Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Can't Wait for King of Battle & Blood

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.

King of Battle & Blood (Adrian X Isolde, # 1)

By: Scarlett St. Clair

Expected Publication: November 30th 2021 by Bloom Books

368 pages

Genre: New Adult, Fantasy, Vampires

( 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--Their Union Is His Revenge.

Isolde de Lara considers her wedding day her death day. To end a years-long war, she is to marry vampire king, Adrian Aleksandr Vasiliev, and kill him. ⠀

But her assassination attempt is thwarted and Adrian threatens that if Isolde tries kill him again, he will raise her as the undead. Faced with the possibility of becoming the thing she hates most, Isolde seeks other ways to defy him and survive the brutal vampire court. ⠀

Except it isn’t the court she fears most—it’s Adrain. Despite their undeniable chemistry, she wonders why the king——fierce, savage, merciless—chose her as consort. ⠀

The answer will shatter her world.

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

Monday, October 11, 2021

All Things Halloween Review - The Crown of Gilded Bones

The Crown of Gilded Bones (Blood and Ash, #3)

By: Jennifer L Armentrout

Publication: April 20th 2021 by Blue Box Press

625 pages

Genre: New Adult, Fantasy

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--Armentrout comes book three in her Blood and Ash series…

She's been the victim and the survivor…

Poppy never dreamed she would find the love she’s found with Prince Casteel. She wants to revel in her happiness but first they must free his brother and find hers. It’s a dangerous mission and one with far-reaching consequences neither dreamed of. Because Poppy is the Chosen, the Blessed. The true ruler of Atlantia. She carries the blood of the King of Gods within her. By right the crown and the kingdom are hers.

The enemy and the warrior…

Poppy has only ever wanted to control her own life, not the lives of others, but now she must choose to either forsake her birthright or seize the gilded crown and become the Queen of Flesh and Fire. But as the kingdoms’ dark sins and blood-drenched secrets finally unravel, a long-forgotten power rises to pose a genuine threat. And they will stop at nothing to ensure that the crown never sits upon Poppy’s head.

A lover and heartmate…

But the greatest threat to them and to Atlantia is what awaits in the far west, where the Queen of Blood and Ash has her own plans, ones she has waited hundreds of years to carry out. Poppy and Casteel must consider the impossible—travel to the Lands of the Gods and wake the King himself. And as shocking secrets and the harshest betrayals come to light, and enemies emerge to threaten everything Poppy and Casteel have fought for, they will discover just how far they are willing to go for their people—and each other.

And now she will become Queen…

I'm going to have a difficult time putting my thoughts into words for this review. First of all, I thought The Crown of Gilded Bones was the series ender. I'm not sure why I thought this, but because I was waiting for the ultimate conflict to wrap up, this felt like an extremely slow start with much to cover. The pacing of the book does pick up towards the second half, but I still felt like there was too much the characters needed to accomplish and discover in order to settle all of the pieces of the puzzle. Once I realized this is not the series ender, the pacing made more sense.

Of course, my favorite piece of any book is usually the romance. In this case, Casteel and Poppy have a pretty solid relationship. They're together. They know how the other feels. And so there isn't much tension or conflict there. You guys know how this happens. We want our characters to be happy, but we also find them a bit boring when they are.

Most of the story is about Poppy's self-discovery. She slowly gets pieces of her history through the story. And just about every time we settle on an additional piece that allows her to have some sort of title, we learn that there's an even bigger and more powerful title that should replace the one we've just learned. And Poppy is only just beginning to learn her power and what she's capable of. From the start of the series and being trapped as the Maiden, Poppy has dreamed of choosing her own path. And she finds time and time again that those around her want to cast her into a role, a piece of their puzzle, and they have preconceived ideas of how she should act and behave. If she deviates, those characters have at times tried controlling her. But Poppy won't be controlled. She won't allow others to make those decisions for her anymore. And as hard as it may be, she's not going to allow her raw emotions to make the decisions for her either. I was both frustrated and impressed with her through this cycle of behavior. Several times, Poppy has to pull herself back from using her powers in a destructive way. And I wanted to roll my eyes every time she found herself in this mental state, yet applaud her and Jennifer L Armentrout for choosing a different path. Yet, I also wondered why Poppy needed this "lesson" repeatedly.

