Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Can't Wait for A Court of Frost and Starlight

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

A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses, # 3.1)

By: Sarah J Maas

Expected Publication: May 1st 2018 by Bloomsbury YA

224 pages

Genre: New Adult, Fantasy, Faerie, Fae

( 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--Narrated by Feyre and Rhysand, this story bridges the events in A Court of Wings and Ruin and the upcoming spinoff novels.

Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can't keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated—scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

What are you guys waiting on this week? Let me know!

Monday, February 19, 2018

This Heart of Mine - Review

This Heart of Mine

By: CC Hunter

Expected Publication: February 27th 2018 by Wednesday Books

384 pages

Genre: Young 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--A new heart saved her life—but will it help her find out what really happened to its donor?

Seventeen-year-old Leah MacKenzie is heartless. An artificial heart in a backpack is keeping her alive. However, this route only offers her a few years. And with her rare blood type, a transplant isn’t likely. Living like you are dying isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But when a heart becomes available, she’s given a second chance at life. Except Leah discovers who the donor was — a boy from her school — and they’re saying he killed himself. Plagued with dreams since the transplant, she realizes she may hold the clues to what really happened.

Matt refuses to believe his twin killed himself. When Leah seeks him out, he learns they are both having similar dreams and he’s certain it means something. While unraveling the secrets of his brother’s final moments, Leah and Matt find each other, and a love they are terrified to lose. But life and even new hearts don’t come with guarantees. Who knew living, took more courage than dying?

This Heart of Mine is a haunting, poignant tale about living and dying, surviving grief, guilt, and heartache, while discovering love and hope in the midst of sadness.

Transplant stories can be a bit controversial. There are real stories about transplant patients having all sorts of odd feelings, dreams, and behaviors after receiving a transplant. But many people who haven't experienced this are skeptical and find stories about this to be...hokey and unrealistic. Before, I address This Heart of Mine I wanted to say that I appreciated that CC Hunter based this story on her husband's own personal experience with being a transplant patient. Of course this story stretches a bit beyond her husband's experience, but it adds credence to things that seem completely impossible.

This Heart of Mine is full of weighty topics and emotion. To start things off, Leah's currently living with an artificial heart, but she knows that this is only a temporary solution. And with her rare blood type, it's unlikely that she'll receive a heart transplant and will probably die. I mean talk about weighty and emotional up front. Matt's father died in the military a couple of years ago and so his entire family (mom and twin brother Eric) are still struggling with the grief from his death. Again...weighty and emotional. But then something happens and Eric dies too. What's ruled as a suicide by the authorities just doesn't sit right with Matt. He knows his twin brother so much that Eric used to accuse him of being inside his head. And Matt knows that Eric wouldn't put his mother and himself through the grief of losing another member of their family. And then Leah received Eric's heart. She's faced with the gratitude that her life may not be as short as she once believed, but that's only possible because someone else died. And even still, there's no guarantee that her body won't ultimately reject the heart. And so now she has the possibility of a future that she never had before, but that future isn't set in stone. So much depth. And the emotion is pretty authentic, especially knowing that CC Hunter experienced some of these same situations with her husband.

Some might accuse Matt and Leah of having an insta-love kind of relationship because of their first encounter that we get to experience. However, I liked that CC Hunter provided a background where each had noticed and liked the other prior to the first encounter that we get as the reader. Also, there's a large gap between their first encounter and their second. Again...this isn't their true first and second encounters...just the ones that are revealed to us as the reader. I really enjoyed their relationship and the balance between the two of them versus their mission of finding out what really happened to Eric.

I did predict what happened to Eric from early on. I had one slight detail off in regards to Cassie, but overall, this aspect of the book wasn't as mysterious as I would really have liked. And the resolution of this part of the book really felt wrapped up maybe a smidgen too quickly. It was like there was a question for so long throughout the book and then BAM it was answered.

Favorite quotes:

-...my grandmother used to say it was okay to see someone in a beautiful red dress and think, I want a dress like hers. But it wasn't okay to think, I want a dress like hers and I want her to have a wart on her nose.

-I reach for the cereal bowl. Heart healthy is printed on large letters on a package. And it shows a bowl of cereal topped with strawberries. Generally when they show fruit on top, it's because you're gonna need it.

-Don't do anything you know you'll regret. But do enough to know exactly what you'll regret and learn to regret less.

