The Whimsical Mama

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

Review: American Wife by Taya Kyle July 4, 2016


***mild spoilers may follow***

Rating:  4 stars
Pub date: 4 May 2015
Publisher: William Morrow, HarperColins
Genre: Adult, Non-Fiction, Autobiography, Memoir
Format: ebook, purchased
Status: Standalone/Companion to American Sniper


The widow of American Sniper Chris Kyle shares their private story: an unforgettable testament to the power of love and faith in the face of war and unimaginable loss—and a moving tribute to a man whose true heroism ran even deeper than the legend.

In early 2013, Taya Kyle and her husband, Chris, were the happiest they ever had been. Their decade-long marriage had survived years of war that took Chris, a U.S. Navy SEAL, away from Taya and their two children for agonizingly long stretches while he put his life on the line in many major battles of the Iraq War. After struggling to readjust to life out of the military, Chris had found new purpose in redirecting his lifelong dedication to service toward supporting veterans and their families. Their love had deepened, and their family was whole, finally.

Then, the unthinkable. On February 2, 2013, Chris and his friend Chad Littlefield were killed while attempting to help a troubled vet. The life Chris and Taya fought so hard to build was shattered. In an instant, Taya became a single parent of two. A widow. A young woman facing the rest of her life without the man she loved.

Chris and Taya’s remarkable story has captivated millions through Clint Eastwood’s blockbuster Academy Award-winning film American Sniper, starring Bradley Cooper as Chris and Sienna Miller as Taya, and because of Chris’s bestselling memoir, in which Taya contributed passages that formed the book’s emotional core. Now, with trusted collaborator Jim DeFelice, Taya writes in never-before-told detail about the hours, days, and months after Chris’s shocking death when grief threatened to overwhelm her.

And yet throughout, friendship, family, and a deepening faith were lifelines that sustained her and the kids when the sorrow became too much. Two years after her husband’s tragic death, Taya has found renewed meaning and connection to Chris by advancing their shared mission of “serving those who serve others,” particularly military and first-responder families. She and the children are now embracing a new future, one that honors the past but also looks forward with hope, gratitude, and joy.

American Wife is one of the most remarkable memoirs of the year—a universal chronicle of love and heartbreak, service and sacrifice, faith and purpose that will inspire every reader.

My thoughts:

This Memorial Day Weekend, I was watching The Pacific on Amazon with my husband. We usually watch Band of Brothers, but I still hadn’t seen The Pacific, so we decided to switch things up this year. While watching, I decided I was in the mood for a Memorial Day type read after I finished The Star-Touched Queen. My first thought was to read American Sniper, which I received from my On The Same Page Secret Sister, Juli, last summer. Then I thought about Taya. I remembered I had snagged American Wife when it was a Kindle Daily Deal. It was decided. Though the events of American Sniper happen first, I opted to read American Wife first. I had seen American Sniper, so I figured I would be safe. I know, I know, the movie is always different than the book, but I still went with Taya’s book.

Through the tragic loss of her husband, Taya Kyle has become a household name. Chris Kyle had already risen to a sort of fame prior to his murder in 2013. Reading American Wife was one of the best and hardest choices I have ever made. As I’ve said numerous times, and as shown with my web address, I am an Army wife. Taya tells the entire story of her relationship with Chris. From beginning, until the end of the book. She says there is no end of their relationship, and I admire that. In the tale of how they met through marriage and deployments, I could relate on a ridiculous level. Though I’m not a Special Forces/SEAL wife, there are many similarities in the feelings Taya and I share concerning deployments. The underlying fear that at any moment there could be a knock on the door saying my husband was dead. The paralysing fear when you mistakenly watch the news and see coverage of an attack and days go by without a phone call or email.  I have LIVED that and I felt an immediate bond with Taya Kyle.

I guess this is going to sort of be a review and a spilling of how I related haha. Taya’s writing style is raw in a way. It’s obvious she isn’t in it to become a best selling novelist of numerous  publications. She writes in a way that she has to tell her story of Chris  and honour their love and his memory. It’s brutally honest. I laughed. I cried. It was as if I walked through each event with her. And in a way, I have lived through some of the events. I have lived through a deployment. I have lived through giving birth twice. I live the stay at home mom life. I live with wondering when the next deployment will come. If my husband will be safe.

I have to say, even though this was one of the hardest books I’ve ever read, I couldn’t put it down. I wanted to stay up until I finished it. I made myself go to sleep. I stole every opportunity I had to finish it the next morning.

