Friday, August 29, 2014

{Book Talk} The Truth About Alice: Jennifer Matthieu

Rating: 9/10
Series: None
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic, Fiction, Young Adult, Romance,
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
Page Count: 199
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

Barnes & Nobles ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis: Everyone knows Alice slept with two guys at one party.

But did you know Alice was sexting Brandon when he crashed his car?

It's true. Ask ANYBODY.

Rumor has it that Alice Franklin is a slut. It's written all over the bathroom stall at Healy High for everyone to see. And after star quarterback Brandon Fitzsimmons dies in a car accident, the rumors start to spiral out of control.

In this remarkable debut novel, four Healy High students—the girl who has the infamous party, the car accident survivor, the former best friend, and the boy next door—tell all they know.

But exactly what is the truth about Alice? In the end there's only one person to ask: Alice herself.

***If you haven't read a review on Loving the Language of Literacy before, be aware that a "Book Review" means all of my NON spoilery thoughts, while a "Book Talk" means a full-out discussion of the book, spoilers and all***

Who Would I Recommend This Book To?

Fans of Falling Into Place (Amy Zhang), Tease (Amanda Maciel), Before I Fall (Lauren Oliver). Hard-core realistic fiction.

Would I Buy It?

This question goes hand in hand with re-readability. It definitely wouldn't be my first purchase with an allotted book budget, but if I was buying books for the sake of adorning my bookshelves with beautiful novels I love.... then 100%.

Background &  Backstory

I have been wanting to read The Truth About Alice probably since the beginning of March when it first showed up on Netgalley. I wasn't approved *tear slides down cheek* but after reading a ton of reviews, it quickly became one of my most anticipated reads of 2014 and let me tell you, it DID NOT disappoint.

What Was My Reaction After I Finished This Book?

Why are you so short? Why? After I've gotten so attached.

So there are FOUR different points of views and intertwining stories that all tell the main character's -Alice's- story. Now I have never read a book like this (unless you count Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang which is an entirely different story), and don't think I ever will again. These four characters -Josh, Elaine, Kelsie, and Kurt- all know Alice somehow. Even if one of them wasn't her former best friend (Kelsie) or had been in love with her since the first time they had met (Kurt), they all knew at least a little bit about her.... the truth. 

Kurt: I loved this guy. He was the quirky nerd that wasn't liked by that many people, and his piece to the puzzle was, at least in my opinion, the most heartbreaking because of the relationship that had evolved between him and Alice by the time the story ended. It just seemed so perfect to add him to the story as someone who idolized Alice and became her one true friend in the midst of the hurricane/disaster that had became her life. Their friendship never turned into a romance. I thought this was a wise decision because of all the rumors about Alice being a slut and then the two of them never do anything that would prove that statement correct. The prospect of them being together, at the very end, just warmed my heart and filled me with ambrosia and nectar goodness.

Kelsie: Why is this b*tch allowed to be in the story? Per human society, it doesn't hurt as much when an enemy does something versus a former friend who you believed would always have your back. Kelsie hurts Alice in such a hypocritical way, and what she did -writing on the "slut stall" that Alice had had an abortion- was so despicable and utterly atrocious.  

Elaine: I get that Elaine's mother had body issues and then proceeded to drag her daughter through the cracks. I get that we needed a front-seat antagonist. I get that Elaine is popular. She was the least likable of the quartet, probably because she was the "popular girl." This angle worked for her in the story, as do most, but I couldn't relate to her, and she was so shallow I wanted to pull my hair out.

Josh: Why the frick would you tell Brandon's mom that it was Alice's fault Brandon died? I mean, what was going through your freaking head? So much of Alice's pain and struggle in this story could have been avoided if Josh could have put his big girl panties on and dealt with the truth/consequences of what he did. He was the classic football jock, but the trope worked for him. I got so many hints throughout the story that Josh was gay and had had a crush on Brandon, and by the looks of reviews.... I'm not the only one.

Even though the plot twist was predictable.... I didn't predict it (as always), but I do think that if you haven't been spoiled or if you aren't very smart when it comes to plot arc (you and me both) that you will enjoy the story so much more. Similar to Falling Into Place, scattered bits and pieces of plot was revealed as the story went on, and the reality of the matter was quite astonishing. 

How Likely Is It That I Will Re-Read This Book?

What I loved about The Truth About Alice was the masterful way everything fell into place, so we could learn the Truth About Alice. After knowing the ending, I'm not sure I would want to re-read it cover to cover. So the re-readability isn't very high because in that aspect..... it's like a mystery novel.

