Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Graceling - Review

Graceling

By: Kristin Cashore

Published: October 1st 2008 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

472 Pages

Source: Purchased via birthday gift-card

( Amazon | Goodreads )

Goodreads description—Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land bore with an extreme skill. As neice of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug. When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away…a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

With elegant, evocative prose and a cast of unforgettable characters, debut author Kristin Cashore creates a mesmerizing world, a death-defying adventure, and a heart-racing romance that will consume you, hold you captive, and leave you wanting more.

Let’s see. I’m really not sure where to start. I think there’s something wrong with me sometimes. I find that a lot of times when a book has been talked up to me, I end up disappointed with it. And while I can’t know for sure that the building up is the culprit because you can never go back and unexperience something, sometimes I wonder if I would feel the same disappointment if I had never heard wonderful things about it. I wish there was a way to find out so I could know if I’m truly screwed up in the head or something. *sigh* Oh well (I’m probably just weird in the head, best to acknowledge it).

Graceling was a good book. Better than a good portion of the ones I’ve read lately, but it still doesn’t hit my 5 star rating. (Perhaps I’m too critical. I don’t know.) And honestly, the only real thing I can say negatively about it is that I wish there was more of it. So how can that be bad, right? But yet it can be. I’m giving it a good 4.5 stars.

Katsa is a really good female lead. She’s strong. She’s independent—perhaps to a fault. She’s not quite at Rose Hathaway level to me though. But the thing is, Katsa’s Grace gives her a slight advantage and natural tendency to both of these traits that someone without her Grace would have to work extra hard to accomplish. And while I really do like the idea of the Graces and how unlimited the directions are that can be taken with this idea, I found Katsa’s particular Grace to be somewhat convenient—especially when she finds out more about her Grace. I guess I'm more of a fan of the underdog and Katsa's Grace gives her an advantage over the norm.

Another thing I found to be convenient was the resolution of the conflict with Leck. It just all seemed too easy and too quickly wrapped up with a nice little bow. Of course, I haven’t read the other books in the series, so who knows if that might come back around. I wouldn’t think that it would except for the prologue for Fire was included at the back of my paperback copy of Graceling, and the prologue was the story of Leck’s childhood. So that left me wondering what the point would be of including that in the prologue of the next book if it doesn’t come back around. Obviously it was included for some reason or other, and I hope to find out why whenever I can get my hands on book 2.

I really enjoyed the relationship build up with Katsa and Po and I liked how they completely complement each other. However, this is where I consider Katsa’s independence to be a fault. I just personally have a hard time relating to someone who is so opposed to marriage. And while I understand that once she frees herself from Randa’s control she feels the urgency of remaining in control even more so than before. But couldn’t it be said that to allow the events of the past that have made her feel out of control to hinder her from marriage is truly to allow those events to remain in control of her life? Whereas going ahead with marriage and submission would be ultimately taking control—particularly because she knows Po would never try to control her? The thing is, I can see her point of view. I just don’t agree with it. (Please don’t mistake me and think that I believe every book or love story should end with the pretty bow tying everything up with matrimony. I just struggle with Katsa being so opposed to the idea. Especially because...um...well it's Po!)

I also think it’s truly ironic that the two things she thought she’d never want or need is exactly what she ended up with. She never wanted to be in love and never wanted to be a mother. While it’s true that at the conclusion of this book she was not actually married or a mother, she fell in love and she had to take a child into her sole care and responsibility (for a time anyway) and make sure that child survived and she did it voluntarily and quite well if you ask me. Her motherly instincts definitely came through at multiple points in the story.

Summing it up…Katsa was a strong, gifted character that ended up with exactly what she thought she didn’t want. I enjoyed the love story as per usual. However, the ending left me wanting more, and I’m not sure I can quantify that as the good kind of wanting. I am excited to read Fire whenever I can get my hands on it, but for now I must be satisfied and move on. What do you guys think? Have any of you read Graceling? I’d definitely recommend it.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

In My Mailbox - #6

In My Mailbox is a weekly post hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren where bloggers can discuss the books we got in the mail this week.

It appears I've had a stroke of good luck this past week. Over the past week I was the winner of two giveaways. I was quite surprised and stoked!!! And if it weren't for either of these giveaways I wouldn't have had anything in my mailbox. So I'm extremely grateful and I totally want to figure out how to pass on the love by hosting my own giveaway at some point. Hopefully I'll get that worked out before too long. In the meantime, here's my mailbox...

(Goodreads | Amazon )

Partials

By: Dan Wells

Published: February 28th 2012 by Balzer + Bray

468 pages

Goodreads description--Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the world’s population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. The threat of the partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to the disease in over a decade. Humanity’s time is running out.

When sixteen-year-old Kira learns of her best friend’s pregnancy, she’s determined to find a solution. Then one rash decision forces Kira to flee her community with the unlikeliest of allies. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that the survival of both humans and partials rests in her attempts to answer questions of the war’s origin that she never knew to ask.

Combining the fast-paced action of The Hunger Games with the provocative themes of Battlestar Galactica, Partials is a pulse-pounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question—one where our sense of humanity is both our greatest liability, and our only hope for survival.

This giveaway was hosted by Maggie @ Reading Diva's Blog! Much appreciation to Maggie for hosting this giveaway and I'll definitely be posting a review once I'm finished with it.

( Goodreads | Amazon )

Graffiti Moon

By: Cath Crowley

Published: February 14th 2012 by Random House Children's Books

260 pages

Goodreads description--Senior year is over, and Lucy has the perfect way to celebrate: tonight, she's going to find Shadow, the mysterious graffiti artist whose work appears all over the city. He's out there somewhere—spraying color, spraying birds and blue sky on the night—and Lucy knows a guy who paints like Shadow is someone she could fall for. Really fall for. Instead, Lucy's stuck at a party with Ed, the guy she's managed to avoid since the most awkward date of her life. But when Ed tells her he knows where to find Shadow, they're suddenly on an all-night search around the city. And what Lucy can't see is the one thing that's right before her eyes.

And this giveaway was hosted by Kat @ The Aussie Zombie! Full disclosure, I don't actually have this book in hand yet, but I wanted to go ahead and feature it in my mailbox this week. Much love and thanks to Kat for hosting this giveaway as well! And of course, will review this on my site as soon as I've read it also.

