Tuesday, July 31, 2018

July 2018 EOM Wrap Up

I have read 4 books (children's books not listed below). *These qualify for the 2018 Series Enders Reading Challenge.
Say You'll Remember Me by Katie McGarry
Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West
Meet the Sky by McCall Hoyle
All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

I have DNF'd 1 book.
Heart of Thorns "(Heart of Thorns, # 1) by Bree Barton

I have reviewed 5 books. *These qualify for the 2018 Series Enders Reading Challenge.
Sons of Blackbird Mountain (Blackbird Mountain, # 1) by Joanne Bischof
When We Were Young by Anne Benoit
Heart Land by Kimberly Stuart
100 Days of Thanks by Thomas Nelson
The Simple Wild by KA Tucker

Other Posts:
Sunday Post & Stacking the Shelves - 7/1/18
Sunday Post - 7/8/18
Sunday Post - 7/15/18
Sunday Post & Stacking the Shelves - 7/22/18
Sunday Post - 7/29/18
Twelve Red/White/Blue Book Covers
Top Ten Popular Books Worth the Hype
Can't Wait for Lady of a Thousand Treasures (The Victorian Ladies, # 1) by Sandra Byrd
Can't Wait for Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan
Can't Wait for Dance of Thieves (Dance of Thieves, # 1) by Mary E Pearson
2018 Series Enders Reading Challenge - July Wrap Up
Favorites/Recommendations

Goals:
I'm 14 days ahead on my Bible-in-a-year plan.
I've read 42 out of 52 books.
I've read 4 out of 10-12 series enders.

Top Ten Popular Books Worth the Hype

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This week's topic is Top Ten Popular Books Worth the Hype.

  1. Throne of Glass (series) by Sarah J Maas
  2. A Court of Thorns and Roses (series) by Sarah J Maas
  3. The Winner's Curse (series) by Marie Rutkoski
  4. Red Rising (series) by Pierce Brown
  5. Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles, # 1) by Mary E Pearson (I haven't finished the series yet)
  6. Pushing the Limits (series) by Katie McGarry
  7. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  8. A Song of Ice and Fire (series) by George R R Martin
  9. Harry Potter (series) by JK Rowling
  10. Vampire Academy (series) by Richelle Mead

Which books are your top popular books worth the hype? Let me know!

Monday, July 30, 2018

The Simple Wild - Review

The Simple Wild: A Novel

By: KA Tucker

Expected Publication: August 7th 2018 by Atria Books

320 pages

Genre: 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--City girl Calla Fletcher attempts to reconnect with her estranged father, and unwittingly finds herself torn between her desire to return to the bustle of Toronto and a budding relationship with a rugged Alaskan pilot in this masterful new romance from acclaimed author K.A. Tucker.

Calla Fletcher was two when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to handle the isolation of the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren Fletcher, in the process. Calla never looked back, and at twenty-six, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when her father reaches out to inform her that his days are numbered, Calla knows that it’s time to make the long trip back to the remote frontier town where she was born.

She braves the roaming wildlife, the odd daylight hours, the exorbitant prices, and even the occasional—dear God—outhouse, all for the chance to connect with her father: a man who, despite his many faults, she can’t help but care for. While she struggles to adjust to this new subarctic environment, Jonah—the quiet, brooding, and proud Alaskan pilot who keeps her father’s charter plane company operational—can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. And he’s clearly waiting with one hand on the throttle to fly this city girl back to where she belongs, convinced that she’s too pampered to handle the wild.

Jonah is probably right, but Calla is determined to prove him wrong. As time passes, she unexpectedly finds herself forming a bond with the burly pilot. As his undercurrent of disapproval dwindles, it’s replaced by friendship—or perhaps something deeper? But Calla is not in Alaska to stay and Jonah will never leave. It would be foolish of her to kindle a romance, to take the same path her parents tried—and failed at—years ago.

It’s a simple truth that turns out to be not so simple after all.

The Simple Wild was so, so, so good. The begin (not the prologue exactly, but the first two chapters) did immediately have me invested in Calla. The book begins with Calla having just about the worst day possible. This made her relatable which would come in handy later in the book. It took me 20-30% to feel thoroughly hooked. Fortunately, I'm familiar enough with KA Tucker's books that the slow start didn't cause me to slow my pace or put The Simple Wild down.

Calla has had an easy life in that she grew up with her mother and stepfather who have a great relationship. Her stepfather has helped her process most of her major life events and emotions as he's a therapist. Her family is well off financially. But Calla's life has not been without pain. Her father has disappointed her time and time again. But when she finally takes that trip to Alaska her world view opens up. Even though she's lived a life of privilege (especially compared to the lives of those in Alaska that she meets), she's open to changing. She's not spoiled exactly. But she's just never had to consider some of the things she encounters while in Alaska before now.

And then there's Jonah. He really has a chip on his shoulder where Calla is concerned. He sees her privilege and resents her for it. He also resents that she's taken for granted her father being alive and the time she has left to spend with him. Yet as he gets to know her he realizes that he's been a bit harder on her than she deserves. Yet we see glimpses of Jonah's real personality in the little gestures.

I absolutely loved Calla and Jonah's back and forth banter. Their love/hate relationship. I couldn't stop cheesing like an idiot during the clippers scene.

Calla's relationship with her father was something else I loved. It really pulled at my heartstrings and I even teared up towards the end. As a parent I'm able to see both sides of relationships like these that previously I just wasn't able to do.

Favorite quotes:

-Because no matter how many times I’ve lain in bed, wondering why my father didn’t love me enough, the little girl inside me still desperately wants him to.

-How do you form a relationship with someone without forgiving them first?

