The Whimsical Mama

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

Waiting on Wednesday #44: The Heir by Kiera Cass April 22, 2015

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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:

 The Heir (The Selection)

By: Kiera Cass

Coming: 5 May 2015

Publisher: HarperTeen

Summary:
Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won Prince Maxon’s heart. Now the time has come for Princess Eadlyn to hold a Selection of her own. Eadlyn doesn’t expect her Selection to be anything like her parents’ fairy-tale love story. But as the competition begins, she may discover that finding her own happily ever after isn’t as impossible as she always thought.

Why I’m excited:

Honestly, I don’t really know why I am so excited. I was happy with the way The Oneended, and I was okay with the trilogy being over. I had mixed feelings when news of The Heir broke. I am interested to see if anything Maxon and America wanted to change has changed though.

Why I need you to be excited:

Even though they aren’t the centre of the action, we get more Maxon and America!

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Review: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord April 19, 2015

***mild spoilers may follow***

***affiliate links are used***

Rating:  5 stars
Pub date: 15 April 2014
Publisher: Walker Children’s, Bloomsbury
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Format: hardcover
Status: standalone

Summary:

After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence. This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking. A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes.

My thoughts:
I am not a contemporary fan by any means, but Mary keeps throwing suggestions my way. She very rarely steers me wrong, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to read it!

I was instantly interested because Open Road Summer opens in Nashville. I went to college in Murfreesboro (where I met Mary!) and spent quite a bit of time in Nashvegas. I love Middle Tennessee! So being back in my old stomping grounds without leaving home was great! The way Emery paints the picture, you feel like you’re right there beside Reagan.

One of the best things about Open Road Summer is the road trip. Yes, Lilah is on tour and a country superstar, but just the road trip aspect was perfect. My best friends and I planned so many road trips in high school. The only ones that actually happened were band or family oriented, but those are still some of the best memories EVER.

The raw goodness and reality are perfect. In a way, it was out of this world, fantasy type reading for me because I still escaped in reading Emery’s work.

The characters were built exceptionally well. Starting with leading lady, Reagan, you have a front row seat into how much a summer can really change your life! Emery takes you through the good, bad, and nitty gritty. Reagan has a past, but who doesn’t? I loved getting to watch her come out of her shell and flourish. It was reminiscent to when I went to college in a way. Plus, I could relate to Reagan on other levels – photography, not tolerant of BS, and the fiercely loyal and close friendship reminds me so much of my friendships with two of my best friends.

Speaking of. Dee (as she’s known to Reagan, Lilah Montgomery to the rest of the world) is fantastic. She keeps Reagan grounded. Despite being a superstar, she is down to earth and very few people know the 100% real Dee. She’s the best best friend and offers Reagan the chance to come on tour with her as a fresh start and turn over a new leaf after a few bad life choices. Dee has her own troubles to deal with as well. Bad publicity leads to bringing in the other fantastic secondary character: Matt Finch.

Matt used to be in a family group and is now trying to make a break on his own. He’s a good friend of Dee’s and is brought in to help smooth out some bad Lilah publicity and keep her reputation intact. He has definitely met his match in Reagan but it is far from love at first sight. He matches her and brings out the best in her. Their banter brought many memories of my best guy friend from high school.

The beauty of Emery’s world will have you on the tour bus and backstage for a whirlwind summer. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll get to see the beauty of young love and second chances. If you’re looking for a great pool or beach side read, look no further than this spectacular debut by Emery Lord.

About the Author

I’m Emery, and I write books about flawed girls who are really trying, complicated families, friends who show up even when everything’s going down in flames, the boy who Gets You even when you don’t expect it, and the summer that changed everything.

Open Road Summer is out now, and The Start of Me & You releases March 31st, 2015.

I don’t check my GR inbox, but feel free to get in touch via ways listed on my website!
http://www.emerylord.com/p/site-qs.html

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 12 – 18 April 2015 April 18, 2015

I am so happy to be back in the swing of blogging! It feels so great! I’m doing some work on a Read It Before You See It type post. I know it’s not original by any means. Just something I’d like to do. Maybe have some guest posts? I have a list drawn up and some recent ones to whip up into posts as I get through the planning stage. I think I may do a giveaway or two with it if there’s some interest! I’m pretty excited about it. (: I had a lot of great input for recommendations this week! Thank you to everyone who made suggestions! I appreciate them!

I’m super excited/sad about Forged (Taken) by Erin Bowman releasing this week. I’m excited cause I’m binge rereading the first two and I can’t wait to see how things end. I’m also sad cause I DON’T WANT IT TO END!!!! I NEEEEEEEEED more Gray in my life. This can’t be the end!

