Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Can't Wait for Crossed Lines

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.

Crossed Lines (Love Along the Wires, # 2)

By: Jennifer Delamere

Expected Publication: August 3rd 2021 by Bethany House Publishers

384 pages

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction

( 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--Emma Sutton knows she should be satisfied with her position at London's Central Telegraph Office. But ever since she was orphaned young, she's longed for a family of her own. Things look up when a handsome engineer is thrown into her orbit and he sends Emma the love note of her dreams.

Mitchell Harris's sharp wit and facility with a pen have enabled him to thrive despite serious obstacles. That the woman of his dreams works just one floor above his should make life perfect. But a childhood accident has left Mitchell convinced he'll never draw a woman like Emma Sutton's attention. When his best friend--who once saved his life--falls in love with Emma, too, and asks for help writing her love letters, Mitchell is torn between desire and loyalty.

Believing the writer of the letters is the answer to her prayers, but confused over her growing attraction to Mitchell, Emma's heart must decide where to call home.

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

Monday, April 12, 2021

Layla - Review

Layla

By: Colleen Hoover

Publication: December 8th 2020 by Montlake

302 pages

Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

Source: Personal Kindle Library (Christmas present from Husband)

( 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 comes a novel that explores life after tragedy and the enduring spirit of love.

When Leeds meets Layla, he’s convinced he’ll spend the rest of his life with her—until an unexpected attack leaves Layla fighting for her life. After weeks in the hospital, Layla recovers physically, but the emotional and mental scarring has altered the woman Leeds fell in love with. In order to put their relationship back on track, Leeds whisks Layla away to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. Once they arrive, Layla’s behavior takes a bizarre turn. And that’s just one of many inexplicable occurrences.

Feeling distant from Layla, Leeds soon finds solace in Willow—another guest of the B&B with whom he forms a connection through their shared concerns. As his curiosity for Willow grows, his decision to help her find answers puts him in direct conflict with Layla’s well-being. Leeds soon realizes he has to make a choice because he can’t help both of them. But if he makes the wrong choice, it could be detrimental for all of them.

Sigh. I hate to admit it. It's taken me a while to come to terms with this, but I think Colleen Hoover and I are growing apart. After 24 books, I am just not surprised anymore. I feel a little bit like I've figured her out...as an author anyway. Colleen Hoover told us a long time ago that she only ever plans to write "happily ever afters". And what I've learned is that she's all about the big reveal. The payoff. The end result. It's like "as long as the characters end up happy then the journey to get there isn't as important." And I say that because I've realized I often don't enjoy the journey all that much. I usually devour her books, but looking back that has been due to the terrible situations she puts her characters in that propel you to please! find some measure of peace in the end. One of the biggest telling factors for me is that other than her Slammed series (which is still my favorite), I have had zero desire to re-read any of her books. Now that I know how they've ended, the journey wasn't enjoyable enough for me to want to experience again. I realize not everyone will take issue with this. Maybe it's only the payoff or the end result that you read for, but it's not for me.

Leeds and Layla have a whirlwind relationship from their first meeting. They pretty much go from two separate beings to a couple instantly. They enter into a relationship where they don't even really leave each other's presence for like 2 months. The two survive a life-changing experience, and ever since things have been different. Layla is struggling and Leeds decides to take her back to the place they fell in love. All of this sounds good.

I knew Layla was categorized as a paranormal romance, and so I was constantly looking for where and when the paranormal would come into play. It took a while. And I don't think it's too much of a spoiler to admit that it came in the form of a ghost. The book isn't exactly divided into "then" and "now" segments but that's basically what's happening. Leeds has involved a detective to help this ghost and the book swaps back and forth between Leeds interacting with the detective and him telling the story of his and Layla's past and how they came upon this ghost that needs help. I often struggle with "then and now" books but the sections were mostly focused on the telling of their history that it didn't really feel disjointed to me. I didn't get annoyed because I wasn't exactly pulled out of the story for constant back and forth.

My biggest problem with Layla was the fact that Leeds continues to follow a path he knows is selfish and wrong. I highlighted numerous quotes where he notes this to be the case. I just cannot support characters who do this. And it's especially troubling when said characters don't have any real consequences for their selfishness and all seems to work out for them in the end. This touches on one of my deal-breaker topics (highlight for spoiler cheating). And so I was doubly annoyed when everything ties up in this nice pretty bow in the end.

I could tell there was supposed to be a giant twist in the end. Maybe about the 75-80% mark. But I figured it out around 60%. I don't mean that to sound arrogant. I don't mean it that way. I simply state it because I felt like it was further proof (to me) of how I feel like I understand Colleen Hoover as an author. Others might have figured it out even sooner. Some might have been continually guessing until the reveal. Neither way is wrong or bad and I often enjoy the experience even more if I'm NOT able to figure it out ahead of time.

