Monday, October 16, 2017

All Things Halloween Review - Kiss of Fire

Kiss of Fire (Imdalind, # 1)

By: Rebecca Ethington

Published: October 30th 2012 by Imdalind Press

354 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

Source: Personal Kindle Library

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

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

Goodreads description--Joclyn Despain has been marred by a brand on her skin. She doesn't know why the mark appeared on her neck, but she doesn't want anyone to see it, including her best friend Ryland, who knows everything else about her. The scar is the reason she hides herself behind baggy clothes, and won't let the idea of kissing Ryland enter her mind, no matter how much she wants to. The scar is the reason she is being hunted.

If only she knew that she was.

If only she had known that the cursed stone her estranged father sent for her 16th birthday would trigger a change in her. Now, she is being stalked by a tall blonde man, and is miraculously throwing her high school bully ten feet in the air.

Joclyn attempts to find some answers and the courage to follow her heart. When Ryland finds her scar; only he knows what it means, and who will kill her because of it.

Holly and my friend Lacy have both read this series and enjoyed it. They recommended it to me a couple of years ago, and I got Kiss of Fire for free. (It is still a kindle freebie.) But I put off reading it because both said that it had a slow start. With limited time to read, I dread anything that has the word slow associated with it, even though some of my favorite books and series have started slowly. However, I finally decided that now was the time to pick it up.

When Joclyn was 5 she had an experience that put her in a coma. She woke up with a mark on her neck and her eyes had changed colors. The scar freaks her out because it looks like a dragon. She lets the scar determine her life really. She hides from everyone, hating to draw any attention to herself for fear of them rejecting her because of the scar. While you might think that's ridiculous, she has her reasons. See her father left shortly after the scar appeared. She doesn't want others to leave her for the same reasons. Her mother works as the chef for one of the richest families, and Joclyn has become best friends with the son of this family. Edmund, the dad, doesn't want Ryland and Joclyn to have anything to do with one another, but why is never really explained. One could assume it is because Edmund knows about Joclyn's mark, but that doesn't seem right as Edmund springs into action as soon as Ryland learns of the mark.

Actually, that leads me to a few things that didn't make sense to me. But I'm getting ahead of myself. I'll come back to those things.

Joclyn knows that she has feelings for Ryland, but he plans to leave for college soon so there's no point in acting on them. Plus, she's scared of changing their relationship and losing the friendship they have. Plus also, there's the whole aspect of his father hating her and all. But Ryland starts trying to kiss her. Joclyn dodges the kiss a few times until she can figure out how she feels and what she wants. I loved Ryland in the beginning of Kiss of Fire. He is so obviously in love with Joclyn despite her not really being able to see it fully. And so it was easy to root for him.

But then Ryland finds her scar (not a spoiler since it's in the description) and he freaks out and send her running. It didn't make sense to me how quickly things happened. They're in the safety of Ryland's room which you would assume his father doesn't know about since they snuck in to hang out together. Yet despite being there, Ryland sends her away with instructions to find Ilyan (who she's briefly run into a couple of times). How his father knew she was there and what she was all of a sudden made no sense and wasn't explained. How Joclyn could use her magic to punch Cynthia and send her flying 10 feet yet can't seem to master any defensive or offensive use for it once she finds out that she even has magic didn't make any sense. Why Joclyn, who wanted to hide from everyone and never draw attention to herself, would even audition for the lead role in a play makes no sense. These were just a few of the things that either didn't make logical sense or weren't explained well enough for me. Inconsistencies really cause me to struggle.

I texted Holly at one point to tell her that I felt like Rebecca Ethington was trying to make me feel like I had no choice but to root for Ryland while setting the book up to be impossible for Ryland and Joclyn to end up together. And maybe Ilyan is who I should be rooting for. The events that should have been plot twists felt visible to me from a mile away. There was no guessing what might happen because it was like watching a train wreck that I couldn't stop from happening. The signs were all there, pointing to an inevitable crash, but there was nothing I could do but watch. Ryland's path and eventual outcome was never a question (even if it might change as the series progresses). And I don't know if it was the mood I was in while reading this book (irritable), or if this is just bad writing.

It's funny to me that both Holly and Lacy said the beginning was slow to them, but things picked up towards the later half of the book, but the beginning was my favorite part. Yes the action picks up as the book progresses, but I often found myself skimming the action or fight scenes because I was having trouble picturing what was taking place and everything read to me as overdramatic.

