Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Can't Wait for Shadow Frost

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.

Shadow Frost

By: Coco Ma

Expected Publication: October 1st 2019 by Blackstone Publishing

400 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--IN THE KINGDOM OF AXARIA, a darkness rises.

Some call it a monster, laying waste to the villagers and their homes.
Some say it is an invulnerable demon summoned from the deepest abysses of the Immortal Realm.
Many soldiers from the royal guard are sent out to hunt it down.

Not one has ever returned.

When Asterin Faelenhart, Princess of Axaria and heir to the throne, discovers that she may hold the key to defeating the mysterious demon terrorizing her kingdom, she vows not to rest until the beast is slain. With the help of her friends and the powers she wields — though has yet to fully understand — Asterin sets out to complete a single task. The task that countless, trained soldiers have failed.

To kill it.

But as they hunt for the demon, they unearth a plot to assassinate the Princess herself instead. Asterin and her companions begin to wonder how much of their lives have been lies, especially when they realize that the center of the web of deceit might very well be themselves. With no one else to turn to, they are forced to decide just how much they are willing to sacrifice to protect the only world they have ever known.

That is, of course… if the demon doesn’t get to them first.

From young author Coco Ma comes a dazzling new tale of adventure, power, and betrayal, weaving together a stunning world of magic with a killer cast in an explosive, unforgettable debut.

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

Monday, July 29, 2019

Say You Still Love Me - Review

Say You Still Love Me

By: KA Tucker

Expected Publication: August 6th 2019 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--Life is a mixed bag for Piper Calloway.

On the one hand, she’s a twenty-nine-year-old VP at her dad’s multibillion-dollar real estate development firm, and living the high single life with her two best friends in a swanky downtown penthouse. On the other hand, she’s considered a pair of sexy legs in a male-dominated world and constantly has to prove her worth. Plus, she’s stuck seeing her narcissistic ex-fianc√©—a fellow VP—on the other side of her glass office wall every day.

Things get exponentially more complicated for Piper when she runs into Kyle Miller—the handsome new security guard at Calloway Group Industries, and coincidentally the first love of her life.

The guy she hasn’t seen or heard from since they were summer camp counsellors together. The guy from the wrong side of the tracks. The guy who apparently doesn’t even remember her name.

Piper may be a high-powered businesswoman now, but she soon realizes that her schoolgirl crush is not only alive but stronger than ever, and crippling her concentration. What’s more, despite Kyle’s distant attitude, she’s convinced their reunion isn’t at all coincidental, and that his feelings for her still run deep. And she’s determined to make him admit to them, no matter the consequences.

Ugh I did it again guys! I waited a week and a half after finishing this book to even sit down to type this review. I hate doing this to myself because it makes reviewing the book so much more difficult. Thankfully, I've only read one other book in between Say You Still Love Me and writing this review so I don't have too much muddling my brain.

KA Tucker said in the acknowledgments that she only wishes that someone reading her books might be entertained. I was certainly entertained reading Say You Still Love Me. I'm not surprised because I always seem to devour her books, and Say You Still Love Me was no different.

I typically don't love "then" and "now" books where we jump around in chronological order, but KA Tucker seems to do this frequently. Yet she does it in a way that I don't hate like normal. In this case, I was invested in both the "then" and the "now" which helps.

My curiosity needed to find out what happened to cause Kyle to leave and not contact Piper in the past and also what was causing him to keep his distance in the present. This is where KA Tucker really excels in her writing. I had questions. I needed answers. She kept me on the edge of my seat in anticipation. Unfortunately, the answers to the questions were actually a bit predictable and slightly anti-climatic.

Despite this, I still found myself enraptured with getting the answers to the questions. This was the best part of Say You Still Love Me. I feel like I should have more to say about the story, but the distance between reading and reviewing strikes again. Oh, I will say that the PC statements abound and I just really wish they'd been left out altogether. KA Tucker succeeded in entertaining me for sure. Yet I don't think I'll look back on Say You Still Love Me as a particular favorite. Say You Still Love Me gets 3.5 Stars. Have you read Say You Still Love Me? What did you think? Let me know!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Sunday Post & Stacking the Shelves - 07/28/19

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 week has flown by. I can't believe July is essentially over, and school starts back soon. Monday and Tuesday were pretty normal days here. Wednesday, Grammy got the kids, and I had a self-care day. I took a walk around the neighborhood and then got in the pool to relax. I haven't been swimming by myself in at least 4 years. I did a few laps, but mostly I floated around looking at the sky, clouds, and trees thinking. I had my Tenth Avenue North Pandora station on which was exactly what I needed. I even dozed off in the pool for I have no idea how long. Then I got out to eat some lunch and finished a book before the kids came back home. It was wonderful. And it renewed my spirit. Thursday I took the kids to an indoor playground. It hasn't been in our area long but this was our first visit. Both kids had a blast. Then we stopped at Chickfila for lunch. It was a lot to do by myself but I survived and it's marked down on my list now as something that I know I can do by myself if I need to (or want to). Friday was great too. We went for a walk and then played outside. Saturday was pretty low key. I went to get groceries and then we played outside. The kids have been getting in to swim almost every afternoon with Husband. The water is getting cold already. I'm sure it'll warm back up before the summer is over though.

