Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Top Ten Books for Back to School

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

I decided to go for books that I've read recently (within the last two years) that focused on a school setting (high school and college).

  1. PS I Like You by Kasie West (high school) - review coming soon
  2. Bright Side (Bright Side, # 1) by Kim Holden (college) - review coming soon
  3. Punk 57 by Penelope Davis (high school)
  4. These Things I've Done by Rebecca Phillips (high school)
  5. Coming Up for Air (Hundred Oaks, # 8) by Miranda Kenneally (high school)
  6. Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist (high school)
  7. By Your Side by Kasie West (high school)
  8. Perfect Chemistry (Perfect Chemistry, # 1) by Simone Elkeles (high school)
  9. Rules of Attraction (Perfect Chemistry, # 2) by Simone Elkeles (high school)
  10. Walk the Edge (Thunder Road, # 2) by Katie McGarry (high school)

This was harder than I expected when I looked at how many books aren't set in school at all (mostly fantasy) and how many might have mentioned school but it wasn't really a focus. What books are your favorites that really focus on a high school or college setting? Let me know!

Monday, August 21, 2017

After the Game - Review

After the Game (The Field Party, # 3)

By: Abbi Glines

Expected Publication: August 22nd 2017 by Simon Pulse

320 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Sports

Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Thank you!!)

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

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

Goodreads description--The third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Field Party series—a southern soap opera with football, cute boys, and pick-up trucks—from USA TODAY bestselling author Abbi Glines.

Two years ago, Riley Young fled from Lawton, Alabama. After accusing the oldest Lawton son, Rhett, of rape, everyone called her a liar and she had no option but to leave. Now she’s back, but she’s not at Lawton High finishing up her senior year. She’s at home raising the little girl that no one believed was Rhett’s.

Rhett is off at college living the life he was afraid he’d lose with Riley’s accusation, so Riley agrees to move back to Lawton so she and her parents could take care of her grandmother, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. But the town still hasn’t forgotten their hate for her, and she hasn’t forgotten the way they turned on her when she needed them most.

When town golden boy Brady Higgens finds Riley and her daughter, Bryony, stranded on the side of the road in a storm, he pulls over and gives them a ride. Not because he cares about Riley, of course, but because of the kid.

But after the simple car ride, he begins to question everything he thought he knew. Could Brady believe Riley and risk losing everything?

After reading several fantasy books, I needed a genre switch. So when I saw After the Game available on Edelweiss I snatched it up and started reading it pretty much immediately. I knew based on past experience with Abbi Glines in combination with the number of pages for this one that I could read it quickly which was exactly what I needed. And that's exactly what happened.

As the description says, Riley was raped two years ago and no one believed her--except her parents. As a matter of fact, people were even angry with Riley because they decided that she was lying about the town golden boy. Riley's gone through counselling, and she's worked through many of her feelings over the experiences. She's come out on the other side stronger and wiser. But mostly that's because she now has a daughter to take care of. You would think that Riley's experience and rape would dominate the emotional conflict and drama. Yet that wasn't the case. Brady had some things going on with his family that filled that role.

And speaking of, the conflict revolving around Brady's family was something that I predicted from the beginning of the book, but it was also one of the pieces that I connected with the most. Having been touched by this subject in my own life, I felt for him and his family for having to go through all of that.

As I've come to expect from Abbi Glines, the couple had some easy to overcome bumps toward the end of the book. We were so close to the end before these issues really even came up at all so I was semi-hoping that the conflict for the sake of conflict could be avoided. It was not. Thankfully, this wasn't drawn out. I mean it couldn't have been since it was so close to the end of the book.

I probably shouldn't even mention this since I read an uncorrected advanced copy of this book, but there was an entire page where Abbi Glines kept using the wrong character's name. I'm sure this will be fixed before publication, and it didn't keep me from enjoying the book.

The only quotes I highlighted revolve around the issues going on with Brady's family. Because none of that is shared or hinted at in the description, I'm going to keep those quotes to myself.

I do think I should mention that physical scenes were pretty non-existent in this book which I appreciated. But there were several f-bombs if you care to know about that.