Overall, I really enjoyed This Heart of Mine. I'm intrigued by the twin connection and the donor/recipient connection as well. While there were so many emotions that I went through, I didn't cry. I did tear up though. And I liked the relationship between Leah and Matt. I also really loved the friendship between Leah and Brandy. Even though I didn't discuss this in the heart of my review, I would put these two down as one of my favorite sets of BFFs. This Heart of Mine gets 4 Stars. Have you read This Heart of Mine? What did you think? Let me know!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sunday Post & Stacking the Shelves - 2/18/18

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ The Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~this meme was inspired in part by ~ In My Mailbox~ It's a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Monday I had a hair appointment. The last cut I had was in August or September so this was long overdue. Little Girl started with a runny nose and cough on Tuesday. Wednesday I emptied the canister and cleaned the filter on my vacuum cleaner. That resulted in an allergy attack which left me with a cough and runny/stopped-up nose. Friday I had to have a cavity filled and both kids hung out with Grammy. I picked up Baby Boy as soon as I got done with the dentist so I could nurse but Little Girl stayed a bit longer. Saturday my mom and Nanny came by to visit. Nanny's birthday is this coming week so it was really good to see her.

THIS PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of PS I Like You by Kasie West (4.5 Stars)
Wednesday: Can't Wait for The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby
Thursday: Mountains Out of Molehills - Personal Jesus

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of This Heart of Mine by CC Hunter
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday?
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Wednesday

Don’t forget to link up for the 2018 Series Enders Reading Challenge! You have until December 15th, 2018 to sing 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.

Let Me List the Ways

By: Sarah White

Publication: August 7th 2018 by HarperTeen

304 pages

Genre: Young 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--A breezy, sexy contemporary YA about falling in love with your best friend, from Wattpad phenom Sarah White.

Mackenzie Clark has been best friends with Nolan Walker for as long as she can remember. She’s shared everything with him, from adventures with their families and days lounging at the beach, to long talks about their friends and her journey with type 1 diabetes. The only thing she hasn’t shared is the fact that she is in love with him.

Now in their senior year of high school, Mackenzie and Nolan know that in a few short months everything will change as they head off to different colleges. Determined to make the most of the time they still have left, they come up with a list of things they want to do together before graduation. But as they make their way through everything from toilet papering the school bully’s house to having a backyard camp-out like the ones they had when they were kids, Mackenzie can’t help feeling that she’s left the most important thing off the list: telling Nolan how she feels. But when confessing her love could jeopardize the incredible relationship they already have, is honesty really the best policy?

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, February 15, 2018

Mountains Out of Molehills: Personal Jesus

Mountains Out of Molehills is a feature here at Somewhere Only We Know that zeroes in on political, religious, etc statements made by authors, publishers, etc that really don't have anything to do with the overall story, plot, or character growth of a book (or other medium).

I introduced this feature concept in this Discussions Only We Know post. Incidentally, this first edition of Mountains Out of Molehills is about a TV show. And while this episode I'm discussing does have the potential to play into a particular character's growth (or whatever the opposite of growth is), the statement being made is one I cannot ignore. This is a LONG post, I am aware, but please bear with me as the message is so important.

Like many, I'm a fan of the TV show Grey's Anatomy. I've appreciated the fact that the show even has one single character that has faith in God--April Kepner played by Sarah Drew. I binge watched the first 12 Seasons of the show and only have been watching the show as it releases week by week on Hulu since the middle of Season 13. As such I've come up against several issues with April and how her faith is portrayed throughout the prior seasons--specifically surrounding her divorce from Jackson Avery played by Jesse Williams. This is not to even mention Callie Torres's (Sara Ramirez) twisting of Scripture from several seasons back. Regardless, as a binge watcher, I could easily watch an episode, find myself miffed with the message that the writers of the show were sending in regards to Christianity, and then move past it onto the next episode dismissing my frustrations only to be entangled with the continuing story line.

But not any more.

After the episode titled "Personal Jesus" which aired January 25, 2018, I found that I couldn't stop thinking about the message this episode was sending to the viewer. And I couldn't keep myself silent any longer. I've long since wanted to start this feature but found myself holding back because I couldn't find the right words to describe what I wanted it to be. But after this episode, I knew that I had to get my thoughts together so that I could address this episode before too much time passed from when the episode aired.

SPOILER WARNING!!!! This post has detailed information about the Grey's Anatomy episode Personal Jesus mentioned above. If you're not up to date with the show here's your warning to leave now!!!

I'm just going to progress through the episode and address my thoughts alongside some of the dialogue taken from the site: https://www.springfieldspringfield.co.uk/view_episode_scripts.php?tv-show=greys-anatomy&episode=s14e10.

APRIL: In the course of one day, Job received four messages, each with separate news that his livestock, servants, and 10 children had all died. He continued to be a faithful servant. He still praised God. He persevered. ...- Job's faith was tested. And he passed the test. ...And for his faith, God rewarded Job with twice what he had before. ...

At this point, I'm thinking, "Good on them for including a Biblical story in this episode. However, the story of Job is one normally associated with immense suffering. Where is this going to go?"