THE PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of The Heart of a Vicar (Jonquil Brothers, # 6) by Sarah M Eden (3.5 Stars)
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Jackpot by Nic Stone
Thursday: 2019 Series Enders Reading Challenge - July Wrap Up

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of Say You Still Love Me by KA Tucker
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday?
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Wednesday
Thursday: July 2019 EOM Wrap Up

Don’t forget to link up for the 2019 Series Enders Reading Challenge! You have until December 15th, 2019 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.

Bone Crier's Moon (Bone Grace, # 1)

By: Kathryn Purdie

Publication: March 10th 2020 by HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen

480 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--Bone ​Criers have a sacred duty. They alone can keep the dead from preying on the living. But their power to ferry the spirits of the dead into goddess Elara’s Night Heavens or Tyrus’s Underworld comes from sacrifice. The gods demand a promise of dedication. And that promise comes at the cost of the Bone Criers’ one true love.

Ailesse has been prepared since birth to become the matriarch of the Bone Criers, a mysterious famille of women who use strengths drawn from animal bones to ferry dead souls. But first she must complete her rite of passage and kill the boy she’s also destined to love.

Bastien’s father was slain by a Bone Crier and he’s been seeking revenge ever since. Yet when he finally captures one, his vengeance will have to wait. Ailesse’s ritual has begun and now their fates are entwined—in life and in death.

Sabine has never had the stomach for the Bone Criers’ work. But when her best friend Ailesse is taken captive, Sabine will do whatever it takes to save her, even if it means defying their traditions—and their matriarch—to break the bond between Ailesse and Bastien. Before they all die.

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 25, 2019

2019 Series Enders Reading Challenge - July Wrap Up

Time for our Monthly Wrap Up for the 2019 Series Enders Reading Challenge hosted by Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know and Holly @ Words Fueled by Love!

Since our last monthly wrap up, neither Sandy nor Holly have finished any 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.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Can't Wait for Jackpot

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.

Jackpot

By: Nic Stone

Expected Publication: October 15th 2019 by Crown Books for Young Readers

352 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--From the author of the New York Times bestseller Dear Martin --which Angie Thomas, the bestselling author of The Hate U Give, called "a must read"--comes a pitch-perfect romance that examines class, privilege, and how a stroke of good luck can change an entire life.

Meet Rico: high school senior and afternoon-shift cashier at the Gas 'n' Go, who after school and work races home to take care of her younger brother. Every. Single. Day. When Rico sells a jackpot-winning lotto ticket, she thinks maybe her luck will finally change, but only if she--with some assistance from her popular and wildly rich classmate Zan--can find the ticket holder who hasn't claimed the prize. But what happens when have and have-nots collide? Will this investigative duo unite...or divide?

Nic Stone, the New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin and Odd One Out, creates two unforgettable characters in one hard-hitting story about class, money--both too little and too much--and how you make your own luck in the world.

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

Monday, July 22, 2019

The Heart of a Vicar - Review

The Heart of a Vicar (The Jonquil Brothers, # 6)

By: Sarah M Eden

Publication: June 1st 2019 by Covenant Communications

268 pages

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Regency

Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!!)

( Goodreads | Amazon )

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

Goodreads description--Young love is all too fleeting, as Harold Jonquil painfully discovered years ago when Sarah Sarvol, the niece of a neighboring landowner, captured his heart. After an idyllic few weeks in the throes of blossoming love, reality intervened. They could have no future. Following their disastrous parting, Harold attempted to push aside thoughts of love and regret, but Sarah has never left his heart. Now, years later, he has achieved his lifelong aspiration of becoming the local vicar. However, the role proves more difficult than he imagined. He feels hollow and uninspired—until the most important person in his past returns, challenging him as no one ever has.

When Sarah’s ailing uncle summons her back to the family estate in England, there is only one person from her past she is reluctant to see again: Harold Jonquil, the only man who has ever claimed her heart. But when she comes face-to-face with her former beau, she hardly recognizes the aloof and dull man before her. She is determined to help Harold rediscover the passion he once felt toward his chosen profession. Soon, despite their exasperation with each other, they cannot deny the stirring of feelings long buried—but is it too late for second chances?

First off, I haven't read any of the prior books in this series, and The Heart of a Vicar is book 6 in that series. I generally try not to request books for review when I haven't read the prior books in the series, but the author, Sarah M Eden, is what initially drew me in. And the nature of a series like this is that each book follows a different brother in the Jonquil family. So even though I'm coming into the middle a series, mostly I figured I would be able to read this almost as a standalone. In some ways I was right, and in other ways I was wrong. There are 7 (I believe) Jonquil brothers. And for someone who isn't familiar with the family or their backstories or what has happened in the prior books, this was a lot of characters to get to know--especially as most of the brothers at this point have wives and even children making the cast of characters quite large.