Ultimately, Layla gets 3.5 Stars from me. It wasn't a bad book. I can see why others would rate it much higher. But for me, the characters following a selfish, wrong path purposefully, repeatedly choosing this path, sits so wrong with me that I couldn't enjoy the journey or the ultimate payoff like I would have liked. I truly am afraid that I'm growing away from Colleen Hoover. At this point, I'll probably still read her future books, but I certainly won't anticipate them with the same level nor will I expect as much from them as I have in the past. Have you read Layla? What did you think? Let me know!

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Sunday Post & Stacking the Shelves - 04/11/21

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ The Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~this meme was inspired in part by ~ In My Mailbox~ It's a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

We missed a good bit of our normal Easter celebrations due to linger effects of that stomach virus. Little Girl was able to go to school Monday morning, but Little Boy had to stay home. We met with our builders about our upcoming house rennovation and went over all things budget. I'm so excited to get started, but I'm pretty nervous as well. We have got to completely clear out our main living space so that we're ready when work is set to begin. So we've been working on that during any free moment. Friday night we resumed Easter plans that we postponed from last week. We ate dinner with Husband's family and dyed Easter eggs. Saturday we went back over for lunch and an egg hunt. About midnight last night the big kids woke up about the same time running 103 temperatures each. Sigh, we just can't seem to get well.

THE PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of From Blood and Ash (Blood and Ash, # 1) by Jennifer L Armentrout (4.5 Stars)
Tuesday: Ten Books I'd Gladly Throw Into the Ocean
Wednesday: Can't Wait for The Heart's Charge (Hanger's Horsemen, # 2) by Karen Witemeyer

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of Layla by Colleen Hoover
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday?
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Wednesday

Don’t forget to link up for the 2021 Series Enders Reading Challenge! You have until December 15th, 2021 to sign up. Each month there will be a giveaway for those participating with an end of the year giveaway too! Click on the picture below or the link above to find out more!

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

A Good Day for Chardonnay (Sunshine Vicram, # 2)

By: Darynda Jones

Expected Publication: July 27th 2021 by St. Martin's Press

400 pages

Genre: Adult, Mystery, Fantasy, 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--From the New York Times bestselling author Darynda Jones comes the second novel in her laugh-out-loud Sunshine Vicram mystery series, A Good Day for Chardonnay.

Running a small-town police force in the mountains of New Mexico should be a smooth, carefree kind of job. Sadly, full-time Sheriff--and even fuller-time coffee guzzler--Sunshine Vicram, didn't get that memo.

All Sunshine really wants is one easy-going day. You know, the kind that starts with coffee and a donut (or three) and ends with take-out pizza and a glass of chardonnay (or seven). Turns out, that's about as easy as switching to decaf. (What kind of people do that? And who hurt them?)

Before she can say iced mocha latte, Sunny's got a bar fight gone bad, a teenage daughter hunting a serial killer and, oh yes, the still unresolved mystery of her own abduction years prior. All evidence points to a local distiller, a dangerous bad boy named Levi Ravinder, but Sun knows he's not the villain of her story. Still, perhaps beneath it all, he possesses the keys to her disappearance. At the very least, beneath it all, he possesses a serious set of abs. She's seen it. Once. Accidentally.

Between policing a town her hunky chief deputy calls four cents short of a nickel, that pesky crush she has on Levi which seems to grow exponentially every day, and an irascible raccoon that just doesn't know when to quit, Sunny's life is about to rocket to a whole new level of crazy.

Yep, definitely a good day for chardonnay.

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

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Can't Wait for The Heart's Charge

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.

The Heart's Charge (Hanger's Horsemen, # 2)

By: Karen Witemeyer

Expected Publication: June 1st 2021 by Bethany House Publishers

384 pages

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction

( 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--Members of Hanger's Horsemen, Mark Wallace and Jonah Brooks arrive in Llano County, Texas, to deliver a steed, never expecting they'd deliver a baby as well. Left with an infant to care for, they head to a nearby foundling home, where Mark encounters the woman he'd nearly married a decade ago.

After failing at love, Katherine Palmer dedicated her life to caring for children, teaming up with Eliza Southerland to start Harmony House. From mixed ancestry, illegitimate, and female, Eliza understands the pain of not fitting society's mold. Yet those are the very attributes that lead her to minister to outcast children. The taciturn Jonah intrigues her with his courage and kindness, but there are secrets behind his eyes--ghosts from wars past and others still being waged.

However, when a handful of urchin children from the area go missing, a pair of Horsemen are exactly what the women need. Working together to find the children, will these two couples find love as well?

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

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Ten Books I'd Gladly Throw Into the Ocean

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This week's topic is Top Ten Books I'd Gladly Throw Into the Ocean.

  1. Mr. President by Katy Evans
  2. Lies We Believe About God by William Paul Young
  3. Stealing Parker (Hundred Oaks, # 2) by Miranda Kenneally
  4. The Body Electric by Beth Revis
  5. Left Drowning by Jessica Park
  6. The White Coat Diaries by Madi Sinha
  7. Revived by Cat Patrick
  8. Things I Can't Forget (Hundred Oaks, # 3) by Miranda Kenneally
  9. Song of the Fireflies by JA Redmerski
  10. Archer's Voice by Mia Sheridan

Which books would you like to throw into the ocean? Let me know!