How Likely Is It That I Will Read Other Books Written By The Author?

The Truth About Alice was Jennifer Matthieu's debut novel, but it definitely has a place in my mental "list of debut authors I really need to read more books by" and we already have a title for her next book -DEVOTED- which is being released in 2015. I don't know anything about the book or its premise, but I am so looking forward to more of Jennifer's wonderful writing.

How Likely Is It That This Book Could Become Required Reading?

(New Review Category! *does happy dance*) I think The Truth About Alice would have a decent chance at becoming required reading. If you have read the novel, you will have seen the power of rumors, gossip, and slut shaming. I think this is an extremely important lesson for adolescents (such as myself), and The Truth About Alice is short, yet concise enough to get the message across without becoming bored with the story.


What Were Your Thoughts On.....
-The fact that it was actually Kelsie who had the abortion, but then turned it around to accuse Alice?
-How far everything went
-Do you think it was right that Kurt held in the information that could clear Alice's name?
-Do you think Elaine had the right to try to make amends with Alice?
-Do you think Josh was gay?
-If there was an epilogue, do you think Kurt and Alice would become a couple?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Flurry of Ponderings' Blogger Quiz

Let's be honest, I wasn't sure what I wanted to post today, so you're getting my answers to a handy little  quiz A Flurry of Ponderings has created (we'll just forget the fact that the link-up closed a long time ago). Personally, I love these kinds of tags and/or quizzes because they let you know a little more about myself as well as maybe expose you to new books you haven't heard of previously so without further ado.... The Blogger Quiz.

What are your top three book pet peeves?

Particular me is now wondering whether she meant my pet peeves about the book itself (condition) or the book's content (insta-love). 

My top three pet peeves about the physical book: 

Would it kill you to make the cover that much longer?

1. When it's really large, and has that strip of color on the actual first page of the book, which makes the paperback cover a centimeter shorter than it should be. 
Book One!
2. The order of the books aren't labeled. I mean, how hard would it be for the book jacket designer to put SOMEWHERE what number the book is. Instead, I have to rely on the praise on the back for what I'm guessing, is the previous book. 

This could be book one or 79 for all the information this jacket gives me.
3. When my paperback library books have stupid stickers covering the synopsis. I mean, you're librarians, you want to encourage the reading of the book, not make the reader clueless as to whether or not they want to read it. Us 21st century teenagers are too lazy to drag out our phones to view the full synopsis.

I might want to know what kind of person Celaena is

My top three pet peeves about the book's content: 

1. A Slow Beginning. I know a lot of books have good, quality content with vivid description that makes them a bit slow paced. But would it kill an author to introduce the story in an action-packed, epic way? For example, a lot of high fantasy books need a lot of world-building, therefore slowing down the book's pace, but an author could easily insert an awesome scene where the main character fights against some terrifying force that looms over them for the entire series.

2. Common Dystopian Tropes. I know in the past few years, dystopia has EXPLODED and I love that. What I do not love is feeling like I read a book thats content was copied and pasted. It seems like if you add something special to the book "everyone has a clone in the world that they need to kill" then make the protagonist want to rebel against the government, then BOOM. Bestselling dystopia. [I haven't read Dualed by Elsie Chapman yet, but the book was on the top of my head, but don't let me deter you from the book just because I used its premise as an example]

3. Common Love Triangles. I say common because there are some love triangles that I LOVE and am sincerely torn between which character the protagonist should choose. Yet, nowadays, so many of these love triangles are the same.... the longtime-best-friend-turned-boyfriend and the new-dark-and-mysterious-guy-thrust-into-the-story-to-create-conflict

What book would you love to see come out as a movie?

I have not had much luck with movie adaptations, in terms of liking the adaptation. I think We Were Liars by E. Lockhart would be an interesting adaptation. If you don't know, there's a huge plot twist in the end, and I would love to see how a director could convey the series of events without making the plot twist evident.

What are three bookish secrets?

1. At times, I will start four books at different times, then gradually read pieces of all of them until a week later when I FINALLY finish them all.... usually within a period of one or two days. I don't know why I can't read a book from cover to cover then pick up the next one like a normal person.

2. I am horrible at reading TBR books that I own. Library books are no problem, I go through them like nobody's business. Yet, once I own the book, I pretty much forget about it, or give it up in exchange for other books because library books have a deadline and I feel compelled to make them my priority.

