Thursday, July 9, 2020

Upon Further Review - A Court of Thorns and Roses

Upon Further Review is an original feature here at Somewhere Only We Know. I have always loved re-reading my favorite books, and I wanted a way to incorporate re-reading into my blog. Thus From the Ashes and Upon Further Review were born. From the Ashes is where I re-read a book that I have never reviewed before and finally review it. Upon Further Review is where I re-read a book that I've already reviewed and see if my original rating stands or not. This is also the time for me to discuss any new revelations that my latest re-read has brought to my attention.

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, # 1)

By: Sarah J Maas

Published: May 5th 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

421 pages

Genre: New Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Fae, Faeries

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--Feyre's survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price ...

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre's presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

So I've actually read A Court of Thorns and Roses before (here's my original review). I used to love to re-read but I haven't felt like I've had time to re-read over the last couple of years. I originally borrowed the series from Holly. So when I saw A Court of Thorns and Roses available for review, I jumped on it.

My biggest excitement about doing a re-read of this series was the big reveal that comes in book 2. And I knew that so much of book 1 is set up for that one moment, so I was excited to go back and see how much foreshadowing I might have missed and just see the setup coming. And honestly, I have to say it was just as good the second time as it was the first.

I remember my friend Lacy warning me that A Court of Thorns and Roses had a slow start, and I remember not being as put off by that the first time as I expected given her warning, but this time it was even more noticeable for me because I knew exactly how far I needed to read before the action started picking up and given what I know this time that I didn't know before had me uninvested in aspects of the story that I originally devoured. I can't say too much because I don't want to spoil the story for new readers. Fans who have already read this one will know exactly what I'm talking about.

One thing I complained about in my original review is that Sarah J Maas has a tendency to over-describe. I don't need to know what every meal consists of, what each character is wearing, or what each place looks like to the point of not needing to imagine or fill in the blanks myself. I can't tell you how many times I skimmed during this read-through because the description was just too much. This was especially difficult for me when the action picked up the last 30% or so of the book. In those intense moments of action, I need to move along quickly. And given the length of her novels, I personally think it would be beneficial to trim some of the excess descriptions.

I really hadn't thought much about how I would feel like I needed to continue reading the remaining books of the series after finishing A Court of Thorns and Roses, but I mean duh! A Court of Mist and Fury might be one of my all-time favorite build-ups and reveals ever. So, of course, I need to read that!

Favorite quotes:

-It took me a long while to realize that [...], whether he knew it or not, had effectively kept me from shattering completely.

-“Everything I love has always had a tendency to be taken from me.”

-“Be glad of your human heart, Feyre. Pity those who don’t feel anything at all.”

I think my original rating of 4 Stars stands for me. I am tempted to give it 4.5 because I know just how much of this book builds to that pivotal moment in the next. But truthfully I still agree with all of my original reasons for rating it 4 Stars. Too much description is my biggest negative. Upon Further Review of A Court of Thorns and Roses, the final verdict is 4 Stars. Have you read A Court of Thorns and Roses? What did you think? Let me know!

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Can't Wait for Layla

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.

Layla

By: Colleen Hoover

Expected Publication: December 8th 2020 by Montlake

302 pages

Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

( 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 #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover comes a novel that explores life after tragedy and the enduring spirit of love.

When Leeds meets Layla, he’s convinced he’ll spend the rest of his life with her—until an unexpected attack leaves Layla fighting for her life. After weeks in the hospital, Layla recovers physically, but the emotional and mental scarring has altered the woman Leeds fell in love with. In order to put their relationship back on track, Leeds whisks Layla away to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. Once they arrive, Layla’s behavior takes a bizarre turn. And that’s just one of many inexplicable occurrences.

Feeling distant from Layla, Leeds soon finds solace in Willow—another guest of the B&B with whom he forms a connection through their shared concerns. As his curiosity for Willow grows, his decision to help her find answers puts him in direct conflict with Layla’s well-being. Leeds soon realizes he has to make a choice because he can’t help both of them. But if he makes the wrong choice, it could be detrimental for all of them.

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

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Top Ten Authors I've Read the Most (As of 2020)