I will say that my one complaint with The Simple Wild was the period of time where Calla doesn't see her relationship with Jonah going anyway, yet she thinks "Letting that happen with Jonah this morning was a bad idea. I don’t regret it—how can I regret anything that felt that good?—but it can’t lead anywhere, so what’s the point?" I hate this line of thinking. The "it feels so right, how can it be wrong" attitude. Quite frankly, there are tons of things in life that might feel very good in the moment but are not good for us at all. And we can't succumb to the feel goods of the moment to the detriment of what is actually right.

All of that being said, The Simple Wild gets 4 stars. I loved the characters, the setting, the relationships, the lessons and story... all of it added up to a wonderfully enjoyable experience. I texted my sister right before I finished and told her to add this one to her list as soon as she can. Have you read The Simple Wild ? What did you think? Let me know!

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Sunday Post - 7/29/18

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.

Husband was off work Monday, and it was so nice to have him home with us. Wednesday, I took Little Girl to the park for good behavior again. Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday were completely normal days. Friday afternoon my mom came to get Little Girl to spend the weekend with her and my dad. Baby Boy will start spend the night trips when he's weaned, but that won't be for another couple of months. Baby Boy will be 9 months old tomorrow. I can't believe we're down to the last quarter before he turns a year old. I haven't been reading much this week. I guess I'm suffering from a book hangover. Colleen Hoover strikes again.

THIS PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of 100 Days of Thanks by Thomas Nelson (4 Stars)
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Dance of Thieves (Dance of Thieves, # 1) by Mary E Pearson & 2018 Series Enders Reading Challenge - July Wrap Up
Thursday: DNF Review of Heart of Thorns (Heart of Thorns, # 1) by Bree Barton

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of The Simple Wild by KA Tucker
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday?
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Wednesday
Thursday: Review of All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

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!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Heart of Thorns - DNF Review

Heart of Thorns (Heart of Thorns, # 1)

By: Bree Barton

Expected Publication: July 31st 2018 by Katherine Tegen Books

464 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

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--In the ancient river kingdom, touch is a battlefield, bodies the instruments of war. Seventeen-year-old Mia Rose has pledged her life to hunting Gwyrach: women who can manipulate flesh, bones, breath, and blood.

Not women. Demons. The same demons who killed her mother without a single scratch.

But when Mia's father suddenly announces her marriage to the prince, she is forced to trade in her knives and trousers for a sumptuous silk gown. Only after the wedding goes disastrously wrong does she discover she has dark, forbidden magic—the very magic she has sworn to destroy.

Heart of Thorns had a slow start to me. Typical young girl betrothed to a prince she doesn't love and assumes her marriage is doomed to be loveless without even knowing her soon to be husband. She's mad at her father for arranging such a marriage. Especially when all she wants to do is hunt down and exact revenge on her mother's murderer. Eh. I was bored. During this time Mia experiences some events and feelings that felt very disorienting to me. Of course, the reason for that is because Mia has magic that she doesn't know about (not a spoiler because it is in the description). I knew this to be the case, but I still felt like these scenes could have been handled in a better way that would have been less jarring to me.

Once Mia has her first undeniable experience with her magic and she and Prince Quin become allies on the run together, things got interesting to me. These two go from combatants to allies and reluctant friends to some sparks of feelings. During this time my interest was piqued and I wanted to keep reading to find out if Mia and Quin's feelings were real or if Quin was simply enthralled by Mia and her magic. Even though this was the most interesting part of the story for me, I still felt lulls in the pacing of the book and my interest would lag at times.

Mia and Quin finally cross the border of Glas Ddir and the river kingdom and it feels like they've stumbled into an alternate reality. Even though this isn't a case of alternate dimensions, the feeling for me was the same. And unfortunately, I don't tend to enjoy this feeling in books.

Also unfortunately when we get to 60% the political messages of this book really begin to amp up and continue until 75% when I ultimately decided to DNF. Let's address them...First off, there's the major feminism message. Now I have nothing against girl-power (being a woman myself and all). I have nothing against equal rights between men and women or in the belief that the two sexes are equal. What I do take issue with is men-bashing. And that's what this story felt like to me. It wasn't about women's empowerment. It was about how all men have dominated, raped, and tried to silence all women throughout all of human history. Some quotes to back this up:

-"For the entirety of human history, weak men have been afraid of powerful women."

-"For centuries," Lauriel began, "men have found ever-new ways of oppressing women. Our bodies have been receptacles, both container and contained; our wombs soft and pliant for the children we were meant to bear our husbands, whether we wanted to or not. We have been restricted, silenced, and confined."

-Men have always been threatened by the power of women.

-"Ah yes, I suppose it's true what they say: girls will be girls." (stated obviously by some moronic and sexist male)

This isn't even taking into account that there are basically 6 male characters mentioned in the entirety of the 75% of this book that I read. There's the evil king who wants nothing more than to subject, silence, and rape most women. There's the evil duke who wants to kill the prince and assume the succession of the crown who also happens to be a sexual pervert (while not specifically stated as such this is hinted at). There's the prince himself who (minor spoiler) turns out to be bisexual. And then there's Mia's long time friend Dom who turns out to be gay. And Mia's father who was manipulated by and potentially hated her mother, who lead the kingdom in hunting down women with magical powers, who has likely spent most if not all of Mia's life lying to her. There's no heterosexual male character that was decent at all.

I also found myself annoyed by the back and forth nature of the "facts" surrounding Mia's childhood, her parents, their relationship, and how they both felt about her. While I realize that DNFing kept me from getting to the ultimate revelations that Mia certainly had over all of these situations, I just felt like she was so quick to judge things as fact without having or considering all of the information. She was quick to place blame and hate upon people who likely didn't feel those things, and that coincides with the overall message I felt from this book--especially it's portrayal of men in general.

