Book Review: Falling into Place by Amy Zhang

Falling into PlaceTitle: Falling into Place

Author: Amy Zhang

Publication date: September 9, 2014

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Pages: 304

Source: Review copy from publisher (Thank you, Harper Collins UK!)

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked / National Book Store

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.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

Contemporary YA + Newton’s Laws of Motion = YES PLEASE! Physics was one of the subjects that I loved in high school. I wasn’t very good at it but it was a study that challenged my critical thinking and it fascinated me a lot. Falling into Place brought me back to senior year, truly a strong force that set my mind in throwback motion.

Falling into Place spotlights a troubled teen’s disconcerted state of mind. Poignant and reflective, the book follows the story of popular girl, Liz Emerson, through a puzzle-like sequence of events. Each chapter is a puzzle piece in the protagonist’s life recounting the episodes that took place before, during, and after Liz’s tragedy. What I like about Falling into Place is that the story didn’t center on Liz alone. It also expounded on the people around her. Consequently, the story procured a deep-seated intensity that came from the individuals whose lives Liz affected. Showing how Liz shaped those lives into what they have become provides readers a powerful insight into the causes that led to the effect, which is Liz’s attempted suicide. In the book’s entirety, the enigmatic narrator is the element that stood out to me. It possesses a mysterious semblance and a voice that resounds on every corner of the heart, making it an exceptionally compelling character.

Gifted with a graceful flow of thoughts, author Amy Zhang magnifies the power of words through knitting heart-wrenching emotions that blow readers away with a piercing impact. The author’s writing is very impressive. Her sharp and profound prose will haunt you in a way that is too beautiful to forget.

Falling into Place may not be a book for everyone with its catastrophic and depressing nature. However, I still recommend it because the story is a wake-up call for us to be aware that there might be people going through dark times right now and who need our help. Maybe one of those people is someone dear to us. This story illuminates the essence of asking for help when life gets tough. There are times we feel alone in this world. But the truth is, we are not. There’s always a helping hand out there. All we have to do is ask.

A stunning and emotionally gripping debut, Falling into Place is a novel charged with hope that things, no matter how terrible they are, will be better for someone whose world is falling apart.

Rating:

4/5 stars

Book Review: A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

A Little Something DifferentTitle: A Little Something Different

Author: Sandy Hall

Publication date: August 26, 2014

Publisher: Swoon Reads

Pages: 272

Source: Bought from Fully Booked

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked / National Book Store

Synopsis:

The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out.  But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship.

Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together….

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

A Little Something Different is completely something out of the ordinary. The idea of a story told in fourteen viewpoints seems a bit confusing, don’t you think? Questions like “Wouldn’t this story be difficult to understand?” and “Would I be able to follow the story without getting a headache?” clouded my mind. However, I set aside my doubtful thoughts and let my contemporary YA-loving self surrender to the pull of the book’s catchy storyline and the intriguing manner by which it is told.

For a debut novel, A Little Something Different is a clever breakthrough in contemporary YA storytelling. Each narrator’s voice has a distinct sound and charisma that made the multiple POVs work perfectly well. It wasn’t confusing as I expected it to be. Reading the book actually felt like devouring a box of assorted chocolates. You get a taste of the same thing in different flavors, which is totally awesome! In young adult fiction, anything is possible. A Little Something Different is a great example of a book that showcases the unlimited probabilities of how stories are told. Moreover, author Sandy Hall’s straightforward and intelligible writing heightened the genuine feel of the story’s present day situation.

I read A Little Something Different in a breeze because it’s the kind of book that you couldn’t put down even if you need to pee. The narrators are very entertaining so is the story they are telling. I was an explosion of giggles and smiles from page one! Gabe and Lea are adorable characters. Both have spark since the beginning and it was so fun seeing them respond to the attraction they have towards each other. A Little Something Different really did a great job in encapsulating a developing romance fueled by shyness, insecurities, mixed signals, and awkward encounters.

A smart and original novel, A Little Something Different is a light contemporary romance that will charm your heart in no time.

 

Rating:

4/5 stars

 

 

Blog Tour: The Death of Us by Alice Kuipers [Author Interview]

deathofus_header

Hi everyone! For today’s stop in The Death of Us blog tour, author Alice Kuipers shares valuable thoughts on writing and her latest novel in this special Q&A!

At what age did you realize that you wanted to be a writer?

I have always, always loved reading. My parents read to me as a small child and as soon as I could read myself, I spent hours of my childhood deep in book after book. I wrote stories and poems for school, and started to do more writing in my free time too. When I was eighteen, I travelled for a year. During that trip, I thought I’d write a journal but I wrote stories and poems. I realized that writing was important to me during that journey. But I don’t think I would ever have thought of being a writer if I hadn’t loved reading.

What makes a good writer?

