Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sunday Post - 93 & Stacking the Shelves - 59

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 good week. Tuesday night we celebrated my nephew's birthday with the family. And Saturday we dyed Easter eggs with the family. Happy Easter to all today. The kids hunted Easter eggs and we had too much food. It's been a good day.

THIS PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of Red at Night by Katie McGarry (4 Stars)
Tuesday: Love Triangles - The Ones That Worked for Me and the Ones That Didn't
Wednesday: Waiting on Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassins, # 3) by Robin LaFevers
Thursday: Review of Push by Claire Wallis (4.5 Stars)
Friday: Review of Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual: From Beginner to Pro by Bobbi Brown (3.5 Stars)

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of While It Last (See Breeze, # 3) by Abbi Glines
Tuesday: Top Ten Characters Who X
Wednesday: Waiting on Wednesday
Thursday: Review of Between the Lines (Between the Lines, # 1) by Tammara Webber
Friday: Review of The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

Don't forget to sign up for the 2014 Series Enders Reading Challenge! Each month there will be a giveaway for those participating with a BIG giveaway at the end of the year! Click on the picture below or the link above to find out more!

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy, # 1)

By: Pierce Brown

Published: January 28th 2014 by Del Rey (Random House)

Genre: YA, 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--The war begins...

Darrow is a Helldiver, one of a thousand men and women who live in the vast caves beneath the surface of Mars. Generations of Helldivers have spent their lives toiling to mine the precious elements that will allow the planet to be terraformed. Just knowing that one day people will be able to walk the surface of the planet is enough to justify their sacrifice. The Earth is dying, and Darrow and his people are the only hope humanity has left.

Until the day Darrow learns that it is all a lie. Mars is habitable - and indeed has been inhabited for generations by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. The Golds regard Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

With the help of a mysterious group of rebels, Darrow disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside.

But the command school is a battlefield. And Darrow isn't the only student with an agenda...

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!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual - Review

Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual: For Everyone from Beginner to Pro

By: Bobbi Brown, Debra Bergsma, & Sally Wadyka

Published: December 1st 2008 by Grand Central Life & Style

232 pages

Genre: Non-fiction, Self-Help, How-To

Source: Personal Library (Christmas gift from my SNL, Tonya & family)

( Goodreads | Amazon )

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

Goodreads description--This is the book that Bobbi Brown's fans have been waiting for: her 25-plus years of makeup styling experience distilled into one complete, gorgeous book. Bobbi looks at everything from skincare basics to every aspect of facial makeup--from how to find the right color and type of foundation for any skin tone to how to apply every detail of eye makeup (Brows, Eye Liner, Eye Shadow, and Eye Lashes) no matter your eye color and shape. Of course there are never-before-seen tips on blush, bronzer, lip liners, lipstick, etc. And Bobbi looks beyond the face with informative chapters on "Hands and Feet" and "Body Skin Care." Each chapter has thorough step-by-step basic directions for makeup application and easy-to-follow photographs and line drawings, along with Bobbi's expert, yet assuring, advice. Plus, there's a groundbreaking section of the book that will be of special interest to women who've wanted to know how makeup stylists do what they do: the top beauty secrets only these artists know, essential equipment to keep on hand, how to break into the business, and how to work with photographers and celebrities.

Breathtaking photos of the finished faces-from everyday looks to exotic runway style-along with advice on putting it all together for every woman, make this a book like no other.

BOBBI BROWN'S MAKEUP MANUAL will be the only book any woman will need to look absolutely fabulous.

I’ve increasingly become interested in makeup. In high school, I was more of a tomboy. Really insecure with my body image, I was more about hiding myself than enhancing myself. But after starting to workout several years ago and finally getting to a weight that I was happy and content with, I finally found a love for myself, my body, and enjoyed dressing myself up clothing wise and makeup. My aunt taught me how to apply my makeup at the age of thirteen—when my parents finally allowed me to start wearing it. But my everyday look consisted of foundation, two eye shadows—an all over the lid skin tone color and a neutral brown—and brown mascara (because I wanted to be different and not wear black like everyone else).

