Monday, September 28, 2020

Otherwise Engaged - Review

Otherwise Engaged

By: Joanna Barker

Expected Publication: October 12th 2020 by Covenant Communications

262 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction, Regency

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--She’s never been afraid of breaking the rules—until she risks breaking her heart

Constantly stifled by the rules of Society, spirited Rebecca Rowley enjoys finding ways to quietly—or not so quietly—rebel. But riding bareback and avoiding nosy neighbors are nothing compared to the thrilling secret she is keeping from her family.

When Rebecca’s quick thinking saves the life of a young girl, she unwittingly attracts the attention of the child’s dashing brother, Lieutenant Nicholas Avery. As that attention turns flirtatious, Rebecca is forced to tell him the truth: she is secretly engaged—to the one man her family would never approve of. Fortunately, Lieutenant Avery is a navy man with no wish to marry, or so they both assume as they enter into a friendship.

Rebecca hopes to change her family’s mind about her betrothed, but the more she comes to know the handsome lieutenant, the more she wonders if she promised her hand too hastily.

After all her carefully laid plans are shattered during a family crisis, Rebecca must force her heart to decide. Should she stay true to the promise she made or fight for the future she’s only just begun to imagine?

I've been on a Joanna Barker kick since I got a couple of her books for my birthday. So when I saw Otherwise Engaged available for review, I requested it immediately. And it just so happened that I had the opportunity to keep reading once I got started on this one. And I'm glad that was the case because I did not want to put it down.

Rebecca has recently returned home from a trip to Brighton where she secretly accepted the proposal of a man who she's certain her family will not approve of due to some secret history between their two families. The two have a plan to uncover the falling out between their families so they can convince each family to forgive and forget and thus they will be able to move forward with marriage with the blessings of their families. But finding information isn't so easy

Meanwhile, Rebecca saves the new neighbor's sister from drowning in a lake. Her initial meeting with Lt. Avery is unconventional, to say the least. The two don't get off on the best foot, but Nicholas is intent on making amends for his harried and rude behavior at their meeting. The two feel safe with each other knowing that Rebecca has a beau and is therefore not interested in Nicholas. And Nicholas has plans to return to active duty in the Navy and isn't planning on marrying anyone. They take advantage of comfort with each other to share burdens, passions, secrets, and time. The build between them was mesmerizing, and I found myself holding my breath with anxiety over these two characters.

Olivia is Nicholas' half-sister that he's recently become responsible for since the death of Olivia's mother six months earlier. Olivia comes off like an angry child. She's surly and sassy. She's brutally honest. But she's also hurt and grieving. You can't help but feel for her and therefore fall in love with her. I would love to read her story one day.

The other side characters came off the page just as much. I loved Rebecca's relationship with her mother and her brother. Between the three, there is genuine love and affection. Even though they mourn the loss of Rebecca's father, it's easy to envy their family dynamic.

Favorite quotes:

-“Once I’ve set my aim, I never miss.”

-You challenge me. You understand me. You take me as I am and, yet, make me wish to be better.”

-“I never thought I would surrender myself so easily or so willingly. But you have captured me, Rebecca Rowley, and I have no desire to escape.”

Ah! Otherwise Engaged is all the good things. I don't always enjoy love triangles, but I do enjoy characters realizing that they've outgrown a relationship and someone else is a better fit for them. Nicholas and Rebecca have a wonderful journey. I loved how well they knew and understood each other. Nicholas particularly had a good read on Rebecca. I can see myself re-reading this one someday which says a lot about my feelings these days. Otherwise Engaged gets 4.5 Stars. Have you read Otherwise Engaged? What did you think? Let me know!

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Sunday Post & Stacking the Shelves - 09/27/20

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.

I cannot believe October is upon us. 2020 has certainly been an odd year for most everyone. Although, not all bad. Some parts of it felt as if they would never pass by and other parts I look back on and wonder where the time went. We're entering the time of year where everything gets so busy for us. Three of our current four have birthdays in October, and that doesn't include my dad and nephew as well. This past week was a whirlwind. The weather has been lovely. Fall came in right on time here, especially compared to last year when we had 100 degree days in October. Since the weather has been so nice we've been getting out to play more frequently--and most importantly with less complaints from the kids. We've walked a few days. I did a pre-natal yoga workout. Boy am I out of shape! I'm still working through Little Girl's boxes and boxes of clothes. I've signed up for a consignment sale and I have a lot of work to get everything ready for that in the coming weeks. I did go ahead and order a new printer finally. I wish I could get the one we have to work properly, but unfortunately I simply must have a working printer for day to day use. Thursday was quite eventful. Despite having signs in our neighborhood that say no large trucks, we had a semi (18-wheeler--whatever you want to call it) come through. It took down at least two power poles at the corner of our street and took down lines right in front of our house. I was sitting at our desk when it came through and watched the whole thing happen. It was quite surreal, and we were without power for several hours. Typically the kids hate when the power is out, but they took a wireless keyboard and mouse, a calculator, and a toy phone to our big window and handled the admin of the whole event. They called the power company and the police. They sent the truck driver to jail for 5 hours. And they delegated work to the army of power and utility vehicles right in front of our house. The power company worked wonders and how the power back on two hours earlier than they expected; however the internet took an additional 5 hours to get fixed as they had to run all new cables. My "All Things Halloween" event starts up this coming week. This is a month-long event here at Somewhere Only We Know full of Halloween inspired and themed book reviews and posts (mostly reviews).