Skipping ahead...Karin Taylor comes into the ER in labor...

I don't like to question God, but I have got to wonder about this particular design. I mean, the combination of the size of the baby's head and the female anatomy, it just feels like ... an odd act of cruelty, or, like, maybe a little bit of a slip. Like, maybe he was tipsy when he came up with it. I mean, we know God likes to drink the whole "water to wine" of it all. It just doesn't seem like that far of a leap to think that ...

Well first of all, Karin the entire design of childbirth is a part of woman's curse as a direct result of her sin. Genesis 3:16 "To the woman He said, 'I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children." So yeah Karin not an act of cruelty...an act of punishment and consequences sure. I'm not even going to address the absurdity of her whole comment about God liking to drink due to the miracle of turning water into wine. Read the Scripture, harmonize it, and you will find that while there is no condemnation for drinking alcohol itself, there is against drunkeness. But yeah, just go ahead and tell the viewers that God's a big ol' drunk who makes harsh decisions of cruelty because He's unable to hold his drink. Grrr...

Moving along...April tells Jackson that she just delivered the baby of her ex-fiance, Matthew. The very Matthew she left at the alter to run off with Jackson. He responds with asking her how that was for her..."Which was Ironic? Comical? Soul-crushing?" Simply reminding her that she left someone who shared her views on faith for love which has now turned out to be a failed marriage.

Next, 20 year old, David Roman comes into the ER...Let's take a look at the dialogue.

I wasn't trying to kill myself. I-I would never try to kill myself. I'd go straight to hell.
- Why'd you cut yourself, then? ...
Matthew 5, verse 30 If your right hand causes you to sin, you cut it off. And I couldn't stop sinning.
-You mean masturbating?
So I tried to cut it off.

My thoughts..."Oh great...one of those crazy fanatics that make all of us Christians look crazy as all get out." We'll come back to this storyline but for now we're moving on.

Next up a 12 year old black boy, Eric, is brought into the ER with a gunshot wound. He was shot by the police for breaking into his own house because he lost his key. I'm not touching the statement being made by this story line with a ten foot pole, however, this story is essential to describing the progression of April's feelings throughout the episode.

And we're back to the 20 year old literal fanatic...

-20-year-old tried to cut off his hand. He was masturbating too much.
-Oh, my. That seems like an overreaction.
I was following God's Word.
-Yeah, not quite sure you heard Him right.
If you don't know the Bible
-No, I do. I do. And the Bible also says that your body's a temple and you should use it to glorify God.
I'm trying to, but temptation is everywhere.
-Yeah, well, the Bible also says that God doesn't tempt us beyond our ability. He doesn't give us more than we can handle.
...
"If your right hand causes you to sin, you cut it off."
-David, when God created the world, he also created metaphors.

Again I thought "wow I'm actually surprised that they're allowing April to do just a good job debating this crazy person."

Meanwhile, April directs the family of the 12 year old gunshot victim to his side. Some things happen between the parents and the policemen who are present to guard the "suspect." April and Karin then share a moment where Karen uses the same phrase "God doesn't give us more than we can handle." I'll come back to this later. Jackson then relates a story about how he once targeted by the police in his own neighborhood for "fitting the description" of a suspect. April doesn't mention this directly but I got the impression that she might be wondering if Harriet, her daughter with Jackson, might one day face a similar situation.

April next has a conversation with Matthew, the jilted fiance:

Karin is terrific.
-Yeah, she is. It's the best thing that ever happened to me. And I guess I have you to thank for that. I mean, it hurt, being left on my wedding day.
Matthew, I'm so sorry
-At my wedding in front of everyone I knew and loved. It hurt. And I wasn't open to being hurt again like that, so Karin and I we had a long friendship before I let myself realize that she was She's the love of my life, you know? Of course you know. You You have that with Jackson. And I h-heard from the pastor that you were pregnant, so you have, what, a 3-year-old now?
I had a I have We have Harriet. We have a beautiful daughter named Harriet. She's 1. And she's the light of my life.
-Well Guess it worked out perfectly for both of us, then. God used that pain and turned it into something beautiful. Guess He knew what He was doing all along, huh?
I am so glad you found Karin.

This conversation is packed with so much. Matthew has found a way to move past the pain that April caused him and is now happily married and a father. And he thanks both April and God for that. Although it does seem that he's still slightly bitter toward April and I would say God also considering the phrase "Guess He knew what He was doing all along, huh?" April's only yet again reminded that her relationship with Jackson failed even though she's obviously still in love with him. She's reminded of the son they lost who would have been three. But there is Harriet in the mix and she is a blessing. Yet, I'm not sure based on this conversation that April would say that God had worked everything out in her situation.