Reading The Heart of a Vicar did spark my interest go back and read the previous books of this series. And ironically, I remember seeing several of the previous books available for review on NetGalley in the past couple of years. I declined requesting those for review exactly for the reason I stated earlier--that I generally don't like to pick up mid-series. However, it hasn't been until the last year or two that I've increased the amount of historical fiction that I'm reading. And Sarah M Eden is an author I've recently read in another series and decided I wanted to read more of.

I won't say that Harold and Sarah's story was perfect for me. A lot of the romantic development between the two characters occurred before the book even began when the characters were younger. This creates conflict between them, but one of my favorite things to read is the initial romantic sparks.

More than being a romance story, The Heart of a Vicar is a story about finding one's self. Harold isn't sure of himself or what he always assumed was his purpose in life. He has to go backward in order to go forwards. The dynamics between his family, how they affect him, and how he affects them is all central to the story.

I fell in love with this family. Philip drove me crazy but I can't wait to read his story. Sorrel broke my heart. I wish the cause of her difficulties in carrying a pregnancy to term were discussed in more detail or explained a little more. Layton and Marion...especially Caroline crawled right inside my heart and took up residence. Mater and Scott too.

Sarah and her family difficulties were interesting, but I don't know. Something kept me from fully connecting to this storyline or its issues. Maybe just because I assumed it would all work out.

Favorite quote:

-Patience is a virtue. Endurance is a necessity.

The Heart of a Vicar had a slow start for me. I fell in love with the entire family of characters and can't wait to go back & read the previous books in the series. I wish I'd been able to read more of the events that made Harold and Sarah initially fall in love, but I did enjoy seeing them work through their current issues. The Heart of the Vicar gets 3.5 Stars. Have you read The Heart of a Vicar? What did you think? Let me know!

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Sunday Post & Stacking the Shelves - 07/21/19

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

This has been one of those weeks where not a lot of extra has happened but all of life's little stresses have added up. I'm trying to cool my jets and count my blessings as doing so helps put life in perspective. I have much to be thankful for. Most of the week has been spent cleaning house a little extra. Wednesday Little Girl had a dentist appointment. She did wonderful. This was only her 2nd visit ever. Then she and I went out for pizza afterwards. Thursday I had to take the kids with me grocery shopping. And then Friday we ran some errands and I kicked the house cleaning up a notch. Saturday we had the family over to swim and celebrate Holly's birthday. Today, Little Girl and I are traveling to Georgia for a baby shower for my niece.

THE PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of Courting Darkness (Courting Darkness Duology, # 1) by Robin LaFevers (4 Stars)
Tuesday: Top Ten Auto-Buy Authors
Wednesday: Can't Wait for In the Hall with the Knife (Clue Mystery, # 1) by Diana Peterfreund

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of The Heart of a Vicar (The Jonquil Brothers, # 6) by Sarah M Eden
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday?
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Wednesday

Don’t forget to link up for the 2019 Series Enders Reading Challenge! You have until December 15th, 2019 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.

The Montessori Toddler: A Parent's Guide to Raising a Curious and Responsible Human Being

By: Simone Davies

Publication: January 2018 by Jacaranda Tree Publishing

245 pages

Genre: Non-fiction, Parenting

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--There is no doubt about it. Toddlers can be tricky. On one hand they can be lovely. On the other hand they can be really hard work. They'll make you laugh. And they will probably bring you to tears. Or at least a high level of frustration.

I felt the same way when my children were small and I was struggling to get them to do things. I felt enormous empathy for them, but wasn’t sure what the alternative was to threatening, bribing or putting them into time out.

It’s been my mission since then to find another way. I’ve now been working in Montessori education for nearly 15 years and love to learn from the 100 toddlers and parents I see every week in my classroom. I am so happy to share with you what I have learned and help you understand your toddler better too.

This book is the result. Your comprehensive guide to raising toddlers in a Montessori way.

A quick aside for those of you that don't know Montessori. It is an alternative education system where, instead of the teacher standing at the front of the classroom telling the kids what they need to know, the children are free to explore a classroom of well-designed materials covering language, mathematics, daily life skills and more. The result is that the children are able to follow their unique natural rhythm and development as well as learn with concrete learning materials to make discoveries for themselves. But that's it. It's not just for school aged children - you can apply exactly the same ideas in your home and with your toddler.

And when I say toddler, I'm talking about children around 1 to 3 years, give or take a few months.

Each section of the book is super practical and it is beautifully designed to make it even easier to read. It’s perfect if you are a busy parent, carer or even grandparent. And it doesn't matter if you are brand new to Montessori or have been using Montessori for a while - or even if you aren't planning to send your children to Montessori school. You can read it from cover to cover. Or just open up the book at a page that interests you and you will find something practical you can try today.

