Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sunday Post - 231 & Stacking the Shelves - 166

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.

Let's see. For the most part this week has been relatively low key. A same old same old kind of week. Friday night we went to dinner to celebrate my brother-in-law's birthday. I read one book earlier this week that was a real disappointment, but it really helped me think about what I'm looking for in the books that I seek out to read. It just so happened that the next book I picked up (actually the only book I received this week, shown below) completely blew me away. Making Faces by Amy Harmon turned out to be everything that Mr. President by Katy Evans was missing.

THIS PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of The Radius of Us by Marie Marquardt (3.5 Stars)
Tuesday: Ten Underrated Books
Wednesday: Waiting on The Valiant by Lesley Livingston

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, # 2) by Sarah J Maas
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday
Wednesday: Waiting on Wednesday & 2017 Series Enders Reading Challenge - January Wrap Up

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.

Making Faces

By: Amy Harmon

Published: February 21, 2017 by Spencer Hill Press (re-release)

405 pages

Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Contemporary

Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!!)

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

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

Goodreads description--Ambrose Young was beautiful. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She'd been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have . . . until he wasn't beautiful anymore.

Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl's love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior's love for an unremarkable girl.

This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast, where we discover that there is a little beauty and a little beast in all of us.

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, January 18, 2017

Waiting on The Valiant

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

The Valiant

By: Lesley Livingston

Expected Publication: February 14th 2017 by Razorbill

384 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, 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--Lost to history, the story of the female gladiator has never been told. Until now.

Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king and the younger sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha. When Fallon was just a child, Sorcha was killed while defending their home from the armies of Julius Caesar.

On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is excited to follow in her sister's footsteps and earn her place in her father's war band. She never gets the chance.

Fallon is captured by ruthless brigands who sell her to an elite training school for female gladiators owned by none other than Julius Caesar himself. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon s family might be her only hope of survival. Now, Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries, deadly fights in and out of the arena, and perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier and her sworn enemy.

A richly imagined fantasy for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Cinda Williams Chima, "The Valiant" recounts Fallon s gripping journey from fierce Celtic princess to legendary gladiator and darling of the Roman empire."

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

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Ten Underrated Books

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

You guys, most of the books I've over the last year have at least a 3.8 rating on Goodreads. I'd say that's pretty stinking good. I've read two review books that don't publish for a little bit that currently have low ratings. I'm not sure if that's because of the content or the publication date. I'll list one of those below, but mostly I want to focus on read books. So since the ones I've read within the last year have pretty good ratings, I'm just doing underrated books in general.

  1. Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark (Goodreads Rating: 3.52) My Rating: 4 Stars - I really have no idea why this one is rated so low.
  2. Pull (Push, # 2) by Claire Wallis - (Goodreads Rating: 3.48) My Rating: 4 Stars - I get it. This doesn't have your typical happily-ever-after, but it's still a much better book than that Goodreads rating.
  3. The Fall by Bethany Griffin - (Goodreads Rating: 3.41) My Rating: 4 Stars - I can kind of understand this one too. It's very "different", but I still enjoyed it.
  4. V is for Virgin (V is for Virgin, # 1) by Kelly Oram - (Goodreads Rating: 3.79) My Rating: 4.5 Stars - The message behind this book was so good. And I loved the characters too. I definitely think it deserves a higher rating.
  5. 100 Hours (100 Hours, # 1) by Rachel Vincent - Release Date: March 28, 2017 (Goodreads Rating: 3.11) Review Coming Soon - I mean I don't want to give away my rating right now, but 3.11 is ridiculously low for this book.
  6. Twilight (Twilight, # 1) by Stephenie Meyer - (Goodreads Rating: 3.55) My Rating: 4 Stars - You guys, I realize that Twilight isn't without faults, but I feel like so many people enjoyed this one until it became so popular and then jumped ship. I also feel like some people were determined to dislike it just because it was popular. It's worth more than 3.5 Stars--at least it is to me.
  7. New Moon (Twilight, # 2) by Stephenie Meyer - (Goodreads Rating: 3.52) My Rating: 4 Stars - New Moon rocked my soul the first time I read it. Again, not without issues, but this book had me all up in the feels.
  8. On Becoming Babywise by Gary Ezzo & Robert Bucknam (Goodreads Rating: 3.56) My Rating: 4.5 Stars - Parenting is an extremely personal thing with many decisions that aren't right or wrong...just what works for you. Babywise has gotten a lot of flack, but overall the concepts really helped me and my baby get better sleep which is a win in my book.
  9. A Thousand Nights by EK Johnston - (Goodreads Rating: 3.67) My Rating: 4 Stars - This is another one where the ending was a bit weird, but the writing was beautiful. I think it deserves better based on the writing only really.
  10. Faking Perfect by Rebecca Phillips - (Goodreads Rating: 3.60) My Rating: 4 Stars - This is one of those books that kind of just hit me at the right time I think. I didn't enjoy it as much for the aspects that I was expecting to so much as the ones that took me by surprise.