3. I procrastinate when it comes to blog tour books. Even if it was a tour I was DYING to participate in, I am known to be up late the night before my tour date trying to finish the darn book. You would think the deadline would make me read it immediately (like with library books) but it kind of deters me. My brain obviously doesn't like sticking with one opinion or pattern.

When was the last time you cried during a book?

I don't cry because of books. I'm emotionless.

How many books are on your nightstand or on the floor by your bed?

19. There are 19 books on my nightstand and other surface where I keep my TBR books because I ran out of room. on my nightstand. Yeah.... I have issues. 

Do you read with music on or in silence? What music do you listen to?

95% of the time I read with music. Most of the time I just put on Pandora or a Spotify playlist and just listen to that. I find it comforting because I'm the kind of person that doesn't like silence much, and at times it's really ironic when the music matches the events in my book. 

Name three books you would recommend to everyone.




What is your most anticipated book of 2014 that has yet to be released?

EVERYONE who has ever visited Loving the Language of Literacy before knows the answer to this is The Young Elites by Marie Lu.
Describe your reading style in 5 or less words:

Young Adult

What are four of your favorite book character names?

1. June: Legend Trilogy 
2. Waren: Shatter Me Trilogy
3. Jaron: Ascendance Trilogy
4. Celaena: Throne of Glass
5. Elise Dembowski: This Song Will Save Your Life 

Monday, August 25, 2014

{Book Talk} The Assassin's Blade: Sarah J. Maas

Rating: 8/10
Series: Throne of Glass 0.1-0.5
Genre: High Fantasy, Adventure, Action, Romance, Young Adult, Fiction,
Publisher: Bloomsburry Childrens
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Page Count: 435
Format: Hardcover/eBook
Source: Library

Barnes & Nobles ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis: Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan's most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin's Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas - together in one edition for the first time - Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn's orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.

***In Loving the Language of Literacy, a Book Review means that the review is spoiler free. Meanwhile, a Book Talk means that the review has spoilers. So in case you haven't read the book.... you are forewarned***

Who Would I Recommend This Book To?

Anyone in search of a high, epic fantasy with the perfect blend of kick-assery and a touch of romance

Would I Buy It?

There's a 90% chance I would buy The Assassin's Blade to grow my collection of Sarah J. Maas novels, and I am hoping to go to her book signing in September, so I would obviously want to own the book for that occasion.

Background & Backstory

I have read Throne of Glass, and while I did not ever finish writing my review of it (it's literally sitting in my drafts), I did give it 4 out of 5 stars. So obviously, I would want to dig my teeth into anything else Maas has written. And to be honest, I actually enjoyed The Assassin's Blade more than I enjoyed Throne of Glass.

The backstory for this novel is that I had borrowed the eBooks of novellas 0.1, 0.3-0.5. I would have borrowed 0.2, but it's exclusive ONLY to the hard copy of The Assassin's Blade. Long story short, I read the ones I was capable of borrowing on my iPad, then had to go to the library to pick up the book in hard copy so I could read 0.2 aka The Assassin and the Healer. 

What Was My Reaction After I Finished This Book?

Why must the world be so cruel to me?

How Necessary Is It To Read The Assassin's Blade?

While The Assassin's Blade isn't ABSOLUTELY needed in the series (Maas provides enough back story and explanation in the novel), it is absolutely necessary so you, as the reader, can get more out of the series by knowing everything that had happened before and all of the catalysts for what happened in Throne of Glass. As I said, I enjoyed The Assassin's Blade more than Throne of Glass itself, so that alone should tell you at least something about the enjoyment level, if not informational content. 

How Necessary Is It To Read The Novellas In Order?

Even though you can read each novella on its own and in any order, you could also consider The Assassin's Blade a complete, 50,000 word count novel. I read them in order, but skipped one and was confused, because even though it isn't vital to read The Assassin's Blade from cover to cover, it was as if you read Chapters 1-5 then 11-25, THEN came back for Chapters 6-10.


I tweeted the other day that I know Sam died, but I am officially Team Sam. Basically forget you Chaol and Dorian. This is because Celaena and Sam are just so darn cute. While Celaena's relationships with Dorian and Chaol seemed a little insta-lovey to me, Sam and Celaena have had years to develop their friendship, and as luck may have it.... they've fallen in love with each other. The way their relationship came about could be considered cliche, but I loved being able to see their progression from the first novella to the last, and that made it all the more heartbreaking when we learned exactly how Sam was brutally murdered.