I do believe that's it for my mailbox this week. What did you guys get in your mailbox?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Insurgent - Review

Insurgent

By: Veronica Roth

Published By: HarperTeen May 1, 2012

525 pages

Source: Purchased w/ birthday gift card

Goodreads Description—One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth’s much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

I really enjoyed Divergent and was ready to jump right into Insurgent since I had it on hand. But man do I wish I had given myself some downtime first. This marks a very rare occasion, one that has never occurred before. I literally wish I had been able to have the gap between releases in order to re-cooperate. I don’t think I understood how drained I was after reading Divergent until I moved into this one. Insurgent literally picks up at the exact moment that Divergent ends. And while that was really cool (not many stories do that), I found myself more than anything quite exhausted throughout the entire reading of Insurgent. These poor characters move from one horrible experience to another horrible experience. And just as the characters themselves had literally nil downtime, the reader has nil downtime. Even though I was exhausted, I felt this need to push through the exhaustion and continue moving through the story, much like the characters themselves had to do. My friend, Lacy, told me that she would compare Divergent to The Hunger Games, and while I didn’t agree with her during my own reading of Divergent, I completely agree now. The Hunger Games kept me pressing forward out of this intense fear that something was going to happen at any minute to these characters that I love, but it was mostly the fear that drives you forward. With the exception of the actual Games and the war, there are moments of downtime in that series. You know bad things are ultimately coming, yet you have a slight reprieve for the moment. That was not the case in Insurgent. There is a fear that drives you as the reader forward, but it’s not a fear of bad things happening—because that is a guarantee—it’s more like a fear of the outcome because bad things are happening constantly.

All of that being said, I’m afraid I might have given the impression that I didn’t enjoy it. That’s not the case at all. I was hooked. I was rooting for the characters. And I like the direction this series is headed in. Veronica Roth’s writing is gripping, and her story telling is better than most. Some moments I find to be quite beautiful. I, also, applaud her ability to tell her story without the addition of unnecessary language. That might seem like such a small thing, but I will never forget the idea of not being smart enough to come up with other words, and I apply that to this medium as well. Her story lacked nothing as a result.

Tris was more of a struggle to like in this book for me than in Divergent. As the reader, I was frustrated when Tris went into her moments of guilt and her inability to forgive herself. I can understand the character's need to experience those feelings and reactions, and the story would be less believable had she not. But I was yelling at her (in my head of course) to get over it, to move on, to wake up, to look around her and see what she’s risking by wallowing. And for goodness sakes, no more running off all the time—and I don’t mean off to danger to save the day, I literally mean the escape mechanism she uses. Dealing with this was an essential part of the story and necessary for Tris’s development as well as the furtherance of her relationship with Four (I’m probably always going to call him that, because Tobias is just…well…not my favorite name in the world). That being said, just as most real-life growing experiences aren’t usually pleasant to experience, they’re not always any more fun to read about either. In my personal opinion, it was all worth it to hear Four’s comment to her at the end.

I think that’s it for Insurgent. 4.5 stars. I’m looking forward to the release of the final book in the trilogy, though I am thankful that I have some time before it comes out, because I need some rest. *Wipes sweat off forehead* What did you guys think about Insurgent? If you haven’t read it, it’s a must read, and I have a feeling it’s one of those special series.

( Goodreads | Amazon )

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

One Moment - Review

One Moment

By: Kristina McBride

Expected publication: June 26th 2012 by EgmontUSA

272 Pages

Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Goodreads description—This was supposed to be the best summer of Maggie’s life. Now it’s the one she’d do anything to forget.

Maggie Reynolds remembers hanging out at the gorge with her closest friends after a blowout party the night before. She remembers climbing the trail hand in hand with her perfect boyfriend, Joey. She remembers that last kiss, soft, lingering, and meant to reassure her. So why can’t she remember what happened in the moment before they were supposed to dive? Why was she left cowering at the top of the cliff, while Joey floated in the water below—dead?

As Maggie’s memories return in snatches, nothing seems to make sense. Why was Joey acting so strangely at the party? Where did he go after taking her home? And if Joey was keeping these secrets, what else was he hiding?

The latest novel from the author of The Tension of Opposites, One Moment is a mysterious, searing look at how an instant can change everything you believe about the world around you.

This book is exactly what it sounds like. I read it quickly and kept finding myself wanting to come back to it when I had to put it down. Even though the plot was completely predictable, I still found myself wrapped up in the story of Maggie and Joey and their friends.

I know Maggie’s temporary memory loss falls into the category of “possible,” but I still struggled with the idea of her losing her memory. It almost seems as if it wasn’t Joey’s death that even caused the memory loss, which I find to be a bit of a stretch. I read Notes to Self by Avery Sawyer (my review), where an actual brain injury as a result of a terrible fall causes Robin’s memory loss, and that’s obviously a lot more plausible than just a traumatic emotional experience.

The characters experienced a lot of emotion, but as the reader I was able to keep myself outside of those emotions. And I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. In most cases I want to feel what the characters feel and experience those emotions as if they were happening to myself, and I didn’t in this case. But I’m not sure for this book that this can be considered a negative thing. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood to cry, so I didn’t allow myself to get sucked into the emotion. But honestly, I never even felt slightly like crying.

Even though Maggie finds out that Joey had his secrets, and those secrets crushed her, she learned that life isn’t always black and white. I liked the analogy her counselor, Dr. Guest, gives her about the quilt. As a whole you love the quilt and there might be pieces that are used that you wouldn’t have picked for yourself if you had to choose, but those pieces are part of a whole. And people are like this too. Not 100% good and not 100% beautiful. We’re flawed. To draw from Candor’s manifesto (Divergent) and Veronica Roth, “We know that while we are flawed in a unique way, we are not unique because we are flawed. Therefore we can be authentic.”(my review of Divergent)

Anyway, not too much else to be said about One Moment without giving away more of the obvious. It was a fast read that I enjoyed and kept coming back to for more. 3 Stars, check it out and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Top 10 Non-Book Related Sites/Blogs

Top 10 Tuesday is a post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week's topic is: Top 10 Sites/Blogs that Aren't Book Related.

I honestly don't spend a ton of time on the internet. If there's anything I'm interested in, I usually sign up to receive updates via email and check those throughout the day as they come in, but here's my list. As always, the sites are in no particular order...

1) Chasing a Lion - This site was started by my brother. His goals for starting the site are to: 1. Promote the full gospel of Jesus online and through the exploding channel of social media. 2. Stimulate people’s thinking by examining many of our beliefs, traditions, attitudes and behaviors against what Scripture says, with a goal of increasing our individual Bible study. 3. Create an online, organized Spiritual Library of content, compiled from a community of trusted contributors. I've written an article for this site called Prayer, the Perfect Communication and I also post my reviews of spiritual books on this site along with my normal posting on Amazon and Goodreads.

2) The Handmade Home - Ashley and her husband are friends of a friend of mine. My husband and I purchased a dresser refinished by Ashley and we love it! I believe it's probably featured on her site at some point, but that's beside the point. Our mutual friend, Kay, has also done some features on her site. Kay's Kitchen: YumYum Rolls and Kay's Kitchen: Sweet Potato Dumplings.

3) Hyperbole and a Half - I dont think there have been any new posts on this blog this year, but it was still an awesome find for me. In particular, The Four Levels of Social Entrapment was hilarious.

4) A Wordy Woman - A good site to help me spend time thinking about whether or not I'm the woman I'm meant to be.

5) Raising Homemakers - I'm honestly not 100% how I stumbled across this blog. I think it came from my sister-in-law somehow, but I truthfully can't remember how. Either way, I'm not a mom yet, but this blog has given me some ideas about motherhood and if nothing else given me some things to think about.

