The Whimsical Mama

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

Goodbye June, Hello July! July 1, 2016

June started out to be a very promising reading month, and then turned out to be a bust haha. Hubs was gone to annual training for two weeks so I ended up staying at our office the full day every day which obviously, cut into home reading time. Though I had slow days, it was much easier to get some blog work done and stop in the middle of a post than stop in the middle of a good reading part. I could’ve done audiobooks since my mom was keeping the kids, but I ended up binge rewatching Reign and Agents of SHIELD. haha. We have a few vacations coming up in July and that will lead to lots of time in the car, so I should have a much better reading amount! I hope your June went well and have lots of exciting things coming up in July. We’ll be heading north for hubby’s sister’s wedding and the kids & I are heading to the beach with my mom and step-dad this month too! Good times for sure.

Books I read June (In order of completion)

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

 

Coming Up in July

My sister-in-law’s wedding

Bug being a flower girl

VA trip

Beach trip

 

 

Goals for July

RELAX

Juggle mama life and blogging life!

Write some reviews and posts

Try to get ahead and stay ahead on blogging

 

July Releases I’m Excited For

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

DC SuperHero Girls

Magic Tree House: Night of the Ninth Dragon

 

July TBR

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

Lois Lane Fallout by Gwenda Bond

 

 

 

2016 Reading Challenge (completed in bold)

A book based on a fairy tale: The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

A National Book Award Winner

A YA Bestseller: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

A book you haven’t read since high school

A book set in your home state

A book translated to English: Dream of the Rood by Cynewulf

A romance set in the future: Their Fractured Light by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner

A book set in Europe: The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory

A book that’s under 150 pages: The Hidden Prince by Jodi Meadows

A New York Times Bestseller: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

A book that’s becoming a movie this year

A book recommended by someone you just met

A self-improvement book

A book you can finish in a day: Princes in the Tower by Alison Weir

A book written by a celebrity

A political memoir: Memoir of Marguerite de Valois by Marguerite de Valois

A book at least 100 years older than you: Beowulf by Unknown

A book that’s more than 600 pages

A book from Oprah’s Book Club

A science-fiction novel

A book recommended by a family member

A graphic novel

A book that is published in 2016: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

A book with a protagonist who has your occupation: American Wife by Taya Kyle

A book that takes place during summer

A book and its prequel: The Winner’s Curse & Bridge of Snow by Marie Rutkoski

A murder mystery

A book written by a comedian

A dystopian novel

A book with a blue cover: My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins et al

A book of poetry: Holy Sonnets by John Donne

The first book you see in a bookstore

A classic from the 20th century

A book from the library

An autobiography: The History of the Bloody Massacres of the Protestants in the Year of Our Lord, 1572 by Jacques Auguste de Thou

A book about a road trip

A book about a culture you’re unfamiliar with: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

A satirical book

A book that takes place on an island

A book that’s guaranteed to bring you joy

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Contemporary Beach Reading Recommendations June 30, 2016

I’ve always made it clear that I’m not that big of a contemporary fan. However, these are some great reads I highly recommend. I came up with my own selections after reading Jamie’s post. I also have featured non-fiction adult and non-contemporary young adult posts. Keep an eye out for my post with adult recommendations next week!

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  1. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord. Mary recommended this to me when Bloomsbury was looking to share this fantastic debut. Knowing I’m not a contemporary fan, she knows when there are books that I’ll enjoy. She hit a home run with this one! Emery is now on my auto-buy list. Review here.

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2. When We Collided by Emery Lord. I’m telling you, Emery is a fantastic author. Her books completely wrap you up and you don’t want to stop until you’re done reading.

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3. The Start of You and Me by Emery Lord. I will shamelessly plug Emery’s books forever! Review here.

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4. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Super quick and funny read! Review here.

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5. Rites of Passage by Joy N Hensley. Have you ever turned down a dare? What’s the most extreme dare you’ve ever done? Review here.

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6. 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen. Cute and funny debut! Review here.

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7. Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols. I love Middle Tennesse. It holds such a special place in my heart! Review here.

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8. Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols. Oh, marching band. I miss you like WHOA. Review here.

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9. Love Story by Jennifer Echols. Creative writing and horses = BLISS! Review here.