"Death, at least, was quick. Especially when dealt by her hand. But slavery was unending suffering." --- 47% The Assassin and the Pirate Lord

While Celaena annoyed me to no end, it was fascinating to see her views on slavery, and the level of passion she had for slavery. In both 0.1 and 0.4, her downfall is caring too much about them, which is ironic considering how cold-blooded she can be.


Celaena. That was literally the only con in the entire novella bind-up. Celaena. 

"Oh it was so nice to be back in civilization, wither her beautiful clothes and shoes and jewels and cosmetics and all the luxuries she'd have to spend the summer without." --- 17% The Assassin and the Underworld.

I can't tell you how many times I have read or watched reviews that admire Celaena as a strong, badass female protagonist and that annoys me SOOO much. In my humble opinion, she's a whiny, self-entitled, riches-obsessed, selfish, spoiled brat. I know I'm being harsh on her.... but come on! I highlighted every section where Celaena annoyed me, and let me tell you, there are a lot. Because the amount of times she said she was "Ardalan's Best Assassin" got on my last nerves. She acted like, "Poor me, I'm not the center of attention any more."

"As she walked back to her room, Celaena had a horrible feeling that here, being Ardalan's Assassin might not count for much." ---The Assassin and the Desert 32% 

0.1 The Assassin and the Pirate Lord 5/10

"I'm surprised Arobyn hasn't made you check your arrogance," --- 29% The Assassin and the Pirate Lord

I'm sorry, I flat out didn't like this novella. While what Celaena did was valiant -freeing the slaves- there was a lot of excess fluff, and I personally believe that it could have been a heck of a lot more fast paced. On the flip side aka. the +5 in the rating, I have to give it some credit since we were just being introduced to the new cast of characters, and the writing style was incredibly descriptive and rich without being boring.

"A city of light and music, watched over by an alabaster castle with an opal tower so bright it could be viewed for miles." ---53% The Assassin and the Pirate Lord

0.2 The Assassin and the Healer 7/10

Going into this novella, I thought the story was about Ben, the other man Celaena briefly fancied before Sam and the Silent Assassin's son. Obviously, it was mentioned that Ben had died in the previous novella, but for some reason, my brain was convinced that the story would go back in time. So I was surprised to learn that TAatH was set in the period before Celaena went to the Red Desert. The concept of the story was nice, it wasn't fast paced, but it did provide some insight on Celaena's ability to feel compassion for people other than herself, and her ideals on feminism in whatever fantastical time period Throne of Glass takes place in.

0.3 The Assassin and the Desert 8/10

"For all she knew, Ansel might be better than her. The thought didn't sit well." --- The Assassin and the Desert 11%

As you can see, this was my favorite novella of all of them and I think that it's because I loved how Maas plopped us into an ENTIRELY different environment with new characters, rules, and customs. In fact, if she wanted to write a novella about Celaena going back to or getting helped by the Silent Assassins, I would read it in a heartbeat. While the assassins of the north are brutal, the Silent Assassins kill with a purpose and are strangely zen, kind of like the stereotypical ones from the Disney Channel move - Wendy Wu Homecoming Warrior.

"Her taste for very expensive and very delicate underwear wouldn't do much for her reputation." ---14% The Assassin and the Desert

0.4 The Assassin and the Underworld 7.5/10

"Father, brother, lover - he'd never really declared himself any of them. He loved her like family, yet he put her in the most dangerous positions. HE nurtured and educated her, yet he'd obliterated innocence the first time he'd made her enda life. He'd given her everything, but he'd also taken everything away." --- 6% 

This is the novella where Sam and Celaena FINALLY get together, so that's what takes presidency in my mind, but the story is interesting as well. We also got closer look at Arobyn and how he raised Celaena, as well as their complex relationship. He's basically the Anderson (Shatter Me Reference) of the Throne of Glass world. He's manipulative, a psychopath, and powerful.... just my kind of guy. Just kidding, but I feel an urge to give him kudos for how he tricked and twisted Celaena's perception.

0.5 The Assassin and the Empire 7/10

I have to admit, at the beginning of the novella, I had no idea how it would end where Throne of Glass began, but the way everything came together was glorious, if not a little painful for my feels. I was on the edge of my seat, trying to figure out what wire Celaena would trip, to make her end up in Endovier. Of course, it was love that was her downfall, and her fragile state of mind after Sam was murdered - turning her gullible. 

How Likely Is It That I Will Re-Read This Book?

I'm not sure I would ever re-read the book from start to finish, unless it was 2016 and I was rereading the entire series so I could marathon all of the books. But I do know for a fact that I would want to re-read my favorite novella from it.

How Likely Is It That I Will Continue On With The Series?

