questions than answers. {Dawn's fiftieth birthday is approaching, and her best friend Mia is planning a weekend getaway to Celestial Ranch, 18 acres of private property on a mountainside, with their closest friends. The friendships have been rocky, due to an incident over a decade prior, but that is in the past and all is forgiven. Right? The weekend is carefully planned out with many activities, but no one quite expects their last night to g 2.5 - ARC NetGalley - The Last Party left me with more questions than answers.{Dawn's fiftieth birthday is approaching, and her best friend Mia is planning a weekend getaway to Celestial Ranch, 18 acres of private property on a mountainside, with their closest friends. The friendships have been rocky, due to an incident over a decade prior, but that is in the past and all is forgiven. Right? The weekend is carefully planned out with many activities, but no one quite expects their last night to go how it did--certainly not Dawn.} Hear me out OK? I was pleasantly surpised this book flowed so smoothly with the multiple-character POVs throughout. It was a bit confusing the first 5-8 chapters but pulled together nicely. COVID-19 was sprinkled throughout this book, and I'm all for a sense of realism but not this. This illness has been devastating, life-changing, and an everyday occurrence in nearly everyone's life for the last (almost two years), so I certainly don't want to read about it in a fictional book. In my opinion, this isn't a true mystery/thriller. Where was the suspense? Barely anywhere in this story. What about a plot twist? Not really, definitely nothing major that shocked me. No suspense, twist, or thrill was in this book until well past the halfway mark. I don't want to dilute the fact that this was well written with fantastic storytelling. I'm simply disappointed because it had so much potential. SPOILER ALERT - the questions -Raj - Was the main point of his character to show the impacts of COVID-19 and prove a point? I'm a little confused, as his character throughout the book didn't have great placement. I thought maybe something would come of him and Quinn (Dawn's daughter), but nope. Arnold didn't truly need him for the tasks around Celestial Farm. His character just didn't quite fit and the book would have been fine without. -Dawn - What happens between her and Graham? How does she feel after realizing her impact on her friends after their group fell apart. -Jax - I enjoyed this little twist of him being Sibyl's younger brother, but what happens after the basement incident? Surely, he doesn't get away with how he treated Sibyl, right? How do the others act after finding out who he really is? -Twyla and Arnold - Does Twyla find out that Arnolds presumed dementia is an act? Does Twyla find out about all the stuff Arnold set Raj up to do? -Are they all friends still? Were they all really in the first place, especially after everything crumbled with the group? Of course, some things can be left to the imagination. However, I could go on and on, there were several things that did not tie together or were left unanswered.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Luanne Ollivier

    2.5 The Last Party is Cassidy Lucas's new book. It's a first read of this author for me. And quite honestly after reading the first chapter, I thought it might not be. Each chapter is prefaced with a date and a confirmation of whose point of view we're reading. The first chapter introduces Raj (the Drifter). Raj is mentally ill and/or high as a kite. Or both. I finished that first chapter and wondered about what I'd just read. Did I want to keep going? It was curiosity that had me picking up the 2.5 The Last Party is Cassidy Lucas's new book. It's a first read of this author for me. And quite honestly after reading the first chapter, I thought it might not be. Each chapter is prefaced with a date and a confirmation of whose point of view we're reading. The first chapter introduces Raj (the Drifter). Raj is mentally ill and/or high as a kite. Or both. I finished that first chapter and wondered about what I'd just read. Did I want to keep going? It was curiosity that had me picking up the book again. The setting is the Celestial Ranch in the Topango Canyon. Seven old friends get together to celebrate Dawn's fiftieth birthday. Okay, friends might be a stretch. They used to have a connection, but something went wrong many years ago. But it's all good now - right? Each and everyone of the guests is unlikable, dysfunctional and honestly quite cruel. The ranch staff is only Twyla, her husband and a friend of Twyla's who is a psychic. I liked Twyla and that's about it. Everyone else has their own agenda. And the birthday activities? Seriously? I won't reveal them in case you do choose read The Last Party. Bad decisions abound. Peer pressure at fifty. The connections and behaviour of each and every player was patently ridiculous. I still kept reading, because I simply had to know what the ending would bring. Why did the author give Raj the final pages? And end it the way they did? Why not tie up the loose ends of the group of seven? What happened after the basement? On looking at the Cassidy Lucas webpage, I learned that Cassidy Lucas is actually the pen name of writing duo Julia Fierro and Caeli Wolfson Widger. Maybe too many ideas between the two? It felt like every last one seemed to make it into this book. There were some good ideas that would have benefitted from focus, instead of so much and so many. On turning the last page, I felt a kinship with Raj - what the heck just happened....