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Completed:
These Broken Stars (Starbound)by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Taken by Erin Bowman

Currently Reading:
Maid of Secrets (Maids of Honor)
Pirates Past Noon (Magic Tree House, No. 4)
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Frozen (Taken) by Erin Bowman

Read with the Kiddos:

 we were bad again this week. /:

New to My Shelf:
Forged (Taken) by Erin Bowman
ARC Landry Park by Bethany HagenThanks for the trade Emma! (:

From the Library:

lots of audiobooks to start on my Read It Before You See It feature (just a sampling!)
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Then They Came for Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival (Hardcover) by Maziar Bahari
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

 

Flashback Friday #6: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare April 17, 2015

Filed under: Books — Maura @ 12:00 am

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Flashback Friday is a feature I started here on The Whimsical Mama featuring books I read before I started blogging. Most reviews will come after rereading the book again. This is a biweekly feature. This week’s selection is:

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

Rating: 5 stars
Pub date: 31 August 2010
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry Books, Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Format: paperback, personal copy ,audiobook, via library
Status: Book one of The Infernal Devices Series

Summary:

Magic is dangerous; but love is more dangerous still.

In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters; including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans.

Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them….

My thoughts:

I think I enjoyed Clockwork Angel more the second reading than the first. I must also confess that I enjoy The Infernal Devices more than The Mortal Instruments. I think the characters are stronger and the world is better put together.
There is a strong formulaic feel, but I ignored it the second time around. Much like Clary, Tessa had no clue about the Shadow World or her abilities. The situation works well for both series in its own way.
Tessa learns she is a shape shifter She quickly blossoms from timid girl to a fierce young woman. As an anomaly in Downworld, it was interesting to see Tessa navigate the precarious world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders. The looming threat of the Magister didn’t help matters any.
From the get go, I loved Jem the most of the two boys. My love only increased during the second reading. Jem is kind, quiet, and determined. Not to mention a musician. *swoon* He could come off as a tragic figure with his condition, but he is still a strong and talented Shadowhunter.
Will is well, Will. Very much like Jace, he has a devil may care attitude. I don’t blame him for the way he is, but it does get a bit grating at times. A bit like Jace! Haha.
The secondary case of characters are just as strong and well developed as the main characters. My favourite is Sophie.
While chock full of action, there is less action than The Mortal Instruments. I am perfectly okay with that because there is more focus on character development.
I love that Magnus is back and just as fantastic. I love Magnus! I believe is a stronger presence/character in The Infernal Devices though.
On the second reading, plus having finished the trilogy, things make more sense and fit together perfectly. Love or hate her, Cassie Clare can weave an incredible story!

About the author:

“Cassandra Clare was born overseas and spent her early years traveling around the world with her family and several trunks of fantasy books. Cassandra worked for several years as an entertainment journalist for the Hollywood Reporter before turning her attention to fiction. She is the author of City of Bones, the first book in the Mortal Instruments trilogy and a New York Times bestseller. Cassandra lives with her fiance and their two cats in Massachusetts.”

You can find me online at

http://www.cassandraclare.com

I have a blog:

http://cassandraclare.livejournal.com/

and a Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/Cassandraclare

and a Twitter:

http://www.twitter.com/cassieclare

 

Waiting on Wednesday #43: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas April 15, 2015

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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:

A Court of Thorns and Roses

By: Sarah J Maas

Coming: 5 May 2015

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s

Summary:
A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

Why I’m excited:

I know there are so many people that have featured this already and more that will feature it leading up to release day, but I am SO excited about this. A Beauty and the Beast retelling? Um. Duh. You know I’m all about me some Beauty and the Beast! Plus it’s from Sarah J Maas, so I’m even more excited. My bestie Mary has generously lent me her copy and I am so excited to read it! I’m also *fingers crossed* heading down to Nashville to see Sarah on her release tour!

Why I need you to be excited:

C’mon. It’s Sarah J Maas. Don’t even act like you’re not even a smidge interested in this one. Fae, magic, Beauty and the Beast retelling? You want this. Pre-order it! You know you wanna! (:

 

Review: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare April 14, 2015

***mild spoilers may follow***

***affiliate links are used***

Rating:  5 stars
Pub date: 27 May 2014
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry Books, Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Urban Fantasy
Format: hardcover
Status: Book six of The Mortal Instruments series, book three of the second trilogy in the full series

Summary:

In this dazzling and long-awaited conclusion to the acclaimed Mortal Instruments series, Clary and her friends fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary’s own brother.

Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell.

The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris – but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons?

When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee – even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned…

Love will be sacrificed and lives lost in the terrible battle for the fate of the word in the thrilling final installment of the classic urban fantasy series The Mortal Instruments!

My thoughts:

The end. Wow. Another series ending. It doesn’t get easier for a series to end, but I still haven’t had a series cripple me like Harry Potter ending. I do have to say, the epilogue slayed me. Wow. The epilogue alone was perfection.

