Tuesday, July 25, 2017

2017 Series Enders Reading Challenge - July Wrap Up

Time for our seventh Monthly Wrap Up for the 2017 Series Enders Reading Challenge hosted by Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know and Holly @ Words Fueled by Love!

Since the June Wrap Up, Holly hasn't finished any series enders this month. Sandy finished A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, # 3) by Sarah J Maas.


  1. Please make sure we have a valid email address or other means of contacting you if you choose to participate. Linking up to Goodreads is perfectly fine, but we have found that Goodreads is not a reliable source for contacting someone should you be selected as one of the monthly giveaway winners. This could be due to your Goodreads notification settings or Goodreads themselves could be at fault. We're not sure which. And since we want to make sure that everyone who is eligible for one of the giveaways will receive their prize should they win one month or the grand prize at the end of the year, it is up to you to ensure that we can contact you and that you respond within a reasonable amount of time (usually stated in the email notifying you of your winning).
  2. While the challenge and giveaways are open internationally, please make sure that you can receive e-gift cards via Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com. Again, we want to make sure everyone has an equal opportunity to participate and to receive the prizes. Please remember that Holly and I are funding the giveaways out of our own pockets as something that we want to do, and we would like to continue to do so.

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 July giveaway runs from July 25th - August 25th. On August 25th we will use random.org and the linky entries to pull a winner.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Dividing Eden - Review

Dividing Eden (Dividing Eden, # 1)

By: Joelle Charbonneau

Published: June 6th 2017 by HarperTeen

336 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasty

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--From the author of the New York Times bestselling Testing trilogy comes a sweeping new fantasy series, perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard and Sarah J. Maas.

Twins Carys and Andreus were never destined to rule Eden. With their older brother next in line to inherit the throne, the future of the kingdom was secure.

But appearances—and rivals—can be deceiving. When Eden’s king and crown prince are killed by assassins, Eden desperately needs a monarch, but the line of succession is no longer clear. With a ruling council scheming to gain power, Carys and Andreus are faced with only one option—to take part in a Trial of Succession that will determine which one of them is worthy of ruling the kingdom.

As sister and brother, Carys and Andreus have always kept each other safe—from their secrets, from the court, and from the monsters lurking in the mountains beyond the kingdom’s wall. But the Trial of Succession will test the bonds of trust and family.

With their country and their hearts divided, Carys and Andreus will discover exactly what each will do to win the crown. How long before suspicion takes hold and the thirst for power leads to the ultimate betrayal?

When I first picked up Dividing Eden to read, I'd read several fantasy books in a row. And while I enjoy the genre, I'm realizing more and more how heavy these books can feel. They're typically longer in length and have to spend as much time establishing and constructing the world for the reader as they do exposing and delving into the characters. They're just not typically books that I end up categorizing as "light and fun". There's nothing wrong with that, but I'm finding that I need plenty of light and fun mixed into the heavy to keep a good balance and to avoid reading slumps. That being said, I didn't pick up Dividing Eden at the best time, and even though I was about 10% through and enjoying it, I decided to put it down in favor of some contemporary reads. After reading a few contemporary reads, I won't say I was yet in the mood for the fantasy genre again, but I decided to read a little in Dividing Eden since I'd already started it. And then ended up deciding to finish it.

While I was intrigued and interested in the plot and the questions that the book caused me to ask--initially, which character should I be rooting for? who is the true villain? what secrets are certain characters hiding? and will there be a romance?--kept me reading and not wanting to put the book down, I can also see where not all readers will feel the same way. There are hints at some potential romance, possibly even a setup for a triangle. But I see the potential for some readers to feel like this book drags on rather than keeps them hooked. For myself and other reader friends that I know in real life, the lack of romance for Dividing Eden could easily be something that slows them down.