6) Merriam-Webster: Word of the Day - I hope this link works. This isn't so much a blog or a site, but I subscribe to the word of the day emails in an attempt to expand my vocubulary. Plenty of times the words are ones I already know, but I've found that I still enjoy getting these and educating myself as much as possible.

7) Team Beachbody - Because another passion of mine is working out, and the Team Beachbody website helps keep me accountable and motivated.

8) Twitter - Enough said on this one I suppose.

9) Facebook - I don't have a Facebook page created for my blog yet. I do have intentions to do that, but I'm not quite ready for that yet. One step at a time.

10) Pinterest - Again, enough said on this one too.

What do you guys think? What are your top 10 non-book related site?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Wilde's Fire - Review

Wilde’s Fire

By: Krystal Wade

Published By: May 13th 2012 by Curiosity Quills Press

299 Pages

Source: Publisher (via NetGalley)

Goodreads Description—“There is no pain in this death, only peace, knowing I am going to die with the one I love the most.” –Katriona Wilde.

Katriona Wilde has never wondered what it would feel like to have everything she’s ever known and loved ripped away, but she is about to find out. When she inadvertently leads her sister and best friend through a portal into a world she’s dreamed of for six years, she finds herself faced with more than just the frightening creatures in front of her. Kate’s forced to accept a new truth: her entire life has been a lie, and those closest to her have betrayed her. What’s worse, she has no control over her new future, and it’s full of magic and horror from which nightmares are made. Will Kate discover and learn to control who she really is in time to save the ones she loves, or will all be lost?

I’m going with maybe 3 stars for Wilde’s Fire. Another average book, which is okay. I think when I read a book I find worthy of a 5 star rating I become more critical of the books that follow. The longer I go in between 5 star books, the more lax and soft I become in my ratings. It wasn’t that there was anything particularly, overly bad about this book. It was just another average book. And since I’ve read several books that I would consider well above average, exceptional, and one even 5 star worthy, lately I just find myself being a bit indifferent to this one.

I kept forgetting that Kate was 20 years old. She seemed no more mature than most of the 16-18 year-olds you might read about in typical YA fiction. Her younger sister Brit seemed almost more mature, experienced, and perceptive than Kate herself. That’s not to say that’s not possible, but it was just kind of frustrating. I’ve said it before, but I don’t mind saying it again. I tend to prefer my YA to lean a little more adult and a little less young. I don’t mind characters that are young in age, but I do struggle with immaturity.

Another thing is the alternate dimensions aspect (actually referred to as “worlds” rather than “dimensions” but you get the drift). I haven’t found many (currently I’m unable to think of any) books that carry out this aspect in a way that makes sense to me. I’m not a science nerd by any means so it’s not that the science doesn’t make enough sense for me because I don’t care about that. But I am a logical nerd and I guess I get mixed up with alternate universes/worlds/dimensions/etc. From A Wrinkle in Time, to The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Shadow Souls to the House of Night series to well…whatever (I’m sure there are more examples, I’m just drawing a blank). I just really don’t like this concept, and any book I’ve ever read that included this has felt lacking to me. Everyone has their points of issue—this happens to be one of mine. So sue me.

Other than that, I’m not finding that there’s too much to report. Wilde’s Fire...3 Stars...check it out and let me know what you think of it.

( Goodreads | Amazon )

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Divergent - Review

Divergent

By: Veronica Roth

Published By: 2011 by Katherine Tegen Books

487 Pages

Source: Paperback

Goodreads Description—In a future Chicago, 16 year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.

Man that description just doesn’t give you a whole lot of anything does it? HA! But isn’t that the way you want it sometimes? Sometimes I do. I’m giving Divergent 4.7 stars. (I’ve been doing decimals lately. The whole numbers themselves just don’t seem like enough these days.)

I’m having a hard time putting my thoughts into words. But all my thoughts are good if that makes a difference. They’re just jumbled into a big pile and not organized into sections. Oh well. I’ll do my best to muddle through.

First off, I only have one friend who had read this book before me. I’ve seen other bloggers that enjoyed Divergent , but I’ve not read any of their reviews on it. I do this on purpose a lot of time. I don’t like too much information prior to reading to distort my view or experience of a book. I do like knowing whether or not others were pleased and excited about a book before I go exploring through its pages, but I enjoy the experience of the journey so much I try very hard not to ruin it in any way. That being said, I also try very hard not to ruin the experience for anyone who might be reading my posts as well. But sometimes there’s a fine line between being able to talk about a book and not because you don’t want to give too much away. And I guess that’s what I’m finding myself faced with here.

I love the character development of Beatrice (a.k.a. Tris). I love how we experience her feelings of not knowing where she belongs. And I love the dilemma she’s faced with at the Choosing ceremony—how her decision itself makes her one or the other (being purposefully vague here). Man okay. I can’t do it…SPOILER ALERTS!!!!! (If you don’t like your experience ruined, stop here. If you are stopping here, just know I really, really, really liked it. Got it?) Ok, *sigh*.

I love how Tris is faced with choosing Abnegation and therefore confirming she’s selfless or choosing Dauntless and therefore confirming she’s brave. I love the writing in that whole scene. I love how she learns with the help of Four but she relates it to her father closer to the end of the book that she was already brave while Abnegation and now that she’s Dauntless she has learned to be selfless. And you can really see that evolution in her. And the point Four drives home about how selflessness and bravery are very much the same, so much so that it’s hard to tell the difference sometimes.

I really enjoyed the concept of this book. It was different. The different factions all having a quality or characteristic they aspire to and they admire and esteem, and how Four says he wants to be them all. Brave, smart, kind, selfless, and honest. Why has no one else thought of this before him? It’s hard to see how they can be completely separated so easily because in truth they should work together. It’s a cool concept. Obviously we learn the most about Abnegation and Dauntless because that’s where Tris came from and where she moved to. But we also learn a lot about Erudite.

The paperback edition I bought has a heap of bonus material in the back of the book. I love bonus material, but I don’t enjoy being faked out about how much story I have left (except sometimes I do, a discussion for a different day). Luckily I was paging through the back of the book to see how many pages it had and noticed the bonus material so it wasn’t a huge surprise when I got to the end of the story to find 75ish pages of bonus information. The faction manifestos were really interesting and some of them were beautifully written. I like how they were all written differently. (I actually read some of them out loud to my husband because I thought the writing of those manifestos was some of the most beautiful language used in the whole book.) It would have been a shame not to have included them. And in the Q&A with Veronica Roth, I like how she said Abnegation is probably her favorite faction because they truly live a beautiful life. I felt like Abnegation got a bad rap from the other factions and while I’m not nearly as selfless as I should be, I think it’s a trait most people don’t even consider—especially not in our “every man for himself” society.

Of course, I’m a fan of the romance. Four is a strong male lead and I love how he views Tris as being so strong that he puts her down in front of the others to protect her, but also because he forgets that she can be hurt. And I think that it’s exactly because she’s divergent that he loves her. He’s the one that says he wishes to be brave, but also smart, selfless, kind, and honest…and even though he doesn’t know she’s divergent at first, he can see that she embodies more of the qualities than just bravery or just selflessness.

