The Whimsical Mama

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

Waiting on Wednesday #56: Three Dark Crowns August 31, 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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Three Dark Crowns

By: Kendare Blake

Coming: 20 September 2016

Publisher: HarperTeen

Summary:

Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.

Why I’m excited:

This kinda has a feel of Hunger Games with the royalty. I think this sounds incredibly intriguing and I can’t wait to check it out.

Why I need you to be excited:

It’s a new series and it sounds interesting!

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Waiting on Wednesday #54: Diplomatic Immunity August 17, 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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Diplomatic Immunity

By: Brodi Ashton

Coming: 6 September 2016

Publisher: Balzer+Bray

Summary:

Aspiring reporter Piper Baird decides to write a scathing exposé on the overprivileged students at an elite Washington, DC, school, only for her life to change when she begins to fall for the story’s main subject, in this new realistic contemporary romance from Brodi Ashton, the author of the Everneath trilogy.

Raucous parties, privileged attitudes, underage drinking, and diplomatic immunity…it’s all part of student life on Embassy Row.

Piper Baird has always dreamed of becoming a journalist. So when she scores a scholarship to exclusive Chiswick Academy in Washington, DC, she knows it’s her big opportunity. Chiswick offers the country’s most competitive prize for teen journalists—the Bennington scholarship—and winning will ensure her acceptance to one of the best schools in the country.

Piper isn’t at Chiswick for two days before she witnesses the intense competition in the journalism program—and the extreme privilege of the young and wealthy elite who attend her school. And Piper knows access to these untouchable students just might give her the edge she’ll need to blow the lid off life at the school in a scathing and unforgettable exposé worthy of the Bennington.

The key to the whole story lies with Rafael Amador, the son of the Spanish ambassador—and the boy at the center of the most explosive secrets and scandals on Embassy Row. Rafael is big trouble—and when he drops into her bedroom window one night, asking for help, it’s Piper’s chance to get the full scoop. But as they spend time together, Piper discovers that despite his dark streak, Rafael is smart, kind, funny, and gorgeous—and she might have real feelings for him. How can she break the story of a lifetime if it could destroy the boy she just might love?

Why I’m excited:

I loved Brodi Ashton’s Everneath trilogy. My reviews for Everneath, Everbound, and Evertrue. I loved her writing style, and was eagerly awaiting something new. (I’m excited to read My Lady Jane too!) I was really interested in going into Foreign Policy in high school. Either as an interpreter at the UN or working as a diplomat at the State Department. I went to a class at Georgetown and got to spend quite a lot of time around diplomats and on Embassy Row. I had a blast. I can’t wait to see Brodi’s take on it!

Why I need you to be excited:

Diplomatic intrigues are so fun! Well, in print anyway!

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Waiting on Wednesday #53: A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir August 10, 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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A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2)

By: Sabaa Tahir

Coming: 30 August 2016

Publisher: Razorbill

Summary:

A Torch Against the Night takes readers into the heart of the Empire as Laia and Elias fight their way north to liberate Laia’s brother from the horrors of Kauf Prison. Hunted by Empire soldiers, manipulated by the Commandant, and haunted by their pasts, Laia and Elias must outfox their enemies and confront the treacherousness of their own hearts.

In the city of Serra, Helene Aquilla finds herself bound to the will of the Empire’s twisted new leader, Marcus. When her loyalty is questioned, Helene finds herself taking on a mission to prove herself—a mission that might destroy her, instead.

Why I’m excited:

I loved An Ember in the Ashes. It was one of my favourite reads of last year. I had the chance to read the ARC of A Torch Against the Night thanks to Mary. I’m so excited to see more of Laia, Elias, and Helene.

Why I need you to be excited:

WE succeeded in calling for a sequel! Let’s enjoy it!

 

Top Ten Tuesday #99: Top Ten Tuesday REWIND – Villains/Criminals/Other Nasties August 9, 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 Tuesday REWIND – Villains/Criminals/Other Nasties

Rhysand from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas 

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Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter by JK Rowling

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Bellatrix Lestrange from Harry Potter by JK Rowling

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Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter by JK Rowling

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Loki, God of Mischief from Thor

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Black Knife from The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

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Khalid from The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

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Arin from The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

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The Darkling from Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

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Sturmhond from Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

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In My Beach Bag July 18, 2016

The kiddos and I are beach bound to Tybee Island this month and I’ve been thinking about what books I’m going to take with me. When we went to Virginia earlier this month, I had books planned too. I always try to have a kindle or physical book on me at all times! You never know when it’ll be needed! So I thought I would write up a post about my beach read choices! I’ve posted about my recommendations, but now I’ll share what’s actually making it in the beach bag. The kiddos have their kindles loaded up with books, games, and movies, so I’ll be able to listen to an audiobook on the drive down again this year. Or even better, I may have the car to myself if they sneak over into Grammy and Grandpa’s car! Whatever the driving arrangements, they’ll have headphones on so it will be blissfully quiet.

