Tuesday, August 31, 2021

My Most Recent Fictional Crushes

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 Fictional Crushes.

I originally started doing this as a top ten list, but I quickly realized it was going to be difficult for me to come up with ten characters without going years and years back into my reading history. So I cut the list down into my most recent. I wonder what it says about me that most of my fictional crushes come from the fantasy genre? Probably that these are larger than life guys and thus blow the average contemporary hero out of the water.

  1. Casteel from the Blood and Ash series by Jennifer L Armentrout - I mean I don't want to be lied to and kidnapped or anything, but once these two get past that, Casteel is pretty devoted. That kind of devotion is something you don't find often.
  2. Rhys from the A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J Maas - I had to use book 2 from the series because this book is where it's at. Rhys is willing to give up his own happiness for Feyre's. Again, this isn't something you see often. And the reveal of book 2 is my favorite big reveal of all time.
  3. Rowan from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas - I have never had a series or author make me change which male character I'm rooting for like the Throne of Glass series. Rowan is so far beyond what Aelin needs for herself. And one could do much worse than Rowan.
  4. Reyes from the Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones - I honestly don't even know what to say about Reyes. Read the series you'll agree.
  5. Nicolas You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle - I will always root for a guy willing to put in the work to keep a relationship going. I have got to respect him big time.

Which books feature your newest fictional crushes? And why? Let me know!

Monday, August 30, 2021

The Shaadi Set-Up - Review

The Shaadi Set-Up

By: Lillie Vale

Publication: September 7th 2021 by G.P. Putnam's Sons

368 pages

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary

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--In this witty and heartfelt rom-com debut for fans of Jasmine Guillory, Emily Henry, and Tessa Bailey, an Indian-American woman signs herself and her boyfriend up for a matchmaking site to prove they’re a perfect match, only to be paired with her ex instead.

High school sweethearts Rita Chitniss and Milan Rao were the golden couple, until the day he broke her heart. Now, six years later, Rita has turned her passion for furniture restoration into a career and has an almost-perfect boyfriend, Neil. The last thing she needs is for Milan to re-enter her life, but that’s exactly what happens when her mother, an unfailing believer in second chances, sets them up. Milan is just as charming, cocky, and confident as he was back in school. Only this time, he actually needs her business expertise, not her heart, to flip a hard-to-sell house for his realty agency.

While Rita begrudgingly agrees to help, she’s not taking any risks. To prove she’s definitely over him, she signs herself and Neil up on MyShaadi.com, a Desi matchmaking site famous for its success stories and trustworthy enough to convince everyone that she and Neil are the new and improved couple. Instead, she’s shocked when MyShaadi’s perfect match for her isn’t Neil…it’s Milan. Ignoring the website and her mother is one thing, but ignoring Milan proves much more difficult, especially when she promises to help him renovate the beach house of her dreams. And as the two of them dive deeper into work—and their pasts—Rita begins to wonder if maybe her match wasn’t so wrong after all….

2021 has been an odd reading year for me. The birth of my 3rd child in January put me behind my typical reading schedule. I honestly just wasn't in the mood to read even when I normally would have tried to squeeze in time here or there. Add in our home renovation that started in April. So what books I have read up until now this year have been books for pleasure. The Shaadi Set-Up, I thought, would be the perfect mix of pleasure and "work" (for review). And it was.

I did find the beginning of The Shaadi Set-Up slow. I haven't been giving books much of a chance to hook me before I've been putting them down to find something that does hook me. I kept pressing on with this one because of the building pressure I felt to finish some of my review books. And I would say somewhere between 20 and 30% I started feeling the desire to keep reading when I had to stop. By that point, I kind of got a feel for what direction this book was headed in and I was on board.

The Shaadi Set-Up is a typical "the one who got away"/"still in love with each other" story. Rita and Milan dated for 6 years between high school and college. They were completely in love. Or so Rita thought. When Milan completely surprises her by breaking up with her, via voicemail, she does whatever it takes to move on. Six years after their break up, Rita is dating Neil but she's only interested in having fun. Neil is looking for long term but he has his own issues, such as letting his mother dictate much of his life. Rita doesn't feel like she can introduce Neil to her family because his father was once engaged to her mother. They had a bad break up. It doesn't matter anyway because Rita's mother is determined to try to mend fences between Rita and Milan.

I really enjoyed The Shaadi Set-Up. I can see myself being just as stubborn as Rita. She refuses to let on to Milan how painful seeing him still is for her. She knows that they are different people than they were back then. Yet she knows that she needs closure. Working with him is difficult. Old patterns are hard to resist, and things she loved about him before are still the same even if they both have changed over the years. I loved seeing their relationship transform into each different stage. It was easy to see where they we headed and how things would end up.

