Book Review: Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

Book Review: Rites of Passage by Joy N. HensleyRites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley
Published by HarperTeen on September 9, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 416
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
4 Stars
Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she's not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.

So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She's even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won't risk her future, or the dare, on something so matter how much she wants him.

As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.
At any cost.

Now time's running short. Sam must decide who she can trust...and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.

Book Review:

RITES OF PASSAGE kept me up all night until I finished it. This book took me on a thrilling, emotional ride, and I enjoyed the heck out of it.

Sam “Mac” McKenna can’t turn down a dare, and that’s what lands her at Denmark Military Academy. She’s one of the first ever girls at the DMA, and might be the only one tough enough to make it through the year. Because there’s a group at the DMA that doesn’t want girls to sully the school’s reputation, and they’re willing to do anything, even extreme hazing and abuse, to get Sam to quit.

But they don’t know who they’re dealing with, because Sam is one of the strongest YA protagonists I’ve read in a while. I loved that she wouldn’t give up, even when almost everyone was against her, including her own family. I liked that she thought about the girls who would come after her, that they would need her success as an example to keep going themselves. I loved that she knew she could survive.

There are some hints of romance, which I wasn’t fond of at first, but I liked the way those threads were resolved. I do wish more had been included about Sam’s family, because Amos was so important to her, as was her father’s approval. I got the impression her dad was a larger than life military guy, and I was curious about him.

RITES OF PASSAGE is a gritty, tough, sometimes hard to read YA book. It’s the type of book I wish there were more of!

Socialize with the author:

Joy N. Hensley:

– leeanna

The Reading Machine [12] – January 18, 2015

reading machine

For my Stacking the Shelves/Sunday Post, which I’m calling The Reading Machine, I list the books I’ve bought recently, books I might hope to read in the upcoming week, a short life/blog update, and anything else of note.

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews, and you can find out all about it here. Sunday Post is hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer, and you can find out all about it here.

The Reading Machine: the reading machineMy Boxing Day Sale order finally arrived from BookOutlet. I’m not happy with how long shipping took. I’m also not happy because in the time between placing my order and its shipment, BookOutlet ran out of one of the books I ordered. They didn’t even bother to tell me — I noticed the book wasn’t in the box, despite being mentioned on the shipping list and packing invoice. The packing invoice didn’t even have the packer’s name on it. So I had to email them and they said, “Oh, we’re sorry, it’s out of stock now. Here’s a refund for that book.”

Here’s what I did get:
BLACK HEART by Holly Black
RED GLOVE by Holly Black
THE DESCENT by Alma Katsu
THE HOUSE OF DJINN by Suzanne Fisher Staples
THIRST NO. 5 by Christopher Pike
NOT A DROP TO DRINK by Mindy McGinnis
THE TRAP by Andrew Fukuda reading machineFor review, I received this beauty: THE PRICE OF BLOOD by Patricia Bracewell. SHADOW ON THE CROWN was one of favorite books of 2013, so I cannot wait to start the second book in the trilogy. I’ve been waiting so long for this book! It’s so pretty. *pets* I was going to start it this weekend, but I’m in the middle of a few other review books/writing reviews, so I’ll finish those up first so I can fully enjoy THE PRICE OF BLOOD.

Right now, I’m reading THE DIABOLICAL MISS HYDE by Viola Carr. I featured it in a Waiting on Wednesday post in November — it’s good to actually be something I was waiting on! I’m also reading DAUGHTER OF THE GODS by Stephanie Thornton for enjoyment … lately I’ve been reading every historical fiction book based in Ancient Egypt that I can get my hands on. This is the last one I have though, so that phase will be over soon :( . Last week I read A COLD LEGACY by Megan Shepherd, HALF THE WORLD by Joe Abercrombie, and DEAREST by Alethea Kontis. I still need to write the reviews … so much for being caught up.

On the Blog:

I haven’t been as active as I’d like lately, but last week it was really cold and getting out from under the covers wasn’t an appealing prospect.

I did post one review, for a new middle-grade series that I think is fantastic.

Book Review: The Case of the Missing Moonstone by Jordan Stratford

What Up, Life?

I was going to try and do this post weekly, but last Saturday/Sunday, I had nothing to blog about! Temperatures were around -15 with windchill, so I stayed in bed most of the time to stay warm. I also got the first serious snow fall of the year, a good 6 or 7 inches. Yay. Is it May yet?

