Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Top Ten Books Recently Added to My TBR List

Top 10 Tuesday is a post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week's topic is Top Ten Books Recently Added to My TBR List.

  1. World After (Penryn & the End of Days, # 2) by Susan Ee
  2. The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Curse Trilogy, # 1) by Marie Rutkoski
  3. The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon
  4. The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E Smith
  5. Jessie's Girl (Hundred Oaks, # 6) by Miranda Kenneally
  6. Burning Nation (Divided We Fall, # 2) by Trent Reedy
  7. The Storyspinner (The Keepers' Chronicles, # 1) by Becky Wallace
  8. Scorched (Frigid, # 2) by J Lynn
  9. All Played Out (Rusk University, # 3) by Cora Carmack
  10. Soundless by Richelle Mead

What new books have you added to your TBR list recently? Let me know!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Breathe, Annie, Breathe - Review

Breathe Annie Breathe (Hundred Oaks, # 5)

By: Miranda Kenneally

Published: July 15th 2014 by Sourcebooks Fir

306 pages

Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Contemporary

Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!!)

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

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

Goodreads description--Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.

But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.

"Breathe, Annie, Breathe is an emotional, heartfelt, and beautiful story about finding yourself after loss and learning to love. It gave me so many feels. Her best book yet." — Jennifer Armentrout, New York Times bestselling author of Wait for You

Breathe, Annie, Breathe was a book that I had decided I probably wouldn’t invest my time in initially. There was nothing wrong for me with the cover or the book description, but you know, there is a limited amount of time to read, right? Well that was until I started seeing Breathe, Annie, Breathe get some really good reviews. I can’t remember anything specific except I think I saw one person who said that this book made them cry.

I’ve been in a real Contemporary mood lately, and after picking up a mystery/thriller that had such a slow start, I needed something that I could finish quickly. I wanted a book to give me all the happy feels that I’ve come to associate with my love of reading. And Breathe, Annie, Breathe did just that. It did not, however, make me cry…at all…in case you were wondering. Maybe I was misremembering what someone else said. I'm not sure.

As the description says, Annie’s boyfriend Kyle died recently. He had been training to run a marathon. Annie feels a level of guilt over Kyle’s death that was a bit annoying. I mean it’s easy for an outsider to see that obviously Annie was in no way responsible for Kyle’s death, but it’s also easy to see how Annie gets stuck into the traps of asking “what if”. While I found myself rolling my eyes over Annie’s guilt, I was thankful that Miranda Kenneally didn’t dwell on this issue to the extreme of completely turning me off to what Annie was feeling.

Annie does decide to run the marathon that Kyle was aiming for, and so she signs up for training under Matt. Matt has everything planned out. Each day has a run scheduled by distance, he provides a meal plan, and I have got to give Annie kudos for sticking with this plan. I’ve done workout programs in the past, but the meal plans just aren’t always doable for me. Annie finds the training to be much more difficult than she expected it to be. Her stomach revolts against her and she also has issues with her knee. I don’t want to spoil too much here, but I will say that I was terrified that something really wrong was going on with Annie’s body. I really loved how Miranda Kenneally worked this aspect. It wasn’t too obvious. Just enough conflict. Nothing to have me rolling my eyes over.

Matt’s brother, Jeremiah, also helps with Matt’s clients. Jeremiah is a pacer. He helps to train the athletes looking to achieve a certain finish time in each race. He’s basically an adrenaline junkie. Jeremiah is game for any and every extreme sport out there. And he’s pretty good at everything he tries. Even still, injuries happen. Annie finds herself drawn to him, but not only does she hold herself back for fear of moving on from Kyle, from the guilt she feels over Kyle’s death, but she also fears opening up to someone who seeks out dangerous situations. I could really understand how she was feeling when it came to this. When you’ve been hurt in a specific way before, I think it is human nature that our brains seek to protect us from that same pain ever happening again.

Breathe, Annie, Breathe was my first Miranda Kenneally experience, and since finishing I’ve added all the other Hundred Oaks books to my TBR list. I’ll definitely be checking out more of her work. Breathe, Annie, Breathe has some language and some sexual situations. There wasn’t anything too graphic for me, and I was appreciative that the cursing wasn’t overboard, but if you’re sensitive to these things then be aware.

Ultimately, I think Breathe, Annie, Breathe was exactly what I needed. I picked it up and finished it within 24 hours. It gave me all the feels I was looking for, and I didn’t find myself groaning too much over the repeating patterns I’ve been seeing in YA/NA lately. I also loved that even though Annie wasn’t training for the purpose of getting fit, she was active, and Miranda Kenneally did a good job showcasing the difficulty but rewarding nature of a good workout. Breathe, Annie, Breathe gets 4 Stars from me. Have you read Breathe, Annie, Breathe? What did you think? Let me know!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday Post - 142 & Stacking the Shelves - 101

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.

Guys to be honest this week just plain sucked. We lost my older cousin, Amy, to cancer on Wednesday. Even though she was thirteen years older than me, she often would include me and others a good bit younger in the things she had going on. She was my Bible school teacher when I was about 10 to 13 years old. I remember learning more about the Bible during that time period than any other until I began to read and study for myself when I was older. I remember her creating games for class. She was very creative and ended up being an elementary school teacher. She took us to the beach. She was full of pranks and many, many people have plenty of stories to tell from that aspect of her. Amy loved her family, and she loved kids. She fostered two children even though she was unmarried--voluntarily taking on the role of a single parent in order to provide a safe place for two young children when they needed it most. And I remember her taking in two other children that she taught in school whose parents often left them alone and were struggling financially. And that's just the ones that I know of. I know there were many more that she helped in various ways that I don't even know about because that's who she was. She was a genuinely good person, and her faith in God despite and throughout her battle with cancer was truly something to be admired. Amy never blamed God. She was never a victim. She had one of the most positive and uplifting attitudes I've ever witnessed. She will be greatly missed by all of her friends and family, but we are thankful that through Jesus Christ we have the opportunity to see her again one day. Death always makes the things that matter stand out in stark contrast to the things that don't. Please everyone take an extra minute to hug your loved ones and let them know how much you care because you never know how long you'll have them in your life. And if you don't know Jesus Christ, the resurrected Savior, then I pray that He will reveal Himself to you so that you may know Him and also have hope of eternal life.