You’ll learn how to set up your home to get rid of the chaos and bring back some calm into your lives. You will get the tools to work together with your child. How you can lead, guide and support them, especially when they are having a hard time (and throwing themselves on the ground in the most inconvenient of places). You’ll also get ideas to create Montessori activities at home that are just right for your toddler.

You will find answers to your questions. To see there is another more peaceful way to be with your toddler. To help you plant the seeds to raise a respectful and responsible human being. To work on a relationship with your toddler which you will be building on for years.

So are you ready to say goodbye to frustration and hello to peace and calm? It’s time for us to learn to see through our toddler’s eyes - The Montessori Toddler.

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 17, 2019

Can't Wait for In the Hall with the Knife

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.

In the Hall With the Knife (Clue Mystery, # 1)

By: Diana Peterfreund

Expected Publication: October 8th 2019 by Amulet Books

304 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller

( 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 murderer could be around every corner in this thrilling YA trilogy based on the board game CLUE!

When a storm strikes at Blackbrook Academy, an elite prep school nestled in the woods of Maine, a motley crew of students—including Beth “Peacock” Picach, Orchid McKee, Vaughn Green, Sam “Mustard” Maestor, Finn Plum, and Scarlet Mistry—are left stranded on campus with their headmaster. Hours later, his body is found in the conservatory and it’s very clear his death was no accident. With this group of students who are all hiding something, nothing is as it seems, and everyone has a motive for murder. Fans of the CLUE board game and cult classic film will delight in Diana Peterfreund’s modern reimagining of the brand, its characters, and the dark, magnificent old mansion with secrets hidden within its walls.

Nostalgia! I love Clue (the board game). What are you guys waiting on this week? Let me know!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Top Ten Auto-Buy Authors

Top 10 Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, but is currently hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. This week's topic is Top Ten Auto-Buy Authors.

Interestingly enough, there are no 100% auto-buy authors for me. I have authors that I've read all of their published books and would certainly check out anything else they publish in the future. But I have certain topics that are just off limits. So *shrugs* this is as close as I get to an auto-buy list. I've done this topic in the past and it was interesting to go back and see which authors have fallen off my top ten list and which have remained. Here's my list from 2015 and 2013.

  1. Colleen Hoover - So I've been a CoHort from way back when. Slammed was my first read by her when it was available on NetGalley. I've loved all of her books and have read each and every one of them.
  2. Kasie West - I've read all of her published books. And since her content has always been clean I can pretty much guarantee that unless my reading tastes drastically change I'll always count Kasie West as an auto-buy author.
  3. Mary E Pearson - I still have Mary E Pearson's earliest releases to read, but since the Remnant Chronicles I at least want to check out everything else she decides to do.
  4. Sarah J Maas - Confession: I don't actually own any of her books although I've read all but Kingdom of Ash (cutting my eyes at you Holly). I've just borrowed them all from Holly. But all of her books are good enough to own, and certainly good enough to make this list. I can see where she might one day venture into territory that I'm not up for, but I'll always look into her books.
  5. Amy Harmon - There are quite a few that Amy Harmon has written that I still haven't read, but all of the ones by her that I have read have been really good. I'm skeptical of What the Wind Knows because it is about time travel, and I don't usually enjoy that subject.
  6. Katie McGarry - I've read all of Katie McGarry's books and haven't found one that I didn't like. Will definitely continue to check her books out in the future.
  7. KA Tucker - Another author that I've read all of her releases. Wait no. I take that back. She has some very early releases that I haven't read even though I own the first one. I need to get around to that one soon.
  8. Robin LaFevers - I always hesitate to add authors to lists like this when I've only read a few of their books or only one series because a different series could be vastly different. But I think I can trust her writing to be good.
  9. Kristi Ann Hunter - Christian Historical Fiction - You can't go wrong. Well...maybe you could, but Kristi Ann Hunter has never led me astray. Probably an actual auto-buy author for me.
  10. Jenn Bennett - Ok so Jenn Bennett is a tricky one. I've loved everything I've read from her, and I certainly want to read more of her books. However, I do know that she can trickle into subject matter that I'm not a fan of, and one of her books hasn't gotten the best reviews. So...we'll see.

Which authors are on your auto-buy List? Let me know!

Monday, July 15, 2019

Courting Darkness - Review

Courting Darkness (Courting Darkness Duology, # 1)

By: Robin LaFevers

Publication: February 5th 2019 by HMH Books for Young Readers

512 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Source: Amazon Vine

( 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--Death wasn’t the end, it was only the beginning…

Sybella has always been the darkest of Death’s daughters, trained at the convent of Saint Mortain to serve as his justice. But she has a new mission now. In a desperate bid to keep her two youngest sisters safe from the family that nearly destroyed them all, she agrees to accompany the duchess to France, where they quickly find themselves surrounded by enemies. Their one ray of hope is Sybella’s fellow novitiates, disguised and hidden deep in the French court years ago by the convent—provided Sybella can find them.

