Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Sound of Light - DNF Review

The Sound of Light

By: Claire Wallis

Published: July 17, 2017 by Claire Wallis

320 pages

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Suspense

( Goodreads | Amazon | Kobo )

*Note: The above link to Amazon is an affiliate link. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.

Goodreads description--My littlest girl has always been a bit peculiar. It was nothing I could ever put a finger on, but I always knew there was something inside her that made her a different kind of special. A deeper kind.

K'acy's got a light around her, one that'll just about knock you over, especially if you don't see her coming. She's got music in her soul, too. Deep, resonating music that echoes and hums, just like the notes that come from the bass guitar she's had attached to her hip since the day she turned thirteen years old.

She's got a hell of a secret, yes, but she does what she's got to do to make it one worth having. She takes care of people. She changes their stories. I spent my life telling both of my girls that you always gotta do what's right, even when it hurts, and it makes me proud to know she was listening.

I saw the way she looked at that boy on the day they met, and I knew right then that things were going to change. Two different people from two different worlds is nothing but a recipe for heartbreak, and when the lies pile higher and higher, it can change a person into something they're not.

It took me dying all those years ago to finally figure out just exactly how special my K'acy really is, and even though I'm not with her anymore, I don't want that boy and his family to change her. I want her to keep doing what's right, even when it hurts.

Because that's who she is inside. That's her deeper kind of special.

**This stand-alone novel from Claire Wallis is intended for readers age 17 and up.**

DNF @ 44% - Warning...I might get a little "preachy" on this one.

I really loved Claire Wallis's PUSH series. And so when she contacted me about reading and reviewing The Sound of Light I jumped at the chance even though the description was a bit vague for my normal tastes. Well Holly got a chance to pick it up and start reading The Sound of Light before I did so I asked her how she was enjoying it and her response was that it was a little slow and she wasn't hooked into it yet. And then a week or so passed and I noticed that she'd not marked it as finished on Goodreads yet so I asked her again about it and she said she was still struggling to connect to the romance and some other issues. So I was a bit discouraged and put off picking up The Sound of Light for even longer than I intended. The main reason is that I just don't have the time to read that I would like and so when I hear the word "slow" associated with a book I really have to evaluate whether it is worth me looking into or not. I finally picked it up. And yeah I found myself struggling as well.

The very first issue I had (which Holly had also warned me about) was the swapping narrators. This isn't always an issue for me. Typically if there are only two narrators who follow the same story in the same chronology then I'm fine. But that's not the case here. K'acy is the main narrator, but occasionally there are chapters from her dad's POV as well as chapters written from the POV of different deceased characters who used to live at the nursing home where K'acy works. I really find that books that jump around chronologically aren't my favorite so this was the first thing that bothered me about The Sound of Light.

Also, I found myself battling my feelings for K'acy in general as character. She plays bass guitar--which I don't care much for except for how it fits within the whole of a great band--for a funk band--which I don't have any connection to as I don't listen to this type of music. I could appreciate the uniqueness that these two facts bring to her character, but it made no connection with me on a personal level. K'acy also comes from a split family. Her mother left when she was young for a "preacher" of what sounds very much like a cult. Because K'acy's mother was religious, K'acy seems to have taken a negative view toward God. Her attitude was much like "how could God allow His children to suffer and die." Or something to that extent. So I couldn't connect to her in this way either considering my Christian background. I'll discuss this more in detail later. K'acy also subscribes to the philosophy that all people "deserve the best life." Despite their actions and how they've lived their lives apparently. And this is yet another philosophy that I personally can't agree with. Again...I'll discuss this in more detail in a bit. And then there's one final kicker that's a huge spoiler that I'll discuss in a hidden paragraph that K'acy also believes in that I couldn't support.

K'acy's struggle with God is not a unique one. Many people wonder how God could allow His creation to suffer. Yet what people don't understand is that this world wasn't created as it is. This world was perfect. God gave us free choice because of His love for us. But that free choice allows us to choose against Him. And that's how and where sin entered into the picture. Because God allows us to choose what isn't good for us bad things happen. And we chose and continue to choose against Him time and time again. And yet we want to shake our fists and blame Him for dealing with the consequences of our own choices. Sure there are things that happen in life that we didn't necessarily choose--like a loved one getting cancer or a car accident--but ultimately all the bad boils down to is our path away from God. God even loved us to the point of sending His own Son to die for us so that He could redeem us back to Himself. So He could buy us back from our sin. But we still reject Him. We still blame Him. We still want to accuse Him of being unloving. So I really struggled with K'acy's attitude toward God. Especially because when it boils down to it, God didn't make K'acy's mom leave her family. He didn't "tell" her to do it. Yet that's really what she's mad at Him about.