Monday: Review of Confess by Colleen Hoover (4.5 Stars)
Wednesday: 2015 Series Enders Reading Challenge March Wrap Up & Waiting on Winter (Lunar Chronicles, # 4) by Marissa Meyer
Thursday: Review of All Broke Down (Rusk University, # 2) by Cora Carmack (3.5 Stars)


Monday: Review of Breathe Annie Breathe (Hundred Oaks, # 5) by Miranda Kenneally
Tuesday: Top Ten Books Recently Added to My TBR List
Wednesday: Waiting on Wednesday & March EOM Wrap Up
Thursday: Review of Trouble from the Start by Rachel Hawthorne
Possibly a Friday discussion post.

Don’t forget to sign up for the 2015 Series Enders Reading Challenge! You have until December 15, 2015 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!

March 2015 Take Control of Your TBR Pile

I am also participating in Kimba's March Take Control of Your TBR Pile Challenge. Here are my goals for the month:

  1. Open Minds (Mindjack Trilogy, # 1) by Susan Kaye Quinn (46% complete)
  2. Just Enough Light for the Step I'm On by Stormie Omartian
  3. Ruins (Partial Sequence, # 3) by Dan Wells
  4. Kiss of Fire (Imdalind, # 1) by Rebecca Ethington
  5. Inhuman (Fetch, # 1) by Kat Fells
  6. Wreck Me (Nova, # 4) by Jessica Sorensen
  7. Ruin Me (Nova, # 5) by Jessica Sorensen
  8. The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, # 3) by Michelle Hodkin
  9. Ignite Me (Shatter Me, # 3) by Tahereh Mafi
  10. Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy, # 1) by Danielle L Jensen
  11. What If by Rebecca Donovan
  12. The Walking Dead Compendium 1 by Robert Kirkman
  13. All Lined Up (Rusk University, # 1) by Cora Carmack
  14. All Broke Down (Rusk University, # 2) by Cora Carmack
  15. The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines, # 6) by Richelle Mead
  16. The Iron Queen (The Iron Fey, # 3) by Julie Kagawa (64% complete)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess

By: Jen Hatmaker

Published: January 1st 2012 by B&H Books (first published December 19th 2011)

228 pages

Genre: Non-fiction, Self-Help, Spiritual, Christian, Inspiration

Source: Borrowed from the 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--American life can be excessive, to say the least. That’s what Jen Hatmaker had to admit after taking in hurricane victims who commented on the extravagance of her family’s upper middle class home. She once considered herself unmotivated by the lure of prosperity, but upon being called “rich” by an undeniably poor child, evidence to the contrary mounted, and a social experiment turned spiritual was born.

7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence.

Food. Clothes. Spending. Media. Possessions. Waste. Stress. They would spend thirty days on each topic, boiling it down to the number seven. Only eat seven foods, wear seven articles of clothing, and spend money in seven places. Eliminate use of seven media types, give away seven things each day for one month, adopt seven green habits, and observe “seven sacred pauses.” So, what’s the payoff from living a deeply reduced life? It’s the discovery of a greatly increased God—a call toward Christ-like simplicity and generosity that transcends social experiment to become a radically better existence.

That's it for my shelves and recaps of my past and upcoming week. What did you add to your shelves this week? Any bookish news you want to talk about? Let me know!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

All Broke Down - Review

All Broke Down (Rusk University, # 2)

By: Cora Carmack

Published: October 28th 2014 by William Morrow Paperbacks

368 pages

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary

Source: Personal Kindle Library

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

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

Goodreads description--In this second book in New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Carmack s New Adult, Texas-set Rusk University series, which began with All Lined Up, a young woman discovers that you can't only fight for what you believe in... sometimes you have to fight for what you love.

Dylan fights for lost causes. Probably because she used to be one.

Environmental issues, civil rights, corrupt corporations, and politicians you name it, she's probably been involved in a protest. When her latest cause lands her in jail overnight, she meets Silas Moore. He's in for a different kind of fighting. And though he's arrogant and infuriating, she can't help being fascinated with him. Yet another lost cause.

Football and trouble are the only things that have ever come naturally to Silas. And it's trouble that lands him in a cell next to do-gooder Dylan. He's met girls like her before fixers, he calls them, desperate to heal the damage and make him into their ideal boyfriend. But he doesn't think he's broken, and he definitely doesn't need a girlfriend trying to change him. Until, that is, his anger issues and rash decisions threaten the only thing he really cares about: his spot on the Rusk University football team. Dylan might just be the perfect girl to help.

Because Silas Moore needs some fixing after all.

Ok so I just KNEW this book was going to be able Stella and Silas. So while I was looking forward to getting Stella’s story, I was also pleasantly surprised to find this story about Dylan and Silas and not focused Stella at all. Truthfully Dylan fits so much more. I’m not sure why I jumped to that conclusion—probably because Silas and Stella had a hook up in book 1, All Lined Up. Assumptions assumptions! We all know they get you nowhere good really fast, but we make them all the time.

I wasn’t sure about Silas. He seemed like a carefree kind of guy based off my experience with him in All Lined Up, so I wasn’t expecting him to be wound so tightly. Basically Silas comes from humble beginnings. His family life was rough, and luckily he had a high school coach who pointed him towards football. But Silas doesn’t feel like he fits in with the world around him. He feels like everyone else is mostly from privileged backgrounds and that one day they’ll realize that he’s not one of them—that he doesn’t belong. And so Silas does what so many people do—he self-sabotages.

