Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Top Ten Summer 2018 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 Summer 2018 TBR List.

  1. Hero at the Fall (Rebel of the Sands, #3) by Alwyn Hamilton
  2. The Astonishing Color of After by Emily XR Pan
  3. Heart of Thorns (Heart of Thorns, #1) by Bree Barton
  4. Iron Gold (Red Rising Saga, #4) by Pierce Brown
  5. Meet the Sky by McCall Hoyle
  6. The Opposite of Innocent by Sonya Sones
  7. Damsel by Elana K Arnold
  8. The Curiosity Keeper (Treasures of Surrey, #1) by Sarah E Ladd
  9. The Brave Art of Motherhood: Fight Fear, Gain Confidence, and Find Yourself Again by Rachel Marie Martin
  10. Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West

Which books are on your summer TBR list? Let me know!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Wild Blue Wonder - Review

Wild Blue Wonder

By: Carlie Sorosiak

Expected Publication: June 26th 2018 by HarperTeen

368 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Thank you!!)

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

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

Goodreads description--There are two monsters in this story. One of them is me.

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

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

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

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

I'm sure if you're a regular reader of my reviews you are aware that I struggle with books that bounce around chronologically. I realize that there is a strategic storytelling purpose behind choosing to write this way most of the time. And frequently I find that the switching makes sense by the end of the story even if it never becomes my favorite part of any book. Yet any time I start a book and I come to a chapter break then realize we've jumped forward or backwards in time I have to fight the urge to put the book down. In the case of Wild Blue Wonder, I actually did end up putting it down for about two months because of this.

Despite the timeline jumps I enjoyed the overall story. Probably the best thing about presenting this particular story in this way for me was that Quinn's guilt over Dylan's death wasn't annoying to me. Of course these emotions are understandable given the circumstances. Survivors guilt is a real thing. Unfortunately this is also predictable. But because we don't know the actual details of how Dylan died until close to the end of the book the amount of Quinn's actual contribution to his death was unknown. This allowed the balance of knowledge to be in Quinn's favor instead of me feeling like I knew something Quinn didn't.

The process Quinn goes through to heal was surprisingly what drove the book for me. Usually the romance is the driving factor but not this time. The contrast between where her family was before Dylan died versus where they are now was brilliant. Carlie Sorosiak did a great job showing how grief in events like this affect so many more people than you imagine and in ways you don't expect because not everyone handles it the same way.

Speaking of the romance... this just wasn't my favorite part. I liked Quinn. I liked Alexander. I liked how he helped her move on. I even liked how different Quinn's relationship and feelings were with him from her relationship and feelings for Dylan. Each relationship is different and Quinn isn't the same person that she once was. That being said...I didn't really get the warm and fuzzies from Quinn and Alexander. He was actually a little hard for me to picture. His heritage was so prominent through the story and dialogue, yet I had a hard time picturing him or hearing his (what should have been) adorable British accent.

Now...one frustration for me was that Wild Blue Wonder checks nearly every politically correct box possible (mostly for diversity's sake which I'm not a fan of--diversity for the sake of diversity, not diversity itself). Gay characters? Check. Feminism? Check. Vegans? Check. Hippies? Check. This story truly reminded me of a meme I've seen before. I'll insert it here:

Usually the PC issues I mentioned would have been a huge annoyance to me. For some reason they only slightly annoyed me. However the combination of the jumping around chronologically with the PC pieces plus my lack of enthusiasm for the romance make Wild Blue Wonder a 3.5 Star read for me. I still enjoyed it overall, but I didn't love it. Have you read Wild Blue Wonder? What did you think? Let me know!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sunday Post & Stacking the Shelves - 06/17/18

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

This week has been pretty normal. Wednesday and Thursday we had an electrician come to the house to fix where the power lines are connected to our house. That's been a pain to schedule, and we still aren't finished with this project. The rest of the week I spent cleaning house. We had the family over on Saturday to celebrate my birthday (Thursday), my brother's birthday (Tuesday) and Father's Day. The first book I'm featuring below I actually got several weeks ago, but I apparently forgot to feature it the week I received it.

THIS PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of Crossing the Line by Simone Elkeles (3 Stars)
Wednesday: Can't Wait for The Impossibility of Us by Katy Upperman

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of Wild Blue Wonder by Carlie Sorosiak
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday?
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Wednesday

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

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Damsel

By: Elana K Arnold

Publication: October 2nd 2018 by Balzer + Bray

320 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--The rite has existed for as long as anyone can remember: when the prince-who-will-be-king comes of age, he must venture out into the gray lands, slay a fierce dragon, and rescue a damsel to be his bride. This is the way things have always been.

When Ama wakes in the arms of Prince Emory, however, she knows none of this. She has no memory of what came before she was captured by the dragon, or what horrors she has faced in its lair. She knows only this handsome prince, the story he tells of her rescue, and her destiny to sit on the throne beside him. Ama comes with Emory back to the kingdom of Harding, hailed as the new princess, welcomed to the court.

However, as soon as her first night falls, she begins to realize that not all is as it seems, that there is more to the legends of the dragons and the damsels than anyone knows–and that the greatest threats to her life may not be behind her, but here, in front of her.

Mirage (Mirage, # 1)

By: Somaiya Daud

Expected Publication: August 28th 2018 by Flatiron Books

320 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science 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--In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancĂ©, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection...because one wrong move could lead to her death.

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, June 13, 2018

Can't Wait for The Impossibility of Us

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

The Impossibility of Us

By: Katy Upperman

Expected Publication: July 31st 2018 by Swoon Reads

320 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

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

Goodreads description--The last thing Elise wants is to start her senior year in a new town. But after her brother’s death in Afghanistan, she and her mother move from San Francisco to a sleepy coastal village.

When Elise meets Mati, they quickly discover how much they have in common. Mati is new to town too, visiting the U.S. with his family. Over the course of the summer, their relationship begins to blossom, and what starts out as a friendship becomes so much more.

But as Elise and Mati grow closer, her family becomes more and more uncomfortable with their relationship, and their concerns all center on one fact—Mati is Afghan.

Beautifully written, utterly compelling, and ultimately hopeful, THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF US asks—how brave can you be when your relationship is questioned by everyone you love?

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

Monday, June 11, 2018

Crossing the Line - Review

Crossing the Line

By: Simone Elkeles

Expected Publication: June 12th 2018 by HarperTeen

352 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Thank you!!)

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

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

Goodreads description--A high-stakes story of star-crossed lovers from Simone Elkeles, the New York Times bestselling author of the Perfect Chemistry series

To escape his abusive stepdad, bad boy Ryan Hess runs from his tiny Texas border town to Mexico. But his plans to keep his head down and stay out of trouble are shattered the minute he meets the beautiful and totally out of his league Dalila Sandoval.

Dalila Sandoval shouldn’t even know someone like Ryan Hess. The daughter of one of the wealthiest lawyers in Mexico, Dalila is focused on studying and planning for her bright future. Ryan is only a distraction from her dreams, but she’s never felt more alive than when she’s by his side.

Ryan and Dalila are wrong for each other in every way. And yet they can’t resist the sparks that fly when they’re together. But their love is like a flame burning too close to the fuse.

Something is going to explode. Will their love be strong enough to survive? Or will it burn them both?

I'm a fan of Simone Elkeles. Even though my first book by her wasn't a huge hit for me, every one of her other books were really enjoyable for me so when I saw Crossing the Line I was really excited. However, Crossing the Line was a little bit of a let down for me.

My biggest issue with Crossing the Line was the moments that seemed to stretch the imagination. And Crossing the Line had many of those moments. I mean does anyone use really personal information like a nickname as their password here in 2018? Ok maybe some people do, but a powerful attorney? One who would have potentially highly classified information from clients past and present in their possession? Yeah? Probably not. How about when you're trying to avoid being seen or caught by potential bad guys and your truck breaks down? You just decide to sleep in the BED of the truck that night? Oh but that's not all. You do the deed? REALLY? Because that's what you should really be doing in the back of a truck, at night, when you're trying to keep a low profile. The relationship between Ryan and Dalila went from zero to one-hundred pretty quickly. One minute they're still denying to have any connection and the next minute they're talking about their futures together. It was jarring for me how quickly that change came about which left it feeling a bit unrealistic. Do four-star hotels take check-ins without a credit card? In my experience they don't. That's because if you want anything like room service, pay per view, or the mini bar they can charge those things to the room which will charge your card. And when you've stumbled upon a brutal murder what's the first thing you should do? TOUCH THE BODY. Clean the face of the deceased and then decide to BURY THEM? Because the authorities won't need to do any investigating, right? Oh goodness. I'm sorry guys. Some of these things were just minor things and some were used to advance the story even though they're not realistic, but each of these incidences took me out of the story and caused me to roll my eyes big time. And some of these things were so brutally stupid that I wonder how they made it past editing.

Ryan and Dalila were both decent characters. Each were fairly fleshed out with backgrounds, motivations, and fears. Although, I felt that Ryan was a bit more developed than Dalila. I was fine rooting for the relationship. I specifically liked the flirting between the two before things were more concrete between them. But I also felt like things moved too fast. I didn't feel like the two knew each other well enough to have moved into the level of feelings they claimed to have or the physical level they reached.

My second biggest issue with Crossing the Line was how emotion driven it was. This is an odd thing for me to complain about because usually I love and devour books driven by emotion. But I guess my struggle was that the emotions didn't feel mature or healthy exactly. Ryan has the self-deprication thing down thinking he's unworthy of Dalila. This isn't surprising given his background. But it also isn't exactly healthy. The whole "made me feel" thing...while sure we certainly feel emotions as a result and reaction to other people, I've been struggling with the idea that no one else can make us feel anything. We are in charge of our own emotions and to advertise differently is to weaken the power within each one of us. At one point Dalila asks Ryan what he's thinking about and when he doesn't go into a soliloqy about his love for her she's disappointed. I loathe the "it feels so right that it can't be wrong" mantra because that's nothing short of what drug addicts or alcoholics must think. And to let our emotions rule us beyond reason is no better than either of these addictions. Dalila also asks Ryan to be open with her while immediately thinking that she doesn't intend to be open with him. Talk about hypocrisy. Not exactly the best foundation for a relationship. Not to mention the repeated lies Dalila tells him. So I guess while normally I love relationships where the love between two characters drives the story, the relationship between these two didn't exactly give me the warm and fuzzies due to the immaturity and unhealthy nature of some of the statements mentioned above.

In relation to the major plot line of the mystery behind who the bad guys are, every single thing that I predicted came true. I was starting to wonder if I was wrong in my guesses, but nope. Turned out right. I don't say this to brag that I figured it out, but to point out that I don't enjoy predicting every twist. I actually enjoy being surprised. Yet that didn't happen for me in Crossing the Line. And actually, similarly to my frustration with how quickly Ryan and Dalila jumped in their relationship from zero to together, I felt the same way with how quickly things wrapped up, all of the bad guys were revealed and their motives as well. It all felt too rushed to me.

I know that after reading this review one could conclude that I really disliked Crossing the Line? But that wasn't the case. I did enjoy it. Minus these issues. The things I took issue with were just easy to point out. Despite my frustrations Crossing the Line gets 3 Stars. Have you read Crossing the Line ? What did you think? Let me know!