This week has been about as boring. I think the cold has reawakened an old foot injury, so I’ve been stuck sitting around and keeping my foot up. Let me tell you, you never notice how much you use the ball of your foot until it hurts. Fun times.

Aaaand that’s it. I’m thinking of adding an email subscription option at last for my blog. I didn’t do it when I started because I doubted anyone would want the option… but since I’ve subbed to a few blogs myself, I can see the convenience. What do you guys think? Do you like email subscriptions, don’t, or don’t care either way?

Also, does anyone know of a Throwback Thursday book meme? I’d like to feature older books sometimes. Thanks!

– leeanna

Book Review: The Case of the Missing Moonstone by Jordan Stratford

Book Review: The Case of the Missing Moonstone by Jordan StratfordThe Case of the Missing Moonstone by Jordan Stratford
Series: The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency #1
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on January 6, 2015
Genres: Historical Fiction, Middle Grade, Mystery
Pages: 240
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
5 Stars
Jordan Stratford imagines an alternate 1826, where Ada Lovelace (the world’s first computer programmer) and Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein) meet as girls and form a secret detective agency!

Lady Ada Byron, age eleven, is a genius. Isolated, awkward and a bit rude—but a genius. Mary Godwin, age fourteen, is a romantic. Adventurous, astute, and kind, Mary is to become Ada’s first true friend. And together, the girls conspire to form the Wollstonecraft Detective Agency—a secret constabulary for the apprehension of clever criminals. Their first case involves a stolen heirloom, a false confession, and an array of fishy suspects. But it’s no match for the deductive powers and bold hearts of Ada and Mary.

Mystery fans will love this tween girl riff on Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. History buffs will be delighted to see all the real figures who play a role in this story and appreciate the extensive backmatter that helps separate truth from fiction. Parents and educators hoping to promote the STEM fields for girls will be thrilled to have a series where two girls use math, science, and creative analytical thinking to solve crimes. But most especially--emerging readers will love this series filled with humor, action, intrigue and wonderful artwork from Kelly Murphy.

Book Review:

I adore the premise and characters in THE CASE OF THE MISSING MOONSTONE. Featuring Ada Lovelace and Mary Shelley, this book is the first in a new series aimed at middle-grade girls. The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency wants to show girls that math, science, history, and literature can be used for everyday problems and maybe even to change the world.

Yes, this series does experiment with history. For example, Ada and Mary were eighteen years apart in real life, but are three years apart in this book so they can be friends. Sometimes it annoys the heck out of me when authors mess with history, but I’m all for it here. The author makes it work. Even though I’m not the target age, I was still interested by his characterizations of Ada and Mary, and when I finished the book, I went searching for information on Ada. At the end of THE CASE OF THE MISSING MOONSTONE, the author does include biographies of most of the characters, filling readers in on their real lives and any changes he made for the book.

I flew through THE CASE OF THE MISSING MOONSTONE. The mystery isn’t too difficult to solve, but I had a hoot watching Ada and Mary work through it. I loved Ada from page one. I mean, she has a balloon on the roof of her house, and thinks “Oomph times zoom equals kaboom!” on page one. Ada and Mary approach things differently, and I think any reader will find something to identify with and like in one or both of them. Ada’s not so good at dealing with emotions and people; she prefers math. Mary’s better with people, likes poetry and romance, and has the Very Good Idea of the detective agency. It was great to see the girls become friends and understand each other’s strengths while they subvert 1820’s society’s view of girls.

Lastly, there are some great illustrations in THE CASE OF THE MISSING MOONSTONE. I would have loved them as a kid, and I still loved them as an adult. I thought they added a lot to the story, and I really appreciated that one of Ada’s equations was drawn out. All too often math equations (if they’re mentioned at all) aren’t shown, so it’s tricky to know what the character is talking about.

Socialize with the author:

Jordan Stratford:

– leeanna

Cover Reveal: Black Iris by Leah Raeder

I’ve been looking forward to BLACK IRIS for what seems like forever. I might have a bit of a crush on Leah, and I’m super excited about her new book. First, let’s see the cover, shall we?

black iris by leah raeder

Super simple but quite effective, I think! I’d definitely flip that book over to see what it’s about. Clicky for an even bigger version.