Lately I’ve really enjoyed watching YouTubers: The Small Things Blog; EssieButton; Jaclyn Hill; and Nicole Guerriero. These girls have taught me so much. And since watching them I’ve learned a lot about the proper way to apply makeup. EssieButton is actually the one who recommended the Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual in her Bobbie Brown Brand Focus video. I didn’t even know there were books that provided step by step instructions on how to apply makeup. Why I didn’t know this considering I’m a book blogger and all I have no idea…but now I do.

In a lot of ways, I didn’t think that the Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual taught me too much that I didn’t already know. But I did have to stop and think about how much I’ve learned over the last year from watching the YouTubers that I mentioned. Had I not been watching these guys for the past year, I probably would have learned a lot more from this book. And truthfully, I did learn a good bit.

As the description says, this book does include a wide variety of information ranging from skin care, to how to pick the right shades, to how to conceal blemishes correctly, to how makeup application should vary depending upon the need, and to essentially building a career out of makeup artistry. I don’t ever see myself becoming a makeup artist, while I think that might be a fun and rewarding career, I have no desire to follow that path. So in that aspect, I read the chapters regarding that career path, but mostly skimmed them.

I almost feel like this book is designed for one of two types of people—the very beginner or the hopeful pro. The basics are given that would be extremely helpful to someone with very limited knowledge of makeup application. This might be the perfect gift for a thirteen year old girl just beginning to experiment with makeup. But I think this book could also be invaluable for the person who would seek to make a career out of being a markup artist. The advice for building a career from a leading industry professional cannot be measured. The average person who knows the basics but doesn’t want to make a career out of makeup might not glean as much information as they would hope.

I feel like my rating of this book could be entirely different if my circumstances were different. Since I am neither an extreme beginner nor desiring to make a career out of makeup, I find myself giving the Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual 3.5 stars. I will say that this was a quick read for me. While I didn’t read it straight through in one sitting or anything like that, I would look up and notice I’d read 20% in what seemed like no time at all. Have you read the Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual: For Everyone from Beginner to Pro? What did you think? Let me know!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Push - Review

Push

By: Claire Wallis

Expected Publication: May 1st 2014 by Harlequin MIRA

400 pages

Genre: New 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--I feel like I am wrapped in a cyclone. Everything is whirling around me, drawing the air out of my lungs and filling me with the best kind of turmoil. Every time his tongue slides against mine, a prickle in my gut tells me how right we are together. How much I need David. How much I need us.

I hope the cyclone never stops.

Emma Searfoss has spent a lifetime trying to escape her abusive stepfather. It's why she moved far away from home. It's why she's kept no ties with her remaining family. And it's why she's got a major rage problem. When her neighbor shows up to fix the kitchen in her new apartment, his enigmatic charm calms the fire in her. David is cool and collected, and he makes Emma feel safe for the first time ever. But David has his own chilling past—his six previous girlfriends have all disappeared without a trace. Emma's walking a dangerous line, but David's pull is intoxicating. And impossible to resist…

This is a new adult romance with mature content for readers 17 and up.

So Husband and I have been watching Dexter on Netflix, right? And we literally just finished Season 4's finale about the same time that I was around the 70% mark for Push. Season 4 has an epic finale and despite wanting to return to Push to see how it all ends, I needed to see Episode 1 of Season 5 for some closure on Season 4's ending. Wow. Just wow. I say all of that to say that I saw some similarities betweenDexter and Push.

Without giving too much away we know from the description that David's previous six girlfriends have all gone missing. That's a pretty huge coincidence. When I initially read the book description my first thought was "well there has to be something going on that we don't know about that would explain this." But as Sherlock Holmes says, "There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact." So when I started Push and the prologues (both Emma and David's) were set at a specific event in the future, I was discouraged. Emma's prologue didn't set her up to be a character that I was excited to be reading about. From the prologue she seemed too passive. And David's prologue...well I'll just say that it left me feeling like I was reading about a train wreck--slow and steady, but headed toward an unavoidable, deadly conclusion. And one that I wouldn't be excited reading about. Initially, I felt like the prologues set me up to dislike this book and these characters.

Yet, I still felt like I must be missing some pieces to the puzzle. "There's something I'm missing," I kept repeating. It felt like Claire Wallis was giving me too much information and thus I began to question the information I was given. You know that feeling where all the evidence points in one direction and you have to wonder if the obvious conclusion is just well...too obvious.

