Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Top Ten 2017 Reads So Far

Top 10 Tuesday is a post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week's topic is Top Ten 2017 Reads So Far.

  1. Making Faces by Amy Harmon (5 Stars)
  2. The Law of Moses (The Law of Moses, # 1) by Amy Harmon (5 Stars)
  3. Praying the Attributes of God by Ann Spangler (5 Stars)
  4. Full Tilt (Full Tilt, # 1) by Emma Scott (4.5 Stars; Review Coming Soon)
  5. All In (Full Tilt, # 2) by Emma Scott (4 Stars; Review Coming Soon)
  6. Bright Side (Bright Side, # 1) by Kim Holden (4.5 Stars; Review Coming Soon)
  7. A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole (4.5 Stars; Review Coming Soon)
  8. A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, # 1) by Sarah J Maas (4 Stars; Review Coming Soon)
  9. A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, # 2) by Sarah J Maas (5 Stars; Review Coming Soon)
  10. Shadowcaster (Shattered Realms, # 2) by Cinda Williams Chima (4 Stars)

Considering that I've actually been in a reading slump earlier this year, I've had a pretty awesome reading year. I've had more 5 Star books in the first half of this year than I had all year last year. I hope this caliber of books keeps up through the second half of the year. Which have been your favorite reads so far this year? Let me know!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Coming Up for Air - Review

Coming Up for Air (Hundred Oaks, # 8)

By: Miranda Kenneally

Expected Publication: July 1st 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire

320 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Sports

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--Swim. Eat. Shower. School. Snack. Swim. Swim. Swim. Dinner. Homework. Bed. Repeat.

All of Maggie’s focus and free time is spent swimming. She’s not only striving to earn scholarships—she’s training to qualify for the Olympics. It helps that her best friend, Levi, is also on the team and cheers her on. But Levi’s already earned an Olympic try out, so she feels even more pressure to succeed. And it’s not until Maggie’s away on a college visit that she realizes how much of the “typical” high school experience she’s missed by being in the pool.

Not one to shy away from a challenge, Maggie decides to squeeze the most out of her senior year. First up? Making out with a guy. And Levi could be the perfect candidate. After all, they already spend a lot of time together. But as Maggie slowly starts to uncover new feelings for Levi, how much is she willing to lose to win?

I've been all over the place in my feelings for this series, but one thing has been pretty constant. I love the sports themes throughout each of these books (minus Jesse's Girl). And Coming Up for Air was no different. I've enjoyed how each book has covered a different sports. Miranda Kenneally does a great job of having the sport be such a large part of each book without taking completely over. Coming Up for Air covers swimming.

Maggie and Levi are both competitive swimmers, but they're not just on their high school teams only. They're striving for a chance to swim in the Olympics. And swimming at this level requires nothing but the utmost commitment. I loved that Maggie and Levi's friends are all committed to their own sports so they make a great team. None of them get angry because the others aren't there for them when they're busy with sports things, yet they all make an effort to continue to meet up on Friday nights--the only night they all have off--and hang out. Maggie and Levi are best friends and Hunter and Georgia are best friends. But they are all friends with each other. I enjoyed how they were able to be there for each other in unique ways but also call each other on their crap when need be.

Maggie hasn't had any time to have any kind of boyfriend or relationship because she's been so focused on swimming. This means she doesn't have any emotional experience or physical experience. The description makes it seem like Maggie makes out with Levi one time and then discovers that she has feelings for Levi. I don't want to spoil too much, but that's a bit prettier than the actual events. Maggie feels like some physical experience will give her the confidence she needs to go into college. Maggie's obsession with the physical isn't my preference, but it did ring true for what I feel like teenagers these days can relate to. I particularly laughed out loud over one scene in the beginning of Coming Up for Air because while I've never been in the situation Maggie finds herself in, I'm sure many of girls have.

I do, however, have a soft spot for best friends turned more stories. And even though the emphasis on the physical isn't my favorite, I very much enjoyed the building of Maggie and Levi's relationship. Stories where a couple has a physical encounter without any emotional foundation often get on my nerves, but Maggie and Levi have plenty of emotional foundation even if they never thought of each other in a romantic way until they moved their relationship into the physical realm.

Coming Up for Air had plenty of other aspects to factor in as well. There's the competitive swimming, practices, meets, Maggie's nemesis. Hunter's relationship with Shelby (Jack's younger sister from Racing Savannah). Georgia's baggage from being cheated on in the past. The quad going off to college/boot camp after graduation. And probably even more pieces that make Coming Up for Air a complete story.

Favorite quotes:

-He knows I want to make out, right? Not read aloud to each other.

-"Most people are so busy thinking about themselves they aren't worried about other people. It's human to think that everyone is always watching everything we do, but they aren't."

-"If you aren't comfortable enough to tell a guy what you want, you shouldn't be in bed with him."

-"By hooking up without the commitment, you set your own value short."