I really enjoyed the glimpse into the LA Institute. It will be nice to be able to see these characters come into their own/ I am hoping there will be more Mark. I want to know what will happen between the Faerie Court and the Clave.

I loved the Malec feels. From the start to the end, it was incredible. Communication is key in any relationship and that showed between all of the couples. It’s a hard lesson to learn.

I loved getting to see more into how the Clave worked. City of Heavenly Fire set up nicely to connect the transition between The Mortal Instruments and The Dark Artifices. I also loved how The Infernal Devices were woven in too. I hope they make more of an appearance in The Dark Artifices.

I have to say, I was not surprised with the Seelie Queen’s allegiance declaration. It was terribly clear to me what would happen there.

City of Heavenly Fire was very good, but there were times it felt too long and drawn out. It could’ve been because I never had much time to read in long spurts.

There were things I was disappointed over. Not quite as bloody as I was expecting. I was expecting more deaths. There were twists I wasn’t expecting though, which is always nice. Never fun to see everything coming!

I loved getting a look into a demon realm. It was fascinating and scary at the same time. Especially concerning Magnus’s parentage. Finally! Glad we got that answer. I thought it was neat The Bane Chronicles were alluded to through City of Heavenly Fire and at the end.

Even though knowing things had to end with Sebastian, Cassie still kept it interesting and full of twists. I actually cried!

Okay. I cried a lot. Like a lot, a lot. Especially during the epilogue. Sobbed. I’m surprised I didn’t wake up my kids haha.

City of Heavenly Fire is the best of the second The Mortal Instruments trilogy. With other enemy forces, Sebastian felt more believable I guess. It felt more fleshed out. It was a massive read. I guess I hadn’t paid attention to the page count when I ordered it!

I am pleased with how things went. I would like to know how relationships pan out. Hoping for snippets of that in The Dark Artifices. It will be a long wait til fall 2015 (I wrote this review immediately after I read The Mortal Instruments, I’m just now posting it!) but I’m sure it’ll be worth it. All The Infernal Devices references and character action makes me crave a reread. I recommend you check out the Shadow World if you haven’t I believe these books are worth the hype and controversy.

 

Have You Seen This? April 12, 2015

Thanks to the fabulous Book Addict’s Guide and Andi’s ABCs, Have You Seen This is a feature created for bloggers to complete their book collections be it ARCs or foreign editions. Once a month, a new linky is posted to allow bloggers a chance to share their wishlist. I don’t have a set list of books up to trade yet, but I am willing to trade &/ pay shipping for books! (: Please contact me on Twitter @armywife2310 or email : french_eleve07 at yahoo dot com.

ARCS:

Incarnate and Asunder by Jodi Meadows

The Orphan Queen and The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows

The Start of You and Me, Open Road Summer, When We Collided by Emery Lord

The Madman’s Daughter trilogy by Megan Shepherd

Snow Like Ashes and Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

Taken by Erin Bowman

Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

This Shattered World and These Broken Stars by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner

Unleashed by Sophie Jordan

Legend by Marie Lu

The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Foreign Editions:

Original UK Hardcovers of Harry Potter 5-7 by JK Rowling

Any UK editions of Victoria Schwab books

Thanks in advance! (:

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 5 – 11 April 2015 April 11, 2015

Filed under: Books — Maura @ 11:45 pm

This has been a super busy blogging week and it feels so great! I’m working on scheduling tweet for archived posts. In the event I take some time off (we have two possible beach trips coming up this summer!) I’ll still be showing posts. Hopefully I can also have scheduled NEW posts up. With what I had written in my notebook while I was on a break, I should be able to stay far enough ahead if I stay on top of posting! This has also been an interesting week. My dad, who swore he would never remarry again, after he and my mom divorced, got married today. It’s also been a good week for reading. Thank you audiobooks!

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Completed:

This Shattered World: A Starbound Novel by Aime Kaufman & Megan Spooner

Currently Reading:
Maid of Secrets (Maids of Honor) by Jennifer McGowan
These Broken Stars (Starbound) by Aime Kaufman & Megan Spooner
Pirates Past Noon (Magic Tree House, No. 4) by Mary Pope Osborne

Read with the Kiddos:

 

New to My Shelf:

Bella’s RulesPunk’s April Imagination Library Book

From the Library:

 

Secret Sister March Unwrapped April 9, 2015

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Last Monday, I received a glorious package from my Secret Sister, James Bond. The awesomeness and gratitude could NOT be fully shown in 140 characters on Twitter, so I decided to do a full unwrap on the blog. This will focus on my goodies. An in depth unwrap on the kiddos’ goodies can be found on Backyard Explorers.

When I opened the front door to see if the mail had gone by, Punk spotted our giant box first.

IMG_7137Bug was still napping, so we just opened the top to peek in.

