Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sunday Post - 128 & Stacking the Shelves - 89.5

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.

Boy, oh boy! What even happened this week? I've finished up my Christmas shopping--thank goodness, right? Well with the exception of a few gift cards that I have to pick up today. Friday night Husband and I had a date night. We went for Chick-fil-a for dinner (fancy right?), then to see The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, and then at the last minute we decided to stop by Krispy Kreme for donuts and coffee. Saturday was a lazy day filled with nothing but reading. Oh and grocery shopping. I had planned to be a bit more MIA this week, but it works out for me to do more posts than I expected. I will be taking Wednesday and Thursday off from blogging this week. I hope and pray that everyone has a very Merry Christmas!

THIS PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of Misbehaving (Sea Breeze, # 6) by Abbi Glines (3.5 Stars)
Tuesday: Top Ten Book BFFs
Wednesday: Waiting on The Sin Eater's Daughter (The Sin Eaters Daughter, # 1) by Melinda Salisbury
Thursday: Review of Defiance (Defiance, # 1) by CJ Redwine (4 Stars)
Friday: Series DNF # 3
Saturday: Discussions Only We Know: DNSing

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of This Shattered World (Starbound, # 2) by Aime Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Want Santa to Bring 2014 & 2014 Series Enders Reading Challenge - December Wrap Up
Wednesday: No Blog Posts
Thursday: Merry Christmas!!!
Friday: Cover Doubles # 2
Saturday: Pinterest Party Recap

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!

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Mayhem (Mayhem, # 1)

By: Jamie Shaw

Expected Publication: January 20th 2015 by Avon Impulse

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary

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--When college freshman Rowan Michaels meets gorgeous, up-and-coming rock star Adam Everest, she knows a player like him is the last thing she needs after her ex-boyfriend shattered her heart. But she can't stop thinking about the kiss they shared on his tour bus.

On the first day of school, Rowan is stunned when Adam saunters into her French class. He's soon failing miserably, and, on a whim, she offers to tutor him. But Adam doesn't recognize her as a makeup-free, glasses-clad college student—a far cry from the beautiful, mysterious "Peach" he met at his concert.

During a wild weekend on tour with the band, Rowan can't help falling for the sweet guy buried beneath Adam's rocker persona. Yet she knows she could never compete with the girls constantly throwing themselves at his feet. She'd just end up hurt … again.

Peach is all Adam thinks about, though, and when Rowan realizes this, she has a decision to make: stay just friends to protect her fragile heart … or reveal the truth about the night they met and admit she's fallen completely, hopelessly in love with him.

Unbreakable (Unbreakable, # 1)

By: Rebecca Shea

Published: September 7th 2013 by Rebecca Shea (first published July 23rd 2013)

339 pages

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary

Source: Kindle Freebie

( 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--Re-edited and updated as of September 7, 2013

*This book contains mature subject matter and is not intended for those under 17 years of age.*

Jessica Harper is the epitome of perfection. She’s a good daughter, makes excellent grades, and always strays on the safe side of life. The last thing she thought would ever happen was falling in love with her best friend’s brother. But sometimes fate just has a way of bringing two people together.

Wide receiver for the University of Arizona, Gabe Garcia, seems to have it all. When his feelings for Jessica come to surface, Gabe will give up everything to be with her.

But what happens when a tragedy abruptly changes the course of your life? For Jessica and Gabe, everything they thought they knew about each other will be questioned. Sometimes, there are scars in life that are cut too deep to completely heal.

Will their love prove to be unbreakable, or will it shatter and prove fate is just another lie?

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!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Discussions Only We Know - DNSing

Discussions Only We Know

Can I just take a minute to appreciate the button that Husband created for me. I just love that man.

Ok guys, so this is a topic that I haven’t seen anyone do a post about...ever. A part of me is extremely nervous about even bringing this up, but inquiring minds want to know. (Really I just want to know.) There’s a lot of buzz in the book blogging community about DNFing. That stands for “did not finish” for anyone who might not be familiar with the acronym. There seems to be two different camps on this issue: 1) Those who feel like continuing a book they’re not enjoying is a waste of precious and limited reading time, and 2) Those who can’t stand not knowing if the book/author redeems themselves by the end and those who can’t seem to quit something midway.

Until recently, I fell into the 2nd category. I’ve always had a hard time not finishing what I started. My parents never let me quit something I started until the end. If I didn’t want to pick up that thing again in the future, that was fine, but quitting in the middle wasn’t allowed. “We’re not quitters,” my dad would say. And that’s true. I still don’t want to be a quitter. But life is short, right? And reading is supposed to be fun. I’ve never been good at reading out of obligation even if the book would have been an interest to me without the responsibilities tied to it. However, recently I’ve changed my opinion of pushing through books that are painful for me to read. I never want reading to become a chore. But I found that while I was trying so hard not to be a “quitter” by putting a book down before it’s finished, I would just stop reading altogether.

