The Whimsical Mama

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

Top Ten Tuesday #96: Top Ten Books Set Outside the US July 19, 2016

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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 Books Set Outside the US

I decided to go with actual locations other than fantastical realms for this week.

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  1. Die for Me by Amy Plum. Oh, Paris. I love you.

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2. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. This book only strengthened by desire to visit Prague!

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3. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. Historical (fantasy) England, but England nonetheless!

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4. Blue Bloods series by Melissa de la Cruz. Various locations around Europe, South America, and even Tartarus.

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5. The Falconer trilogy by Elizabeth May. Victorian Scotland!

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6. Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. England and Scotland (with visitors from other nations too)

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7. Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer. Ireland, England, Russia, and some other locations too!

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8. Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Scotland and France!

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9. His Fair Assassin trilogy by Robin LaFevers. Duchy of Brittany and France.

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10. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. Beijing, France, Africa, the Moon.

 

Where have books taken you?

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday #67: Spring 2015 TBR March 17, 2015

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 Books on My 2015 Spring TBR

 Previous TBR posts (Winter 2013 6/10 Fall2013 3/10 Spring TBR 2014 6/11 Summer 2014 3/10  Fall 2014 2/10) After not doing well at all with my Fall 2014 TBR, I did much better with my Winter 2014. I read 6/10. True enough, I did have an extra month! Now for the books I plan to read this spring!

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1. Gilt by Katherine Longshore

2. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

3. Artemis Fowl The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer

4. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

5. The Archived by Victoria Schwab

6. Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel

7. Forged by Erin Bowman

8. Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

9. The Body Electric by Beth Revis

10. Chronicles of Faerie: The Hunter’s Moon by O.R. Melling

What are you planning to read this Spring? Anything I should take note of for this summer?

HAPPY SAINT PATRICK’S DAY!! (:

 

*Review* The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory May 19, 2014

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

Rating: 3 1/2 stars
Pub date: 6 September 2006
Publisher:Touchstone, Simon & Schuster
Genre: Adult, Romance, Historical Fiction
Format: audiobook, via library
Status: Book one of the Tudor Court series

Summary:

“I am Catalina, Princess of Spain, daughter of the two greatest monarchs the world has ever known…and I will be Queen of England.”

Thus, bestselling author Philippa Gregory introduces one of her most unforgettable heroines: Katherine of Aragon. Known to history as the Queen who was pushed off her throne by Anne Boleyn, here is a Katherine the world has forgotten: the enchanting princess that all England loved. First married to Henry VIII’s older brother, Arthur, Katherine’s passion turns their arranged marriage into a love match; but when Arthur dies, the merciless English court and her ambitious parents — the crusading King and Queen of Spain — have to find a new role for the widow. Ultimately, it is Katherine herself who takes control of her own life by telling the most audacious lie in English history, leading her to the very pinnacle of power in England.

Set in the rich beauty of Moorish Spain and the glamour of the Tudor court, The Constant Princess presents a woman whose constancy helps her endure betrayal, poverty, and despair, until the inevitable moment when she steps into the role she has prepared for all her life: Henry VIII’s Queen, Regent, and commander of the English army in their greatest victory against Scotland

My thoughts:

Goodness this has been on my TBR for YEARS. For whatever reason, it has been knocked back and ignored over and over. Finally going on an audiobooks on the ipod in case of travel or kiddos ask binge, I selected The Constant Princess. Sadly, Simon & Schuster had it set up with our online library that it couldn’t be transferred to an ipod, so I requested the cd set from the physical library. I knocked out 3/4 of the book while working on computer things and then finished it the next day during naptime.

I love all things Tudor. I am actually surprised I haven’t read much Tudor lit lately. I did binge The Cousins’ War series last year and just rewatched The White Queen – which is actually what put me in the mood for some Philippa Gregory. The last Cousins’ War won’t be out til the fall and The Constant Princess is the next book I haven’t read.

I will admit that I am more of an Anne Boleyn fan than Catherine of Aragon, mainly because I love Elizabeth I over Mary. It was very fascinating to  finally get in the mind of Catherine though.

I liked that Philippa Gregory put an emphasis on Catherine’s marriage to Arthur. Most of my readings have been at the end of Catherine’s reign during the rise of Anne Boleyn. I liked having the chance to read about a young Catherine. Imagine how different the world would have been if Arthur had lived!

Though I’ve always preferred to read about Anne Boleyn, I have always admired Catherine’s strength through her life.

The youngest daughter of Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain had no choice but to be destined for immense strength and greatness. Married and shipped off to a complete stranger in a strange country as a young teenager, Catherine has been groomed her whole life for this opportunity. As a royal princess, she knows she is nothing but a pawn in the struggle for political power.

I likedthat Philippa Gregory chose to follow the line of Catherine and Arthur falling in love during their short marriage. They were paired fantastically, but tragically torn apart.

Arthur was well done. I fell in love with him as Catherine did. Even though I knew how history played out, I still wanted their hopes and dreams to come to pass.