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10. Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson. Sheer brilliance! Review here.

All of these are light and quick reads. There are some heavy moments in them, but they’re all great beach reads!

 

 

Waiting on Wednesday #45: The Vanishing Throne by Elizabeth May June 15, 2016

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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:

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The Vanishing Throne (The Falconer Trilogy #2)

By: Elizabeth May

Coming: 21 June 2016 (US)/ 19 November 2015 (UK)

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Summary:

The second book in the Falconer trilogy is packed with surprises and suspense.

Aileana Kameron, the Falconer, disappeared through the portal that she was trying to close forever. Now she wakes up in the fae world, trapped and tortured by the evil Lonnrach. With the help of an unexpected ally, Aileana re-enters the human world, only to find everything irrevocably changed. Edinburgh has been destroyed, and the few human survivors are living in an uneasy truce with the fae, while both worlds are in danger of disappearing altogether. Aileana holds the key to saving both worlds, but in order to do so she must awaken her latent Falconer powers. And the price of doing that might be her life.

Rich with imaginative detail, action, fae lore, and romance, The Vanishing Throne is a thrilling sequel to The Falconer.

Why I’m excited:

I absolutely loved The Falconer when I read it. I featured it on Waiting on Wednesday and I have also posted a review. It was easily a favourite read of 2014. I was so excited about The Vanishing Throne and disappointed when the release dates were pushed back and so far apart as far as UK/US. It released back in November in the UK, but I just haven’t had a chance to get it yet. And with my lull in blogging and it coming out next week, I thought it would be the perfect feature! I can’t wait to do a reread and then read later this summer!

Why I need you to be excited:

I think this is as great under the radar fantasy. The Falconer was a quick read and though I hate them, it ended on a spectacular cliffhanger that leaves you panting for more! It’s going to be a fast paced ride of a second book!

 

A Bookish Tour June 13, 2016

Filed under: Books — Maura @ 12:01 am
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Not sure if I have ever done a bookshelf tour post before, but I thought I would do one today. My bookcases are currently stuffed to the gills and will probably be redone or added to in the coming year, but I thought I would give you a glimpse into my organisation. Keep in mind this is strictly my YA books. My children’s, middle grade, and adult bookcases are super hot messes. We recently attempted to reorganise my children’s bookcase, but there are so many that it is still super stuffed and messy haha. The kiddos also need a new bookcase, but hubby isn’t wanting to budge on more bookcases until we remodel downstairs. *sigh* Anyway! Welcome to my shelves!

The first two bookcases are actually small bookcases in my bedroom at the foot of my bed. They were empty for a while until I reorganised my books back in early spring. I decided to move favourite series and oversized books to these bookcases to free up some space on my main YA bookcase. It helped, for like a week until I reorganised that bookcase! haha. Left picture: Top shelf: JK Rowling/Robert Galbraith’s books and Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter books. Bottom shelf: Sarah J Maas, Melissa de la Cruz, and two of the Eragon books that wouldn’t fit anywhere else. Right picture: Top shelf: the rest of  my Harry Potter collection. Companion guides and more foreign editions (German, Spanish, and French). Also Jodi Meadows collection. Still on the hunt for an Incarnate ARC if you can help a girl out! (This shelf is also precarious now. I went to put Mirror King on the bookshelf and it collapsed. I couldn’t find all of the pins to put the shelf back up! Not that the bookcase is in the best of shape anyway haha) Middle shelf (which is laying on the books on the bottom shelf!) is full of oversized books. I just kinda have them shoved on here for this picture because The 5th Wave trilogy is in my June TBR. Bottom shelf: A combo of oversized books and my Maggie Stiefvater collection. Ballad is also in th stack, but I just realised from this angle you can’t see it. Oops!