I don’t know, I think I might have rambled enough here. I’m already a couple of chapters into Insurgent. Looking forward to finding out what happens next!

Crazy Love - Review

Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God

By: Francis Chan

Published: May 1st 2008 by David C. Cook

205 Pages

Genre: Non-fiction, Christian, Spirituality, Religious

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—Have you ever wondered if we’re missing it?

It’s crazy, if you think about it. The God of the universe—the Creator of nitrogen and pine needles, galaxies and E minor—loves us with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrificing love. And what is our typical response? We go to church, sing songs, and try not to cuss.

Whether you’ve verbalized it or not, we all know something’s wrong.

Does something deep inside your heart long to break free from the status quo? Are you hungry for an authentic faith that addresses the problems of our world with tangible, even radical, solutions? God is calling you to a passionate love relationship with Himself. Because the answer to religious complacency isn’t working harder at a list of do’s and don’ts—it’s falling in love with God. And once you encounter His love, as Francis describes it, you will never be the same.

Because when you’re wildly in love with someone, it changes everything.

Learn more about Crazy Love at www.crazylovebook.com.

There is a whole lot of punch packed into this little book. Giving it a 5 star rating. This book really inspired me. I’ve been looking around me wondering about the state of the world lately. How we’ve gotten where we are. How we’ve forgotten to give glory, and honor, and praise to our God. How we forget who He is and who we are in comparison to Him. How we have taken on the role of creator (or tried to) and have fallen miserably short. This book is about coming to see God, an accurate picture of God. It’s about praising Him. It’s about coming to a love for Him that will move you to action. It’s not just about loving God, it’s about being IN LOVE WITH GOD! (There is a difference.) And Francis Chan challenges you to take a look at yourself to see what it is that you’re expecting out of your relationship with the Almighty, Creator God. Are you only looking for the blessings He has the potential to bestow upon you? Do you realize that none of this is about YOU but it’s all about HIM?

I have to say, I NEVER highlight in fiction books. I rarely highlight in non-fiction books. Update: I now highlight through all kinds of books, but mostly only kindle versions. I do, however, highlight all throughout my Bible (personal preference and decision of mine), but I also have to say that I highlighted all throughout this book, as well. Of course that was somewhat easier and less messy because of it being a kindle version. Yet, highlighting wasn’t enough. I found myself copying sections of this book into a notebook because they were powerful, they moved me, and they made me take a hard look at myself. Am I lukewarm? All who are godly in Christ will suffer persecution—where is my persecution? Will I follow if God calls me to do something radical with my life? And do I have a love for Him that is passionate and evident to those around me because I just can’t contain it?

I appreciate the amount of Scripture used in this book. Also, there are at least two videos that he requests you go to the website and watch. I wasn’t able to do it at the exact moment I came to those passages in the book, but I did make time to go back and watch them later, and I am really glad that I did. I highly suggest that you incorporate those videos into your process through the book.

Francis Chan left me with a lot to think about, but he challenged me not to stop there. He challenged me to move myself into action. If you need a good kick in the butt, a refresher on what it means to love a Holy God, or you just want to see what all the talk is about, I suggest you check out this book. It will always be my reminder to you on any post I do of a book that has any religious subject that you check out what the Creator has to say for Himself. The Bible is and always will be the Source of all information that we have about our God. It is the Living-Word and sharper than any two-edged sword. It is a love story from the beginning to the end. And Francis Chan reminded me of that. My Abba Father has an a crazy, radical love for me. And I’m just as giddy as a school girl when I stop and think about it.

Have you read Crazy Love? What did you think? Let me know!

*Updated: February 9, 2015

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sizzling Sixteen Audio - Review

Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum, #16

By: Janet Evanovich

Published: A Macmillan Audiobook from St. Martin's Press

Read By: Lorelei King

Running time: 7 Hours

Genre: Adult, Mystery, Humor, Crime

Source: Borrowed from my sister

( 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--Trenton, New Jersey, bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has inherited a "lucky" bottle from her Uncle Pip. Problem is, Uncle Pip didn't specify if the bottle brought good luck or bad luck...

BAD LUCK: Vinnie, of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds, has run up a gambling debt of $786,000 with mobster Bobby Sunflower and is being held until the cash can be produced. Nobody else will pay to get Vinnie back, leaving it up to Stephanie, office manager Connie, and file clerk Lula to raise the money if they want to save their jobs.

GOOD LUCK: Being in the business of tracking down people, Stephanie, Connie, and Lula have an advantage in finding Vinnie. If they can rescue him, it will buy them some time to raise the cash.

BAD LUCK: Finding a safe palce to hide Vinnie turns out to be harder than raising $786,000. Vinnie's messing up Mooner's vibe, running up pay-per-view porn charges in Ranger's apartment, and making Stephanie question genetics.

GOOD LUCK: Between a bonds office yard sale that has the entire Burg turning out,Mooner's Hobbit-Con charity event, and Uncle Pip's lucky bottle, they just might raise enough money to save the business and Vinnie from ruin.

BAD LUCK: Saving Vincent Plum Bail Bonds means Stephanie can keep being a bounty hunter. In Trenton, this involves hunting down a man wanted for polygamy, a turnpike toilet paper bandit, and a drug dealer with a pet alligator named Mr. Jingles.

GOOD LUCK: The job of bounty hunter comes with perks in the guise of Trenton's hottest cop, Joe Morelli, and the dark and dangerous security expert, Ranger. With any luck at all, Uncle Pip's lucky bottle will have Stephanie getting lucky--the only question is...with whom?

Sizzling Sixteen ...so hot, the pages might spontaneously combust!

I've not read (or listened) to the Stephanie Plum books in any kind of order. I believe my first experience wtih Stephanie Plum and Janet Evanovich was when my sister checked out Plum Lovin' from the library. Plum Lovin' is A Between-the-Numbers Novel. And it was hilarious. I just remember listening to it and busting out laughing at different parts. Then I think Finger Lickin' Fifteen was the next one I moved onto. And now Sizzling Sixteen. This is so rare for me to pick up mid-series and out of order and such. I'm a very organized and methodical person. But in my experience, any of these books could be stand-alone books.

Lorelei King is brilliant as a narrator. She has voices for the other characters in a way that makes me forget one person is actually narrating everything and in such a way that I know exactly who is speaking without having to be told just based off the voice she's using for the character. It's great. She's great. Especially her depiction of Lula. "He ate my jelly donut, so I shot him." HILARIOUS. Obviously, you need to hear (or read) that in context, but you get the picture. And I have to say that Lorelei King is one of the reasons why I'm not upset that I haven't gone at this series in order. My sister tells me that Lorelei King isn't the original narrator of the series, and I just don't think I could listen to anyone else read these books.

I do have to say that the potty mouth stands out to me a little bit more in audio version than it usually does in print. I can skim over it in print, but once you hear it, it's hard to undo and for some reason it has more of an impact that way.

