Sunday, January 26, 2020

2020 Series Enders Reading Challenge - January Wrap Up

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 two series enders: The Map from Here to There (The Start of Me and You, # 2) by Emery Lord & The Winter Companion (Parish Orphans of Devon, # 4) by Mimi Matthews. Holly hasn't finished any series enders.

Which series enders did you finish? Link the up below. Don't forget to include the title, your name, & your blog name (Ex: Requiem - Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know) Also, the January giveaway runs from January 25th - February 25th. On February 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

Sunday Post - 01/26/20

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.

Honestly this week has been kind a roller coaster. Nanny passed out and had to go to the hospital Sunday afternoon. We also had some family drama. Monday, Little Girl had a dentist appointment. She always does so well. Tuesday was a normal day except the temps were freezing. We did attempt to go outside but it didn't even last 30 minutes. Wednesday, I had to run by the post office on the way to take Little Girl to school. Then Little Boy and I headed to a doctor's appointment for me. Picking Little Girl up from school Wednesday she fell and scraped her hands up. Little Boy was trying to run to the swings, and I ran head first into a sign chasing after him. They were both screaming and crying as I buckled them into the car, and honestly, I felt a bit like crying too. Thursday, I took Little Boy to the doctor. I was worried about a UTI for him, but it turned out to be a different issue. Potty training...so much fun. It was too early for lunch so we headed to my Mom's to hang out. She didn't have many groceries so I ended up having to run to grab food and come back to her house to eat it. And then we went to her work for her retirement party. I had planned to go home straight away since Little Boy would be missing his nap that day, but my sister was in town so we all went back to my parents' for dinner. I'm also still battling a cold that started last week. I thought I was well Tuesday but Wednesday I woke up with my throat on fire. Husband is sick now too. Friday thankfully was a normal day, and so was Saturday. But I still feel completely worn out from this week. No new books this week.

THE PAST WEEK:

Monday: Book Tour Review of Tweet Cute by Emma Lord (4.5 Stars)
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Line by Line (Love Along the Wires, # 1) by Jennifer Delamere
Thursday: Review of The Map from Here to There (The Start of Me and You, # 2) by Emery Lord (3.5 Stars)

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday?
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Wednesday
Thursday: Review of A Convenient Fiction (Parish Orphans of Devon, # 3) by Mimi Matthews

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, January 23, 2020

The Map from Here to There - Review

The Map from Here to There (The Start of Me and You, # 2)

By: Emery Lord

Publication: January 7th 2020 by Bloomsbury YA

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--Acclaimed author Emery Lord crafts a gorgeous story of friendship and identity, daring to ask: What happens after happily ever after?

It's senior year, and Paige Hancock is finally living her best life. She has a fun summer job, great friends, and a super charming boyfriend who totally gets her. But senior year also means big decisions. Weighing "the rest of her life," Paige feels her anxiety begin to pervade every decision she makes. Everything is exactly how she always wanted it to be--how can she leave it all behind next year? In her head, she knows there is so much more to experience after high school. But in her heart, is it so terrible to want everything to stay the same forever?

Emery Lord's award-winning storytelling shines with lovable characters and heartfelt exploration of life's most important questions.

Guys... I'm torn. I really enjoyed The Start of Me and You. I loved Paige and Max. I loved Paige's friend group. I loved the tough things that Paige had to work through. Unlike most fans, I didn't have to wait for this book to publish since I don't think a sequel was originally planned, and I was able to just jump right into this book.

Here are my issues: this book felt much more political than the previous. I almost felt like we had a checklist going for political correctness (which would be fitting for Paige's list-making character). Paige's dad writes political pieces in his journalism column, although thank heavens we aren't subjected to reading them. We now have two gay couples--one female and one male. We have the feminist, again not subjected to much rhetoric but still present. We have a character intent on sex education reform, mostly because she has a feminine health issue (most likely PCOS). And we have an intense focus on the absurdity of planning college/after high school plans around people we strongly care about.