BLACK IRIS by Leah Raeder

It only took one moment of weakness for Laney Keating’s world to fall apart. One stupid gesture for a hopeless crush. Then the rumors began. Slut, they called her. Queer. Psycho. Mentally ill, messed up, so messed up even her own mother decided she wasn’t worth sticking around for.

If Laney could erase that whole year, she would. College is her chance to start with a clean slate.

She’s not looking for new friends, but they find her: charming, handsome Armin, the only guy patient enough to work through her thorny defenses—and fiery, filterless Blythe, the bad girl and partner in crime who has thorns of her own.

But Laney knows nothing good ever lasts. When a ghost from her past resurfaces—the bully who broke her down completely—she decides it’s time to live up to her own legend. And Armin and Blythe are going to help.

Which was the plan all along.

Because the rumors are true. Every single one. And Laney is going to show them just how true.

She’s going to show them all.

If that doesn’t pique your interest, here’s a short excerpt:

April is the cruelest month, T.S. Eliot said, and that’s because it kills. It’s the month with the highest suicide rate. You’d think December, or even January—the holidays and all that forced cheer and agonized smiling pushing fragile people to the edge—but actually it’s spring, when the world wakes from frostbound sleep and something cruel and final stirs inside those of us who are broken. Like Eliot said:mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain. In the deepest throes of depression, when sunlight is anguish and the sky throbs like one big raw migraine and you just want to sleep until you or everything else dies, you’re less likely to commit suicide than someone coming out of a depressive episode. Drug companies know this. That’s why antidepressants have to be marked with the warning MAY CAUSE SUICIDAL THOUGHTS.

Because what brings you back to life also gives you the means to destroy yourself.

I’m pretty sure BLACK IRIS is going to tear me into tiny pieces, but I’m still super excited. Maybe excited because of that. Also, Leah just wrote this post on her blog about BLACK IRIS, which increased my excitement even more. Yes, I knew there was f/f — which we need more of — but I love how Leah’s saying this is me, this is what I write. April 28, 2015 is a long way away. Atria Books, you’re torturing me.

About the author:

Leah Raeder is a writer and unabashed nerd. Aside from reading her brains out, she enjoys graphic design, video games, fine whiskey, and the art of self-deprecation. She lives with her very own manic pixie dream boy in Chicago. Visit her at Facebook. Twitter. Instagram.

Pre-order links:
US: Amazon | B&N | Books-a-Million | IndieBound
UK: Amazon | B&N | Waterstones | Foyles | Kobo | Apple | Google
AUS: Apple | Amazon | Google

Waiting on Wednesday: Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

Waiting on Wednesday

karen memory by elizabeth bearKaren Memory by Elizabeth Bear
Release Date: February 3, 2015

“You ain’t gonna like what I have to tell you, but I’m gonna tell you anyway. See, my name is Karen Memery, like memory only spelt with an e, and I’m one of the girls what works in the Hôtel Mon Cherie on Amity Street. Hôtel has a little hat over the o like that. It’s French, so Beatrice tells me.”

Hugo-Award winning author Elizabeth Bear offers something new in Karen Memory, an absolutely entrancing steampunk novel set in Seattle in the late 19th century—an era when the town was called Rapid City, when the parts we now call Seattle Underground were the whole town (and still on the surface), when airships plied the trade routes bringing would-be miners heading up to the gold fields of Alaska, and steam-powered mechanicals stalked the waterfront. Karen is a “soiled dove,” a young woman on her own who is making the best of her orphaned state by working in Madame Damnable’s high-quality bordello. Through Karen’s eyes we get to know the other girls in the house—a resourceful group—and the poor and the powerful of the town. Trouble erupts into her world one night when a badly injured girl arrives at their door, seeking sanctuary, followed by the man who holds her indenture, who has a machine that can take over anyone’s mind and control their actions. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the next night brings a body dumped in their rubbish heap—a streetwalker who has been brutally murdered.

Bear brings alive this Jack-the-Ripper-type story of the old west with the light touch of Karen’s own memorable voice, and a mesmerizing evocation of classic steam-powered science.

I first saw KAREN MEMORY on someone else’s Waiting on Wednesday post — sorry, I can’t remember who! I’m in the middle of watching Penny Dreadful right now, and this book sounds like a perfect fit to my mood from that show. Just the feel of it, y’know?