Obviously as I'm mentioned, there's gay and bisexual characters which I don't expect to never see in fiction, but I am so over and beyond feeling like these characters have been pushed down my throat over the last ten years of reading. Even though this always annoys me, I wouldn't have felt so strongly about it had Heart of Thorns not felt like such a political statement. Quin turning out to be bisexual was the straw that broke the camel's back and ended up being the deciding factor for me to DNF this book. Truly I'd been feeling a weight upon me every time I had an opportunity to read and I found myself dreading picking Heart of Thorns rather than being excited to see what was going to happen next. This is not how I want to feel while reading.

And you know what is probably the smallest but most annoying thing of all...in this fictional, fantasy world, I felt some President Trump bashing. My political and personal opinions of him as a person and as a President of the United States don't even come into play here. If I can pick up the major hints that you're dropping about this subject in your fictional fantasy world then you've done something seriously wrong here. I personally do not read for politics. I don't want to know, nor do I care what the political stance is of any given author. That crap doesn't belong in my reading life.

And you know what's so sad about all of this? The writing of Heart of Thorns wasn't so bad. I was impressed with the vocabulary that made sense but even caused me to look up the definition of a few words. That's always a good thing in my opinion as long as it doesn't happen too often. I even had a few quotes highlighted that I liked and looked forward to initally sharing under my "favorite quotes" section. Bree Barton did, however, use the word "tributary" a few too many times, but overall had all of the political messages and propaganda been removed, I likely would have ended up really enjoying Heart of Thorns. I don't rate DNF books because I don't feel like that's fair and the DNF stands for itself on how I felt about a book, but if I did, Heart of Thorns would likely receive the lowest rating unless the last 25% could somehow redeem itself for the beating I took over the political messages. And for me to DNF a book with so little left to finish really says a lot. Have you read Heart of Thorns? What did you think? Let me know!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

2018 Series Enders Reading Challenge - July Wrap Up

Time for our seventh Monthly Wrap Up for the 2018 Series Enders Reading Challenge hosted by Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know and Holly @ Words Fueled by Love!

Since the June Wrap Up, neither Sandy nor Holly finished any new series enders.

Which series enders did you finish? Link the up below. Don't forget to include the title, your name, & your blog name (Ex: Requiem - Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know) Also, the July giveaway runs from July 25th - August 25th. On August 25th we will use random.org and the linky entries to pull a winner.

Can't Wait for Dance of Thieves

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.

Dance of Thieves (Dance of Thieves, # 1)

By: Mary E Pearson

Expected Publication: August 7th 2018 by Henry Holt & Company

384 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

( 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 novel in the New York Times–bestselling Remnant Chronicles universe, in which a reformed thief and the young leader of an outlaw dynasty lock wits in a battle that may cost them their lives—and their hearts.

When the patriarch of the Ballenger empire dies, his son, Jase, becomes its new leader. Even nearby kingdoms bow to the strength of this outlaw family, who have always governed by their own rules. But a new era looms on the horizon, set in motion by a young queen, which makes her the target of the dynasty's resentment and anger.

At the same time, Kazi, a legendary former street thief, is sent by the queen to investigate transgressions against the new settlements. When Kazi arrives in the forbidding land of the Ballengers, she learns that there is more to Jase than she thought. As unexpected events spiral out of their control, bringing them intimately together, they continue to play a cat and mouse game of false moves and motives in order to fulfill their own secret missions.

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

Monday, July 23, 2018

100 Days of Thanks - Review

100 Days of Thanks

By: Thomas Nelson

Expected Publication: July 24th 2018 by Thomas Nelson

160 pages

Genre: Christian, Devotional

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--Focus on the things that bring you joy with 100 Days of Thanks. Short inspirational readings, space to record your thoughts, and brief Scripture references in a high-designed four-color gift book will help you find a peaceful, happier life.

The rush of a busy schedule, a barrage of disheartening news stories, and the wear and tear of everyday life can be enough to drag anyone down. Simply pausing to recognize and express thanks for the good gifts that surround you has proven to make a major difference in happiness, peace, and contentment.

100 Days of Thanks, a beautifully designed inspirational book of short readings, Scripture verses, and journaling space is the perfect tool to promote Christian mindfulness and gratitude. Whether you are looking for a thoughtful gift to encourage a loved one or a simple tool to create a habit of thankfulness, this lovely little book is a wonderful place to start.

Take a few moments out of your day to be grateful and feel your burdens get a little lighter, starting today.

I love my sleep. I used to go to bed at 9 pm in high school voluntarily because I love getting a good night sleep. Now I don't oversleep. I'm up by 7 am at the latest since becoming a mother, but frequently awake by 8 am before then. BUT I found myself with a newborn. One who had a lot of gas and acid reflux and was awake FREQUENTLY during the night. Lack of sleep can affect so much. And even though I knew I had so much to be thankful for. My brand new beautiful blessing. My family. Health. A roof over our heads. Being able to be a stay at home mom. I found myself struggling with my attitude. Mostly due to sleep deprivation. But even sleep deprived, I found myself letting the littlest things steal my joy. I knew that I needed an attitude change. And I saw 100 Days of Thanks available for review. I jumped at the opportunity to read and review this book.

I thought I'd take this book slowly. One day at a time as it is designed. Take notes. Write my thoughts and some prayers based off the prompts at the end of each day's devotional. However, because I was given an Adode Digital Editions version for review, I only had 30 days to read 100 Days of Thanks. I'm not complaining. There were plenty of days that the devotion was short that doing a week's worth in one day wasn't too major of a task for me. And the deadline actually forced me into a great sense of thankfulness and gratitude quicker than had I been doing each devotional one day at a time. Either way, I think this is a great source to focus your thoughts in a more positive and thankful direction. And this turned out to be exactly what I needed to get my head in the right place (focused on God and all I have to be thankful for versus simply being focused on a lack of sleep).

