The Whimsical Mama

<3 Such is the life of a stay at home mommy and Army wife (:

Top Ten Tuesday #54: Characters I Would Be For Hallowe’en October 28, 2014

b301e-toptentuesdayEach week, the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish think up a fun theme for the week and participating bloggers around the net join in. The theme for this week is:

Top Ten Characters I Would Be For Hallowe’en

1-3 Bellatrix Lestrange, Lily Potter, Hermione Granger Harry Potter by JK Rowling
4. Celaena Sardothien Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
5. Alina The Grisha Trilogy
6. Captain Holly Short Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
7. Lucy Pevensie The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
8. Katniss The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
9. Cinder Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
10. Bug’s bookish choice! Ladybug Girl Ladybug Girl by Jacky Davis & David Soman

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Top Ten Tuesday #53: New Series I Want to Read October 21, 2014

 

b301e-toptentuesday

Each week, the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish think up a fun theme for the week and participating bloggers around the net join in. The theme for this week is:

Top Ten New Series I Want to Read

affiliate links used – book titles; covers lead to Goodreads

  1.The Orphan Queen
The Hidden Prince: An Orphan Queen Novella (HarperTeen Impulse)

2.

the cage megan shepherdThe Cage

3.

The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy Book 1)
The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Trilogy)

4.

A Court of Thorns and Roses

5.

A Great and Terrible Beauty (The Gemma Doyle Trilogy)
Rebel Angels (The Gemma Doyle Trilogy Book #2)
The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, Book 3)

6.

Perfect Ruin (The Internment Chronicles)
Burning Kingdoms (The Internment Chronicles)

7.

Sabriel (The Old Kingdom)
Lirael: Daughter of the Clayr
Abhorsen (The Old Kingdom)
Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen (The Old Kingdom)

8.

Atlantia

9.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

10.

The Shadow Queen by CJ Redwine

 

*ARC Review & Blog Tour* The Outlanders by Erin Rhew October 19, 2014



Goodreads

 

 The Outlanders (The Fulfillment Series Book 2)


***I was granted permission to read this galley before publication by the author in exchange for an honest review and to participate in the author’s blog tour***

***mild spoilers may follow***

***affiliate links are used***

Rating:  4 stars
Pub date: 21 October 2014
Publisher: BookFish Books
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Format: ebook, eARC, provided by the author
Status: Book two of The Fulfillment Series

Summary:

With King Jesper dead and Prince Wilhelm mortally wounded, Halfling prince, Nash, and the Fulfilment, Layla, assume the throne of Etherea. They must contend with a new Prophecy Candidate who asserts her position, and Layla is surprised to find her fate intertwined with this challenger. Facing a myriad of choices, Nash and Layla’s decisions affect not only their own futures but that of two kingdoms.

Unbeknownst to the Ethereals or the Vanguards, a slumbering menace stirs in the south, awakened after centuries of slumber. The mysterious Outlanders, a force shadowed in mystery, sit poised to tip the balance of power, sending ripples of fear throughout both warring kingdoms.

Elder Werrick proved a formidable foe, but Layla may yet meet her match in the monstrous Outlander queen. This mistress of the dark’s plans, rooted in revenge and ancient lore, now threaten the livelihood of all three kingdoms.

Racing against time, Layla travels to the Borderlands—home of the Voltons and Ecclesiastics—to discover as much as she can about the war, the First Ones, and the prophecy itself. Lives teeter in the balance, kingdoms sit on the cusp of ruin, and a beast, greater than any she’s ever faced before, plots a catastrophic attack.

 

Sneak Peek:

Everything about Mia felt wrong. The girl, who looked so much like Layla, just happened to be where Samson could find her and came with him to the home of her enemy without any resistance? Whole generations of Ecclesiastics searched for entire lifetimes and never found the Fulfillment, yet Samson encountered two potentials in short succession. She couldn’t pinpoint the reason for her unease, but something tickled the back of her mind, inching toward the surface with painstaking sluggishness.
“I don’t understand why she would just come with you to Etherea.” Layla struggled to keep her voice level and calm to avoid raising Samson’s hackles.
“She didn’t have anywhere else to go. Vance killed her family in Vanguard.”
Layla made a mental note to confirm Samson’s version of the story with the information Nash managed to extract from Mia. “If she’s a Vanguard, why would she come with you to Etherea?”
“You came here,” Samson shot back, his inexplicable protectiveness for the mystery girl heightening her concern.
She treaded with care. “Well, some insane man in a black and purple robe stole my brother, so I didn’t really have a choice.”