The Stephanie Plum series is a great in between series and I really enjoy listening to them when I have opportunity. Janet Evanovich is very humourous and I find myself laughing out loud then looking around to see if anyone is staring at me like I'm an idiot quite often. Especially Lula and Gramma Mazur ("I can't squeeze to keep the breezers in.").

If you're looking for a quick book to blow through or a reprieve from some seriousness, Sizzling Sixteen will do the trick, especially the audio version. 3 Stars. Have you read (or listened) to Sizzling Sixteen? What did you think? Let me know!

**Side note: I've finished 4 books this week and I'm STOKED about that. Extremely rare for me to get that much accomplished in one week. I've already posted my review of City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare. And I will be posting on Crazy Love by Francis Chan and Divergent by Veronica Roth later on this week. Look out for those reviews.

*Updated: February 9, 2015

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday - Authors and Reality Shows & Dislikable Characters

Top 10 Tuesday is a post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week's topic is: Top 10 Authors You'd Like to See in a Reality Show. However, Broke and Bookish changed the topic to "freebie" because they received several comments about how hard the authors and reality shows idea was. Overachiever that I am, I decided to do both.

Since the real topic is about the authors and reality show, I'll start with that.

Authors to be on a Reality Show

Celebrity Apprentice - Mostly because I don't watch very many reality TV shows and this one just happens to be at the finale...(in no particular order).

1) Stephenie Meyer - Because her books have exploded and with the work she's done behind the scenes on the movies, I have a feeling she'd actually be a very diverse player.

2) Jane Austen - Because come on...love Jane Austen. Plus she had a little bit of scandal in her own life...what reality show can't use a bit of a scandal?

3) JK Rowling - Because she's brilliant and because she'd be a creative genius on the show.

4) Kahlil Gibran - Because he'd probably be the wisest player, but fired first.

5) Carrie Ryan - Because every reality show needs a little zombies.

6) Janet Evanovich - Because she's hilarious and would be the comedian of the group.

7) Richelle Mead - Because she's one of my favorite authors and I can see her being able to do anything.

8) William Shakespeare - Haha...because he's dramatic. Everything would be a comedy or a tragedy. HA!

9) Earnest Hemmingway - Because what reality show doesn't need a little crazy?

10) Robert Frost - And because even on Apprentice with Donald Trump....nothing gold can stay.

What would also be really cool is if there was a reality show like The Voice or something where authors have to make up fictional stories on the fly and share them with the audience and judges and get voted off.

Most Dislikable Characters

Surprisingly this has been a lot more difficult to cast that I thought it would. Ironically, I find myself feeling sorry for almost every character I’ve tried to put on this list in one way or other, and even though they might be pure evil, I’ve found myself relating to them in one way or other…or…at the very least…understanding them. This struck me as really odd because I’m not typically that way in real life—understanding of my fellow man. But I think it’s because in fiction I’m able to see them more clearly, I’m able to take time to think about them--understand them--and of course the biggest kicker here, I’m not personally affected by them. Also, I kind of cheated a smidgen--given more than 10 characters, but only because I dislike multiple characters for the same reasons.

1) Sebastain/Jonathan Morgenstern from The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare - Because any character who purposely kisses (and wants more) his sibling...well...I don't know about you guys, but yuck. Aside from the fact that he's a raging lunatic and psychopath.

2) Daniel from The Dead Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan - Because he's majorly creepy and slimy...and that scene with Gabry in the Lighthouse literally made my stomach churn.

3) Cira from The Dead Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan & Jessamine from The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare - Because I seriously struggle with "weak" girls...and Cira...well I didn't feel sorry for her at all. She was weak...and annoying. IMO. And Jessamine, despite the fact that growing up one of the only things I knew about myself was that I wanted to be married and loved, I just don't relate to her. And I kind of consider her as weak too. On top of all of that, Jessamine was also a traitor and ARGH! I hate traitors.

4) Nathaniel Gray from The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare - Because even though we find out he's not blood related, anyone who can treat someone he or she grew up believing was his or her sibling the way he does...is easily dislikable. And because I really can't stand a traitor as mentioned above.

5) George Wickham, Lydia Bennet from Pride & Prejudice & Isabella Thorpe from Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen - Wickham, two faced. Another trait I despise. When the face you show to the world isn't who you are. I mean there were times when I felt sorry for him...but...not enough to really care. And Lydia...bless her heart (the universal preface to anything derogitory that makes the coming statement okay)...is just an idiot. What more is there to say about that? She's the type of person I run in the opposite direction screaming at the top of my lungs and waving my arms over my head. And Isabella is a combination of George Wickham and Lydia Bennet. AH! Double-whammy.

6) Lena Duchhanes from Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl & Nora Grey from Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick - Lena, TOO whiny! Just get over it already.Nora, I like her better in Silence and Hush, Hush, but in Crescendo...man, I didn't think I was going to make it. WAY too much whinning going on for me. This one might get me some negative feedback, but it is how I feel.

7) All the characters from the House Of Night series by PC & Kristin Cast - Oh my...don't even get me started...I'm saving my rant about these characters and this series for if I ever force myself to finish reading Destined (I'm only one chapter in. I wouldn't hold my breath. However, I'm kind of excited about the rant, so maybe I will finish it just so I can go off. HEHE!). Also, probably not a popular listing.

8) Cersei Lannister from A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin & Mimi Force from the early books in the Blue Bloods series by Melissa de la Cruz - Cersei is the perfect character you love to hate. She's got reasons behind the evil things that she does, and that is what is relatable about her...but man...she is easy to hate. Especially in A Game of Thrones. And with Mimi, another character you love to hate. She just seems pure evil. Jack doesn't want you (this life cycle anyway)...move on. I come to like her in later books (I say later books, I think I haven't read the last two or three that are currently available in the series).

9) Theon Greyjoy from A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin - And Theon steps out of the shadows into the lovely, bloody spotlight. I also struggle with Theon because I consider him to be weak. Seeking his father's approval--which I understand--but not being able to see that he had family amongst those he chooses to betray in hopes of winning his father's love and approval...oh yeah...all while making the biggest fool of himself.

10) Gale from the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins - Because essentially he guilts Katniss into spending more time with him than Peeta in Catching Fire. And well...I really can't stand a guilt trip. I don't respond to those very well at all. Plus he wasn't my pick from the beginning...so I had no allegience to him. And then he got crazy wrapped up in the war and making cool bombs...which...enough said. And this will be the kicker. I'm sure I will incur the wrath of Team Gale fans.

What do you guys think? What authors would you like to see on a reality show? Which show? And who are your most dislikable characters? Let me know.

City of Lost Souls - Review

City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments, # 5)

By: Cassandra Clare

Published: May 8th 2012 by Margaret K. McElderr

535 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Angels, Vampires

Source: Personal 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--The New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments continues—and so do the thrills and danger for Jace, Clary, and Simon.