As I said, most of the devotions are fairly short. Most frequently, they take up a page. Often only a paragraph or two. And only occasionally they go two or up to three pages long. This is a daily devotional where time to get it done each day should NOT be an issue. The topics were well thought out. Some very basic and some more complex. I did take notes which I think helped the information sink in and me make things more personal and applicable.

The biggest thing that 100 Days of Thanks did for me was remind me of what once used to be one of my favorite Scripture (in truth it still is) that I'd forgotten: Philippians 4:8 (NKJV) Finally, brethren, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things. Stormie Omartian says in The Power of a Praying Woman that if I'm spending my time meditating on these good things then I don't have space for negative things to enter my mind or to come out of my mouth. And 100 Days of Thanks reminded me of that. While there's only so much I can do to affect how much sleep I'm getting due to having a young baby that isn't quite sleeping through the night (although he's much much better at the time of this writing and probably sleeping through the night at the time of posting this review) I can and do have control over what I think about and what comes out of my mouth.

I don't have anything at all negative to say about 100 Days of Thanks. It did the job I needed it to do. It got my head and heart focused in the right direction. I also can't say that I was blown away--in that I had no new revelations or a deeper understanding of the Scripture. I don't think that was necessarily the purpose of this devotional. But that keeps me from giving it 5 Stars. I did love the photography included. It gave me a nice visual to keep in mind the beauty of God's creation which in and of itself is no small thing to be thankful for. 100 Days of Thanks gets 4 Stars. Have you read 100 Days of Thanks? What did you think? Let me know!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Sunday Post & Stacking the Shelves - 7/22/18

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 to report about the early days of this week. I did take Little Girl to the park for good behavior on Thursday. Friday Husband was off work and we traveled that afternoon to his sister's house in Georgia to spend the night. Saturday morning we got up early and went to the Georgia Aquarium. That was fun but really crowded. We had a really great time together though. Oh and I can't fail to mention how I already finished that Colleen Hoover book. You guys know I have to read those immediately. I have so, so, so much to say about it so look out for my review coming soon.

THIS PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of Heart Land by Kimberly Stuart (3.5 Stars)
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of 100 Days of Thanks by Thomas Nelson
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday?
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Wednesday & 2018 Series Enders Reading Challenge - July Wrap Up
Thursday: DNF Review of Heart of Thorns (Heart of Thorns, # 1) by Bree Barton

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.

All Your Perfects

By: Colleen Hoover

Publication: July 17th 2018 by Atria Books

320 pages

Genre: 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--The #1 New York Times bestselling author of It Ends with Us--whose writing is "emotionally wrenching and utterly original" (Sarah Shepard, New York Times bestselling author of the Pretty Little Liars series)--delivers a tour de force novel about a troubled marriage and the one old forgotten promise that might be able to save it.

Quinn and Graham's perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair.

All Your Perfects is a profound novel about a damaged couple whose potential future hinges on promises made in the past. This is a heartbreaking page-turner that asks: Can a resounding love with a perfect beginning survive a lifetime between two imperfect people?

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!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Can't Wait for Becoming Mrs. Lewis

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.

Becoming Mrs. Lewis

By: Patti Callahan

Expected Publication: October 2nd 2018 by Thomas Nelson

432 pages

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

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

Goodreads description--In a most improbable friendship, she found love. In a world where women were silenced, she found her voice.

From New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan comes an exquisite novel of Joy Davidman, the woman C. S. Lewis called “my whole world.” When poet and writer Joy Davidman began writing letters to C. S. Lewis—known as Jack—she was looking for spiritual answers, not love. Love, after all, wasn’t holding together her crumbling marriage. Everything about New Yorker Joy seemed ill-matched for an Oxford don and the beloved writer of Narnia, yet their minds bonded over their letters. Embarking on the adventure of her life, Joy traveled from America to England and back again, facing heartbreak and poverty, discovering friendship and faith, and against all odds, finding a love that even the threat of death couldn’t destroy.

In this masterful exploration of one of the greatest love stories of modern times, we meet a brilliant writer, a fiercely independent mother, and a passionate woman who changed the life of this respected author and inspired books that still enchant us and change us. Joy lived at a time when women weren’t meant to have a voice—and yet her love for Jack gave them both voices they didn’t know they had.

At once a fascinating historical novel and a glimpse into a writer’s life, Becoming Mrs. Lewis is above all a love story—a love of literature and ideas and a love between a husband and wife that, in the end, was not impossible at all.

“Patti Callahan’s prose reads like poetry as she deftly unearths a lost love story that begs to be remembered and retold. I was swept along, filled with hope, and entirely beguiled, not only by the life lived behind the veil of C.S. Lewis’s books but also by the woman who won his heart. A literary treasure from first page to last.” – Lisa Wingate, New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours

"In Becoming Mrs. Lewis, Patti Callahan Henry breathes wondrous fresh life into one of the greatest literary love stories of all time: the unlikely romance between English writer C.S. Lewis and the much younger American divorcee, Joy Davidman. Callahan chronicles their complex and unconventional relationship with a sure voice, deep insight into character and eye for period detail. The result is a deeply moving story about love and loss that is transformative and magical." -- Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan's Tale

“Patti Callahan has written my favorite book of the year. Becoming Mrs. Lewis deftly explores the life and work of Joy Davidman, a bold and brilliant woman who is long overdue her time in the spotlight. Carefully researched. Beautifully written. Deeply romantic. Fiercely intelligent. It is both a meditation on marriage and a whopping grand adventure. Touching, tender, and triumphant, this is a love story for the ages.” – Ariel Lawhon, author of I Was Anastasia

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

Monday, July 16, 2018

Heart Land - Review

Heart Land

By: Kimberly Stuart

Expected Publication: July 17th 2018 by Howard Books

320 pages

Genre: 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--A story of reconnection, lost love, and the power of faith, Heart Land follows a struggling fashion designer back to her small Iowa hometown as she tries to follow her dreams of success and finding true love.