I'm skipping the part where a doctor who studies orgasms tries to explain to fanatic David that orgasms are good and actually created by God. Although Karin has been experiencing pain and complications since birth, it is now apparent that she's in real distress. The 12 year old boy, Eric, who was shot by the police has since died in surgery. April responds to the police officers looking for a statement:

My statement is that a little boy was at home when your fellow officer shot and killed him. You can't just be out there shooting people 'cause you're afraid. How am I supposed to have any faith in a system like that?

And yet again, while she didn't say the words "how am I supposed to have any faith in a God that will allow this to happen" the sentiment rang out from every word.

April is then called into fanatic David's room where they have a debate:

-You know scripture, right? ...
Yeah.
-A or B God created the Earth in seven days, or evolution happened?
Both. 2 Peter says that with the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, so He measures time differently, which means he could have used evolution to create the world.
-Do you think that Jonah really survived three days in the belly of a great fish?
The Bible is is a book, David. It's full of beautiful stories and metaphors and and poems that shouldn't be taken literally.
-But 2 Timothy says all scripture is inspired by God.
Yeah, inspired by, not dictated by.
-What about "thou shalt not kill"?
Well, come on. That one is definitely literal.
-Aren't they all? Luke says "Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it."
I know. I know He
-James says, "Do not merely listen to the word. Do what it says."
Within reason! You have to do what it says within reason, okay?! We don't chop off our limps! We don't cut our babies in half!
-Then tell me what to do if this won't! If I can't trust this, if it's not the truth, if the Word of God is just a bunch of stories, what does anything mean? What is any of this even for?

I don't personally agree with April's assessment on creation...although her statement about time being different to God is true. I do believe Jonah spent 3 days in the belly of a great fish. Yes the Bible is a book about beautiful stories and metaphors and poems and some of them are just that...metaphors, but most of them are literal. The problem is that you can't just take one or two here and there and pull them out of context and apply them to every other situation. You have to be familiar with the Bible as a whole. You can take any single verse and pull it out of context or link several together that have nothing to do with each other to force them to say something that God was not intending to say. I always come back to Psalm 14:1 which says "There is no God." Yet that's not the entirety of the verse. The verse actually says, "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'" We've all seen masters at twisting words on various TV shows--especially shows with lawyers--or listen to politicians for two seconds and you'll see words twisted to mean what they don't. You have to listen to the entire message. You have to read and be familiar with the entire Bible to understand God's character and to know how to differentiate between what is literal and what is figurative. And even then we still get it wrong from time to time.

At the end of the episode April continues the voice over that started the show:

"Eli, Eli lama sabachthani?" That's what Jesus said on the cross before he died. "My God, My God. Why have you forsaken me?" Job asked the question, too. But he kept the faith. Equal parts light and dark And what did he get for it? Replacement children. PTSD. Was it worth it to have been a faithful servant? Or would it have been better to just curse God's name from the beginning? Where was God throughout all of Job's suffering and pain? He was winning a bet with Satan. ...Makes you wonder where He is through all of the unfairness and inequity and cruelty in the world.... Where is he now?

Again taken out of complete context...Jesus's question to God was while He was hanging on the cross bearing the sin of the entire world--past, present, and future--and God can have no part of sin. Habakkuk 1:13 "Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing." Isaiah 59:2 "your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you..." Regardless God had not betrayed His Son. It was Jesus's mission from the beginning to come in the flesh and live and die at the hands of His creation so that He could be raised from the dead redeeming the price of blood from all who would repent and follow Him.

April's statements that Job received REPLACEMENT CHILDREN as his rewards for remaining faithful ticks me off to no end. As someone who has actually lost one child and yet born another living child, I would think that she would understand that the grief of her loss doesn't negate (or at least doesn't have to negate) the immense joy brought on by her now living child. I don't think she feels as if Harriet is a replacement child for Samuel, the son she lost. I don't know a single person who has lost a child that feels as if their subsequent children are replacements--the tone of utter contempt April uses when stating this shows how disgusted she is at the idea of Job's additional children. The grief of loss doesn't mean joy can't be experienced in new children. And the new children do not mean that the grief of child/children lost ever goes away. I'm sure Job continued to feel the grief of his first ten children throughout the rest of his life.

But to April's question of whether it would have been better to have cursed God's name from the beginning and where God is through Job and the rest of the world's suffering...well here's the thing. When God created the world He made it perfect. But man chose to go against God. God only had two rules for Adam and Eve. Yet Satan placed doubt in Eve's heart. Was God really good? Was God keeping something from them? And Eve sinned. And Adam with her. Death for all men entered the world with Adam and Eve's sin. And the world has not been the same since. Broken and marred by humans. Not how God created it at all. So if all men die and bad things happen then who among us is worthy to be exempt from "bad things"? From death? Who deserves to live a life free of pain? Who is sinless and therefore deserves this? None. If even Job who God considered blameless and Jesus who we know was sinless lived lives of difficulty and suffering and loss, how can we expect to escape these things in our lives when all of us have fallen short?