Another issue was the world building. There was much left unexplained and ambiguous. For instance, the Xhelozi. 1) I didn't even try to pronounce this word so I skimmed it every time I came across it and that is a pet peeve of mine. 2) Their origin story or even what they were besides hairy and?? scaly monsters that apparently eat humans is all that we really were told. 3) Basically anything else about them we have no clue. There's apparently some sort of wind generated power system that provides the electricity needed for the lights that may or may not keep these vague Xhelozi creatures away. That needed a bit more exploration or explanation. The system of Elders that stand for certain virtues yet are vying for political power was a bit confusing if only because there were so many of them and it was hard to keep the names straight with who was who. Speaking of virtues, the trials that Carys and Andreus participated in were supposed to coincide with the specific virtues that the monarch of Eden is supposed to protect and embody. These felt totally random to me. How archery has anything to do with humility is beyond me. And even the magic of the world itself was completely ambiguous. There are Seers and curses and these creatures I mentioned and apparently an ability to control the wind, but it was hard to tell which of these things were legit aspects of the world and which were perhaps imagined by the characters. All of this to say that even though I was interested in the plot and what was happening with the characters, this world needed a bit more polishing. Of course, I try to withhold judgment because sometimes the world building is so tied to the plot that it needs to be explored only at the proper times, but Dividing Eden just left me scratching my head in one too many areas for this to be the case.

All of that being said, I was interested in the characters. Both Carys and Andreus narrate alternately. And this led to questions of who I needed to be rooting for. In the beginning, which character that should be wasn't entirely obvious. Yet as the book progresses it becomes more and more clear. At their birth, a Seer pronounced that one twin would be light and one would be dark. Andreus has been cursed and Carys has always been raised by her mother to be his protector. To keep the secret of his curse. And so to divert attention away from Andreus many times Carys has taken lashings and more to be this for her brother. So much so that she's become addicted to a drug called Tears of Midnight. Andreus is compassionate to those who have been in a similar situation as himself. Though not cursed, Andreus takes under his care a young boy named Max who has a condition that would appear similar to asthma. Andreus also loves to be involved with the study of the windmills that keep the lights on in Eden. But as I was discussing earlier about things being left unexplained, what exactly is Andreus's curse or the attacks that he gets was left vague as well. Basically he seemed to have panic attacks from what I could tell. Why that's considered a curse wasn't really explained either.

Andreus and Carys both have a spark of potential romance. Andreus has feelings for the unattainable Seer of Eden, Imogen. Carys finds an unlikely ally on a foreign Trade Master named Errik, and also potentially her older brother, Micah's, best friend and nephew to one of the Elders, Garrett. Garrett is next in line for the throne after Andreus and Carys. All three of these potential love interests appear to have secrets and knowing who to trust isn't easy. Some is revealed but not all. And as I mentioned before, there's not really enough happening in the romance part for this to be a driving motivation for some readers to keep turning pages.

Oh and yet another thing is the Queen Mother. I felt like she was basically an inessential character. Since even though she should have taken the throne after the King and Crown Prince were killed a successor after her would still have to have been chosen. She could have told Carys and Andreus about the curse and then died when they were younger. I supposes she had a small role to play in almost seeming like a Seeress herself, but I really feel like any information that came from her could have been handled in another way. Unless she has a much larger role to play in the next book. Cutting her character might have saved some much needed pages that could have been used for world building.

I know that I've done a pretty detailed critique of this one and perhaps done a better job discussing what I disliked than what I did, but I truly didn't overall dislike the book. Dividing Eden definitely has some flaws and parts that need more explanation and smoothing out, but I did feel invested in the characters (specifically Carys) and I personally did want to keep reading to find out more. I can't say for sure yet whether I plan to continue with the series or not. I will probably need more information concerning the events of book 2 and how many books will be in the series before I can decide. But I am intrigued. If I do continue the series, I seriously hope there's more in the way or romance and some added backstory for the world. Ultimately, I think Dividing Eden gets 3 Stars. I didn't love it, but I can't say that I disliked it either. Have you read Dividing Eden? What did you think? Let me know!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday Post - 257 & Stacking the Shelves - 184

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.