This series has been about some big twists. Unfortunately, my brain can't help but seek them out. I find myself anticipating a bit twist, reveal, betrayal, etc. And I question myself, "What could the author possibly do to surprise me? What assumptions have I, or the characters, made while progressing through the story that has little to no evidence to support the assumption?" And this has revealed more twists for me than I expected. The downside to this is that if I'm proven right, I'm actually a little disappointed. I want the author to truly surprise me. Or in the best-case scenarios, I want the author to allow me to be right on a few things and yet totally surprise me in other ways. Mostly, I was unsurprised with The Crown of Gilded Bones.

I mentioned the pacing earlier. And the book did feel slow to me. I picked it up despite the length and despite knowing that I wouldn't post my review of it until months later (for All Things Halloween) because I expected to blow through it. I can't really explain why but I kept putting The Crown of Gilded Bones down. Partly this was because I found myself under a lot of stress in real life. We started our home renovation, Husband quit his job and found a new one, as well as having a 4 month-old baby. It was a stressful time. Sometimes I found myself escaping into the book, but sometimes, I felt like The Crown of Gilded Bones was adding more stress to me. And when a chapter break would come, instead of feeling excited and propelled forward....instead of feeling a desire to keep reading, I often felt a desire for a break from the story.

Favorite quotes:

-"There will always be people who need to be reminded of history."

-"Unrest and unease are two very powerful destabilizers of any society. No matter how great one is, they can be taken apart piece by piece from the inside, often tweaking the foundation to the point of collapse before anyone realizes what is happening."

-"The heart doesn't care how long you may have with someone. ... It just cares that you have the person for as long as you can."

-"You are Casteel Hawkethrone Da'Neer. A son. A brother. A friend. A husband. ...You are a King. My king. And you will always be my everything, but never will you be a thing."

And a little bit of A Song of Ice and Fireness coming out in this quote...

-"Make sure she knows that I am the Chosen, the One who is Blessed, and I carry the blood of the King of Gods in me. I am the Liessa to the wolven, the second daughter, the true heir, owed the crowns of Altantia and Solis. I am the Queen of Flesh and Fire, and the gods' guards ride with me. Tell the Blood Queen to prepare for war."

The last thing I'll say is that I felt a little political commentary in this book. It felt close enough to the story to be about the story, but I wondered if it were placed strategically to be a little bit about some of the current political issues we face. I find this irritating no matter what the political stance may be. Thankfully it wasn't a huge piece of the story.

All in all, The Crown of Gilded Bones gets 4 Stars from me. It was slow to get started. Since I incorrectly assumed it was the series ender, the pacing never felt right to me. I often wanted to put the book down, which I find never to be a good thing. The romance is still between two characters that I really like, but because they were in a good place I didn't find that piece of the story to propel me forward. Even still, I do want to know what's going to happen next. How is this all going to wrap up? Have you read The Crown of Gilded Bones? What did you think? Let me know!

This review is part of my All Things Halloween event--a month of fantasy, paranormal, supernatural, mystery/thriller, etc reviews and books.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Sunday Post - 10/10/21

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.

Finally a mostly normal week. Well normal for now. We are mostly well again which is something we are very thankful for. Things are moving along with our house. Brick work is finished and mostly painted. Vinyl siding is mostly finished. Either the brick mason or the vinyl guys broke one of our windows. So now that has to be replaced. It isn't looking like we'll be back in our house in enough time to have the kids' birthday party like I wanted. We'll still have it, but we will just have to have it at my mom's. I'm so thankful that she's willing to let us do that. Friday, Husband was off work and took Little Boy to the pumpkin patch with his school. We have a tradition to go as a family, but the place we usually go is closed again this year due to COVID-19. So...we went to a different place as a family on Saturday. The kids still had fun. I finished birthday shopping and bought Halloween costumes this week too. Today is Husband's birthday. He doesn't ALWAYS read my blog, but in case he pops in, "Happy Birthday to my favorite person. I love you!" We're celebrating him and my dad today with my side of the family.