Dylan and Silas are a lot more similar than they appear on paper. Even though her parents are wealthy, she’s adopted. And you can see the nine-year-old little girl who’s scared she’s going to lose the only love she’s ever known. So Dylan becomes…a people-pleaser. But recently, she’s also discovered her passion for speaking up for those whose voices aren’t heard. The biggest situation that she campaigns for throughout All Broke Down is for the homeless. Yet, I couldn’t help but feel like it wasn’t the cause so much that mattered to her—while this one certainly did hit her close to home. It just seemed like she’d speak up for the sake up speaking up and not necessarily because she personally backs the cause.

Dylan and Silas meet in jail—which I loved. Not your typical place to meet your next relationship. Silas helps Dylan live a little, breathe a little, and come out of her shell. And he helps her realize that she’s been living to please others and not at all for herself. Dylan helps Silas become more grounded. He learns that anger and violence aren’t the best reactions or coping mechanisms. He learns to look at himself and his past and let go. And she helps him learn to love himself by helping others. He essentially learns that it’s okay to make himself vulnerable for the greater good of others.

One of the things I loved most about All Lined Up was how absent sex was from Dallas and Carson’s relationship. Of course there was heat, but they waited—for a while anyway. But that was not the case with Silas and Dylan and All Broke Down. Of course, it’s Silas so I’m not sure you could expect much different. But that aspect was a little disappointing for me.

Favorite quotes:

-“Next time I promise not to let my emotions get the better of me when handcuffs are involved.”

-Totally psychotic because he is way out of my league. Or I’m way out of his league, I don’t know. Either way, someone is out of someone’s league.

-“I don’t think I can change the world, but I can change one person’s world at a time. And that’s something.”

-“We cannot effect change with sheer force of will.”

-I know now why caring about another person is so…scary. It’s not that they won’t care about you back, because that either happens or it doesn’t. You live with it or you do everything you can to change it. The really scary thing is the moment you realize that for the rest of your life, you’ll feel twice the pain, twice the joy, twice the fear. Twice as helpless to control it all, too.

All Broke Down was enjoyable, but I have to say that I really liked All Lined Up better. I looked and thought, “surely book 3 will be Stella’s story,” but alas, no. It’s still not time for Stella. All Broke Down had characters that I could root for, but there was a little much physical in relation to emotional for me to love it. I’m giving All Broke Down 3.5 Stars. Have you read All Broke Down? What did you think? Let me know!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

2015 Series Enders Reading Challenge - March Wrap Up

It's time for our third Monthly Wrap Up for the 2015 Series Enders Reading Challenge hosted by Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know and Holly @ Words Fueled by Love!

Since posting the 2015 Series Enders Reading Challenge - February Wrap Up, I finished one series ender: The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines, # 6) by Richelle Mead. Holly didn't get any series enders finished this month.

Which series enders did you finish? Link the up below. Don't forget to include the title, your name, & your blog name (Ex: Requiem - Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know) Also, the February giveaway runs from February 25th - March 25th. On March 25th we will use random.org and the linky entries to pull a winner.

Waiting on Winter

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Winter (Lunar Chronicles, # 4)

By: Marissa Meyer

Expected Publication: November 10th 2015 by Feiwel and Friends

800 pages

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Dystopian

( 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--Here is the stunning conclusion to the national bestselling Lunar Chronicles, inspired by Snow White.

When Princess Winter was thirteen, the rumor around the Lunar court was that her glamour would soon be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana. In a fit of jealousy, Levana disfigured Winter. Four years later, Winter has sworn off the use of her glamour altogether. Despite her scars, Winter’s natural beauty, her grace, and her gentleness are winning admiration from the Lunar people that no amount of mind-control could achieve.

Winter despises her stepmother, but has never dreamed of standing up to her. That is, until she realizes that she may be the only one with the power to confront the queen.

Can Cinder, Prince Kai, Scarlet, Wolf, Cress, Thorne, Princess Winter, and the palace guard Jacin find their happily ever afters? Fans will LOVE this amazing conclusion to the series.

Ok so I'm dying for the conclusion to this series. But 800 pages??? My goodness! What are you waiting on this week? Let me know!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Confess - Review


By: Colleen Hoover

Published: March 10th 2015 by Atria Books

320 pages

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary

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--From #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover, a new novel about risking everything for love—and finding your heart somewhere between the truth and lies.

Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…

You guys!!!! You guys!!!! I love Colleen Hoover so much. I have to say…Maybe Someday wasn’t my absolute favorite because of the cheating, and Ugly Love even though stunningly, beautifully written wasn’t either because of friends with benefits. Confess though…Confess was what I’ve been missing from Colleen Hoover. *deep sigh*

I’m not even sure what I can or should say about this book. But I think that’s the way I almost always feel about Colleen Hoover’s books. They’re just always books that you HAVE to experience for yourself—the way they’re meant to be experienced. I almost think it’s better to go into them with as little information as possible. BUT that’s not what I do here.

First of all, she hooks you so quickly. I cared about Auburn almost immediately. The prologue is pretty traumatic, and I felt like I had a year’s worth of built up emotion and knowledge from one chapter. There are few authors I’ve read that can pull something like that off. And then we fast forward a few years. Auburn’s in Dallas and she needs to make some money. She stumbles upon this art studio called Confess, and what she finds are these notes with confessions all over the windows and a sign that says “help wanted.” And Owen, of course, owns said art studio.

Auburn and Owen hit things off quickly. Sometimes a connection is so real and so strong that it will not be ignored, and that’s exactly how things were with Auburn and Owen. As a matter of fact, it really reminded me of Will and Lake from Slammed. These two both know immediately that they feel something real, and deep, and special. And quick. But as the description suggests, Owen has a lot of secrets. And even though he’s used to reading other people’s confessions day after day, he’s not used to making his own.