Knowing who God is should be enough to answer this question. It's what God told Job when Job questioned God. Job 38:

"Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: 'Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone--while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the cloud its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, "This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt"? Have you ever given orders to the morning or shown the dawn its place, that it might take the earth by the edges and shake the wicked out of it?' ...'Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep? Have the gates of death been shown to you? Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness? Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? Tell me, if you know all this. What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside? Can you take them to their places? Do you know the paths to their dwellings? Surely you know, for you were already born! You have lived so many years! ... What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed, or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth? Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain, and a path for the thunderstorm, to water a land where no one lives an uninhabited desert, to satisfy a desolate wasteland and make it sprout with grass? Does the rain have a father? Who fathers the drops of dew? From whose womb comes the ice? ... Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades? Can you loosen Orion's belt? Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs? Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up God's dominion over the earth? Can you raise your voice to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water? Do you send lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, "Here we are"? Who gives the ibis wisdom or gives the rooster understanding? Who has the wisdom to count the clouds? Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens when the dust becomes hard and the clods of earth stick together? Do you hunt the prey for the lioness and satisfy the hunger of the lions when they crouch in their dens or lie in wait in a thicket? Who provides food for the raven when its young cry out to God and wander about for lack of food?"

And he goes on for another chapter ending in chapter 40 with "Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!" And Job's response is what ours should be as well when we dare to question God and His plans and His goodness. "I am unworthy--how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer--twice, but I will say no more." And then God questions Job again.

"Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself? Do you have an arm like God's and can your voice thunder like his? Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor; and clothe yourself in honor and majesty. Unleash the fury of your wrath, look at all who are proud and humble them, crush the wicked where they stand. Bury them all in the dust together; shroud their faces in the grave. Then I myself will admit to you that your own right hand can save you."

God continues offering these rhetorical questions to Job. And again we should all reply as Job (chapter 42) "I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, 'Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?' Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. You said, "Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.' My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes."

As if this isn't enough to satisfy the question because God is worthy to be praised simply because of who He is, there is more. God in His great love for us--His great concern for our salvation--He emptied Himself of deity and came in the form of a man born of humble circumstances who lived and died at the hands of His creation so that He could rise from the grave and redeem all those who will believe and follow Him back to Himself with the price of His blood. This doesn't speak to a God who doesn't care about the cruelty and pain in the world He created. But go right on ahead April, you curse God and see where that gets you.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Can't Wait for The Other Side of Lost

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

The Other Side of Lost

By: Jessi Kirby

Expected Publication: August 7th 2018 by HarperTeen

320 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

( 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--Girl Online meets Wild in this emotionally charged story of girl who takes to the wilderness to rediscover herself and escape the superficial persona she created on social media.

Mari Turner’s life is perfect. That is, at least to her thousands of followers who have helped her become an internet starlet. But when she breaks down and posts a video confessing she’s been living a lie—that she isn’t the happy, in-love, inspirational online personality she’s been trying so hard to portray—it goes viral and she receives major backlash. To get away from it all, she makes an impulsive decision: to hike the entire John Muir trail. Mari and her late cousin, Bri, were supposed to do it together, to celebrate their shared eighteenth birthday. But that was before Mari got so wrapped up in her online world that she shut anyone out who questioned its worth—like Bri.

With Bri’s boots and trail diary, a heart full of regret, and a group of strangers that she meets along the way, Mari tries to navigate the difficult terrain of the hike. But the true challenge lies within, as she searches for the way back to the girl she fears may be too lost to find: herself.

What are you guys waiting on this week? Let me know!

Monday, February 12, 2018

PS I Like You - Review

PS I Like You

By: Kasie West

Publication: July 26th 2016 by Point

304 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

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--What if the person you were falling for was a total mystery?

While Lily is spacing out in Chemistry one day, she picks up her pencil and scribbles a line from one of her favorite songs on the desk. The next day, someone else has written back to her on the desk! Soon enough Lily and the mystery student are exchanging notes, and lyrics, and even sharing secrets. When Lily finds out that her anonymous pen pal is a guy, she's flustered -- and kind of feels like she's falling for him. She and her best friend set out to unravel the identity of the letter writer -- but when the truth is revealed, the guy is the LAST person Lily could have ever imagined it to be. Now that Lily knows the truth, can she untangle her feelings and gather the courage to listen to her heart?

From beloved author Kasie West (The Distance Between Us) comes an utterly charming story about mixed messages, missed connections, and the magic of good old-fashioned secret admirer notes.