Kiss of Fire had quite a few issues for me. There were inconsistencies and things that didn't make logical sense to me or weren't explained fully. I felt like the writing was overdramatic which left me skimming scenes that should have been the most gripping. And the plot twists were visible from a mile away, yet not in a good way at all. I dreaded what was coming rather than being excited about the coming events or even wondering if our characters would overcome because the ending felt so predictable and inevitable to me. However, I can't say that Kiss of Fire was all bad. I did find parts of it enjoyable, and at this point, I do want to continue reading the series. Kiss of Fire gets 3 Stars. Have you read Kiss of Fire? What did you think? Let me know!

This review is part of my All Things Halloween event--a month of paranormal, supernatural, mystery/thriller, etc reviews and books.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sunday Post & Stacking the Shelves - 10/15/17

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. I spent a lot of time cleaning house, shopping, and working on some DIY decorations for Little Girl's 2nd birthday party. Tuesday was normal grocery day. Wednesday, Little Girl and I spent the day with my mom. Thursday I had a doctor's appointment for Baby Boy. We're going every week now and this Tuesday we'll be at 38 weeks. I also had to run by the store again on Thursday. I had success getting green crayon out of some white window curtains thanks to Little Girl. I know this might not sound like a big deal to some, but that was a feat that I'm super proud of. Friday was full speed house cleaning. And Saturday was her actual party day (although she doesn't turn 2 until Friday). I didn't get to do every thing I wanted between being so insanely huge and exhausted as well as the continued family drama going on. But we celebrated her and had a good time.

My annual "All Things Halloween" event is still going on--through the entire month of October--where I feature reviews from Halloween-y genres (fantasy, paranormal, supernatural, sci-fi, horror, mystery, thriller, and suspense). Over the last few years I've had mostly fantasy books as I just haven't been in the mood for much horror, but still...these are books that can get you in the mood for Halloween.

THIS PAST WEEK:

Monday: All Things Halloween Review of The Bird and the sword (The Bird and the Sword Chronicles, # 1) by Amy Harmon (4 Stars)
Tuesday: Top Ten Autumn Book Covers
Wednesday: Can't Wait for This Tiny Perfect World by Lauren Gibaldi

UPCOMING THIS WEEK:

Monday: All Things Halloween Review of The Kiss of Fire (Imdalind, # 1) by Rebecca Ethington
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday
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.

This Heart of Mine

By: CC Hunter

Expected Publication: February 27th 2018 by Wednesday Books

384 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--A new heart saved her life—but will it help her find out what really happened to its donor?

Seventeen-year-old Leah MacKenzie is heartless. An artificial heart in a backpack is keeping her alive. However, this route only offers her a few years. And with her rare blood type, a transplant isn’t likely. Living like you are dying isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But when a heart becomes available, she’s given a second chance at life. Except Leah discovers who the donor was — a boy from her school — and they’re saying he killed himself. Plagued with dreams since the transplant, she realizes she may hold the clues to what really happened.

Matt refuses to believe his twin killed himself. When Leah seeks him out, he learns they are both having similar dreams and he’s certain it means something. While unraveling the secrets of his brother’s final moments, Leah and Matt find each other, and a love they are terrified to lose. But life and even new hearts don’t come with guarantees. Who knew living, took more courage than dying?

This Heart of Mine is a haunting, poignant tale about living and dying, surviving grief, guilt, and heartache, while discovering love and hope in the midst of sadness.

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, October 11, 2017

Can't Wait for This Tiny Perfect World

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.

This Tiny Perfect World

By: Lauren Gibaldi

Expected Publication: February 27th 2018 by HarperTeen

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--Penny loves her small-town Florida life—including her boyfriend, Logan, whom everyone expects her to marry. And when she lands a scholarship to the prestigious theater camp of her dreams to explore her love of acting, it’s the beginning of a summer that will change her life. But when she arrives at camp, Penny is thrust into a world of competition and self doubt. And as she meets new friends, including Chase, a talented young actor with big-city dreams, she begins to realize that her own dreams may be bigger than she ever imagined.

Lauren Gibaldi tells the story of a transformative summer for a girl who discovers just how wide the world really is and that maybe the life everyone expects her to lead may not be the one she was meant to have.

I've read two Lauren Gibaldi before and enjoyed them both. She's really good at coming of age stories. I don't love the cover for this one, but I want to check it out. What are you guys waiting on this week? Let me know!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Top Ten Autumn Book Covers

Top 10 Tuesday is a post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week's topic is Top Ten Autumn Book Covers.

When I think of Autumn, I think of yellow, orange, brown, and red. I think falling leaves, camp fires, and sunsets. There were so many yellow, orange, and red book covers that made me think "autumn" but I had to limit them because I would have gone way over 10. Here are my top ten...

