Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday Post - 142 & Stacking the Shelves - 101

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ The Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~this meme was inspired in part by ~ In My Mailbox~ It's a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Guys to be honest this week just plain sucked. We lost my older cousin, Amy, to cancer on Wednesday. Even though she was thirteen years older than me, she often would include me and others a good bit younger in the things she had going on. She was my Bible school teacher when I was about 10 to 13 years old. I remember learning more about the Bible during that time period than any other until I began to read and study for myself when I was older. I remember her creating games for class. She was very creative and ended up being an elementary school teacher. She took us to the beach. She was full of pranks and many, many people have plenty of stories to tell from that aspect of her. Amy loved her family, and she loved kids. She fostered two children even though she was unmarried--voluntarily taking on the role of a single parent in order to provide a safe place for two young children when they needed it most. And I remember her taking in two other children that she taught in school whose parents often left them alone and were struggling financially. And that's just the ones that I know of. I know there were many more that she helped in various ways that I don't even know about because that's who she was. She was a genuinely good person, and her faith in God despite and throughout her battle with cancer was truly something to be admired. Amy never blamed God. She was never a victim. She had one of the most positive and uplifting attitudes I've ever witnessed. She will be greatly missed by all of her friends and family, but we are thankful that through Jesus Christ we have the opportunity to see her again one day. Death always makes the things that matter stand out in stark contrast to the things that don't. Please everyone take an extra minute to hug your loved ones and let them know how much you care because you never know how long you'll have them in your life. And if you don't know Jesus Christ, the resurrected Savior, then I pray that He will reveal Himself to you so that you may know Him and also have hope of eternal life.

THIS PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of Confess by Colleen Hoover (4.5 Stars)
Wednesday: 2015 Series Enders Reading Challenge March Wrap Up & Waiting on Winter (Lunar Chronicles, # 4) by Marissa Meyer
Thursday: Review of All Broke Down (Rusk University, # 2) by Cora Carmack (3.5 Stars)

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of Breathe Annie Breathe (Hundred Oaks, # 5) by Miranda Kenneally
Tuesday: Top Ten Books Recently Added to My TBR List
Wednesday: Waiting on Wednesday & March EOM Wrap Up
Thursday: Review of Trouble from the Start by Rachel Hawthorne
Possibly a Friday discussion post.

Don’t forget to sign up for the 2015 Series Enders Reading Challenge! You have until December 15, 2015 to sign up. Each month there will be a giveaway for those participating with an end of the year giveaway too! Click on the picture below or the link above to find out more!

March 2015 Take Control of Your TBR Pile

I am also participating in Kimba's March Take Control of Your TBR Pile Challenge. Here are my goals for the month:

  1. Open Minds (Mindjack Trilogy, # 1) by Susan Kaye Quinn (46% complete)
  2. Just Enough Light for the Step I'm On by Stormie Omartian
  3. Ruins (Partial Sequence, # 3) by Dan Wells
  4. Kiss of Fire (Imdalind, # 1) by Rebecca Ethington
  5. Inhuman (Fetch, # 1) by Kat Fells
  6. Wreck Me (Nova, # 4) by Jessica Sorensen
  7. Ruin Me (Nova, # 5) by Jessica Sorensen
  8. The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, # 3) by Michelle Hodkin
  9. Ignite Me (Shatter Me, # 3) by Tahereh Mafi
  10. Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy, # 1) by Danielle L Jensen
  11. What If by Rebecca Donovan
  12. The Walking Dead Compendium 1 by Robert Kirkman
  13. All Lined Up (Rusk University, # 1) by Cora Carmack
  14. All Broke Down (Rusk University, # 2) by Cora Carmack
  15. The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines, # 6) by Richelle Mead
  16. The Iron Queen (The Iron Fey, # 3) by Julie Kagawa (64% complete)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess

By: Jen Hatmaker

Published: January 1st 2012 by B&H Books (first published December 19th 2011)

228 pages

Genre: Non-fiction, Self-Help, Spiritual, Christian, Inspiration

Source: Borrowed from the library

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

*Note: The above links to Amazon and Book Depository are affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.