A good writer is excellent at observing the world. They notice details that pass most people by. And they are good at taking those details and crafting sentences with them. Writers have to love the actual writing process – they have to be in love with the written word and want to spend their time moving a comma or rewriting the same page for the fiftieth time, as well as coming up with ideas and dreaming.

Where is your favorite writing spot?

I love writing anywhere. I go to cafes, or I sit in my yard, or I curl up in the chair in my office, or I use my treadmill desk, or I sit on my bed. My laptop is a great tool for writing. It means that whichever spot I’m in, I can get into writing. I do need headphones, though. Having music helps me block out the real world.

What is an effective way of beating writer’s block?

I’ve been saying for years when people asked me this question, that Barbara Kingsolver said: “I have three children, I don’t have time for writer’s block.” Except she never said it. I just checked!!! I seem to have made it up entirely! She, in fact, has two children. She does say this about writer’s block: “It would be easy to say oh, I have writers’ block, oh I have to wait for my muse. I don’t. Chain that muse to your desk and get the job done.”

So, now I’m going to be the one to say, “I have three children, I don’t have time for writer’s block!” I’m not trying to get out of the question, or dismiss writer’s block for those who suffer from it. What I mean by this is that when I have a moment to write, I seize it. I don’t worry if the writing is wrong or messy or imperfect (it is nearly always all three). Instead, I let the words go onto the page and tell myself I can always edit later. I am far, far from a perfectionist and I think that makes it much easier not to feel blocked.

What is your best moment as a published author so far?

I feel really lucky to be able to write full time as my job. There have been a lot of good moments in my life as a writer, but the best is probably when my two oldest asked me to read my picture book to them. It’s coming out in December and it was brilliant to be able to have them turn the pages of the galley copy.

Which of the books you wrote changed your life? How?

Each of them has affected me. The first I published – Life on the Refrigerator Door – made it possible for me to write full time. It was published in lots of countries and hearing from readers all over the world gave me quiet confidence in my writing. When I get a bad review now, I am able to step away and respect that people see things differently. Something that someone loves, someone else will hate.

My second and third books helped me learn and grow as a writer. They both needed a lot of editing and I felt myself changing as a writer during those editorial processes. The Death of Us probably changed me the most. The work I had to do to make the story the best it could be was really challenging. By the time the book was finished, I was a different writer (and I’d had two more children). I have understood a lot more about character through the writing of this book, things I wish I’d understood before. But each book I’ve written has shown me more clearly how to write the next one. So each one changes me and my life, making me more attuned to stories, to characters, to possible ideas for the next book.

Your new book, The Death of Us, will hit shelves on September 2nd. How are you planning to celebrate its release?

By the time I’m on your site, the book will have been out for a few days. On the day of release, I’ll go for lunch with my family. There’s a great café near our house where I enjoy eating super delicious soups and sandwiches with lots of good coffee. Or maybe we’ll go out for supper instead. Save me from cooking! I love cooking, but with a large family it’s nice to have a break sometimes. In the evening, there’s a meeting at my child’s preschool. It’s very boring, but it roots me in reality. Yes, the book came out, but the day to day of my life just goes on exactly the same. Except, multiple times a day for the first few days, I’ll glance at the gorgeous cover and think: wow, I wrote that!

I have a book launch at McNally Robinson in Saskatoon on September 15th at 7pm. I’m excited to see friends and family there, and to eat scones and cookies. McNally’s has a catering service that I think is great for a book launch. I’ll go out with some friends after the launch too. That night will be the big celebration.

Behind every book, there’s a story of why an author wrote it. What then sparked your interest to write The Death of Us?

The Death of Us is written from three perspectives. I was interested in how three people saw the same event. In my own past, I had a terrible falling out with a friend and her boyfriend. Their two perspectives and mine were so different it was like we were reading two entirely different books on the same subject. I wanted to explore the way that the same events could be seen really differently.

In the book, there is a tangled love story, an accident, lots of drama and intrigue, but hopefully the characters are what makes the story work. The characters felt real to me and I tried to capture that on the page. In itself, bringing Callie, Ivy and Kurt fully to life was what really sparked the book for me. I could hear them and suddenly the ideas for the book appeared. It’s a magical process, having an idea, and I can’t fully explain why some ideas hold on and won’t let go until the book is finished.

If you could pick a theme song for The Death of Us, what would it be and why?

River by The Belle Game – it’s mysterious, dark, romantic, unnerving. The layers and the lyrics fit well too, I think.

Alice’s answers are truly inspiring, don’t you guys think? As an aspiring writer, her thoughtful answers are exactly what I need to keep me motivated in pursuing my dream. 🙂 Thank you Alice for sharing with us wonderful insights!