Genevieve has been undercover for so many years, she struggles to remember who she is or what she’s supposed to be fighting for. Her only solace is a hidden prisoner who appears all but forgotten by his guards. When tragedy strikes, she has no choice but to take matters into her own hands—even if it means ignoring the long awaited orders from the convent.

As Sybella and Gen’s paths draw ever closer, the fate of everything they hold sacred rests on a knife’s edge. Will they find each other in time, or will their worlds collide, destroying everything they care about?

I'm not quite sure why Courting Darkness has been listed as a spin off series and part of a duology instead of just extending the original His Fair Assassins series. The events basically pick up right where Mortal Heart left off. Unlike the previous series, Courting Darkness has two narrators: Sybella and Genevieve. Sybella we've read from before in Dark Triumph, but Genevieve is a new narrator.

Sybella's story is necessary in the largest part because she's one of the Duchess's ladies so she's close and involved with all of the political moves which leads the story in this case. Sybella offers strength to the Duchess when no one else can. I loved the continuation of Sybella's story. She still has much to work through emotionally. After the events of Mortal Heart, being a follower of Mortain isn't as clear as it once was. There are no more marques, but that doesn't mean that the gifts he's given to his children are all gone. However, Sybella has always struggled with her desire to cross the line and kill those who might not have been marqued in the first place. She's battling her fear of being like the man who raised her. We also experience more of her relationship with Beast which I adored.

Genevieve was back and forth for me. I liked her easily enough in the beginning. I sympathized with her over several things. She was placed in an undercover situation 5 years ago. Initially when she and Margot (a fellow initiate) were sent out they were told that there would be no contact for at least a year, maybe even two. But now FIVE years have passed without contact at all. No instructions. No updates. Nothing. It's quite easy to feel forgotten after 5 years. Not to mention she was barely trained in many areas and not at all in others. And none of this is helped by the fact that Margot has increasingly embraced being forgotten and being back into the world she was familiar with from her time before the convent. Genevieve has lost her closest and really only friend and ally. When she's given information that the convent has been disbanded, she steps up to take matters into her own hands. Like all of the previous books and relationships, I easily found myself rooting for Genevieve and Anton. Until Genevieve gets this ridiculous plan in her head which I feel like I need to discuss separately. I want to say so much more about this but don't want to spoil anything. I assume the 2nd book in the duology will also follow Genevieve and Sybella and will give me more closure.

I've mentioned in all of my past reviews from Robin LaFevers how impressed I always am with her phrasing and that was yet again the case. I even told Husband that I want to bring back the word "mayhap" into modern-day conversation. Her sentences flow, yet there's no way you'd forget that you're reading historical fiction.

Favorite quotes:

-But Sweet Jesu, this loving someone is hard. Might as well rip a piece of one's heart from one's chest and feed it to wild pigs.

-"No. You are not a piece of fruit. You are a blade that has been brutally forged, painfully hammered, and wickedly honed. You are steel, not poison. You are deadly, not depraved. They are very different things, Sybella."

Another thing I've mentioned in each of my previous reviews for the His Fair Assassins series is symbolism. It felt to me that Robin LaFevers was using the assassins relationship with Mortain (the god of Death) as symbolic to the Christian's relationship with God. I'll continue to read the symbolism into those books, but Courting Darkness kind of made it clear that this was not her intent. She brings in Christianity and God with the French and makes it clear that they do not support the nine gods that Brittany served. The author's note at the end tells us that the gods of Brittany are based off some Celtic gods from actual history. Bringing Christianity in made this feel much less like a fantasy and much more like a historical retelling--which it is that too. Robin LaFevers takes some major historical moments from 1489-1491 and brings them into her story. I don't fault her for this, but the addition of Christianity actually took away from this book and my enjoyment of it as backward as that may be.

I appreciated how actual events and reality weren't shied away from. It wasn't abnormal for men in high ranking positions to have wives and mistresses. And while this hurts my romantic heart, I appreciate the reality of it all. I did find it frustrating that Genevieve could so wholly abhor the idea of lowering herself to becoming one of Count Angouleme's mistresses, yet the thought of becoming a mistress for the king of France wasn't beyond her realm of possibility. I also struggled with how Genevieve had no thought of Anton at when it really should have mattered. I'm sure there could be an explanation for that, but it felt important to me that it was missing.

While I certainly didn't want to stop reading Courting Darkness anytime I needed to put it down, I also found it lacking in some ways when compared to the His Fair Assassins series. Some of the things I loved most from that series were either missing entirely or twisted in some ways with the start of this duology. I did continuously think about Courting Darkness when I had to put it down and finished it within two to three days. It was still a great read, and I can't wait to find out what happens next. Yet overall, I can't rate it as highly as the prior books. That being said, Courting Darkness still gets 4 Stars from me. Have you read Courting Darkness? What did you think? Let me know!

