Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sunday Post - 205 & Stacking the Shelves - 146

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.

This was a crazy busy week. Monday I did a little shopping for some new clothes for Baby Girl. Tuesday was errand day. Wednesday I had a hair appointment and my sister-in-law and niece came to help me with Baby Girl and shopping for supplies for the shower we're throwing my sister. Baby Girl also turned 9 months old on Wednesday. Thursday I took her to have her pictures made. They turned out so good. And then Friday my sister, sister-in-law, and niece came over for a swim day. I'm thankful that Saturday we didn't have any plans.

THIS PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, # 2) by Marie Rutkoski (3.5 Stars)
Tuesday: Top Ten Books Set Outside the US
Wednesday: Waiting on The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: 2016 Series Enders Reading Challenge - July Wrap Up
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday
Wednesday: Waiting on Wednesday
Thursday: Review of The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy, # 3) by Marie Rutkoski

Don’t forget to sign up for the 2016 Series Enders Reading Challenge! You have until December 15, 2016 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!

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Perfect Chemistry (Perfect Chemistry, # 1)

By: Simone Elkeles

Published: January 6th 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

359 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

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--When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created "perfect" life is about to unravel before her eyes. She's forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for-her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more. In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.

Rules of Attraction (Perfect Chemistry, # 2)

By: Simone Elkeles

Published: January 6th 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

326 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

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--When Carlos Fuentes returns to America after living in Mexico for a year, he doesn’t want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him at a high school in Colorado . Carlos likes living his life on the edge and wants to carve his own path—just like Alex did. Then he meets Kiara Westford. She doesn’t talk much and is completely intimidated by Carlos’ wild ways. As they get to know one another, Carlos assumes Kiara thinks she’s too good for him, and refuses to admit that she might be getting to him. But he soon realizes that being himself is exactly what Kiara needs right now.

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!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Waiting on The Chemist

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

The Chemist

By: Stephenie Meyer

Expected Publication: November 15th 2016 by Little, Brown and Company

512 pages

Genre: Adult, Thriller

( Goodreads | Amazon )

*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 gripping page-turner, an ex-agent on the run from her former employers must take one more case to clear her name and save her life.

She used to work for the U.S. government, but very few people ever knew that. An expert in her field, she was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn't even have a name. And when they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning.

Now, she rarely stays in the same place or uses the same name for long. They've killed the only other person she trusted, but something she knows still poses a threat. They want her dead, and soon.

When her former handler offers her a way out, she realizes it's her only chance to erase the giant target on her back. But it means taking one last job for her ex-employers. To her horror, the information she acquires only makes her situation more dangerous.

Resolving to meet the threat head on, she prepares for the toughest fight of her life, but finds herself falling for a man who can only complicate her likelihood of survival. As she sees her choices being rapidly whittled down, she must apply her unique talents in ways she never dreamed of.

In this tautly plotted novel, Meyer creates a fierce and fascinating new heroine with a very specialized skill set. And she shows once again why she's one of the world's bestselling authors.

I'm so excited to see something new from Stephenie Meyer. Of course, I'd love for her to finish The Host series or shoot Midnight Sun, but I'm interested to see what she does with a thriller. What are you waiting on this week? Let me know!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Top Ten Books Set Outside the US

Top 10 Tuesday is a post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week's topic is Top Ten Books Set Outside the US.

So I've decided to limit myself to realistic contemporary fiction and not fantasy where books could be set in made up worlds or outer space, or MARS!!!! Or historical fiction or classics where I could easily list any Jane Austen work, Hogwartz, etc.

  1. Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley (Australia)
  2. The Boys of Summer (Summer, # 1) by CJ Duggan (Australia)
  3. An Endless Summer (Summer, # 2) by CJ Duggan (Australia)
  4. That One Summer (Summer, # 3) by CJ Duggan (Australia)
  5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium Trilogy, # 1) by Stieg Larsson (Sweden)
  6. Me Before You (Me Before You, # 1) by Jojo Moyes (UK)
  7. Chasing River (Burying Water, # 3) by KA Tucker (Ireland)
  8. Just One Day (Just One Day, # 1) by Gayle Forman (France)
  9. Saving Wishes (Wishes, # 1) by GJ Walker-Smith (Australia)
  10. Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, # 1) by Stephanie Perkins (France)

Apparently I really have a thing for the Australian setting. What are your favorite books that take place outside of the US? Let me know!

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Winner's Crime - Review

The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, # 2)

By: Marie Rutkoski

Published: March 3rd 2015 by Farrar Straus Giroux

416 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

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--Book two of the dazzling Winner's Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement... if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.

The Winner's Curse was a completely blank slate for me. I knew nothing going into it, and I was so pleasantly surprised. Well The Winner's Curse ends in...not really a cliffhanger...but a place where I was dying to know what was going to happen next. So I bought The Winner's Crime immediately and started it immediately.