Now my main YA bookcase in our office/den. We have three big bookcases in our office/den. The first is my Adult/School books. The second is overflow adult with my middle grade collection. The third, above, is my YA. The fourth is the kiddos’ bookcase stuffed full with picture books. If you notice, there are books with flags on them. Those are all unread books. I finally gave up on keeping my TBR books from my read books separate, but wanted a system to ID unread books. This system is not completely foolproof. The kiddos like stealing my flags on books they can reach, like the Ruta Sepetys books in the last picture. Everything easily fit on my bookcase for maybe a month. I’ve been promised floor to ceiling bookcases in my office when we remodel, but I need more space now! I’m thinking I might pick up another bookcase soon. Not sure where I’ll put it yet though! haha. Most of these, excluding the majority of my Melissa de la Cruz, JK Rowling, and Stephenie Meyer books have been accrued in the last four or so years. The bulk coming in since right around when I started blogging. Pretty sure Hubs thinks I have a book hoarding problem. I do not think so!

Anyway, that’s my organisational system. All books on the YA case are alphabetical except a few that have been displaced, but I didn’t feel like completely overhauling my bookcase for one or two books. How do you organise your books? I love the idea of by colour, but I HAVE to have all of my books together by author haha. It bothers me if they’re not!

 

*Review* An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir June 9, 2016

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***mild spoilers may follow***

Rating:  5 stars
Pub date: 28 April 2015
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Format: hardcover, personal copy
Status: Book one of An Ember in the Ashes series

Summary:

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.

My thoughts:

I thought I had reviewed An Ember in the Ashes last year after I read it, but apparently I didn’t. Ah, well. I will now after a re-read! I have to say, I loved An Ember in the Ashes as much the second time as I did the first. Maybe a smidge more knowing that there for certain is a sequel! Even better that I have jumped straight into A Torch Against the Night thanks to Mary letting me borrow her copy! (Look for that review soon too!)

Once again, I was immediately hooked into the fantastical Ancient Rome type setting. Ancient Rome is one of my favourite time periods to study. I also enjoyed the military aspect of Elias. As an Army wife, there’s a fine line between just enough military influence, and can this military crap end already. Sabaa Tahir manages to weave the military training and life in a great balance with Laia’s side of the tale.

Sabaa Tahir proves she’s going to be a master of world building for this series. She has created an entire new world, but masterfully draws on one of the most influential times. She also pulls from mythology, but spins it to something entirely new. She introduces aspects of the mythology through children’s rhymes remembered by the characters as young adults. It’s fascinating to see the characters realise something they’ve always considered children’s stories to come to life before their eyes. There’s a few desert scenes which ups the ante on survival struggles.

I really enjoyed the presentation of the Trials in the book. I won’t go into too much detail on what is involved in the Trials as they are obviously a giant part of the story. They really make you stop and think about what you would do in a situation like that. Let’s just say could you kill your best friend if your life depended on it? Speaking of best friend, Helene, Elias’s best friend is easily my favourite character. I love a strong heroine who doesn’t need to depend on a guy to come to her aid and actually gets a little PO’d when Elias tries to help when she’s capable of handling herself. XX chromosome does not equal an incapability to kick some butt!

It was very interesting to have alternating point of views, but if you don’t pay close enough attention to chapter breaks, you might lose who is who for a moment! I think it would have helped a bit if the different POV were in different colours like the Legend trilogy. And on the note of alternating POV, I would love to see more Helene in A Torch Against the Night. Not sure how that will play out due to the nature of the ending of An Ember in the Ashes, but a girl can hope! Helene is definitely a secondary character in need of a promotion!

Another credit to Sabaa Tahir’s world building is in her writing style. She manages to write quite vividly without overloading the reader in tedious details (I’m looking at you, Tolkien). This writing style really helps keep the action glowing quickly and the reader engaged. I will admit that Elias’s chapters are a bit faster paced and better than Laia’s chapters. I think it is a good balance though. It helps with the ebb and flow of the story. It can’t all be high otherwise the story would have nowhere to go.

For me, the romance stayed on the border of problematic. While it will be interesting to see where things go in A Torch Against the Night, I could have used a bit less in the romantic drama department. I guess with such a focus on military, fighting, and gore, the romance just seemed a bit misplaced at times. Also, love triangles. Ugh. Or squares or whatever shape this one might be.