 

 

 

My thoughts:

I was offered the chance to be a part of the blog tour for The Outlanders by Erin because I was a part of the blog tour last year for The Prophecy. I was very excited for the chance to review book two!

I reread The Prophecy right before I read The Outlanders so all the events from book one were fresh in my mind. I am very glad I was able to do that because I had forgotten more than I thought!

I was very happy to be back in the wonderful world Erin has created. I was very concerned for a certain prince’s life at the end of The Prophecy and very anxious to see his outcome! Of course, I was also concerned about the kingdoms as a war was on the verge of completely blowing up!

I really enjoyed seeing ALMOST the entire cast back for more adventures. (I won’t reveal who made it and who didn’t in case you haven’t read The Prophecy – go read it! – or in case you don’t remember! Perfect time to get it for 99 cents and refresh!) One of my few complaints is though there were more POV chances, I feel like more depth could’ve been added in some of the scenes. While the action is there and keeps you turning the pages, I kept a sense of things being rushed and not enough time was spent fleshing things out like Erin did in The Prophecy. Because of that feeling, I gave 4 stars compared to The Prophecy’s 5 stars last year.

With a bit more length {C’mon Erin! (; You dind’t HAVE to end on ANOTHER cliffhanger ya know!} and fleshing out, this definitely would’ve been another 5 star read. Both of those are PERSONAL issues, nothing to do with Erin’s characters/world building. I hate cliffhangers. I really do. Erin also knows that. (;

Even though there were many POVs, I still felt short changed (depth & length issue again). After the deep connection with the characters in The Prophecy, I felt like I was on the outside looking in this time. I also REALLY detested one of the new characters. Ugh. I was completely with Layla on that one.

I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I was able to read The Outlanders. Both are interesting and quick reads, but my kiddos were not cooperative in my reading of The Prophecy last year and was anticipating a similar case again this year. I always tend to have a hard time with tour books cause the kiddos seem to have this sixth sense about tour books. They KNOW mama needs to read this book by a certain time so they go as bonkers as they possibly can. If I hadn’t started The Outlanders so close to bedtime and I didn’t have mama duties, this EASILY would’ve been a one sitting read. Even with my personal preferences, Erin did a fantastic job keeping up the pace and action to keep you wanting more.

I absolutely loved getting to learn more about the history of the kingdoms and Prophecy. I love how Erin laid out more world building in Etherea and introduced the Outlands.I wish she’d been able to reveal the history earlier or have more laid out after it in the book. Not happy with another year long wait with THAT cliffhanger. You’re killing me, Erin!

Overall, Erin has written another great book! She did a great job answering questions from The Prophecy while presenting more questions to keep a reader interested. I was left wanting more as a result of the way Erin presented the story and due to that AWFUL cliffhanger. UGH. STAAAAAAAAHP. I will again say that the length left me a little disappointed. I still recommend giving Erin’s series a look! Both books are quick reads set in an interesting world. Now, let’s have a look at the NEW cover for The Prophecy while I sneak to Erin’s and get her computer so I can see how things are gonna go down in book three! (;

NEW COVER!!! (print copies are in the works!)

About the author:

TheOutlanders_ErinAlbert_AuthorPhoto

Erin Rhew is an author and fitness trainer. Since she picked up Morris the Moose Goes to School at age four, she has been infatuated with the written word. She went on to work as a grammar and writing tutor in college and is still teased by her family and friends for being a member of the “Grammar Police.” In her free time, Erin enjoys acting, running, kickboxing, and, of course, reading and writing.