Monday, April 5, 2021

From Blood and Ash - Review

From Blood and Ash (Blood and Ash, # 1)

By: Jennifer L Armentrout

Publication: March 30th 2020 by Blue Box Press

634 pages

Genre: New Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

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--A Maiden…

Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy’s life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Never to be spoken to. Never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather be with the guards, fighting back the evil that took her family, than preparing to be found worthy by the gods. But the choice has never been hers.

A Duty…

The entire kingdom’s future rests on Poppy’s shoulders, something she’s not even quite sure she wants for herself. Because a Maiden has a heart. And a soul. And longing. And when Hawke, a golden-eyed guard honor bound to ensure her Ascension, enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden.

A Kingdom…

Forsaken by the gods and feared by mortals, a fallen kingdom is rising once more, determined to take back what they believe is theirs through violence and vengeance. And as the shadow of those cursed draws closer, the line between what is forbidden and what is right becomes blurred. Poppy is not only on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods, but also her life when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.

So I've had two separate friends message me to tell me that I HAD to read this book. I wasn't in a rush because I was in the middle of a different JLA series. When I didn't get approved for book 2 of that series for review, I put it on hold and moved on to other books. Plus the 2nd friend warned me about content as she knows I'm not the biggest fan of descriptive content. Amazon gave me a $5 gift card for reading in November. (I mean, do they know me at all? Just continue to throw money at me Amazon. I don't mind.) So I used it to purchase From Blood and Ash, and I went into this book prepared for too much description. Perhaps my expectations were off. Certainly, the content exists, but it wasn't quite as bad as I expected it to be.

Poppy is the Maiden. She's gifted with the ability to feel others' pain. I'm not sure if it is the gift exactly that makes her the Maiden or not. That wasn't 100% clear. What also isn't clear is what being the Maiden means for the kingdom. She's a symbol and supposedly important for the future, but how so wasn't clear. I'm not even sure Poppy knew the reason either. But being the Maiden means she has to live differently from everyone else. She has to be veiled. She can't have any close relationships. She's not sure she even wants to be the Maiden. She does know that she just wants an opportunity to live and a choice of what happens in her life.

Poppy's attention is continually drawn to a new guard that works his way up the ranks until he becomes one of two personal guards for her. Hawke shows interest in her as a person. What her dreams are beyond her duty. She intrigues him and is continually surprising him. The two develop a connection with significant tension between them.

Twists abound in From Blood and Ash, but to be honest, none of them surprised me except the very last sentence of the book. But I found that I didn't even mind because the story was so engrossing that I was sucked in. I don't feel like this is anything spoiler related, but I also found the take on fantasy creatures unique-ish. Vampires and werewolves and maybe even zombie-ish creatures. All of it was new yet not.

Favorite quotes:

-...but lust was not love, it was not loyalty, and it was not long lasting.

-"I won’t ever prevent you from lifting a sword to protect your life or those you care about,” he said. “But I won’t let you shove that sword through your own heart to prove a point.”

From Blood and Ash was every bit as good as my two friends indicated. Yes, there is language and content if that's something you'd like to know about ahead of time, but my expectations were off due to warnings from my friend so I was actually expecting more than there was. I wasn't surprised by hardly anything within the story that I imagine were intended to be twists, but I didn't mind because the story and the characters made everything come alive. The cliffhanger ending had me dying to break down and purchase book 2 immediately. From Blood and Ash gets 4.5 Stars. Have you read From Blood and Ash ? What did you think? Let me know!

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Sunday Post - 04/04/21

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ The Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~this meme was inspired in part by ~ In My Mailbox~ It's a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Well guys! This has been the week from hades. My daughter got home from her trip with her grandparents Sunday night. She didn't bring home COVID. Instead she brought home a stomach virus like we've never seen before. She'd actually been symptom free for over 24 hours when she came home, but we imagine the virus was on her possessions somehow or something. The kids went to school like normal on Monday because she was seemingly well. Tuesday at 4:30 am it hit our middle child and my husband. Tuesday evening I got hit. Husband and I were symptom free by Wednesday at noon, but the two oldest kids continued to alternate periods of symptom free with periods of diarrhea and vomitting. Husband took them to the doctor on Friday. But that was basically a wasted trip because the doctor wasn't concerned about the diarrhea since neither was dehydrated and hadn't vomited that day. But even with all of that, we still have much to be thankful for. Because Jesus Christ died and rose again! We know He loved us because we died for us. And we know He is who He says He is because He rose from the dead. Happy Easter everyone!

THE PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of The Viscount and the Vicar's Daughter by Mimi Matthews (3.5 Stars)
Wednesday: Can't Wait for The Crown of Gilded Bones (Blood & Ash, # 3) by Jennifer L Armentrout

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of From Blood & Ash (Blood & Ash, # 1) by Jennifer L Armentrout
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday?
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Wednesday

Don’t forget to link up for the 2021 Series Enders Reading Challenge! You have until December 15th, 2021 to sign up. Each month there will be a giveaway for those participating with an end of the year giveaway too! Click on the picture below or the link above to find out more!

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!