Anyway, I’ve wanted to read something of Elizabeth Bear’s for a long time, but I just haven’t. So KAREN MEMORY will hopefully be the first, because this seems like a perfect book for me. Steampunk? Check. A bordello? Check. Historical AU? Check. Tons of awesome things? Check.

Bring on February!

Socialize with the author:

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

– leeanna

Book Review: Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3) by Robin LaFevers

Book Review: Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3) by Robin LaFeversMortal Heart by Robin LaFevers
Series: His Fair Assassin #3
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on November 4, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 444
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
5 Stars
Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.

She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn't mean she has...

Book Review:

I loved the first two books in Robin LaFevers’ His Fair Assassin series: GRAVE MERCY and DARK TRIUMPH. The series is a blend of historical fiction, fantasy, and romance. I read both books multiple times and enjoyed them more each time.

So it was with a bit of trepidation that I started MORTAL HEART. I was sad to see the series end, but I was also worried. Would this book live up to my expectations? Would I enjoy MORTAL HEART as much as the other books?

By the Nine, MORTAL HEART was amazing! I read it straight through, seven hours glued to the book until I flipped the last page. And when I did finish, I wanted to start right over again, so I could enjoy Annith’s story again.

It’s really hard to review the last book of a trilogy without spoiling everything. Ismae and Duval do show up, as do Sybella and Beast, so we get to see a little more of their relationships and futures. The plight of Brittany and its young duchess is resolved. But MORTAL HEART is really Annith’s tale, and what a good tale it is.

Sentenced with a future she doesn’t want — seeress for the convent — Annith takes her future into her own hands. Over the course of MORTAL HEART, Annith grows from an obedient novitiate to a confident, independent woman. Even when secrets from her past threaten to overwhelm her, she doesn’t let them. MORTAL HEART has more supernatural aspects than the other two books, but I think that only makes sense, since Annith is very devoted to Mortain. As for her love interest — I’ll admit, at first I didn’t quite go for Balthazaar as Annith’s man, nor the conclusion. But after thinking about it for a bit, and reading the Author’s Note, Balthazaar is the one.

I could go on and on about MORTAL HEART, and maybe I’m biased because I love this series so much, but I think this book is fantastic. A more than worthy ending to an amazing series.

Socialize with the author:
Robin LaFevers

– leeanna

The Reading Machine [11]: January 4, 2015

reading machine

For my Stacking the Shelves/Sunday Post, which I’m calling The Reading Machine, I list the books I’ve bought recently, books I might hope to read in the upcoming week, a short life/blog update, and anything else of note.

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews, and you can find out all about it here. Sunday Post is hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer, and you can find out all about it here.

The Reading Machine: stacking the shelvesThese are the last books/movie sets I bought in 2014. Well, I did buy some at BookOutlet’s Boxing Day sale, but they haven’t even shipped yet :| . I also ordered some paperback releases from Amazon, but they’re all pre-orders so they won’t show up for a while.

I’m not a huge fan of pre-ordering — I hate waiting on stuff to show up, but sometimes I need more items for free shipping, so yeah… And I guess there is one other plus: random book arrivals!

So! Here’s what I do have in the house right now that’s new:
UNTEACHABLE by Leah Raeder
SHADOW ON THE CROWN by Patricia Bracewell
NECESSARY EVIL by Ian Tregillis

A weird mix, right? I’ve wanted a copy of UNTEACHABLE since Leah’s book was republished by Atria. NECESSARY EVIL — now I own the entire Milkweed Triptych, which is a fantastic series I hope to re-read and review this year. SHADOW ON THE CROWN was one of my favorite books of 2013, so I needed a copy of that. And lastly, I own every World of Warcraft book, so I had to snap up DAWN OF THE ASPECTS when BookOutlet dangled it in front of my face.

As for what I plan on reading this week… I have no idea! I’m reading one non-fiction book on life in Ancient Egypt, but I haven’t planned my review reading yet for January.

On the Blog:

Nothing really! I dislike the holidays, so I kinda buried my head in the sand for most of December. Oh, I did do a short post thanking ya’ll for sticking around my blog, so feel free to comment here or there and tell me your site/Goodreads/Twitter whatever, so I can stop by and say hi!

After being off and on with this post the last year, I have decided to try and do it every week. So I’m sure I’ll meet a lot of you that way, too. :)

What Up, Life?