THE PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of Line by Line (Love Along the Wires, # 1) by Jennifer Delamere (4 Stars)
Tuesday: Top Ten Fall 2020 TBR List
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Faith's Mountain Home (Hearts of Montana, # 3) by Misty M Beller
Friday: 2020 Series Enders Reading Challenge - September Wrap Up
Saturday: Review of A Portrait of Loyalty (The Codebreakers, # 3) by Roseanna M White (4.5 Stars)

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of Otherwise Engaged by Joanna Barker
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday?
Wednesday: September 2020 EOM Wrap Up
Thursday: All Things Halloween Review of Hidden Knights (Knights of the Realm, # 3) by Jennifer Anne Davis
Friday: All Things Halloween Review of The Evil Queen (The Forest of Good and Evil, # 1) by Gena Showalter

Don’t forget to link up for the 2020 Series Enders Reading Challenge! You have until December 15th, 2020 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 Vanishing at Loxby Manor

By: Abigail Wilson

Expected Publication: January 26th 2021 by Thomas Nelson

336 pages

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Christian Fiction

Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Thank you!!)

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

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

Goodreads description--Disappearances, strange activities in the night, and secret organizations abound in this mysterious Regency romance.

Haunted by the assault she’s kept hidden over the past four years, Charity Halliwell finally has a chance to return home to the quaint village she left more than five years before and the happy life she wants so badly to reclaim. All she needs is good conversation with her old friend and an opportunity to find a governess position, and she can leave the fear and guilt behind. But the family who agrees to her yearlong visit turns out to be a far cry from the one she thought she knew, particularly when her friend disappears and the one man she made certain would not be at the house is forced to return. How can she possibly heal and claim her independence when day in, day out she must face the only gentleman who ever held a piece of her heart?

Piers Cavanagh was branded a coward when he failed to show up for a duel he arranged. He had his reasons, of course, but disclosing them would hurt far more than continuing life as an outcast. And worse, with the mysterious departure of his sister, the strange nightly occurrences in the ruins of an old abbey, and the uncomfortable whispers of a secret organization, Piers must overcome his aversion to society and work with the last person he ever thought he would get the chance to speak to again—the girl whose heart he had no choice but to break.

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!

Saturday, September 26, 2020

A Portrait of Loyalty - Review

A Portrait of Loyalty (The Codebreakers, # 3)

By: Roseanna M White

Publication: September 8th 2020 by Bethany House Publishers

384 pages

Genre: Adult, 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--Zivon Marin was one of Russia's top cryptographers, until the October Revolution tore apart his world. Forced to flee after speaking out against Lenin and separated from his brother along the way, he arrives in England driven by a growing anger and determined to offer his services to the Brits.

Lily Blackwell sees the world best through the lens of a camera--and possesses unsurpassed skill when it comes to retouching and recreating photographs. With her father's connections in propaganda, she's recruited to the intelligence division, even though her mother would disapprove.

After Captain Blackwell invites Zivon to dinner one evening, a friendship blooms between him and Lily. He sees patterns in what she deems chaos; she sees beauty in a world he thought destroyed. But both have secrets they're unwilling to share. When her photographs reveal that someone has been following Zivon, his loyalties are called into question--and his enemies are discovered to be far closer than he'd feared.

I seem to be developing inaccurate impressions of several books lately based upon who knows what. I enjoyed The Number of Love, but I had a few things that bothered me. One of the biggest things is that one of the narrators is from the villain's point of view. I don't usually enjoy this. Plus Margot was a little more difficult for me to connect with. On the other hand, I was so surprised and impressed with how much I enjoyed On Wings of Devotion. It too had a villain's point of view, but my love for Camden and Ara surpassed any frustration with having to read from the villain's perspective. For some reason, the impression I got of Zivon from the prior books was that he was older. So I was surprised to find him the leading male of A Portrait of Loyalty. But I found that I was dreading the expectation of reading from another villain. Plus I expected to be a little disappointed after coming off how much I was impressed with On Wings of Devotion.

A Portrait of Loyalty ended up being a pleasant surprise just as much as On Wings of Devotion. My biggest fear of reading from another villain was twisted by the fact that our "villain" of this story was Zivon's brother, Evgeni, who I couldn't fully find myself rooting against. There was hope that he might find a better way of thinking, that he also might find love and a happy ending. So with that out of the way, there was only room left for good things.

I was intrigued and struck by the amount of photo manipulation used so early in our history. You wouldn't be surprised to hear of photos being fakes or photoshopped today, but to learn that this was not just used during World War I, but that it was done so well and frequently was impressive. I was utterly interested in every aspect of the photography pieces of this story.