After Arthur’s death, we see more of his father, Henry VII. I’m in the camp of believing he had the princes in the Tower killed and I’ve never cared to read about him. Even in fiction (especially after The White Princess) I find him abhorrent. Plus he turns out to be a creepy old man in this. UGH.

Henry,oh little Prince Henry. I hated the spoiled brat almost as much as I hated his father in The Constant Princess. In the actions taken, Catherine really seals her own fate even though there are circumstances entirely out of her control.

I really didn’t care for the massive skip through time to the end. It did feel a bit awkward even though it does show how things played out. The Constant Princess wasn’t one of m favourites, but it was a relatively quick read. I would suggest starting with a different Philippa Gregory novel if you’re just now venturing into her works. She has much stronger books to read first.

About the author:

Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the novel The Other Boleyn Girl, which was made into a TV drama and a major film. Published in 2009, the bestselling The White Queen, the story of Elizabeth Woodville, ushered in a new series involving The Cousins’ War (now known as The War of the Roses) and a new era for the acclaimed author.

Gregory lives with her family on a small farm in Yorkshire, where she keeps horses, hens and ducks. Visitors to her site, www.PhilippaGregory.com become addicted to the updates of historical research, as well as the progress of her ducklings.

Her other great interest is the charity she founded nearly twenty years ago; Gardens for The Gambia. She has raised funds and paid for 140 wells in the primary schools of the dry, poverty stricken African country. Thousands of school children have learned market gardening, and drunk the fresh water in the school gardens around the wells.

A former student of Sussex University, and a PhD and Alumna of the Year 2009 of Edinburgh University, her love for history and her commitment to historical accuracy are the hallmarks of her writing. She also reviews for US and UK newspapers, and is a regular broadcaster on television, radio, and webcasts from her website.

 

*Review* The Book Thief by Markus Zusak April 20, 2014

Rating:4 stars
Pub date:14 May 2006
Publisher:Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre:Young Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction,
Format:paperback, personal copy, won in giveaway, signed; audiobook borrowed via library
Status:standalone

Summary:

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

My thoughts:

My Grandaddy fought in the Army in World War II. Reading books about World War II has always been a passion of mine. I will say that I have always read from the Allied perspective. In the last year, I lost count of how many times The Book Thief has been recommended to me. I was also interested because it was coming to theatres. I’m very insistent on reading the book before I see the movie. Luck would have it that Markus was coming to Dallas on tour. Luck would not be with me to remember to order a copy to get to Mary for her to get signed for me. Luck and hard work would have it that I won her giveaway! And then it sat in the TBR pile and sat and sat. It took commercials for the DVD to finally get the mood started. After I finished Allegiant, I was in a massive funk and decided to go with something older on the TBR to help kick it.

My favourite thing about The Book Thief was that it was narrated by Death. It’s a perspective I’ve never read before. It’s also a perspective that is perfect for a World War II setting. Millions of people died. Death was a constant.

I will admit, I wasn’t as blown away as I was expecting. Liesel’s younger years were a bit tedious to read. It started out slowly, but continued to get better the older Liesel became. It was very interesting to see how the Depression hit Germany. HIstory told by the victors always down plays the loser’s plight.

It never became a dash to the finish kind of book, but you could tell the action in the war was picking up and made the reading more intense. The details were down to the nitty gritty. It wasn’t Tolkien detail, but it was enough for a vivid picture of poor World War II Germany.

The characters are incredible. Though I wasn’t a fan of Liesel in the beginning. Not her personally, just the flow of the story in the beginning. Every character was real on the page. It felt like you could walk down the street and talk to them. I did really enjoy watching Liesel grow. She refused to let her initial ignorance remain a hindrance. She fought for every ounce of intelligence she gained. She was feisty and brave. Rudy was a great friend and fiercely loyal. I greatly admired how he immediately drew to Liesel and remained a great friend through thick and thin. I absolutely adored her foster parents. Her mama kept everyone at arms length, but loved wholeheartedly. Her papa was an incredibly loving and caring mad. Her reminded me a lot of my Grandaddy’s temperament. Max, the Jew that the family hides is a real and raw character. Death describes his regrets beautifully. The friendship between Liesel and Max is lovely.

The ending. Oh, the ending. It was just, wow. Even though Death tells you what’s coming ahead of time, it is still heart shattering. Roger Allam as Death was perfection. I listened to the ending on the audiobook and the sound of his voice as he told what happened had me in tears. It was a good thing I read the ending while the kiddos were napping because I was a sobbing mess!

Though I didn’t find it as spectacular as a lot of my blogging peers have, I did enjoy the story. I do recommend it for those who enjoy World War II historical fiction. Reading from the German point of view was very interesting and a learning experience for this this Allied soldier’s great-granddaughter.  

 

About the author

Markus Zusak was born in 1975 and is the author of five books, including the international bestseller, The Book Thief , which is translated into more than forty languages. First released in 2005, The Book Thief has spent a total of 375 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and still remains there eight years after it first came out. Markus Zusak grew up in Sydney, Australia, and still lives there with his wife and two children.

 

 
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