 

GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 12-18 October 2014 October 18, 2014

I am on a roll on reading this week! MAYBE at this rate I can read all the books I’m wanting to read before YALLFest. MAYBE. If the kids keep cooperating. All the reading means not a lot of working on the blog. Everything I read this week was a physical/ebook except for Crown of Midnight. It’s my audiobook read. I am definitely going to reread this series ASAP cause I know I’m not getting the full experience on audio! I’m working hard to get back on track, but I probably won’t be completely back to 100% until after YALLFest. I have about 20 books I need/want to read, Hubby has drill, Bug has a doctor’s appointment, Hallowe’en festivities, AND my birthday are all between now and then. SO. Needless to say. It’s a hopping time! I wouldn’t have it any other way though. I love this time of year!

***I am now an Amazon affiliate. I would appreciate it if you’d consider buying the books through my links if they’re available. (: Helping me helps YOU! October Featured Books or you can click on the book covers.  THANK YOU!!***

 

Completed:

Misguided Angel by Melissa de la Cruz


The Prophecy by Erin Albert Rhew


The Outlanders by Erin Albert Rhew (Go ahead and pre-order! Only $2.99!)


Bloody Valentine by Melissa de la Cruz


Lost in Time by Melissa de la Cruz


Gates of Paradise by Melissa de la Cruz

Vampires of Manhattan by Melissa de la Cruz

***********

Currently Reading:


Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas

 

 


Lips Touch Three Times by Laini Taylor

**************

Read to the Kiddos:


Pete the Cat: Pete’s Big Lunch by James Dean

New to my shelf:


The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf (Punk’s Imagination Library book, got it last week and forgot to add it!)



From the library:


Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas


Lips Touch Three Times by Laini Taylor

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

Rebel Angels by Libba Bray

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

We Were Liars by E Lockhart

Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L Armentrout

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

as usual, more audiobooks! (:

 

Top Ten Tuesday #52: Places I Want to Visit October 14, 2014

 

b301e-toptentuesday

Each week, the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish think up a fun theme for the week and participating bloggers around the net join in. The theme for this week is:

Top Ten Places I Want to Visit

affiliate links used

I have been to lots of places. Literally and metaphorically. I have been blessed with chances to travel the world. These are places (real & fictional) that I would love to visit/visit again!

1. Scotland. I’ve been to Scotland. I would go back in a hot minute. The Falconer by Elizabeth May DOES NOT HELP THIS DESIRE. OH MAN. I can haz Edinburgh plz?

2. Hogwarts. Um. DUH. I’m STILL convinced my Hogwarts letter got lost in the mail. Definitely being carried by an owl as unreliable as Errol.

3. Russia. The Grishaverse isn’t *technically* Russia, but c’mon. As heavy as the Russian theme is, I want to go. *FYI, Russia has loooooong been on my to travel to list, but now I have a series to say influenced it too!*

4. Cinque Terre & Florence, Italy. I’ve been to Italy. It’s awesome. Every time I read Blue Bloods though, I want to go back to Europe. Especially Cinque Terre & Florence. Yes.

5. Manhattan. Again, I’ve been to NYC, but after every Blue Bloods reread, I want to go and thoroughly explore NYC/Manhattan.

 

6. Cair Paravel. Seriously. What kid doesn’t want to go to Narnia?

7. Rivendell. Hubby would agree with me on this one. (: He does judge me for liking the movies over the books though. Read them once. Never again!

8. Tara. I’ve been to Ireland, really don’t remember it cause I got sick. /: However, I ADORE Artemis Fowl and want to go back to Ireland and see Artemis & Holly’s stomping grounds.

9. Prague. Honesty moment. I haven’t read Daughter of Smoke and Bone yet. It’s on the immediate TBR. I know it takes place in Prague, and I’ve always wanted to go… SO. It’s a legit want to go cause of a book. (;

10. La Jolla/San Diego/Waterfell. Yes, please. Thank you, Waterfell! A major plus would be if Lo is there too. (; Amirite, Amalie?

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 21 September – 11 October 2014 October 11, 2014

It’s been a while, and I apologise. Blogging lately has felt more like a job/duty than being fun. So. Instead of putting out crap, I continued to take a step back. It’s probably hurt me from getting ARCs, but I’ll deal. Relaxing/spending time focused on my family this summer apparently wasn’t enough of a break of sorts. I have been doing a lot of reading now that I’m over my slump and I have a lot more to read between now and YALLFest. Yup. That’s right. This girl is going to YALLFest for her birthday present! WOOT! I am SO flipping excited. I am hoping to get some books signed to giveaway here. I’ll keep you updated on that! Hubby is supposed to be going with me and I’m going to get him to stand in line with me with the extra books. (: I am very behind on all things blogging, but I feel like I’m ready to start facing the challenge. Hopefully things are back on course!