Since becoming a mother I find that I can't help but relate to any mother in a story. I particularly found myself feeling sad for Rita's mother. I think other mothers might enjoy the story between these two as an addition to the main storyline.

I will say that the description, especially of the two houses that Rita and Milan worked on, really helped me picture everything as if I were there. Along the same lines, Lillie Vale must have some kind of special relationship with food since the sheer variety of dishes mentioned and described throughout was impressive.

Overall, The Shaadi Set-Up gets 4 Stars. Have you read The Shaadi Set-Up? What did you think? Let me know!

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Sunday Post - 08/29/21

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.

I don't even remember much about this week. I guess we had mostly normal days until Wednesday night. Little Girl started running a fever for no apparent reason. She had a headache when her temp was up but no other symptoms besides that. We kept her home from school on Thursday and she was fever and other symptom-free. So we sent her to school on Friday. Friday afternoon what do you think happened? That's right! She started running a fever again. We did have an extra at-home COVID test and that was negative. So who knows what was up with that randomness. Baby Boy is officially crawling now. He's just over 7 months old. He's also started sitting from a laying position and can pull up from sitting to stand. He's my last baby, and where I wanted to savor each step of his babyhood, he's blowing through all of these milestones way too fast for me.

THE PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of An Engagement of Sorts by Alene Wecker (4 Stars)
Tuesday: Ten Books I'd Like to Re-Read for the First Time
Wednesday:Can't Wait for Gilded by Marissa Meyer & 2021 Series Enders Reading Challenge - August Wrap Up

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of The Shaadi Set-Up by Lillie Vale
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday?
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Wednesday
Thursday: August 2021 EOM Wrap Up

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

NEW BOOKS THIS WEEK:

The Governess (Sisters of Woodside Mysteries, # 1)

By: Mary Kingswood

Narrated By: Jpanna Stephens

Expected Publication: July 17th 2018 by Sutors Publishing

261 pages

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Regency, Mystery

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--When Mr. Edmund Winterton of Woodside dies, his daughters find themselves penniless and homeless. What can they do? Unless they wish to live on charity, they will have to find genteel employment for themselves.

Annabelle becomes governess to the daughters of the recently bereaved Earl of Brackenwood. She has no idea how to teach, but her pupils can learn all they need from books, so how difficult can it be? She’ll need all her ingenuity to cope with the rebelliousness of her charges and the unwanted attentions of their father. But when her past returns to haunt her, she has to make a difficult decision.

Allan is slowly getting used to life as a widower, but his mother is determined that he must marry again and produce an heir. He is determined that he won’t, although the new governess is just the sort of woman he could fall in love with. But when a face from long ago reappears and stirs up suspicion, he has to consider the possibility that his wife’s death was not natural. What is worse, he himself is the obvious suspect. If he can’t prove his innocence, he may lose everything - his home, his new love, and even his life.

A traditional Regency romance, drawing room rather than bedroom.

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, August 25, 2021

2021 Series Enders Reading Challenge - August Wrap Up

Time for our Monthly Wrap Up for the 2021 Series Enders Reading Challenge hosted by Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know and Holly @ Words Fueled by Love!

Neither Holly nor Sandy have finished any series enders 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 August giveaway runs from August 25th - September 25th. On September 25th we will use random.org and the linky entries to pull a grand prize winner.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Can't Wait for Gilded

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.

Gilded

By: Marissa Meyer

Expected Publication: November 2nd 2021 by Feiwel & Friends

512 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--Marissa Meyer, #1 New York Times-bestselling author, returns to the fairytale world with this haunting retelling of Rumpelstiltskin.

Long ago cursed by the god of lies, a poor miller's daughter has developed a talent for spinning stories that are fantastical and spellbinding and entirely untrue.

Or so everyone believes.

When one of Serilda's outlandish tales draws the attention of the sinister Erlking and his undead hunters, she finds herself swept away into a grim world where ghouls and phantoms prowl the earth and hollow-eyed ravens track her every move. The king orders Serilda to complete the impossible task of spinning straw into gold, or be killed for telling falsehoods. In her desperation, Serilda unwittingly summons a mysterious boy to her aid. He agrees to help her… for a price. Love isn't meant to be part of the bargain.

Soon Serilda realizes that there is more than one secret hidden in the castle walls, including an ancient curse that must be broken if she hopes to end the tyranny of the king and his wild hunt forever.