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Sunday Post & Stacking the Shelves - 07/14/19

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 chiropractor appointment so Grammy kept the kids for a few hours. Tuesday and Wednesday were normal days. I let the kids fill up the little pool and play with the water hose because it's just been so hot here. Thursday, Holly and her mom came to swim and hang out with us. Little Boy wasn't feeling swimming for some reason. I think he'd worked up an appetite because as soon as we came inside he started asked for lunch even though it was about an hour earlier than we normally eat. Friday, we went for a walk and then I let the kids play in the water again. It's really helped them want to play outside. Saturday we did get to play outside a little before the rain came in. I finished two books this week and I'm excited about the one I just started as well.

THE PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of Daughters of the Northern Shores (Blackbird Mountain, # 2) by Joanne Bischof (3.5 Stars)
Wednesday: Can't Wait for How to Speak Boy by Tiana Smith

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of Courting Darkness (Courting Darkness Duology, # 1) by Robin LaFevers
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday?
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Wednesday

Don’t forget to link up for the 2019 Series Enders Reading Challenge! You have until December 15th, 2019 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.

With This Pledge (Carnton, # 1)

By: Tamera Alexander

Publication: January 8th 2019 by Thomas Nelson

352 pages

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction

Source: Amazon Vine (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--History takes on vivid life in the stunning first full-length installment of Tamera Alexander's new series, The Carnton Novels.

On the night of November 30, 1864, a brutal battle in Franklin, Tennessee, all but decimates the Confederacy and nearly kills Captain Roland Ward Jones. A decorated Mississippi sharpshooter, Jones has a vision on the battlefield and, despite the severity of his wounds, believes his life will be spared. But a life without his leg, he can't abide. He compels Elizabeth "Lizzie" Clouston—governess to the McGavock family at the Carnton mansion—to intervene should the surgeon decide to amputate. True to her word, Lizzie speaks on his behalf and saves not only the captain's leg but also his life.

When a fourteen-year-old soldier dies in Lizzie's arms that night, the boy's final words, whispered with urgency, demand that Lizzie deliver them to their intended recipient. But all she has is the boy's first name. And, as she soon discovers, there's no record of him ever having enlisted. How can she set out alone across a land so divided by war and hatred to honor her pledge? Even more, does she dare accept Captain Jones's offer to accompany her? As he coalesces at Carnton, romance has blossomed between him and Lizzie—a woman already betrothed to a man she does not love.

From the pages of history and the personal accounts of those who endured the Battle of Franklin, Tamera Alexander weaves the real-life love letters between Captain Roland Ward Jones and Elizabeth Clouston into a story of unlikely romance first kindled amid the shadows of war.

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 10, 2019

Can't Wait for How to Speak Boy

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.

How to Speak Boy

By: Tiana Smith

Expected Publication: January 7th 2020 by Swoon Reads

288 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--Quinn and Grayson have been fierce speech and debate rivals for years. They can't stand one another, either in competition or in real life.

But when their AP Government teacher returns their school assignments to the wrong cubbies, they begin exchanging anonymous notes without knowing who the other is.

Despite their differences, the two come together through their letters and find themselves unknowingly falling for the competition. Before the state tournament, the two of them need to figure out what they want out of life, or risk their own future happiness. After all, what’s the point of speech and debate if you can't say what's in your heart?

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

Monday, July 8, 2019

Daughters of the Northern Shores - Review

Daughters of Northern Shores (Blackbird Mountain, # 2)

By: Joanne Bischof

Publication: March 12th 2019 by Thomas Nelson

368 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction

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--Aven Norgaard understands courage. Orphaned within an Irish workhouse, then widowed at just nineteen, she voyaged to America where she was wooed and wed by Thor Norgaard, a Deaf man in rural Appalachia. That the Lord saw her along the winding journey and that Aven now carries Thor’s child are blessings beyond measure. Yet while Thor holds her heart, it is his younger brother and rival who haunts her memories. Haakon—whose selfish choices shattered her trust in him.

Having fled the farm after trying to take Aven as his own, Haakon sails on the North Atlantic ice trade where his soul is plagued with regrets that distance cannot heal. Not even the beautiful Norwegian woman he’s pursued can ease the torment. When the winds bear him home after four years away, Haakon finds the family on the brink of tragedy. A decades-old feud with the neighboring farm has wrenched them into the fiercest confrontation on Blackbird Mountain since the Civil War. Haakon’s cunning and strength hold the power to seal many fates, including Thor’s which is already at stake through a grave illness brought to him as the first prick of warfare.

Now Haakon faces the hardest choice of his life. One that shapes a battlefield where pride must be broken enough to be restored, and where a prodigal son may finally know the healing peace of surrender and the boundless gift of forgiveness. And when it comes to the woman he left behind in Norway, he just might discover that while his heart belongs to a daughter of the north, she’s been awaiting him on shores more distant than the land he’s fighting for.