Owen isn’t the only one who has secrets though. Auburn has secrets too. And when the two combine…well let’s just say that they can’t. One’s secrets will destroy the other. The description tells you that Auburn has to cut Owen out of her life because of this so that’s not a spoiler. But come on, guys! Do you think it’s a simple as that? Of course not.

The side characters are bright and despite each having fairly small roles, I felt like I knew who each one of them were deep down. Lydia and Trey I hated. Emory, AJ, and Adam I loved. Harrison and Callahan I was on the fence about, but mostly ended up liking. And Owen-Cat…well she was adorable for her small but integral piece of the puzzle.

There is nothing more attractive to me than a guy who is really and truly deep down good, but add to that one that is extremely talented—Will Cooper, Ridge borderline on the good part. Now add Owen to this list. Owen didn’t quite surpass Will for me. I can’t help it. I fell in love with Will first. But Owen blew by all of the other Colleen Hoover leading male characters—even Holder. I loved the art that was included, both in concept and the actual paintings included in the book. I loved how Owen felt about art. And I loved the confessions and how they were incorporated into each piece. The confessions themselves were shocking and my heart breaks for the people who made them, especially knowing that they are real. But it reminds me that we all have a story, we all have pain, we all have things we’re ashamed of, we all have fears, we all have hopes. We’re the same, even when we’re not.

I had two small issues with the story itself. One revolves around Trey. And the other around a specific painting. But that’s all I’m going to say due to spoilers. But neither of these things were big enough to change how I felt about the book overall.

That ending…Typical Colleen Hoover. You know, I was thinking about her books, and I love how the conflict in her books is never expected. It’s never really typical. And usually it’s something I never see coming. That’s because she’s not just mimicking other stories. Colleen Hoover’s books aren’t the same track put on repeat. And I absolutely love that because I never know what to expect. And I never know what I’m going to experience. But that ending…while not conflict necessarily….I just loved it. There were pieces that I put together, and pieces that completely caught me off guard.

Favorite quotes:

-“You’re way too into me, Owen. Monday won’t be good for you.”

-It’s amazing how much distance one truth can create between two people.

-I’m so tired of having to give up the only things in life I want.

-“I’m scared I’ll never feel this again with anyone else,” I whisper. He squeezes my hands. “I’m scared you will.”

-“I know, baby” he whispers. “I know.”

-Selflessness. It should be the basis of every relationship. If a person truly cares about you, they’ll get more pleasure from the way they make you feel, rather than the way you make them feel.

In the end, I pretty much loved it. Confess had all the things I expect from Colleen Hoover. It had twists and turns. Things I didn’t expect. Characters I loved, and characters I hated. It had art and beauty. Love and loss. Confess does discuss the concept of fate, so those that take issue with that might struggle a bit. I had two small issues myself, but they didn’t affect how I felt about the book overall. Confess gets 4.5 Stars from me. I have so much more I want to say, but I need to stop somewhere. Have you read Confess? What did you think? Let me know!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday Post - 141

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.

No new books this week. I've found since participating in the March Take Control of Your TBR Challenge that the month of March is often the month I acquire the least amount of books. Man, this was a busy week. But busy usually means fast which is okay by me. Tuesday was a dress down day at work for donating to the food bank. The newest company president has figured out how much his employees like to wear jeans and a t-shirt to work. I love it! I had a hair appointment that afternoon. I was supposed to get my highlights done, but my stylist was running a bit behind schedule. And truthfully, I didn't feel like sitting through it right then. It still feels so much better to have a nice cut. Friday night, Holly, Paula, the Hubs, and I went to see Insurgent. I reviewed it on Saturday in case you want to check that out. Yesterday was my mother-in-law's birthday. We should be seeing her tonight. Also, I'm behind on replying to blog comments, but I promise I'm going to try to catch up soon.


Monday: Review of The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines, # 6) by Richelle Mead (4 Stars)
Tuesday: Top Ten Spring 2015 TBR
Wednesday: Waiting on All Played Out (Rusk University, # 3) by Cora Carmack
Thursday: Review of All Lined Up (Rusk University, # 1) by Cora Carmack (4 Stars)
Friday: Review of A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, # 5) by George R R Martin (4.5 Stars)
Saturday: Movie Review of Insurgent (4 Stars)


Monday: Review of Confess by Colleen Hoover
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday
Wednesday: Waiting on Wednesday & March 2015 Series Enders Wrap Up
Thursday: Review of All Broke Down (Rusk University, # 2) by Cora Carmack
I MIGHT post Friday &/or Saturday, but I have nothing too firm on the schedule yet.

Don’t forget to sign up for the 2015 Series Enders Reading Challenge! You have until December 15, 2015 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!

March 2015 Take Control of Your TBR Pile

I am also participating in Kimba's March Take Control of Your TBR Pile Challenge. Here are my goals for the month:

  1. Open Minds (Mindjack Trilogy, # 1) by Susan Kaye Quinn (46% complete)
  2. Just Enough Light for the Step I'm On by Stormie Omartian
  3. Ruins (Partial Sequence, # 3) by Dan Wells
  4. Kiss of Fire (Imdalind, # 1) by Rebecca Ethington
  5. Inhuman (Fetch, # 1) by Kat Fells
  6. Wreck Me (Nova, # 4) by Jessica Sorensen
  7. The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, # 3) by Michelle Hodkin
  8. Ignite Me (Shatter Me, # 3) by Tahereh Mafi
  9. Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy, # 1) by Danielle L Jensen
  10. What If by Rebecca Donovan
  11. The Walking Dead Compendium 1 by Robert Kirkman
  12. All Lined Up (Rusk University, # 1) by Cora Carmack
  13. All Broke Down (Rusk University, # 2) by Cora Carmack
  14. The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines, # 6) by Richelle Mead
  15. The Iron Queen (The Iron Fey, # 3) by Julie Kagawa (64% complete)

