Monday, October 24, 2016

All Things Halloween Review - November Rain

November Rain (Bad Bloods, # 1)

By: Shannon A Thompson

Published: July 18th 2016 by Clean Teen Publishing

230 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, SciFi, Dystopian

Source: Author for review (Thank you!!) (also a freebie on Amazon)

( 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--Seventeen-year-old Serena isn’t human. She is a bad blood, and in the city of Vendona, bad bloods are executed. In the last moments before she faces imminent death, a prison guard aids her escape and sparks a revolt. Back on the streets determined to destroy her kind, Serena is spared by a fellow bad blood named Daniel. His past tragedies are as equally mysterious as her connection to them.

Unbeknownst to the two, this connection is the key to winning the election for bad bloods’ rights to be seen as human again. But Serena is the only one who can secure Vendona’s vote. Now, Daniel must unite with her before all hope is lost and bad bloods are eradicated, even if it means exposing secrets worse than death itself. United or not, a city will fight, rain will fall, and all will be threatened by star-crossed love and political corruption.

I finished November Rain three weeks before typing this review. I usually never wait this long to write a review. I have a self-imposed 48-hour limit under normal circumstances. But I've had the hardest time deciding what to say about November Rain. November Rain and November Snow are essentially "one book broken into two parts due to length" (per Shannon A Thompson). As such, November Rain really did feel incomplete. It started out great. I was pretty hooked into the characters and the story, but the story really doesn't feel like it stands on it's own as an individual book. The conflict for the two books is set up in November Rain, but I didn't feel like November Rain had enough individual conflict to justify the split in the books.

Part of my difficulty deciding what to say is because after I finished it I jumped right into November Snow. Where I read November Rain quickly, I was getting stalled on November Snow. And since the two books are essentially one story that seemed to hinder my ability to process and analyze. However, since these books are being released separately I'm going to do my best to review them separately without being influenced by the other piece of the puzzle.

Serena and Daniel both felt like strong characters with fleshed out backgrounds. Their intentions and motivations felt genuine. They had a spark from their first encounter, but trust and romance were a bit slower to build even though looking back I can't remember how much time actually passes in the first book. Both were likeable, and I think that was in large part due to their deep love for those they consider their family. Serena and Daniel are both willing to put themselves on the line for the kids in their flocks.

That leads me to two different points. The side characters are a bit overwhelming at first. There are twelve members to each flock. And that's not all of the side characters. Twenty-four+ characters...that's a lot of characters to try to keep straight. It was a bit overwhelming.

My second point is the world building. It was clear to me that Shannon A Thompson spent a lot time creating this world, the politics behind it, the characters. But up I'm not sure that enough of the world was conveyed to the reader. Her writing is done so in a way that is an attempt to maintain a bit of suspense and intrigue, but November Rain ends before you got any real answers. I did enjoy the diversity in the Bad Bloods' powers. That part reminded me of X-men if you like that sort of supernatural aspect.

I feel like my review has come off more negative than I really feel. I read November Rain really quickly. I wanted to keep reading. I wanted to come back to it. I wanted to know more about the characters and the world of the Bad Bloods. I enjoyed the characters and wanted to know what was going to happen next when the book came to an end. But I did have a few issues and my biggest problem revolved around the split in the books. November Rain gets 3.5 Stars from me. Have you read November Rain? 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 23, 2016

Sunday Post - 218

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 was quite worn out this week after Baby Girl's birthday party last week so I took things easy for the most part. Thursday was a hectic day as that was Baby Girl's actual birthday. This year has been so full of love and joy. It's been a great and fast year. I think with each new stage I am enjoying her more and more. We also had one of the bathroom companies that we got an estimate from sit down and talk with us more. Then we went that afternoon to have Baby Girl's 1 year pictures made. Friday night Husband and I went on a date. Mexican food and bathroom tile shopping. Tonight TWD comes back on FINALLY! I am dying to know who got Lucille! I've got my predictions, but I need to know NOW! No new books this week.


Monday: All Things Halloween Review - Winter (Lunar Chronicles, # 4) by Marissa Meyer (4 Stars)
Tuesday: Top Ten Character Names for Pets
Wednesday: Waiting on Roar (Stealing Storms, # 1) by Cora Carmack


Monday: All Things Halloween Review of November Rain (Bad Bloods, # 1) by Shannon A Thompson
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday & 2016 Series Enders Reading Challenge - October Wrap Up
Wednesday: Waiting on Wednesday

Don’t forget to sign up for the 2016 Series Enders Reading Challenge! You have until December 15, 2016 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!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Waiting on Roar

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

Roar (Stealing Storms, # 1)

By: Cora Carmack

Expected Publication: June 13th 2017 by Tor Teen

352 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--In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

I'm a Cora Carmack fan. Her books always seem to hook me even if there's something I end up taking issue with. But so far all I've seen her do is Contemporary. I'm excited to see her branch out into Fantasy. What are you waiting on this week? Let me know!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Top Ten Character Names for a Pet

Top 10 Tuesday is a post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week's topic is Top Ten Character Names for a Pet.