Grace Klaren has finally made her dream of living in the Big Apple and working in the fashion industry a reality. But when she’s unexpectedly fired and can’t afford the next month’s rent, Grace does something she never thought she’d do: she moves back home.

Back in Silver Creek, Iowa, Grace is determined to hate it. She rails against the quiet of her small town, where everything closes early, where there’s no nightlife, where everyone knows each other. She’s saving her pennies and plotting her return to New York when she almost runs over a man who’s not paying attention at a crosswalk. It turns out to be Tucker, her high school sweetheart whose heart she broke when she left ten years ago. They reconnect, and Grace remembers why she fell for him in the first place.

And her career begins to turn around when she finds a gorgeous but tattered vintage dress at a flea market. She buys it, rips it apart seam by seam, and re-creates it with new fabric, updating the look with some of her own design ideas. She snaps a picture and lists the dress online, and within a day, it sells for nearly $200. Suddenly, Grace has her ticket out of here.

But Grace can’t fight her growing feelings for Tucker. Sometimes when they’re together, Tucker paints a picture of what their future could be like, and it feels so real. And when she finally gains the funding to move her new business back to New York, Grace must decide where home really is—will she chase her long-held New York dream, or find a new dream here in the heartland?

Heart Land's description was accurate and misleading all at the same time. I won't go into details on what was misleading because that will probably be too much information/spoilers. But I will say that I hate when this happens--when I read a book and realize the description wasn't entirely accurate. Just tell me the truth without trying to doctor it up. If there are details you don't want to put into the description then leave them out entirely without misleading me.

Grace has been living in New York and working at Milano for 6 years I believe. That's a long time to be doing a job without promoting even if one has been all but promised to you. And it is kind of a long time to be stuck in the denial stages about certain events of your past.

Grace wasn't always the easiest character for me to read. I didn't relate to her in many areas. I've never been hugely fashionable. I don't fault those who are, but that's not me. I wear what I like and what I feel good in, but I'm never going to pay $700 on a handbag or a pair of shoes. I'm way too practical for that. I don't care how good they look, how nicely crafted, or what designer dreamed them up. And the issue that I usually take with fashionistas is their tendency to judge others for not being up to their standards. As an adult (no longer in high school), I am so far beyond caring about the clothes that others are wearing or what they think about the clothes that I wear. When you're in high school there's so much conformity and it is so important (or at least you think so) to wear the "in" thing, but after that you're thrown into a melting pot of people with completely different tastes. And everyone likes different styles and we're all okay with that. Until you stumble upon someone so absorbed with fashion that they feel the need to judge and look down upon what everyone else is wearing. It annoys me. So this part of Grace's character annoyed me as well.

Another way that I don't relate is that I don't like the city. I grew up in a small town. But it isn't just that, so many people in such a small space drives me nuts. I even dislike traveling to major touristy places because I dread being surrounded by so many people. Grace's love for New York wasn't something that I understood or something I could commiserate with her. But her biggest reasons for wanting to be in New York were more about running away rather than running to anything.

I hated her boss even early on. I liked Tucker, but I felt like too much of the blame for their relationship issues both now and in the past were placed on Grace. He could have made some different decisions then and now. I loved Gigi with everything in me. And most of the characters of Grace's hometown. However, I felt like Grace was really gullible and the conflict could have been seen from outerspace. I wish there would have been more action on her part to salvage things when they went bad there at the end, but legally I guess I understand that probably nothing could have been done. Some of how things wrapped up was just a little too easy for story purposes and not entirely believable to me.

Favorite quote:

-"First of all, do not self-pity. It's unattractive in strong women,"...

I was completely and utterly surprised to find a spiritual message in this book as it wasn't marked as Christian nor was that in the description. But I was beyond happy to see it included. The entire book wasn't about this message so you could still enjoy the book even if that's not your thing. There's something so appealing to me about a story with a moral that isn't preached at you. However, I did find Grace's lessons a little easily learned in the telling of them rather than showing her faith journey.

Heart Land was a fun and quick read for me, but it wasn't without flaws. I found the description misleading. I didn't connect to the main character as much as I would have liked. But I can't say that I was surprised given the fashion stuff was a major part of the description. I enjoyed the Christian aspects thrown in. And I loved Tucker's generosity and personality even if I wish he'd done a bit more to step up when the conflict arose. All in, Heart Land gets 3.5 Stars. Have you read Heart Land? What did you think? Let me know!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Sunday Post - 7/15/18

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 my nephew came to spend the week with us. Little Girl was over the moon when he walked through the door. Tuesday I handed in the registration form and fee for Little Girl to start a Mother's Day Out program 2 half days a week starting this fall. She's so excited to "go to school". Wednesday we ran my nephew up to his old high school for him to help with the sound system up there. He loves doing that sort of stuff. Thursday we took Little Girl to the local park for good behavior. Bless her! Everything was too hot to really play on so I don't think she enjoyed it as much as she could have. We might need to try to go earlier or later in the day one day instead. Friday was a swim day. Holly brought her kids over to hang and swim. It was so nice having my nephew here for a week. I genuinely enjoy hanging out with him, and he was a huge help with the kids this week as well. I'm going to miss him. No new books this week

THIS PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of When We Were Young by Anna Benoit (3.5 Stars)
Tuesday: Favorites/Recommendations
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Lady of a Thousand Treasures (The Victorian Ladies, # 1) by Sandra Byrd

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of Heart Land by Kimberly Stuart
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!