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ali

    This should've been a DNF but... First things first, thank you to the publisher for this gifted copy. I truly appreciate every book that gets sent to me for review and am so thankful for the opportunities publishers give us as advanced readers. That being said, every book cannot be a winner no matter how excited for it we are or how much we are wanting to give a book a positive review. This book just sucked. It was so confusing and out there, I don't even feel like I understood a majority it. Girl This should've been a DNF but... First things first, thank you to the publisher for this gifted copy. I truly appreciate every book that gets sent to me for review and am so thankful for the opportunities publishers give us as advanced readers. That being said, every book cannot be a winner no matter how excited for it we are or how much we are wanting to give a book a positive review. This book just sucked. It was so confusing and out there, I don't even feel like I understood a majority it. Girls weekend gone wrong is one of my favorite thriller "tropes", but it needs to be done well. THE LAST PARTY has multiple POVs, flashbacks, and a secluded setting, all of which I love. However, there were too many character storylines in this book that simply went nowhere. This story also has a heavy focus on covid-19 which I did NOT anticipate (maybe my fault for going into it blind), but personally, I am in no way ready to read fictional books that include covid-19, except for maybe Jodi Picolt's newest, which has amazing reviews. Let's move onto another gripe of mine, all of the anti covid vax, and vaccines cause ASD mumbo jumbo is straight up not for me. Whatever side the discussion is on, I do not want to read about it in a book. Period. I can't recommend this book at all. It's boring, full of plot holes, and one dimensional characters. The ONLY positive is that it was very short. That's all I got. I would have a better review if I had actually understood what happened.

  10. 4 out of 5

    AndiReads

    A great premise, but a confusing read. On the tail end of the pandemic, Dani (or Dawn) is invited by her old friends to celebrate her 50th birthday in an extravagant weekend in a canyon retreat - a rugged outdoorsy cabin advertising hiking,meditation and great meals. Interspersed with the chapters we also meet Raj, who is a mysterious character involved in a strange unclear goal until the end of the novel. Midway through the book it becomes clear that at least one of the participants at the ranch A great premise, but a confusing read. On the tail end of the pandemic, Dani (or Dawn) is invited by her old friends to celebrate her 50th birthday in an extravagant weekend in a canyon retreat - a rugged outdoorsy cabin advertising hiking,meditation and great meals. Interspersed with the chapters we also meet Raj, who is a mysterious character involved in a strange unclear goal until the end of the novel. Midway through the book it becomes clear that at least one of the participants at the ranch does not have good intentions. Enough flashbacks are provided to provide the backstory to the who/what and why. Still, there was A LOT in this book and it would likely have to be twice as long to wrap up all the outstanding threads. I enjoyed the premise, and the ideas behind most of the characters. There was just too much in one book - autism, anitvaxing, covid, treachery, dementia, family secrets and lot and lots of animals. The end tied up the main issues but left me with so many questions regarding the secondary characters - what happens next to any of them? A few real cliffhangers remain unclear. If you like thriller, this could be the book for you. It' s not a locked room, and it's not a true vacation-gone-wrong, There are lots of covid mentions that make it quite contemporary and I learned a bit about ranch life that I did not know! #NetGalley #TheLast{Party flag 4 likes · Like  · see review Oct 29, 2021 Kori Potenzone rated it really liked it I would assume turning 50 isn't too much fun but for Dani Sanders, turning 50 just feels like another nail in the coffin. Her ex-husband is making her life hell and her daughter is regressing. When her best friend Mia, suggest they celebrate with a little getaway, Danny figures "why not" what could she possibly lose?How about everything....... 