Another busy week. Monday Holly, her mom, and my niece came to hang out and swim with me and Little Girl. Tuesday was normal grocery day. Thursday I had a dentist appointment so Little Girl went to Grammy's. After the dentist I had to go to the DMV to get my driver's license renewed. I waited for four hours and then failed the eye exam because I didn't have my contact in or my glasses with me. (I can totally see to drive without them, but whatevs.) SO I had to go back the next day. Friday Little Girl hung out with Grammy again as I had a doctor's appointment and my glucose test (BLEH!). Then I had to go back to the DMV to finish up with my driver's license. And then I ran to lunch with Holly and my niece. Saturday was just a chill sort of day. I needed that.


Monday: Review of All In (Full Tilt, # 2) by Emma Scott (4 Stars)
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Last Star Burning (Last Star Burning, # 1) by Caitlin Sangster


Monday: Review of Dividing Eden (Dividing Eden, # 1) by Joelle Charbonneau
Tuesday: 2017 Series Enders Reading Challenge - July Wrap Up
Wednesday: Can't Wait for 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.

Built (Saints of Denver, # 1)

By: Jay Crownover

Published: January 5th 2016 by William Morrow Paperbacks

352 pages

Genre: New 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 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men books comes an electrifying new spin-off series,Saints of Denver, featuring all the characters fans have been dying to read about.

Sayer Cole and Zeb Fuller couldn’t be more different. She’s country club and fine-dining, he’s cell-block and sawdust. Sayer spends her days in litigation, while Zeb spends his working with his hands. She’s French silk, he’s all denim and flannel.

Zeb’s wanted the stunning blonde since the moment he laid eyes on her. It doesn't matter how many smooth moves he makes, the reserved lawyer seems determinedly oblivious to his interest—either that or she doesn't return it. Sayer is certain the rough, hard, [...] Zeb could never want someone as closed off and restrained as she is, which is a shame because something tells her he might be the guy to finally melt her icy exterior.

But just as things start to heat up, Zeb is blindsided by a life altering moment from his past. He needs Sayer’s professional help to right a wrong and to save more than himself. He can’t risk what’s at stake just because his attraction to Sayer feels all consuming. But as these opposites dig in for the fight of their lives, battling together to save a family, the steam created when fire and ice collide can no longer be ignored.

Gone (Gone, # 1)

By: Michael Grant

Published: April 28th 2009 by Katherine Tegen Books (first published June 24th 2008)

558 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian

Source: Free Audiobook Sync Download

( 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 the blink of an eye. Everyone disappears. GONE.

Except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not one single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Just as suddenly, there are no phones, no internet, no television. No way to get help. And no way to figure out what's happened.

Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents-unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers-that grow stronger by the day.

It's a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen, a fight is shaping up. Townies against rich kids. Bullies against the weak. Powerful against powerless. And time is running out: On your birthday, you disappear just like everyone else...

Boundaries in Marriage

By: Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend

Published: May 18th 2009 by Zondervan (first published January 1st 1999)

258 pages

Genre: Non-fiction, Self-Help, Christian, Marriage

Source: Personal Kindle Library (currently $1.99)

( 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--Only when you and your mate know and respect each other's needs, choices, and freedom can you give yourselves freely and lovingly to one another. Boundaries in Marriage gives you the tools you need. Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend, counselors and authors of the award-winning bestseller Boundaries, show you how to apply the principles of boundaries to your marriage. This book helps you understand the friction points or serious hurts and betrayals in your marriage -- and move beyond them to the mutual care, respect, affirmation, and intimacy you both long for.

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, July 19, 2017

Can't Wait for Last Star Burning

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.

Last Star Burning (Last Star Burning, # 1)

By: Caitlin Sangster

Expected Publication: October 10th 2017 by Simon Pulse

400 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--Sev is branded with the mark of a criminal—a star burned into her hand. That’s the penalty for being the daughter of the woman who betrayed their entire nation.

Now her mother’s body is displayed above Traitor’s Arch, kept in a paralyzed half sleep by the same plague that destroyed the rest of the world. And as further punishment, Sev is forced to do hard labor to prove that she’s more valuable alive than dead.

