Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday Post - 150 & Stacking the Shelves - 108

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 fast week. Husband and I were off work on Thursday. We had an ultrasound and doctor's appointment that morning. Then we went to Walmart to take some gender reveal pictures. Thursday afternoon, I rode with my sister and nephew to Mobile to go to our cousin's graduation. They had a party for her. And then we spent Thursday night at my grandparents' house. Friday we hung out with aunt and uncle and cousins and played cards most of the day. Went back and spent the afternoon and night with the grandparents again. Saturday morning was a baby shower for my cousin and his wife. That was fun. Monday is Memorial Day for us in the US. And because I know you're dying to know...

It's a girl!

THIS PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker (4.5 Stars)
Wednesday: Waiting on Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E Smith
Thursday: Review of Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road, # 1) by Katie McGarry (4.5 Stars)

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: 2015 Series Enders Reading Challenge May Wrap Up
Tuesday: Top Ten Summer Beach Reads
Wednesday: Armchair BEA: Day 1 - Introductions & Library Love
Thursday: Armchair BEA: Day 2 - Visual Expressions & Social Media
Friday: Armchair BEA: Day 3 - Character Chatter & Blogging Q & A
Saturday: Armchair BEA: Day 4 - Giveaway & Books to TV/Movies

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.

Never, Never: Part 2 (Never Never, # 2)

By: Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher

Published: May 17th 2015

104 pages

Genre: New Adult, Suspense

( 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--New York Times bestselling authors Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher are back with the much-anticipated, nail-biting sequel to the New York Times bestseller, Never, Never.

“Never forget that I was your first real kiss. Never forget that you’ll be my last.
And never stop loving me between all of them.
Never stop, Charlie.
Never forget.”

Silas races against time as more truths unravel, while others twist tighter together. And now, the stakes are higher as Silas’ control slips and others begin to point fingers. Charlie is in trouble and he must be the one to bridge the chasm between their past and their present. Because somewhere between I love yous and Never Nevers and Never Agains, a truth they can't imagine, beckons to be found.

“Where are you, Charlie?”

Prodigy (Legend, # 2)

By: Marie Lu

Published: January 29th 2013 by Putnam Juvenile

371 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian

Source: Borrowed from 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--Injured and on the run, it has been seven days since June and Day barely escaped Los Angeles and the Republic with their lives. Day is believed dead having lost his own brother to an execution squad who thought they were assassinating him. June is now the Republic's most wanted traitor. Desperate for help, they turn to the Patriots - a vigilante rebel group sworn to bring down the Republic. But can they trust them or have they unwittingly become pawns in the most terrifying of political games?

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, May 21, 2015

Nowhere But Here - Review

Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road, # 1)

By: Katie McGarry

Expected Publication: May 26th 2015 by Harlequin Teen

400 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!!) (Also pre-ordered a kindle edition for my 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--An unforgettable new series from acclaimed author Katie McGarry about taking risks, opening your heart and ending up in a place you never imagined possible.

Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

I’ve really enjoyed every single Katie McGarry book that I’ve read. And now that she’s swapped series to something very different, I feel 100% confident adding her to my auto-buy list. I was really intrigued with the idea of a young adult series based around a motorcycle club. Personally, I’ve not been exposed to that culture very much throughout my life (aside from what you see on TV). And Katie McGarry didn’t do me wrong. I was hooked quickly and pretty much read until I finished.

As the description says, Emily grew up not having anything to do with her biologically father. Her mother gets married when she’s young and her would-be-new-stepfather decides to make it official and adopt Emily as well. Emily’s still curious about her biological father (Eli) and after asking questions about him, her mother agrees to let him come visit once a year. Even though Emily knows who he is, she doesn’t really know him except that he’s in a motorcycle club that her mother fears and he is covered in tattoos. When Emily’s parents are notified that Eli’s mother has passed away, Emily is forced into going to Kentucky to visit Eli’s hometown. Only things aren’t as they appear. Olivia (Eli’s mother) is still alive, although losing her battle with cancer. Emily learns that Eli and her mother both have been keeping secrets from her, and she’s determined to find out what those secrets are. Plus this motorcycle club isn’t the gang that Emily’s built up in her mind or what her mother has led her to believe. Emily doesn’t really want to be there, but she has to learn about this side of her life.

The description hits the nail on the head when it says that all Oz wants is to be accepted into the club, Reign of Terror. He’s grown up being around the club his whole life. His father is a member, and Eli and Cyrus (Eli’s father) are just as much family to him as anyone he’s blood related to. He’s so close to getting prospected that he can taste it. But while Emily is in town, his one job is essentially to babysit her. He’s supposed to make sure that no one harms her plus keep her as far away from those secrets Eli’s been keeping from her as possible. Part of the trouble is, Oz isn’t even sure what the whole truth is himself.