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!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Insurgent - Movie Review


Director: Robert Schwentke

Written By: Brian Duffield, Akiva Goldsman, Mark Bomback (screenplay), (based off the novel by) Veronica Roth

Starring: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Theo James

Released: March 20, 2015

119 minutes

Produced By: Neil Burger, Lucy Fisher, David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman, Pouya Shahbazian, Barry H. Waldman, Douglas Wick, and John Wildermuth

I have to say up front that it's been since 2012 that I read Insurgent, and I've only read it one time. Insurgent was such an emotionally draining book that I haven't quite wanted to re-read it yet. Plus with knowing how things end in Allegiant...yeah. Even though this was a really good series, book-wise, I haven't been driven to re-read the 2nd or 3rd books yet. That being said, the little details aren't going to be things that I remember so much as the main events. So keep that in mind when I'm relating something that happened in the movie to something that happened in the book.

Even though I don't remember the little details, there were obviously some fairly major changes made from the book to the movie. There always are. I didn't get bogged down with those too much. I think for the most part, the major events were mostly intact, and if not really intact as far as events go, then usually the emotion behind the events remained. I will say...It was obvious that Tris was really struggling with the deaths of her parents as well as her own hand in Will's death. Shailene Woodley did a wonderful job in the Candor truth syrum scene. But, I still felt like Tris from the movie came off as very strong--even though suffering. That was just not my experience with reading the book. I zeroed in on the way Tris felt in the book. She felt guilt, yes. She didn't feel like she could forgive herself, yes. But it went further than that. When she hands herself over to Jeanine in the book, Tris is doing that more out of self-sabotage or self-punishment than any self-righteous or self-sacrificing reasons. And that is key to the contrast between the events that take place in Allegiant. I didn't feel like the movie did that exactly right.

The actors did a wonderful job. I mentioned Shailene Woodley's portrayal of the truth syrum scene. She's quickly becoming a favorite actress of mine because she really makes me feel what the character is feeling. Theo James did a wonderful job playing Four. He's so tough. Easily believable that he has only 4 fears. And his chemistry with Shailene seems genuine. Ansel Elgort...well that's like a whole different ballgame. I mean in the last movie I saw him in (The Fault in Our Stars), he's playing opposite Shailene Woodley as Augustus Waters--a most beloved character. And so for him to step into the role of Caleb took some adjusting. Yes, he'd played Caleb in Divergent, but he didn't have a huge role, and that was before being Augustus. At one point during Insurgent when Caleb, Tris, and Four are running to jump onto a train and Caleb is struggling to run fast enough, Husband leans over and whispers "He has cancer!!!" I couldn't help but crack up. Seriously though, Ansel does a good job transitioning to Caleb because you can see his cowardice, and you can see at times his struggle with Tris being his sister versus not actually being on Tris's side. I thought that was well played.

Other than the emotional rollercoaster Tris goes through not being quite as brutal as the book, the other there was really only one other moment that caused me to overthink a bit. I don't remember it happening in the book, but I couldn't say for certain that it didn't. And I don't want to really say what it was for spoilers sake--both movie and for Allegiant.

All in all, I thought this was a really solid movie. I really enjoyed it. I love the casting. Visual effects were really good. And even when events from book to movie were different, for the most part the emotion behind the events stayed consistent. I'm giving Insurgent 4 Stars. Have you seen Insurgent? What did you think? Let me know!

Friday, March 20, 2015

A Dance With Dragons - Review

A Dance With Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, # 5)

By: George R R Martin

Published: July 12th 2011 by Bantam

1125 pages

Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy, Dragons

Source: Personal Kindle Library

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*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 the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance — beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has thousands of enemies, and many have set out to find her. As they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.

Fleeing from Westeros with a price on his head, Tyrion Lannister, too, is making his way to Daenerys. But his newest allies in this quest are not the rag-tag band they seem, and at their heart lies one who could undo Daenerys's claim to Westeros forever.

Meanwhile, to the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone — a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, will face his greatest challenge. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.

From all corners, bitter conflicts reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all.

You guys have no idea the amount of relief I feel being able to mark this book as “read”. George R R Martin’s books are MASSIVE. Coming in at 1125 pages, A Dance with Dragons is the 2nd longest book I’ve ever read—2nd only to A Strom of Swords--and will easily be the longest book I read this year. A Feast for Crows was a real struggle for me because not only did it follow my least favorite of all of the characters, but the storyline itself also progressed very slowly. In the end, there were some key things that took place, but man it took a while to get there. I was really concerned about A Dance with Dragons. Even though this book follows characters that I’m more excited about and the book was generally more exciting than the last, it was still slow going. I’ve come to expect specific things from this series, and really what else can you expect from a novel over 1000 pages?

A Dance with Dragons follows Jon, Danearys, Tyrion, Arya, Theon, Ser Barristan, and it also had the occasional chapters from Jamie, Cersei, Victarion, Asha, Bran and others. I realize that just mentioning characters by name can sometimes be a spoiler for this series. One of the things I found annoying at first was the titling of the chapters. I’ve come to expect these books to just clearly state who’s POV we’ll be reading from, but even A Feast for Crows often labeled titles or nicknames rather than first names (ex: “The Prophet”, "The Captain of the Guards", "The Kraken's Daughter"). We have seen this type of chapter titles progress with frequency throughout the series, and while I didn’t count the number of chapters with a basic name title (Jamie) versus a more of a title title (“The Kingslayer”), A Dance with Dragons was filled with this. Often times we could read from the same person under different names/titles. Theon comes to mind. He’s referred to as “Reek”, “The Prince of Winterfell,” and “Theon” for different chapters. Ser Barristan is one I also noticed had multiple chapter titles. So I really feel like this plays on the identity that the character ascribes to themselves, the way others see these characters, and possibly it was just used as a method to throw us off. George R R Martin is like that. *shakes fist* Besides that, these characters just have a million different names over the course of the series. Nicknames, aliases, given names, titles earned, etc. It’s real, but it can be confusing at the same time. Tyrion, Hugor Hill, The Imp. Arya, Arry, Cat of the Canals. And so on.