I will 100% be continuing on with the Throne of Glass series especially because Crown of Midnight is actually the next book on my TBR after I finish up what I'm currently reading (Don't library holds rock?).

Conclusion: The Assassin's Blade was a much-needed addition to the Throne of Glass series so us readers could be further exposed to the fantastical world Maas has created, and to provide in-depth background when it came to the catalysts behind so many of the characters seemingly odd exteriors.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

{Blog Tour+Giveaway+Excerpt} Lore Anthology

Authors: Brinda Berry, Cate Dean, Jayne A. Knolls, Karen Y. Bynum, Laura Diamond, Theresa DaLayne
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, Young Adult, Fiction,
Publisher: Sweet Biscuit Publishing LLC
Publication Date: March 22, 2014
Page Count: 284

Synopsis: A collection of six folklore retellings that will twist your mind and claim your heart. 

SHIMMER: A heartbroken boy rescues a mermaid… but is it too late to save her? 

BETWEEN is about a girl, a genie, and a ton of bad decisions. 

SUNSET MOON: Eloise doesn’t believe in Native American magic–until the dreamcatcher spiders spin her down an unknown path. 

THE MAKER: An incapacitated young man bent on revenge builds a creature to do it for him. 

A BEAUTIFUL MOURNING: The story of a Maya goddess torn between duty and love, and the ultimate sacrifice she must make to achieve true happiness. 

THE BARRICADES: When a human girl risks everything to save the life of an Eternal prince, will their feelings for each other change the world they know, or tear it apart?

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Between by Karen Y. Bynum ~ 

God, what had Lucy done? She rubbed the butterfly charm at her throat. She should never have ignored Natasha’s calls. If Lucy had just sucked it up and broken up with her, Natasha wouldn’t have shown up at Gaston. And Lucy wouldn’t have belittled her in front of the Royals. Her stomach churned, and she clutched the charm. Natasha’s grandmother had given it to her, and she hadn’t ever taken it off—until the day she gave it to Lucy. She swallowed her own shame and ripped the chain from her neck. She couldn’t look at it anymore. Couldn’t stand to feel its guilt weighing her down. 

“I wish I could just forget you!” She threw the necklace into the abyss of the closet. Holding herself, she wept with her head pressed back against the wall. Slow, gasping tears quickly turned into sobs so gut-wrenching they made her teeth hurt. 

“You can’t wish to forget.” 

She froze mid-sniff. The blood must have drained from her face because her tears scorched as they rolled down her icy cheeks. A shadow moved in her peripheral vision. 

Slowly, she lifted her head. Gasping, she pressed her hands to the floor, ready to jump up and haul ass. But in car-wreck fashion, she couldn’t look away. Fire floated in front of her. Her heart pounded painfully against her ribs. Was the house burning down? Surely not. The flames didn’t seem to be spreading. Instead, they drew down, drew together until they had a distinctly human shape. And eyes. Oh, God, the eyes. They glowed a frightening green, dark and bright at the same time. 

This was just like every horror movie Lucy had ever seen. Her time had come. Either this thing would drag her to Hell or she’d be acting out The Exorcist any second. She wiped away a streak of tears. 

Forcing herself to stand, to acknowledge what she’d done, she said, “This is about Natasha. Isn’t it?” 

The figure didn’t move forward. It just lowered its arms, smaller flames sparking away from the movement. Why didn’t the closet catch fire? 

“I’m here,” it said, “to grant you three wishes.”

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Bout of Books 11.0 TBR/Updates/Results


For this week's Bout of Books 11.0, my goal is just to read 150 pages a day. This may not sound like a lot, especially compared to my normal amount of reading I do, but there is a lot going on this week, including my mom's memorial, so I'm trying not to bite off more than I can chew. I also want to update this page every day, and complete at least one challenge a day (even if I have to combine two day's challenge's in one post). As always, my TBR is very large, not because I intend to read all of those books, but because I have serious issues trying to stick to a TBR, and during a readathon, you want to be able to have plenty of choices.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

{Book Review} Audacious #1: Gabrielle Prendergast

Rating: 9/10
Series: Audacious #1
Genre: Poetry, Verse, Contemporary Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Romance, Young Adult, Fiction,
Publisher: Orca
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Page Count: 327
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

Goodreads Synopsis: Sixteen year old Raphaelle is that girl who says the wrong thing, who crosses the wrong person, who has the wrong hair, the wrong body, the wrong attitude, the totally wrong clothes. She can’t do anything right, except draw, but she draws the wrong pictures. When her father moves the family to a small prairie city, Raphaelle wants to leave behind the misfit rebel, the outcast, the vengeful trouble-maker she was. Reborn as “Ella,” she plans fit in at her new school, while her perfect younger sister goes to the Catholic girls’ school and her emotionally fragile mother looks for a job.