  1. Kestrel from The Winner's Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski
  2. Darrow from Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown
  3. Sevro from Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown
  4. Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
  5. Dimitri from Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
  6. Oz from Thunder Road from Katie McGarry
  7. Rhaegar from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R R Martin
  8. Blue from The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
  9. Jasper from Jasper Dent by Barry Lyga
  10. Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

I'm very picky about kids' names. While I love books and book characters, I just can't see naming one of my children after a book character. I really want my kids' names to have specific meanings. Nothing's wrong with naming your kids after book characters, but that's just not my jam. However, I think naming pets after book characters is a great idea. And you can bit a bit more fun and funky with pet names as well. What are your top character names? Let me know!

Update: It was brought to my attention by Holly that perhaps I should offer some clarification here. I interpreted the topic of naming a child AFTER a character as just that...naming a child based on a character...not just taking the name of a character and leaving the character behind. In actuality, I first saw the name "Ever" in a book. It wasn't a particularly good book in my opinion and the character was neither particularly spectacular nor particularly bad either. Regardless, I liked the name and kept it in my back pocket. When the time came, "Ever" became the first name of my daughter. But that was because her first name is paired with the middle name "Lael" which means "belonging to God" in Hebrew. Her name together (Ever Lael) means "always belonging to God". So while in some ways I did name my child BECAUSE of a character in a book, I didn't name her AFTER a character in a book because the book was so far removed from me and the reason why I loved the name and chose it for my daughter.

Monday, October 17, 2016

All Things Halloween Review - Winter

Winter (Lunar Chronicles, # 4)

By: Marissa Meyer

Publication: November 10th 2015 by Feiwel and Friends

800 pages

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Dystopian

Source: Personal Library (Christmas present from my mom)

( 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--Here is the stunning conclusion to the national bestselling Lunar Chronicles, inspired by Snow White.

When Princess Winter was thirteen, the rumor around the Lunar court was that her glamour would soon be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana. In a fit of jealousy, Levana disfigured Winter. Four years later, Winter has sworn off the use of her glamour altogether. Despite her scars, Winter’s natural beauty, her grace, and her gentleness are winning admiration from the Lunar people that no amount of mind-control could achieve.

Winter despises her stepmother, but has never dreamed of standing up to her. That is, until she realizes that she may be the only one with the power to confront the queen.

Can Cinder, Prince Kai, Scarlet, Wolf, Cress, Thorne, Princess Winter, and the palace guard Jacin find their happily ever afters? Fans will LOVE this amazing conclusion to the series.

The Lunar Chronicles has been one of my favorite series for a while. Starting with Cinder, I've actually felt like each new book in the series was better than the one before. And that set Winter up for some pretty high expectations. I received Winter for Christmas last year--which was shortly after it released. However, the 800 pages of this hefty book kept me from picking it up sooner. Well that and my life changes really. And honestly, I have to say that even though Winter didn't exactly feel slow to me, it did feel LONG. I understand why it was released as one book, but for length's sake, I really wished it had been more like two or even three separate books. I don't think the story told within would have made as much sense had it been broken out though.

Winter has so much to cover too. It's not just about Cinder and Kai, or Scarlet and Wolf, or Cress and Thorne, or Winter and Jacin. (Or Iko.) They're all in. They're all present. They're all narrated from at different points. Marissa Meyer does a great job being able to write from so many characters within one book. It feels cohesive while also distinct. I never once got confused with who was narrating and with so many characters that is really impressive. Of course because all of these characters have such distinct roles to play within the plot of the story, we didn't get to spend as much one on one time with Winter and Jacin as we have with the other couples in prior books. I still liked these characters a lot, but I wasn't as attached to them as I am to Scarlet and Wolf or Cress and Thorne.

As always, I absolutely loved the way that Marissa Meyer worked in the details of the fairytale that she's retelling. In the case of Winter, we're looking at Snow White. (Cinder = Cinderella; Scarlet = Little Red Riding Hood; Cress = Rapunzel) It is always obvious when she's mimicking the main storylines from the fairytales, but I never really know how she's going to work those details in. Of course, my favorite aspect of this retelling is probably her take on the dwarves.

Of course, it isn't just Snow White that we're dealing with here. Marissa Meyer has to wrap up the series arc as well. Will Levana finally get what's coming to her? Will Cinder, aka Princess Selene, finally get what's rightfully hers? Will everyone end up in a happily ever after--especially considering that each character finds themselves in mortal peril at some point or other? Will everyone survive? I do have to say that I was happy with all of the answers to these questions. There was one aspect at the very very end of the book that felt entirely hasty and really not my favorite decision for Marissa Meyer to have made. It very much reminded me of The Crown by Kiera Cass.

All in all, I'm giving Winter 4 Stars. It was probably my least favorite of the series, despite being the ending point of all of these well-loved characters. Truthfully that only can be said based on how much I loved the prior books in the series. While I still liked Winter a lot, she was also my least favorite heroine. And even though I wouldn't classify Winter as slow like I feared it would be, it is still LONG. Nevertheless, Winter was a good end to an excellent series. Other than that one little thing at the very end that annoyed me I had no real complaints. Have you read Winter? 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.