My experience with Kasie West is that I've enjoyed every single one of her books that I've read. And I've pretty much read them all and plan to read whatever she publishes in the future as well. I love that her books tend to be clean in language as well as physical content. And even though the plot isn't always full of twists and turns (although her Pivot Point series shows that she's capable of that), I still get sucked in and hooked. Her books are usually on the uplifting side. They're fun, fast reads that are full of first love. They leave me with the warm and fuzzies. And that's what you can expect from PS I Like You.

Initially, I remember thinking that the title for this book was too similar to PS I Still Love You by Jenny Han which released just over a year before PS I Like You, and I was a little disheartened that a more unique name couldn't have been chosen. And I also found the song lyrics written on a desk by two anonymous people to be very similar to Faking Normal by Courtney C Stevens. But after reading PS I Like You, the title completely fits and makes perfect sense given the story. And the song lyrics take on a bigger role in PS I Like You than I remember them doing in Faking Normal (if I remember correctly, the plot steers away from this area in Faking Normal where the song lyrics really continue to be a main theme throughout the entire book for PS I Like You).

PS I Like You did start out a little slow for me in that I wasn't completely connected to Lily and all of her oddities, but I was probably hooked by 15% which in truth isn't that bad at all. And I proceeded to devour this book. Actually, PS I Like You is the first book that I've stayed up late (12:30 am) to finish since my daughter was born almost two years ago. I probably could have put it down around the 85% mark to save the rest for the next day, but I just didn't want to. And of course, I paid for it the next day with having a super whiny, clingy child as well as everything wanted to break on me that day. But the point is, I was invested enough to feel justified (at the time) to read on until I finished it. And beyond that, the next day, I couldn't stop thinking about PS I Like You to the point where I actually contemplated picking it up immediately for a re-read. I haven't committed to doing that, but I also haven't started any other book yet either.

To discuss the characters like I want to and would normally do would probably give too much away about who Lily's pen-pal is and not knowing is part of the drive to keep reading for at least the first half of the book. However, this book deals with perceptions and assumptions and how what we perceive isn't always reality. It deals with how we can't really know what someone else is thinking even when their actions and motivations seem clear. It addresses how you never really know what someone else may be going through until they discuss it with you. It touches on crushes that we've had from a distance and how when we finally start to get to know someone we might find out that they're very different from what we imagined. There's friendship and family. Of course, there's music. I don't know if any of the music or bands mentioned are real--I didn't feel the desire to look any of them up. And more.

PS I Like You is my kind of book. It's clean, good, fun, heartwarming romance. It has characters that you can root for and care about. I didn't want to put it down and actually thought about re-reading it immediately upon finishing. I love Kasie West for her consistency in writing characters and stories that never seem to let me down. I think under normal circumstances a book like this would get 4 Stars from me, but the simple fact that I stayed up past midnight just to finish this one means I think it deserves 4.5 Stars. Have you read PS I Like You? What did you think? Let me know!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sunday Post - 2/11/18

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.

We've had a bit of a rough week sleep wise. I had hoped we'd turned the corner, but it seems we've taken a step back. However, I didn't struggle as much being up for 2 and 3 hours in the middle of the night because I couldn't stop thinking about what my friend Amanda was going through with her daughter who had brain surgery this week. Not much to make you thankful for the little things like a 2 year old needing brain surgery. Friday my mom took off work to spend the day with us. While I had a babysitter I ran Baby Boy to get his 3 months pictures taken. No new books this week.

THIS PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett (4 Stars)
Wednesday: Can't Wait for A Defense of Honor (Haven Manor, # 1) by Kristi Ann Hunter
Friday: Discussions Only We Know: Mountains Out of Molehills

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of PS I Like You by Kasie West
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday?
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Wednesday
Thursday: Mountains Out of Molehills: Personal Jesus

Don’t forget to link up for the 2018 Series Enders Reading Challenge! You have until December 15th, 2018 to sing up. Each month there will be a giveaway for those participating with an end of the year giveaway too! Click on the picture below or the link above to find out more!

That's it for my shelves and recaps of my past and upcoming week. What did you add to your shelves this week? Any bookish news you want to talk about? Let me know!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Discussion Only We Know: Mountains Out of Molehills

Discussions Only We Know

Mountains Out of Molehills

Have you guys ever been reading a book, you're bee-bopping along making good progress, things are going well, and then WHAM one little sentence is included that has NOTHING to do with the book, the events, the plot, the character, the conflict, or well...anything at all? Has this ever happened to you? Because it's happened to me. Several times.

From the times that I've taken note of this happening, the comments tend to be religious or political in nature. And this leads me to believe that because the statement has absolutely nothing to do with the character, plot, or conflict that these statements are only here for the author or publisher to influence the reader in a direction or thought process they want to impose on the reader. If that's not the case, then why are these statements included?