***I am giving being an affiliate with Amazon a try. I would appreciate it if you’d consider buying the books through my links if they’re available. (: Helping me helps YOU! October Featured Books ***

 

Completed:

Revelations by Melissa de la Cruz

The King’s Curse by Philippa Gregory

The Transfer by Veronica Roth

The Traitor by Veronica Roth

The Initiate by Veronica Roth

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

The Van Alen Legacy by Melissa de la Cruz

 

Currently Reading:

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas 

 

 

Read to the Kiddos:

Chicka Chicka ABC by Bill Martin Jr (still Bug’s current favourite!)

If You Give a Cat a Cupcake by Laura Joffe Numeroff

Little Pink Pup

Pouch!

Possum come a-knocking at the door

Ladybug Girl Who Can Play? by David Soman & Jacky Davis

 

 

 

New to my shelf:

Rites of Passage by Joy N Hensley (ARC, Tea Time giveaway)

The Invisible by Amalia Kahaney (ARC, Tea Time giveaway)

Burning Kingdoms by Lauren DeStefano (ARC, author giveaway)

All of Baby Nose to Toes (Bug’s Imagination Library book)



From the library:

as usual, more audiobooks! (:

 

*Review* Oceanborn & Seamonster by Amalie Howard October 9, 2014

Oceanborn (The Aquarathi) (English Edition) (affiliate link)

Waterfell (The Aquarathi)

***As always mild spoilers may follow***

***I received a finished paperback from Harlequin Teen, Amalie Howard, & Jennifer Abbotts, I decided to review on my own. Being provided with a copy in no way swayed my opinion.***
Rating: 5 stars
Pub date: 29 July 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Format: paperback provided by Harlequin Teen
Status: book two of the Aquarathi series

Summary:
The coronation is over.
But the battle has just begun.
Nerissa Marin has won her crown. But can she keep it? Already, her ties to the human realm are driving a wedge between Nerissa and her people. When word arrives that her part-human prince consort, Lo, has been poisoned, she makes the difficult choice to leave Waterfell and return landside. As the royal courts debate her decision, even more disturbing rumors surface: a plot is rising against her, led by someone she least expects.
On land, Nerissa learns another shocking truth: Lo does not remember who she is. As her choice to try to save him threatens her hold on her crown, changing loyalties and uncertainty test her courage in ways she could never have imagined. Nerissa will have one last chance to prove herself as a queen …and save the undersea kingdom she loves

My thoughts:
Oh, wow. Once again, Amalie blew me away with her incredible underwater world of Waterfell. Even better that I revisited it in a two book and one novella binge read. The ocean fascinates me and Amalie takes a brilliant idea and runs with it. FANTASTIC.
The action and drama had perfect flow and ebbs. Everything builds until the wave breaks. Okay, I’ll stop with the puns and be serious (well as serious as I can be while utterly fangirling!)
Right off, Amalie hits you right in the feels. Or at least she destroyed mine! Lo’s in danger?! OH NO SHE DIDN’T! I really admire Rissa’s courage to face her royal duties as well as her land troubles. All while pulling time in high school.
Rissa, again, really grew as a character. She still has a strong stubborn and impulsive streak, but she’s also more grounded due to her bond with Lo. She’s also learned that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness.
I was blown away with the transformation in Lo. Not cool, Amalie. Not cool. It was difficult to watch Rissa watch Lo become an entirely different person. I was chewing my nails like crazy waiting for the outcome. EEP!

Once again Amalie’s snark was spot on and it seemed like everyone had a chance to shine with snarky brilliance. The quips between Rissa and Jenna were my favourite. Jenna’s a tough one. Not easily cracked and constantly on her toes. Some of her ideas were a bit harebrained and brilliant all at once.

It was hard for me to come to terms with how long it took me to read. I managed to re-read Waterfell in a few days. The cards were stacked against me and it took me a week to complete. Much like blogging recently, the kiddos have been a bit demanding and taking up more of my time. Normally, that would impact my rating and reading experience, but not this time. It constantly had me thinking about it even when I couldn’t read. I mulled over what I’d read and contemplated which direction Amalie would take.