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!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Can't Wait for Lady of a Thousand Treasures

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.

Lady of a Thousand Treasures (The Victorian Ladies, # 1)

By: Sandra Byrd

Expected Publication: October 9th 2018 by Tyndale House Publishers

480 pages

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance

( 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--Miss Eleanor Sheffield is a talented evaluator of antiquities, trained to know the difference between a genuine artifact and a fraud. But with her father’s passing and her uncle’s decline into dementia, the family business is at risk. In the Victorian era, unmarried Eleanor cannot run Sheffield Brothers alone.

The death of a longtime client, Baron Lydney, offers an unexpected complication when Eleanor is appointed the temporary trustee of the baron’s legendary collection. She must choose whether to donate the priceless treasures to a museum or allow them to pass to the baron’s only living son, Harry—the man who broke Eleanor’s heart.

Eleanor distrusts the baron’s motives and her own ability to be unbiased regarding Harry’s future. Harry claims to still love her and Eleanor yearns to believe him, but his mysterious comments and actions fuel her doubts. When she learns an Italian beauty accompanied him on his return to England, her lingering hope for a future with Harry dims.

With the threat of debtor’s prison closing in, Eleanor knows that donating the baron’s collection would win her favor among potential clients, saving Sheffield Brothers. But the more time she spends with Harry, the more her faith in him grows. Might Harry be worthy of his inheritance, and her heart, after all? As pressures mount and time runs out, Eleanor must decide whom she can trust—who in her life is false or true, brass or gold—and what is meant to be treasured.

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

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Favorites/Recommendations

A friend of my husband was asking for book recommendations on Facebook. I left her a link to my blog hoping that she might find some recommendations here, but that got me thinking that I didn't have the best set up for someone finding my top favorites or recommendations by genre. So I decided to do this post and turn it into a static page in my cross column header section. I've broken my favorite book recommendations down by genre. And I'll continue to update this list as I read 4.5/5 Star books. But this is going to provide me a central location for new visitors to get a quick feel for my reading preferences and recommendations.

Links take you to my review of these books where you can find cover art, title/author/publication details, links to buy from Amazon or The Book Depository when available, links to the book on Goodreads, the book description, and my review. *Note: Some of these belong to a series and only my favorite book in the series is listed, and some of the listing below are entire series and I've linked each book in the series.

Christian

Crazy Love by Francis Chan
The Power of a Praying Woman by Stormie Omartian
Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
Captivating by Stasi Eldredge & John Eldredge
7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker

Classics

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery

Contemporary

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
Pushing the Limits series by Katie McGarry (Pushing the Limits, Crossing the Line, Dare You To, Crash Into You, Take Me On, Chasing Impossible, Breaking the Rules)
Slammed (Slammed, # 1) by Colleen Hoover
Point of Retreat (Slammed, # 2) by Colleen Hoover
Back to You by Priscilla Glenn
The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
Hopeless (Hopeless, # 1) by Colleen Hoover
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
If I Stay (If I Stay, # 1) by Gayle Forman
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Reason to Breathe (Breathing, # 1) by Rebecca Donovan
Easy (Contours of the Heart, # 1) by Tammara Webber
To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, # 1) by Jenny Han
V is for Virgin (V is for Virgin, # 1) by Kelly Oram
Faking Normal by Courtney C Stevens
November 9 by Colleen Hoover
Making Faces by Amy Harmon
PS I Like You by Kasie West
A Different Blue by Amy Harmon
A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole
Bright Side (Bright Side, # 1) by Kim Holden
Perfect Chemistry (Perfect Chemistry, # 1) by Simone Elkeles
The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

Dystopian

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, # 1) by Suzanne Collins
Divergent (Divergent, # 1) by Veronica Roth
Delirium (Delirium, # 1) by Lauren Oliver
The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Curse, # 1) by Marie Rutkoski

Fantasy

Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy, Frostbite, Shadow Kiss, Blood Promise, Spirit Bound, Last Sacrifice)
Harry Potter series by JK Rowling (Sorcerer's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half Blood Prince, Deathly Hallows, Cursed Child)
Linger (Wolves of Mercy Falls, # 2) by Maggie Stiefvater
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas (Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire, Queen of Shadows, Empire of Storms, Tower of Dawn)
Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, # 2) by Cassandra Clare
Graceling (Graceling Realm. # 1) by Kristin Cashore
Fire (Graceling, # 2) Kristin Cashore
A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R R Martin (A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, A Dance with Dragons)
The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines, # 3) by Richelle Mead
The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, # 4) by Richelle Mead
His Fair Assassins series by Robin LaFevers (Grave Mercy, Dark Triumph, Mortal Heart)
Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky, # 1) by Veronica Rossi
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, # 1) by Michelle Hodkin
Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, # 2) by Marissa Meyer
Cress (Lunar Chronicles, # 3) by Marissa Meyer
The Law of Moses (The Law of Moses, # 1) by Amy Harmon
A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J Maas (A Court pf Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury, A Court of Wings and Ruin)
True Reign series by Jennifer Anne Davis (The Key, Red, War)

Historical Fiction

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
Hawthorne House series by Kristi Ann Hunter (A Lady of Esteem, A Noble Masquerade, An Elegant Facade, An Uncommon Courtship, An Inconvenient Beauty)
The Captive Heart by Michelle Griep

Mystery/Thriller

Jasper Dent series by Barry Lyga (I Hunt Killers, Game, Blood of My Blood)
Push by Claire Wallis

Post-Apocalyptic

The Dead-Tossed Waves (The Forest of Hands & Teeth, # 2) by Carrie Ryan
This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

Science Fiction

The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave, # 1) by Rick Yancey
Red Rising series by Pierce Bown (Red Rising, Golden Son, Morning Star, Iron Gold)

Self-Help

Push by Chalene Johnson
On Becoming Babywise by Gary Ezzo

Monday, July 9, 2018

When We Were Young - Review

When We Were Young

By: Anna Benoit

Publication: May 30th 2017 by Anna Benoit

300 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!!)