When the government blames Sev for a horrific bombing, she must escape the city or face the chopping block. Unimaginable dangers lurk outside the city walls, and Sev’s only hope of survival lies with the most unlikely person—Howl, the chairman’s son. Though he promises to lead her to safety, Howl has secrets, and Sev can’t help but wonder if he knows more about her past—and her mother’s crimes—than he lets on.

But in a hostile world, trust is a luxury. Even when Sev’s life and the lives of everyone she loves may hang in the balance.

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

Monday, July 17, 2017

All In - Review

All In (Full Tilt, # 2)

By: Emma Scott

Published: October 11th 2016

296 pages

Genre: 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--SPOILERS FOR FULL TILT....

Reeling from her loss, Kacey Dawson is grieving and heartbroken, her addictive demons hauling her back into the alcohol-soaked abyss she worked so hard to crawl out of. Kacey teeters on the edge of oblivion, and must fight her way through the pain, to build a new life for herself with her music, and somehow fulfill the promise she made to Jonah…one she feels is impossible to keep.

Theo Fletcher has a secret burning in his heart, one that he holds close, while he struggles to keep strong for his family that is falling apart. His mother’s health is fragile and his father’s disapproval is breaking him down. Theo is afraid if he follows his heart, he’ll fail, and not just himself, but his brother who believed in him when no one else did.

Drawn together by their pain, Theo and Kacey slowly build a friendship, re-forge old ties, help each other to heal, and give one another the courage to reach for their dreams. Together, from the depths of grief and guilt, they learn to laugh again, to trust again, and quite possibly find something beautiful and lasting amid the shattered pieces of their broken hearts.

Part II of the two-part Full Tilt duet, coming Oct 2016

PLEASE NOTE, this novel is NOT a standalone. It is highly recommended one read Full Tilt first to get the entire arc of the story and to avoid spoilers.

I predicted that Kacey and Theo would be the subject of All In while reading Full Tilt. I noticed small things like Kacey thinking Theo fit what she normally would find attractive compared to Jonah and a few things like that, but around the 70% mark when she stopped to ask Theo how he was doing when no one else had I knew that I was right.

Of course considering that I struggled with Kacey and her instincts to drink herself into oblivion when things get tough at the beginning of Full Tilt, it's no surprise that I found myself rolling my eyes at where we find her in All In. And so it felt like a bit of a repeat to see her have to work through this same issue but to an even worse extent than before.

Theo was the true hero of Full Tilt despite how much I loved Jonah. Theo was solid. He was always, always there for everyone. He was constantly looking out for those in his circle. I loved the loyalty and steadfastness of his character. And that was true in All In as well. Theo's journey was about finding a way to continue to take care of those he loves as well as satisfy his own needs and desires. His dreams of owning his own tattoo shop and the girl that he's fallen in love with.

Kacey and Theo have a SLOW building relationship. Theo's feelings have been developing for a lot longer than Kacey's, but Kacey does have a little bit more to work through than Theo does in order to get on the same page. I enjoyed how the slow pace made things feel more authentic. Any faster and Kacey's feelings for Jonah couldn't have been as strong as they were. Yet the gradual development lowered the intensity level for me. Sometimes slow burn makes the pay off even better. Don't get me wrong, I loved the outcome and how things ended up, but I didn't feel the fever to keep reading until I'd read every last page like I did with Full Tilt.

One of my frustrations with Full Tilt revolved around the frequency of sexual scenes, I was happy to see that wasn't the case for All In. Yet the language was just as much.

Favorite quote:

-"Accept that which has ended and let go so you can move on. So you may grow. So you may thrive."

I very much enjoyed All In. I enjoyed the slow build from the end of Full Tilt to the end of this book. Yet the slow burn didn't hold the intensity for me that book 1 had. I loved Theo the most, yet the emotion just wasn't on the same level for me. All In turns out exactly how I wanted and that means it gets 4 Stars. Have you read All In? What did you think? Let me know!