After the Game was one of the better Abbi Glines books that I've read. The conflict was real. I appreciated Riley's attitude given the trauma she's experienced in her life. Brady's family drama had my tearing up multiple times. After the Game gets 4 Stars from me. Have you read After the Game? What did you think? Let me know!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Sunday Post - 261 & Stacking the Shelves - 197

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.

Little Girl is feeling better and so are Husband and I. Thanks for all of the well-wishes last week. Monday we went for a walk. It was humid so we didn't go the entire two miles we normally do. I'm so looking forward to fall weather for walking (assuming I can continue to waddle my way through it). Tuesday was grocery day. Wednesday we had the 4D Ultrasound for Baby Boy. He is adorable! He was awake (we could see his eyes opening and closing), but he wasn't moving around much except to put his hand over his face and snuggle in. I guess he was getting ready for a nap. It's a shame we can't do those about 10:30 pm as that seems to be when he's most active. Thursday and Friday we had absolutely nothing going on. So I took that time to try to finish painting the trim in our hallway. We did end up going to get Mexican food for dinner Friday night, and then we stopped by the park on the way home for Little Girl to experience the playground. Saturday we spent some time in the pool as our time to do so is winding down. I only snagged one book this week. I've not read this author before, but I've seen her books around the blogosphere a good bit.


Monday: Review of Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns, # 1) by Kendare Blake (3.5 Stars)
Wednesday: Can't Wait for More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer


Monday: Review After the Game (The Field Party, # 3) by Abbi Glines
Tuesday: Top Ten Books for Back to School
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Wednesday
Friday: 2017 Series Enders Reading Challenge - August 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.

Healed by Love (The Bradens at Peaceful Harbor, # 1) (The Braden's, # 13) (Love in Bloom, # 32)

By: Melissa Foster

Published: June 11th 2015 by World Literary Press

275 pages

Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Source: Personal Kindle Library (Kindle Freebie)

( 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--HEALED BY LOVE is a USA TODAY BESTSELLER

Nate Braden has loved his best friend's younger sister Jewel for as long as he can remember, but between their age difference and his respect for Rick, he's always kept his feelings at bay. Now he's back in Peaceful Harbor, and Jewel is no longer sixteen years old--but there's an even bigger obstacle standing in his way. Nate and Rick joined the military together eight years earlier. Nate came home a hero, but Rick didn't make it out alive.

All Braden novels may be enjoyed as stand-alone books or enjoyed as part of the series.

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 16, 2017

Can't Wait for More Than We Can Tell

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.

More Than We Can Tell

By: Brigid Kemmerer

Expected Publication: March 6th 2018 by Bloomsbury Children's

304 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--From the author of Letters to the Lost comes a heart-wrenching story of two teens with big secrets and a love that could set them free.

Rev Fletcher is battling the demons of his past. But with loving adoptive parents by his side, he’s managed to keep them at bay...until he gets a letter from his abusive father and the trauma of his childhood comes hurtling back.

Emma Blue spends her time perfecting the computer game she built from scratch, rather than facing her parents’ crumbling marriage. She can solve any problem with the right code, but when an online troll’s harassment escalates, she’s truly afraid.

When Rev and Emma meet, they both long to lift the burden of their secrets and bond instantly over their shared turmoil. But when their situations turn dangerous, their trust in each other will be tested in ways they never expected. This must-read story will once again have readers falling for Brigid Kemmerer’s emotional storytelling.

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

Monday, August 14, 2017

Three Dark Crowns - Review

Three Dark Crowns (Untitled, # 1)

By: Kendare Blake

Published: September 20th 2016 by HarperTeen

416 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic

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--Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.

I was instantly intrigued by the description of Three Dark Crowns. Three sisters with magical powers fight until only one is left standing to claim the crown and the throne. I was pulled in immediately. But once approved, I didn't pick this book up immediately due to the publication date being a few months in the future. As the publication date approached, I started seeing ratings come through and they weren't very high. My excitement level dropped immensely and I put off reading Three Dark Crowns. I did pick it up but only read a page or two before deciding that it wasn't pulling me in enough and putting it back down. I realize that's not enough time really to allow a book to pull me in or not, but I'm such a mood reader. I featured Three Dark Crowns in a couple of posts mentioning that I still needed to get around to reading it, and every person that commented on it told me that it had a slow start but that the book ends in a place where you want to know more. And that's exactly my experience with it.