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 Authors I've Read the Most.
  1. Colleen Hoover (21 books) - Slammed, Point of Retreat, Hopeless, This Girl, Losing Hope, Finding Cinderella, Maybe Someday, Ugly Love, Maybe Not, Never Never Part 1, Confess, Never Never Part 2, November 9, Too Late, It Ends With Us, Without Merit, All Your Perfects, Verity, Maybe Now, Regretting You, Finding Perfect
  2. Richelle Mead (18 books) - Vampire Academy, Frostbite, Shadow Kiss, Storm Born, Blood Promise, Spirit Bound, Last Sacrifice, Bloodlines, The Golden Lily, The Indigo Spell, Succubus Blues, Gameboard of the Gods, The Meeting, The Fiery Heart, The Immortal Crown, Silver Shadows, The Ruby Circle, The Glittering Court
  3. Abbi Glines (21 books) - Fallen Too Far, Never Too Far, Existence, Forever Too Far, Breathe, Because of Low, While It Lasts, Just for Now, Twisted Perfection, The Vincent Boys, The Vincent Brothers, Sometimes It Lasts, Misbehaving, Bad for You, Hold On Tight, Until the End, Until Friday Night, Under the Lights, After the Game, Losing the Field, Making a Play
  4. Jessica Sorensen (19 books)- The Secret of Ella and Micha, The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden, The Forever of Ella and Micha, The Redemption of Callie and Kayden, Breaking Nova, The Temptation of Lila and Ethan, The Destiny of Violet and Luke, The Ever After of Ella and Micha, Lila and Ethan: Always and Forever, Saving Quinten, Nova and Quinten: No Regrets, Delilah: The Making of Red, Tristan: Finding Hope, The Probabilty of Violet and Luke, Wreck Me, Ruin Me, Unraveling You, Raveling You, Awakening You
  5. KA Tucker (14 books) - Ten Tiny Breaths, One Tiny Lie, Four Seconds to Lose, Five Ways to Fall, In Her Wake, Burying Water, Becoming Rain, Chasing River, Surviving Ice, He Will Be My Ruin, Until It Fades, Keep Her Safe, The Simple Wide, Say You Still Love Me
  6. Katie McGarry (14 books) - Pushing the Limits, Dare You To, Crossing the Line, Crash Into You, Red at Night, Take Me On, Breaking the Rules, Nowhere But Here, Chasing Impossible, Walk the Edge, Long Way Home, Say You'll Remember Me, Only a Breath Apart, Echoes Between Us
  7. Darynda Jones (14 books) - First Grave on the Right, Second Grave on the Left, Third Grave Dead Ahead, Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet, Fifth Grave Past the Light, Sixth Grave on the Edge, Seventh Grave and No Body, Eighth Grave After Dark, The Dirt on Ninth Grave, The Curse of Tenth Grave, Eleventh Grave in Moonlight, The Trouble with Twelfth Grave, Summoned to Thirteenth Grave, A Bad Day for Sunshine
  8. Maggie Stiefvater (11 books) - Shiver, Linger, Forever, Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception, Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie, The Scorpio Races, The Raven Cycle, The Dream Thieves, Sinner, Blue Lily, Lily Blue, The Raven King
  9. Kasie West (13 books) - The Distance Between Us, On the Fence, Pivot Point, The Fill-In Boyfriend, Split Second, By Your Side, PS I Like You, Love, Life, & the List, Lucky in Love, Listen to Your Heart, Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss, Maybe This Time, Moment of Truth
  10. Janet Evanoich (12 books) - Plum Lovin', Finger Lickin' Fifteen, Sizzlin' Sixteen, Smokin' Seventeen, One for the Money, Explosive Eighteen, Notorious Nineteen, Takedown Twenty, Top-Secret Twenty-One, Tricky Twenty-Two, Turbo Twenty-Three, Hardcore Twenty-Four

Which authors have you read the most? Let me know!

Monday, July 6, 2020

Not Another Love Song - Review


Not Another Love Song

By: Olivia Wildenstein

Expected Publication: July 7th 2020 by Swoon Reads

320 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--Angie gets thrown into the deep end of the music industry and goes head to head with a sexy new boy.

Success requires sacrifice.

No one understands this better than high school senior Angie, who’s worked her entire life toward her dream of making it onto Nashville’s music scene. When her idol, Mona Stone, launches a songwriting competition, her dream suddenly feels within reach. Against her mother’s wishes, Angie pours her heart and soul into creating a song worthy of Mona.

But soon it isn’t only her mother who stands in the way of her dream. Reedwood High’s newest transfer student, Ten, becomes a major roadblock in Angie’s path to success. With his endless collection of graphic tees, his infuriating attitude, smoldering good looks, and endearing little sister, Ten toys with the rhythm of Angie’s heart.

She’s never desired anything but success until Ten mauled her with his big black car. Now she wants him and Mona Stone, but she can’t have both.

And picking one means losing the other.

Against the glittery backdrop of Nashville’s music scene unfolds a story of betrayal and abandonment, of first love and acceptance, and of ties that go far beyond those made of blood.

*I have been in a bit of a reading funk. I've read several good books, and I'm coming off a reading high I guess. Lately, I've picked up several books but can't seem to get far before I DNF them or simply put them down to return to another time. I can't explain it exactly but my tolerance for reading pet peeves has been at an all-time low. That being said, I almost DNFd Not Another Love Song within the first 15%.