But Ella might just be a different kind of misfit. She’s drawn to a brooding boy in her art class, Samir, and expresses her confused feelings in an explicit artwork. When a classmate texts a photo of Ella’s art to a younger friend, the horrendous fallout spreads though Ella’s life like an uncontrollable disease. Ella is expelled from school and faces pornography charges, her mother is hospitalized, her sister fails all her classes, and her distant father finally notices something is wrong.

Who Would I Recommend This Book To?

Anyone in the mood for gritty, teen fiction 
A book that does not skim lightly over the "hard stuff" 
Something that is brutally, sometimes painfully honest 
Beautiful, thought-provoking writing style
Fans of Ellen Hopkins, Laurie Halse Anderson, and David Levithan

What Was My Reaction After I Finished This Book?

Why the hell would Audacious end like that?

Background & Backstory

I haven't heard about this book too much throughout the Blogosphere. The only reason I picked it up at all was because of Jayne @ Fiction_The New Reality's and remembered that she loved it. It was on my library's featured shelves, and I wasn't even sure it was the correct book, but I opened it, saw the verse, and immediately put it in the pile of books I was going to check out. What I will say is that you have to be in the mood to read Audacious, as it was a dark novel, and not for the faint of heart. Also, if you're in the mood for some gorgeous writing that will make you think. Because of the writing, this review will be a quote review, and frankly, I am wondering how I didn't tab every single page in this novel.

Quote Review

"I feel like a shirt
That's been washed too many times.
Faded and worn.
I've run my entire love-life cycle
Beginning, middle and end
Wash, risne and dry
In one 24 hour period." 

The best way to describe Audacious is.... Audacious. It's the kind of book which deals with a mature subject matter and doesn't blur any lines. There isn't a single line that speaks lies. If Audacious was known on a more national level, I am 100% certain that it would be added to the ever-growing list of banned books in schools. Now I'm certain that there have been books written about censorship and making mistakes by spreading images/information via social media. Yet, I'm sure that those books don't take the approach that Audacious does. While other books may be seen as cautionary tales, or as 
judgements made from people observing the situation. Audacious was real, raw, and intentional. 

"I recognize the desperation
The careful measuring of every word and move
The calculation
Can I afford to slip today?
Where am I on the populometer?
.... A liability with my mismatched shoes.
.... Me, they know, they can't afford" 
--- P45.

I know not many people have heard of the book I am about to mention, but I sincerely think more people should, and that book is Dear Nobody: The True Diary of Mary Rose. This book was similar in terms of voice, risky decisions the protagonists make, and the quality of content. Instead of trying to explain myself (again) when it comes to the brutal authenticity of events, all you have to do is read the review. 

"Faith is lost
Morals are challenged
I long to curse, and paint nudity
And reveal lies and weakness
And stupidity.
I long to draw the eyes of other
To themselves
And their failings
And away from me
And mine" 
--- P32.

The difference between Raphaelle and almost every other main character of these types of stories (where everything goes to hell) is that what Raphaelle did was deliberate. Call it risky, call it genius.... call it stupidity, whatever label you stick on it, the fact remains that Raphaelle acted with a purpose and she knew what trouble she could/would get into because of it. Even though I thought Raphaelle made -what I would consider- a bad decision, I 100% see where she was coming from and think, if I was in her situation, that I would have made the same decision. 

"Real art requires risk, she says
And a certain willingness
To be exposed
And vulnerable
Not to scrutiny but to criticism
And even condemnation....
Well done"

It is no secret (IRL or online) that I hate Common Core with a fiery passion. It is also no secret that Raphaelle despises conforming to the norm, fake or jaded people, and the general group mentality that tends to show up in High School in general. Now, I'm not saying that I would do something as drastic as Raphaelle to show how much I disagree with Common Core, but I know that I have the same level of intense feelings as her and might, if provoked, do something as risky. So even though everything has gone to hell by the time the quote is said, I know that Raphaelle (as well as myself) feels so liberated and ecstatic that at least one person saw my intentions as they were and applauded them.

"The sun peaks up slowly
Rays bisect the dusty sky
Long thin strips of cloud, like stretched out ribbons
Illuminated by fire
Drift away, their night-time condensation dissipated" 
--- P21. 