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

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Ten Books I'd Like to Re-Read for the First Time

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 Like to Re-Read for the First Time.
  1. Slammed (Slammed, # 1) by Colleen Hoover - Slammed is still one of my favorite books of all time.
  2. Hopeless (Hopeless, # 1) by Colleen Hoover - That first non-kiss scene from a first time perspective would be awesome.
  3. A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, # 2) by Sarah J Maas - The best big reveal I've ever read. I've re-read it and it was just as good the second time, but seeing all of the pieces play out the first time was epic.
  4. Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, # 3) by Sarah J Maas - through the rest of the series - Again, epic.
  5. A Kiss of Deception (Remnant Chronicles, # 1) by Mary E Pearson - This entire book was all about the first read. It was written for the first read.
  6. Divergent (Divergent, # 1) by Veronica Roth - Such a unique concept...until the characters had to overthrow a corrupt government.
  7. The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, # 1) by Suzanne Collins - Same explanation as for Divergent.
  8. Red Rising series by Pierce Brown - Such unexpectedly good books.
  9. The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon - Another book about the reveal.
  10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, # 7) by JK Rowling - Who doesn't want to go back and re-read how one of the best series ever ends for the first time?

Which books would you like to re-experience reading for the first time? Let me know!

Monday, August 23, 2021

An Engagement of Sorts - Review

An Engagement of Sorts

By: Alene Wecker

Expected Publication: August 9th 2021 by Covenant Communications

223 pages

Genre: Adult, 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--Much to her mother’s dismay, spirited Anne Fletcher spent her youth seeking her father’s approval by hunting and riding. More comfortable in breeches than ball gowns, Anne sees the freedoms she once enjoyed slowly taken from her in the name of fashioning her into an eligible young lady. When her parents try to force her into marriage, Anne makes a desperate attempt to salvage her last vestige of independence. If she is to marry, she will do so on her own terms.

Anne strikes a deal: if she cannot secure a man for herself, she will agree to marry the husband her parents approved. She soon finds herself in the last place she would ever choose—that stifling parade of etiquette, the London Season. Anne’s plan is in motion. Now all she needs is a man willing to masquerade as her fiancĂ©.

The first note I made about An Engagement of Sorts was that the language used was unnatural. I told my husband that I felt like I was reading a dictionary in the beginning. Most of the words she used were ones that I knew but don't use in typical conversation. I'm sure Alene Wecker was trying to be historically accurate in her word choices, but for me, there needs to be a balance between historically accurate speech and modern day language. What I mean is that there's no need to write in thee, thou, thoust, thy, etc. In the same vein, Alene Wecker fell into the adverb trap that new authors often fall into.

Given that the language sometimes pulled me out of the story, I have to applaud Alene Wecker for writing characters that were so real they overcame these vocabulary struggles. Anne is unique. She struggles to curb her tongue. And I guess she is clumsy or doesn't think things through so she often finds herself in these situations that no one else would find themselves in. Because she's not what society says she should be or behave the way others would like, she finds herself excluded. Her mother treats her with disdain. But she's caught the eye of a couple of men. One is a predator. One is a vicar. And one has sworn himself against love.

Thomas can't help but be drawn to Anne. He loves the fiery spirit she has. And he finds that he enjoys fanning her flame. But he's determined not to fall in love. Yet, he wants to help her bring down the man who has tried to attack her and has threatened her friends and family. Even with writing off love, Thomas is a huge flirt. I think anyone can relate to finding themselves in love with someone who flirts so naturally that it is almost impossible to determine when they are specifically flirting with you for real, because they are interested, or because that's just their personality. My own past haunted me a little bit while reading about these two trying to find their way.

Even though I struggled with the language Alene Wecker used in the beginning, I did find some quote-worthy highlights. Here are my favorites:

-I had no desire to trade a mother who ruled over me until I reached my majority for a husband who would lord over me for life.

-“I do not want someone to love me against their better judgment.”

-“You are hardly old enough to know your own mind. How could I be expected to know it?” Listening to me would make a good start.

-“I imagine I would enjoy it more than an amputation of the foot but less than being drained dry by a score of leeches."

-No matter how wild the flower, it must rankle to be thus used and discarded. A wildflower is no plaything.”

-I had come to expect flippancy and outrageous flattery from him, which was as painless for him to deliver as it was for me to cast aside. But I could not laugh away the flattery of being heard. Of being seen. Of being thought of.

-The image of my favorite stuffed rabbit, which I had adored into oblivion, came to mind. It would lose its tail, the beans spilling out while I shrieked and cried. Nurse would fix it, and I would love it again until I loved it with too much vigor and a seam would rip.

-"You may have penned them, but they are my words now.”

-"You’ve egg in your hair, though, dear.”