Emily and Oz have an immediate attraction to each other, but they also have one of those antagonistic relationships that I love so much. All Oz can see is that Emily’s presence is upsetting those he cares about most. So as far as he’s concerned, she can go right back where she came from. Emily can feel Oz’s resentment and she responds accordingly. But the two are thrown together for an extended period of time and even though there’s an antagonism about the relationship, Emily trusts Oz—more than pretty much everyone else around her during this time. So defenses start to soften and attraction begins to win over.

I was worried that the big secret between Eli and Rachel (Emily’s mother) would turn out to be something small that they could have just explained to Emily from the beginning and prevented a bunch of suspense and drama. But I was pleasantly surprised with what Katie McGarry decided to do with this aspect of the story. I didn’t predict everything, and I had that sense of needing to go back and reread to see if I missed anything. I do think that had Eli and Rachel been upfront with Emily from the beginning, that would have been easier on everyone, but I could see why they chose not to be.

The side characters all felt very alive. Chevy, Razor (who I can’t wait to read about next), Stone, and Violet were all easily likeable and characters that I want to know more about. Even the adult crowd felt flushed out and alive: Eli, Olivia, Cyrus, Oz’s parents.

Favorite quotes:

-“Isn’t it always the things that you can’t see that hurt you?”

-“I’m scared of a ton of things and all of them have to do with losing the people I love.”

-“Trust me to chase your monsters away.”

Nowhere But Here does have some language and some mild sexual scenes—nothing too graphic. But I really want to applaud Katie McGarry for having another book where the couple doesn’t go all the way in a genre where it is increasingly popular for the characters to cross those lines.

Overall, I really adored this book. The characters were alive. And I loved the love/hate relationship between Emily and Oz. They were an easy couple to root for in my opinion. The secondary characters were all just as alive, and I can’t wait to learn more about them throughout the other books in the series. I think the big secret was handled in a way that I could get behind. And I just love Katie McGarry’s writing. Nowhere But Here gets 4.5 Stars from me. Have you read Nowhere But Here? What did you think? Let me know!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Waiting on Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between

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

Hello, Goodbye, & Everything in Between

By: Jennifer E Smith

Expected Publication: September 1st 2015 by Poppy

256 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

( 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--On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan only have one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they'll retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night will lead them to friends and family, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?

This new must-read novel from Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, explores the difficult choices that must be made when life and love lead in different directions.

I've yet to read a Jennifer E Smith book. I've wanted to. They're all on my TBR list. But I just haven't had a chance. I've got to change that. What are you waiting on this week? Let me know!

Monday, May 18, 2015

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess - Review

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: Nonfiction, Spiritual, Christian, Religious

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.

My friend, Kay, recommended 7 to me a while back. Her Bible class group went through it and she really enjoyed it. I’ve had it on my TBR list for at least a year if not more. I finally saw that the e-library had it available on audiobook and so I jumped on it.

Some background information though might be important. My husband and I live in a 1800ish square foot house built in the 1960s. Even before we married, 6 years ago, we’ve been working to renovate the house. It’s a slow process—even slower because we actually live in the house. We’ve painted. We’ve replaced. We’ve pulled out. We’ve thrown away. Oh and we’ve painted some more. One thing that was not a priority in the 1960s apparently was storage. Our closets are tiny. The kitchen is small (though not tiny), but the kitchen cabinets are tiny. A regular size box of cereal or bag of chips will not fit in one of our cabinets. We can stack one regular sized canned product on top of another. That’s about as tall as most of our cabinets are. The shelves are not adjustable. But it’s just the two of us, right? (For now.) And all things are relative. While I sit here and complain about the storage space available in our house, the real problem is that we have too much stuff with nowhere to put it. After my dad visited the Philippines on a mission trip where most people he encountered live in bamboo houses, and we heard through the grapevine about a family in Africa who was trying to get enough money together to build a mud house I started re-evaluating how blessed I am over the lack of storage space I have. All of this has had me thinking about my own personal excess in life. Enter 7.

The title and description pretty much sum this book up perfectly. The author, Jen Hatmaker, had a poor child temporarily staying in her house comment on how rich she and her family was. This really stuck with her. With some direction/motivation from something a friend of hers was doing, the idea of 7 was born. As the description says, she identified 7 areas of excess in her life: food, clothes, spending, media, possessions, waste, and stress. Each area was designated a month—30 days—of focus on reducing the excess. Again…repeating the description above, but 1) Food – Only eat 7 foods; 2) Clothing – Only wear 7 articles of clothing; 3) Possessions – Give away 7 things each day; 4) Media – Eliminate the use of 7 media sources; 5) Waste – Adopt 7 green-living habits; 6) Spending – Only spend money in 7 places; 7) Rest – Observe “7 sacred pauses” each day.

One thing that I like about 7 is that Jen Hatmaker isn’t trying to project this experiment on any and every one. She simply saw 7 areas in her life that she could cut back on and set out on her own personal experiment that she just so happened to write a book about, documenting her experiences. Sure she learned some very valuable lessons each month, and sure she would recommend those lessons to anyone, but she’s not saying throughout this book “you need to try this”. Of course, friends and family and strangers who have heard about her experiment have decided to try it for themselves, but this isn’t something that she’s projecting onto other people.