Last year, before it released, An Ember in the Ashes was SURROUNDED by massive hype. Especially with the rumour of being a potential standalone, but ending leaving the reader wanting MORE. There was a strong push for pre-orders and early purchasing to help draw attention to the desire of another book. Normally I see a hyped book and I flee in the other direction. I’m often the black sheep when it comes to hyped books or it being hyped adds far too much pressure to enjoy the book. I decided to pick up a (signed!) copy at Parnassus Books when I was down for the Sarah J Maas signing. It was a fabulous decision. Not only did I love it, a sequel was also announced which helped the ending.

I highly recommend An Ember in the Ashes. Few books, in my opinion, deserve the hype, but An Ember in the Ashes is one of those few. It is full of complex issues and very fleshed out characters. Sabaa Tahir is a powerful wordsmith and should stay on your radar for future amazing books!

About the Author

Sabaa Tahir grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s 18-room motel. There, she spent her time devouring fantasy novels, raiding her brother’s comic book stash and playing guitar badly. She began writing An Ember in the Ashes while working nights as a newspaper editor. She likes thunderous indie rock, garish socks and all things nerd. Sabaa currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.

 

 

*ARC Review & Blog Tour* The Fulfillment by Erin Rhew October 22, 2015

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***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***


Rating:  4 stars
Pub date: 15 October 2015
Publisher: BookFish Books
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Format: ebook, eARC, provided by the author
Status: Book three of The Fulfillment Series

Summary:

Layla’s world tumbles out of control when she discovers the truth of her parentage and realizes the Prophecy—the one she upended her entire life to defend—is incomplete. When her new friends share the entire Prophecy, the revelations contained within it alter her destiny and challenge everything she and Wil believe in. Now, she must confront the Outlander queen to save the Ethereal kingdom while grappling with this new reality.

Tortured and imprisoned, Nash accepts his fate and offers the First Ones the one thing he has left to give: his life. In a desperate attempt to save the people he loves most, he surrenders himself to the Outlander queen and a destiny darker than he could have ever dreamed possible.

Wil, tormented by the consequences of his choices, realizes he may never be able to uphold his end of the Prophecy. His mistake casts a deep, foreboding shadow over his kingdom and those he loves, while its ripples threaten to shatter both the Prophecy and everything he and his family have sworn to protect.

In this epic conclusion, lives are lost, kingdoms clash, friendships are tested, and love and fate collide.

My thoughts:

Another year, another blog tour with Erin! (: It’s so hard to believe that The Fulfillment trilogy has come to an end. It has been one incredible ride and I am sorry to see these characters go! I may ramble for a bit because I just finished and I am at a loss for words. It happens almost every time I finish a series, you think I would be used to it by now! Haha.

My biggest regret with The Fulfillment was not rereading The Prophecy or The Outlanders again before jumping in. I just ran out of time. Life got crazy and cut into reading time! That being said, I KNOW it impacted my reading. There were things I couldn’t for the life of me remember. This was a (basically) one sitting read. I had to run and pick up Punk from pre-k, but I didn’t stop reading at all today. I had started, but got distracted, so I re-read today JUST IN CASE.

We pick back up right where we left off in The Outlanders. (I have to say the absolute best thing about this one was THERE COULD NOT BE A CLIFFHANGER!!! MWAHAHAHA!! Sorry… Erin drove me crazy with the first two and I have taken immense delight in the fact it couldn’t happen again). I am keeping my review major spoiler free, but a few minor ones might slip. I was so happy to be back in Erin’s world again. I’m not sure if it was everything not being 100% fresh or multiple “Mommy! I loves you!” from Bug this morning, but it took me a while to get going. Once I got settled in and things started to pop up in my memory, things just kept rolling and rolling.

I will give Erin major kudos. I had an idea of how things were going to play out (and I was right on most of it), but the way she had twists pop up are done well enough that it makes you question if your suspicions could possibly be right. There were a few, I’m gonna chuck my kindle across the room if this happens moments too. Not gonna lie.

This is so hard without going spoilery! This trilogy really has it all. Magic, romance, fighting. It’s everything you want in a fantasy series. Erin does a fantastic job answering every question that she has presented.

Where the POV were a bit chaotic for me in The Outlanders (my review), I felt in The Fulfillment, Erin was 110% on her game just like in The Prophecy (my review). This time around, each POV change, I felt connected and THERE. It’s been incredible to be able to see these characters grow.