First up, I’ll recap what I picked as my reads for Virginia. My hubby’s family lives in Northern Virginia and it’s about a 6-7 hour drive depending on how many stops we need to make. I think it took us closer to 7-8 this year cause we kept getting caught in traffic. So many wrecks! Hubs is big into adult epic fantasy, but sometimes I get him talked into a YA audiobook. This trip, I talked him into:

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The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

I honestly thought he would enjoy it. It was easily a five star read for me when I read it last summer. I was going to continue on with The Infinite Sea, but decided to wait til The Last Star came out. Now I needed a refresher and I thought hubs would like it. He made it about halfway through before declaring there wasn’t enough action and he wanted to listen to something else. Poo on him. Anyway. I ended up finishing on my own through audio and on ebook. Since he bailed on me, he had me look through my ipod for something else to listen to. He chose:

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Aftermath by Chuck Wendig

I was so excited for this trilogy. I really was. I hated every minute of this book I listened to. I may enjoy it if I read it, but the narrator’s voice got on my ever loving nerves!

We didn’t spend as much time at hubby’s grandfather’s beach cottage as originally planned, so I didn’t do as much reading as I thought I would. I also brought along:

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir and A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

I intended on re-starting A Torch Against the Night and reading A Court of Thorns and Roses as a back up, but the mood to go ahead and start ACOTAR hit. I only read about 100 pages though.

Now that we’re Tybee bound and I’m packing our things, it’s time to decide what I’m going to take with me. It’s about a 7 hour drive, so it’ll probably be on the 8ish side with the kiddos and needing to stop for gas. Potentially stopping for my mom to stretch her back some too. She tweaked it recently and it’s still a smidge tender! The kiddos have been with me at the office some and have asked for music in the car instead of one of Mommy’s books, so I haven’t listened to anything since we got back from Virginia. Right now, my plan is either:

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey or The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

I’m really torn on this decision! I should’ve finished The Raven King when I started it, but I got distracted and now I have to start over. Thankfully I’m not too far into it! One of those will be my audiobook. I may be able to swing both of them! At least probably all of The Infinite Sea and part of The Raven King. I need to check times on them.

I also plan on taking:

Gotta have a physical book or two for beach side reading!

If you’re interested in what the kiddos have picked to take with them, you can check it out here!

 

Also! Continuing my three year blogging anniversary celebration, I have another giveaway for you! This giveaway will be international as long as Book Depository delivers to your country. Up for grabs is any 2016 young adult book! It can already be out, or you can pick one to pre-order! I have two more giveaways planned to reveal soon too. Potentially a third! I’m getting so close to 1k followers on Twitter and there will be a giveaway to celebrate that as well! (:

Giveaway!

This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL (and only open to the countries where Book Depository delivers to) Entrants must be at least 13 years old to enter. Those entrants under 18 MUST have parental consent. Giveaway is open July 18th 2016 (12am EST) through August 20th 2016 (12am EST). No giveaway accounts. I reserve the right to disqualify entries in violation of my giveaway policies (Please see my Site Polices for full polices). All entries WILL be verified. Winner(s) have 48 (FORTY-EIGHT) hours to respond to email/tweet. Good luck. May the odds be ever in your favor! (:

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Required Summer Reading & Giveaway July 14, 2016

Honesty moment: I HATE required readings. I despise being told what I have to read. I think the only thing in school that I actually read when I was SUPPOSED to read it was my senior year readings. And I didn’t even read all of them! haha. Most things I knew I would have to read a grade or so ahead of time and would read them early. I was big into fanfiction in junior high and high school. I read one about Lily and James during Hogwarts and they did an international magical acting competition. Hogwarts did The Crucible. Enough of it was thrown into the story that I wanted to read the whole play. Eight grade me begged my dad to take me to Barnes & Noble to go pick it up so I could read the whole thing. I did. Not sure if it was over a break or what and my eighth grade English teacher asked if we’d read anything interesting lately. I said The Crucible. She asked if I understood the historical background and all that. (Not only the Salem Witch Trials, but the communism hunt) I did. She was impressed and said a lot of high school juniors didn’t understand it. My thought? They’re idiots! Anyway. That’s one example of one I read beforehand. Others I knew enough about that I could fake my way through it.