My issues were small, but seemingly numerous, specifically at the very beginning of this book. A few cliche things: two best friends creating a senior year bucket list (which never came back around in the end and maybe should have been edited out or revisited towards the end of the book), mention of a popular character holding court at school, a typical clumsy female lead character, required gay character/couple to check the diversity box, occasional moments where I felt like I was missing pieces of a scene and had to pull out of the moment to re-read sections to ensure I didn't, the main female was a bit judgemental at times, a completely bogus and harsh argument with her mother, feeling entitled to the details of someone else's life, a faith in and idolization of a celebrity, a continuity issue where Angie thinks Ten is going to trick her but then acts as if the idea of someone doing such a thing is ludicrous to Nev, and then there's the one-sentence mountain out of molehills moment where a political statement is made about the state of America's health care system. Each of these things is a small issue individually, but when compiled they do add up to quite a lot of eye-rolling and sighing while reading this book.

I did decide to keep reading and once I got past the beginning my issues weren't so concentrated.

Obviously I had some issues with Angie. She's a bit too similar to many other female leads I've read before. I did appreciate her drive to follow her dreams, but I didn't feel like she was always smart about her approach. She often acted out of an emotional response rather than thinking things out.

Ten was also a bit of a reactor. He had a hot button topic that he couldn't seem to respond logically about. He and Angie were hot and cold. They would make progress and then have a fight. Over and over.

Probably my favorite part of this entire story revolves around Nev. I was afraid that I wouldn't like her as she felt like such a weak and insecure character (which I struggle with this type of person in real life), but she only needed a little encouragement to find some strength to stand up for herself and make some changes. Her story was the most interesting part outside of the back and forth and Angie and Ten.

I was a little disappointed with Angie's blind adoration of Mona Stone. One of those "never meet your heroes" kinds of things. Yet I guess that's just another difference between myself and the character. I have never felt it wise to idolize any person. We are all human. And humans will inevitably eventually let you down in some form or other. And celebrities are real people who often think and behave much differently than we imagine them to. Which means the version of them that lives in our heads just does not even exist. And that's what we mourn when we realize who we have imagined isn't real.

I read Not Another Love Song quickly, but it wasn't without issues for me. Most of them were very small, but when you add them up, I can't help but knock my rating down to reflect all of the sighing I was doing. Not Another Love Song gets 3 Stars. A little more polish would buff out a few of these kinks. Have you read Not Another Love Song? What did you think? Let me know!

*Review was written months ago when I originally read this book, but I waited to closer to the publication date to post my review.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Sunday Post & Stacking the Shelves - 07/05/20

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.

This felt like a long week. It rained almost everyday, but we were still able to get out for walks and to play a bit in between showers except one day. Husband got off work half a day on Wednesday. It's always nice for him to get home early. Thursday the kids and I ran to my mom's to spend the day. Friday, Husband had the whole day off work. He worked on the yard and fence and the kids and I did a little swimming in the pool. I'm so proud of their progress. My 2 year old son is amazing. He's a natural in the water and is swimming better without any help than his older sister. I'm still terrified that I'm going to feel overconfident in his abilities though so I watch him like a hawk. My 4 year old is tall enough to stand in the shallow end and keep her head well out of the water. She's doing well swimming but just isn't quite the natural that her brother is. I imagine by the end of our swimming season they'll both be seasoned pros. Saturday I did a quick grocery pick up, cleaned house and then we spent the day at Husband's mom's for the 4th. Husband's Dad passed away 5 years ago on the 4th so we always set off some fireworks in his honor. Today we'll be celebrating Holly's birthday with my family here at our house.

THE PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of Love's Mountain Quest (Hearts of Montana, # 2) by Misty M Beller (4 Stars)
Tuesday: Top Ten Most Anticipated Books of Q3/Q4 2020
Wednesday: June 2020 EOM Wrap Up
Thursday: Review of A Bride of Convenience (The Bride Ships, # 3) by Jody Hedlund (4 Stars)

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of Not Another Love Song by Olivia
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday?
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Wednesday & June 2020 EOM Wrap Up
Thursday: Upon Further Review of A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, # 1) by Sarah J Maas

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.

A Court of Frost & Starlight (A Court of Thorns & Roses, # 3.1)

By: Sarah J Maas

Publication: June 2nd 2020 by Bloomsbury (first published May 1st 2018)

272 pages

Genre: Adult, Fantasy

Source: Borrowed from the e-library

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

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

Goodreads description--In this companion tale to the bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series, Feyre, Rhys and their friends are working to rebuild the Night Court and the vastly changed world beyond after the events of A Court of Wings and Ruin. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can't keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated – scars that will have a far-reaching impact on the future of their court.

Sarah J. Maas is a global #1 bestselling author. Her books have sold more than nine million copies and been translated into 37 languages. Discover the sweeping romantic fantasy for yourself.

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!