In addition to books, I’ve also bought a couple of DVD sets, as I’m working on a huge knitting project and that’s about the only time I watch a lot of TV or movies.

Game of Thrones, season 1
Lost Girl, season 4
Penny Dreadful, season 1
Orphan Black, season 1

I just started Penny Dreadful yesterday. Super creepy but great if you liked DRACULA or FRANKENSTEIN or the like. I’m also watching Reign on Netflix, which I’m liking a lot more than I thought I would. Does anyone else see Catherine de’ Medici as Narcissa Malfoy?

– leeanna

Goodbye, 2014! Hi, 2015 :|

leeannadotme instagram2014 was a very difficult year for me, which partly resulted in less blogging than I would have liked. To put it in the words of the Queen, 2014 was my annus horribilis. I have a feeling 2015 is going to be about as bad. Hey, I’m a pessimist! A very, very, very big pessimist. If it’s any good, I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Anywho, I’ll admit, for a while I thought about throwing in the towel on my blog. I quit visiting other blogs and interacting with peeps. Once you stop, it’s surprisingly difficult to get back into it! Or maybe I just feel like I don’t have much to say, as I have bookmarked posts from months ago that I’ve been meaning to comment on. Apparently, I’m a content hoarder. I do miss talking with other bloggers and readers, so I’m going to try hard to get back into it. I mean, that’s a big part of why I blog — because I have so few people in real life that I can squee about books with.

I’m not making this post for sympathy… sometimes life sucks, but you have to carry on anyway. What I want to say is thank you for sticking around! This blog is heading into its third year, which is hard to believe. I’m not making any blogging resolutions, because I’m rubbish at keeping them, but I do have one goal. To be social again.

So please, if you read this, leave a comment with your blog address or Twitter or Instagram or Goodreads so I can come by and say hi! I need friends :D

– leeanna

2014 Favorite Books of the Year

In 2014, I read 180 books. I picked my top 21, or ~11% of what I read to make this list. Quite a few I didn’t review but just read for me. I’ll probably blog about them in the future, because I need to talk more about my favorites! As with last year’s list, I picked books that jumped out at me from my list of books read. So not all are 5 stars, but I liked them enough to remember them at the end of the year.

(in no particular order)

CRESS by Marissa Meyer
I’ve loved every volume of The Lunar Chronicles, so it’s no surprise CRESS makes my list this year. I didn’t review it because I read for enjoyment, but it’s a 5 star read! I’m just happy I read it at the end of the year so I don’t have such a long wait for WINTER.
HALF A KING by Joe Abercrombie
HALF A KING is my first Joe Abercrombie book, but it won’t be my last. This fantasy was dark, gritty, and I never knew what was going to happen next. I read this so fast I was sad when I hit the last page.
This book made the list because I was still thinking about it a month after I finished. A great book that tackles racism, women’s rights, and LGBT issues in the late 1950s. Robin Talley is one of my new favorite authors. Review.
MEMORY OF WATER by Emmi Itäranta
MEMORY OF WATER has such evocative, gorgeous writing, just like the flow of water. Review.
MORTAL HEART by Robin LaFevers
Ohhhh man. The end to one of my favorite trilogies, MORTAL HEART is a book I want to read again, and I just finished it in November! Annith’s story is a great conclusion to an amazing fantasy series.
NOT A DROP TO DRINK by Mindy McGinnis
Another book I want to reread. I love post-apocalyptic books, and I thought this one was quite creative, harsh and bleak, but just a tiny bit uplifting. Seriously. Lynn is my spirit animal.
RITES OF PASSAGE by Joy N. Hensley
I stayed up reading RITES OF PASSAGE until my eyes burned. I loved how strong the main character is, and how she doesn’t let anyone get in her way.
RUIN AND RISING by Leigh Bardugo
I was terrified to read RUIN AND RISING because The Grisha Trilogy is a series I fucking love. I read quite a few series enders that disappointed me this year, but not this one. I love the worldbuilding, characters, mythology, story… everything about this series.
The only nonfiction book to make my list, this is a really educational biography of Hatshepsut. Reading this book made me want to take the author’s classes because I enjoyed her thoughts on women in power. Review.
THORN JACK by Katherine Harbour
THORN JACK is a favorite this year because I loved the dark faeries and the lush world the author created. It was like reading a dream. Review.
RED RISING by Pierce Brown
I actually read RED RISING at the end of 2013, but I put it on this year’s list since it’s a 2014 release. I couldn’t get enough of Darrow and the dark, violent world the author came up with. Review.
STOLEN SONGBIRD by Danielle L. Jensen
I love trolls. This book has trolls. I loved every bit of it, especially the trolls. ‘Nuff said. Review.
DIAMONDS & DECEIT by Leila Rasheed
This book is practically Downton Abbey in written form. There’s something about this series (At Somerton) that just grabs me. Review.
BITTER SEEDS by Ian Tregillis
I have a friend who tried to get me to read this book for years. I don’t know why I took so long, because BITTER SEEDS is one of the best and most creative alternate histories I’ve ever read. Ian Tregillis pretty much punched me over the head with dark and depressing, wheeeeee!
KUSHIEL’S DART by Jacqueline Carey
This is one of my favorite fantasy novels ever. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read it. This year I read all of Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel/Naamah novels, to the count of 7,171 pages. Rerereading KUSHIEL’S DART helped me through some hard times this year.
TRAITOR’S BLADE by Sebastien de Castell
TRAITOR’S BLADE is a fantasy book that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and I loved it enough to read it twice in a month. Review.
IRON & VELVET by Alexis Hall
Basically, the f/f paranormal book I’ve been waiting years for. Vampires, werewolves, faeries, and a snarky P.I. Review.
A DAY OF FIRE by Ben Kane, E. Knight, Kate Quinn, Sophie Perinot, Stephanie Dray, Vicky Alvear Shecter
An engrossing historical fiction of Pompeii’s last days, through the lens of six different characters. It’s virtually impossible to tell it’s written by six authors. Might have made me tear up a bit! Review.
PASSION BLUE and COLOR SONG by Victoria Strauss
Great historical fiction about a young girl that wants to make it as a painter at a time when women were basically property. I really liked how the author described colors and the process of painting. PASSION BLUE review | COLOR SONG review.