Goodreads description--American life can be excessive, to say the least. That’s what Jen Hatmaker had to admit after taking in hurricane victims who commented on the extravagance of her family’s upper middle class home. She once considered herself unmotivated by the lure of prosperity, but upon being called “rich” by an undeniably poor child, evidence to the contrary mounted, and a social experiment turned spiritual was born.

7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence.

Food. Clothes. Spending. Media. Possessions. Waste. Stress. They would spend thirty days on each topic, boiling it down to the number seven. Only eat seven foods, wear seven articles of clothing, and spend money in seven places. Eliminate use of seven media types, give away seven things each day for one month, adopt seven green habits, and observe “seven sacred pauses.” So, what’s the payoff from living a deeply reduced life? It’s the discovery of a greatly increased God—a call toward Christ-like simplicity and generosity that transcends social experiment to become a radically better existence.

That's it for my shelves and recaps of my past and upcoming week. What did you add to your shelves this week? Any bookish news you want to talk about? Let me know!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

All Broke Down - Review

All Broke Down (Rusk University, # 2)

By: Cora Carmack

Published: October 28th 2014 by William Morrow Paperbacks

368 pages

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary

Source: Personal Kindle Library

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

*Note: The above links to Amazon and Book Depository are affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.

Goodreads description--In this second book in New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Carmack s New Adult, Texas-set Rusk University series, which began with All Lined Up, a young woman discovers that you can't only fight for what you believe in... sometimes you have to fight for what you love.

Dylan fights for lost causes. Probably because she used to be one.

Environmental issues, civil rights, corrupt corporations, and politicians you name it, she's probably been involved in a protest. When her latest cause lands her in jail overnight, she meets Silas Moore. He's in for a different kind of fighting. And though he's arrogant and infuriating, she can't help being fascinated with him. Yet another lost cause.

Football and trouble are the only things that have ever come naturally to Silas. And it's trouble that lands him in a cell next to do-gooder Dylan. He's met girls like her before fixers, he calls them, desperate to heal the damage and make him into their ideal boyfriend. But he doesn't think he's broken, and he definitely doesn't need a girlfriend trying to change him. Until, that is, his anger issues and rash decisions threaten the only thing he really cares about: his spot on the Rusk University football team. Dylan might just be the perfect girl to help.

Because Silas Moore needs some fixing after all.

Ok so I just KNEW this book was going to be able Stella and Silas. So while I was looking forward to getting Stella’s story, I was also pleasantly surprised to find this story about Dylan and Silas and not focused Stella at all. Truthfully Dylan fits so much more. I’m not sure why I jumped to that conclusion—probably because Silas and Stella had a hook up in book 1, All Lined Up. Assumptions assumptions! We all know they get you nowhere good really fast, but we make them all the time.

I wasn’t sure about Silas. He seemed like a carefree kind of guy based off my experience with him in All Lined Up, so I wasn’t expecting him to be wound so tightly. Basically Silas comes from humble beginnings. His family life was rough, and luckily he had a high school coach who pointed him towards football. But Silas doesn’t feel like he fits in with the world around him. He feels like everyone else is mostly from privileged backgrounds and that one day they’ll realize that he’s not one of them—that he doesn’t belong. And so Silas does what so many people do—he self-sabotages.

Dylan and Silas are a lot more similar than they appear on paper. Even though her parents are wealthy, she’s adopted. And you can see the nine-year-old little girl who’s scared she’s going to lose the only love she’s ever known. So Dylan becomes…a people-pleaser. But recently, she’s also discovered her passion for speaking up for those whose voices aren’t heard. The biggest situation that she campaigns for throughout All Broke Down is for the homeless. Yet, I couldn’t help but feel like it wasn’t the cause so much that mattered to her—while this one certainly did hit her close to home. It just seemed like she’d speak up for the sake up speaking up and not necessarily because she personally backs the cause.