-"I can't let what other people do affect me."

I do have to say that I was up and down with the pop-culture references. It's a pet-peeve of mine to outright mention name brands, celebrities, current TV shows, etc because I feel like it automatically dates a book. However, I do love little nuggets that may or may not have been references to pop-culture. Like there's a reference to a cheerleader in a "tiny black and blue uniform that says Ravens" who happens to be a huge flirt at one of Georgia's cheerleading competition. Could this be a reference to Brooke or Rachel from One Tree Hill? Black and blue cheerleading uniform that says Ravens? I think it's highly likely, but it isn't spelled out. Perfect reference Miranda Kenneally. However, she turns around and mentioned a couple using Maggie's parents to plan them a "Game of Thrones-themed wedding." I guess this could go both ways for either the book or the TV show. For some reason, the book references don't bother me as much as TV references because books are a bit timeless. But even with her reference to The Raven Boys, Divergent, and some warlock book that I'm not familiar with, I just felt like these references were too much. (Also a reference is included to the movie Tangled.)

Coming Up for Air was a multi-layered book that had me blowing through the pages. While all of the aspects weren't my favorite, as Miranda Kenneally books go, Coming Up for Air was definitely a winner for me. Maggie and Levi were both likeable even when I wanted to bop them each in the head. I loved the swimming pieces that surround the story. Coming Up for Air gets 4 Stars from me. Have you read Coming Up for Air? What did you think? Let me know!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

2017 Series Enders Reading Challenge - June Wrap Up

Time for our sixth Monthly Wrap Up for the 2017 Series Enders Reading Challenge hosted by Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know and Holly @ Words Fueled by Love!

Since the May Wrap Up, Holly finished A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, # 3) by Sarah J Maas. Sandy also finished After the Game (The Field Party, # 3) by Abbi Glines.

We have a couple of announcements/reminders that we mentioned last month but want to keep up for a couple of months.

  1. Please make sure we have a valid email address or other means of contacting you if you choose to participate. Linking up to Goodreads is perfectly fine, but we have found that Goodreads is not a reliable source for contacting someone should you be selected as one of the monthly giveaway winners. This could be due to your Goodreads notification settings or Goodreads themselves could be at fault. We're not sure which. And since we want to make sure that everyone who is eligible for one of the giveaways will receive their prize should they win one month or the grand prize at the end of the year, it is up to you to ensure that we can contact you and that you respond within a reasonable amount of time (usually stated in the email notifying you of your winning).
  2. While the challenge and giveaways are open internationally, please make sure that you can receive e-gift cards via Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com. Again, we want to make sure everyone has an equal opportunity to participate and to receive the prizes. Please remember that Holly and I are funding the giveaways out of our own pockets as something that we want to do, and we would like to continue to do so.

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 June giveaway runs from June 25th - July 25th. On July 25th we will use random.org and the linky entries to pull a winner.

Sunday Post - 253 & Stacking the Shelves - 191

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 has been a full week. Monday was my brother's birthday. We had a lot of errands to run plus getting ready for our trip. Tuesday was rainy and so it was good that I'd planned to be at home all day. I spent most of that day packing for our trip. Tuesday night Little Girl went to Husband's mom's house. She was there until Thursday night when my parents went to get her. And she stayed there until we picked her up Saturday afternoon. We left to go to Florida (St. Petersburg) on Wednesday, which also happened to be my birthday. Husband had a work conference to go to and I joined. We had a good time being away together, but we did miss Little Girl very much.

THIS PAST WEEK:

Monday: Cover Reveal of The Sound of Light by Claire Wallis
Tuesday: Top Ten Series I've Been Meaning to Start
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman
Thursday: Review of Long Way Home (Thunder Road, # 3) by Katie McGarry (4 Stars)
Sunday: 2017 Series Enders Reading Challenge - June Wrap Up

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of Coming Up for Air (Hundred Oaks, # 8) by Miranda Kenneally
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Wednesday
Saturday: Problems Only We Know # 7:

Don’t forget to sign up for the 2017 Series Enders Reading Challenge! You have until December 15, 2017 to sign 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 Sound of Light

By: Claire Wallis

Expected Publication: July 17, 2017

320 pages

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Suspense

Source: Advance Copy via Author (Thank you!!)

( Goodreads | Amazon | Kobo )

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

Goodreads description--My littlest girl has always been a bit peculiar. It was nothing I could ever put a finger on, but I always knew there was something inside her that made her a different kind of special. A deeper kind.

K'acy's got a light around her, one that'll just about knock you over, especially if you don't see her coming. She's got music in her soul, too. Deep, resonating music that echoes and hums, just like the notes that come from the bass guitar she's had attached to her hip since the day she turned thirteen years old.

She's got a hell of a secret, yes, but she does what she's got to do to make it one worth having. She takes care of people. She changes their stories. I spent my life telling both of my girls that you always gotta do what's right, even when it hurts, and it makes me proud to know she was listening.