Speaking of liking to throw us off. George R R Martin is a sneaky one. One thing I’ve learned from his writing is to not take information for granted. If something is not explicitly stated, then I cannot assume anything. Plus the way that information travels in the Seven Kingdoms isn’t always reliable. So if a character wasn’t present for an event, you can’t always take their knowledge as concrete. When I was finished with A Dance with Dragons I had a lot of questions. One event takes place in A Feast for Crows that left us with some very vague knowledge of a certain character’s situation. Well then that character appears in yet again, very vague context, in A Dance with Dragons and so I have to stop and go “Now wait a minute. I thought X-event happened to Y-character. So what’s Y-character doing Z-event for?” And then at the end…”I thought A-character found it’s way to B-character who happens to also be with C-character. Well D-character says they killed C-character, but doesn’t mention B-character, and says they want A-character back.” How is any of this possible? How does it all fit together? What information am I missing? And what information did my little brain try to conjure up and supply for me in order to fillin the gaps that I assumed where things weren’t explicitly stated? See how confusing this can be? BUT that’s also one of the beauties of George R R Martin’s writing.

I was reading A Dance with Dragons very slowly. I would read a chapter or so at a time, but then I would read like 20 other books in the meantime. And I worked my way up to 33% that way. A whole whopping 380 pages. And then my friend Paula got the audiobook from the library and BLAZED through this book. I was left in her dust going “WHAT JUST HAPPENED?” And she was saying “WHAT JUST HAPPENED?” concerning the ending of the book, but all I could see was how in the world did she finish so fast. I knew I had to get my hands on the audiobook, and once I did, I finished within two weeks. Granted, there’s something to be said about reading a book like this yourself versus hearing someone else read it. The spellings for characters and places are almost impossible to know off hearing alone. And sometimes the names of characters are similar. Osha vs Asha. There are others, but I’m drawing a blank at the moment.

As far as events go, there were several surprises for me in this book. There was one thing that comes up before the 50% mark that I wasn’t expecting at all—another case of taking someone’s word as fact without proof. There was another thing I alluded to above with a character that I thought something specific happened with in A Feast for Crows. Then there was something that wasn’t so much shocking as exciting about the 70% mark. And then two events at the very end. One had me going “George R R Martin, you’re not fooling me! I’m not going to believe that.” And the other had me thinking “Well I don’t care about character-K so much as character-V and event-G.” Plus “how does this play into the future?” I will say that there are definitely some interesting things to come. And I can’t wait to see how it all plays out.

Fan theories abound. And there are still so many questions unanswered. One of the biggest questions of the series—dating all the way back to book 1—is about who Jon’s mother is. My cousin found an interesting fan-theory on YouTube that you might be curious to check out. There are no spoilers really for A Dance With Dragons but there are spoilers for prior books in the series, mostly there's speculation. I haven’t really checked out any other theories, and some things I’ve had to come to accept that we just may never know what the answer are.

One thing that I’ve pondered back and forth about within this series over the course of the books has to do with their gods. We’ve got “the Old gods” that are typically believed in up North—even beyond the Wall. There’s “the new gods” or “the Seven” typically believed in further South. There’s “the drowned god” of the Iron Islands and the sea. And then there’s “the red god” or “Rh’ollor” that I believe originated across the Narrow Sea. It’s hard for me because I believe in one God. And so I tend to project my faith into my reading. I want ONE of these gods to be real and powerful. As far as I can tell none of these gods have ultimate power. The old gods, the seven, and the drowned god all seem to be inactive and whatever happens, happens. The red god is a bit more confusing. We see Melisandre who has some kind of power. You don’t know how much is sorcery and illusion and how much of it might actually be legit. The red god seems to be the most active, be displaying the most works—Lady Stoneheart anyone?—and prophesies as well. Melissandre’s prophecies always have some truth to them, even if she doesn’t always see their manifestations clearly. And the same goes for the other red priests we have met along the way.

If you’ve stuck with me through this vague and confusing review then bless your heart! It is extremely difficult to discuss this book and this series with someone who hasn’t read it and without spoilers. You never know what key information George R R Martin is going to zero in on. You never know what information you think you know that might actually turn out to be false. And you truly never know what to expect. I won’t say A Dance with Dragons had the level of epic plot twists found in A Strom of Swords--the red wedding—but there were several things that will turn out to be game-changers. I can tell you that much.

As I said, you never know what information George R R Martin is going to pull out and use for moving the series forward, but these are my favorite quotes:

-The only thing more pitiful than a dwarf without a nose is a dwarf without a nose who has no gold.

-“Another. Strong than Tommen, gentler than Stannis, with a better claim than the girl Myrcella. A savior come from across the sea to bind up the wounds of bleeding Westeros.”…”A dragon with three heads.”

-“Soon comes the pale mare, and after her the others. Kraken and dark flame, lion and griffin, the sun’s son and the mummer’s dragon. Trust none of them. Remember the Undying.”…”I remember the way. I go north to go south, east to go west, back to go forward. And to touch the light I have to pass beneath the shadow.”…”I remember the Undying. Child of three, they called me. Three mounts they promised me, three fires, and three treasons. One for blood and one for gold and one for…”

-“And what lesson can we draw from Volantene history?” “If you want to conquer the world, you best have dragons.”