Example:

-"I'll plunge my bare feet right into the snow, to numb them!" cried a colonial lady from the southern isles.
"Oh no," smiled a naughty young man. "Let me warm them instead."
The entire scene looked pretty and fun...and fake. Who knew if that flirty young mane even liked the lady--or if he liked ladies at all. Kestrel wasn't the only person at court who planned to marry someone she didn't want. --The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

And because these are usually one line statements that don't impact the overall story (because they don't actually have anything to do with the story), I always struggle with whether or not to mention them in my reviews. It feels passive aggressive on behalf of the author/publisher to include them in the first place, and calling out passive aggressiveness usually only makes you look like the jerk not the other way around. So what do you do? Do you let these comments go because addressing them turns a molehill into a mountain? Or does letting them go allow the author to turn a molehill into a mountain?

We all have seen comments or posts or maybe mentioned on the news briefly about how things influence us. I'm thinking about how for my generation when video games like Mortal Kombat were first released a big deal was made about the amount of violence in them--especially because blood was now introduced. People said that these video games would lead to XYZ negative side effects. I personally blew off these kinds of ideas. Not just about video games, but in general about how these inputs (TV shows, movies, video games, books, music) influences could have such a great impact on our lives and our thinking. But I've been recently changing my mind a bit. Of course, I don't literally mean because you play video games such as Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed that you'll turn violent. Nor do I mean that because you listen to hard core hip hop or heavy metal, that you'll turn into a drug addict with no job and beat your children. Nor do I mean that if you read books with a political agenda that you'll be swayed into public protests. BUT I do think that what we input into our minds matters.

Otherwise why would we spend time trying to learn in school? Why would we study any one subject? Why do we bother? We do it because it matters. We do it because the more frequently we're exposed to a subject or content or theory or idea, the more it becomes concreted into our brains. That's not to say that we can't overcome or disagree with things we're repeatedly exposed to, but it does mean that these things matter.

So I'm curious. Do these out of the blue statements that have nothing to do with the story you're reading bother you? Or is it just me? Does it only bother you when these statements go against your personal views? Or do you always find them distracting? Do you think they probably just don't matter? Or are you as put off by the author/publisher trying to influence you with their personal views as I am? I'm really curious! Let me know!

Also, I'll actually be turning this Discussions Only We Know topic into a feature all its own. Mountain Out of Molehills the feature will showcase any quote or topic that I come across in my reading life that is totally random and out of the blue or seems to be sending a particular political or religious message of some sort to influence the reader.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Can't Wait for A Defense of Honor

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

A Defense of Honor (Haven Manor, # 1)

By: Kristi Ann Hunter

Expected Publication: June 5th 2018 by Bethany House Publishers

352 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Regency

( 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--Forced to run for her life, Kit FitzGilbert finds herself in the very place she swore never to return to--a London ballroom. There she encounters Lord Graham Wharton, who believes Kit holds the key to a mystery he's trying to solve. As much as she wishes that she could tell him everything, she can't reveal the truth without endangering those she loves.

What are you guys waiting on this week? Let me know!

Monday, February 5, 2018

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart - Review

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart

By: Jenn Bennett

Publication: November 3rd 2015 by Feiwel & Friends

304 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

( 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--Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she’s spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Da Vinci’s footsteps, she’s ready to tackle the one thing that will give her an advantage in a museum-sponsored scholarship contest: drawing actual cadavers. But when she tries to sneak her way into the hospital’s Willed Body program and misses the last metro train home, she meets a boy who turns her summer plans upside down.

Jack is charming, wildly attractive, and possibly one of San Francisco’s most notorious graffiti artists. On midnight buses and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who Jack really is—and tries to uncover what he’s hiding that leaves him so wounded. But will these secrets come back to haunt him? Or will the skeletons in her family’s closet tear them apart?

When I initially read the description for The Anatomical Shape of a Heart it reminded me of Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley which I really enjoyed. The two stories don't have much in common beyond the secret graffiti artist, but I enjoyed them both.

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart had such a unique set of characters. Bex's fascination with anatomy and her unique interest in drawing medical textbook diagrams is something that I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I've never encountered before. I loved how individual Bex was all around. She's typically a follow-the-rules kid, but her mother's lack of support for her desire for this type of art has her beginning to sneak around. And this is where she meets Jack.

Bex and Jack have a moment the first night they meet, but Bex is a bit too practical to throw caution to the wind. But Jack is charming and he hunts her down in a non-stalkerish kind of way. I actually loved the mystery behind these two in the beginning. They both purposefully flirt in a way that keeps much of themselves secret from the other. But of course, over time that wears down and the two find out more and more about each other through the more time they spend together.