IMG_7138Once Bug woke up, we dug in! I was SO overwhelmed by my Sister’s generosity. She is the sweetest for including the kiddos!

IMG_7140Now! To show off my goodies!

IMG_7141Isn’t she the BEST?! I am still so overwhelmed. Punk has tried to claim my hot chocolate, but I say it’s ALL MINE!

IMG_7142I’m on a huge Tudors kick right now. My Sis and I read Gilt by Katherine Longshore together and discussed it via letters. So much fun! Well, after finishing Gilt, I continued on to Tarnish and Brazen. While on this binge, I posted my Tudors era collection (Including the Cousins’ War series)

IMG_7049Tudor collection consists of:
The Other Boleyn GirlThe Secret Diary of Anne BoleynQueen Jezebel: A Catherine de’ Medici NovelThe Tudors: Season 1Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor, England, 1544 (The Royal Diaries)Mary, Queen of Scots: Queen Without a Country, France 1553 (The Royal Diaries)Mary, Bloody MaryDoomed Queen Anne: A Young Royals BookBeware, Princess ElizabethAnne of the Thousand Days / Mary, Queen of ScotsGiltElizabeth: The Struggle for the ThroneElizabeth and Mary: Cousins, Rivals, QueensElizabeth ILady JaneThe Other Boleyn GirlThe Boleyn InheritanceI did forget my DVD of Elizabeth (Spotlight Series)OOPS! I also have a few Philippa Gregory books on my kindle, but until they’re also in my physical collection, they don’t count (;

My sister very generously passed on some of her Philippa Gregory goodies to help flesh out my collection a bit more

IMG_7143
The Other Queen
The Red Queen (The Cousin’s War)
The Lady of the Rivers: A Novel (The Cousins’ War)
The White Queen (The Cousins’ War)

Don’t worry about The White Queen not being the show cover! I don’t mind having multiple copies of favourites! (: I haven’t gotten to The Other Queen yet in my reading, so I’m pretty excited for it while I’m on my Tudor binge! (:

I was SO excited to see This Shattered World: A Starbound Novel in this month’s box! (: I have been dying to get my hands on this December 2014 release! It is definitely a top priority after my Tudor binge!

IMG_7144I am a huge hoarder – I mean collector of bookmarks. When I saw this adorable yarn ball and crochet hook bookmark by Craft’ed, I wanted it hardcore! I was so happy to see it! Aren’t the owls adorable? Can’t wait to use them!

IMG_7145In her letter, my Sis said she planned this month’s box as a royal theme and every queen needs to be pampered! The soap and bath salts smell awesome and I can’t wait to try the face mask. (: And chapstick. Oh. Man. It’s awesome and Bug keeps trying to pilfer it.

IMG_7148I am a HUGE Nashville Predators fan and have been wanting some regular post earrings to compliment my dangly ones. So happy to have these in my life for some post season play! Woohoo Preds clenching a playoffs spot.

IMG_7147My Sis is SO talented! She knit me a washcloth and some mug mats. The mats have hearts in them! LOVE! And I’ve already used one. (: IMG_7149IMG_7156Mug mat in use with my White Queen mug! (:

I am including the big bear with mine, because he was sent for me, but Bug has confiscated him for her own. He’s so soft! I can’t really blame her for stealing him!

IMG_7150I am so excited for my new reads! Thank you so much my dear Sister! I love and appreciate all of the goodies you shared with us! ❤

IMG_7155

Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

 

Waiting on Wednesday #42: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir April 8, 2015

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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:

 

An Ember in the Ashes

By: Sabaa Tahir

Coming: 28 April 2015

Publisher: Razorbill

 

Summary:

I WILL TELL YOU THE SAME THING I TELL EVERY SLAVE.

THE RESISTANCE HAS TRIED TO PENETRATE THIS SCHOOL COUNTLESS TIMES. I HAVE DISCOVERED IT EVERY TIME.

IF YOU ARE WORKING WITH THE RESISTANCE, IF YOU CONTACT THEM, IF YOU THINK OF CONTACTING THEM, I WILL KNOW

AND I WILL DESTROY YOU.

Laia is a slave.
Elias is a soldier.
Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

Why I’m excited:

I’ve heard so many good things already about this! Plus it takes place in a world inspired by Ancient Rome. I am all about me some Ancient Rome! Plus it’s by a debut author, so I’m even more intrigued! I have no knowledge of her writing, so I’m interested to see if she’s gonna make the buy automatically list. (:

 

Why I need you to be excited:

I know it’s pretty hyped right now, and I usually run from hyped books for a while, but I really think this one is worth the hype. Since it comes out at the end of the month, you still have a bit of time to decide to preorder. I’m really considering it! So head on over to your favourite indie’s site, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, whoever, and consider a preordering! (: