Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Can't Wait for A Warrior's Heart

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

A Warrior's Heart (Brides of Laurent, # 1)

By: Misty M Beller

Expected Publication: August 31st 2021 by Bethany House Publishers

320 pages

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Christian 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--Brielle Durand is a key defender and hunter for her people's peace-loving French settlement in the Canadian mountains. When a foreigner wanders too near to their secret homes, she has no choice but to disarm and capture him. She won't allow another massacre like the one that killed her mother a dozen years before. But now, what to do with this man who looks at her in a strange way?

Evan MacManus was on assignment to find among the caves the mineral pitchblende that might help America win the War of 1812. Despite being taken prisoner, Evan is determined to complete his mission. But when that assignment becomes at odds with his growing appreciation of the villagers and Brielle, does he follow through on the promise he's made to his government or take a risk on the path his heart tells him is right? Either choice will spell death for someone.

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

Monday, May 3, 2021

Isabelle & Alexander - Review

Isabelle and Alexander

By: Rebecca Anderson

Expected Publication: May 4th 2021 by Shadow Mountain

368 pages

Genre: Adult, 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--London, 1850

Isabelle Rackham knows she will not marry for love. Though arranged marriages have fallen out of fashion, hers has been settled for some time to combine the upper-middle-class wealth of her father’s coal mines with Alexander Osgood’s prospering Northern country textile mills. Though not a man prone to romantic gestures, Alexander is well-known as an eligible bachelor. His good looks have turned more than one head, so Isabelle is content to think of herself as Alexander’s wife.

However, her marriage is not what she expected. Northern England is nothing like her home farther west in the lake country. Cold, dreary, and dark, the soot from the textile mills creates a gray hue that seems to cling to everything in the city of Manchester. Alexander is distant and aloof, preferring to spend his time at the mill rather than with her at home. Their few conversations are brief, polite, and lacking any emotion, leaving Isabelle lonely and desperately homesick.

Sensing his wife’s unhappiness, Alexander suggests a trip to his country estate. Isabelle hopes this will be an opportunity to get to know her new husband without the distractions of his business. But the change of scenery doesn’t bring them any closer. While riding together on horses, Alexander is thrown from his and becomes paralyzed. Tragedy or destiny? The help and care that Alexander now needs is Isabelle’s opportunity to forge a connection and create a deep and romantic love where nothing else could.

Let's see...what do I want to say about Isabelle and Alexander ? I read this book in about 24 hours. I didn't want to put it down. And thankfully I didn't have to put it down often since I had a chunk of time to read.

Isabelle and Alexander get married as typical couples often did in that time....as a business arrangement. He would provide for her and she would be socially acceptable for him. However, the two struggle to find themselves in their marriage in the beginning. Isabelle often feels alone and neglected. Alexander apparently has a hard time opening up to new people. The two finally seem to be making some incremental progress when Alexander has a horse accident that causes a spinal injury.

Alexander and Isabelle both go through the typical emotions you might expect of someone who has suffered a traumatic injury and someone else who has become a caregiver. Alexander is struggling with his new reality. He feels weak and humiliated. He's unable to move about in his mill like he once did. He feels like he's a burden. And he knows his new wife didn't exactly sign up for this kind of life. Isabelle just wants to help. She wants to ease Alexander's burdens however she can. She rejoices in even the smallest amount of sensation and movement that returns to him even if he can't always appreciate those small victories. She struggles though because she's in a new place with very few friends. Her husband is distant. I give her major props for working so incredibly hard. She wasn't just working to help Alexander recover, she was also working and fighting for their marriage--unable to be satisfied with the impersonal relationship they began with.

Favorite quote:

-"I simply wish so regularly, so constantly that I could do anything correctly. I thank you for thinking I am doing well."

Isabelle and Alexander isn't your typical historical romance. There wasn't some swooping, swooning relationship. This was a story about hard work and a slow build. And even when we did arrive at the conclusion, I was still left wanting more. I wanted to know a bit more about Alexander's letters. I wanted to see the progression of their relationship. I was happy with where things ended while still wanting more. I guess that's not a terrible place to be. Isabelle and Alexander get 3.5 Stars. Have you read Isabelle and Alexander? What did you think? Let me know!

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

2021 Series Enders Reading Challenge - April Wrap Up

Time for our Monthly Wrap Up for the 2021 Series Enders Reading Challenge hosted by Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know and Holly @ Words Fueled by Love!

Neither Sandy nor Holly finished any series enders this month.

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 March giveaway runs from April 25th - May 25th. On May 25th we will use random.org and the linky entries to pull a grand prize winner.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Can't Wait for The Heart of a Cowboy

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 Heart of a Cowboy (Colorado Cowboys, # 2)

By: Jody Hedlund

Expected Publication: October 5th 2021 by Bethany House Publishers

384 pages

Genre: Adult, Christian Fiction, 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--Brilliant scientist Linnea Newberry is on the adventure of a lifetime, traveling the Santa Fe Trail with her grandfather, Dr. Powell, on a botanical expedition to Colorado Territory. She longs to be taken seriously by the other team members, but at every calamity she faces, her grandfather threatens to send her home.