6 friends get together for the weekend and decide they want to take a drug that will magnify their senses but the weekend takes a turn for the worse when I would assume turning 50 isn't too much fun but for Dani Sanders, turning 50 just feels like another nail in the coffin. Her ex-husband is making her life hell and her daughter is regressing. When her best friend Mia, suggest they celebrate with a little getaway, Danny figures "why not" what could she possibly lose?How about everything....... 6 friends get together for the weekend and decide they want to take a drug that will magnify their senses but the weekend takes a turn for the worse when secrets, long buried, begin to be exposed. After taking the drug, Dani realizes one of her friends has gone missing, then another. All of a sudden Dani is alone. Did her friends abandon her or did someone take them ? The Last Party was very well written, the character development was on point and the ending was like no other. I really enjoyed this book and I can not wait to see what Cassidy Lucas comes up with next. Thank you Netgalley for allowing me the opportunity to read this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review! flag 3 likes · Like  · see review Jun 08, 2022 Jessica Laguna rated it liked it Shelves: june-2022 This was compulsively listenable, but… was it good? I’m not sure. First of all, if old friends who were mad and hated you for years suddenly decide to throw you a glamorous two day birthday party on a secluded old ranch, you should probably not go. The red flags were on literally every page. There are a couple different storylines here and they are all kind of batshit and unrealistic—made more unrealistic by coexisting in the same book. What I did really like was the integration of current event This was compulsively listenable, but… was it good? I’m not sure. First of all, if old friends who were mad and hated you for years suddenly decide to throw you a glamorous two day birthday party on a secluded old ranch, you should probably not go. The red flags were on literally every page. There are a couple different storylines here and they are all kind of batshit and unrealistic—made more unrealistic by coexisting in the same book. What I did really like was the integration of current events—including COVID so if that not your jam you should skip this one. Overall this was an entertaining read, but probably not one I would recommend to anyone. flag 2 likes · Like  · see review May 07, 2022 Tyler rated it did not like it Shelves: did-not-finish, netgalley DNF at 17%.I have no idea what genre this book is, but it’s not a thriller. Part fantasy, part modern, part weird, way too political. The characters that are not directly involved in the girls weekend are bizarre, and I’m sure they’ll weave into the girls weekend story, but I just can’t be bothered to stick around for it. Thank you NetGalley and Harper for the ARC. flag 2 likes · Like  · see review May 20, 2022 Chelsea Rogers rated it did not like it What did I just read?A story of revenge along with a story about covid?I should have put this book down a quarter way through but I was hoping it would get better. It started to pick up about half way through but then it fell off again, for me. flag 2 likes · Like  · see review Dec 12, 2021 Melissa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Warning: Spoilers ahead, because I don’t know how to talk about this book without mentioning them.I’ll be very honest. I didn’t like this book one bit. In fact, The Last Party gave me very strong wtf is happening here vibes, akin to how I felt reading Leave the World Behind , which is ironically the only book I’ve ever given a 1-star review. The only reason this book didn’t also get a 1-star review was because the underlying twist (that this group of “friends” represents a fraudulent Warning: Spoilers ahead, because I don’t know how to talk about this book without mentioning them.I’ll be very honest. I didn’t like this book one bit. In fact, The Last Party gave me very strong wtf is happening here vibes, akin to how I felt reading Leave the World Behind , which is ironically the only book I’ve ever given a 1-star review. The only reason this book didn’t also get a 1-star review was because the underlying twist (that this group of “friends” represents a fraudulent anti-vaccine forgery ring who got busted) could have actually been a pretty interesting concept, if executed the right way, and I’ve got a soft spot for the batshit crazy, self-appointed-vigilante-justice type of criminals.But this was just weird, confusing, and uncomfortable - from the faux psychic, to the weird drug use, to all the goats, to the unnecessary commentary on