An Engagement of Sorts ended up being such a pleasant experience once I got past the excessive adverbs and unnatural language in an attempt to be more historically accurate. Anne and Thomas came alive for me and I didn't want to put the book down when I needed to. I essentially read it in one day. I think almost everyone can relate to finding themselves in love with a flirt despite attempting to remain unaffected by the flattery of someone else. I would be interested in reading some books based off of some of the side characters if Alene Wecker ever chose to write them. An Engagement of Sorts gets 4 Stars despite the language used. Have you read An Engagement of Sorts? What did you think? Let me know!

Side note: I love how in the acknowledgments Alene Wecker says she chose to write the book she wanted to read because she wasn't seeing the book she wanted to read on the market.

I also love that she writes characters that are distantly related to her even if their stories aren't real.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Sunday Post - 08/22/21

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 Little Girl is sick again. She started up last Sunday. I let her stay home from school Monday. My sister and niece came to visit for a couple days on Monday. Little Girl went back to school on Tuesday. Tuesday afternoon, my sister found out her husband tested positive for COVID-19. She and my niece weren't showing any symptoms. I started to feel bad Tuesday. I've been sneezing for two weeks though so I'm 98% sure my issues are allergy related. Baby Boy has a runny nose too. None of us have fever. We did go ahead and get some home kits to test Little Girl and my dad. Both were negative. My grandmother fell this past week and broke her arm. And then about two days later she fell again and cut and bruised herself up pretty badly. My mom has gone to Mobile to be with her. She should be back tomorrow. Last night we ate dinner with some family friends.

THE PAST TWO WEEKS:

Monday 08/09: Review of A Proper Scoundrel (A Proper Scandal, # 3) by Esther Hatch (4 Stars)
Wednesday 8/11:Can't Wait for Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover
Monday 8/16: Review of Winning the Schoolmarm (Wind River Hearts, # 14) by Lacy Williams (3.5 Stars)
Wednesday 8/18:Can't Wait for Our Way Back to Always by Nina Moreno

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of An Engagement of Sorts by Alene Wecker
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!

NEW BOOKS THIS WEEK:

The Dating Playbook (The Boyfriend Project, # 2)

By: Farrah Rochon

Narrated By: Rebecca Lee

Expected Publication: August 17th 2021 by Forever

368 pages

Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Sports

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--When a personal trainer agrees to fake date her client, all rules are out the window in this delightful romantic comedy from the USA Today bestselling author of The Boyfriend Project!

When it comes to personal training, Taylor Powell kicks serious butt. Unfortunately, her bills are piling up, rent is due, and the money situation is dire. Taylor needs more than the support of her new best friends, Samiah and London. She needs a miracle.

And Jamar Dixon might just be it. The oh-so-fine former footballer wants back into the NFL, and he wants Taylor to train him. There's just one catch -- no one can know what they're doing. But when they're accidentally outed as a couple, Taylor's game plan is turned completely upside down. Is Jamar just playing to win . . . or is he playing for keeps?

Look Alive Twenty-Five

By: Janet Evanovich

Publication: November 13th 2018 by Putnam Pub Group

311 pages

Genre: Adult, Mystery, Humor

Source: Borrowed from e-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--Stephanie Plum faces the toughest puzzle of her career in the twenty-fifth entry in Janet Evanovich's #1 New York Times bestselling series.

There's nothing like a good deli and the Red River Deli in Trenton is one of the best. World famous for its pastrami, cole slaw and for its disappearing managers. Over the last month, three have vanished from the face of the earth, the only clue in each case is one shoe that's been left behind. The police are baffled. Lula is convinced that it's a case of alien abduction. Whatever it is, they'd better figure out what's going on before they lose their new manager, Ms. Stephanie Plum.

How to Manage Your Life Without Losing Your Mind: Dealing with Your House's Dirty Little Secrets

By: Dana K White

Publication: November 8th 2016 by Thomas Nelson

240 pages

Genre: Non-fiction, Self-Help

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--Bring your home out of the mess it’s in and learn how to keep it under control.

“The dirty little secret about most organizing advice is that it’s written by organized people,” says blogger, speaker, and decluttering expert Dana K. White. “But that’s not how my brain works. I’m lost on page three.” Dana blogs at A Slob Comes Clean, chronicling her successes and failures with her self-described “deslobification process.” In the beginning she used the name “Nony” (short for aNONYmous), because she was sharing her deep, dark, slob secret. Now she has truly come clean—with not only her real name but the strategies she has developed, tested, and proved in her own home. She has learned what it takes to bring a home out of Disaster Status, which habits make the biggest and most lasting impact, and how to keep clutter under control.