What price is too high to pay, even for love? When Jace and Clary meet again, Clary is horrified to discover that the demon Lilith’s magic has bound her beloved Jace together with her evil brother Sebastian, and that Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is out to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. As Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle wheedle and bargain with Seelies, demons, and the merciless Iron Sisters to try to save Jace, Clary plays a dangerous game of her own. The price of losing is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost?

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.

Oh boy! I’m still overflowing with giddiness over this book. I feel like I need to apologize to Cassandra Clare yet AGAIN (for like what? The 5th time or something?)! Sometimes I believe myself able to predict the future (which is totally not possible in case you were wondering). I trust my sense of direction so strongly that I almost believe that what I see lying ahead of me (usually when faced with only partial information) is so set in stone that I forget that other possibilities exist (as often more information exists as well). As much as I think I’d love to be able to predict the future, and as often as my predictions do ring true, I don’t have this ability and my predictions just as often fall short. After reading Clockwork Angel, all I could see were the similarities between The Infernal Devices and The Mortal Instruments. The characters, the plot, the bad guys, the twists, the overall story arc that I perceived, the timing and rhythm of events…it all felt so similar. Then of course I read City of Fallen Angels, and I was just left so distraught after reading it. I was one of those readers that felt closure with the way City of Glass ended. I wasn’t happy that Clary and Jace had just gotten settled and conflict smacks them in the face yet again. I didn’t want them facing these new challenges. I’m one of those readers who typically likes the classic American happy ending. I thought my characters had gotten their happy ending, only for it to be ripped right out from under them. I felt like these characters that I’ve come to love were going to have at least one if not two other books to struggle through adversity with little hope of a happy ending in sight until the end of the upcoming book, City of Heavenly Fire. And while conflict is absolutely essential to any good story—no one wants to read about people who are happy ALL the time—I personally have a hard time going into a book knowing (or assuming) that “happy” isn’t anywhere in sight. Cassandra Clare said to be patient, to trust her, that she loves these characters just as much if not more than the reader does…well I didn’t listen. Summing all of that up, over those two books (Clockwork Angel and City of Fallen Angels), I was just overall disappointed.

And because of that disappointment, I put off reading Clockwork Prince until recently (you can read my review here) and was blown away. As I said in that review, the two series, while similar, really started showing their differences in that book. And I LOVED Clockwork Prince. It was the book that stood out for me as exceptional in a sea of “pretty good” and “okay/average.” (Not every book can be 5 Star worthy.) That being said, while City of Lost Souls doesn’t get the 5 star rating, I’m giving it a solid 4.5.

I was fully prepared, expecting, and assuming for Clary and Jace to not even see each other for the majority of this book. And that was just a depressing outlook to me and a failed prediction on my part. City of Lost Souls did have a semi-slow start for me. I think it was around 70-80ish pages before I was really starting to get excited about it. Up until then I still believed my preconceived ideas would hold true. And because Cassie Clare proved me wrong, I was majorly excited about seeing what else she might prove me wrong about. (As you can see, my being wrong in a prediction is by no means a bad thing in my opinion).

I struggled right along with Clary and the questions she had in her mind about Jace, about Sebastain/Jonathan, about right and wrong. I enjoyed the swapping of narrators. Though sometimes this is annoying to me and I’d rather stick with one main character, it works for this book. And any character is fair game as a possible narrator in this series. I really liked Maia and Jordan. And while I like what’s happening between Simon and Isabelle, I find myself asking what is it about him that she likes? I mean I like him, but why does she? Sometimes I’m not sure that’s explored or flushed out as clearly as I would like. Oh and Sebastain…there in the last 100-150 pages…well…I don’t want to give anything away, but let me just say “Oh my!”. There are more crossovers between The Mortal Instruments series and The Infernal Devices series, which I also really enjoy. And I have a major prediction of my own about a crossover between the series that I can’t share as of now, but if it comes about I will totally say that I called it. I told my husband so that I have a witness.

And one last thing for now, I actually thoroughly enjoy how frequently the characters refer back to their own words to each other or one character remembers words that another character said to them. Because that’s life. We do that all the time. And I absolutely hate when a series isn’t consistent or when a character appears to have forgotten something that I just don’t buy them forgetting. I really enjoy this and it just goes to show how well Cassandra Clare ties everything together and how every sentence has meaning and might be drawn up later. GJ! Faith restored yet again Cassie Clare!

Have you guys read it? What did you think? Looking forward to Clockwork Princess (anyone know when this one is supposed to release?) and City of Heavenly Fire. If you haven’t, this book and this series is a must read! Check it out.

Updated: February 5, 2015

Sunday, May 13, 2012

In My Mailbox - #5

In My Mailbox is a weekly post hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren where bloggers can discuss the books we got in the mail this week.

Last week I was cleaning house and was going through this stack of papers and guess what a found? A GIFT CARD!!!!! It had to have been from my birthday last year or the year before, either way, I was stoked! So what did I do? I SPENT IT OF COURSE! (Can you feel the excitement?) And what did I buy you ask? Well it just so happens that I'm about to tell you.

Because I've posted about City of Lost Souls before, I'll just post the link to Amazon . I'm reading this one right now, but I've been very disappointed in the amount of time I've been able to find to read. So I haven't made much progress yet, which is the sux. (Goodreads)

My friend, Lacy, read Divergent and said it was pretty awesome, and I've seen some other bloggers I follow that really enjoyed it. So that was my next pick. Goodreads Description--In a future Chicago, 16-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all. (Amazon | Goodreads)

And because book 2 came out on May 1st, Insurgent was my third selection. Goodreads Description--One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature (Amazon | Goodreads )

And lastly, because a blogger I follow, Anna Reads, loves this books and I trust her opinion. It's been on my Amazon wishlist for probably about 2 years, Graceling. Goodreads Description--Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug. When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

With elegant, evocative prose and a cast of unforgettable characters, debut author Kristin Cashore creates a mesmerizing world, a death-defying adventure, and a heart-racing romance that will consume you, hold you captive, and leave you wanting more. ( Amazon | Goodreads )

What did you get in your mailbox this week?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Airel - Review

Airel (The Airel Saga, # 1)

By: Aaron M. Patterson & Chris White

Published: August 31st 2011 by StoneHouse Ink (first published May 1st 2011)

379 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Angels

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--All Airel ever wanted was to be normal, to disappear into the crowd. But bloodlines can produce surprises, like an incredible ability to heal. Then there’s Michael Alexander, the new guy in school, who is impossibly gorgeous…and captivated by her. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she can hear the sound of pages turning, and another, older story being written. It is the story of an ancient family, of great warriors, of the Sword of Light, and the struggle against an evil so terrible, so far-reaching, that it threatens everything. Airel knew change would be an inevitable part of life. But can she hold on when murder and darkness begin to close in and take away everything she loves? Will she have what it takes when the truth is finally revealed?