Covid-19, to the hallucinating billionaire in the cave... it was just entirely too much. I think I managed to comprehend a revenge plot and a suicide (?) but I am still very confused about most of what I just read. —— ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review! flag 2 likes · Like  · see review Dec 17, 2021 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition This was a little scattered for my taste with too many messages to focus on. Overall the main story of Dawn and her friends was interesting/entertaining but it took a while to get to it through the side stories going on. It seemed like the authors wanted to address maybe too many things for one book. It touched on COVID and vaccines/anti-vaxxers, climate crisis, fraud, religion, among others. It was hard to tell the message on some of them but the main one that corresponded with Dawn's story was This was a little scattered for my taste with too many messages to focus on. Overall the main story of Dawn and her friends was interesting/entertaining but it took a while to get to it through the side stories going on. It seemed like the authors wanted to address maybe too many things for one book. It touched on COVID and vaccines/anti-vaxxers, climate crisis, fraud, religion, among others. It was hard to tell the message on some of them but the main one that corresponded with Dawn's story was vaccines/anti-vaccines which was interesting because I haven't read about that before. Dawn is finally reconnected with her old friends from before "the scandal". She's lost everything but she finally got her friends back and they planning an amazing weekend for her 50th birthday. She can't wait to celebrate at a remote AirBNB property. But is something more sinister going on? This was the story that got me. There are several side stories as well and it was just too much for me for one book I think. But what I can say is that this was a sort of thriller sub-genre. I'm coining it right now and a real housewives thriller and if you like reality tv, real housewives series and DrAmA then you'll enjoy this one. Thanks to NetGalley for my copy to read in exchange for an honest review. flag 2 likes · Like  · see review Nov 24, 2021 Hannah Sutherland rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition Dawn is celebrating her 50th birthday at the tail end of the pandemic. Her old friends have decided to host the birthday celebration over a weekend in a canyon retreat. While at the getaway they decide to take a drug; however, that’s when the weekend takes a turn for the worse. One of her friends has gone missing and then other people keep disappearing. Dawn finds herself alone and tries to figure out if they abandoned her or if they were somehow taken from her. **I haven’t read a book by this a Dawn is celebrating her 50th birthday at the tail end of the pandemic. Her old friends have decided to host the birthday celebration over a weekend in a canyon retreat. While at the getaway they decide to take a drug; however, that’s when the weekend takes a turn for the worse. One of her friends has gone missing and then other people keep disappearing. Dawn finds herself alone and tries to figure out if they abandoned her or if they were somehow taken from her. **I haven’t read a book by this author before. The Last Party started out very slow and left me with more questions than answers. I thought that the author did a good job with the writing and storytelling, but this was just a hard book for me to really get into. There are some mentions of COVID and the pandemic in the book and I feel like that could have made it difficult for me to really get into this book because of how devastating the pandemic has been. I also felt like this book didn’t have a lot of suspense and the part that did was in the last 35% of the book. Overall, I still enjoyed the authors writing and would try another book by her in the future. flag 2 likes · Like  · see review View 2 comments Feb 19, 2022 Roxanne [Blushing Bibliophile] rated it it was ok I'm not going to lie... This book was a bit of a struggle for me. I am all for a book feeling relevant, but throwing in Covid just didn't work. It is still too real and raw to want to read about the craziness we are dealing with in our lives currently. .I didn't find the "twists" surprising or very exciting. However, I will say there was a nice flow despite there being so many different POVs. Perhaps if I read this a few years from now I would enjoy it more. I'm not going to lie... This book was a bit of a struggle