For a hot minute, I feared Amalie would leave this as a duology. Then the twist I was hoping for happened! It resulted in a massive cliffhanger, but YAY MORE WATERFELL!

There was one character that genuinely surprised me and it brought tears to my eyes. I was happy forthe closure, even if it was a painful moment.

After the pain of Speio’s betrayal in Waterfell, I was happy to see him redeemed in Oceanborn. Events at the end have me super surprised though!

Ultimately, Oceanborn was all I wanted and more. I’m so distressed with the cliffhanger. AHHHH!!!! I could sing this series’s praises all day long. I highly recommend it. Fantastic characters and an incredible parallel world. Brava Amalie! Book three please? (:

SEAMONSTER: An Aquarathi Novella (The Aquarathi)(affiliate link)

 

***As always mild spoilers may follow***

Rating: 5 stars
Pub date: 17 June 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Format: ebook, personal copy
Status: novella of the Aquarathi series

Summary:
They say that love is the death of duty …
Speio Marin is land-bound, tied to the side of the Waterfell queen-to-be, Nerissa. There’s only one problem–she wants nothing to do with any of the Aquarathi or her undersea kingdom, preferring instead the freedom of pretending to be human. Torn between his own desires and his duty to serve his future queen, he spirals into an abyss of malcontent. Speio’s mistrust of humans is no secret, and he sees them only as a threat to the existence of his people.
Until he meets Anya Delmonico–a mysterious and enigmatic girl, teetering on the edge of survival. Anya is sedate and secretive, yet reckless enough to brave a hundred-foot cliff jump. Caught between a dark past and an ex-boyfriend who refuses to let her go, Anya knows that getting involved with anyone new is the last thing she should do. But when her past catches up to her, Speio turns out to be the only one she can trust, refusing to let her face her demons alone.
When Anya discovers the truth about Speio, putting her life in mortal danger from the Aquarathi as well as her own sinister pursuers, will he risk everything to protect her? Or will he choose duty above all?

My thoughts:
Oh, Spey. I love you so much now. After hating him SO hard at the end of Waterfell, Amalie does an incredible job giving some a glimpse into his mind. My heart melted and warmed to him. It was a great way to whet my appetite while waiting for Oceanborn. Can’t wait to see how he continues to redeem himself! Just read it! It’s so great!

About the author:

AMALIE HOWARD grew up on a small Caribbean island where she spent most of her childhood with her nose buried in a book or being a tomboy running around barefoot, shimmying up mango trees and dreaming of adventure. 22 countries, surfing with sharks and several tattoos later, she has traded in bungee jumping in China for writing the adventures she imagines instead. She isn’t entirely convinced which takes more guts. She is the author of several young adult novels critically acclaimed by Kirkus, PW and Booklist, including Waterfell, The Almost Girl, and Alpha Goddess, a Spring 2014 Kid’s INDIE NEXT title. Her debut novel, Bloodspell, was an Amazon best seller and a Seventeen Magazine Summer Read. She currently resides in New York with her husband and three children. Visit her at amaliehoward.com.

 

Waiting on Wednesday #41: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch October 8, 2014

eb176-newwow

 

Waiting on Wednesday” is a weekly event hosted by Jill at the Breaking The Spine. It showcases upcoming releases we’re anticipating!

 

My pick of the week is:

Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes #1)

 By: Sara Raasch

 Coming: 14 October 2014

 Publisher: HarperTeen, Balzer+Bray

 

Summary:

A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own
 

Why I’m excited:

I devoured this back in the summer. Before it was up on Edelweiss, I had already told hubby that I wanted it for my birthday. This is an incredible new fantasy and I can’t wait to have a finished copy on my shelves!

 

Why I need you to be excited:

A new fantasy series? Come ON you KNOW I am gonna be all over this and screaming from the rooftops that you should read it. It’s FANTASTIC. Sara does an amazing job world building and the character development is spot on. Do yourself a solid and order this RIGHT NOW. Now. I’m serious. Amazon. Your favourite indie. I don’t care, JUST ORDER IT! You’re welcome.

 

 
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