I would literally rather not read at all than read something that I’m not enjoying. Once I realized this, DNFing became a bit easier for me to bear. Because I never want to quit reading altogether. So I’ve eased into DNFing. I’ve only actually DNF’d 8 books in the last three years. 8 books out of 300+ gives me better than a 0.03% DNF ratio. I’ve done a couple of Series DNF posts (# 1, # 2, & # 3). While the DNF (did not finish) does apply for the series as a whole (I did not finish the series), it kind of bugged me that DNF didn’t apply to specific books within the series (Ex: I did not even start book 3 because I decided the series wasn't for me at book 2).

So let’s take this a step further…what about review books? Have you ever requested a book that sounded awesome at first—or maybe the cover drew you in—but before you got around to reading it reviews started pouring in and ratings started dropping? Have you ever requested several books for review at one time not expecting to get approved for them all and then by the time you get around to them all you find that there are a few that you’re just no longer interested in reading anymore? Have you ever been so overwhelmed with the number of books you want to read (and review just because) that you know there’s no way you could ever catch up and read them all? Have you ever requested a book for review that you’re really excited about but through the course of time you’re exposed to some information that you didn’t know before you requested it that might have caused you not to request it in the first place? What do you do then?

Let me say, that I feel strongly about the inferred transaction that occurs when a I request a book for review (I posted about that in last week's DOWK). The inferred implications involve me reaching out to the publisher/author requesting to read a book written/published by them in exchange for a fair and honest review of that book. I don’t request every book that I find intriguing. I don’t request books that don’t call strongly to me. I try my best to only request books that I’m extremely interested in. Often times, I even pass up books that I am interested in, but for various reasons I’m not sure if I’ll be able to or want to review on my blog. So I’m not one of those bloggers that requests anything and everything just to show what all cool books I received that week in my Stacking the Shelves posts each week. (*It should be noted that I’m speaking of books that I’ve requested from the publisher/author myself, not books where the publisher/author has contacted me to read/review. Any review request I accept from a publisher/author is under “review consideration” and I maintain the right to deny a review. I feel much more comfortable denying a review from a book that I have been requested to read over one that I have requested from the publisher/author.)

Besides the implied agreement that I feel I offer to the publisher/author when I request a book for review, I personally can’t stand having more books in my possession than I feel is physically possible for me to actually read. I know I can read 100 books. It might take me a year to do so, but I know I can do it. Four hundred…a thousand books…sure over my lifetime I might be able to read that many, but when I know that the books in my possession aren’t going to be the only books that are ever in my possession, I can’t in good conscience continue to receive and receive and receive books when I know it’s impossible for me to read the ones I already have.

Have any of you ever DNSd (did not start) a book? What do you guys think about this concept? Do you think you’d be capable of DNSing? Do you think it would be harder to DNS a book over DNFing or vice versa? Ethically what do you think about DNSing? Would you let a publisher know that you’re no longer interested in reading/reviewing a book you requested? Do you think you’d always at least try to read the book before deciding that you’re no longer interested? Or do you think being honest with yourself and continuing to put off even starting a book that you just seriously don’t think you’ll ever actually read is wrong? Is it better to go ahead and alert the publisher that you don’t intend to read or review it? Or are you going to maintain good intentions and continue to say “maybe someday?” What are your thoughts? Let me know!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Series DNF # 3

Alright guys…it’s time for another Series DNF post. I’m learning to lighten my TBR load by culling through the books in which I’m no-longer interested. While I still love to complete things (series included), there’s just not enough time in my life to read all the books that I want. And I’m purging the ones from my TBR list that I’m no longer interested in. These posts aren’t designed to put these books down at all. I’m sure these books have been wins for some readers, but I just haven’t connected. I don’t feel like I can fully let these books go until I do some kind of post about them. So here we are:

Confessions by Louise Rozette – I really enjoyed Confessions of an Angry Girl, but Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend brought out a rant from me and thus I have no intention of continuing this series. From what I’ve briefly seen, the author wasn’t always sure that book 3 would be published, but now that the green-light has been given for it, I figured I’m good to go to put this on my official Series DNF List.

The Bet by Rachel Van Dyken – Again…The Bet was okay. It was pretty cliché, but I stuck with it. When I read The Wager though… Yeah, that was the first review I remember doing a numbered list of all the reasons why I was annoyed. Don’t plan to continue this series.