Zivon and Lily have such a sweet story. I loved how they were each able to see in the other things that others so quickly missed or dismissed. Lily noticed despite the stillness in Zivon's body, his eyes and mind seemed to be always in motion. Zivon seeing the beauty in the world through Lily's camera and photo work. Zivon has such baggage that he's coming to England with. Pain of betrayal. Loss of his family, career, and future. Guilt of his fiance's death as a message to him. And fear of who he can trust now that he's made it to England. Yet Lily breaks through his barriers.

Lily's family made for excellent supporting characters. Her mother shares her love of the arts only in a different medium. And her sister, Ivy, is one that anyone could wish to have as a sister. Their closeness was enviable. And even Lily's father didn't seem to be largely present yet made an impact when he was involved. My heart hurt as they went through struggles and the pain of loss through the book. This was the only place I teared up.

And perhaps my favorite part was how shocking I found it that the events of this story so closely mirrored much of what we're facing in the world and specifically in the United States in 2020. A global pandemic (COVID-19 vs the Spanish Flu), the threat of socialism, a country divided in goals and how to achieve what we all desire, propaganda, manipulation, and more. I, honestly, felt my heart break a little bit to see history threatening to repeat itself. Truth be told, I typically hate any politics being included in my reading. However, A Portrait of Loyalty's political messages felt true to the story itself and not really a commentary on today's society even though I was able to extract things that I wanted to apply to today. It didn't feel to me like that was the goal of the author which is what I rail against most of the time when politics are included in books.

Too many quotes I highlighted:

-They wouldn’t, if they realized that socialist “freedom” involved killing anyone who held a different view. That was no freedom. That was the worst form of tyranny— the kind that lied about what it was.

-“Sometimes people have to make a hard choice, you know. For the greater good.” “And more often people trample the helpless for their own good and just say it is for the sake of others.”

-“I just find it sad that so many people think they can find true happiness by taking. They can’t. We can only ever find it by giving.”

-“But Batya used to say that the difference between a wise man and a fool was not that the wise man was right and the fool wrong— but that the fool always assumed himself right, and the wise man would wonder if he could be wrong. We cannot learn from our mistakes and grow wiser if we never admit to the times we’ve chosen the wrong path.”

-“Disagreeing with someone shouldn’t mean I think they have no right to live, to work, to be given a chance for happiness.”

-"I love you.” She jerked. She couldn’t help it. But she didn’t bolt for the door as she probably would have done a few months ago. “Are you trying to shackle me?” He breathed a laugh, shook his head. “Who said love had to be shackles? I’m not trying to hold you anywhere, force you to do anything. This is a gift to you, [...]. I give it freely. I demand nothing in return. You can love me or you can not. You can stay with me or you can go. Either way, I will love you. I will love the very spirit that may insist you run far and fast.”

“But I hope, of course. I hope you’ll stay. I hope you’ll accept my love— not as a prison trying to make you be something you don’t want to be. But as . . . wings. To help you reach whatever heights you strive for.”

-She didn’t let herself think of the number of other prayers just like hers that must have been offered up in the last few weeks on behalf of other loved ones. And of the number of times the Lord must have answered, I’m sorry, my child. But no.

-It is not freedom that is extended to all, only to those with whom one agrees. This is what our American allies have taught the world, is it not? True freedom means freedom to disagree.”

-“We must be still— not our hands and feet, but our minds. And know that He is God. That He has not changed. That the same Lord who loved us when all is well loves us still when all is lost. His promises are as true today as they were yesterday. He has been enough to see people through the worst since the dawn of time. We must trust that His love is enough to see us through now.”

-“We mustn’t let such things come between us anymore. Not anger, not secrets, not fear. They will not rob us of the life God has given us.”

-“No. Freedom comes only when the people realize that it cannot be stolen and forced. Freedom that is denied to anyone who disagrees is no freedom at all.”

I truly felt like many in America could benefit from reading this book. The refresher of the dangers we face and the only true way to find freedom from the bondage of this world. And even the dangers of being at odds with each other in such a way as to try to silence those who disagree. This is not the America that was dreamed of in the beginning or what we've fought for through our short history.

A Portrait of Loyalty surprised me in every way. I was expecting to dread the villain's point of view. I wasn't expecting to find myself rooting for him in some ways. The relationship between Zivon and Lily rivaled that of Camden and Ara. And I was most impressed with the mirroring of the time period with what we are facing today. Where normally I abhor politics in reading, I found the messages weren't directed at the reader but were true to the characters and the story itself. It just so happened that I was able to pull from the story and apply that to today. This is how to do politics in reading if you ask me. A Portrait of Loyalty gets 4.5 Stars. Have you read A Portrait of Loyalty? What did you think? Let me know!

Friday, September 25, 2020

2020 Series Enders Reading Challenge - September Wrap

Time for our Monthly Wrap Up for the 2020 Series Enders Reading Challenge hosted by Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know and Holly @ Words Fueled by Love!

Sandy finished A Portrait of Loyalty (The Codebreakers, # 3) by Roseanna M White. Holly finished Midnight Sun (Twilight, # 5) by Stephenie Meyer.

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 August giveaway runs from August 25th - September 25th. On September 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, September 23, 2020

Can't Wait for Faith's Mountain Home

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.