Dylan and Silas meet in jail—which I loved. Not your typical place to meet your next relationship. Silas helps Dylan live a little, breathe a little, and come out of her shell. And he helps her realize that she’s been living to please others and not at all for herself. Dylan helps Silas become more grounded. He learns that anger and violence aren’t the best reactions or coping mechanisms. He learns to look at himself and his past and let go. And she helps him learn to love himself by helping others. He essentially learns that it’s okay to make himself vulnerable for the greater good of others.

One of the things I loved most about All Lined Up was how absent sex was from Dallas and Carson’s relationship. Of course there was heat, but they waited—for a while anyway. But that was not the case with Silas and Dylan and All Broke Down. Of course, it’s Silas so I’m not sure you could expect much different. But that aspect was a little disappointing for me.

Favorite quotes:

-“Next time I promise not to let my emotions get the better of me when handcuffs are involved.”

-Totally psychotic because he is way out of my league. Or I’m way out of his league, I don’t know. Either way, someone is out of someone’s league.

-“I don’t think I can change the world, but I can change one person’s world at a time. And that’s something.”

-“We cannot effect change with sheer force of will.”

-I know now why caring about another person is so…scary. It’s not that they won’t care about you back, because that either happens or it doesn’t. You live with it or you do everything you can to change it. The really scary thing is the moment you realize that for the rest of your life, you’ll feel twice the pain, twice the joy, twice the fear. Twice as helpless to control it all, too.

All Broke Down was enjoyable, but I have to say that I really liked All Lined Up better. I looked and thought, “surely book 3 will be Stella’s story,” but alas, no. It’s still not time for Stella. All Broke Down had characters that I could root for, but there was a little much physical in relation to emotional for me to love it. I’m giving All Broke Down 3.5 Stars. Have you read All Broke Down? What did you think? Let me know!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

2015 Series Enders Reading Challenge - March Wrap Up

It's time for our third Monthly Wrap Up for the 2015 Series Enders Reading Challenge hosted by Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know and Holly @ Words Fueled by Love!

Since posting the 2015 Series Enders Reading Challenge - February Wrap Up, I finished one series ender: The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines, # 6) by Richelle Mead. Holly didn't get any series enders finished this month.

Which series enders did you finish? Link the up below. Don't forget to include the title, your name, & your blog name (Ex: Requiem - Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know) Also, the February giveaway runs from February 25th - March 25th. On March 25th we will use random.org and the linky entries to pull a winner.

Waiting on Winter

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Winter (Lunar Chronicles, # 4)

By: Marissa Meyer

Expected Publication: November 10th 2015 by Feiwel and Friends

800 pages

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Dystopian

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

*Note: The above links to Amazon and Book Depository are affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.

Goodreads description--Here is the stunning conclusion to the national bestselling Lunar Chronicles, inspired by Snow White.

When Princess Winter was thirteen, the rumor around the Lunar court was that her glamour would soon be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana. In a fit of jealousy, Levana disfigured Winter. Four years later, Winter has sworn off the use of her glamour altogether. Despite her scars, Winter’s natural beauty, her grace, and her gentleness are winning admiration from the Lunar people that no amount of mind-control could achieve.

Winter despises her stepmother, but has never dreamed of standing up to her. That is, until she realizes that she may be the only one with the power to confront the queen.

Can Cinder, Prince Kai, Scarlet, Wolf, Cress, Thorne, Princess Winter, and the palace guard Jacin find their happily ever afters? Fans will LOVE this amazing conclusion to the series.

Ok so I'm dying for the conclusion to this series. But 800 pages??? My goodness! What are you waiting on this week? Let me know!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Confess - Review

Confess

By: Colleen Hoover

Published: March 10th 2015 by Atria Books

320 pages

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary

Source: Personal Library

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

*Note: The above links to Amazon and Book Depository are affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.

Goodreads description--From #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover, a new novel about risking everything for love—and finding your heart somewhere between the truth and lies.

Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…

You guys!!!! You guys!!!! I love Colleen Hoover so much. I have to say…Maybe Someday wasn’t my absolute favorite because of the cheating, and Ugly Love even though stunningly, beautifully written wasn’t either because of friends with benefits. Confess though…Confess was what I’ve been missing from Colleen Hoover. *deep sigh*

I’m not even sure what I can or should say about this book. But I think that’s the way I almost always feel about Colleen Hoover’s books. They’re just always books that you HAVE to experience for yourself—the way they’re meant to be experienced. I almost think it’s better to go into them with as little information as possible. BUT that’s not what I do here.