Since several advised me to push through the beginning, I figured that I should do just that and give Three Dark Crowns another try. I don't think it helped that chapter 1 is about Katherine (the poisoner) who turned out to be my least favorite of the three sisters. Yet, it wasn't too long before I found myself interested in what was going on and how things would progress. Three Dark Crowns was interesting but not devouring. The book swaps between the three sisters. I feel like it was written in a way that perhaps Kendare Blake is trying to lead the reader to root for Arsinoe, but Mirabella ended up being my favorite I think.

Side note: Arsinoe...I kept reading this as Arisnoe. Ugh. I'm all about unique names, but I don't like when a name is so unique that I can't pronounce it correctly. I told Husband that I don't know if I struggle with a little bit of dyslexia or if I'm just trying to read too fast to stop and parse out names that I'm unfamiliar with. As such, I knew I was pronouncing her name wrong, yet I couldn't stop myself. And this took me out of the story so frequently while reading this book which I find entirely frustrating. So just a personal pet peeve.

Back to what I was saying, I could be wrong, but I felt like there were more chapters dedicated to Arsinoe than the other queens. I struggled with figuring out who to root for because I felt sorry for each of these characters. Katherine and Arsinoe are both powerless, although they and the families they're living with are both trying to keep that a secret from the rest of the island. Katherine should be a poisoner--meaning she should be immune to poisons--so she's regularly submitted to a multitude of poisons in hopes of bringing out her gift or at least developing a tolerance or immunity to them. She was subjected to cruelty often. Arsinoe is supposed to be a naturalist which means that she can make plants grow as well as have an animal familiar with some level of control over most other animals. But no familiar has ever show up and she's never made anything grow. Yet the family fostering her seems to genuinely love her and accept her as part of them despite not having a gift. Mirabella is the only sister who actually manages to access her gift. She's an elemental. She also seems to have been gifted to a fairly warm environment with her foster family. She has close friends. At the same time, the temple and the priestesses have chosen her as their queen over her sisters. Never before has the temple been so sided before. Yet the temple isn't as they appear. They have an agenda and Mirabella is a pawn. So you can see that each has something rooting against them which makes them endearing on some level. None of the sisters relish having to kill the others. Katherine is the one that might lean towards it the most, but that isn't surprising given the cruelty that she's been subjected to. None of the sisters seem inherently evil. So all that to say that choosing a side was difficult.

One of my favorite parts of any book is the hope that the main character will find love. And well...this wasn't a large part of Three Dark Crowns. Even though romance isn't required for me to enjoy a book, it does help immensely. Katherine is presented with Pietyr as a tutor to help her learn how to flirt with the potential suitors (all three sisters face the same suitors). Katherine can't help but fall for Pietyr and it appears that he feels the same way. Yet these two aren't supposed to be together. Knowing this up front kept me from connecting to the two as a couple. Arsinoe meets one of the potential suitors very early on and the two develop a definite friendship, but at this point it appears to be nothing more than that. And Mirabella meets and feels an insta-connection with a friend of Arsinoe who happens to be in love with Arsinoe's best friend, Jules. This was the relationship that I felt the most spark and connection to. However, moving forward for these two will be messy, and I'm not sure how much I can support it given that Joseph chooses to move forward with Jules. This area left me wanting a bit more. I hope that One Dark Throne pursues the romances a bit more.

Without discussing the actual events of the book in any more detail as I'm afraid I've probably given too much away as it is, I will say that there was one twist (betrayal) that I didn't see coming, and there was one twist that was supposed to be pretty substantial that I did see from early on. That left me with yes being intrigued and interested to see how things continue to play out, but perhaps not quite as dying for book 2 as I could have been. I do hope that One Dark Throne has a much better pacing and not such a slow start. Three Dark Crowns was enjoyable. I want to know more. But I wasn't dying to keep reading or to jump immediately into book 2 (although I did choose to go ahead and start One Dark Crown upon finishing this one). I liked the characters for the most part but struggled with deciding who to root for. In the end, Three Dark Crowns gets 3.5 Stars from me. Have you read Three Dark Crowns? What did you think? Let me know!