In How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind, Dana explains that cleaning your house is not a onetime project but a series of ongoing premade decisions. Her reality-based cleaning and organizing techniques debunk the biggest housekeeping fantasies and help readers learn what really works. Chapter titles include

My First Step: Giving Up on the Fantasy
The Worst Thing About the Best Way
Just Tell Me What to Do
Conquering Laundry
Get Dinner on the Table
Putting an End to the Never-Ending Weekly Cleaning Tasks
Don’t Get Organized
How to Declutter Without Making a Bigger Mess
Fighting the Perceived Value Battle
But Will It Last?

With a huge helping of empathy and humor, Dana provides a step-by-step process with strategies for getting rid of enormous amounts of stuff in as little time (and with as little emotional drama) as possible.

A Warrior's Heart (Brides of Laurent, # 1)

By: Misty M Beller

Expected Publication: August 31st 2021 by Bethany House Publishers

320 pages

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Christian 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--Brielle Durand is a key defender and hunter for her people's peace-loving French settlement in the Canadian mountains. When a foreigner wanders too near to their secret homes, she has no choice but to disarm and capture him. She won't allow another massacre like the one that killed her mother a dozen years before. But now, what to do with this man who looks at her in a strange way?

Evan MacManus was on assignment to find among the caves the mineral pitchblende that might help America win the War of 1812. Despite being taken prisoner, Evan is determined to complete his mission. But when that assignment becomes at odds with his growing appreciation of the villagers and Brielle, does he follow through on the promise he's made to his government or take a risk on the path his heart tells him is right? Either choice will spell death for someone.

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, August 18, 2021

Can't Wait for Our Way Back to Always

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.

Our Way Back to Always

By: Nina Moreno

Expected Publication: October 12th 2021 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

368 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

( 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--Luisa (Lou) Patterson grew up across the street from Sam Alvarez in the small, quirky town of Port Coral. They used to be inseparable--spending every holiday together, shooting silly YouTube videos, and rescuing stray cats. But then middle school happened, including the most disastrous (and embarrassing) serenade ever, and Lou and Sam haven't talked in the four years since. Sam is now the golden boy with plenty of friends, while Lou is an introverted romantic who's happy playing video games and writing fan fiction. But it's also the summer before their senior year, and life is knocking on Lou's door.

With her older sister having given up a scholarship to Princeton to have a baby and work at the local botanica, all of their mother's expectations are now riding on Lou's shoulders. She's retaking her SAT's, signed up for way too many AP classes, and her sights set on colleges with fancy names like Duke and Vanderbilt. But when she finds the bucket list she and Sam wrote together as kids, before Sam's father was diagnosed with cancer, she's shocked to see that she hasn't accomplished any of the goals she'd set for herself. Go to a party? Nope. Pull the greatest prank of all time? Still no. Learn how to be a really good kisser? Definitely not.

Torn between the future that her mother, sister, and younger self planned for her, Lou sets out to finish the list, and in a stroke of destiny or fate, Sam decides to tag along. Still trying to stay afloat amid the grief of losing his father, Sam himself is staring down a future that feels all too close, and is coming far too fast. But with the bucket list to guide them, Sam and Lou might just be able to find a way through the future, and also a way back to each other.

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

Monday, August 16, 2021

Winning the Schoolmarm - Review

Winning the Schoolmarm

By: Lacy Williams

Publication: February 12th 2021 by Lacy Williams Books LLC

206 pages

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction

Source: Author (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--Swirling rumors forced Cecilia White out of the teaching job she loved. She vowed not to get involved with a man again—no matter what. But when the term begins at a new schoolhouse in a new town, disaster strikes. No matter what she does, she can’t seem to escape the handsome, single chairman of the school board.

John Morgan has a secret. He’s not who he says he is. He’ll do anything to protect and provide for his young sister—including cozying up to the prickly schoolmarm.

Sparks fly and Cecilia must deny her heart if she hopes to keep her job. But what’s more important? Duty or love?

Lacy Williams contacted me about reviewing Winning the Schoolmarm right after Baby Boy was born. I liked the description of the book, but I wasn't sure I would have time to add this into my schedule. She politely told me there was no rush, and so I went ahead and got a copy of it. I'm glad that I did.

The first thing I noticed about Winning the Schoolmarm is the title. I'm not a fan of the term "schoolmarm" even if it is historically accurate. Thankfully the word was only used once in the book. When I actually started reading, I noticed the first couple of pages were packed with information in a good way. Just a few sentences conveyed a wealth of information and I applaud Lacy Williams for that.

The book description is misleading though. John never really implied that he was someone different than he is, he just never spelled his past out to the whole town. The description also makes it seem like he's choosing to cozy up to Cecilia as a means of protecting Ruth. But if anything, Ruth was an afterthought to John when he came to his relationship and feelings for Cecilia.

Ruth is probably the character that jumped off the page the most. She was full of spunk. She was full of pranks for Cecilia. Some of them made me laugh and some of them sparked indignation within me that had me wanting to discipline her myself.