Which books have you loved recently that you feel are underrated? Let me know!

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Radius of Us - Review

The Radius of Us

By: Marie Marquardt

Expected Publication: January 17th 2017 by St. Martin's Griffin

304 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--What happens when you fall in love with someone everyone seems determined to fear?

Ninety seconds can change a life — not just daily routine, but who you are as a person. Gretchen Asher knows this, because that’s how long a stranger held her body to the ground. When a car sped toward them and Gretchen’s attacker told her to run, she recognized a surprising terror in his eyes. And now she doesn’t even recognize herself.

Ninety seconds can change a life — not just the place you live, but the person others think you are. Phoenix Flores-Flores knows this, because months after setting off toward the U.S. / Mexico border in search of safety for his brother, he finally walked out of detention. But Phoenix didn’t just trade a perilous barrio in El Salvador for a leafy suburb in Atlanta. He became that person — the one his new neighbors crossed the street to avoid.

Ninety seconds can change a life — so how will the ninety seconds of Gretchen and Phoenix’s first encounter change theirs?

Told in alternating first person points of view, The Radius of Us is a story of love, sacrifice, and the journey from victim to survivor. It offers an intimate glimpse into the causes and devastating impact of Latino gang violence, both in the U.S. and in Central America, and explores the risks that victims take when they try to start over. Most importantly, Marie Marquardt's The Radius of Us shows how people struggling to overcome trauma can find healing in love.

I was drawn to The Radius of Us because of how much I enjoyed Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles. These two books both deal with Latino gang violence, and I guess that's what initially drew me in. One of the things I found so interesting about Perfect Chemistry was how Simone Elkeles incorporated the realities of being in a gang with a character that you just couldn't bring yourself to hate like you would expect. And that's essentially what I expected to find and enjoy with The Radius of Us. But the problem with having a book that I enjoyed so much that touches on a similar subject is that I was a little let down at first that The Radius of Us wasn't Perfect Chemistry. That, combined with some misconceptions I had from reading the book description wrong (Phoenix was not Gretchen's attacker), had me feeling disappointed at the beginning of The Radius of Us. However, I came to appreciate The Radius of Us as a completely separate entity as Perfect Chemistry which is only fair since the two books aren't really connected beyond involving a Latino gang. Once I got past this, I was able to open up and enjoy The Radius of Us.

The Radius of Us isn't Marie Marquardt's debut novel, but based on the writing, I assumed that it was. On the one hand, I became entranced with the story, and I was determined to keep reading until I got to the end. However, I had a few complaints. In the first part of the novel, I felt like there was a bit too much description. There was a small inconsistency where Gretchen states that "Adam gets it. He understands that, these days, I can't even think about another body against mine." and then later "Adam is so completely out of touch with my reality that I feel like crying." This wasn't a huge issue, but it pulled me out of the story and left me furrowing my eyebrows. Also, Phoenix references soccer a couple of times and football once, but soccer is futbol in El Salvador. Again, this is something that perhaps Phoenix knows the difference between "soccer" and "football" for Americans since he's worked closely with missionaries in the past, but one would assume he'd use his native references to such. It's not inconceivable, but the references made me stop and think rather than being able to just continue reading.

However, my favorite quote from The Radius of Us is:

-"My American Dream's way more simple than that. I just wanna be able to go for a walk in the woods alone--get on one of those little trails in the forest and walk for hours. That would be so awesome. Or maybe head over to a friend's place after dinner to watch a football match on TV, and not have to look behind my back every five seconds, not to have to worry about whether I'll make it home alive."

