Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Waiting on Rooms

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

Rooms

By: Lauren Oliver

Expected Publication: September 23rd 2014 by Ecco

320 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Paranormal

( 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 New York Times bestselling author of Before I Fall and the Delirium trilogy makes her brilliant adult debut with this mesmerizing story in the tradition of The Lovely Bones, Her Fearful Symmetry, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane—a tale of family, ghosts, secrets, and mystery, in which the lives of the living and the dead intersect in shocking, surprising, and moving ways

Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.

But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.

The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.

Elegantly constructed and brilliantly paced, Rooms is an enticing and imaginative ghost story and a searing family drama that is as haunting as it is resonant.

I love Lauren Oliver's writing so I can't wait to read her next book. What are you waiting on this week? Let me know!

Monday, April 21, 2014

While it Lasts - Review

While It Lasts (Sea Breeze, # 3)

By: Abbi Glines

Published: July 31st 2012

304 pages

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary

Source: Borrowed from my SNL, Holly @ Words Fueled by Love

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

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

Goodreads description--Cage brings his playboy prowess to the countryside as the Sea Breeze hookups continue, from self-published phenomenon Abbi Glines.

Low broke Cage’s heart by getting with Marcus in Because of Low. Cage went into a tailspin that ended in a DUI. In order to salvage his baseball scholarship—the one thing he truly valued besides Low—Cage must take a summer job. At a farm. Away from Sea Breeze. With lots of cows, but no hot girls. Maybe that’s what Cage needs to get back on track.

But wait—there’s that hostile daughter of the farm boss. She’s pretty and occasionally sweet, and there seems to be a lot of sadness and mystery behind her anger. Cage is dying to strip her down—physically and mentally—in the back of the barn. But is he prepared for what will happen afterward?

Cage was a pretty present character in the previous book, Because of Low. He and Low grew up together in a bad neighborhood, and Low is the closest thing to family he’s ever had. He always thought he would eventually give up his wild oats and settle down with Low eventually. But “now” just isn’t the time. In the meantime, Marcus swoops in and he and Low are actually going to get married. Cage is okay with this because he can see how much Marcus cares for Low and he can see that he’s not yet ready—if he ever will be—to settle down. Yet it only takes a farm girl and a summer of working on said farm to wrangle him into shape.

Eva, as the description says, had her life planned out for her. She was going to marry her childhood sweetheart, Josh, until he died in the war. Eva has pretty much determined that she’s never going to love again, but life and love are rarely things that can be controlled. And of course bad boy Cage finds his way under her skin and into her heart. Because they’re kind of secluded when they first meet, Eva doesn’t see the persona that Cage presents to everyone else back home. She only sees the good in him. Until the persona is shoved into her face.

Eva and Cage’s story was fast and fun to read. It was a little "pretty" overall. And While It Lasts fell into the pattern of many, many other new adult novels. I find myself at a loss about what else to say about it. While I devoured it, it wasn’t overly original and it didn’t blow me away. I think this is a testament to Abbi Glines writing and her ability to hook me despite the predictability and repetitive plot points.

While It Lasts gets 3.5 Stars from me. Have you read it? What did you think? Let me know!

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!