THE PAST WEEK:

Monday: All Things Halloween Review of A Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses, # 4) by Sarah J Maas (4.5 Stars)
Wednesday:Can't Wait for Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: All Things Halloween Review of The Crown of Gilded Bones (Blood and Ash, # 3) by Jennifer L Armentrout
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday?
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Wednesday

My annual "All Things Halloween" event is starting. This is my month-long event where I feature reviews from Halloween-y genres (fantasy, paranormal, supernatural, sci-fi, horror, mystery, thriller, and suspense). Over the last few years I've had mostly fantasy books as I just haven't been in the mood for much horror, but still...these are books that can get you in the mood for Halloween.

Don’t forget to link up for the 2021 Series Enders Reading Challenge! You have until December 15th, 2021 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!

NEW BOOKS:

Never Fall for Your Finacee (The Merriwell Sisters, #1)

By: Virginia Heath

Expected Publication: November 9th 2021 by St. Martin's Griffin

368 pages

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Regency

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--The first in a new historical rom-com series, a handsome earl hires a fake fiancée to keep his matchmaking mother at bay, but hilarity ensues when love threatens to complicate everything.

The last thing Hugh Standish, Earl of Fareham, ever wants is a wife. Unfortunately for him, his mother is determined to find him one, even from across the other side of the ocean. So, Hugh invents a fake fiancée to keep his mother’s matchmaking ways at bay. But when Hugh learns his interfering mother is on a ship bound for England, he realizes his complicated, convoluted but convenient ruse is about to implode. Until he collides with a beautiful woman, who might just be the miracle he needs.

Minerva Merriwell has had to struggle to support herself and her two younger sisters ever since their feckless father abandoned them. Work as a woodcut engraver is few and far between, and the Merriwell sisters are nearly penniless. So, when Hugh asks Minerva to pose as his fiancée while his mother is visiting, she knows that while the scheme sounds ludicrous, the offer is too good to pass up.

Once Minerva and her sisters arrive at Hugh's estate, of course, nothing goes according to his meticulous plan. As hilarity and miscommunication ensue, while everyone tries to keep their tangled stories straight, Hugh and Minerva’s fake engagement starts to turn into a real romance. But can they trust each other, when their relationship started with a lie?

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, October 6, 2021

Can't Wait for Skin of the Sea

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.

Skin of the Sean

By: Natasha Bowen

Expected Publication: November 9th 2021 by Random House Books for Young Readers

336 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mermaids

( 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--An unforgettable fantasy debut inspired by West African mythology, this is Children of Blood and Bone meets The Little Mermaid, in which a mermaid takes on the gods themselves.

A way to survive.
A way to serve.
A way to save.

Simi prayed to the gods, once. Now she serves them as Mami Wata--a mermaid--collecting the souls of those who die at sea and blessing their journeys back home.

But when a living boy is thrown overboard, Simi does the unthinkable--she saves his life, going against an ancient decree. And punishment awaits those who dare to defy it.

To protect the other Mami Wata, Simi must journey to the Supreme Creator to make amends. But something is amiss. There's the boy she rescued, who knows more than he should. And something is shadowing Simi, something that would rather see her fail. . . .

Danger lurks at every turn, and as Simi draws closer, she must brave vengeful gods, treacherous lands, and legendary creatures. Because if she doesn't, then she risks not only the fate of all Mami Wata, but also the world as she knows it.

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

Monday, October 4, 2021

All Things Halloween Review - A Court of Silver Flames

A Court of Silver Flames (A Court of Thorns and Roses, # 4)

By: Sarah J Maas

Publication: February 16th 2021 by Bloomsbury Publishing

648 pages

Genre: New Adult, Fantasy, Fae

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--Nesta Archeron has always been prickly-proud, swift to anger, and slow to forgive. And ever since being forced into the Cauldron and becoming High Fae against her will, she's struggled to find a place for herself within the strange, deadly world she inhabits. Worse, she can't seem to move past the horrors of the war with Hybern and all she lost in it.