The Radius of Us was one of those books that just rang so clearly of truth. Obviously, Marie Marquardt got inspiration for this story and these characters from real life. Somethings just can't be made up, and somehow the truth of The Radius of Us (specifically the events of Phoenix's life) came right off the pages. And after reading the acknowledgements, I feel this is definitely the case. It breaks your heart that people experience events in their lives like Gretchen and Phoenix experienced, but that is the world we live in.

Marie Marquardt touches on many aspects of loss and trauma. The physical effects of being assaulted. The psychological consequences of witnessing torture and death. The aftermath in our relationships when someone we love (or we ourselves) experience life changing events. She did a wonderful job touching on so many pieces of this puzzle.

The Radius of Us was better than I expected while also not being perfect. I wanted to know more and to keep reading. I actually read The Radius of Us very quickly. Yet, I felt like Marie Marquardt's writing could have used a bit more polishing. It wasn't bad at all, but a few more tweaks would have made reading this flawless for me. I was invested in the characters, their story, and if/how things would work out in the end. The Radius of Us gets 3.5 Stars. Have you read The Radius of Us? Let me know!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sunday Post - 230 & Stacking the Shelves - 165

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 consisted of a lot of running around. I had a hair appointment on Tuesday. When I went to leave the house I realized that my car had a flat tire. I did a little something different with my hair color, but I'm really liking the look of it. It's a bonus that the technique is supposed to be lower maintenance than the highlights I was getting. Thursday I had a dentist appointment. And then Friday Little Girl and I went to the local flea market to visit my aunt's booth. The weather has been so lovely this week. Last weekend we had temps in the 20s and this week it was literally 78 degrees. It's crazy. But I've been taking advantage of it and getting outside every day.

THIS PAST WEEK:

Monday: Review of Like a River Glorious (The Gold Seer Trilogy, # 2) by Rae Carson (3.5 Stars)
Tuesday: Top Ten 2016 Releases I Didn't Read (but plan to)
Wednesday: Waiting on Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist, # 1) by Renee Ahdieh

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: Review of The Radius of Us by Marie Marquardt
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday
Wednesday: Waiting on Wednesday

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.

Mr. President (White House Duet, # 1)

By: Katy Evans

Published: November 5th 2016 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

280 pages

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary

Source: Personal Kindle Library

( Goodreads | Amazon )

*Note: The above link to Amazon is an affiliate link. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.

Goodreads description--From New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Katy Evans comes a sizzling new contemporary romance.

He's won the hearts of millions. But is he willing to lose his?

I met the president’s son when we were both young. Matthew Hamilton was handsome, polished, and intelligent. I’d never met a boy like him.

He promised me that he’d never run for president. I promised that if he did, I’d be by his side.

Three terms later, an invitation to join Matthew Hamilton’s campaign is the most exhilarating opportunity I’ve ever experienced. I'm determined to make a difference; he is determined to win.

Focused on his goal, Matt is steadfast, ruthless, and disarming. All eyes are on him and his popularity is surging. But soon, the next possible president of the United States is possessing me in more ways than one—and despite the risks, I'm helpless to resist.

We're stealing touches, stealing moments, and stealing away at night. But our chemical connection is quickly becoming dangerously combustive, putting not only my heart, but Matt's chance at the presidency on the line.

Winning will take everything.

Walking away will be the hardest thing of all.

Lies We Believe About God

By: William Paul Young

Expected Publication: March 7th 2017 by Howard Books

272 pages

Genre: Non-fiction, Christian, Spirituality

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 author of the twenty million plus copy bestselling novel The Shack and the New York Times bestsellers Cross Roads and Eve comes a compelling, conversational exploration of the wrong-headed ideas we sometimes have and share about God.

Wm. Paul Young has been called a heretic for the ways he vividly portrays God’s love through his novels. Here he shares thirty-three commonly uttered and sometimes seemingly innocuous things we say about God. Paul exposes these as lies that keep us from having a full, loving relationship with our Creator.

With personal anecdotes and sharing the compassion readers felt from the “Papa” portrayed in The Shack—soon to be a major film starring Sam Worthington and Octavia Spencer—Paul encourages readers to think anew about important issues including sin, religion, hell, politics, identity, creation, human rights, and helping us discover God’s deep and abiding love.

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!