-“I know that she spent her childhood in exile, impoverished, living on dreams and schemes, running from one city to the next, always fearful, never safe, friendless but for a brother who was by all accounts half mad…and a brother who sold her maidenhood to the Dothraki for the promise of an army. I know that somewhere out upon the grass her dragons hatched, and so did she. I know she is proud. How not? What else was left her but pride? I know she is strong. How not? The Dothraki despise weakness. If Daenerys had been weak, she would have perished with Viserys. I know she is fierce. Astapor, Yunkai, and Meereen are proof enough of that. She has crossed the grasslands and the red waste, survived assassins and conspiracies and fell sorceries, grieved for a brother and a husband and a son, trod the cities of the slavers to dust beneath her dainty sandaled feet. …”

-When you have known the kiss of a flaying knife, a laugh loses all its power to hurt you.

-Not all men are meant to dance with dragons.

So much more I could quote. Essentially, these books are pretty epic. The characters are great. You love them. You hate them. You root for them. You hope they get eaten by dragons. The worlds are vivid. You can feel the bone cold of the North. You can feel the grass from the Dothraki grass sea. You can smell the smoke from the dragons’ breath. And the story is one that you can never predict. You will have to wade through some cursing and I did notice that A Dance with Dragons stepped it up graphically than the other books in the series, but there was nothing that I would really run away from. All in all A Dance with Dragons gets 4.5 Stars. Have you read A Dance with Dragons? What did you think? Let me know!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

All Lined Up - Review

All Lined Up (Rusk University, # 1)

By: Cora Carmack

Published: May 13th 2014 by William Morrow Paperbacks

320 pages

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary

Source: Personal Kindle Library

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

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

Goodreads description--New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Carmack follows up her trio of hits—Losing It, Faking It, and Finding It—with this thrilling first novel in an explosive series bursting with the Texas flavor, edge, and steamy romance of Friday Night Lights.

In Texas, two things are cherished above all else—football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both.

Dallas Cole loathes football. That's what happens when you spend your whole childhood coming in second to a sport. College is her time to step out of the bleachers, and put the playing field (and the players) in her past.

But life doesn't always go as planned. As if going to the same college as her football star ex wasn’t bad enough, her father, a Texas high school coaching phenom, has decided to make the jump to college ball… as the new head coach at Rusk University. Dallas finds herself in the shadows of her father and football all over again.

Carson McClain is determined to go from second-string quarterback to the starting line-up. He needs the scholarship and the future that football provides. But when a beautiful redhead literally falls into his life, his focus is more than tested. It's obliterated.

Dallas doesn't know Carson is on the team. Carson doesn't know that Dallas is his new coach's daughter.

And neither of them know how to walk away from the attraction they feel.

I loved the concept of Dallas’s dad being the coach of her high school football team and then transferring to coach her college team as well. I grew up in a small town and it was not rare for a teacher at my high school to also have children as students as well. It was always an interesting dynamic to watch. And then Dallas thinks she’s gotten away from it all only to find out that her father has moved to coach at her college too. Talk about depressing. Of course along with that are all the dynamics that involve dating the coaches daughter. Some guys look at Dallas as their “in” with the coach while others steer clear of her out of fear of the coach.

On top of her dad being the head coach, Dallas’s ex-boyfriend, Levi, is also the quarterback for her college team. This means that all that baggage of her past has essentially tagged along with her. Dallas pretty much decides that she’s not dating football players anymore. Yet she meets Carson at a party. Carson doesn’t know Dallas and Dallas doesn’t know Carson, but they hit it off. And their chemistry is off the charts.

I recently did a post about repetitive themes in books. One of the things I complained about was the one-night stand being the first interaction between the main characters. I get so tired of relationships built off that. Dallas and Carson had a similar experience, but yet completely different. They make out, and like I said, the chemistry is off the charts. But their relationship is slow building. Even though they crossed some physical boundaries the night they met, these two pursue a friendship that’s not quite a friendship before progressing forward. And THIS I love. If this theme repeats itself in all the books that would be okay with me, because there’s substance.

I do plan to jump into the next book, which is about one side character that we meet in All Lined Up. BUT I expect there to be some frustrations because this character does seem the type to experience exactly what I was talking about above. I’m withholding complete judgment because maybe his relationship will be built off substance rather than their first encounter, but that’s yet to be determined yet.

Favorite quotes:

-“We’re honest with each other, no matter how hard or awkward it is to say whatever needs to be said. We”—he uses a hand to gesture between us—“are a safe space. You can say anything to me, and I promise I’ll hear you out. I’ll listen. No matter what it is.”

-“You’re it for me. So run if you’d like, but I’ll follow. You can try to hold me at arm’s length, but I’ll never stop trying to pull you close. Be scared if you must, but you’re not going to lose me.”

-…it’s the hard days that end up being the most important in the end.

All Lined Up was my first Cora Carmack experience, and I really enjoyed it. It was more than I expected it to be. I love the slow build of the friendship that turned into more. And I really enjoyed the side dynamics between all the facets of the story. All Lined Up gets 4 Stars. Have you read All Lined Up? What did you think? Let me know!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Waiting on All Played Out

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

All Played Out (Rusk University, # 3)

By: Cora Carmack

Expected Publication: May 12th 2015 by William Morrow & Company

320 pages

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Sports

( 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--First person in her family to go to college? CHECK.
Straight A’s? CHECK.
On track to graduate early? CHECK.
Social life? …..yeah, about that….

With just a few weeks until she graduates, Antonella DeLuca’s beginning to worry that maybe she hasn’t had the full college experience. (Okay... Scratch that. She knows she hasn't had the full college experience).

So Nell does what a smart, dedicated girl like herself does best. She makes a "to do" list of normal college activities.

Item #1? Hook up with a jock.