  1. Back to You by Priscilla Glenn
  2. Until Friday Night (The Field Party, # 1) by Abbi Glines
  3. After the Game (The Field Party, # 3) by Abbi Glines
  4. Paris Lights (Heart of the City, # 1) by CJ Duggan
  5. The Bird and the Sword (The Bird and the Sword Chronicles, # 1) by Amy Harmon
  6. Long Way Home (Thunder Road, # 3) by Katie McGarry
  7. Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, # 2) by Sarah J Maas
  8. The Captive Heart by Michelle Griep
  9. Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer Trilogy, # 1) by Rae Carson
  10. One Tiny Lie (Ten Tiny Breaths, # 2) by KA Tucker

What are your top autumn book covers? Let me know!

Side Notes: Happy Birthday Husband! Also, how is that 2017 Series Enders button for autumn for you! Thanks to the Hubs for creating that for me!

Monday, October 9, 2017

All Things Halloween Review - The Bird and the Sword

The Bird and the Sword

By: Amy Harmon

Published: May 11th 2016 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

352 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

Source: borrowed from Holly

( 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--Swallow, Daughter, pull them in, those words that sit upon your lips. Lock them deep inside your soul, hide them ‘til they’ve time to grow. Close your mouth upon the power, curse not, cure not, ‘til the hour. You won’t speak and you won’t tell, you won’t call on heav’n or hell. You will learn and you will thrive. Silence, Daughter. Stay alive.

The day my mother was killed, she told my father I wouldn’t speak again, and she told him if I died, he would die too. Then she predicted the king would trade his soul and lose his son to the sky.

My father has a claim to the throne, and he is waiting in the shadows for all of my mother’s words to come to pass. He wants desperately to be king, and I just want to be free.

But freedom will require escape, and I’m a prisoner of my mother’s curse and my father’s greed. I can’t speak or make a sound, and I can’t wield a sword or beguile a king. In a land purged of enchantment, love might be the only magic left, and who could ever love . . . a bird?

The Bird and the Sword reminded me a lot of The Key by Jennifer Anne Davis. A castle, being held hostage as a political pawn, a potential uprising, an evil father/king, and plot "twists" that were foreseeable from early on. The biggest difference between the two was the supernatural aspects of The Bird and the Sword and then lack of a brother from The Key. Because the stories were similar to me (though still pretty different), I don't think I enjoyed The Bird and the Sword as much as I could have. It was still good, but not great for me.

The backstory is that there are 4 gifts (Teller, Changer, Spinner, and Healer) in this world. But the people who have these gifts have been vilified by a history of scared kings. Kings who are scared that the gifted could easily out power them one day. And so the gifted are hunted and executed. Lark's mother was executed right in front of her when she was a child, but before dying her mother (a Teller) pronounced a curse. There was a curse on the current king, on his son, on Lark's father, and in some ways, a curse upon Lark herself. The current king would lose his soul and lose his son to the sky. Lark's father's well-being would be tied to Lark herself. And Lark wouldn't be able to speak.

As the king who executed Lark's mother is now gone and his son is king, Lark's father is only one step away from the crown in the line of succession. As such he's rallying forces who are trying to oust the current king (Tiras). Tiras sees an opportunity to capture Lark as a political pawn to get her father to fall in line. Only he really has no idea how great of a move taking Lark captive would be considering for Lark to die would be for her father to die as well. So her father is going to do everything he can to ensure they both live.

Even though Lark can't physically speak, she has one of the gifts. She's a Teller. Her gift is words. She hears words from people and animals. It is usually only one word...whatever word the person or animal feels the most at any given moment. Like "fear" or "home" or "safe." Lark's gift begins to alter a bit the longer she's a hostage because Tiras begins to teach her how to read and write--opening up a whole new world of words for her. Of course the two develop a connection, especially as they begin to share secrets with each other.

I appreciated Amy Harmon drawing things out the way that she did. Lark and Tiras had a journey for sure. They started with dislike and distrust, but that changed and grew over time. And while there was a romantic relationship, it didn't develop in any kind of way that was expected or typical. And (highlight for spoiler) I loved how one of my pet peeves of arranged marriages wasn't the case for Lark and Tiras.(end spoiler)

I will say that I didn't love the volgar, which was another supernatural aspect of the story. For some reason, these creatures were beyond my scope of imagination. I also found the parts of The Bird and the Sword that were supposed to be surprises or plot twists were pretty predictable. This wasn't a huge deal, but I did find it a little annoying to be able to guess these things so easily.

Overall, I enjoyed The Bird and the Sword. The relationship build up between Lark and Tiras as my favorite part (which isn't a surprise). Plus the relationship development was different from your typical story which I really appreciated. I did take issue with the plot twists being too predictable, but this didn't bother me too much. The Bird and the Sword gets 4 Stars. Have you read The Bird and the Sword? What did you think? Let me know!

This review is part of my All Things Halloween event--a month of paranormal, supernatural, mystery/thriller, etc reviews and books.