Punk is going into kindergarten. He has a required reading list for the summer. Seriously. I was like….. wut? Anyway. While looking at it, I came up with the thought of wondering if I could match YA/MG/Adult books to his list. His are all topics so you could match children’s books to it. I have to admit, this was much easier than I expected except for one topic! Anyway. The topics are Bears, Friends, ABC, Frogs, Fairytales, Ocean Animals, Pets, and Free Choice (this one had me spazzing for a minute until I realised it was whatever book Punk wanted, not literally about free choice!)

Here’s my required summer reading list based off of Punk’s kindergarten list.

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The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Bears: This was literally the first book that popped into my head. Probably due to me having just finished it when I had this idea. A big theme throughout the book is Sammy’s bear.

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Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Friends: Again, literally the first book I thought of. Reagan and Lilah’s friendship is amazing as is this book. Emery Lord has such an incredible way with words! *sings Emery’s praises for days*

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ABC: This was the one that gave me a the most trouble. I initially thought to leave it at All Fall Down since it’s a children’s rhyme. Then I decided to do books with an A, B, and C in the title. I do have to admit, I haven’t read two of the three of these! I absolutely adore Code Name Verity though. It ripped me to shreds in all the right ways.

All Fall Down by Ally Carter

The Body Electric by Beth Revis

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Storm of Swords by George RR Martin

Frogs: Okay, admittedly harder than the others, I finally came up with this one. I remembered the bannerman’s kids who come to join Bran as being from the swamp like area. And I’m pretty sure the boy was good at catching frogs. Or their sigil is a frog. Or something. Anyway. Swamp = froggy in my mind!

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The Hunter’s Moon by OR Melling

Fairytale: Yes, it was incredibly easy to jump to the Cinder conclusion, but I opted to go for a lesser known fairytale series. Woot for Celtic mythology!

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Waterfell by Amalie Howard

Ocean Animals: Obviously I would go for Waterfell! Though it also deals with animals, it talks about the Marianas Trench and various animals in the ocean. Win.

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Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

Pets: Pandoras count as pets, right? I mean, they’re pets in a way. At least companions, and let’s face it, cats are not pets. They’re companions at best and definitely supreme overlords.

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

Free Choice:  Okay, so this one totally fits my initial thought of Free Choice. Feyre is faced with the choice of death or living in Prythian. She’s free to choose. Ha! This also fits free choice as in whatever I want to pick so I went with what I’m currently reading. Double win!

 

Thanks for making it through my post! Also, thank you for three wonderful (crazy) years of blogging. My blogging anniversary was actually on the 9th, but it snuck up on me and I forgot to write up a post. It’s definitely been a rollercoaster ride! Anyway, to celebrate my blogiversary, I have several giveaways I’m going to be hosting in the next few weeks so keep your eyes peeled! Up first is a giveaway for any book I have reviewed in the last three years. But! There’s more! I have a list of upcoming reviews that will be posted and those books will be included too. Check out my Reviews tab for a full list of books! Right now there will be one winner, but I might add more winners, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for that too.

Giveaway!

This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL (and only open to the countries where Book Depository delivers to) Entrants must be at least  13 years old to enter. Those entrants under 18 MUST have parental consent. Giveaway is open July 14th 2016 (12am EST) through August 20th 2016 (12am EST). No giveaway accounts. I reserve the right to disqualify entries in violation of my giveaway policies (Please see my Site Polices for full polices). All entries WILL be verified. Winner(s) have 48 (FORTY-EIGHT) hours to respond to email/tweet. Good luck. May the odds be ever in your favor! (:

 

 

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Adult Fiction Beach Reading Recommendations July 7, 2016

Jamie’s post about beach reads really made me think about some reads I’ve loved while I read at the beach, or during a long car ride. Hubs and I really enjoy listening to audiobooks instead of trying to surf radio channels. I’ve already featured non-contemporary young adult reads, non-fiction adult reads, and contemporary young adult reads. Now for the adult fiction reads we’ve enjoyed!

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  1. World War Z by Max Brooks. Hubs and I listened to the audiobook of this. It was FANTASTIC. Multi-person performance. MUCH better than the movie too.

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2. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown. I read this while I was traveling in Italy & Greece in 2007. It was so neat to travel almost identically along to places Robert Langdon explored in Italy!

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3. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. I read this in France in 2006. It was an experience exploring Paris and reading this at the same time!

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4. The White Queen by Philippa Gregory. Anything by Philippa Gregory is a great read! (excluding The Red Queen, but that’s a different story lol).