The way that Sons of Blackbird Mountain ended had me eagerly anticipating Daughters of the Northern Shores. I needed to know if, how, when Haakon could find redemption, and I was insanely curious if he would meet a woman who could show him that he isn't irredeemable. Well that's not really what happens in Daughters of the Northern Shores, and to be honest, Joanne Bischof did a much better job with her story of Haakon's road to redemption than I pictured. That being said, it was just a really different road than I expected.

One thing I wasn't expecting was for Daughters of the Northern Shores to once again focus on Thor and Aven. I was almost disappointed to find this to be the case. I wanted to read about Haakon on a boat and finding himself and falling in love. Thor and Aven already had that. So I actually put off reading Daughters of the Northern Shores because it wasn't what I had imagined it to be. It took me about 30% to really begin to connect to the characters and the new story. Because it took me so long to connect, I felt the beginning was really slow and I kept falling asleep when I'd start reading.

I already mentioned earlier than Joanne Bischof's way of crafting the story was much better than I pictured it going. Haakon needed to find his redemption apart from falling in love or at the very least not have it be a woman who showed him he was worthy. I don't know. I guess that's too easy, too cliche. And I'm thankful that Haakon had a chance to work out his past mistakes (horrible mistakes) with his family before moving forward with any sort of romance.

On the other hand, the readers aren't involved or able to experience the romance at all. Joanne Bischof wrote in such a way that all of that is avoided. And maybe one could argue that there really wasn't much romance. There was a kindness extended to Haakon that he came to realize he could return. Yet maybe the romance hasn't really even begun yet. I don't know. Honestly, I don't even know if there will be more books in the series, but I hope there will. And I hope it focuses more on Haakon and Kjersti.

Favorite quotes:

-...cultivating worries would do no good.

-The Lord knew what He was doing upon the knitting of each and every soul...

-"Unlike forgiveness, trust be a cost only he can pay."

Daughters of the Northern Shores was basically nothing like I expected it to be. In a lot of ways that turned out to be a good thing, but I also can't say that it didn't leave me with some disappointments. Haakon's road to redemption had more meaning the way Joanne Bischof wrote it than I pictured, but this book didn't have any new romance to read about which I missed and hope to see more of it there are more books in the series. Daughters of the Northern Shores gets 3.5 Stars. Have you read Daughters of the Northern Shores? What did you think? Let me know!

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Sunday Post & Stacking the Shelves - 07/07/19

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 through Wednesday were normal days this week. The kids and I just played outside. We walked when we could. I was so excited that this was a short week for Husband's work. He had off Thursday and Friday for the 4th of July (Independence Day for the US). We spent both days at his mom's visiting with his family, swimming, and eating good food. The kids had so much fun and they were exhausted every night. Thursday night we shot fireworks. They're not illegal in our area, and pretty much our entire neighborhood shoots them. We really have no need to go see some show with tons of other people because the view from our yard is great. We actually shoot them for a personal reason. Husband's father passed away on the 4th 4 years ago while the fireworks were going off. So we shoot fireworks and drink Sprite (his favorite drink) in his honor every year. The kids love seeing the fireworks, and Little Boy wasn't scared of them at all. Husband's coming down with a cold. I feel so bad for him.

THE PAST WEEK:

Monday: June 2019 EOM Wrap Up
Tuesday: Top Ten Summer 2019 TBR List
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Well Met by Jen Deluca
Thursday: Review of Seventh Grave and No Body (Charley Davidson, # 7) by Darynda Jones (4.5 Stars)

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of Daughters of the Northern Shores (Blackbird Mountain, # 2) by Joanne Bischof
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday?
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Wednesday

Don’t forget to link up for the 2019 Series Enders Reading Challenge! You have until December 15th, 2019 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.

Saving Everest

By: Sky Chase

Expected Publication: October 8th 2019 by Wattpad Books

352 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!!)

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

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

Goodreads description--From the outside, Everest has it all, but there’s only one girl who can see him for who he truly is...and it changes his life forever.

Everest is the most popular guy in school. As the handsome and wealthy captain of the football team, he has the world at his fingertips, but he’s desperately unhappy. Unconvinced that he should live, he tries to take his life. On the surface, Beverly’s different from Everest in every way. Quiet, shy, and hard working, she keeps to herself, focusing on her schoolwork and part-time job to distract herself from her less-than-perfect home life.

When Everest returns to school, in more pain than ever, he’s discarded by his friends and girlfriend, and draws little empathy and too much attention from those who surround him. But when Beverly and Everest meet unexpectedly in a dusty corner of the library, together they discover how just how rich life can be.