I loved the lessons that Jen Hatmaker learned, and I really do want to implement some of these ideas into my own life. There are so many things lying around my house that aren’t being used by me that someone else might be able to benefit from. I have clothes upon clothes upon clothes that I don’t wear. Let’s face it, a large portion of those clothes currently don’t even fit. I’m thankful that my life isn’t as busy as some. But yet I often find myself feeling overwhelmed, overworked, and exhausted mentally if not physically. Implementing practices that will lead to a more “rest”-filled life sounds like heaven. Point being…there are definitely areas I want to make some changes in my life to cut back on excess as well.

During the time she was writing this book, Jen Hatmaker (I keep wanting to call her “Jen” like we’re friends) and her husband, Brandon, were in the process of adopting two Ethiopian children. All of the sections in this book related to her adoption were particularly moving to me. When she discusses being completely disgusted with her natural born children throwing out almost a pound of chicken fingers simply because they did not have ketchup to go with them when her soon to be adoptive children likely went to bed with hungry bellies was particularly emotional. And even more than that, during the last month—the Rest month—when Jen (I’m rolling with it) and Brandon were both struck with a strong desire and need to pray for their adoptive children (not even knowing who these children would be exactly), and then she finds out that the exact day they were pressed with this need is the exact day the 5 year old little girl they ended up adopting was being abandoned at the orphanage. Now that…that got me for sure. Moments like this were sprinkled throughout the book, and I’m thankful for getting to experience this book and see God work in the lives of people I don’t know and have never met. It warms my heart and builds my faith.

Ultimately I think of all the blessings that I’ve been given stewardship over in my own life, and I have to ask myself whether I’m being a good steward or not. And that’s one thing that 7 helped me to do—to realize how much work I have left to do. I highly recommend 7 to anyone who is feeling overwhelmed in their lives. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Cut back. Give away. Donate. Repurpose. 7 gets 4.5 Stars from me. Have you read 7? What did you think? Let me know!

Also, side note...the narrator, Rebecca Gallagher, of the audiobook did such a good job that I just KNEW it had to be Jen Hatmaker reading the book herself. Yet when I went to double check that fact, I realized it was someone else entirely which means I was highly impressed.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday Post - 149 & Stacking the Shelves - 107

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.

No much to report this past week. Quiet weeks are good. Husband got my laundry room floor and trim finished. He still wants to replace the window, and he needs to build some shelves for storage. I'm so excited about that. I've also start feeling some flutters over the past week and that's one of the coolest things ever.

THIS PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of Asa (Marked Men, # 6) by Jay Crownover (3.5 Stars)
Tuesday: Top Ten Authors I Want to Meet
Wednesday: Waiting on Beautiful Sacrifice (The Maddox Brothers, # 3) by Jamie McGuire
Thursday: Review of World After (Penryn & the End of Days, # 2) by Susan Ee (4 Stars)

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday
Wednesday: Waiting on Wednesday
Thursday: Review of Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road, # 1) by Katie McGarry

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.

Jesse's Girl (Hundred Oaks, # 6)

By: Miranda Kenneally

Expected Publication: July 7th 2015 by Sourcebooks Fire

304 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Source: Publisher via NetGalley (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--Practice Makes Perfect.

Everyone at Hundred Oaks High knows that career mentoring day is a joke. So when Maya Henry said she wanted to be a rock star, she never imagined she’d get to shadow *the* Jesse Scott, Nashville’s teen idol.

But spending the day with Jesse is far from a dream come true. He’s as gorgeous as his music, but seeing all that he’s accomplished is just a reminder of everything Maya’s lost: her trust, her boyfriend, their band, and any chance to play the music she craves. Not to mention that Jesse’s pushy and opinionated. He made it on his own, and he thinks Maya’s playing back up to other people’s dreams. Does she have what it takes to follow her heart—and go solo?

Ruin & Rising (The Grisha Trilogy, # 3)

By: Leigh Bardugo

Published: June 17th 2014 by Henry Holt and Co.

422 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Dystopian

Source: Borrowed from Holly

( 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 capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

Stealing Parker (Hundred Oaks, # 2)

By: Miranda Kenneally

Published: October 1st 2012 by Sourcebooks Fire

242 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--Red-hot author Miranda Kenneally hits one out of the park in this return to Catching Jordan's Hundred Oaks High.

Parker Shelton pretty much has the perfect life. She’s on her way to becoming valedictorian at Hundred Oaks High, she’s made the all-star softball team, and she has plenty of friends. Then her mother’s scandal rocks their small town and suddenly no one will talk to her.

Now Parker wants a new life.

So she quits softball. Drops twenty pounds. And she figures why kiss one guy when she can kiss three? Or four. Why limit herself to high school boys when the majorly cute new baseball coach seems especially flirty?

But how far is too far before she loses herself completely?

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!