Another Dexter-like quality was Emma herself. She reminded me a lot of Deb, Dexter's sister. She's all harsh edges and foul language. Emma had a rough childhood. Her father died when she was young, and her mother pretty much married a loser who made it his life's mission to make Emma's life miserable. Now living on her own and working, Emma's trying to move on from her past. She has issues, but I connected with her. She tries so hard to never be vulnerable, but David comes in and worms his way under her protective shell.

David shows up claiming to be the apartment complex's handyman to fix her kitchen. And well he keeps coming back. He somehow manages to get inside her apartment multiple times without Emma actually opening the door for him. He's got an air of mystery around him. And because of the prologues, I was constantly wondering how truthful he was being with Emma even though he seemed genuine.

Claire Wallis periodically includes a chapter from each of David's previous girlfriends as well as flashbacks to Emma's past. These parts were initially frustrating for me because they took me away from the present, and Emma and David's building relationship. Yet these chapters proved to be so valuable and shaped the way I thought about the characters, the current events, and the inevitable conclusion. The more I read and the deeper I delved into these chapters, the more I recognized patterns of similarities as well as contrasts between David's past girlfriends and Emma.

Overall I was impressed with Claire Wallis's decisions. She did a good job weaving hints into this book. She repeated descriptions in a way that wasn't annoying as they can sometimes be but instead as a clue. She foreshadowed nicely. And she does a great job of tying all of the pieces together from start to finish. I highly advise paying close attention to the wording when you're reading this one. Also, remember how I mentioned that the prologues initially had me dreading what was to come? The further I read into Push the more I realized that the prologues were perfect because they offered a reference point for all of the information to come which added an air of mystery to this story when I initially thought they were too revealing. Bravo, Ms. Wallis!

I will say that while certain scenes weren't too graphic, you definitely don't wonder what's going on. That and Emma's (I keep wanting to call her Deb, you guys! Dexter!!! *shakes fist at the TV*) crude mouth were borderline for me. Not quite too much, but I could have done with just a little less at the same time. But that's a personal preference.

Favorite quotes:

Either he can play his little game and say something that is going to send me over the edge, or he can say something that pulls me back from the brink.

But now...now, he is taunting me, bringing me close and then pulling back.

"...he did look more like a man with food poisoning than a man in love..."

The idea of David ironing is an absurd turn-on.

"They let the bottom drop out. Or maybe they even caused it. But I am not them."

And, of course, my favorite quotes are spoilers, so I'll keep them to myself. Also, be aware that this book does appear to be the first in a series. I'm not sure how many books are intended, but I'm assuming at least one more since "to be continued" was at the very end--there better be at least a second book. I need more.

Push gets 4.5 Stars. I debated on just giving it 4 Stars, but this book has stuck with me. This is as close to a book-hangover I've had in a while. Maybe it has something to do with that traumatic Dexter season finale coming at the same time as this book. Don't be too judgemental with the prologues. They might seem to give too much away, but they're necessary and just right the way that they are. Please check out Push if you haven't.

Have you read Push? What did you think? Let me know!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Waiting on Mortal Heart

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

Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassins, # 3)

By: Robin LaFevers

Expected Publication: November 4th 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

480 pages

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Historical Fiction

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Booksamillion.com )

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

Goodreads description--Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.

She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn't mean she has.

I've really enjoyed this series, and I can't wait to see how it ends! What are you waiting on this week? Let me know!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Love Triangles - The Ones That Worked For Me & the Ones That Didn't

Parajunkee did a Valentines Day Book Blogger Challenge, but I totally missed out on getting to post while it was going on. However, I love a couple of her topics so much that I wanted to post my answers to those anyway. Today's topic is all about love triangles. The ones that worked for me and the ones that didn't. Bear with me because this is going to be fairly lengthy.

****There will be spoilers for the books listed below. Proceed with caution.****

The Ones that Worked

Rose/Dimitri/Adrian – This one worked for me because even though I was rooting for Rose and Dimitri to end up together, I still wanted Adrian to have his own happy ending. When the author can make me root for the third wheel while also rooting for the main couple…well that usually (though not always) makes for a successful triangle.