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, July 5, 2019

Seventh Grave and No Body - Review

Seventh Grave and No Body (Charley Davidson, # 7)

By: Darynda Jones

Publication: October 21st 2014 by St. Martin's Press

322 pages

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Mystery

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--Twelve. Twelve of the deadliest beasts ever forged in the fires of hell have escaped onto our plane, and they want nothing more than to rip out the jugular of Charley Davidson and serve her lifeless, mangled body to Satan for dinner. So there’s that. But Charley has more on her plate than a mob of testy hellhounds. For one thing, her father has disappeared, and the more she retraces his last steps, the more she learns he was conducting an investigation of his own, one that has Charley questioning everything she’s ever known about him. Add to that an ex-BFF who is haunting her night and day, a rash of suicides that has authorities baffled, and a drop-dead sexy fianc√© who has attracted the attentions of a local celebrity, and Charley is not having the best week of her life.

A tad north of hell, a hop, skip, and a jump past the realm of eternity, is a little place called Earth, and Charley Davidson, grim reaper extraordinaire, is determined to do everything in her power to protect it.

We’re doomed.

Okay guys, I took notes and refused to let myself start book 8 until I sat down to write this review. So hopefully this review will be better than my reviews for the previous books in this series.

I liked the pop culture references. Sometimes this bugs me because it can automatically date a book, but these weren't references like "I love watching Breaking Bad" or "Twilight is my favorite book." Instead, there's mention of Jesse Pinkman, Heisenberg, and Bella... You just know or don't know the references. Those are the kinds I like. Also, "Friendbook" is just funny.

This series has a way of shining light on some of the worst of humanity. I know the cases that Charley takes on are fiction, but they're not far-fetched in many aspects. (Some of them are because this is a fantasy series after all, but unfortunately, most of them are realistic.) And this makes me so sad for humanity. I appreciate this in fiction because the cases are compelling, but in some ways, it messes with my mind. Especially when my Husband was telling me a horrible story that was real that I could see blending right into Charley's world.

A complaint that I've had over the entire series but haven't had the wherewithal to mention until now is how so many people that meet Charley seem to be aware that she's capable of doing different things, but they're keeping information to themselves. I realize the idea is for Charley to learn herself and grow over the series, but it can be frustrating as a reader to constantly read that a character is capable of XYZ or should know XYZ but can't or doesn't. Finally, Charley makes some significant strides forward in her abilities.

I very much appreciate that while this series doesn't follow religious theology necessarily, it doesn't discount God. In fact, the opposite is true. Charley mentions God in a respectful way more than once. I feel like this is so missing from literature today but especially from the fantasy genre. Why mention God when you can make up an entirely new religion or deity? Super applause to Darynda Jones for the decision making where this is concerned (at least up until this point in the series). She could always screw this up for me in the next few books.

However, Charley has recently been described as being a god in the other plane that she was from. Alternate planes and realities are something I struggle within books. This hasn't been a huge issue for me in this series so far because while they are mentioned the characters aren't traveling back and forth between them. But more and more Charley is being described in a way concerning the other plane that is confusing to me. Her personality seems to clash with who she's supposed to be...not just royalty but as a "god". I'm hoping this doesn't become too much bigger of a plot point.

I'm never a huge fan of descriptive scenes. Thankfully they're not too frequent in each book and they don't derail from the plot nor do they go on and on and on as some books I've read. I will plead with Darynda Jones, however, to lose the word "suckled" during these scenes. I cringe every time I see this word. Especially during these scenes.

This series has become a favorite and Seventh Grave and No Body is probably my favorite of the series so far. The advance in the series plot finally moved forward a good bit. Seventh Grave and No Body gets 4.5 Stars. Have you read Seventh Grave and No Body? What did you think? Let me know!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Can't Wait on Well Met

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.

Well Met

By: Jen Deluca

Expected Publication: September 3rd 2019 by Berkley

336 pages

Genre: 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--All's faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author Jen DeLuca.

Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?

The faire is Simon's family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn't have time for Emily's lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she's in her revealing wench's costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they're portraying?

This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can't seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.

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

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Top Ten Summer 2019 TBR List

Top 10 Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, but is currently hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. Last week's topic was Top Ten Summer 2019 TBR List, but I missed last week so I'm doing that topic this week.

  1. All the Water in the World by Karen Raney
  2. Maybe This Time by Kasie West
  3. Vow of Thieves (Dance of Thieves, # 2) by Mary E Pearson
  4. The Heart of the Vicar (Jonquil Brothers, # 6) by Sarah M Eden
  5. The First Girl Child by Amy Harmon
  6. Verity (The Sugar Baron's Daughters, # 2) by Lisa Tawn Bergren
  7. Beasts of the Frozen Sun (Frozen Sun Saga, # 1) by Jill Criswell
  8. A Reluctant Bride (Bride Ships, # 1) by Jody Hedlund
  9. The Beholder (The Beholder, # 1) by Anna Bright
  10. The Number of Love (Codebreakers, # 1) by Roseanna M White

What's on your Summer 2019 TBR List? Let me know!