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5. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. So much better than the movie!

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6. In Defense of the Queen by Michelle Diener. Technically the third book in the series, Michelle Diener wrote these books to be read as standalones. Minimal advantage comes from reading the previous books. Review here.

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7. The Host by Stephenie Meyer. I didn’t finish the first time I attempted to read, I read it between Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. I think I was expecting too much of Twilight influence and it was anything but. My second attempt was actually at the beach and I flew through it. I enjoyed it much better than the Twilight series.

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8. Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B Jenkins. I’m not big on Christian lit, but I have loved the Left Behind series for years. I still really need to finish it! haha.

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9. Lamb The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore. A hysterical historical fiction. I should actually do a re-read soon.

I don’t really read much adult fiction! Haha. There’s also a whole slew of Star Wars novels that I love too.

 

 

 

 

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 #47: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab June 29, 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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This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1)

By: Victoria Schwab

Coming: 5 July 2016

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Summary:
There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

Why I’m excited:

Victoria Schwab has secured her place on my automatic preorder/buy list, so it’s not surprising to find This Savage Song on my Waiting on Wednesday list. I’ve been intrigued by this book since Victoria started tweeting about her mysterious monster book. I’m always a glutton for a good fantasy, and it definitely sounds like This Savage Song will not disappoint!

Why I need you to be excited:

Victoria Schwab has proven time and again that she is a fantastic wordsmith. I’m super excited at the dawning of a new series by her and I think you should be too! I think this will be a very interesting book considering the world we live in where tragedies seem to be becoming a daily occurrence and it really feels like there are monsters all around us.

 

Non-Fiction Beach Reading Recommendations June 27, 2016

Continuing on from my original post, which was inspired by Jamie’s post about beach reading recommendations, it got me to thinking about some other genres I would like to recommend. This week, I’m talking non-fiction. Though I love my YA, I do like to dabble in adult fiction and non-fiction. I have an adult fiction post planned as well.

Despite being non-fiction, these were all quick and engaging reads.

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  1. American Wife: Love, War, Faith, and Renewal by Taya Kyle. I blew through this book over Memorial Day weekend and my review will be coming up soon for full praises. Simply, Taya Kyle is the widow of Chris Kyle, known for writing American Sniper and his murder. Taya Kyle’s writing is fresh, painful, and like speaking with a friend. As a military wife, there was so much I could relate to, but also it was a fascinating read even if not connected to the military.

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2. The Wars of the Roses by Dan Jones. I actually was approved for this back when it was an ARC. I ended up finally getting around to reading it this past spring semester for a paper. Dan Jones writes in a spectacularly engaging way. If you have a chance to watch Great British Castles, (It’s on Netflix!) he’s the host. The way he presents the history of the castles is EXACTLY like his writing style. This was a very fascinating period in English history and I blew through this in one day!

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3. The Plantagenets by Dan Jones. I can’t remember if I was approved for this as an ARC, or I just discovered it after I was approved for The Wars of the Roses. Either way, I scored a finished copy in the clearance section at BooksAMillion. I also ended up reading it for class this semester too. It was a super fast read. I ended up reading about royals I didn’t need to cause it just flowed so well through the history of England that it keeps you engaged. There were some fascinating rulers of England!

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4. The Rival Queens by Nancy Goldstone. This seems to be a recurring theme with these! I read this for another class this last semester for a paper on Marguerite de Valois. She and her mother, Catherine de Medici were two incredible Renaissance women! There was only a section of this book relevant to my paper, but I ended up reading the whole book. The relationship between mother and daughter was extremely tumultuous and shaped the future of France.

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5. Memoirs of Marguerite de Valois by Marguerite de Valois Queen of Navarre. These memoirs of Marguerite de Valois could be very stretched truth, but she gives a very detailed account of the shenanigans of French court. If you watch Reign, Princess Claude is loosely based on Marguerite and yeah… she was known for getting around! I read this for a paper, and it was an eye opening experience haha.

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6. Marley and Me by John Grogan. Excluding the ending, which I don’t recommend reading in public without a box of tissues, this hysterical read is great for the beach. My Secret Sister, Juli sent it to me last summer when our dog first got sick with degenerative myelopathy and we were afraid we’d have to put her down. This was perfectly timed and  helped me come to peace with the thought of losing our furbaby.

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7. Perepolis by Marjane Satrapi. This non-fiction graphic novel set during the religious revolution in Iran is a page turner. The writing is witty and presents such a dangerous time in an easy to follow way.

 

Do you read non-fiction? What are some of your favourites?

 

 
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