What to say? What to say about Airel? I guess I can start with saying that I'm giving Airel 3 Stars. Overall, I was disappointed. It was only an "okay" read. The plot was average. The characters only slightly likeable if not bordering on annoying. There were no real plot twists, meaning everything was quite predictable. It was a fairly easy read for me. The narration flowed smoothly enough, but there just wasn't much there to keep my interest. Obviously, I kept reading and finished it, but that was mostly because I knew I wanted to move on to something else and I would only feel comfortable doing that if I finished Airel first. Because had I put this one down there's a good chance I wouldn't have picked it back up again. (Okay, let's face it, we all know I need to complete what I start so I would have come back eventually, but only after reading everything else I could get my hands on first).

Also, let me briefly discuss how at one time I really enjoyed a book that carried about the whole "love at first sight" idea. I'm not quite sure if I've evolved and my tastes have changed or if this book's approach to the idea was just not up to par. I'm really undecided, but either way, I didn't enjoy it in this book.

Things I did like include the portions related to God, El, how the angels praise and adore Him. The authors didn't seem to stray too far from Biblical text which I appreciated. There were some nicely worded quotable thoughts. Such as..."I don't know if this will change my life, if I can move on and be strong, but I know that I will be fine. I will be okay in the end. Because I am enough." And I liked how Kreios discussed with Airel how when you "love someone so much" that you begin to lose yourself, well, that's not exactly healthy. It's definitely not what we should seek out of relationships. I completely understand being so wrapped up in how you feel, how someone else makes you feel, and how you feel about yourself when you're with someone else that you begin to lose yourself. And while I'm 100% for loving deeply and intensely and giving your soul to someone else, the key is being able to survive without them...not being completely consumed and lost if you find out they've betrayed you (which more than likely will happen sooner or later in one form or other--even if they don't mean to).

Other than that, I can't say enough that this book was simply "okay." Have you read Airel? What did you think about it? Let me know!

Updated: February 5, 2015

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Top 10 Quotes From Books

Top 10 Tuesday is a post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week's topic is: Top 10 Quotes in Books.

Coming up with my favorite quotes wasn't so hard, but hunting them down wasn't as easy. It needs to be said before you read any further that it's possible these quotes contain spoilers. It can't be helped. It's just that a lot of times those are the best parts of a book. And some of them won't make any sense at all if you haven't read the book, but that's why it's my list and not yours. Without further rambling...my top 10 quotes from books (in no particular order):

1.) Mr. Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - "Mr. Bennet, how can you abuse your own children ill such a way! You take delight in vexing me. You have no compassion on my poor nerves." "You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention them with consideration these twenty years at least."

2.) Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - "In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you."

3.) Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - "If you will thank me," he replied, "let it be for yourself alone. That the wish of giving happiness to you might add force to the other inducements which led me on, I shall not attempt to deny. But your family owe me nothing. Much as I respect them, I believe I thought only of you." Elizabeth was too much embarrassed to say a word. After a short pause, her companion added, "You are too generous to triffle with me. If your feelings are still what they were last April tell me at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged; but one word from you will silence me on this subject forever."

4.) Ned Stark from A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin - "Robb says the man died bravely, but Jon says he was afraid." "What do you think?" his father asked. Bran thought about it. "Can a man still be brave if he's afraid?" "That is the only time a man can be brave," his father told him.

5.) Tyrion Lannister from A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin - "Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you."

6.) The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran - Love one another, but make not a bond of love; let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.

7.) Lee Jordan from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling - (I couldn't find the exact location in the book where this is quoted, so it might be more of a paraphase. I did google it, but you know how reliable that can be sometimes. Hopefully this is 100% accurate...if not, I apologize.) "He can run faster than Severus Snape confronted with shampoo."

8.) Captain Wentworth from Persuasion by Jane Austen - I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath.

For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in

F. W.

I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look, will be enough to decide whether I enter your father’s house this evening or never.

9.) Abe Mazur from Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead - "Ah, Belikov," said Abe, shaking Dimitri's hand. "I'd been hoping we'd run into each other. I'd really like to get to know you better. Maybe we can set aside some time to talk, learn more about life, love, et cetra. Do you like to hunt? You seem like a hunting man. That's what we should do some time. I know a great spot in the woods. Far, far away. We could make a day of it. I've certainly got a lot of questions I'd like to ask you. A lot of things I'd like to tell you too." --Emily Shaffer reads this section in the audiobook brilliantly.

10.) Jace from City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare - "We came here to train, and we should train. If we spend all the time we're supposed to be training making out instead, they'll quit letting me help train you at all." "Aren't they supposed to be hiring someone else to train me full-time anyway?" "Yes," he said, getting up and pulling her to her feet along with him, "and I'm worried that if you get into the habit of making out with your instructors, you'll wind up making out with him, too." "Don't be sexist. They could fine me a female instructor." "In that case you have my permission to make out with her, as long as I can watch."

What's your favorite book quotes?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

In My Mailbox - #4

In My Mailbox is a weekly post hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren where bloggers can discuss the books we got in the mail this week.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (Thank you, Disney-Hyperion via NetGalley)

Goodreads Description--Oct. 11th, 1943—A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she's sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

Harrowing and beautifully written, Elizabeth Wein creates a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other. Code Name Verity is an outstanding novel that will stick with you long after the last page.

I'm getting behind on my TBR list...but I'm not complaining at all. I'm excited about getting to some of these books. I've seen reviews on Code Name Verity where the reviewers just raved about this book, and I'm looking forward to seeing how I feel about it. Have you read this one? What'd you get in your mailbox this week. Let me know.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Glimpse - Review

The Glimpse (The Glimpse Duology, # 1)

By: Claire Merle

Published: June 7th 2012 by Faber & Faber (UK) (first published June 1st 2012

411 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Dystopian

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--In a near future, society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed to mental illness. 17-year-old Ana has been living the privileged life of a Pure due to an error in her DNA test. When the authorities find out, she faces banishment from her safe Community, a fate only thwarted by the fact that she has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell.

Jasper is from a rich and influential family and despite Ana’s condition, wants to be with her. The authorities grant Ana a tentative reprieve. If she is joined to Jasper before her 18th birthday, she may stay in the Community until her illness manifests. But if Jasper changes his mind, she will be cast out among the Crazies. As Ana’s joining ceremony and her birthday loom closer, she dares to hope she will be saved from the horror of the City and live a ‘normal’ life. But then Jasper disappears.

Led to believe Jasper has been taken by a strange sect the authorities will not intefere with, Ana sneaks out of her well-guarded Community to find him herself. Her search takes her through the underbelly of society, and as she delves deeper into the mystery of Jasper’s abduction she uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she has grown up to believe.

EDITORS' PICKS for Best Books of the Month (June) AMAZON UK

The second and final part of The Glimpse Duet will be available in June 2013.

I’m thinking The Glimpse deserves 4 stars. Let me start by saying that it’s possible (highly likely) that there is quite a symbolic message with this book. Perhaps Claire Merle is commenting on drug companies and how we never really know what it is that we’re taking, or the food industry and how the average person doesn’t understand the chemicals and such used in food production that we’re taking into our bodies. Perhaps it’s nothing more in depth than a message about following blindly after the government and not questioning the structure of society. And of course there’s the possibility that it’s about none of these things or all of them at the same time. Honestly, this may make me sound completely ignorant, but I really don’t care what the deeper message is. I enjoyed this book for what it was: a girl who thought she knew what she wanted from her future, was surprised to find that everything she understood as “truths” were lies, and then seeks to forge a future of her own making.