Falling so softly,
like thieves in the frozen night.
They steal the city." 
--- P61.

"Empty space
It says more about you
And what you intended to say
Than even the artwork itself
Everyone knows what should be there
My piece is up in the library
And that insipid watercolor
And in between we left a large 
Empty space

If you haven't noticed, the number one reason Audacious received a 5 star rating from me is because of the quote-worthy quotes. I mean, this is a Quote Review for heaven's sakes. The three quotes above are the most powerful ones in the entire novel, and they deserve to be painted on walls and have Etsy boards created with the.  

Where were you when Gabriel died?
Where were you when they bulldozed Samir's home
Or when his cousins died?
When buses blow up
When bridges  collapse
When little children starve
or drown 
Get shot
Or raped
Do you watch
or look away?" 

Prendergrast also brings up the concepts of faith, god, and destiny a lot, especially with this quote. While Raphaelle puts a somewhat negative spin on them, as a reader, you also know that this is why some people don't have faith in a god. Because, if God is responsible for everything that happens, why does he let death, sorrow, and suffering happen? And if these horrible events happen in order to teach humanity a lesson, why is it that those particular people are the ones chosen to suffer?

"Quaint, the idea that love is
Unquestionable undefeatable
Endless fathomless
Strong as time and
Tenacious as space but
If love is never to be tested
Or challenged then it is worth

I gotta say, I didn't particularly like the characters of Audacious. Raphaelle was so indecisive when it came to the poor excuse for a "love triangle" that was also a case of insta-love as well as lust. She was so desperate at times that it was pathetic and her negativity kind of brought my mood down a little when she said certain things [see quote above & below]. Don't get me wrong, I love a different, eye-opening perspective, but Raphaelle said some things that I kind of took personally and was offended I know you're thinking I have lost my mind for being offended by what a book character said, but it's true.

"I'm like a flower
Whose petals are being plucked away
One by one
Or falling to the ground
Their purpose served" 

Factors ~
My favorite kinds of books are the ones that have lasting effects on who I am, and this is one of them.
I did not give 
Audacious the full 10/10 stars because of the ending, and annoying love triangle.
How Likely Is It That I Will Read The Sequel?

75% ~ While I loved the book, it would have been so much better if the last 30 pages were just chopped off. Maybe Prendergast felt the pressure to write a sequel, which is why she left a lot of loose threads. I for one, would have enjoyed seeing a companion novel about some of the minor characters, and would really enjoy reading from their perspective. Nevertheless, I will warily read the sequel. It is rare that a book as powerful as Audacious will have a sequel just as good, or even better. So I will go into it with my hopes not too high.

Would I Buy It?

Audacious is one of those books that I would buy even at the full $17.99 price. While reading the book, I placed over 18 slips of papers between pages so I could go back and relish in the beautiful writing. I would jump on purchasing it the minute I saw it in stores so I could have my own copy to annotate.

How Likely Is It That I Will Re-Read?

My best bet is that I will re-read Audacious in a year or so when I'm in the mood, and I am sure once I own it (whenever that is) that I will go back and re-read certain sections and/or quotes that I found inspirational.

Conclusion: Audacious is a risk that Predergrast obviously took with a whole-hearted plunge into the deep end of literature. Just like what Steve Jobs said, "You can quote it [the book], disagree with it, glorify or vilify it, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things..." The only thing you can't do is ignore Audacious.

Monday, August 11, 2014

{ARC Review} Falling Into Place: Amy Zhang

Rating: 9.75/10
Series: None
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Fiction,
Recommended For Fans Of: Before I Fall (Lauren Oliver), If I Stay (Gayle Forman), Thirtreen Reasons Why (Jay Asher), Catalyst (Laurie Halse Anderson)
Publication Date: September 9, 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Page Count: 296
Format: Physical ARC
Source: Once Upon a Time Bookstore (Montrose, CA) via Greenwillow an imprint of HarperCollins

Goodreads Synopsis: On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road.

Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect? Amy Zhang’s haunting and universal story will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, and Jay Asher.

Disclaimer: I received this novel from Once Upon a Time Bookstore in exchange for an honest review.

*trumpets blare* Welcome Falling Into Place! Welcome into the much coveted list of Contemporsry novels that I will always remember and dominate all the "Best of 2014" lists.