( Goodreads | Amazon )

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

Goodreads description--Livvy and Jack are nothing alike. Livvy is the courteous, studious daughter of two jet-setting professors; Jack is an angry transplant with a criminal record.

But Livvy’s life isn’t as easy as it seems. Unbeknownst to most, Livvy spends most of her time avoiding Luke—her overbearing, manipulative boyfriend of six years. Even though she knows she needs a change, she’s terrified to make it, so she resigns herself to a miserable senior year of high school.

Jack is new to town. Originally from Philadelphia, he is ordered to live with his biological father, David, after committing a heinous crime. Having only met David a handful of times, Jack is furious about the move… until he meets Delia, a rebellious bombshell who instantly attracts him with her risky lifestyle.

When David decides to take in Livvy after her parents surprise her with a permanent move, Jack is forced to befriend her. Quickly, the two discover they have more in common than they originally thought.

As the year erupts with heartbreak and tragedy, Livvy and Jack must find a way to keep their delicate bond from being swept away into the turmoil.

I read When We Were Young in two days. These days that's about as fast as I can do. The writing and characters hooked me early. I was invested and interested in what was going to happen. However, things went downhill quickly. Now don't get me wrong, I was devouring this book, but I was getting so stressed out by these characters.

Truly while I was reading When We Were Young I kept thinking there's no way this many awful things could happen to the same few people unless this was real life. And while at times it felt so far fetched, I need to do no more than scroll through my Facebook news feed to see that I probably know a few people who behave similarly or have been treated similarly. And truthfully that's really sad to me.

Livvy's parents are completely absent. Her friends are fake. Her boyfriend, Luke, is controlling. She doesn't have many people in her corner. Luke's level of manipulation was so crazy that I could see how Livvy would begin to question her own sanity and guilt. I was so frustrated with her for not standing her ground earlier in the book. She could have saved herself a lot of heartache and trauma. That being said their relationship was one of the most real things about this book. Again this is truly scary to know that there are people like Luke out there and that even sane people can find themselves under the thumb of someone like him. I guess there are parents as completely absent in real life as Livvy's are but man does that get my goat. Even if they were absent, what justifies their utter dismissal of their daughter's word for the word of her boyfriend with no proof or experience to back him up. One more point I want to make here but I'll save that for later.

Jack and Delia have an equally destructive and unhealthy relationship. She seems to enjoy being treated badly and was only really interested in Jack to begin with because of how "bad" he told her he was. His part in the relationship while disappointing was at least understandable given his mother's situation and how that back and forth behavior is all he's even known. Plus well he's a guy. And while that doesn't excuse his behavior, it also wasn't far from what I witness as a teenager watching guys behavior in high school. Jack let me down time and time again not seeing more of what was going on with Livvy and stepping in to help her sooner.

I'd like to say that I was disappointed that these two didn't do more self work before jumping into a relationship with each other, but again... real life. When things finally started going well I still felt unable to be excited for the characters because of the amount of drama surrounding them.

Sexual situations and language were both fairly graphic. Trigger warnings galore.

I've discussed how frequently the events of this book reminded me of real life, and then I read at the end of the book that Anne Benoit is a therapist. This makes the sheer amount of drama and horrible things happening make sense. I suppose none of the things in this book that felt too much or far fetched would feel that way coming from someone who has heard humanity's worst.

I will say, though, that the ending really did feel unrealistic to me. ***SPOILER: (highlight to see)I know that people go to jail who are innocent but it seemed to me that all that needed to be done to show who the real violent person was would have been for Livvy to show her text messages from Luke. ***END SPOILER

I can't remember the last time I felt so conflicted over a book rating. On the one hand, I read this book as quickly as I possibly could given the time I have to read. I was invested early on and dying to know how things would work out. And this book read so dramatic that it could only be inspired by real life. These things have me wanting to give 4 Stars. Yet my friend Lacy choosing her 4 Star rating based off whether she'd re-read the book or not. While that's never officially been how I rate books, whether or not I'd want to re-read a book is a great indication of how much I enjoyed it. (I don't see myself ever re-reading When We Were Young . I also don't know that I'd recommend this book to others which is another big indicator. It would take the right reader and the right circumstances.) Ultimately, I think 3.5 Stars is a fair rating. Have you read When We Were Young ? What did you think? Let me know!

*Side note: I hate when I finish a book and have no idea why it is titled.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Sunday Post - 7/8/18

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.

Another busy, busy week. I don't remember much about Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday was 4th of July and Husband was off work. We spent the entire day at his mom's house with family. Great food. The kids went swimming. Little Girl went down the pool slide for the first time. She also fell on the pool cement and scraped her knee pretty good. That night we shot fireworks not only because it's the typical thing to do on the 4th of July, but also because Husband's father passed 3 years ago while the fireworks were going off so we mainly shoot them in memory of him. I usually have to miss them because Little Girl had been too young for them in the past, and I assumed Baby Boy would be this year. But guys...HE FELL ASLEEP! Granted his ears were covered, but they were still quite loud. Either way, it was nice for me to get to enjoy them for once. Thursday, Husband had to go back to work, but the kids and I went back to his mom's to spend time with the rest of his family before they had to go back home. Friday I took the kids to the local playground for good behavior. That was hot, but they had a blast and wore themselves out. Nap time comes easy on these types of days. No new books this week.