I read this book while I was at the beach this last weekend and I read it pretty quickly. I even tempted car sickness as I continued to read on the trip back home. I was rooting for Jasper and Ana until Ana met Cole. Typically I don’t change sides in the middle of a book, I pick which character I’m rooting for and I stick with him or her until the end. But there’s a first time for everything. And the saying “you can never go home again” comes to mind…Jasper of course would be home. Things would never be the same after his abduction despite the appearance of Cole, so...changing sides doesn't feel like such a betrayal.

It appears that this book is going to be quite controversial. I’ve read (only briefly because of the ridiculousness of some of the arguments against this book) some reviews on Goodreads. One review was from someone who hasn’t even read the book. I’m not trying to get into negativity here on my blog and I’m not trying to “feed the trolls,” but …People, seriously?? It’s FICTION! If anything, it’s a story about how all of the issues being used as an argument against this book are in fact points the book itself is trying to make. The only reason I’m even addressing this is if the reason you might hold yourself back from reading this book is because of the use of terms such as “crazies” or perhaps you take issue with the science associated with this book (or lack thereof) then just think that if the science for preventing mental disorders, or any disorder for that matter, is out there (currently anyway) then we would already be taking advantage of that. So tell yourself this: “This book is a work of fiction. I do not have to analyze every detail. I can sit back and enjoy a story just for the sake of a story. And perhaps the author actually has a message against what this appears to be, but I won’t know until I read it for myself.” And then plunge ahead. If you’re not one of those people who can do that, then by all means, this is not the book for you. No one is twisting your arm to read anything you don’t want to, but please be respectful enough not to review a book you haven’t read.

Now, enough of all that. I enjoyed this book and will be coming back for more. So there. I hope you check out The Glimpse by Claire Merle. And I hope you find yourself able to push yourself into worlds you never dreamed possible. Happy reading.

Have you read The Glimpse? What did you think? Let me know!

Updated: February 5, 2015

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Top 10 Books that Should be Made Into Movies

Top 10 Tuesday is a post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week's topic is: Top 10 Books that Should be Made Into Movies.

1) The Vampire Academy Series written by Richelle Mead – Because I love this series. This might be my top favorite series of all-time as of right now. Because I think it would translate well to a visual medium. Because I think guys would be more willing to accompany their girlfriends and wives to a movie where there’s a really hot chick that kicks some serious tail more than a lot of other series. And because I personally really want to see Rose and Dimitri make it to the big screen. If you haven't checked this series out, you are really missing out.

2) The Forest of Hands and Teeth Series written by Carrie Ryan - Because I know I've said it before but The Dead Tossed Waves is probably one of my favorite stand alone books. Because who doesn't love a good zombie movie (or zombie movie series). Because one of my favorite TV shows right now is The Walking Dead. And because it would be really nice to see a zombie movie that really focuses on relationships rather than zombies themselves.

3) The Mortal Instruments Series written by Cassandra Clare - Yeah, yeah...I know this one is already kind of in the works, but that doesn't mean it doesn't qualify for the list (IMO anyway). Because who that has read this series doesn't want to see Jace on the big screen?

4)The Infernal Devices Series written by Cassandra Clare - Because you can't do The Mortal Instruments and not do The Infernal Devices. Serious? Because Will is possibly hotter than Jace anyway (another IMO--I'm a fan of dark haired men over blonde personally). And because this one's setting is during on one my favorite time periods which makes it even better.

5) Catching Fire & Mockingjay written by Suzanne Collins - Duh!!!!! I really can't stop something in the middle. We need completion. I need completion. Even though The Hunger Games was my favorite in the series, the others have to be made too. I need more Peeta! *smiles*

6)The Scorpio Races written by Maggie Stiefvater - Because I'd really like to see what they do with the water horses. The setting, the races, I think it would all add up to be a really great movie.

7) Persuasion written by Jane Austen - So...yeah, I know this one has been done once before, BBC version or something. But I'd like for it to be redone. The BBC version is pretty good, but I think it's time for a remake.

8) Crossing Oceans written by Gina Holmes - Because this would be a great sad movie. Because I think seeing this would be possibly more powerful than reading it. And reading it was powerful enough.

9) Lurlene McDaniel’s books (specifically The Dawn Rochelle series) though...maybe this would be better suited for TV series. Either way...I really don't even know if I can explain why on this one. Lurlene McDaniel was my favorite author during my 5th and 6th grade years. (I plan on doing a post about her and her books sometime soon hopefully...just need to get my information together first.)

10) 13 Reasons Why written by Jay Asher - This too might possibly be better adapted for TV. But because I feel like this is a topic that the masses could really use being exposed to more, especially in this age where bullying seems to be running rampant.

So that's it, what are you're top 10 picks for books that should be made into movies?

Exiled - Review

Exiled (The Never Chronicles book 1)

by: J.R. Wagner

Published by: Greenleaf Book Group

Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Goodreads Description -- James has never known an ordinary life. As long as he can remember, he and his family have been on the run--moving from place to place, never settling down, never growing roots. Now, just when he's on the brink of manhood, the very thing his family has been trying to prevent tears him from all he has ever known and thrusts him into a place where he is powerless and alone.

Bent on finding a way back, James must brave a place reserved for the worst of his kind. He quickly learns that the land itself poses a greater threat than its inhabitants and if he is to have any chance of returning, he must work with the very people he's been raised to fear.

James has known magic since just after he was born. As a sorcerer, his skills are exceptional yet when he wakes in the Never, his abilities are gone. Armed with nothing but determination and the will to survive, he braves a land wrought with dangers, mysteries and temptations meant to ensnare both body and mind and prevent escape forever.

At most I'd give Exiled 3 stars. The book started out slowly, especially because there really wasn't too much dialogue in the very beginning. I have a hard time getting hooked when there's too much description and not enough interaction between characters. Also, this is another book where we jump around in time and events don't happen chronologically. After I got into the story further, this didn't bother me, but in the beginning I was really confused.

The concept seems like a better idea than it panned out to be. It seems like the author probably has a well drawn out plan for the upcoming events and that everything is already planned out, possibly for the entire series, but with the totatality of what happened in this book (book 1) and where the book ended, I'm not sure it was enough to entice readers to come back for more. At one time in my life, I never thought I'd be able to start a series and not finish it, but with my ever growing TBR list, there's never enough time to read all the books I want to read, and coming back for more after only an "okay" book is not always going to be possible. I've just got to face the fact that there might be some unfinished series in my life. As upsetting as that might be to my OCDness.

All of that being said, there was "something" that kept me coming back. I really did have moments when I'd be like "I just want to read Exiled." But I can't put my finger on exactly what kept me coming back. Anyway, that's about it for Exiled. Let me know what you think if you've read it too.