The biggest negative for me in Winning the School is that characters' pasts or motivations were mentioned in passing but not fully fleshed out. At least not for the readers. Lacy Williams might know exactly what happened with Simon before Cecilia comes to the new school and town but the reader doesn't know because she never tells us fully. And she might also know what exactly Ruth has against Cecilia besides her trying to enforce rules that Ruth bucks against, but again, this isn't fully spelled out for the reader to know exactly what the issue is. And thus the reader is left wondering. I feel like this was likely due to the length of the book. Barely 200 pages is not long enough to dive into every detail. And that also leaves me feeling like some of the events were rushed.

Even with the pacing being a bit fast, the characters and story were easy to connect with and picture. They felt authentic. Since this book is the 14th book in a series, I did wonder what I was missing from prior stories. Not because pieces were alluded to but because of the other characters we meet. And Lacy Williams did set up the next book within this one.

I enjoyed Winning the Schoolmarm. The characters and story felt authentic. I can see that Lacy Williams has real talent. A few issues that I had were pacing and character motivations and history. But those things felt like they had more to do with the length of the book rather than a writing flaw. I did also find a few continuity mistakes, but they didn't bother me too much. Winning the Schoolmarm gets 3.5 Stars. Have you read Winning the Schoolmarm? What did you think? Let me know!

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Can't Wait for Reminders of Him

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.

Reminders of Him

By: Colleen Hoover

Expected Publication: January 18th 2022 by Montlake Romance

? pages

Genre: Adult, Contemporary

( 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 troubled young mother yearns for a shot at redemption in this heartbreaking yet hopeful story from #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover.

After serving five years in prison for a tragic mistake, Kenna Rowan returns to the town where it all went wrong, hoping to reunite with her four-year-old daughter. But the bridges Kenna burned are proving impossible to rebuild. Everyone in her daughter’s life is determined to shut Kenna out, no matter how hard she works to prove herself.

The only person who hasn’t closed the door on her completely is Ledger Ward, a local bar owner and one of the few remaining links to Kenna’s daughter. But if anyone were to discover how Ledger is slowly becoming an important part of Kenna’s life, both would risk losing the trust of everyone important to them.

The two form a connection despite the pressure surrounding them, but as their romance grows, so does the risk. Kenna must find a way to absolve the mistakes of her past in order to build a future out of hope and healing.

I'm not as die-hard of a Colleen Hoover fan as I used to be, but I will continue to check out her books as long as the description appeals to me. What are you guys waiting on this week? Let me know!

Monday, August 9, 2021

A Proper Scoundrel - Review

A Proper Scoundrel (A Proper Scandal, # 3)

By: Esther Hatch

Publication: May 10th 2021 by Covenant Communications

256 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction, Adult

Source: Personal Kindle Library (birthday present)

( 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--As the successful owner of multiple railroad lines, Diana Barton is all too accustomed to fending off suitors seeking to stake their claim on her wealth. In order to keep the wolves at bay, Diana has contrived the perfect plan: appeal to the most notorious rake in London, the Baron Lord Bryant, to ruin her reputation and scare off the worst of the time wasters. The ruse will be no hardship—she’s secretly been fascinated by the man for years.

Lord Bryant is well aware of his questionable reputation. Indeed, he has cultivated the image carefully, and the last thing he wants is a wife. But when he’s approached by the younger sister of a business associate, he tells her in no uncertain terms that he cannot help. However, when he sees for himself what she is up against, Bryant grudgingly offers his assistance. Faced with his most complicated entanglement yet, Bryant is firm in his conditions—and Diana knows that to get romantically involved with Bryant would spell certain heartbreak. But as the counterfeit couple grow ever closer, the line between truth and lies becomes blurred, threatening both Lord Bryant’s well-laid plans and the future of Diana’s railroad business.

Esther Hatch has become a favorite author of mine. Each of her stories have jumped off the page, and the characters and storylines have hooked me from early on. I have truly struggled with read in 2021, but A Proper Scoundrel hooked me immediately. I do think being familiar with Lord Bryant from the previous two books did help.

I was wondering how in the world Esther Hatch would take a notorious scoundrel and rake and turn him into the leading male of any story. But she did a wonderful job of creating a believable backstory with reason and motivation for his actions.

Diana is the sister of Nate from A Proper Scandal. She's already scandalous on her own as a woman both owning and running her own railroad company. I loved Esther Hatch's play on the opening line from Pride and Prejudice: "As everyone knows, a single woman in possession of a railroad company must be in want of a husband." Diana had the confidence needed to be a proper match for Lord Bryant.