The beginning and very end felt like the true story of The Map from Here to There was actually about friendship. And while I really loved this group of friends, my preferences always revolve around romantic relationships. That's not to say that there's anything wrong with stories about strong friendships. I love those too. But I guess I just expected it to focus on Paige and Max.

Don't get me wrong, Paige and Max dominated the middle of the story, but mostly in the conflict areas and not in the happy-we-are-so-in-love kind of way. It totally makes sense that they might struggle with where their relationship is heading after high school. It wouldn't be smart to plan their futures around each other, especially considering that Paige's dream job is leading her toward one coast or the other. New York or LA. Despite Max being the bigger nerd between the two of them, he didn't seem to apply to any big-name schools until pressured into it. I struggled with how I felt about their conflict and how they approached dealing with it.

Paige herself was a little bit of a struggle for me as well. I've only really dealt with anxiety that I didn't feel in control of for one short period in my life when I was on a medication that didn't seem to be the right fit for me. I did feel like I was out of control and weak compared to what I saw myself being capable of handling. So I feel torn because that's not something I have dealt with outside of the period I was on that medication. So in some ways, I could relate to her anxiety and in other ways, I couldn't. I honestly felt like she'd been through worse trials and come out on the other side stronger than what she was facing in this book. Granted, anxiety isn't always logical. So I guess it's realistic.

From a personal level, I get frustrated with characters that are so against planning their futures around people they care about. Certainly, there are plenty of circumstances where one would regret following someone versus following their own dreams. But couldn't the same be said about the opposite? Couldn't one follow their career dreams and end up regretting leaving those they love behind? Because in the end, what is life without people we love to share it with? I just mean that it isn't so irresponsible to consider those we love when we are making giant life choices that will affect our futures.

I guess in the end I felt torn. I read it quickly. But I don't know that I truly enjoyed the experience. The issues Paige and Max faced didn't seem as difficult as what they have handled in the past. I also felt The Map from Here to There was much more PC than the prior, which I don't enjoy. The Map from Here to There gets 3.5 Stars. Have you read The Map from Here to There? What did you think? Let me know!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Can't Wait for Line by Line

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.

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

By: Jennifer Delamere

Expected Publication: June 30th 2020 by Bethany House Publishers

384 pages

Genre: 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--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?

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

Monday, January 20, 2020

Tweet Cute - Blog Tour - Book Review

Tweet Cute

By: Emma Lord

Publication: January 21st 2020 by Wednesday Books

336 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!!)

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

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

Goodreads description--A fresh, irresistible rom-com from debut author Emma Lord about the chances we take, the paths life can lead us on, and how love can be found in the opposite place you expected.

Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.

All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built.

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate ― people on the internet are shipping them?? ― their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.

Because the cover is the first thing any of us see when trying to determine which books we're interested in reading, I've got to say that I hate this illustrated cover-trend that we're seeing. I don't even fully know how to describe it. But I hate it! Cover creators...please hear me. I hate this trend. I guess I'm one of the only ones who feel this way, but as it's my first impression of a book, I ALMOST didn't even look at the description of Tweet Cute because of the cover.

However, I am so glad that I did go ahead and read the description because Tweet Cute will probably end up being a favorite of 2019 for me (even though it doesn't publish until 2020). Once I got past the cover, I still wondered if I would like the Twitter war aspect because I really don't do Twitter. I mean I have my blog rigged to tweet automatically, but I'm not active on that social media platform. Yet I'm familiar with accounts like Wendy's which I find hilarious when I come across some of their tweets. I am so glad that I ended up choosing to read Tweet Cute despite all of my initial worries. This book was just about everything I'm looking for.

I feel like there's a theme here, but I also wondered if I would struggle with connecting to Pepper. In some ways, I'm a perfectionist also. But I don't always enjoy reading about perfectionists. And while Pepper is struggling to stay ahead in a very competitive private school environment, much of what she feels and how she's currently behaving is not exactly her natural inclination. Pepper basically feels a lot of pressure on all sides. She is in a relatively new (to her) school with classmates she doesn't really know. Her mother and sister have had a falling out as her sister seems to blame her mother for their parents' divorce. So Pepper feels a lot of pressure to keep the peace between both her sister and her mother so that she doesn't end up estranged from either of them. And then there's trying to compete to get into an ivy league school.

