Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Top Ten Fall 2017 TBR List

Top 10 Tuesday is a post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week's topic is Top Ten Fall 2017 TBR List.

  1. The Sound of Light by Claire Wallis
  2. Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad, # 1) by Scott Reintgen
  3. Before She Ignites (Fallen Isles Trilogy, # 1) by Jodi Meadows
  4. Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass, # 6) by Sarah J Maas
  5. Cage of Darkness (Reign of Secrets, # 2) by Jennifer Anne Davis
  6. Into the Bright Unknown (The Gold Seer Trilogy, # 3) by Rae Carson
  7. The Beauty of Darkness (The Remnant Chronicles, # 3) by Mary E Pearson
  8. The Last Star (The 5th Wave, # 3) by Rick Yancey
  9. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Harry Potter, # 8) by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany
  10. Everything Everything by Nicole Yoon

Some of these are review books that I'm behind on. Some of these I've had and just haven't picked up yet. And at least one is an upcoming release. Which books are on your fall TBR list? Let me know!

Monday, September 18, 2017

One Dark Throne - Review

One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns, # 2)

By: Kendare Blake

Expected Publication: September 19th 2017 by Harper Teen

448 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Thank you!!)

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

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

Goodreads description--The battle for the Crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?

With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, once thought to be the strongest sister of all and the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

In this enthralling sequel to Kendare Blake’s New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns, Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must face the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.

Three Dark Crowns was a slow read for me, yet it ended in a bit of a cliffhanger where we find out that Arsinoe is actually a poisoner and not a naturalist at all. I actually guessed this in some ways. What I predicted was that Arsinoe was actually the poisoner and Katharine was the naturalist. Katharine still hasn't been confirmed as a naturalist, but there was specific mention of these two being "switched" and "sabotaged." Even still Katharine was never specifically named as a naturalist, and other than her original snake, Sweetheart, from Three Dark Crowns she's never shown a particular ability with animals either. The real cliffhanger of Three Dark Crowns is that Katharine survived being thrown into the Breccia Domain. But she's returned...different.

All throughout reading One Dark Throne I kept thinking that based off the events of the story this would be the conclusion of the series. But apparently that's not the case. And I have to say that I was a bit disappointed that there will be more. I think that's in large part due to the pacing of the books. Both books were extremely slow reads for me. As a matter of fact, together they took up the majority of my reading time for the entire month of May. Plus even though there are pieces of the story that could definitely be explored further, I had enough closure with how things ended for One Dark Throne.

This might seem contradictory to the paragraph above, but I suppose I do have some conflicting thoughts about this book/series. The description pulled me in with the unique concept of three sisters with different abilities fighting to the death to see which one survives to be awarded the crown. Totally unique, right? And my first thought was that I don't want this to be one of those books where the author cops out and somehow all three sisters find a way to survive as well as potentially find their happily ever afters. Yet, that leaves me rooting for someone to be killed right? It isn't so much that I want anyone to die as much as I want this genre to step up. Not everything has a pretty ending where everyone survives. Especially when you sell a concept like three sisters fighting to the death over a crown.

Another thing I struggled with conflicting emotions over were the romances. Pietyr threw Katharine into the Breccia Domain at the end of Three Dark Crowns so I found it hard to root for him. Nicolas was pretty much a sociopath so there's no backing him. Joseph cheated on Jules with Mirabella. One thing I don't abide is a cheater. While I can respect Jules's ability and willingness to forgive Joseph, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth over the couple. I almost wanted to root for him and Mirabella despite the cheating because there seemed to be some sort of supernatural force between the two, but that petered out. Billy and Arsinoe were the closest to being able to cheer for a happy ending, but these two were a bit dramatic for my tastes. And since romance is usually one of the biggest driving forces behind my desire to read a book, this aspect just really fell flat for me.

Speaking of supernatural forces, I felt like the explanation given for the low magic which didn't really work to connect Arsinoe with her fake familiar bear, Braddock, now suddenly working wasn't enough. And this kind of thing happened a couple of times.