I saw the way she looked at that boy on the day they met, and I knew right then that things were going to change. Two different people from two different worlds is nothing but a recipe for heartbreak, and when the lies pile higher and higher, it can change a person into something they're not.

It took me dying all those years ago to finally figure out just exactly how special my K'acy really is, and even though I'm not with her anymore, I don't want that boy and his family to change her. I want her to keep doing what's right, even when it hurts.

Because that's who she is inside. That's her deeper kind of special.

**This stand-alone novel from Claire Wallis is intended for readers age 17 and up.**

A Thousand Boy Kisses

By: Tillie Cole

Published: March 14th 2016 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

352 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Source: Personal Kindle Library

( 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--One kiss lasts a moment. But a thousand kisses can last a lifetime. One boy. One girl. A bond that is forged in an instant and cherished for a decade. A bond that neither time nor distance can break. A bond that will last forever. Or so they believe.

When seventeen-year-old Rune Kristiansen returns from his native Norway to the sleepy town of Blossom Grove, Georgia, where he befriended Poppy Litchfield as a child, he has just one thing on his mind. Why did the girl who was one half of his soul, who promised to wait faithfully for his return, cut him off without a word of explanation? Rune's heart was broken two years ago when Poppy fell silent. When he discovers the truth, he finds that the greatest heartache is yet to come.

A stand-alone young adult tearjerker romance, recommended for ages fourteen and up.

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, June 22, 2017

Long Way Home - Review

Long Way Home (Thunder Road, # 3)

By: Katie McGarry

Published: January 31st 2017 by Harlequin Teen

448 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Source: Personal Kindle Library

( 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--Seventeen-year-old Violet has always been expected to sit back and let the boys do all the saving.

It’s the code her father, a member of the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, raised her to live by. Yet when her dad is killed carrying out Terror business, Violet knows it’s up to her to do the saving. To protect herself, and her vulnerable younger brother, she needs to cut all ties with the club—including Chevy, the boy she’s known and loved her whole life.

But when a rival club comes after Violet, exposing old secrets and making new threats, she’s forced to question what she thought she knew about her father, the Reign of Terror, and what she thinks she wants. Which means re-evaluating everything: love, family, friends . . . and forgiveness.

Caught in the crosshairs between loyalty and freedom, Violet must decide whether old friends can be trusted—and if she’s strong enough to be the one person to save them all.

I read the first chapter of Long Way Home at the end of my copy of Walk the Edge. Obviously, Chevy and Violet have been secondary characters in the prior two books in this series, and their backstory has been set up all throughout the series. And then the publisher released a sampler (the first 60ish pages) on NetGalley. I didn't realize that it was a sampler until I downloaded it to my kindle. It was such a disappointment that it wasn't the full book, but since that 60ish pages ended at such a crucial part I decided to go ahead and preorder my copy. And I'm glad that I did. Katie McGarry is one of those authors that I can count on to be really consistent with her writing and characters.

I wasn't sure I was going to love Chevy and Violet. More Violet really. She was really angry with the club, with Chevy, in general after her father died. And she was kind of mean to Chevy when it was obvious that he only cared about her. Plus Violet's angry with the club for not treating her like one of the guys at times. I mean it's not like she wants to join the club, but she does want to be clued in to whatever information may pertain to her. And while I can respect that, I just got sick of her whining about not being treated how she wanted to be treated because she was a girl. If you've read the prior two books, you know that even Oz and Razor weren't getting all the answers they wanted and they were both guys. So I could understand Violet's point of view while also being a little annoyed with her issues at the same time.

Chevy was easy to like. He wants nothing more than to love Violet, but he knows how she feels about the club. Yet they are his family. I mean beyond friends that feel like family. They actually are his blood family. Yet even his mom isn't excited about him joining the MC. Chevy is being pulled in all different directions in this book, and I appreciated all that he was up against. I especially love the tie in with Isaiah from Katie's Pushing the Limits series. I want more more more information about this.

Katie McGarry does a good job or making the reader question the motives and intentions of the club with each book. You'd think that having been through two prior books where we find out that the Terror has nothing but good intentions for the characters they consider family that the MC would be beyond questioning, but with each book there's plenty to create doubt.

I also get so attached to Katie's side characters. Pigpen and Addison are both ones that I want more from. I hope she explores both of their stories in the future.

Favorite quotes:

-"I've got you, Violet. I swear to God I've got you."

-"The words out of your mouth aren't the only things she hears."

-"I'm secure in who I am and other people's definitions don't define me."

I do have to say that even though I enjoyed Long Way Home and read it quickly, this is not my favorite of Katie McGarry's books or even my favorite of the series. I want more of the side characters, and that's one of the best signs that I look for in a good series. Even without this being my favorite Katie McGarry book, Long Way Home gets 4 Stars. Have you read Long Way Home? What did you think? Let me know!