I loved the build between these two, and I don't want to get into too much of the specifics due to spoilers. I will say that this is the 3rd book in a row I have read that has used the fake relationship trope, and I have loved every one of them. The banter between these two was so enjoyable.

Favorite quotes:

-"When I win, I will be sure to let you know."

A missed opportunity not to refer to this later, IMO.

-Half the time, I'm not sure what is real and what is pretend.

-He smiled. She was becoming almost tired of his smile and the way it sucked in everyone around him. She wished he would be rid of it for a day and allow her to not dwell on whom else he had been smiling at.

-"But when he dropped his burden in the pond, he became happy for what he could be happy for--that he no longer had a burden. He didn't mourn the things he couldn't change." ..."He didn't want to lose his burden. It was only after it had slipped in that he rejoiced it was gone."

-You couldn't love a dragon, nor could you get close to one, but you wouldn't wish it to become a fish.

-She would not trust her heart if her head didn't agree with it.

-"Since the moment I saw you, I've been on a train hurtling down a track that always leads to you."

Diana and Lord Bryant made such a good story. I was happy with the background and explanation for his scoundrel ways. I could easily root for both of these characters. And I can't wait to read more from Esther Hatch. A Proper Scoundrel gets 4 Stars. Have you read A Proper Scoundrel? What did you think? Let me know!

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Sunday Post - 08/08/21

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.

This week was mostly chill and normal. House work is slowly comming along. We've been at this for three months now and the end is still not in sight. But we have much to be thankful for. Thursday we went to Open House for Little Girl. She's starting Kindergarten tomorrow. Prayers for my mommy heart if you will. Saturday after my grocery run, we ran to buy school shoes. Then we went out to eat and drove by our house to see the progress and grab some things needed for school. I had no thought in my mind that we still would be in the middle of construction by the time school started. Little Boy also starts Pre-K3 on Monday. We're going to have many trips back and forth every day for the foreseeable future.

THE PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of The Prince of Spies (Hope & Glory, # 3) by Elizabeth Camden (3.5 Stars)
Wednesday: Can't Wait for The Playbook (The Boyfriend Project, # 2) by Farrah Rochon

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of A Proper Scoundrel (Proper Scandal, # 3) by Esther Hatch
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!

NEW BOOKS THIS WEEK:

This May End Badly

By: Samantha Markum

Expected Publication: April 12th 2022 by Wednesday Books

384 pages

Genre: Young 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--When a high stakes boarding school prank war leads to a fake dating scheme, two teens must decide if they are ready to take the ultimate risk — falling in love.

Pranking mastermind Doe and her motley band of Weston girls are determined to win the century-long war against Winfield Academy before the clock ticks down on their senior year. But when their headmistress announces that The Weston School will merge with its rival the following year, their longtime feud spirals into chaos.

To protect the school that has been her safe haven since her parents’ divorce, Doe puts together a plan to prove once and for all that Winfield boys and Weston girls just don’t mix, starting with a direct hit at Three, Winfield’s boy king and her nemesis. In a desperate move to win, Doe strikes a bargain with Three’s cousin, Wells: If he fake dates her to get under Three’s skin, she’ll help him get back his rightful family heirloom from Three.

As the pranks escalate, so do her feelings for her fake boyfriend, and Doe spins lie after lie to keep up her end of the deal. But when a teacher long suspected of inappropriate behavior messes with a younger Weston girl, Doe has to decide what’s more important: winning a rivalry, or joining forces to protect something far more critical than a prank war legacy.

This May End Badly is a story about friendship, falling in love, and crossing pretty much every line presented to you—and how to atone when you do.

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, August 4, 2021

Can't Wait for The Dating Playbook

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 Dating Playbook (The Boyfriend Project, # 2)

By: Farrah Rochon

Expected Publication: August 17th 2021 by Forever

368 pages

Genre: 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--When a personal trainer agrees to fake date her client, all rules are out the window in this delightful romantic comedy from the USA Today bestselling author of The Boyfriend Project!

When it comes to personal training, Taylor Powell kicks serious butt. Unfortunately, her bills are piling up, rent is due, and the money situation is dire. Taylor needs more than the support of her new best friends, Samiah and London. She needs a miracle.

And Jamar Dixon might just be it. The oh-so-fine former footballer wants back into the NFL, and he wants Taylor to train him. There's just one catch -- no one can know what they're doing. But when they're accidentally outed as a couple, Taylor's game plan is turned completely upside down. Is Jamar just playing to win . . . or is he playing for keeps?