2014 favorites

– leeanna

Book Review: Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

Book Review: Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin TalleyLies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
Published by Harlequin Teen on September 30, 2014
Genres: Historical Fiction, LGBT, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
5 Stars
In 1959 Virginia, the lives of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil rights will be changed forever.

Sarah Dunbar is one of the first black students to attend the previously all-white Jefferson High School. An honors student at her old school, she is put into remedial classes, spit on and tormented daily.

Linda Hairston is the daughter of one of the town's most vocal opponents of school integration. She has been taught all her life that the races should be kept "separate but equal."

Forced to work together on a school project, Sarah and Linda must confront harsh truths about race, power and how they really feel about one another.

Boldly realistic and emotionally compelling, Lies We Tell Ourselves is a brave and stunning novel about finding truth amid the lies, and finding your voice even when others are determined to silence it.

Book Review:

LIES WE TELL OURSELVES is a book that touched me deeply, and one I want everyone to read. This is a book that deserves all the readers.

LIES WE TELL OURSELVES tackles a lot of things: racism, women’s rights, and even LGBT issues in 1959. But it doesn’t read like an “issue book.” Everything comes together in a well-told story, one that kept me reading until 5am.

The first part of the book is from Sarah’s view. Sarah is one of the first black students to attend a white school, and we see every horrible, cruel moment of integration from her eyes. The author doesn’t shy away from history or try to paint it in a better light. The second part of the book is from Linda’s view. Daughter of the vehemently racist editor of the town’s paper, Linda is also against integration. In her eyes, the black students are ruining everything. The last part of the book is told from both of their perspectives.

I liked how LIES WE TELL OURSELVES was set up; the differing perspectives let you get into both character’s minds and see how they both feel about everything. Each chapter is also titled with a lie, such as “There’s no need to be afraid (Sarah)” or “None of this has anything to do with me (Linda).”

I read this book a month ago, and I’m still thinking about it. I’ve sat on this review for a while, trying to figure out just what to say about LIES WE TELL OURSELVES. In the end, I think that’s the best praise I can give. This book is still in my head, and I’m sure it’s going to stay there. It’s a rare book that does that, because I read upwards of 100 books a year and most are forgettable.

LIES WE TELL OURSELVES ripped at my heart, made me feel for both Sarah and Linda and the other characters, and then left me feeling just a bit hopeful at the end.

Socialize with the author:

Robin Talley:

– leeanna