THIS PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of Sons of Blackbird Mountain (Blackbird Mountain, # 1) by Joanne Bischhof (4 Stars)
Tuesday: Twelve Red/White/Blue Book Covers
Thursday: DNF Review of Before I Let You Go by Kirsten Wreggitt (DNF @ 25%)

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of When We Were Young by Anna Benoit
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!

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, July 5, 2018

Before I Let You Go - DNF Review

Before I Let You Go: Stories for My Grown Son

By: Kirsten Wreggitt

Expected Publication: November 27th 2017 by Bloomscript Inc.

184 pages

Genre: Non-fiction, Memoir, Biography

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 was petrified we would have a girl. Everything about having a girl was horrible to me—the princess parties, the fear for her safety, and the emotional roller coaster ride. But mostly I was afraid she would be like me: suicidal, unable to make brave choices, and trapped inside a body she didn’t love. I was terrified I would have to face that mirror in two places every day.”

“Before I Let You Go” is a journey of Kirsten Wreggitt’s life through motherhood and marriage, and her self-discovery along the way. It is a collection of stories she wanted to share with her grown son about her life’s greatest lessons. These were stories she could not talk about with him because they were too uncomfortable or raw. As she says “In here, I can say the things that catch in my throat. I can say the things that make your eyes roll. In here, I can safely share what I have always wanted to tell you but the time was just never right.”

Among the many stories in this book, Kirsten shares stories of the difficulty of marriage, the struggle to love herself and her body, the triumph of facing her fears, the pain of loving a child, the regret of decisions, and the freedom of knowing yourself. She discusses these with a rare honesty and sometimes offers up surprising advice as a result.

Before I Let You Go is a woman’s reflection on the halfway point of her life and the journey to get there. She shares the joy of the journey and being in the moment: “I am not anticipating the next stop—I am here paying attention, and loving what I see.” She shares the struggle with finding her purpose: “And what if I still never really know why I am here? I still must eat. I still must drink. I still must sleep. And I must love. And love? Even if that is all there is, that changes everything.” And she shares her most difficult question of all: “I am face to face with my mortality, and though I have loved others and was loved by others, the only question that remains is “Did I love me?””

I had such high hopes for Before I Let You Go. Having just had a baby boy 8 months ago, I loved the idea of a mom writing a book of things she wants to say to her son before he leaves her house to move out on his own. I've often thought of doing something similar for my daughter and now son as well. I'm sure it isn't an entirely original idea. But I was so excited to see what this book was all about.

However, I quickly realized that Kirsten Wreggitt and I have some very different thoughts on life, parenting, and especially religion. First off, I was confused about her intro to Before I Let You Go where she discusses being unable to have serious/in depth conversations with her son. And I found this pretty sad. Of course, I don't want to be too judgemental yet considering that my children are quite young. But my parents never shied away from difficult conversations with me. And even aunts and cousins and various other family members. I won't say that anyone enjoys difficult conversations, but the importance of them and the love we have for each other prompt us to move past discomfort in order to get to the heart of things. Of course though, there have been specific people in my life that are particularly difficult to have a deep conversation with so I can understand...a little.

Also I'm a Christian and I'm quite confident in my faith and beliefs. I wasn't far into Before I Let You Go when I first had the thought that Kirsten Wreggitt needs God in her life. This isn't a judgment upon her. She just seems so lost. Her letter to her son (at least the portion that I read) was filled more of questions than answers for him. And while I don't claim to have all of the answers to life's big questions, I do know the One who does have those answers. Kirsten Wreggitt has a section dedicated to "church", and it was during this section that I couldn't stop thinking "she's missing the entire point." First off, the modern American version of "church" is quite different from what the Biblical meaning of the word and what we see in the first century. While God does know that we need each other and He designed us to help each other on our journey from Earth to Heaven, the thing that she's missing is Jesus. Even if she mentioned His name...what she "got out of church" was "community". It was about this point that I started pondering DNF. Once I reached her section about sitting down with a spiritual teacher I confirmed my decision and only kept reading until 25% to meet my own requirements for a DNF review.

Ultimately the differences in my faith, parenting philosophies, and general outlook on life made me realize that Before I Let You Go and I aren't the right fit for each other. I'm not the right reader for it, and it isn't the right book for me. I DNF'd Before I Let You Go at 25%. Have you read Before I Let You Go ? What did you think? Let me know!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Top Twelve Red/White/Blue Book Covers

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This week's topic is Top Ten Red/White/Blue Book Covers.

  1. A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, # 2) by Sarah J Maas
  2. Sadie by Courtney Summers (review coming soon)
  3. All the Little Lights by Jamie McGuire
  4. Long Way Home (Thunder Road, # 3) by Katie McGarry
  5. Shadowcaster (Shattered Realms, # 2) by Cinda Williams Chima
  6. If There's No Tomorrow by Jennifer L Armentrout
  7. Winter (Lunar Chronicles, # 4) by Marissa Meyer
  8. Without Merit by Colleen Hoover
  9. The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett
  10. A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, # 1) by Sarah J Maas
  11. One Small Thing by Erin Watt
  12. Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, # 4) by Sarah J Maas

Which books are your top red/white/blue book covers (or whatever your country colors are)? Let me know!