Ok so this isn't a spoiler, but The Winner's Curse ends with Kestrel saving Arin's life and his country by getting the Emporer to sign a peace treaty where Herran becomes a part of the empire, Arin becomes the new governor, and Kestrel is engaged to the prince. Not the best place for our completely unhappy couple. And that's exactly the nature of the entire book. This is the second book in a trilogy after all and it follows a typical trilogy arc pretty much spot on. Meaning lots of conflict and set up for the final resolution of the overall series.

So we start The Winner's Crime with Kestrel now living in the palace at the capital as she is engaged to the prince. Yet in the beginning Kestrel has very little to do with the prince at all. She is mostly engaged in conversation with the emperor, who early on establishes his dominance, intelligence, and cunning. While the important thing for us to learn through The Winner's Crime is that the emperor is an extremely formidable opponent, I was somewhat discouraged at how Kestrel went from very strategic and logical in book 1 to the creature she becomes in book 2. While she's still strategic and smart, she's very sloppy. I did enjoy how Kestrel stayed true to herself in being so against the treatment of Herran by Valoria. She can't stand by and do nothing. Again, not a spoiler because it is mentioned in the description, but Kestrel goes so far as to become a spy for Herran. Though truthfully, I think she's mainly just wanting to help Arin more than anything else.

Arin was a bit of a struggle for me in The Winner's Crime. It's obvious that the feelings he developed for Kestrel are as strong as ever. But his faith in her is not. How her decision to form a political marriage could be anything but her attempts at saving him and his country is beyond me. Yet he doesn't see it. The only thing I can attribute it to is that the majority of his life has been spent around those who have used him as a stepping stone and barely noticed. But I should think that, given their history (Kestrel did fight a duel for him after all), he would have had more faith in her and her feelings for him as well as her honor. So yeah, I found myself rolling my eyes at him a good bit.

As I've already mentioned, The Winner's Crime is a typical middle book in a trilogy and as such, not much good happens. The characters start the book both in bad positions and they end the book in even worse ones. Yet if they didn't then what would be the need for a third book?

A few new key pieces of the puzzle fall into place in The Winner's Crime though. Even though Kestrel and the prince don't start out with the best relationship, they do develop a kindredness. The east is established as the next territory that Valoria is seeking to conquer and they do become allies with Herran. But at what cost? We see the lengths Kestrel goes to for Arin without him even being aware of it. The relationship between Kestrel and her father deepens and changes which sets up some aspects for the next book. And so yeah...we advance in the story for sure.

I will say that I think Marie Rutkoski's writing was even better in The Winner's Crime. At least from the aspect of quotable material. Here are my favorites:

-Kestrel had seen how the emperor loved to shape silence into a tool that pried open the anxieties of others.

-But he said nothing after that, only her name, as if her name were not a name but a question. Or perhaps that wasn't how he had said it, and she was wrong, and she'd heard a question simply because the sound of him speaking her name made her wish that she were his answer.

-There was dishonor, she decided, in accepting someone else's idea of honor without question.

-Kestrel didn't understand how the truth could be so two-sided, like a coin. So precious--and ugly.

-It was different to give something up than to see it taken away. The difference, Kestrel said, was choice. A limited freedom, but better than none. ...Now she knew that to give something up was to have it taken away.

I know that this review has come across as a bit negative, but that's not really how I felt about the book as a whole. Yes, it does follow the middle of a trilogy patterns where not much good happens, but plenty does happen to further the story along and of course set up for the final book in the series. I believe Marie Rutkoski's writing was even better in The Winner's Crime than The Winner's Curse. Of course, there is a cliffhanger for real with this book so I had to purchase The Winner's Kiss immediately. The Winner's Crime gets 3.5 Stars. Have you read The Winner's Crime? What did you think? Let me know!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sunday Post - 204

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.

This has been a pretty uneventful week, which we've needed after the last couple of week. Not much has happened all around. Oh we finally got to see Mockingjay Pt 2. I can't remember if I mentioned that already or not, but I don't think I have. Anyway, it was about as good as I remember the book being--by which I mean not my favorite, but still good. No new books for me this week which is really good considering I haven't read much at all this week. I did go visit my friend Jennifer and her month old baby girl with my sister on Saturday. That was really nice. I don't get to see her enough.

THIS PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, # 1) by Marie Rutkoski (4.5 Stars)
Tuesday: Ten Facts About Me
Wednesday: Waiting on A Beautiful Funeral (Beautiful, # 3) by Jamie McGuire

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, # 2) by Marie Rutkoski
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday
Wednesday: Waiting on Wednesday

Don’t forget to sign up for the 2016 Series Enders Reading Challenge! You have until December 15, 2016 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!

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!