I know that this review has been focused on the things that I struggled with or had conflicting emotions over, but it was a decent book. I can't say that I loved it at all, but it was "good". I did feel some closure with how One Dark Throne ended, but knowing that there's more to come, I can't stop before I've seen what's going to happen next. One Dark Throne gets 3 Stars. Have you read One Dark Throne? What did you think? Let me know!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sunday Post - 265

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.

Monday Irma came through our area. Thankfully it was downgraded to a Tropical Storm by this point and didn't cause near the damage for us that was predicted. I'm keeping those who did receive the damage promised in my prayers. Husband was off work to get his driver's license renewed yet of course the office for that was closed. But we took that opportunity to do some impromptu potty training for Little Girl. We'd had some early success with that when she was right at a year old but then regressed so we backed off. We continued with the training the rest of the week so we hung around the house mostly. Seemed like we'd have one good day and then one not so good day. But we're sticking with it. Little Girl and I are feeling much better. Husband's struggling with a cold now. Saturday we celebrated my niece's first birthday. Time is flying I tell you. She's such a happy and content child. I look forward to watching her continue to grow. Today we're having a baby shower for Baby Boy.

THIS PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of The Lost Letter by Mimi Matthews (4 Stars)
Tuesday: Top Ten Throwbacks
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Stormcaster (Shattered Realms, # 3) by Cinda Williams Chima
Thursday: Review of An Inconvenient Beauty (Hawthorne House, # 4) by Kristi Ann Hunter (4 Stars)

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns, # 2) by Kendare Blake
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Wednesday
Thursday: DNF Review of The Sound of Light by Claire Wallis

Don’t forget to sign up for the 2017 Series Enders Reading Challenge! You have until December 15, 2017 to sign up. Each month there will be a giveaway for those participating with an end of the year giveaway too! Click on the picture below or the link above to find out more!

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, September 14, 2017

An Inconvenient Beauty - Review

An Inconvenient Beauty (Hawthorne House, # 4)

By: Kristi Ann Hunter

Published: September 5th 2017 by Bethany House Publishers

384 pages

Genre: Christian, Historical Fiction

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--Award-Winning Regency Romance Author on the Rise

Griffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, and he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. He's certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, but while Frederica is strangely elusive, he can't seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge.

Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, her uncle will only help them if she'll use her beauty to assist him in his political aims. Already uncomfortable with this agreement, the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she wishes to be free of her unfortunate obligation.

Will Griffith and Isabella be able to set aside their pride and face their fears in time to find their own happily-ever-after?

You guys, I've been in a huge book slump. I only read two books last month total. One was a re-read and one wasn't fiction. However, I knew the release date was coming up for An Inconvenient Beauty, and I just had this feeling that this would be a perfect read to help me out of my slump. I ended up seeing this on NetGalley for review, but somehow I missed when it was initially uploaded so I was concerned that I might have missed my opportunity to request it. I was ultimately approved to read and review An Inconvenient Beauty and I started it immediately. And just like I suspected, I had no problems blowing through it.

I was excited to read Griffith's story as he's been a central figure in the previous books in the series. Griffith has been everyone's rock. He's the one everyone else comes to for advice. Normally I would have been kind of put off by Griffith's idea that he could approach finding a wife logically. His family has a tradition of marrying for love despite the customs of the time to marry for practicality. But Griffith thinks he can do both. Considering he watched Trent (his younger brother) go from resenting his own marriage and wife to being deeply in love in An Uncommon Courtship (which was actually the first book in this series that I read), it kind of made sense that he would think that much of his ability to love his future wife would be a conscious decision.

Griffith's in kind of a unique situation. Because he's a duke, most everyone he meets wants something from him. Men want him on their side for political maneuvers and favors. Mothers want to marry him off to their daughters. The daughters also want to secure his hand. And even though he loves his family immensely, he's trying to keep them from meddling and giving him a hard time through the process of finding a wife. This makes trusting others and their motivations a bit difficult. And Griffith takes his responsibilities as Duke of Riverton very seriously. To make this worse, Griffith's made a habit of not dancing at social events except with his family so to dance with anyone outside of his mother and sisters would be equivalent to announcing his engagement or at the very least announcing his intention to court a particular lady. So Griffith attempts to go about his courting in other ways.

