Lies We Tell Ourselves Review

Title: Lies We Tell Ourselves
Author: Robin Talley
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: Historical Fiction, GLBT

BlurbIn 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.

Me: A hastily chosen novel that ended up being incredibly provocative and powerful.

The Ups: I honestly picked up this novel because I loved the feeling of the cover. Yup, something as shallow as that. And I got super excited to bring it on my trip to Korea, since I knew I wouldn't be able to bring many books. (Love from Korea btw)
The book started off as any other school integration novel, strong in historical facts and hooking in characters. I really loved Sarah Dunbar as one of the main characters. She seemed very clever, honest, and strong-willed, a perfect girl to fight. But what made her even better was she didn't know it. She had her doubts and her flaws. The character arc she had was so interesting as well. She gained immense strength and a sense of self throughout the book
 The other African American students with her, like Ruth, Paulie, Ennis and Chuck were amazing as well. I felt an immense connection to them and throughout the entire story I was asking myself, could I have done what they did? And I don't think I ever could've. They are so brave, so beautiful, and in the writing I could  feel their struggle and the unfairness of it all. I wondered at the beginning.  Could a white author living in modern times fully express the character of a black teenage girl in the 60's and make it genuine? I have to say Robin Talley has succeeded.
I started off reading this thinking it would just be a powerful story of the integration fight. And even at the beginning the book had strong potential and had already established connection with me as a reader. I then realized that the two main girls were feeling romantic feelings for each other and the story dived into a new area of depth.
There was just so much to block these girls from being themselves. Sarah was only seen as her color, and Linda had been raised to think a certain way about blacks and not dare think otherwise. Both of them, feeling things for each other in a world where interracial marriage was considered a crime and where for most the concept of two females loving each other hadn't even occurred to them
The book was just so brave and about such brave people. It really made me think about how fortunate we are now, but also about everything we still had to work for.

The Downs: That being said, there were certain things that bothered me about this book. First of all, Linda bothered me as a character. She was the opposite of understanding, and had a lot of bias. Even when she was falling for Sarah she refused to let her former thoughts go. I understand that that was how she was brought up, but after a while it started to really bother that me that after everything that happened, Linda was, even in the end, a racist.
I also felt like the romance was a bit ridiculous. I obviously could not connect to the romance as well as some people, because I am not GLBT. But the fact that these two could feel these things by arguing and debating and not anything else was weird. I didn't feel like the relationship was genuine.

Overall: A very powerful story that is pulled by strong characters and a sense of finding yourself. 

Rating: 4 kisses! 

Top Ten Books I Read in 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish where we post 10 of our favorite things in each category. 

Top Ten Books I Read in 2014

1.Everybody Sees the Ants
Definitely the best book I've read this year, and my favorite book at the current moment. I don't know what it is, but something about this book just speaks to me. 

2.The Help
I think that this book was so powerful and meaningful to me as a reader and as someone who wanted to read a life-changing book. 

3. Winger
So funny, so clever, so real. I love this book so much, and am so excited for the sequel!

4. We Were Liars
Mind-blowing and chillingly beautiful,. I hated but absolutely loved this book. 

5. Legend
I loved this series, and this book itself was one of the best sci-fi books I've ever read. Such amazing characters, and a fascinating world. 

6. Champion

Absolutely beautiful, and the best conclusion to a trilogy that I have ever read. This entire series was just awesome. 

7. Eleanor and Park
My favorite love story ever. Crazy real, it makes you want to cringe and die and laugh and cry and cheer and boo at the same time. 

8. Out of the Easy
A really good historical fiction with relatable characters, a thrilling plot, and a bit of mystery,

9. To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Such a cute, adorable, happy but not-too-happy read. I love Jenny Han's books, and something about her writing makes me feel at home. 

10. The Madman's Daughter
Super creepy and super weird, but addicting and fascinating. I was entranced by the intelligence of this book. 

'Bout you? What books did you love this year? 

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award!