Of the villains, I think The Fulfillment has the absolute best one. I am failing of thinking of the best way to describe how great this one is! (I’m afraid the name will be too spoilery). The next to last battle was my favourite. Even though there is another battle, I feel like that was the pinnacle. (I’m probably being dense and that IS the pinnacle haha).

It was really hard to see what happens to some of the characters. Other characters, it was all I could do to keep from bouncing up and down in the parent pickup car line. One death didn’t hit me as hard as I thought it would. In a way, it almost felt too convenient and that’s what kept it from getting a 5 star rating. I’m super sad to see these characters go. I’m so honoured that Erin allowed me the chance to be on all three tours. I do feel like a dolt because my review is late. (It’s been a week, folks. It’s been one heck of a week.)

It would be a lie to say everyone got their happily ever after, and I am perfectly okay with that. I like a little real life expectations in my reading. While everything IS tied up neatly with a bow at the end, a hint of the sadness from what the war cost can be felt and I think that’s well done and as it should be. The journey was a great one though! I don’t feel like Erin left anything unanswered. The Prophecy has been fulfilled. *ba dum shh* I totally wouldn’t say no to say, a novella or a few chapters of insight 10 years or so down the road. Just to check in. (;

I would definitely recommend The Fulfillment trilogy to fantasy and young adult fantasy readers. Just make sure you don’t have anything to do. Maybe pick a long weekend or holiday. It’s been an agonising wait between books! You’ll want to read them straight through if you’re anything like me! I’m also super stoked about Erin’s current WIP and I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll be able to be on that tour too!

About the Author

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Erin Rhew is an editor, a running coach, and the author of The Fulfillment Series. 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.”
A Southern girl by blood and birth, Erin now lives in a rainy pocket of the Pacific Northwest with the amazingly talented (and totally handsome) writer Deek Rhew and their “overly fluffy,” patient-as-a-saint writing assistant, a tabby cat named Trinity. She and Deek enjoy reading aloud to one another, running, lifting, boxing, eating chocolate, and writing side-by-side.

Find her online:
Twitter: @ErinRhewBooks
Facebook
Website

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*Blog Tour & Giveaway* Spotlight Feature: Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch October 9, 2015

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About the Book:
Title: ICE LIKE FIRE
Author: Sara Raasch
Release Date: October 13, 2015
Pages: 479
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks
It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.
Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?
Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?
As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world.

~*~ ALSO BY SARA RAASCH~*~ See my review of Snow Like Ashes

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About the Book:
Title: SNOW LIKE ASHES
Author: Sara Raasch
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Pages: 432
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Audiobook
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks
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.

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About Sara:
Sara Raasch has known she was destined for bookish things since the age of five, when her friends had a lemonade stand and she tagged along to sell her hand-drawn picture books too. Not much has changed since then — her friends still cock concerned eyebrows when she attempts to draw things and her enthusiasm for the written word still drives her to extreme measures. Her debut YA fantasy, SNOW LIKE ASHES, came out October 14, 2014 from Balzer + Bray, and the sequel, ICE LIKE FIRE, comes out October 13, 2015. Neither features her hand-drawn pictures.

Website | Twitter |Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | | | Amazon | Reedsy | Wattpad

Giveaway Details:

2 winners will receive sets of ICE LIKE FIRE Trading Cards/Miniature Bookmarks. International.

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Tour Schedule:

Week One:
10/5/2015- A Dream Within A Dream– Review
10/6/2015- Mundie Moms– Interview
10/7/2015- Such a Novel Idea– Review
10/8/2015- Dark Faerie Tales– Guest Post
10/9/2015- The Whimsical Mama– Spotlight

Week Two:
10/12/2015- Two Chicks on Books– Interview
10/13/2015- Bookish Lifestyle– Review
10/14/2015- Supernatural Snark– Guest Post
10/15/2015- Fiktshun– Review
10/16/2015- Once Upon a Twilight– Interview

 

