Title: If I Speak True (Flora #1)
Author: Jessica L. Brooks
Date of Publication: January 27, 2014
Dahlia Kennedy's sixteenth birthday marks a decade of mysterious dahlias arriving and strange, lonely dreams of being in a forest. The only difference this birthday, however, is that for the first time, someone is there with her. And he's practically from a whole other era.The more often Dahlia visits Rowan in his land of Ambrosia, the stronger their connection grows. But... is Ambrosia real? Is he real? What is going on between the two of them, exactly, and why does he insist that she keep it to herself?As secrets usually go, however, it's only a matter of time before everything comes out. And when Dahlia finds out the truth of who Rowan is, who she is, and how he really feels -- it’s beyond anything she could have ever imagined.
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Thank you to Jessica for the review copy! Having received a review copy did not affect my views of the novel.
So this review is so hard to write because I don't know where to start. Actually, I don't even know what to say. On one hand, I did immensely enjoy the last 20% of the novel but getting there was quite the journey. While I didn't have a problem reading it as it had my attention (I do love reading books shrouded in mystery and secrets even if the payoff of knowing the secret takes so long), I was not as invested to the story and characters as I'd like.
I think my problem lies with the instalove and cheesiness and that I can't seem to understand why Dahlia (and many other YA/NA heroines) would prefer a guy who they only see in their dreams and not look at who's right in front of them in "real" life. I guess it's just the pragmatic in me and anyway, those are the reasons that hindered me from investing my emotions on the book.
Moreover, I think the novel could benefit from a continuity check or detail check. I've repeatedly caught myself correcting some discrepancies. For example, the Queen was described to be wearing crimson and then at the next page, we're informed about how blue her dress was. Those little details still take away from how engaged I am with the novel so I hope it does get edited as I've read an ARC.
But once I got over the reasons I stated above, I did have fun with the book. Aside from those reasons, I think the novel was good. It's described to be a novel with magical realism and I do agree with that. Jessica has crafted another world with a monarchy, dirty politics and so many issues that it felt real. Still, she made Dahlia's present/normal world interesting and with conflict that we will enjoy her stay in both worlds. Specifically, I enjoyed Ambrosia and it's many differences and quirks than the normal Shaver. In Ambrosia, females are named after flowers and males are named after trees. So cool.
The plot thickened during the latter parts and I admit to being so excited and poring through the pages. The action happened and it was exciting as YAY for the heroine doing the saving! Dahlia spent a lot of time being the "boring and bookish" (as she said) character but you can see that she has a spine and she stands up for her own in her own ways. So when she was tapped for the mission, I liked how she became pro-active in this story.
The reveal of the secrets and mysteries and answers was also satisfying and I honestly want to know more of the world of Ambrosia and how Dahlia's senior year will pan out. So even though I felt that the novel was losing steam for a while, it did definitely pick up.
Lastly, I highly adored all the poems and Shakespeare quotes in here. I think I'll be picking up The Tempest because of this novel. For some reason, I don't find the works of the Romantic poets and playwrights and authors cheesy. #doublestandardalert
Overall, a good read by the kindest author ever! *winks at Jessica*
About Jessica L. Brooks
Jessica L. Brooks resides with her husband of over sixteen years, three awesome daughters, and a plethora of pets in Central California, where fog, frost, triple-digit heat and various items of produce arrive bountifully, depending on the season. She has an affinity for both coffee and owls, and loves to connect with fellow readers and writers on most social networks like Goodreads, Twitter and Pinterest. You can also connect with her on her blog, Let Me Tell You A Story.
Jessica shares reviews for her favorite books on Afterglow Book Reviews, spreads writing and author love for independently-published authors at Indie Ignites, and salutes all writers (no matter what stage in their writerly journey) at Operation Awesome.
IF I SPEAK TRUE, the first in the Flora series, will be available 1/27/14. PITY ISN’T AN OPTION (Cozenage, #1) is her debut novel.
We have two giveaways! The first one is open to anyone and the second one is for US residents only. Good luck!