Hey guys! I was nominated by the amazing Claire @Bookworm Reviews to do this tag, and am super excited to do it! Thank you so much, Claire :)

Rules of the tag itself: 
Thank your nominator and link back to them
Put the award picture on your post and/or blog
Answer the ten questions your nominator asked
Nominate 10 (you can nominate less or more) bloggers and ask them 10 questions

So here we go...

1. Introduce yourself! Bullet five random facts we don't know about you.

  • I am absolutely obsessed with the band Queen. Favorite song by them? Probably Too Much Love Will Kill You or Under Pressure
  • I am really involved in theatre, and find a passion in directing
  • I was born on April Fool's day....I's pretty sad.
  • I am totally in love with anything Harry Potter, I'm sure many of you can relate :) 
  • Les Miserables is my all-time favorite musical and I've yet to see it live but it is a life goal.
2. What's your biggest bookish pet peeve?
When people dog-ear the pages. ARGGGHHGHGHH! It annoys me so much. Personally though, I hate when I'll have to stop reading and I can't find a bookmark, Oh the struggle. 
3. Tell us about a character you love to hate.
Ginny Weasley. I honestly have no idea why, but something about her irks me. Is it because I'm jealous of her thing with Harry? Maybe....
4. Do you DNF books? Why or why not?
Yes. Most of the time I try not to, just for the sake of ranting about how bad it was on here. But ther have definitely been books where I have just given up because I've had other ones that were much better waiting on my bookshelf. 
5. Love triangles v. insta-love v. forbidden love. Which is the worst?
Insta-love. Love triangles aren't much further behind, but then I think about Marius and Cosette and Eponine and I realize that some of them are okay. Insta-love, I feel like, is very overly expressed to where it doesn't feel real and just seems cheesy and makes me want to stab my eyes out. 
6. A book ship that just doesn't work for you.
Ronmione? Is that the ship? I always pictured Harry and Hermione together, and still do to this day.  Even J.K. Rowling said she'd pictured it for a while. Don't get me wrong, I love Ron, but....:(
7. Grab the book closest to you, turn to page 47, and type a quote from the second paragraph.
Book closest to me: Girls in Pants, Third Summer of the Sisterhood. (The coincidence...) Quote: "Life's too short not to try for something you want."
8. Has a book ever made you cry? If yes, what book?
Yes. I don't cry much during books or movies, because really, I don't cry much in general. But I definitely shed some tears during Champion and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. (Fred Weasley...)
9. Make a soundtrack of three or more songs to correspond with events happening in the most recent book you've read. 
Well, I'm reading Les Miserables and I don't think it's that hard to pair a soundtrack with that because they made a musical out of it so...I guess it would be The Impossible Knife of Memory.

  1. 21 guns by Green Day basically just sums up the feeling of the entire book,
  2. Human by Christina Perri
  3. The Winner Takes it All by ABBA
All three of them are such beautiful songs

10. If you could live in any book setting, which would you choose? 
HOGWARTS. This isn't even a question. Well...maybe if Voldemort was still there I wouldn't, but just the magical world in general? Please Please Please.

Okay, so those are my answers.

And here are the 10 questions for my nominees: 
1) Name the three most recent books you've read.
2) Who is your favorite book ship?
3) Where do you get suggestions on what books to read? (goodreads, friends, randomly, etc.)
4) Any types of books you avoid? (genres, popular books, really long ones, etc.)
5) What is the book character you relate most to? If you can't think of one, who is one you look up to? 
6) Favorite book to movie conversion? Why?
7) You're having a party, and you can invite 5 authors (dead or living). Who would you invite?
8) Choose a book that has yet to be turned into a movie? Who would you cast in which parts?
9) Do you judge a book by it's cover? (Be honest...)Why or why not?
10) Name a few books on your TBR list. 

There you go! Have fun! 
Here are my nominations: 
Isabel @Wrandom Writings
Rebekah @Ramblings From The Back Closet
Emma @ Dilemma
Lilly @ Passive Aggressive and Pensive
Mrs. Kimberly Fritch @ Recovering Luddite
Jenn @Jenn Renee Read

Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I read in 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish where we post 10 of our favorite things in each category. 

Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read in 2014
1. A.S. King 
If I could, I would make #1-10 all A.S. King. She is absolutely fabulous and I had the privilege of meeting her! And my friends and I get to be in the acknowledgments of her next book.  So thank you 2014 for introducing me to my favorite author. 

2.Brandon Sanderson
I've only read Steelheart by this author, but he seems to be really famous and acclaimed to be a talented author. I am really excited to read his other books as well as Firefight, the sequel to Steelheart, which comes out in January!!

3.Marie Lu
Can we first just talk about how gorgeous Marie Lu is? She technically doesn't count as a totally new-to-me author because I read Legend for the first time last year, but this year I reread Legend and totally fell in love with the entire series. 

4. Rainbow Rowell
Her name makes my life complete. But I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE Eleanor and Park and Fangirl. Both books beat my scale on my reviews. She doesn't have many books out, but the ones she does have are beautifully crafted!

5.Andrew Smith
Super happy to have met him too! His books are incredibly real and hilarious and Winger makes my favorite books list. Can I just say I just found out there's a sequel coming out? AHHHH! 
6.E. Lockhart
We Were Liars really touched my heart and made me think about things a bit differently, and how perfection is hard to find. The writing was haunting and chilling and the plot was mindblowing. 

7. Laurie Halse Anderson
I've only read one book by her, The Impossible Knife Of Memory, but I have heard so many amazing things about this author, and the book itself was so good I couldn't leave her out. I'm really excited to read Speak! 

8.Megan Shepherd 
The Madman's Daughter and Her Dark Curiosity were two thrillers that were disturbing yet scarily addictive. It is so amazing that she can weave a plot like that and I think that her writing is very brave. 

9.James Dashner
I think that James Dashner is probably one of the most successful writers of 2014, so I couldn't take him off the list. The Maze Runner series is actually very enthralling and exciting, and his new series is really good as well. 

10.Suzanne Young
Again, I've only read The Program but I can't wait to read the second one and the idea of a suicide epidemic seemed so real and chilling to me. Another author I've had the pleasure of meeting!

So many AMAZING authors! What are some on your list? 

Reading Les Miserables

So yeah, I haven't posted in a while. My apologies...:( There's no excuse for that, I know, but if anything I wanted to post something about the current book I am reading (and have been for a week). So... welcome to the joyful life of reading Les Miserables.

You've probably all heard about this acclaimed musical, movie, and possibly book. If you haven't, you need to go watch the musical RIGHT now. (the movie wasn't too good) Also, I recommend watching the 25th anniversary concert DVD edition, because personally, that was my favorite. :)

But today's blog post isn't about the movie or the musical, although I could rant about either of them for hours. It's about how I've been reading this book, what I've already learned from the book, and what I look forward to. 

Like you can already tell, I've watched the musical and the movie both, and I think that really helps me understand the book better. For once, I am suggesting that you watch the movie/musical before you read the book, because yes, the book is better, and yes, the movie/musical leaves out so much, but it gives the general plot and feeling of the book, and knowing what that was before I started reading was really helpful. It feels like I was given the bones, and now I am putting on the meat, and I think that especially for lengthy classics like Les Mis, watching the visual versions might help understand the story better.

I am on page 504 at the current moment,. so about 40%-ish. I am surprisingly loving the book! People look at me like I'm crazy when I carry around this 1200 page wonder, but it's pretty awesome how fast-paced and enthralling this book is.  Again like I said, reading the book knowing the general plot and characters really gets me through the book better. I'll admit, some parts are absolutely ridiculously pointless and long. Like the entire 5-6 ish chapters about Napoleon and the battle of Waterloo and all the military tactics used. I almost died. 

But I'm already amazed by the connections I've made with the characters and all the life questions that this book asks. There are just so many lessons imbedded into the book. It makes me question and makes me think, but I somehow am still loving and enjoying this beautiful novel. 

Now if I can finish it by the end of this week... 

What books are you reading right now? Anything special about them? Have you read Les Miserables before?