I was a little confused in the beginning about what was going on with Isabella. What you need to know is that she's half Scottish. Her mother was English aristocracy but cut all ties when she fell in love with a Scottish sheep farmer. Unfortunately an accident has left her father unable to take care of the farm. Isabella's uncle sees an opportunity to take advantage of her beauty and her family's poor financial situation to exploit her for his purposes. Isabella is to attract as many suitors as possible in order to help her uncle promote his political agenda. Yet, the Duke of Riverton is the one person she's not supposed to attract as his attentions to her would scare away too many other suitors.

Since Griffith has set his eyes upon Isabella's cousin, Fredericka, and Isabella has been told not to encourage the duke, these two have an opportunity to get to know each other without actually wanting anything from the other. Griffith's decision to court Freddie throws Isabella and Griffith into each other's company frequently. Especially when Freddie seems to keep escaping Griffith's attempts.

Now that I've told you too much of the story itself...I really enjoyed this one. I'm not sure I can say that this was my favorite in the series, but it wasn't my least favorite either. I was hooked into seeing if these two could figure out how they really feel for each other and work around the obstacles in their path. There can often be conflicts that are so simple to overcome yet the couple splits over something simple. This wasn't really the case. Things weren't exactly simple and where in other books I get frustrated because the couple just won't communicate with each other, in An Inconvenient Beauty I could respect Isabella for not just going to Griffith to solve all of her problems.

Favorite quotes:

-Amazing how one decision could drive a person so far from where they thought they'd never stray.

-Sometimes truth hurt. And Isabella was glad Freddie was willing to tell her the truth even as she resented the uttering of it.

An Inconvenient Beauty was exactly what I needed. The Christian aspects in the background as well as the culture of the time period kept me from being annoyed with the things that have been bothering me with modern day literature. Both of those things also ensured the story would be clear of language and sex scenes. And Kristi Ann Hunter has proven to pull me in and hook me into the story and characters. An Inconvenient Beauty was no different. I also appreciated and enjoyed the historical aspects that were used in this story to actually further the plot and not just there for decoration. An Inconvenient Beauty gets 4 Stars. Have you read An Inconvenient Beauty? What did you think? Let me know!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Can't Wait for Stormcaster

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings to spotlight and talk about the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released as well. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine. Find out more here.

Stormcaster (Shattered Realms, # 3)

By: Cinda Williams Chima

Expected Publication: April 3rd 2018 by HarperTeen

544 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

( 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 third book in the thrilling four-book Shattered Realms series from New York Times bestselling author Cinda Williams Chima

The empress in the east—the unspeakably cruel ruler whose power grew in Flamecaster and Shadowcaster—tightens her grip in this chilling third installment in the series.

Vagabond seafarer Evan Strangward can move the ocean and the wind, but his magical abilities seem paltry in comparison to Empress Celestine’s. As Celestine’s bloodsworn armies grow, Evan travels to the Fells to warn the queendom of her imminent invasion. If he can’t convince the Gray Wolf queen to take a stand, he knows that the Seven Realms will fall. Among the dead will be the one person Evan can’t stand to lose.

Meanwhile, the queen’s formidable daughter, Princess Alyssa ana’Raisa, is already a prisoner aboard the empress’s ship. Lyss may be the last remaining hope of bringing down the empress from within her own tightly controlled territory.

Multiple intricately interwoven storylines converge in this gripping novel about a brave, coordinated effort to undermine a horrific tyrant.

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

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Top Ten Throwbacks

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

Some of these throwbacks are so old I never reviewed them on the blog because I read them before I started blogging. But all of these are ones that I've read in my adult life and not like books I read and loved in high school or elementary or anything like that.