Faith's Mountain Home (Hearts of Montana, # 3)

By: Misty M Beller

Expected Publication: January 5th 2021 by Bethany House Publishers

336 pages

Genre: Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Adult

( 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--Nate Long has always watched over his identical twin brother, Aaron, even when it put him on the wrong side of the law. When Aaron is wounded in a shootout, the brothers are taken to Settler's Fort to recover. As Nate works to make reparations for their past, he marvels at the nursing Aaron receives under the care of a woman with all the reason in the world to resent him.

Laura Hannon knows what it is to start over, and she knows Nate's newfound faith is real. What she can't look past is how far he allowed himself to be led astray by his brother's weaknesses.

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

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Top Ten Fall 2020 TBR List

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 Fall 2020 TBR List.
  1. Beholden (The Fairest Maidens, # 1) by Jody Hedlund
  2. Well Played (Well Met, # 2) by Jen DeLuca
  3. Bewitched (Betwixt & Between, # 2) by Darynda Jones
  4. Gentleman Jim by Mimi Matthews
  5. Game Changer (The Field Party, # 6) by Abbi Glines
  6. Layla by Colleen Hoover
  7. A Wild Hope (Wild Swan Trilogy, # 1) by Celeste De Blasis
  8. The Other Side of the Sky (The Other Side of the Sky, # 1) by Aime Kaufman
  9. Dark Age (Red Rising, # 5) by Pierce Brown
  10. Thorn Queen (Dark Swan, # 2) by Richelle Mead

Which books are on your Fall 2020 TBR List? Let me know!

Monday, September 21, 2020

Line by Line - Review

Line by Line (Love Along the Wires, # 1)

By: Jennifer Delamere

Publication: June 30th 2020 by Bethany House Publishers

384 pages

Genre: Historical 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--Alice McNeil resolved at a young age to travel through life unencumbered by love or marriage, free to make her own decisions. A seasoned telegrapher, she's recently acquired a coveted position at an important trading firm, but when the company's ambitious junior director returns to London, things begin to change in ways Alice could never have imagined.

For Douglas Shaw, years of hard work and ingenuity enabled him to escape a life of grinding poverty. He's also determined to marry into high society--a step that will ensure he never returns to the conditions of his past.

He and Alice form a friendly relationship based on mutual respect, but anything deeper is not in their plans. However, when Alice accidentally raises the ire of a jealous and vindictive coworker who's intent on ruining her life, Alice and Douglas are forced to confront what is truly important in their lives. Will their growing bond give them the courage to risk finding a better way?

I've read and enjoyed Jennifer Delamere in the past. So I knew that there was a high probability that I would also enjoy Line by Line, yet something about the description kept me from racing to pick this one up once it was in my possession. I think it has more to do with the time period of women entering the workforce perhaps. I can't really nail it down. I do remember that Douglas would have to rescue Alice's reputation from the book description. However, I wrongly assumed this would mean they'd been seen or found in a compromising position and would have to marry...not that Douglas would have to rescue her work reputation.

The first chapter starts off with discussion about Alice's desire to remain unmarried and work a career. This is unconventional for the time period, and I always struggle with female characters that are staunchly against marriage. This is because I can't relate. One of my deepest desires from an early age was to find love and get married. I've also had the other dream of being a stay at home mom, which I now am. So while I know and understand that many women (today and in the past) haven't shared my dreams, but rather, want quite the opposite, I always find these characters a little more difficult to read.

I was also under the impression for some reason that this book would have a slow start. I'm not exactly sure what gave me that idea except for me reading the first page and not immediately being hooked. But come on! Sometimes you've got to give a little bit more than that. And in this case, I did have to read several pages to feel well and truly invested. But not terribly many.

Now that I've discussed what was hindering me from diving into this book, I'd like to take a look at the pieces I enjoyed. I can't say that I enjoy the same topics that Alice does when it comes to reading, hobbies, etc. But I can appreciate someone who is constantly in search of bettering their minds, exploring new ideas, and seeking to understand the world around them. I appreciated that she and Douglas shared so many topics of common interests.

I was also worried when the "spinster book" came upon the scene. I wasn't sure which direction that would go or how much of the book would be wrapped up in the messages from the book. I ended up enjoying this piece of the story and how it played into Alice finding herself in some comical situations. Yet it wasn't really used in the main romance storyline. I give props to Jennifer Delamere for how she worked this into the plot in a way that I could appreciate rather than roll my eyes at.

As I've already mentioned, I was expecting Douglas and Alice to be forced into some kind of premature marriage relationship due to the mention of her reputation needing to be rescued. So when there was one scene in particular, I began to wonder if that would be the catalyst. Yet it turned out not to be. That scene did in fact spur me into a reading frenzy to see where the story would go from there. At first I was disappointed to find things weren't as I assumed they would be because I find myself typically enjoying arranged or forced marriage books often. However, I was happy that Jennifer Delamere went into a different direction than I was thinking. And it makes much more sense that Alice's career reputation would need salvaging more than her personal one as it seems her career reputation was probably of a higher value to her.