Pretty When She Dies by Rhiannon Frater – Unless someone tells me that the rest of this series blows Pretty When She Dies out of the water, I don’t plan to continue it. It wasn’t awful. But I got bogged down in the middle and find that I don’t really care much to continue with it.

The Syrena Legacy by Anna Banks – I keep trying mermaid books, but I haven’t had much luck with them. I could tell that I enjoyed Of Poseidon as much as I did because I was listening to the audiobook and not wasting using valuable reading time to get through this book. But Of Triton didn’t really offer me anything additional to get excited about. And so why continue?

Matched by Ally Condie – I always intended to finish this series, but people say that Reached is the least likeable book in the series. While I enjoyed Matched, I felt like it was too similar to Delirium only Delirium was better. Crossed was okay, but I could already see the series going downhill. The more time that separates me from the previous two books, the less I find that I care to know what happens.

The following are all books that I enjoyed the first book in the series fairly well, but like I just said about Reached, the more time that goes by from when I last picked up this series the less I find myself interested to see how they progress.

A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest

The Glimpse by Claire Merle

The Chronicles of Nick by Sherrilyn Kenyon (read Infinity and Invincible)

The Blackcoat Rebellion by Aimee Carter (Pawn)

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand (Unearthly)

The Styclar Saga by Nikki Kelly (Lailah)

Also, this isn’t a part of a series, but since I’m DNFing…The Trial of Fallen Angels by James P Kimmel. Basically, this book was very slow for me. I couldn’t get hooked into it. The flashbacks were entirely too long. Plus even after 100 pages in, the main character still didn't know where she was or what was needed from her. It wasn’t what I was expecting it to be at all. I put this book down almost two years ago and haven’t even had an inclination to pick it back up. I think it’s way past time that I officially DNF it.

What do you guys think? Are there any books here that you would really suggest I push through? Do you guys like these kinds of posts? Let me know!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Defiance - Review

Defiance (Defiance, # 1)

By: CJ Redwine

Published: August 28th 2012 by Balzer + Bray

403 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Science Fiction, Dystopian

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--Defiance by C. J. Redwine is rich postapocalyptic YA fantasy perfect for fans of Graceling and Tamora Pierce.

While the other girls in the walled city-state of Baalboden learn to sew and dance, Rachel Adams learns to track and hunt. While they bend like reeds to the will of their male Protectors, she uses hers for sparring practice.

When Rachel's father fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the city's brutal Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector: her father's apprentice, Logan—the boy she declared her love to and who turned her down two years before. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father's survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can't be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

I’ll say up front that I’m torn about Defiance.

Defiance is a dual narrative. We have both Rachel and Logan narrating. Rachel is a fiery character. She’s sassy. She’s impulsive. She’s totally not a go-with-the-flow person. Her father taught her about tracking and fighting, and apparently he didn’t spend much time teaching conforming or propriety. Rachel defies what her society sees as proper time and time again in order to do what she feels needs to be done and say what she feels needs to be said. Sometimes she was right, and sometimes she needed to sit down and shut up. As the description says, Rachel’s father doesn’t return from his last courier mission and the Commander pronounces him dead. Rachel is then entrusted to the protection of Logan, her father’s apprentice, not because it was the Commander’s will but because that’s who Rachel’s father wanted. This is especially awkward for Rachel because also like the description says, Rachel declared her love for Logan about two years back and he didn’t reciprocate. Ever since, she’s done everything she can to prove to Logan (and herself) that she no longer feels that way toward him. But even still, she can’t avoid the humiliation of being thrown into his care and protection. From what I gathered, the two main Protector relationships are Husband and Father. So you can see where this would be a bit strained for Rachel.

And then there’s Logan. Logan doesn’t out and out say that he didn’t feel anything for Rachel back when she declared her love for him. Instead what he focuses on is that he’s in a precarious situation with being her father’s apprentice. He can’t afford to mess that up. Logan has no idea who his father is, and his mother was executed by the Commander for being out without her Protector. So…Logan essentially has no one, but Rachel, her father Jared, and a family friend Oliver. Where Rachel is sassy, impertinent, and impulsive, Logan is the complete opposite. He’s rational to the core. He takes his time plotting and planning. And whenever he can, he conforms to the society around him so as to not draw any unwanted attention to himself even when he might disagree with the rules. Logan operates in a “best case/worst case scenario” analysis almost at all times, and I loved this little added detail about him.

I really felt bad for Rachel because she was obviously still hurt from Logan not returning her affection. She’s sad because she misses her father even though she doesn’t believe he’s dead like the Commander declared him. She’s forced to leave her childhood home. And because she can’t sit quietly and act later, she’s drawn the unwanted attention of the Commander himself who is a cruel and evil man. I could understand how she felt, but I couldn’t always support her thoughtless actions. Logan was easy to read. I understood both his actions and his emotions even when he didn’t really understand them himself.