About the author:

Headshot3Bestselling, award winning author Alice Kuipers moved to Saskatoon from the UK in 2003. Her first novel, Life on the Refrigerator Door, was published in 28 countries. She has published three further award-winning YA novels internationally, most recently, The Death of Us. Her first picture book Violet and Victor Write The Best Ever Bookworm Book will be published this December.

Find her here: www.alicekuipers.com or on Twitter, Facebook or Goodreads.

 

 

About The Death of Us

DeathOfUs-2

A recovered friendship, a dark secret, and a love triangle with a deadly angle…

Callie is shocked when her friend Ivy reappears after an unexplained three-year absence, but the girls pick up where they left off, and suddenly Callie’s summer is full of parties, boys and fun. Beneath the surface, things aren’t what they seem, however, and when a handsome boy with a dark past gets tangled up with Ivy, the girls’ history threatens to destroy their future.

*Synopsis from Goodreads

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Books-A-MillionIndigo 

Jennifer E. Smith and Lissa Price PH Book Signing Tour!

Poster - Jennifer E Smith and Lissa Price

What: Jennifer E. Smith and Lissa Price Book Signing Tour

When: September 19, 6 pm
Where: The Northwing Atrium, SM Cebu

When: September 20, 2 pm
Where: Level 1 Atrium, SM Aura Premier

When: September 21, 2 pm – 4 pm (200 slots only)
Where: Manila International Book Fair, SMX Convention Center

 

Jennifer E. Smith and Lissa Price Book Signing Tour
Frequently Asked Questions

When and where are the book signings?
September 19, 6:00 pm, at The Northwing Atrium, SM Cebu
September 20, 2:00 pm, at the Level 1 Atrium, SM Aura Premier

When will the registration be?
Registration opens at 10:00 am on September 19 at The Northwing Atrium, SM Cebu and 10:00 am on September 20 at the Level 1 Atrium, SM Aura Premier. Each guest will be asked to fill out the registration form upon arrival. Separate registrations for each event is required should you wish to attend both events. First come, first served.

Is there a registration fee?
No. There is no registration fee.

How many books can I have signed? Is there a limit as to how many people can have their books signed?
You may have any number of books signed as long as they were purchased from National Book Store, Bestsellers or Powerbooks, and we do not have any preset limit as to the number of people.

However, although we will take every effort to get as many books signed as possible, depending on the number of attendees, we reserve the right to limit the number of copies per person or limit the number of people in line. First come, first served.

Can I bring old books or other editions of the books?
Yes, as long as the books were purchased from National Book Store, Bestsellers and Powerbooks.

Do I need to buy on-site?
No. You can buy books before or during the event.

Can I have other items signed?
No. Only books will be allowed to be signed by the authors.

Can we have our photo taken with the author?
Yes, you can have your photo with the author when she signs your book. However, we strictly allow one photo per person only.

 

Jennifer E. Smith and Lissa Price Book Signing
Manila International Book Fair
Frequently Asked Questions

When and where is the book signing at the Manila International Book Fair (MIBF)?
The MIBF signing will be on Sunday, September 21, from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm in the National Book Store booth. For more information on the MIBF, you can go to www.manilabookfair.com.

Do I need a separate ticket to get into the MIBF?
Yes, you will still need a separate ticket to get into the MIBF.

When will the registration be?
Registration for the book signing at the Manila International Book Fair opens at 10:00 am on September 21 in the National Book Store booth. Only the first 200 registrants will be given a signing slot. Each guest will be asked to fill out the registration form upon arrival. First come, first served.

Is there a registration fee?
No. There is no registration fee.

How many books can I have signed?
You may have any number of books signed as long as they were purchased from National Book Store, Bestsellers or Powerbooks. However, although we will take every effort to get as many books signed as possible, depending on the number of attendees, we reserve the right to limit the number of copies per person or limit the number of people in line. First come, first served.

Can I bring old books or other editions of the books?
Yes, as long as the books were purchased from National Book Store, Bestsellers and Powerbooks.

Do I need to buy on-site?
No. You can buy books before or during the event.

Can I have other items signed?
No. Only books will be allowed to be signed by the authors.

Can we have our photo taken with the author?
Yes, you can have your photo with the author when she signs your book. However, we strictly allow one photo per person only.

 

PRICE LIST OF BOOKS

Jennifer E. Smith Titles
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (Trade Paperback – P365)
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (Hardcover – P729)
This is What Happy Looks Like (Trade Paperback – P399)
This is What Happy Looks Like (Hardcover – P729)
The Geography of You and Me (Trade Paperback – P399)
The Geography of You and Me (Hardcover – P699)

Lissa Price Titles
Starters (Trade Paperback – P349)
Enders (Trade Paperback – P495)
Enders (Hardcover – P625)

Visit National Book Store’s Facebook page for more details on the book signing tour.

 

I’M SO EXCITED FOR THE BOOK SIGNING TOUR! *MEGA FLAILS* 🙂 I hope to see you guys at one of the events!