Favorite quote:

-Alice could not fathom why someone would deliberately try to poison their workplace environment.

Me either Alice! Me either! Yet it happens all the time. Some people are just well and truly miserable. And we all know that misery loves company.

Line by Line was so much more enjoyable than I was expecting it to be for some reason. I have no real idea why I kept putting this book off or why I was convinced it would be a struggle for me to read. Alice and Douglas were both easy to root for through each stage of this book. I look forward to continuing this series. Line by Line gets 4 Stars. Have you read Line by Line? What did you think? Let me know!

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Sunday Post - 09/20/20

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 of this past week seems so long ago. I've been having some technical difficulties with my printer and man is that annoying. I hate to break down and buy a new one, but my research on how to fix it has led me exactly nowhere. Tuesday the weather here was lovely. It was so windy because of the incoming hurricane, but we didn't have any rain. So the kids and I played outside for quite a while and went for a walk. Unfortunately, my sister and her family in Gulf Shores, AL had to endure the stronger parts of the hurricane that night. Their house survived, but they do have some damage. Power was just returned to them last night. The weather hit us on Wednesday. Mostly it just rained through the day, but we lost power Wednesday night a little after 8 and it didn't come back on until about 8 am the next morning. Thursday we went to my mom's. They never lost power and we usually spend Thursdays with her anyway. Friday I had to alter my normal and go to the grocery store. Man I was hit hard with how much more money I spend going into the store rather than doing a grocery pick up. Impulse buys were killing me. Saturday the weather was overcast, but it truly began to feel like fall. We played outside quite a while and even ate lunch at our table by the pool. Little Girl had a birthday party to go to in the afternoon for one of her friends at school. And I've begun to go through boxes of clothes to sell or donate. I had a prosperous couple of days between selling to friends on Facebook and a couple of sales through PoshMark. Still no new books this week, but I've finally started a series that I've had in my possession for years. I'm on book 2 already.

THE PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of The White Coat Diaries by Madi Sinha (2.5 Stars)
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Gentleman Jim by Mimi Matthews

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of Line by Line (Love Along the Wires, # 1) by Jennifer Delamere
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday?
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Wednesday
Thursday: Review of A Portrait of Loyalty (The Codebreakers, # 3) by Roseanna M White

Don’t forget to link up for the 2020 Series Enders Reading Challenge! You have until December 15th, 2020 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, September 16, 2020

Can't Wait for Gentleman Jim

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.

Gentleman Jim

By: Mimi Matthews

Expected Publication: November 10th 2020 by Perfectly Proper Press

376 pages

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Regency

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

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

Goodreads description--From USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews comes a swashbuckling tale of Regency era romance and revenge.

She couldn’t forget…

Wealthy squire’s daughter Margaret Honeywell was always meant to marry her neighbor, Frederick Burton-Smythe, but it’s bastard-born Nicholas Seaton who has her heart. Raised alongside her on her father’s estate, Nicholas is the rumored son of notorious highwayman Gentleman Jim. When Fred frames him for theft, Nicholas escapes into the night, vowing to find his legendary sire. But Nicholas never returns. A decade later, he’s long been presumed dead.

He wouldn’t forgive…

After years spent on the continent, John Beresford, Viscount St. Clare has finally come home to England. Tall, blond, and dangerous, he’s on a mission to restore his family’s honor. If he can mete out a bit of revenge along the way, so much the better. But he hasn’t reckoned for Maggie Honeywell. She’s bold and beautiful—and entirely convinced he’s someone else.

As danger closes in, St. Clare is torn between love and vengeance. Will he sacrifice one to gain the other? Or with a little luck—and a lot of daring—will he find a way to have them both?

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

Monday, September 14, 2020

The White Coat Diaries - Review

The White Coat Diaries

By: Madi Sinha

Publication: September 15th 2020 by Berkley

304 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--Grey’s Anatomy meets Scrubs in this brilliant debut novel about a young doctor’s struggle to survive residency, love, and life.

Having spent the last twenty-something years with her nose in a textbook, brilliant and driven Norah Kapadia has just landed the medical residency of her dreams. But after a disastrous first day, she's ready to quit. Disgruntled patients, sleep deprivation, and her duty to be the "perfect Indian daughter" have her questioning her future as a doctor.

Enter chief resident Ethan Cantor. He's everything Norah aspires to be: respected by the attendings, calm during emergencies, and charismatic with the patients. As he morphs from Norah’s mentor to something more, it seems her luck is finally changing.

When a fatal medical mistake is made, pulling Norah into a cover-up, she must decide how far she’s willing to go to protect the secret. What if “doing no harm” means risking her career and the future for which she’s worked so hard?

I like stories that have a point. I particularly like stories where the entire point of the plot, characters, and conflict is about love. Relationship love. Not career love. Not mountain hiking love. Not even self-love (although that has its time and place). It's not enough for me to read a story about a character that learns something. It's not enough for me to read about a character that experiences something. As a reader, I get to escape from life and experience for a span of however many pages what the character experiences. And what makes me the happiest is when those characters are falling in love. Does this make me deep or shallow? I don't know. I don't really care. Reading isn't about analyzing my "why." It's about enjoying the process. And so that's what I personally evaluate against when I'm reading a book.