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

Monday, August 2, 2021

The Prince of Spies - Review

The Prince of Spies (Hope and Glory, # 2)

By: Elizabeth Camden

Publication: February 16th 2021 by Bethany House Publishers

352 pages

Genre: Adult, 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--Luke Delacroix has the reputation of a charming man-about-town in Gilded Age Washington, DC. In reality, he is secretly carrying out an ambitious agenda in Congress. His current mission is to thwart the reelection of Congressman Clyde Magruder, his only real enemy in the world.

But trouble begins when Luke meets Marianne Magruder, the congressman's only daughter, whose job as a government photographer gives her unprecedented access to sites throughout the city. Luke is captivated by Marianne's quick wit and alluring charm, leading them both into a dangerous gamble to reconcile their feelings for each other with Luke's driving passion for vital reforms in Congress.

Can their newfound love survive a political firestorm, or will three generations of family rivalry drive them apart forever?

I came into this series with book 2 not knowing it was part of a series. Luke seemed like a larger than life character, and I was excited to come around to his book. Yet I tried to start The Prince of Spies the week before Baby Boy was born. Honestly, that was a terrible time to try to start something new. I wasn't hooked immediately so I put it down. Of course, having a newborn doesn't lend itself to much reading time so I put off getting back to this book for a while. However when I finally returned to the story, I only needed a few more pages before I found myself invested in the story and characters.

Luke is still larger than life. He's one of those people that have varied interest. He's just gotten home from a 15 month stint in a Cuban jail while spying for the US. Plus he's a journalist. He's interested in politics. He's got a vendetta against a company that the family business had a deal with that led to the deaths of 3 people. He's translating a book. And he joins an experiment group. Luke is a risk taker if nothing else. I can admire him but also know I could never be in a relationship with someone similar.

Marianne is the daughter of the business owner Luke's family had the partnership with that resulted in 3 deaths. Marianne only knows what she's been told and has no reason to doubt those things. She's a photographer for the Department of Interiors and has been called to some dangerous places in the name of getting a good shot. Even still, Marianne doesn't considered herself a risk-taker. She actually calls herself a coward more than once.

I liked Luke and Marianne's story. These two didn't skirt around their attraction with each other which I appreciated. They have a Romeo and Juliet story being from families feuding with each other.

I usually don't love when a book spends too much time focusing on historical events. I don't mind a mention or a nod, but I don't want to feel like the book is setting out to teach me something (much like not wanting to be preached at). So The Prince of Spies teetered on the edge of the line for me. I actually found the food preservatives aspect interesting but it was almost too much history for me.

Favorite quotes:

-“Oh, for pity’s sake, they’re ghosts, Gray! The kind who wake you up at night and steal your joy and make you pray to God for forgiveness. That kind of ghost.”...“Then you’re going to have to defeat them. Or turn them into something that inspires you to be a better man.”

-"We seem like complete opposites, but we fly together in tandem.”

-"Having a best friend,” Luke said. “A port in a storm. A person to laugh and flirt with. To hold and kiss and comfort.”

-She was a jeweled memory that flashed and glinted in the darkness, keeping him awake at night and fueling his days. He would probably never see her again, but the fire she inspired drove him to keep dreaming, keep trying, keep enduring.

The Prince of Spies took me a little while to get into, but I think that had more to do with my life circumstances than the book. I loved Luke and Marianne's story. And even though I don't normally, I enjoyed the inclusion of the history of food preservatives as used in this story. The history was close to being too much of the focus for me though. Prince of Spies gets 3.5 Stars. Have you read Prince of Spies? What did you think? Let me know!

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Sunday Post - 08/01/21

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.

Oh my word this was a busy week! Monday, Baby Boy had his 6 month check up. He weighs 22 pounds (97%). Little Boy was 13 months old when he weighed 22 pounds. Tuesday was the only day we didn't have anything going on. Wednesday, the big kids and I met my friend Amanda, her mom, and her two kids at a local farmer's market. Wednesday night, I went to have some mom time with Holly. Thursday, the big kids went to the dentist. Friday, I had to go up to the school to finish registration for Little Girl going into Kindergarten. Saturday, I had to meet my mother-in-law to have Baby Boy's hand print made and do grocery pick up. It has been a whirlwind. I'm no longer doing Stacking the Shelves. The host blog hasn't updated in months, so I'll just include my new books with my Sunday Post. I know many people do this anyway. But it turns out that I didn't get any new books this week anyway.

THE PAST WEEK:

Sunday: 2021 Series Enders Reading Challenge - July Wrap Up
Monday: Review of A Good Day for Chardonnay (Sunshine Vicram, # 2) by Darynda Jones (4.5 Stars)
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Love, Chai, and Other Four-Letter Words by Annika Sharma
Saturday: EOM Wrap Ups for June & July 2021

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of The Prince of Spies (Hope & Glory, # 3) by Elizabeth Camden
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!