First of all, she hooks you so quickly. I cared about Auburn almost immediately. The prologue is pretty traumatic, and I felt like I had a year’s worth of built up emotion and knowledge from one chapter. There are few authors I’ve read that can pull something like that off. And then we fast forward a few years. Auburn’s in Dallas and she needs to make some money. She stumbles upon this art studio called Confess, and what she finds are these notes with confessions all over the windows and a sign that says “help wanted.” And Owen, of course, owns said art studio.

Auburn and Owen hit things off quickly. Sometimes a connection is so real and so strong that it will not be ignored, and that’s exactly how things were with Auburn and Owen. As a matter of fact, it really reminded me of Will and Lake from Slammed. These two both know immediately that they feel something real, and deep, and special. And quick. But as the description suggests, Owen has a lot of secrets. And even though he’s used to reading other people’s confessions day after day, he’s not used to making his own.

Owen isn’t the only one who has secrets though. Auburn has secrets too. And when the two combine…well let’s just say that they can’t. One’s secrets will destroy the other. The description tells you that Auburn has to cut Owen out of her life because of this so that’s not a spoiler. But come on, guys! Do you think it’s a simple as that? Of course not.

The side characters are bright and despite each having fairly small roles, I felt like I knew who each one of them were deep down. Lydia and Trey I hated. Emory, AJ, and Adam I loved. Harrison and Callahan I was on the fence about, but mostly ended up liking. And Owen-Cat…well she was adorable for her small but integral piece of the puzzle.

There is nothing more attractive to me than a guy who is really and truly deep down good, but add to that one that is extremely talented—Will Cooper, Ridge borderline on the good part. Now add Owen to this list. Owen didn’t quite surpass Will for me. I can’t help it. I fell in love with Will first. But Owen blew by all of the other Colleen Hoover leading male characters—even Holder. I loved the art that was included, both in concept and the actual paintings included in the book. I loved how Owen felt about art. And I loved the confessions and how they were incorporated into each piece. The confessions themselves were shocking and my heart breaks for the people who made them, especially knowing that they are real. But it reminds me that we all have a story, we all have pain, we all have things we’re ashamed of, we all have fears, we all have hopes. We’re the same, even when we’re not.

I had two small issues with the story itself. One revolves around Trey. And the other around a specific painting. But that’s all I’m going to say due to spoilers. But neither of these things were big enough to change how I felt about the book overall.

That ending…Typical Colleen Hoover. You know, I was thinking about her books, and I love how the conflict in her books is never expected. It’s never really typical. And usually it’s something I never see coming. That’s because she’s not just mimicking other stories. Colleen Hoover’s books aren’t the same track put on repeat. And I absolutely love that because I never know what to expect. And I never know what I’m going to experience. But that ending…while not conflict necessarily….I just loved it. There were pieces that I put together, and pieces that completely caught me off guard.

Favorite quotes:

-“You’re way too into me, Owen. Monday won’t be good for you.”

-It’s amazing how much distance one truth can create between two people.

-I’m so tired of having to give up the only things in life I want.

-“I’m scared I’ll never feel this again with anyone else,” I whisper. He squeezes my hands. “I’m scared you will.”

-“I know, baby” he whispers. “I know.”

-Selflessness. It should be the basis of every relationship. If a person truly cares about you, they’ll get more pleasure from the way they make you feel, rather than the way you make them feel.

In the end, I pretty much loved it. Confess had all the things I expect from Colleen Hoover. It had twists and turns. Things I didn’t expect. Characters I loved, and characters I hated. It had art and beauty. Love and loss. Confess does discuss the concept of fate, so those that take issue with that might struggle a bit. I had two small issues myself, but they didn’t affect how I felt about the book overall. Confess gets 4.5 Stars from me. I have so much more I want to say, but I need to stop somewhere. Have you read Confess? What did you think? Let me know!