The White Coat Diaries was one of those books that I got to the end of and thought "What was the point?" I know that sounds a bit harsh, but I've got to be real. The beginning was slow to get going for me. I struggled with Norah. I struggled with her mom. Norah is dealing with a lot of self-esteem issues. She's the nerdy girl who has a beautiful, spontaneous best friend. She's always felt a bit of an outsider looking in. She hasn't fully connected with her family and she hasn't fully connected with her friends or colleagues. I felt she was almost self-loathing through much of the book. Dealing with a lot of shame (feeling bad about who she is). This isn't a fun type of character to read about. Norah's mother is a hypochondriac. Her constant worry and nagging through the beginning of the book weighed on me as it did Norah. And Norah's brother Paul and his wife Reema were as well. I could see and understand all perspectives, but it didn't set things up for success when compared to my reading preferences.

Recently, I've read a couple of books with Indian characters and love both of them. I was on the hunt for more of the same when I read the description of The White Coat Diaries. Yet. the description (and this bears more exploration in a discussion post for the future perhaps) left me feeling like Norah's story would be headed in a distinctly negative direction. The description implies that Norah and Ethan fall in love and somehow both of them are pulled into a fatal error which results in a cover-up. A budding relationship likely can't survive that. And if it can, I'm not sure it's a relationship that I want to read about. The conflict is spelled out for the reader, but there's no real hope given of things turning out in any positive manner. And man do I want to discuss what actually happened in detail, but I can't spoil it. Well unless you want me to. *******Highlight for spoiler: I was expecting Ethan to ask Norah to cover his tail. What I wasn't expecting was how far Norah would willingly go for Ethan. Especially given the knowledge of his relationship with Elle. I was really disappointed in her. End spoiler.*******

The medical side of the story was what I would expect. It's what every TV show has shown us about the medical training program. ER, Grey's Anatomy, House, many many more. All of these TV shows reveal the rigorous and difficult training our doctors have to go through. They each show the negative sides to the medical field and the struggles doctors are facing as well. Some moments were presented so well, and I felt Norah's overwhelm. It was easy to see how mistakes could be made at any given moment. Other times, I felt like only the negative aspects of the profession were shown. Of course, I have no firsthand experience in the field. I wondered at times if a political agenda was being presented, but since I couldn't be sure, I have to say that if you're going to include one then this is the best possible way to do it. In a way, where the reader doesn't feel beat over the head with an opinion they are implied to be stupid if they don't agree with.

Since I've already stated that relationships are my favorite parts of stories, I'd be remiss if I didn't talk about them. I liked the camaraderie of Norah's fellow interns. The residents were each hard to like. Is it not possible to have a decent person in this position? The attendings too were all pretty despicable. Norah's family was demanding and not understanding which is odd considering her father was a doctor as well. Meryl, I had mixed feelings about. How things went there just left me feeling sad for and disappointed in both Meryl and Norah. Ethan, I couldn't so much fault him for his part in leading Norah on because he truly felt like he was being upfront with her. Gabe, I was semi rooting for. Overall, I was just disappointed in everyone.

Initially, The White Coat Diaries was slow to get going. I struggled to connect with the characters. I wasn't clear on what the purpose of the overall story was supposed to be other than ultimately taking responsibility for your mistakes even if it means losing what you thought you wanted. When I immediately finished, I thought I would give The White Coat Diaries 3 Stars, but since I've analyzed it more with this review, I'm thinking it's more of a 2 to 2.5 Star book for me. I didn't hate it, but it certainly doesn't align with my reading preferences. And I kind of wish I could have spent the time reading a different book. Have you read The White Coat Diaries? What did you think? Let me know!

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Sunday Post - 09/13/20

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.

I had planned on no blog posts for Monday, but somehow I slipped up and didn't have anything prepped for Tuesday or Wednesday either. Thankfully, I, at least, had a review scheduled for Thursday. We did the gender and name reveal for Baby # 3....It's a BOY!!!! Remy Jeriah (The Lord Exalts & Yahweh Sees)! Husband created a moving video of our family journey thus far to share for it. I cried through the whole thing the first time I saw it, and I've watched it probably 3 dozen times since. I'd love to share it with you guys, but I'm not sure how without us uploading it to YouTube, and we don't own the rights to the music he used in the background. I have been working through sorting old girl clothes to sell or donate in my spare time. Even though I've been reading, I haven't been requesting or acquiring new books lately.

THE PAST WEEK:

Thursday: Review of Finding Perfect (Hopeless, # 2.6) by Colleen Hoover (4 Stars)

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of The White Coat Diaries by Madi Sinha
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday?
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Wednesday

Don’t forget to link up for the 2020 Series Enders Reading Challenge! You have until December 15th, 2020 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, September 10, 2020

Finding Perfect - Review

Finding Perfect (Hopeless, # 2.6)

By: Colleen Hoover

Expected Publication: December 31st 2019 (first published November 30th 2019)

60 pages

Genre: Youg ADult, Contemporary

( Goodreads | Amazon )

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

Goodreads description--Finding Perfect is a novella that brings back several of Colleen Hoover's most beloved characters. Told from the point of view of Daniel from Finding Cinderella, readers will finally get the conclusion they've been hoping for. For the best reading experience, make sure you've read all four books that come together to make up this heartwarming story; Hopeless, Losing Hope, Finding Cinderella and All Your Perfects.