Meghan/Puck/Ash – This one is similar. I was all Meghan and Ash in The Iron King, but in The Iron Daughter, Ash left me pretty cold and had me changing over to Team Puck. While I haven’t finished reading this series, I’m pretty sure I know how this triangle will end.

Elizabeth/Wickham/Darcy – This triangle works because the reader is just as much blinded by Wickham initially as Elizabeth is. Wickham is nothing if not charming. And he effectively (for a while) turns Elizabeth off Darcy (obviously that's not Elizabeth's only turn-off, but for the sake of today's topic...). He could never have predicted that she would reveal to Darcy that Wickham slandered him. And Wickham was also banking on Darcy being too proud to care what lowly Elizabeth Bennet might think of him.

Stephanie/Ranger/Morelli – Oh how I wish Stephanie would choose between these two. However, I can’t blame her when I find myself just as torn between the two of them as she is.

Blue/Adam/Gansey – When reading The Raven Boys, I was frustrated that there was a prophecy that clearly indicated a hookup between Blue and Gansey, yet, Blue and Adam seem to develop a relationship. However, in The Dream Thieves Maggie Stiefvater started really building up this triangle. Obviously this series isn’t over, but right now I like the direction that it’s headed. Had you asked me before reading The Dream Thieves, this one would have been in the “didn’t work” column.

Samm/Marcus/Kira – There’s a slow change and build for this triangle. The triangle also isn’t the main focus of the series so that helps. While I know who I’m rooting for Kira to end up with (*cough* Samm), I’m also rooting for Marcus as well.

The Darkling/Mal/Strumhond/Alina – This square has been up and down for me. I rooted for The Darkling until I realized there was no redemption for him. I am utterly opposed to Mal, so when Strumhond came into the picture, I jumped onto his bandwagon. Unfortunately, I fear I might end up disappointed with the way this one turns out.

Catcher/Elias/Gabry- This was a great love triangle for me. I was whole heartedly rooting for Catcher. And then the unbelievable happens. Slowly I came around to Team Elias. Another sign of a good love triangle (for me) is when I can pull a completely 180 like this without feeling any residual doubt over my choice. The slow progression is what made this one believable.

The Ones that Didn’t

Clary/Simon/Jace – I didn’t buy it. I expected that truly Clary and Jace wouldn’t be brother and sister. But even if they were, Clary clearly never felt for Simon what Simon felt for Clary. And neither felt close to feeling what Clary and Jace felt for each other. Who wants to be the consolation prize? Who wants to be the one who says “I can’t have who I really want….but you’ll do…I guess….maybe.”

Tessa/Will/Jem – I’m sure this one worked for most people. I mean come on Tessa gets a happy ending with both Will and Jem. But I don’t buy it. It felt like a cop out to me. Being a Will fan, it felt like a betrayal. I loved where The Infernal Devices was headed with Clockwork Prince, but Clockwork Princess was a letdown for me.

Katnis/Peeta/Gale – Katniss is totally up front with Gale about not being on the same page with him as far as feelings go at the beginning of The Hunger Games. Of course, she develops feelings for Peeta throughout the Games, and we actually find out that they have history (albeit small, but history none the less) before the Games. Only after Gale’s life is threatened by Snow does Katniss show any real more-than-friends type feelings toward Gale and turn her back on Peeta. This felt like one of those “It’s always been Peeta,” situations, but she flip flopped based on who was in the most danger.

Bella/Edward/Jacob – I think I’m establishing a pattern. I apparently don’t like love triangles that involve the love of the heroine’s life versus the best friend of the heroine. Jacob never stood a chance. So I don’t even understand how this one became as big of a conflict as it did.

Ashton/Beau/Sawyer – This whole series doesn’t work for me. It’s never a good idea to completely change yourself in order to be with someone. Especially if there’s another option that accepts you for who you are. And how Ashton and Sawyer even ended up together period never made sense to me.