After watching his ma suffer and die in childbirth, Flynn McQuaid has sworn off women and marriage forever. Headed west to start a new life, he has his hands full not only taking care of his younger siblings but also delivering cattle to his brother. He doesn't need more complications.

When Flynn rescues Linnea from drowning during a river crossing, Dr. Powell promptly hires Flynn--unbeknownst to Linnea--to act as her bodyguard for the rest of the trip. As Flynn fights against the many dangers of the trail, he soon finds himself in the greatest danger of all--falling for a woman he's determined not to love.

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

Monday, April 26, 2021

A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire - Review

A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire (Blood and Ash, # 2)

By: Jennifer L Armentrout

Publication: September 1st 2020 by Blue Box Press

637 pages

Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

Source: Personal Kindle Library (Christmas present from Husband)

( 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 Betrayal…

Everything Poppy has ever believed in is a lie, including the man she was falling in love with. Thrust among those who see her as a symbol of a monstrous kingdom, she barely knows who she is without the veil of the Maiden. But what she does know is that nothing is as dangerous to her as him. The Dark One. The Prince of Atlantia. He wants her to fight him, and that’s one order she’s more than happy to obey. He may have taken her, but he will never have her.

A Choice...

Casteel Da’Neer is known by many names and many faces. His lies are as seductive as his touch. His truths as sensual as his bite. Poppy knows better than to trust him. He needs her alive, healthy, and whole to achieve his goals. But he’s the only way for her to get what she wants—to find her brother Ian and see for herself if he has become a soulless Ascended. Working with Casteel instead of against him presents its own risks. He still tempts her with every breath, offering up all she’s ever wanted. Casteel has plans for her. Ones that could expose her to unimaginable pleasure and unfathomable pain. Plans that will force her to look beyond everything she thought she knew about herself—about him. Plans that could bind their lives together in unexpected ways that neither kingdom is prepared for. And she’s far too reckless, too hungry, to resist the temptation.

A Secret…

But unrest has grown in Atlantia as they await the return of their Prince. Whispers of war have become stronger, and Poppy is at the very heart of it all. The King wants to use her to send a message. The Descenters want her dead. The wolven are growing more unpredictable. And as her abilities to feel pain and emotion begin to grow and strengthen, the Atlantians start to fear her. Dark secrets are at play, ones steeped in the blood-drenched sins of two kingdoms that would do anything to keep the truth hidden. But when the earth begins to shake, and the skies start to bleed, it may already be too late.

A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire was so long that it is hard to remember exactly where it started compared to how far in the story things developed. Granted, the book didn't feel as long as its 637 pages. But it leaves me struggling to remember how much I need to comment on. I do know that From Blood and Ash ended with Casteel announcing that he plans to marry Poppy. So that's exactly where A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire began. Poppy is resistant mostly because she doesn't believe in Casteel's feelings for her considering his prior betrayal. But it doesn't take long for Casteel to outline the benefits of a marriage between the two of them to convince Poppy to agree even if she still doubts he has any true feelings for her.

Casteel's reasoning does make sense, but he's counting on some factors that he can't control, like his people falling in line and not questioning him and his father not risking their relationship. And of course, the reader suspects his feelings to be just as real as Poppy's even if neither is yet willing to admit them.

The story progresses quite a lot in this one book. The group leaves New Haven after some troubles there and finally progresses to Atlantia. Poppy's powers are growing in ways that she doesn't understand or expect. She doesn't know what changes might come next. And she finds herself hoping that the Atlantians accept her instead many fear and distrust her. Unfortunately, her growing powers do nothing to quench their fears. If nothing else, her powers create more fear. And we know that people often do terrible things out of fear.

Content is descriptive and language is certainly present. I also worry that Jennifer L Armentrout is slowly trying to prepare the reader for an upcoming sexual event that goes beyond my comfort zone. I hope she doesn't go there. Perhaps the suggestion is enough, but I feel like this is one of those things that wouldn't even have been mentioned if she weren't going there at some point. Either way, if language or descriptive scenes aren't your cup of tea, A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire might not be for you.

Favorite quotes:

-“Make me feel incompetent and kill more than me, Princess.”

-"The world, no matter how big, is often smaller than we realize.”

-“Don’t,” he warned softly, and my hands froze. “I appreciate the gesture, but I don’t need you to take away my pain, nor do I want that.”...“Because the pain is a reminder and a warning. One I plan to never forget.”

-“When it comes to bacon, the answer is always yes.”

-And it was strange how revelations felt like they happened all of a sudden, but in reality, it took many small, almost indiscernible moments over the course of weeks, months, and years.

Given the length of this book, I read A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire quickly. I enjoyed every step of the way. I can't say I had any issues except the potential worry for some scenes to come. Casteel and Poppy's relationship has been such an enjoyable one to read about. Given this was one of my most anticipated reads, I was not disappointed at all. A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire gets 4.5 Stars. Have you read A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire? What did you think? Let me know!