Towards the end of this book, I had an extremely weird reaction. Events were going down that totally got to me emotionally. And honestly, it wasn’t even that the events of the book were that emotional themselves. As a matter of fact, the entire book was a bit hard to connect on an emotional level for me. But something about what was happening in the moment resonated with some things I’d been thinking about recently and the result was uncharacteristic tears in my eyes. I didn’t cry, but I did tear up. Even though I had this reaction, I do not think most people reading this story would have had the same emotional reaction that I did because truly I can’t really explain it myself. It was a very weird experience for me.

I did have some small frustrations with this book. The main one was this: The Commander pulls one of those moves where a loved one of our main character is captured and he uses that loved one to get the main character to do what he wants them to do. The main character of course can’t allow any harm to come to their loved one. When has a villain who is willing to capture and harm or kill someone to motivate another character ever really been someone that you can trust? On the one hand, I HATED that this tactic was even employed as a device of conflict or to move the plot along at all. On the other hand, I was torn with how our main character handled themselves in relation to this situation. I’m being vague because I don’t want to give too much away.

I think fans of world building will struggle with Defiance. We’re not really told too much background on how the world ended up this way or why the society has formed like it has. The description classifies this as post-apocalyptic, but I’m not sure that’s an accurate description. This doesn’t feel like something that could have happened to the real world and the world as present in the book happens to be the result of specific events. It feels like this is a completely different world. It just feels like a fantasy (which I know post-apocalyptic is actually a sub-genre of…but let’s not get into all of that). I personally really enjoy world building, but I never feel like it’s necessary for me to have all of the facts up front. I enjoy getting information in a more organic way over the entire course of the series. I assume we find out more about this world throughout the series so I’m withholding judgment on the world building at this point. And here’s an idea…maybe the character doesn’t even know how the world ended up the way that it has? That’s entirely possible right? But alas, that’s a discussion for another day.

I had some very minor issues with Defiance. There was an aloof emotional feeling for the majority of the book. I hated that the manipulation tactic I discussed above was used as a plot device and point of conflict. And the world building wasn’t as detailed as I know some readers will like, although this didn’t really bother me. I had a weird personal reaction to some events of the latter portion of the book which caused me to tear up, but I don’t think this will be the typical reader’s response. But I liked the main characters (for the most part), and at this point, I am looking forward to continuing this series to see how everything end. Defiance gets 4 Stars from me. Have you read Defiance? What did you think? Let me know!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Asa - Cover Reveal

I am so excited about the cover reveal for Jay Crownover's ASA! ASA is the sixth and final book in Jay's Marked Men Series, published by HarperCollins. Check out the hot cover and don't forget to pre-order your copy today!

 

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Amazon US ** iBooks ** Barnes & Noble ** Kobo

About ASA: Starting over in Denver with a whole new circle of friends and family, Asa Cross struggles with being the man he knows everyone wants him to be and the man he knows he really is. A leopard doesn’t it change its spots and Asa has always been a predator. He doesn’t want to hurt those who love and rely on him, especially one stunning arresting cop who suddenly seems to be interested in him for far more than his penchant for breaking the law. But letting go of old habits is hard, and it’s easy to hit bottom when it’s the place you know best.

Royal Hastings is quickly learning what the bottom looks like after a tragic situation at work threatens not only her career but her partner’s life. As a woman who has only ever had a few real friends she’s trying to muddle through her confusion and devastation all alone. Except she can’t stop thinking about the sexy southern bartender she locked up. Crushing on Asa is the last thing she needs but his allure is too strong to resist. His long criminal record can only hurt her already shaky career and chasing after a guy who has no respect for the law or himself can only end in heartbreak.

A longtime criminal and a cop together just seems so wrong . . . but for Asa and Royal, being wrong together is the only right choice to make.  

Marked men Banner

And don’t miss the previous books in The Marked Men Series!

RULE

JET

ROME

NASH

ROWDY

And don't miss Jay at 3pm EST over at the Between The Covers page on Facebook today! Come chat with her!

Jay Crownover

About Jay Crownover:

Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men series. She also introduced the dark and sexy world of The Point that started with BETTER WHEN HE's BAD and is currently working on her newest series The Saint of Denver. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she'll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.      

Website ** Blog ** Facebook ** Twitter ** ASA Goodreads ** Jay Crownover Goodreads

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Out of all the covers for this series, I think Asa might be my favorite. Time will tell if that stands when it comes to the actual book whether it will be my favorite or not. In case you're curious, here are my reviews for Rule, Jet, Rome, Nash, and my review of Rowdy is still to come. What do you guys think about the cover for Asa? Let me know!