Lena/Alex/Julian – Lena annoyed the snot out of me when it comes to this aspect of the series. She finds out that her mother never really died like she thought she did. She’s spent years thinking that her mother was dead to find out that she’s really alive. She doesn’t actually witness Alex’s death, but yet, she readily assumes that he died in their attempted escape to the Wilds. Julian comes in and I could have bought their relationship if I wasn’t yelling at her that Alex is probably still alive. Of course he is. And then she proceeds to act like a two year old and throw Julian in Alex’s face any chance she gets. She comes off as being angry with Alex when she’s the one who started another relationship.

Jack/Cassie/Chrystle (The Perfect Game by J Sterling not pictured, which I haven't posted my review for yet)- Jack thinks he knocks up Chrystle in a one night stand and drops the love of his life like a sack of potatoes as soon as he finds out in order to be a good dad. I'm not buying what you're selling. Especially considering how he’s planning on marrying someone that he not only doesn’t love but pretty much despises. Even a moron could figure out that such a relationship can only end badly. Plus how do you justifying having an ongoing relationship outside of marriage with someone you pretty much hate? Yeah. This is probably one of the worst triangles ever.

Evan/Emma/Drew/Jonathan- Again. We’ve got the love of your life. You had a misunderstanding. And yet you purposefully seek out another relationship. It’s not going to work. And I can’t root for it. Then despite everything else, Emma is completely oblivious to the potential danger that Jonathan presents to her relationship with Evan. Wise up.

Deamon/Katy/Blake – Was anyone Team Blake? At any point? I just wanted to slap Katy through this stint of the series.

Cassian/Jacinda/Will – I was all for Team Will when I read Firelight, but whenever supernatural/willy-nilly love bonds are forged I find it hard to fight against them. Once Jacinda and Cassian were bounded (aka dragon term for married, but deeper to where they can feel everything the other feels) then I find it hard to believe that Jacinda maintains her independent feelings for Will. After the bounding ceremony I was Team Cassian.

Peter/Alice/Jack – Again…supernatural connection here. I’m pretty sure Amanda Hocking starting her writing career with this series as Twilight fan fiction. So for there to be so many similarities to Twilight is expected. Yet, I think Ms. Hocking played with the concept of what if Jacob had imprinted on Bella. Would that have changed anything? Her conclusion: no. Jack and Alice fight the blood bond that Alice and Peter have in order to end up together. I, however, don’t fight the supernatural bond and wanted Alice to end up with Peter.

Mercy/Flynn/Luke/Paul/Sebastian - Mercy…Mercy. I feel love “triangles” that include more than 3 parties are pretty much ridiculous anyway. Well at least when all of the points lead back to one person. If it were a square with two guys and two girls. Ex: Characters A & B are in LURVE, but character C is trying for Character A and Character D is trying for Character B…maybe. But even that’s pushing it. Mercy finds herself making out and feeling all these feels for MANY guys. Therefore I find her “true love” with Luke even more far fetched.

Zoey/Eric/Heath/Stark/Kalona – Again with the multiple people involved with this mess. Zoey is just as bad as Mercy in bouncing from guy to guy. Now that I think about it, I wonder if the Cambion series is a retelling/spin off/fan fiction based off the House of Night series? Zoey “loves” too many characters in this series for such a short span of time. It’s not believable. Except for showing how much she must not know/understand real love.

Mimi/Jack/Schuyler/Oliver – Jack’s got a supernatural type connection to both Schuyler and Mimi. The whole twin thing was confusing. It would have been harder not to root for Mimi if she weren’t a shallow and hateful person. She made it easy to hate her, but it was confusing that Jack struggled with this. And then when Jack and Schuyler go through a stint of “we literally CAN’T be together,” Schulyer has a brief relationship with her longtime best friend Oliver who is the consolation prize similar to the Clary/Jace/Simon triangle from The Mortal Instruments.

To sum it up, apparently love triangles that work for me are often slow building and take a lot of work on the authors part to have me switch teams when necessary. And love triangles that don't work for me happen when there's a supernatural aspect the characters are somehow able to overcome. You can bet that if the love "triangle" has more than 4 parties then I'm out. Best friend vs. love-of-my-life...love of my life is going to win every time. Consolation prize relationships are 100% doomed to failure. What about you? Did any of these love triangles work for you that didn't work for me? Are there any that I didn't list that you feel strongly one way or the other about? Let me know!