Speaking of Jack, there's so much more to him that meets the eye, but I loved how he didn't really beat around the bush when it came to Bex. He pursued her. He was pretty open about how he felt about her even when he was closed off about what was going on in his life.

Favorite quotes:

-"You're an interesting girl." "Says Jack the vegetarian Buddhist jewel thief."

-What did it mean? Yes, it was my birthday, so clearly it was a nod to that. But for the love of Pete, just send me a Have a Terrific Day! messsage online. No need to bring a felony charge into the mix.

-Mom says you should never ask for advice you aren't willing to take. I wasn't sure I agreed. Having an unbiased pair of eyes point out a sensible solution was helpful. But the sensible thing and the right thing weren't always the same choice, and no one but you could truly understand the difference.

-"Trust me?" "You ready to give me a reason to?"

-"Art shouldn't be practical. It should be emotional and expressive."

-We were both frantic and fevered, and it was the first kiss I'd ever had that felt like a fight. And the way he made my body ache made me think I'd been doing it all wrong until now.

Jenn Bennett's writing style in The Anatomical Shape of a Heart reminded me a lot of my friend Jennifer which I consider to be a good thing. Her words were flowing and smooth. I was hooked easily and quickly. The characters were rich and complex. And I loved so many unique features that she included in this book.

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart does have some language, some (though not too explicit) sexual scenes, as well as a gay side character. There's mental illness and suicide touched on. All of these are potential triggers for some readers in case these are issues for you in your reading preferences.

I enjoyed The Anatomical Shape of a Heart very much. I didn't want to put it down and actually risked getting car sick to finish it on our trip home from Gatlinburg so that I could keep reading until the end. I loved the unique characters and situations presented. And I appreciated Jenn Bennett's voice. I'll definitely seek out more of her books. The Anatomical Shape of a Heart gets 4 Stars. Have you read The Anatomical Shape of a Heart? What did you think? Let me know!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Sunday Post & Stacking the Shelves - 2/4/18

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.

Not much happening the first half of this week. Wednesday was my mom's birthday. Thursday I had a dentist appointment so I loaded up the kids to take to my mom's house so Husband could watch them while I was at the dentist. My mom lives 5 minutes from our dentist compared to the 40 minutes away that we live. That was quite the hectic day. Friday, Baby Boy and I had another appointment at the chiropractor. I will say that the days in between his two visits have been the best we've had. I don't know if it is a coincidence, his age, or actually seeing the chiropractor that has made the difference. Whatever it is, I'm thankful. Little Girl spent a few hours at Grammy's house while we were gone. If you're the praying kind, please keep a little girl named Priscilla in your prayers tomorrow as she will be having brain surgery. She's the daughter of a friend of mine. She's 2 years old and such a sweet little girl.

THIS PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of An Elegant Facade (Hawthorne House, # 2) by Kristi Ann Hunter (4 Stars)
Wednesday: Can't Wait for The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday?
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Wednesday

Don’t forget to link up for the 2018 Series Enders Reading Challenge! You have until December 15th, 2018 to sing 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.

In Another Time

By: Caroline Leech

Publication: August 28th 2018 by HarperTeen

384 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction

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--Love is worth the fight

It’s 1942, and Maisie McCall is in the Scottish Highlands doing her bit for the war effort as a Women’s Timber Corps lumberjill. Maisie relishes her newfound independence and her growing friendships—especially with the enigmatic John Lindsay.

As Maisie and John work side-by-side felling trees, Maisie can’t help but feel like their friendship has the spark of something more to it. And yet every time she gets close to him, John pulls away. It’s not until Maisie rescues John from a terrible logging accident that he begins to open up to her about the truth of his past, and the pain he’s been hiding.

Suddenly everything is more complicated than Maisie expected. And as she helps John untangle his shattered history, she must decide if she’s willing to risk her heart to help heal his. But in a world devastated by war, love might be the only thing left that can begin to heal what’s broken.

Wild Blue Wonder

By: Carlie Sorosiak

Publication: June 26th 2018 by HarperTeen

368 pages

Genre: Young 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--There are two monsters in this story. One of them is me.

Ask anyone in Winship, Maine, and they’ll tell you the summer camp Quinn’s family owns is a magical place. Paper wishes hang from the ceiling. Blueberries grow in the dead of winter. According to local legend, a sea monster even lurks off the coast. Mostly, there’s just a feeling that something extraordinary could happen there.

Like Quinn falling in love with her best friend, Dylan.

After the accident, the magic drained from Quinn’s life. Now Dylan is gone, the camp is a lonely place, and Quinn knows it’s her fault.

But the new boy in town, Alexander, doesn’t see her as the monster she believes herself to be. As Quinn lets herself open up again, she begins to understand the truth about love, loss, and monsters—real and imagined.

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!