for me. I am all for a book feeling relevant, but throwing in Covid just didn't work. It is still too real and raw to want to read about the craziness we are dealing with in our lives currently. .I didn't find the "twists" surprising or very exciting. However, I will say there was a nice flow despite there being so many different POVs. Perhaps if I read this a few years from now I would enjoy it more. flag 2 likes · Like  · see review Mar 24, 2022 Mrs C rated it did not like it The blurb seemed like it was going to be something...but I read it and I got lost pretty quickly. What was this book about? A party with a bunch of unlikeable characters whose fate I did not care about. The author tried to cram as many topics here and forgot that one must actually have a narrative the reader needs to be able to follow in order to absorb said topics. Review copy provided by the publisher. flag 2 likes · Like  · see review Jun 03, 2022 Rachel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition I always finish a book I start, otherwise this would have been a DNF. It varied between being boring, and between me not having any idea why the characters were doing what they were doing. Very strange, and not at all what I thought it was going to be. Save yourself and choose another book. flag 1 like · Like  · see review Mar 30, 2022 AM rated it it was ok I was left with more questions than answers. So, what happens next? Not quite a "cliff hanger" , and I wouldn't read a sequel if there should be one. But, some type of closure would have been nice.I also could not connect to any of the characters. And there were a few that I don't see a reason for them being in the story. I was left with more questions than answers. So, what happens next? Not quite a "cliff hanger" , and I wouldn't read a sequel if there should be one. But, some type of closure would have been nice.I also could not connect to any of the characters. And there were a few that I don't see a reason for them being in the story. flag 1 like · Like  · see review Jan 23, 2022 Katie Devine rated it it was amazing Set aside a day to read this fast-paced thriller, set in the wilds of Topanga, above the rest of Los Angeles, with its multiple mysteries and dynamic cast of characters with secrets all in one breathless gulp. It twists and turns through the canyon while the land crackles with energy and the characters unravel the real purpose of their weekend celebration. Excited to read another page-turner by Cassidy Lucas! flag 1 like · Like  · see review Nov 09, 2021 Heather rated it liked it This ARC was provided to me via Kindle by Harper Perennial and Paperbacks, Harper Paperbacks and #NetGalley for my honest opinion. Opinions expressed are completely my own. I’m full of questions unfortunately. flag 1 like · Like  · see review Apr 07, 2022 Gabrielle rated it did not like it Shelves: first-reads, from-the-author, fiction, did-not-finish-couldn-t-get-into I received a copy of this book free in exchange for my honest review. To put it simply I did not like this. I could not understand what I was reading or follow along at all. I would probably not try to read this one again. It was really disappointing for me overall. flag 1 like · Like  · see review Oct 24, 2021 KerryO rated it it was ok A thriller this book was not!!! The characters were boring and extremely vapid. It was a slog to finish this book. I received an ARC from NetGalley, and the opinions expressed are my own. flag 2 likes · Like  · see review Apr 07, 2022 Rachel Landis rated it did not like it Shelves: dnf, arcs did not like this at all either. i'm sorry but it was incredibly difficult to get through and just wasn't for me. did not like this at all either. i'm sorry but it was incredibly difficult to get through and just wasn't for me. flag 1 like · Like  · see review Apr 18, 2022 Alyson | alysonbookishthoughts rated it did not like it This was such a strange book. Had I read it, I definitely would have DNF’ed it, but the audio had me wanting to know what was going on even though the storyline was so bad. flag 1 like · Like  · see review May 02, 2022 Carrie rated it did not like it A cruel, hateful, book, full of cruel hateful characters. A book that should not have been written. flag 1 like · Like  · see review Apr 19, 2022 Sam Hughes rated it really liked it First of all I need to thank Harper for sending me this finished copy of Cassidy Lucas' The Last Party set to publish Tuesday, April 26th. Holy Moly that was messy. The writers behind Cassidy Lucas sure know how to write a cast