Jack was so easy to connect with. He's the less popular twin. Everyone always seems to mistake him for his brother or at the very least be disappointed when they realize he's not his brother. He feels stuck like his parents just expect him to stick around home and work at the family deli. His loyalty to his family was heartwarming even if he feels a bit overlooked and unappreciated.

Another misconception I had was that the description seems to indicate that Jack and Pepper also don't know the other is behind the twitter profiles they're at war with. Pepper never wanted to be behind the Big League Burger twitter account. Her mom just pushed her into it because she's too snarky. Jack volunteered even though his dad told him not to because he felt a sense of duty since Grandma Belly's grilled cheese sandwich recipe had obviously been stolen. But the truth of the matter is that it doesn't take long for these two to find out the other is behind the rival accounts pretty quickly. They decide in person to go head to head on Twitter. And so I appreciated this because it wasn't what I was expecting and they are still anonymous in the chat app that Jack created for the school's student body's use.

Knowing that they're tweeting sassy, smart, sarcastic memes and such to each other puts Jack and Pepper in a lot of flirty situations in real life. And while the description is yet again misleading, Jack and Pepper do connect the most in real life than they do over Twitter or the chat app. Again, this is something that I appreciated.

Tweet Cute hit so many of my Top Ten Favorite Book Tropes that it isn't even funny. However, that does make for one of my favorite books that I've read so far in this entire year. I feel like this review hasn't done this book justice. Look past the cover (if that bothers you as it does me). Look past the perfectionist heroine. Look past any other hang-ups you might have with the description, and pick up this adorable, cute, feel-good book. You won't regret it. This is truly one of only a handful of books I've read this year that I can picture myself actually re-reading. Tweet Cute gets 4.5 Stars. Have you read Tweet Cute? What did you think? Let me know!

Author bio:

Emma Lord is a digital media editor and writer living in New York City, where she spends whatever time she isn’t writing either running or belting show tunes in community theater. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a major in psychology and a minor in how to tilt your computer screen so nobody will notice you updating your fan fiction from the back row. She was raised on glitter, grilled cheese, and a whole lot of love. Her sun sign is Hufflepuff, but she is a Gryffindor rising. TWEET CUTE is her debut novel. You can find her geeking out online at @dilemmalord on Twitter.

Early Praise:

"Tweet Cute delivers in every possible way: a perfect enemies-to-lovers romance, a whip-smart plotline, and endearingly real characters. I devoured it.” - Francesca Zappia, author of Eliza and Her Monsters

"Sweet and fun! An adorable debut that updates a classic romantic trope with a buzzy twist." - Jenn Bennett, author of Alex, Approximately and Serious Moonlight

“A witty rom-com reinvention for the Twitter age, Tweet Cute pairs delicious online rivalry with deeply relatable insights on family pressure and growing up. This fresh, funny read had us hitting ‘favorite’ from page one.” - Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka, authors of Always Never Yours and If I’m Being Honest

Buy Link: https://read.macmillan.com/lp/tweet-cute/

Social Links: @dilemmalord (Twitter/Instagram)

Excerpt

JACK

“Look.” I glance into the classroom, where Ethan is thoroughly distracted by Stephen and no longer keeping an eye on us. “I may have . . . overreacted.”

Pepper shakes her head. “I told you. I get it. It’s your family.”

“Yeah. But it’s also—well, to be honest, this has been kind of good for business.”

Pepper’s brow furrows, that one little crease returning. “What, the tweets?”

“Yeah.” I scratch the back of my neck, sheepish. “Actually, we had a line out the door yesterday. It was kind of intense.”

“That’s . . . that’s good, right?”

The tone of my voice is clearly not matching up with the words I’m saying, but if I’m being honest, I’m still wary of this whole overnight business boom. And if I’m being honest, I’m even more wary of Pepper. If this really is as much of a family business as she claims it is—to the point where she’s helping run the Twitter handle, when even I know enough about corporate Twitter accounts to know entire teams of experienced people get paid to do that—then she might have had more of a hand in this whole recipe theft thing than she’s letting on.