The one person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred warrior whose position in Rhysand and Feyre's Night Court keeps him constantly in Nesta's orbit. But her temper isn't the only thing Cassian ignites. The fire between them is undeniable, and only burns hotter as they are forced into close quarters with each other.

Meanwhile, the treacherous human queens who returned to the Continent during the last war have forged a dangerous new alliance, threatening the fragile peace that has settled over the realms. And the key to halting them might very well rely on Cassian and Nesta facing their haunting pasts.

Against the sweeping backdrop of a world seared by war and plagued with uncertainty, Nesta and Cassian battle monsters from within and without as they search for acceptance-and healing-in each other's arms.

There are two things that Sarah J Maas truly excels at writing in my opinion. (Okay, she's pretty stinking good at more than just these two things, but for me these are unique abilities that not all authors are good at.) One of those is characters that have suffered and have to work to overcome trauma to reach their peak potential, and the other is romantic relationships that transition from one character to another more fitting character. A Court of Silver Flames only had one of these so don't go freaking out on me at the mention of a relationship transition.

When we start A Court of Silver Flames, Nesta is in quite a bad mental space. She's suffering from PTSD over the war with Hybern, her transition from human to high fae, her being thrown into the cauldron against her will, having new unknown powers, and guilt over her father's death as well as the deaths of the Illyrian warriors she didn't save in order to save Cassian. That's a lot of weight on one's shoulders. And a lot of mental things to work through. Feyre and Rhys cut off her cash flow and give her an ultimatum: train with Cassian and work in the library under the House of Wind or be dumped in the human world where she will never be accepted or find peace. She really has no choice. Reluctantly she begins training and finds that doing so helps her.

When I truly sit down to list out the changes that occur in Nesta over the course of this book, I'm blown away at all Sarah J Maas worked in and accomplished. She learns about balance, breathing, mind stilling and meditation. She pushes her body and builds strength. She finds friends and sees that others could benefit from the same training that she's doing to overcome their own trauma. She helps others. She finds purpose and her determination goes beyond what anyone would expect. And really this is only scratching the surface.

Cassian is truly the perfect match for Nesta. His character balances her so much. He's cocky and arrogant at times, but he has reason to be since he can mostly back it up with action. He pushes Nesta to grow outside of her comfort zone. He never judges her even during the times when she makes him angry. He keeps offering his hand to help lift her up. He is the only one I believe truly capable of reaching her in this deep pit that she's in. Yet even though he helps her out a ton, the work has to be hers. She's responsible fo her emotions and her recovery from her trauma. His patience with Nesta rivals Rhys's, which makes their story beautiful.

I will say that the graphic content seemed to be taken up a notch in A Court of Silver Flames. There for a while, it felt like there was some very descriptive sexual scene every time you turn around. I have more to say about the nature of the content, but I think that gets into too personal territory here for this family-friendly blog. I do think in some ways this was done to show a contrast between where the characters are in their relationship during the earlier parts of the book versus as the storyline moves along how things change between them. Plus it seems to fit the characters' personalities. But for me, it was a bit much.

I didn't highlight much, only two times really. But I'll only share one of them with you.

-“That’s the key, isn’t it? To know the darkness will always remain, but how you choose to face it, handle it… that’s the important part. To not let it consume. To focus upon the good, the things that fill you with wonder.” She gestured to the stars zooming past. “The struggle with that darkness is worth it, just to see such things.”

So, so much happens in A Court of Silver Flames. The big bad hasn't been defeated, but I feel like Nesta and Cassian moved forward enough as characters that another major book from their POVs isn't necessary. I imagine we will be swapping main characters for the next book. I'm personally hoping for Az. This book was so complex that Sarah J Maas is truly a master of weaving it all together. I can't wait to move forward with any other future books. A Court of Silver Flames gets 4.5 Stars from me. (I deducted .5 Stars due to the graphic content.) Have you read A Court of Silver Flames? What did you think? Let me know!

This review is part of my All Things Halloween event--a month of fantasy, paranormal, supernatural, mystery/thriller, etc reviews and books.