I had kind of decided to take a break from novellas a while back. It seemed like there for a while every author was releasing short additions to their series and even standalone books. It just got to be too much for me. And even though I love Colleen Hoover's books, I just figured I would skip Finding Perfect. Until my friend, Lacy mentioned that she read it and ugly cried. So I picked it up.

I mean I didn't really expect to get much out of it since I basically already knew that Quinn and Graham from All Your Perfects had adopted Six and Daniel's baby. What more could there be to reveal? And really no new or bigger revelations in Finding Perfect. But really it's about the process. The journey. Isn't that the point of a good story anyway?

Daniel and Six have a weird relationship in my opinion. They even mention not talking about deep things. Yet they claim to be a super couple in a lot of ways. Granted they have been through a lot together and have much still to work through.

Favorite quote:

-Becoming a mother isn’t about securing your own happiness. It’s about taking the chance of being terrified and even devastated for the sake of a child.

I didn't cry personally when reading Finding Perfect, but I did very much enjoy this journey. The closure to Daniel and Six's story was something I didn't even know I needed. Finding Perfect gets 4 Stars. Have you read Finding Perfect? What did you think? Let me know!

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Sunday Post - 09/06/20

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 and fast week. I got a lot done while the kids were at school Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I'm finally feeling mostly normal from that allergy attack a little over a week ago. Thursday I had another doctor's appointment. We actually did the anatomy scan which is one of my favorite things about pregnancy. We should be revealing the gender and name soon. Saturday we traveled to Georgia for our great-nephew's 1st birthday party. The kids had a blast. We got home late last night.

THE PAST WEEK:

Monday: August 2020 EOM Wrap Up
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Namesake (Fable, # 2) by Adrienne Young
Thursday: Review of Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder (4 Stars)

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: No Blog Posts - Happy Labor Day (US)
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday?
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Wednesday
Thursday: Review of Finding Perfect by Colleen Hoover

Don’t forget to link up for the 2020 Series Enders Reading Challenge! You have until December 15th, 2020 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, September 3, 2020

Little House on the Prairie - Review

Little House on the Prairie

By: Laura Ingalls Wilder

Expected Publication: 1994 by HarperTrophy (first published 1935)

335 pages

Genre: Children's Fiction, Historical Fiction, Middle Grade

Source: Own (Baby Shower Gift before Little Girl was born)

( 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--Meet Laura Ingalls, the little girl who would grow up to write the Little House books.

Pa Ingalls decides to sell the little log house, and the family sets out for Indian country! They travel from Wisconsin to Kansas, and there, finally, Pa builds their little house on the prairie. Sometimes farm life is difficult, even dangerous, but Laura and her family are kept busy and are happy with the promise of their new life on the prairie.

My first time reading The Little House on the Prairie was me reading it aloud to my 4-year-old daughter. At one of my baby showers, we were given a large set of classic books and this was one of them. I never read it as a child or in school. I was a little afraid the content might exceed my 4-year-old daughter's level, and I am certain she didn't fully comprehend some parts of the story, but she asked me questions so I know she understood some. There were a few tense moments and I worried about her getting scared, but the chapter breaks always ended in resolution.

I can easily see how this book is a classic. I have been reading more books in a similar period for my own enjoyment so The Little House on the Prairie enriched the description of what I have been reading.

From a personal takeaway, I have a greater appreciation for the many comforts and the abundance of choices of comforts that we experience today. It makes me realize that not only am I a bit soft (a bit! Ha!), but my children are even more so. I don't know Laura's exact age. I don't think the book stated. She's younger than Mary who was stated to be 8, I believe. So I would imagine she's about 6. She's remarkably self-sufficient...at least compared to kids her age today.

I thought the story was well told by such a young narrator. The description was vast and detailed. The moments of tension were well done and I felt anxious for the characters at several different points. My heart particularly appreciated the Christmas part, and I only wish my 4-year-old was as affected by it as I was--although I do have to say that she has a giving heart.

As an adult, I have to say that I got to the end of the book and thought that's it? We went through all of that for nothing. I suppose I was mirroring Caroline's feelings there. Maybe Charles has the right of it after all, but I was left feeling a little bit like it had all been a waste. Then again, I often have to fight my natural tendency to veer toward the negative.

All in all, The Little House on the Prairie was a pleasant book. I enjoyed most the reading experience of sharing it with my daughter. I appreciated the additional description of the period, living situations, and experiences of the characters. It was a wonderful, enriching book that is a reminder of all of the comforts we have today. Yet the ending left me a little wanting. Hopeful and sad all at the same time. The Little House on the Prairie gets 4 Stars from me. Have you read The Little House on the Prairie? What did you think? Let me know!

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Can't Wait for Namesake

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.