Before I start talking about my feelings (because you know they are there), you know what time it is.... Backstory time. Let's see how long I have been waiting to read this book since *calculates time* the 12th of January on Fiction_The New Reality when Amy Zhang was featured on New Year, New Books. That is over 6 freaking months, and I am so glad to have had the oppurtunity to read it now (June 28) and not have to wait another THREE months (at the time I'm writing this review). One of my friends (Thank you Ally!) is friends with her local indie book store owner, Maureen, the owner of Once Upon a Time Book Store on Honolulu Avenue in Montrose California. If you're in the area, DEFINITELY check it out, it's an amazing place. Ally obtained the novel for me, and you would not believe how much I freaked out when she told me over the phone.


Onto the actual review. I honestly think I should wait until tomorrow to write this so it will soak in, but it's been so long since I wrote a "feels review" and even though this will sound incoherent, I don't care because I need to express myself. I will admit, it wasn't an insta-love situation between this novel and myself. The narrator (pause for a freak out because of the genius of the narrator) took some getting used to, and the story kind of seemed all over the place in the beginning. But don't worry, if you stick with the book until you get used to the unusual story telling style, you will thank yourself.

Comparisons: In my Instagram Mini-Review (as well as the Goodreads synopsis, but I thought I was totally original when I came up with the comparison) I said that Falling Into Place was similar to, and for fans of the four well-known novels below.

I said that the main character -Liz Emerson- of Falling Into Place was similar to Samantha Kingston of Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. The two of them are extremely popular high schoolers, and in normal "popular girl" fashion, they are not the nicest people, and don't always do the right things.

The flashbacks and slivers of memory told to us by the narrator is like Gayle Forman's If I Stay. We get to learn about Liz and the people around her that she has affected, and vice versa. In the duration of both novels, we don't know whether the main characters -Mia and Liz- will make it.

In both Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and Falling Into Place, their the constant question looming over everybody's head. "Why?" Why would these seemingly happy girls want to kill themselves? There is also that touch of romance incorporated into the picture with Liam and Clay, two boys who were in love with the main character, even though the main character didn't know either boy existed.

The entire story had a touch of Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson in pertinence to how science came into play - although it was Physics versus Chemistry. If you have read all of those books, you will know that Falling Into Place is one hell (excuse my langugage) of a novel.

The Narrator.... Is an unexpected one, and very hard to describe. Imagine splotches of paint being seemingly randomly thrown onto a canvas, then an artist drawing lines between those splotches, filling some sections in, and adding shadows to other. The entire time this is happening, you have no idea what this artist is doing.... By the end, the most beautiful, genius image is created. All of those lines, splotches, and shapes make sense and then all you can do is stand back in awe of this artist's genius. The older version of the Goodreads Synopsis (found on Fiction_The New Reality) reveals who this narrator is, but in the final one (found on the site as of 6/28/14 and the back of the ARC) all it says is "an unexpected and surprising narrator." I wouldn't advise you read the older version because guessing who is telling the story is part of the experience. Who sees all this? Who knows all? Is it a relative? A childhood friend? Big Brother? God? All of those options and more ran through my head while I read Falling Into Place, and I am happy to say that I did guess correctly.

The Writing Style: This book was written by a teenager.... still in HIGH SCHOOL. Welcome to the reason why I feel like I haven't accomplished anything in my life. I mean, Amy Zhange wrote this novel during NaNoWriMo (one month writing competition -held in November- where people try to write 50,000 words), balancing school, friends, emotions, and everything else that comes with being a teenager. In the letter from Susan Katz (found in the 1st page of the ARC and may not be included in the final edition of Falling Into Place) the president and publisher from HarperCollins, it says "I think she's a very old soul with something to sat to every one of us." Susan Katz is utterly correct and I have never agreed with a statement about a book more than this one.

Amy Zhang seems like one of the most amazing writers EVER who definitely had something to say to me through Falling Into Place, and I would kill to get to know her in person. What I wouldn't give to see how her mind works. The process of figuring out each chapter, and how everything would connect in the end must have been excruciating. Zhang weaves together all of these events in Liz Emerson's life - from 49 minutes before she drives her car off the road to eight years earlier on the day her childhood ended. And it's not only Liz's life that we get to see. As a reader, I also got to know her best friends Kennie and Julia, as well as her not-so-best friends such as Liam, Jordan, and Mackenzie who she had effected. You know as a reader, that I have to have a clear image of who the Main Character is in order to enjoy the story, and Zhang does not disappoint despite how scattered everything seems.

Conclusion: I order EVERYBODY who has read this review to pick up their copy of Falling Into Place on the 9th of September so I can Fangirl with you about all of the feels Amy Zhang has evoked in this thought-provoking, stunningly incredible, and phenomenal debut novel.

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