Rusk University wide receiver Mateo Torres practically wrote the playbook for normal college living. When he’s not on the field, he excels at partying, girls, and more partying. As long as he keeps things light and easy, it's impossible to get hurt... again. But something about the quiet, shy, sexy-as-hell Nell gets under his skin, and when he learns about her list, he makes it his mission to help her complete it.

Torres is the definition of confident (And sexy. And wild), and he opens up a side of Nell that she's never known. But as they begin to check off each crazy, exciting, normal item, Nell finds that her frivolous list leads to something more serious than she bargained for. And while Torres is used to taking risks on the field, he has to decide if he's willing to take the chance when it's more than just a game.

Together they will have to decide if what they have is just part of the experiment or a chance at something real.

Since I finished the previous two books in this series this past week, I thought it was fitting to feature All Played Out this week! What are you waiting on this week? Let me know!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Top Ten Spring 2015 TBR List

Top 10 Tuesday is a post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week's topic is Top Ten Spring 2015 TBR List.

  1. Ruins (Partials, # 3) by Dan Wells
  2. Kiss of Fire (Imdalind, # 1) by Rebecca Ethington
  3. The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, # 3) by Michelle Hodkin
  4. Ignite Me (Shatter Me, # 3) by Tahereh Mafi
  5. Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy, # 1) by Danielle L Jensen
  6. What If by Rebecca Donovan
  7. The Iron Queen (The Iron Fey, # 3) by Julie Kagawa
  8. Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
  9. Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
  10. All the Rage by Courtney Summers
  11. Golden Son (Red Rising Trilogy, # 2) by Pierce Brown

So that's the ideal Spring 2015 TBR List for me. What are you hoping to read this spring? Let me know!

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Ruby Circle - Review

The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines, # 6)

By: Richelle Mead

Published: February 10th 2015 by Razorbill

384 pages

Genre: Young Adult (YA), Paranormal, Vampires, Fantasy

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*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 epic conclusion to Richelle Mead's New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series is finally here...

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

After their secret romance is exposed, Sydney and Adrian find themselves facing the wrath of both the Alchemists and the Moroi in this electrifying conclusion to Richelle Mead’s New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series. When the life of someone they both love is put on the line, Sydney risks everything to hunt down a deadly former nemesis. Meanwhile, Adrian becomes enmeshed in a puzzle that could hold the key to a shocking secret about spirit magic, a secret that could shake the entire Moroi world.

Okay guys…so I totally cheated on this one. I had to look at the last page before I even started this book to give me an idea of whether or not my characters would have a happy ending or not. I’ve read too many recently that have left me feeling drained and wondering what the point was. I didn’t want the Bloodlines series to come to an end, but yet…I needed to know how it all wraps up at the same time. You know the battle I’m talking about?

We ended Silver Shadows with Sydney and Adrian getting married and looking to the Moroi court for sanctuary from the Alchemists. And then they find out that Jill has been kidnapped. And so most of The Ruby Circle on the hunt to find Jill. This was very reminiscent of Last Sacrifice and how the Vampire Academy series wrapped up as well. But searching for Jill is impossible while being confined to court. We do find out that human magic is involved with Jill’s kidnapper and so Sydney has to be present to be able to detect and combat the human magic whenever possible.

I had a small battle of annoyance with Adrian again in The Ruby Circle though nothing like the battle I had with him in Silver Shadows. Adrian just fights doing the things that will keep him out of trouble and keep everything happy-go-lucky. I was worried and annoyed when Nina came back on the scene, but thankfully her role isn’t anything to worry about.

As always Richelle Mead weaves all of the pieces of an elaborate puzzle together. I have only read through the Bloodlines series one time so I’m not sure how much foreshadowing I missed throughout the earlier books, but I know that she’s a master of this with the Vampire Academy series. So I do look forward to re-reading this series to see what all I missed in the moment since I didn’t have the overall storyline.

We see glimpses of all of the characters that I loved so much in Vampire Academy. Rose and Dimitri actually have a fairly large role to play in The Ruby Circle and there was one piece in particular that involved Dimitri and Adrian and an uncle that I loved. We even see Lissa, Christian (briefly), Sonya, and Mikhail. Adrian’s mom has a fairly prominent role and I loved how supportive her character has grown into being. I haven’t always liked her throughout all of the previous books, but she redeems herself, I think.

I will say that there was some conflicts that I felt like were wrapped up with very little effort—specifically Adrian’s spirit usage. And there were two moments in the book itself that I felt like were errors in general. For one, Marcus makes the comment that Sydney has more experience breaking and entering than Eddie. Okay granted he does clarify that with saying “to retrieve intel,” but are we forgetting about all of the endeavors that Rose dragged Eddie into during the Vampire Academy series? I mean he did break in and out of a prison with her for one. But then also, on page 230 there’s a flat out error made about who is holding Jill captive. I’m not trying to be snooty, but it’s the little things, right?

In the end, I was left wanting more as always, but in the good way. A new character was introduced in The Ruby Circle that Richelle Mead just HAS to elaborate upon. And thankfully she mentions in the Acknowledgements that we likely haven’t seen the last of these characters, and I think that’s got to be exactly what she has in mind! ANOTHER SPIN OFF SERIES!!!!! (I hope!) The big reveal was in typical Richelle Mead style. She didn’t quite wait until the very end for that information, but it was so big in the grand scheme of the Moroi/dhampir world that I just have to know the ramifications of this is in the future.

The Ruby Circle was pretty much everything I could have wanted from it. More of the characters I love. Twists. Plots. Surprises. Love and romance. Action. And a hint of new things waiting to be further explored. It would be an injustice to give this book less than 4 Stars, but even though I really enjoyed it and I want more, I can’t quite give it 4.5, so I’m settling with 4 Stars. Have you read The Ruby Circle? What did you think? Let me know!