  1. Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer - Twilight, New Moon
  2. Graceling Realms series by Kristin Cashore - Graceling, Fire, Bitterblue
  3. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games, Catching Fire & Mockingjay
  4. Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead - Vampire Academy, Frostbite, Shadow Kiss, Blood Promise, Spirit Bound, Last Sacrifice
  5. Slammed series by Colleen Hoover - Slammed, Point of Retread, This Girl
  6. Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
  7. Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater - Linger, Forever, Sinner
  8. The Forest of Hands and Teeth series by Carrie Ryan - The Dead-Tossed Waves, The Dark and Hollow Places
  9. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
  10. The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

(And of course Harry Potter.) Which books are your favorite throwbacks? Let me know!

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Lost Letter - Review

The Lost Letter

By: Mimi Matthews

Published: September 19th 2017 by Perfectly Proper Press

204 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction, Retellings

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--England, 1860. An impoverished Victorian beauty is unexpectedly reunited with the now beastly earl who once broke her heart. Will they finally find their happily ever after? Or are some fairy-tale endings simply not meant to be?

A PROUD BEAUTY

Society beauty Sylvia Stafford is far too pragmatic to pine. When the tragic death of her gamester father leaves her destitute and alone, she finds work as a governess in a merchant's household in Cheapside. Isolated from the fashionable acquaintance of her youth, she resigns herself to lonely spinsterhood until a mysterious visitor convinces her to temporarily return to her former life--and her former love.

A SCARRED BEAST

Colonel Sebastian Conrad is no longer the dashing cavalry officer Sylvia fell in love with. Badly scarred during the Sepoy Rebellion, he has withdrawn to his estate in rural Hertfordshire where he lives in near complete seclusion. Brooding and tormented, he cares nothing for the earldom he has inherited--and even less for the faithless beauty who rejected him three years before.

AN UNEXPECTED REUNION

A week together in the isolated Victorian countryside is the last thing either of them ever wanted. But when fate intervenes to reunite them, will a beastly earl and an impoverished beauty finally find their happily ever after? Or are some fairy-tale endings simply not meant to be?

I was reluctant to request The Lost Letter for review because I was unfamiliar with the author. But the description ultimately won me over. It's a beauty and the beast retelling essentially. And I'm glad that I took a chance.

The Lost Letter jumps right into the story. And I suppose with only 204 pages this was necessary. But that had me basically interested and invested from the very beginning, and since I've been struggling through one of my worst reading slumps ever getting hooked early is essential.

The description basically tells you everything you need to know. Sylvia's father committed suicide. His suicide not only leaves her alone but unearths massive gambling debts. The whole thing is quite scandalous. She has no other real choice but to seek work as a governess. I admired her because Sylvia never really took on the victim mentality. After all that she's experienced, sure she grieved, yet she took action and made constant efforts to better her situation both physically and emotionally.

Sebastian thought he'd won Sylvia's affections before he was sent to war in India, but she never wrote to him (or at least he never received any of her letters) and his own letters were returned to him unopened. After receiving an injury that scars him brutally, he returns home a bitter and angry man. Despite Sebastian's tendency to play the victim with Sylvia and even his sister, I found him likeable. He's brutally honest and even at times mean. But I knew he wouldn't remain so.

One of my biggest...I don't know, not really frustrations, but struggles for lack of a better term with this time period while reading is that so much can often be cleared up by simple communication between the two parties. Yet because of the customs and what's considered inappropriate, so often characters dance around this misunderstanding with each other. I appreciated that Mimi Matthews chose not to really take this course. Because Sebastian is so angry, he chooses to be quite direct at times, and because Sylvia assumes that Sebastian has already been witness to her impropriety through the letters she wrote to him these two discover sooner than I expected that each never received the other's letters. However that being said, the author did go down this route with Sylvia misunderstanding Sebastian's current intentions toward her. So I went from applauding Mimi Matthews for this decision to dropping my head and letting out a sigh for that being the ultimate conflict that these two had to overcome.