Namesake (Fable, # 2)

By: Adrienne Young

Expected Publication: March 16th 2021 by Wednesday Books

368 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--Filled with action, emotion, and lyrical writing, New York Times bestselling author Adrienne Young returns with Namesake, the final book in the captivating Fable duology.

Trader. Fighter. Survivor.

With the Marigold ship free of her father, Fable and its crew were set to start over. That freedom is short-lived when she becomes a pawn in a notorious thug’s scheme. In order to get to her intended destination she must help him to secure a partnership with Holland, a powerful gem trader who is more than she seems.

As Fable descends deeper into a world of betrayal and deception she learns that her mother was keeping secrets, and those secrets are now putting the people Fable cares about in danger. If Fable is going to save them then she must risk everything, including the boy she loves and the home she has finally found.

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

Monday, August 31, 2020

August 2020 EOM Wrap Up

I have read 8 books (not including children's books). *These qualify for the 2020 Series Enders Reading Challenge.

Betwixt (Betwixt & Between, # 1) by Darynda Jones
*Igniting Darkness (Courting Darkness Duology, # 2) by Robin LaFevers
*Midnight Sun (Twilight, # 5) by Stephenie Meyer
Miss Adeline's Match by Joanna Barker
Heart Bones by Colleen Hoover
Otherwise Engaged by Joanna Barker
The Evil Queen (The Forest of Good and Evil, # 1) by Gena Showalter
The Viscount and the Vicar's Daughter by Mimi Matthews

I have reviewed 4 books. *These qualify for the 2020 Series Enders Reading Challenge.
Vying for the Viscount (Hearts on the Heath, # 1) by Kristi Ann Hunter
Fair as a Star (Victorian Romantics, # 1) by Mimi Matthews
Making a Play (The Field Party, # 5) by Abbi Glines
Fable (Fable, # 1) by Adrienne Young

Other Posts:
Sunday Post - 08/02/20
Sunday Post & Stacking the Shelves - 08/09/20
Sunday Post & Stacking the Shelves - 08/16/20
Sunday Post & Stacking the Shelves - 08/23/20
Can't Wait for The Vanishing at Loxby Manor by Abigail Wilson
Can't Wait for Bewitched (Betwixt & Between, # 2) by Darynda Jones
Can't Wait for Kingdom of Ice and Bone (Frozen Sun Saga, # 2) by Jill Criswell
Can't Wait for Game Changer (The Field Party, # 6) by Abbi Glines
2020 Series Enders Reading Challenge - August Wrap Up

Goals:
I am 37 days ahead on of schedule my Bible-in-a-year plan.
I've read 68 out of 52 books (including children's books).
I've read 8 out of 5-10 series enders.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Sunday Post & Stacking the Shelves - 08/30/20

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.

The kids have been doing well at school still. Monday the whole family was sneezing quite a lot. The kids seemed fine after taking some allergy medicine, but Husband and I have continued to worsen as the week has gone by. Mostly we have stopped up noses now and a general tiredness. Husband did tell me that a couple of donation boxes in our area are open again, so I was able to take six bags to donate. Four were bags of clothes and 2 were bags of toys. It feels so good to pass those on. I can't wait to go through the rest of our baby clothes for what we can keep and reuse and what we need to donate or sell. We did get to hang out with my Mom on Thursday so that was a nice change of pace from the last couple of weeks. I'm worried about going into a reading rut. I'm craving a very specific type of read and unfortunatly, I don't have any in that genre in my possession right now.

THE PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of Fable (Fable, # 1) by Adrienne Young (4 Stars)
Tuesday: Fable (Fable, # 1) by Adrienne Young (4 Stars).blogspot.com/2020/08/2020-series-enders-reading-challenge.html">2020 Series Enders Reading Challenge - August Wrap Up


Wednesday: Can't Wait for Game Changer (The Field Party, # 6) by Abbi Glines

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: August 2020 EOM Wrap Up
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday?
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Wednesday
Thursday: Review of The Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Don’t forget to link up for the 2020 Series Enders Reading Challenge! You have until December 15th, 2020 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 Viscount and the Vicar's Daughter

By: Mimi Matthews

Expected Publication: January 23rd 2018 by Perfectly Proper Press

226 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--A WORLD-WEARY RAKE

After years of unbridled debauchery, Tristan Sinclair, Viscount St. Ashton has hit proverbial rock bottom. Seeking to escape his melancholy, he takes refuge at one of Victorian society’s most notorious house parties. As the Christmas season approaches, he prepares to settle in for a month of heavy drinking…until an unexpected encounter changes his plans—and threatens his heart.

A PRIM VICAR'S DAUGHTER

Valentine March is not the drab little spinster she appears to be. When her new job as a lady’s companion lands her smack in the middle of Yorkshire with England’s most infamous rake, she resolves to keep her head down and her eyes fixed firmly on her future—a future which most definitely does not include a sinfully handsome viscount.

A MATCH MADE IN SCANDAL

A friendship is impossible. An affair out of the question. But when one reckless act binds them together, will two star-crossed souls discover there’s more to each other than meets the eye? Or will revelations from the past end their fragile romance before it begins?

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!