of villains horrid enough for me to hate them. Deep in the Santa Monica valley lies the ever-privileged anti-vaxx WASP mothers of children with exceptionalities (Aspergers Syndrome, Autism, a various other on-the-spectrum conditions.) The 5 parents find themselves bonded First of all I need to thank Harper for sending me this finished copy of Cassidy Lucas' The Last Party set to publish Tuesday, April 26th. Holy Moly that was messy. The writers behind Cassidy Lucas sure know how to write a cast of villains horrid enough for me to hate them. Deep in the Santa Monica valley lies the ever-privileged anti-vaxx WASP mothers of children with exceptionalities (Aspergers Syndrome, Autism, a various other on-the-spectrum conditions.) The 5 parents find themselves bonded together under the direction of the great Reece Mayall and her business: The Nurtury - A Center for Child Development. Thick as thieves and in it for the long run, this collection of guardians works their "hardest" to accept their child's differences and continue parenting in the best way they can (Cough, cough, without the help of vaccinations, of course, cough cough.) I rolled my eyes so hard as I typed that. When a scandal breaks loose amongst The Nurtury the group splits ways for a little over a decade. Flash forward to 2022, it's Dawn's 50th birthday and the gang is getting back together to celebrate their dear "friend's" 50th trip around the sun... With Dawn's co-dependent daughter in tow, the friends head out to the magic of the wilderness for a three day Glamping experience of sorts to ring into the celebration with an off-grid appeal. While Dawn is happy and nervous to have her best friends back in her life, are their intentions for Dawn really the best and will this party end well? Old secrets and scandals are dug up after this unique cast of characters reunites for a weekend of madness, including a few guests of honor that weren't necessarily invited but find their way on-site. I found myself constantly turning the pages, trying to figure out what was going on at this To-Good-To-Be-True Getaway and I'm hoping others will too! flag Like  · see review Mar 23, 2022 Ann rated it really liked it This book was very well written. You knew something was about to happen but couldn't figure out what or when. It was a very good bookFor Los Angeleno Dani Sanders, turning 50 seems like one more disappointment. Her career has stalled, her nineteen-year-old daughter with developmental issues is regressing, and Dani’s ex-husband Craig, a fertility doctor worshipped by Hollywood’s elite, is forever upending her life. Though she doesn’t feel much like celebrating, she can’t say no when her best frie This book was very well written. You knew something was about to happen but couldn't figure out what or when. It was a very good bookFor Los Angeleno Dani Sanders, turning 50 seems like one more disappointment. Her career has stalled, her nineteen-year-old daughter with developmental issues is regressing, and Dani’s ex-husband Craig, a fertility doctor worshipped by Hollywood’s elite, is forever upending her life. Though she doesn’t feel much like celebrating, she can’t say no when her best friend Mia Markle, a flamboyant and strong-willed actress, insists on planning a “creative” birthday weekend in the wild, wealthy bohemian enclave of Topanga Canyon.On the weekend of the Summer Solstice, Dani and her six closest friends gather in the hills above the canyon at “Celestial Ranch,” 18-acres of rugged, wooded mountainside where they’ll spend three glorious days hiking, practicing meditation and reiki, and enjoying lavish catered cuisine. They will also indulge in a little DMT, a short-acting psychedelic drug meant to open their senses and transport them to a higher plain. But as the weekend unfolds, long-buried tensions, unresolved grievances, and old secrets emerge, leaving Dani desperate for clarity about her life.Dani and her friends take the drug late at night on an open hillside beneath the glittering stars. When Dani returns from her intense and revelatory "trip," she learns that one of her friends has gone missing. Then another disappears. And soon, Dani finds herself alone on the dark mountainside, seemingly abandoned by the people who are supposed to love her most.Or have they somehow been taken from her?What could Dani have possibly done to deserve a devastating birthday night like this—and how will she make it to the morning alone? flag Like  · see review « previous 1 2 next »

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