In a similar vein, K'acy keeps talking about how her dad taught her that everyone "deserves the best life." And I'm sorry but that's bull. There's nothing I've done in my life that could possibly earn me a free pass from all the bad things. There's nothing that I've done that could earn me a pass from death or suffering. I sure haven't been so good that I earned it. I've messed up. I've lied. I've cheated. I've stolen. I've not been what I should be. I don't deserve any good thing. What is good that I have is a blessing and a gift from God because of His great love for me and because of His grace and mercy. One of the deceased patients that narrates basically explains how he raped his secretary to show her that he was dominant over her--that women were less than. And yet he discusses how K'acy was there for him in the end and how she treated him like she cared. And who knows...maybe K'acy's "gift" doesn't allow her to see a person's past or what that person truly is deep inside, but I found myself completely annoyed that K'acy could offer him grace, compassion, and forgiveness that she can't extend to God--despite God not really needing those things from her. God hasn't wronged any of us. Yet this man was a rapist. And she can find it in herself to give him what she cannot give God? I don't buy it. And at the very least, her thought process is flawed.

SPOILER (highlight to view): The deal breaker for me was that I was starting to piece together some clues about K'acy and what exactly she was using her "gift" for. And so I texted Holly and asked if K'acy was killing the people she sees are going to die. Normally I don't ask questions like this. And normally Holly wouldn't answer so she asked "are you sure you want to know?" And I was like "yes, I really want to know." And she replied that yes essentially K'acy is killing the patients that ask her for help. And I'm sorry, but I can't agree with assisted suicide. I just can't. And so I asked myself if I wanted to continue to read a book where the character obviously fully believed in her philosophy, and the answer was a resounding NO. I don't care to read a character continue to try to justify this. I realize that this might not be such a black and white topic for some, but I have a firm stance on this subject. End spoiler.

All of these factors but especially the one in the spoiler left me with the undeniable decision to put down The Sound of Light. The narration and chronology jumps. The bass guitar for a funk band. The contempt toward God yet utter blind forgiveness for flawed man. The spoiler I can't support. It just told me that this isn't the book for me. And IF I had continued reading and not much changed, I'd be looking at a 1 or 2 Star rating at best. I truly hate that I felt this way because I've enjoyed Claire Wallis's writing in the past, and even the writing itself was at times beautiful in The Sound of Light, but I just don't have the time or the inclination to continue to read something that I'm not enjoying anymore. Have you read The Sound of Light? What did you think? Let me know!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Can't Wait for Iron Gold

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings to spotlight and talk about the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released as well. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine. Find out more here.

Iron Gold (Red Rising, # 4)

By: Pierce Brown

Expected Publication: January 16th 2018 by Del Rey Books

480 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy

( 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--Honor and betrayal fuel a caste-shattering revolution in the action-packed new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Red Rising Trilogy. Ten years after the events of Morning Star, Darrow and the Rising are battling the remaining Gold loyalist forces and are closer than ever to abolishing the color-coded caste system of Society for good. But new foes will emerge from the shadows to threaten the imperfect victory Darrow and his friends have earned. Pierce Brown expands the size and scope of his impressive Red Rising universe with new characters, enemies, and conflicts among the stars.

Red Rising has been one of my all-time favorite series that I've read to date. I can't wait to see more from Pierce Brown...especially because we're not branching from the world he created that I fell in love with. What are you guys waiting on this week? Let me know!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Top Ten Fall 2017 TBR List

Top 10 Tuesday is a post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week's topic is Top Ten Fall 2017 TBR List.

  1. The Sound of Light by Claire Wallis
  2. Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad, # 1) by Scott Reintgen
  3. Before She Ignites (Fallen Isles Trilogy, # 1) by Jodi Meadows
  4. Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass, # 6) by Sarah J Maas
  5. Cage of Darkness (Reign of Secrets, # 2) by Jennifer Anne Davis
  6. Into the Bright Unknown (The Gold Seer Trilogy, # 3) by Rae Carson
  7. The Beauty of Darkness (The Remnant Chronicles, # 3) by Mary E Pearson
  8. The Last Star (The 5th Wave, # 3) by Rick Yancey
  9. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Harry Potter, # 8) by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany
  10. Everything Everything by Nicole Yoon

Some of these are review books that I'm behind on. Some of these I've had and just haven't picked up yet. And at least one is an upcoming release. Which books are on your fall TBR list? Let me know!