I can't say that The Lost Letter completely blew me away, but it did hook me from early on. I connected to the characters and their feelings and struggles with each other. I even teared up (blaming it on the pregnancy hormones) at one point for Sylvia's sake. The ultimate conflict was one that wasn't surprised and consequently fairly easy to overcome. Yet, I found this book refreshing from some of the others I've read based on the same time period. In the end, The Lost Letter gets 4 Stars from me. Have you read The Lost Letter? What did you think? Let me know!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Sunday Post - 264 & Stacking the Shelves - 160

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.

Monday it was so nice for Husband to have the day off work. We spent the day with his family. My parents did come by to put the cabinet doors and drawers on the vanity that Dad built for our bathroom remodel. That means the bathroom is completely finished. I'm so thankful that it's done and that my Dad was able to help us out. Tuesday Little Girl got hit with another cold. UGH. We just got over the last one a couple of weeks ago. Wednesday she was pretty puny and really just wanted to sit with me all day. She's doing better, but not completely well. Husband and I were both hit with it by Friday as well. Also Thursday my laptop died. From what I can tell in doing some research it appears that my hard drive has kicked the bucket. So frustrating. I'll be using Husband's laptop for now which will allow me to get by until I can replace mine, but it isn't really convenient. On a positive note, I completed my Goodreads Goal Challenge of 52 books read this year. That's a load off. Anything else I read for the rest of the year is basically bonus.

THIS PAST WEEK:

Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Struggled to Get Into But Ended Up Loving
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
Thursday: Review of Anatomy of an Affair by Dave Carder (4 Stars)

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of The Lost Letter by Mimi Matthews
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Wednesday
Thursday: Review of An Inconvenient Beauty (Hawthorne House, # 4) by Kristi Ann Hunter

Don’t forget to sign up for the 2017 Series Enders Reading Challenge! You have until December 15, 2017 to sign up. Each month there will be a giveaway for those participating with an end of the year giveaway too! Click on the picture below or the link above to find out more!

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

An Inconvenient Beauty (Hawthorne House, # 4)

By: Kristi Ann Hunter

Published: September 5th 2017 by Bethany House Publishers

384 pages

Genre: Christian, Historical Fiction

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--Award-Winning Regency Romance Author on the Rise

Griffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, and he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. He's certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, but while Frederica is strangely elusive, he can't seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge.

Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, her uncle will only help them if she'll use her beauty to assist him in his political aims. Already uncomfortable with this agreement, the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she wishes to be free of her unfortunate obligation.

Will Griffith and Isabella be able to set aside their pride and face their fears in time to find their own happily-ever-after?

First Grave on the Right (Charliey Davidson, # 1)

By: Darynda Jones

Published: February 1st 2011 by St. Martin's Press

310 pages

Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery, Humor

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--This whole grim reaper thing should have come with a manual.
Or a diagram of some kind.
A flow chart would have been nice.

Charley Davidson is a part-time private investigator and full-time grim reaper. Meaning, she sees dead people. Really. And it's her job to convince them to "go into the light." But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (like murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she's been having about an entity who has been following her all her life...and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely. But what does he want with Charley? And why can't she seem to resist him? And what does she have to lose by giving in?

With scorching-hot tension and high-octane humor, First Grave on the Right is your signpost to paranormal suspense of the highest order.

Ice Wolves (Elementals, # 1)

By: Aime Kaufman

Published: March 27th 2018 by HarperCollins

326 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Thank you!!)

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

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

Goodreads description--Everyone in Vallen knows that ice wolves and scorch dragons are sworn enemies who live deeply separate lives.

So when twelve-year-old orphan Anders takes one elemental form and his twin sister, Rayna, takes another, he has to question whether they are even related. Still, whether or not they’re family, Anders knows that Rayna is his best and only true friend. She’s nothing like the brutal, cruel dragons who claimed her as one of their own and stole her away.

To learn what he needs to rescue her, Anders will have to enlist at the foreboding Ulfar Academy, a school for young wolves that values loyalty to the pack above all else. But for Anders, loyalty is more complicated than blind obedience, and friendship is the most powerful shape-shifting force of all.

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!