Goodbye May – September, Hello October! October 1, 2015

Filed under: Books,Hello Goodbye Monthly Review — Maura @ 12:05 am
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I really can’t believe how quickly this year is flying by! It’s really kinda ridiculous. Totally meant to update May in June. That didn’t happen. Summer was HECTIC. Hoping autumn will be a bit more forgiving and laid back haha. I had a great summer and got a good amount of reading done. For a quick summer recap: In May, I did a down and back trip to Nashville with my friend Lauren to see Sarah J Maas on her ACOTAR tour. AMAZING. Talked publishing and books for hours with the incredible Lizzy Mason. One of hubby’s cousins got married and it was super awesome to get to see part of his family! In June, our English Mastiff, Maggie, was diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy. Her back left leg is limp and drags. She has good days and bad days. There’s no treatment or cure. She’s learned to compensate for the weakness. We’re enjoying her every minute that we can. We know that sooner, rather than later, that we’re going to have to put her down. She’s super excited to be an indoor dog again though! June also brought hubby’s Annual Training with the National Guard. Maggie got sick THE DAY BEFORE he had to leave. It’s always something, I’m telling ya! July brought two beach trips. The kiddos and I went to Northern VA to visit hubby’s side of the family for the Fourth of July at the family cottage on the Potomac. SO MUCH FUN! Bug kept trying to figure out a way to get the newest baby in the family home. HER BABY. Haha. I celebrated my second book blogging anniversary, without actually doing anything. Oops! We also went to the beach with my mom and step-dad. The kiddos love the beach. I am super proud that I made the 6 1/2 hour and 8 hour beach drives solo with the kiddos. We also said goodbye to my 94 year old great-grandmother in July. It was hard. August brought Hubby’s 30th birthday! We also went to the fair with my (ex)step-dad. The kids had such a blast. Bug wanted to ride the BIG rides so bad and was quite upset she was too young. She loved the carousel and the pony rides though. Punk loved the animal exhibits. Punk also started pre-k this year. It hit me hard that I now have a school age kid! He’s loving it and I love that he’s loving it. I’m really enjoying the chance to have some one on one time with Bug. There are some days that she cries and doesn’t want to take Bubby to school. There are others that she cries because she doesn’t want to go pick him up! She’s sitting in my lap now as I work on this post haha. September was a bit more relaxed. Hubby’s unit had family day and we also went to an MTSU home game. That was a looooong day! Five hour drive down and back after a full day of fun! Now it’s on to October! I love October. Autumn is in full swing. My birthday is this month and so is HALLOWE’EN! How was your summer?

affiliate links used

Books I read in May-September (in order of completion)
The Whitechapel Fiend by Cassandra Clare
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
White Hot Kiss by Jennifer Armentrout
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
The Goddess Hunt (Goddess Test) by Aimee Carter
Goddess Interrupted (Goddess Test Book 2) by Aimee Carter
The Goddess Inheritance (A Goddess Test Novel) by Aimee Carter
The Goddess Legacy (The Goddess Queen / The Lovestruck Goddess / Goddess of the Underworld / God of Thieves / God of Darkness (Goddess Test) by Aimee Carter
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
The Heir (The Selection) by Kiera Cass
A Darker Shade of Magic: A Novel by VE Schwab
Nothing but Shadows (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy Book 4) by Cassandra Clare
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano
The Hidden Prince (Orphan Queen Novella 1) by Jodi Meadows
The Queen: A Novella by Kiera Cass
The Evil We Love (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy Book 5) by Cassandra Clare
The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
Vicious by VE Schwab
Most Likely to Succeed (The Superlatives) by Jennifer Echols
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog
The Isle of the Lost: A Descendants Novel by Melissa de la Cruz
Pale Kings and Princes (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy Book 6) by Cassandra Clare
The Assassin and the Pirate Lord: A Throne of Glass Novella by Sarah J Maas
Pete the Cat’s Groovy Guide to Life by James Dean
The Assassin’s Blade: The Throne of Glass Novellas by Sarah J Maas
Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass series Book 1) by Sarah J Maas
Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass series Book 2) by Sarah J Maas
Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass series Book 3) by Sarah J Maas
Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass series) by Sarah J Maas
Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes Series) by Sara Raasch
Bitter of Tongue (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy Book 7) by Cassandra Clare
Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo
Siege and Storm (The Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo
Ruin and Rising (The Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo
The Demon in the Wood: A Darkling Prequel Story (The Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo
The Glowing Knight (Orphan Queen Book 2) by Jodi Meadows

Coming up in October:

My birthday!