Monday, September 18, 2017

One Dark Throne - Review

One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns, # 2)

By: Kendare Blake

Expected Publication: September 19th 2017 by Harper Teen

448 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Thank you!!)

( 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--The battle for the Crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?

With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, once thought to be the strongest sister of all and the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

In this enthralling sequel to Kendare Blake’s New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns, Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must face the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.

Three Dark Crowns was a slow read for me, yet it ended in a bit of a cliffhanger where we find out that Arsinoe is actually a poisoner and not a naturalist at all. I actually guessed this in some ways. What I predicted was that Arsinoe was actually the poisoner and Katharine was the naturalist. Katharine still hasn't been confirmed as a naturalist, but there was specific mention of these two being "switched" and "sabotaged." Even still Katharine was never specifically named as a naturalist, and other than her original snake, Sweetheart, from Three Dark Crowns she's never shown a particular ability with animals either. The real cliffhanger of Three Dark Crowns is that Katharine survived being thrown into the Breccia Domain. But she's returned...different.

All throughout reading One Dark Throne I kept thinking that based off the events of the story this would be the conclusion of the series. But apparently that's not the case. And I have to say that I was a bit disappointed that there will be more. I think that's in large part due to the pacing of the books. Both books were extremely slow reads for me. As a matter of fact, together they took up the majority of my reading time for the entire month of May. Plus even though there are pieces of the story that could definitely be explored further, I had enough closure with how things ended for One Dark Throne.

This might seem contradictory to the paragraph above, but I suppose I do have some conflicting thoughts about this book/series. The description pulled me in with the unique concept of three sisters with different abilities fighting to the death to see which one survives to be awarded the crown. Totally unique, right? And my first thought was that I don't want this to be one of those books where the author cops out and somehow all three sisters find a way to survive as well as potentially find their happily ever afters. Yet, that leaves me rooting for someone to be killed right? It isn't so much that I want anyone to die as much as I want this genre to step up. Not everything has a pretty ending where everyone survives. Especially when you sell a concept like three sisters fighting to the death over a crown.

Another thing I struggled with conflicting emotions over were the romances. Pietyr threw Katharine into the Breccia Domain at the end of Three Dark Crowns so I found it hard to root for him. Nicolas was pretty much a sociopath so there's no backing him. Joseph cheated on Jules with Mirabella. One thing I don't abide is a cheater. While I can respect Jules's ability and willingness to forgive Joseph, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth over the couple. I almost wanted to root for him and Mirabella despite the cheating because there seemed to be some sort of supernatural force between the two, but that petered out. Billy and Arsinoe were the closest to being able to cheer for a happy ending, but these two were a bit dramatic for my tastes. And since romance is usually one of the biggest driving forces behind my desire to read a book, this aspect just really fell flat for me.

Speaking of supernatural forces, I felt like the explanation given for the low magic which didn't really work to connect Arsinoe with her fake familiar bear, Braddock, now suddenly working wasn't enough. And this kind of thing happened a couple of times.

I know that this review has been focused on the things that I struggled with or had conflicting emotions over, but it was a decent book. I can't say that I loved it at all, but it was "good". I did feel some closure with how One Dark Throne ended, but knowing that there's more to come, I can't stop before I've seen what's going to happen next. One Dark Throne gets 3 Stars. Have you read One Dark Throne? What did you think? Let me know!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sunday Post - 265

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.

Monday Irma came through our area. Thankfully it was downgraded to a Tropical Storm by this point and didn't cause near the damage for us that was predicted. I'm keeping those who did receive the damage promised in my prayers. Husband was off work to get his driver's license renewed yet of course the office for that was closed. But we took that opportunity to do some impromptu potty training for Little Girl. We'd had some early success with that when she was right at a year old but then regressed so we backed off. We continued with the training the rest of the week so we hung around the house mostly. Seemed like we'd have one good day and then one not so good day. But we're sticking with it. Little Girl and I are feeling much better. Husband's struggling with a cold now. Saturday we celebrated my niece's first birthday. Time is flying I tell you. She's such a happy and content child. I look forward to watching her continue to grow. Today we're having a baby shower for Baby Boy.

THIS PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of The Lost Letter by Mimi Matthews (4 Stars)
Tuesday: Top Ten Throwbacks
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Stormcaster (Shattered Realms, # 3) by Cinda Williams Chima
Thursday: Review of An Inconvenient Beauty (Hawthorne House, # 4) by Kristi Ann Hunter (4 Stars)

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns, # 2) by Kendare Blake
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Wednesday
Thursday: DNF Review of The Sound of Light by Claire Wallis

Don’t forget to sign up for the 2017 Series Enders Reading Challenge! You have until December 15, 2017 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!