The fact of the matter is, I can’t trust her. To the point of not knowing whether I can even trust her knowing how our business is doing, or just how badly we need it.

“Yeah, um, I guess.” I try to make it sound noncommittal. My acting skills, much like my breakfast-packing skills, leave much to be desired.

“So . . .”

“So.”

Pepper presses her lips into a thin line, a question in her eyes.

“So, I guess—if your mom really wants you to keep tweeting . . .”

“Wait. Yesterday you were pissed. Two minutes ago you were pissed.”

“I am pissed. You stole from us,” I reiterate. “You stole from an eighty-five-year-old woman.”

“I didn’t—”

“Yeah, yeah, but still. You’re them, and I’m . . . her. It’s like a choose your fighter situation, and we just happen to be the ones up to bat.”

“So you’re saying—you don’t not want me to keep this up?”

“The way I see it, you don’t have to make your mom mad, and we get a few more customers in the door too.”

Pepper takes a breath like she’s going to say something, like she’s going to correct me, but after a moment, she lets it go. Her face can’t quite settle on an expression, toeing the line between dread and relief.

“You’re sure?”

I answer by opening the container she handed me. The smell that immediately wafts out of it should honestly be illegal; it stops kids I’ve never even spoken to in their tracks.

“Are you a witch?” I ask, reaching in and taking a bite of one. It’s like Monster Cake, the Sequel—freaking Christmas in my mouth. I already want more before I’ve even managed to chew. My eyes close as if I’m experiencing an actual drug high—and maybe I am, because I forget myself entirely and say, “This might even be better than our Kitchen Sink Macaroons.”

“Kitchen Sink Macaroons?”

Eyes open again. Yikes. Note to self: dessert is the greatest weapon in Pepper’s arsenal. I swallow my bite so I can answer her.

“It’s kind of well-known, at least in the East Village. It even got in some Hub Seed roundup once. I’d tell you to try some, but you might steal the recipe, so.”

Pepper smiles, then—actually smiles, instead of the little smirk she usually does. It’s not startling, but what it does to me in that moment kind of is.

Before I can examine the unfamiliar lurch in my stomach, the bell rings and knocks the smile right off her face. I follow just behind her, wondering why it suddenly seems too hot in here, like they cranked the air up for December instead of October. I dismiss it by the time I get to my desk—probably just all the Twitter drama and the glory of So Sorry Blondies getting to my head.

“One rule,” she says, as we sit in the last two desks in the back of the room.

I raise my eyebrows at her.

“We don’t take any of it personally.” She leans forward on her desk, leveling with me, her bangs falling into her face. “No more getting mad at each other. Cheese and state.”

“What happens on Twitter stays on Twitter,” I say with a nod of agreement. “Okay, then, second rule: no kid gloves.”

Mrs. Fairchild is giving that stern look over the room that never quite successfully quiets anyone down. Pepper frowns, waiting for me to elaborate.

“I mean—no going easy on each other. If we’re going to play at this, we’re both going to give it our A game, okay? No holding back because we’re . . .”

Friends, I almost say. No, I’m going to say. But then—

“I’d appreciate it if even one of you acknowledged the bell with your silence,” Mrs. Fairchild grumbles.

I turn to Pepper, expecting to find her snapping to attention the way she always does when an adult comes within a hundred feet of disciplining her. But her eyes are still intent on me, like she is sizing something up—like she’s looking forward to something I haven’t anticipated yet.

“All right. No taking it personally. And no holding back.”

She holds her hand out for me to shake again, under the desk so Mrs. Fairchild won’t see it. I smile and shake my head, wondering how someone can be so aggressively seventeen and seventy-five at the same time, and then I take it. Her hand is warm and small in mine, but her grip is surprisingly firm, with a pressure that almost feels like she’s still got her fingers wrapped around mine even after we let go.

I turn back to the whiteboard, a ghost of a smirk on my face. “Let the games begin.”