Punk’s class’s field trip to the corn maze

Hallowe’en!

Punk’s school’s fall festival

Goals for October

Stay ahead of schedule

Learn to successfully juggle two blogs

Spend time focused on the kiddos

Catch up on review writing

BALANCE

October releases I’m excited for:
Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes Series) by Sara Raasch
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: The Illustrated Edition (Harry Potter, Book 1) by JK Rowling
The White Rose (Jewel) by Amy Ewing
The Rose Society (A Young Elites Novel) by Marie Lu

October TBR:
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes Series) by Sara Raasch
The White Rose (Jewel) by Amy Ewing
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: The Illustrated Edition (Harry Potter, Book 1) by JK Rowling
Fairest: The Lunar Chronicles: Levana’s Story by Marissa Meyer
The Fulfillment (The Fulfillment Series) by Erin Rhew

Challenge Update:

2015 PopSugar Reading Challenge books completed:
A book with 500+ pages: Brazen by Katherine Longshore
A book turned into a movie: Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, Book 1)
A book published in 2015: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
A book with a number in the title: The 5th Wave: The First Book of the 5th Wave Series
An author under thirty: Vicious by VE Schwab
A book with non-human characters: This Shattered World: A Starbound Novel
A funny book: Most Likely to Succeed (The Superlatives) by Jennifer Echols
A book by a female author: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
A book with a one word title: Forged (Taken) by Erin Bowman
A book of short stories: The Assassin’s Blade: The Throne of Glass Novellas
A book set in a different country: The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
A popular author’s first book: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
A book a friend recommended: The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
A Pulitzer Prize book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
A book based on a true story: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
A book that scares you: The Fault in Our Stars
A memoir: Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog
A book read in one day: A Curious Tale of the In-Between
A book set somewhere you want to visit: A Cold Legacy (Madman’s Daughter) by Megan Shepherd
A book with bad reviews: (either love or hate this one!) The Heir (The Selection) by Kiera Cass
A trilogy: The Hunger Games Trilogy
A book from your childhood: Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
A book with a love triangle: White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements)
A book set in high school: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
A book with a colour in the title: The Red Tent: A Novel
A book that made you cry: The Assassin and the Empire: A Throne of Glass Novella (Throne of Glass series Book 1)
A book with magic: A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab
A graphic novel: Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel
A book by an author you’ve never read: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
A book set in your (college’s) hometown: Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
A banned book: The Giver by Lois Lowry
A book turned into a TV show: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

How was your summer? What’s up for October?

 

Top Ten Tuesday #89: Fall 2015 TBR September 22, 2015

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 Fall TBR

Here’s what I’ve selected on previous TBR lists: Winter 2013 6/10 Fall2013 3/10 Spring TBR 2014 6/11  Summer 2014 3/10 Fall 2014 2/10 Winter 2014 6/10 Spring 2015 5/10 Summer 2015 6/10

affiliate links used

1. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
2. The Rose Society by Marie Lu
3. The White Rose by Amy Ewing
4. Winter by Marissa Meyer
5. The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows
6. The Fulfillment by Erin Rhew
7. Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch
8. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
9. The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory
10. The Fiery Trial by Cassandra ClareI’m super excited about my fall reads! I’m a big mood reader, but I have some rereading planning to do. Here’s hoping for my first 10/10! What are you reading this fall? What are some of your most anticipated fall releases?

 

Top Ten Tuesday #89: Series I Haven’t Finished September 8, 2015

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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:

Series I Haven’t Finished

affiliate links used

The Taming of the Queen (The Tudor Court) by Philippa Gregory


Artemis Fowl Series by Eoin Colfer


Daughter of Smoke & Bone Trilogy by Laini Taylor


Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead


A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket


Steampunk Chronicles by Kady Cross


Maids of Honor Trilogy by Jennifer McGowan


The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry


Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth’s Last Days by Tim LaHaye & Jerry B Jenkins


Chronicles of Faerie by OR Melling


Defiance Trilogy by CJ Redwine

What’s on your list this week? I’m usually pretty good about finishing a series. I think all of these are complete series. You never can tell with Philippa Gregory though! (:

 

 
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