You might think, since this was written to honour her husband, Taya Kyle would embellish and fluff up their relationship. She didn’t. She wrote about their hard times just as much, if not more, than the good times. Their marriage wasn’t perfect by any means. She even states at one point that the divorce rate for SEAL marriages are 90%+. Military marriages fail at like an 80%ish rate. Military marriages are HARD. Your family is not always the number one priority.  Most of the time, a military career takes that spot. It’s a difficult pill to swallow. Personally, the military was in hubby’s life before me.  It’s part of who he is and I love him for it. Even now with kids, I cannot imagine demanding he leave the National Guard. I am so proud of him and his service. I do understand where Taya was coming from when she gave the non-ultimatum ultimatum for him to get out of the SEALs. I sorta gave one when hubs had a travel job and was gone ALL THE TIME. With a new baby, it was difficult. I felt he was missing everything.

American Wife really made me think while I was reading. What would I do in the situation I lost my husband? I honestly can’t answer. It’s something that’s a very real possibility being a military wife, but it’s also something you can’t really imagine and prepare for at the same time. Of course we have arrangements planned, life insurance policies in place, and the standard deployment things like that, but it’s different having a plan and then actually going through it.

While I don’t agree with everything she talks about in her book, I really enjoyed reading it. It really was the hardest emotional book I have ever read. I do highly recommend it, especially to those in the military community.

About the Author

Taya Kyle is the widow of Chris Kyle, famous Navy SEAL sniper who wrote American Sniper and who was murdered in 2013.


Top Ten Tuesday #42: Books I’ve Read So Far in 2014 June 10, 2014


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-ish Books I’ve Read So Far in 2014 

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols

Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson 

The Falconer by Elizabeth May 

17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen 

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare 

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch 

Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd 

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein 

Evertrue by Brodi Ashton 

Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi


Armchair BEA: Day 1 Introductions May 26, 2014

Today marks the start of Armchair BEA week which runs along side BEA in New York City. Last year, I hadn’t started blogging yet so I had no idea what BEA was until the end of the year. Then the excitement started building as authors started announcing they were coming. There was just no way for me to be able to attend this year, and I was so happy when I stumbled across Armchair BEA on Twitter. A way to connect with other bloggers and still get a small amount of the BEA experience?! Count me in!



1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging? Where in the world are you blogging from? 

I am Maura. I’m blogging from Northeast TN. I’m a stay at home mama to my two kiddos: Punk (3 years old) and Ladybug (1 year old). I’ve been blogging since 2010 off and on, but the book oriented side of The Whimsical Mama launched officially in July 2013. I originally wanted to do a cooking blog like Julie/Julia, but that didn’t stick. Newborn baby and not cooking new things consistently killed that one! After helping Mary (Mary Had a Little Book Blog) get her blog some recognition, I decided I ought to give blogging a try again. Books and writing have always been my favourite outlets!


2. What genre do you read the most? I love to read because ___________________ . 

I generally read fantasy the most. Harry Potter got me addicted to reading and I’ve never turned my back on my fantasy beginnings. I love to read because I love to escape daily life. I always have. Growing up in a small town in the foothills of the Appalachians, I loved to go anywhere but home. I’ve always loved to travel and reading helped those adventures and were much cheaper than actual trips!  Because I love to escape in books, I tend not to turn to contemporaries because they are too close to real life for me. I am learning to appreciate them though!


3. Describe your blog in just one sentence. Then, list your social details — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. — so we can connect more online. 

The Whimsical Mama is just that – whimsical – I mainly read young adult, but read a lot of children’s books and life is pretty whimsical with two toddlers running around! The Whimsical Mama, I hope, reflects a lot of my daily life. You can find me as @armywife2310 on Twitter. Maura T on Goodreads, armywife2310 on Pinterest. Yes, as you can see, I’m very proud of being an Army wife! (:


4. What was your favorite book read last year? What’s your favorite book so far this year?

Hmmm this is a hard one that’s required a good bit of thought. Since I started blogging in the latter half of 2013, I don’t have reviews for all the great things I read. Pre-blogging, my favourite 2013 read would probably be Clockwork Princess or Legend or Die for Me. I really can’t pick! Once I started blogging, my favourite 2013 read was Infinite by the oh so incredibly wonderfully talented Jodi Meadows. Yup. Yup. Yup. Now, let’s see. My favourite read so far of 2014. By far it has been The Impossible Knife of Memory. Again, Army pride is showing through with that pick! (:


5. What book would you love to see as a movie? 

I have three off the top of my head that as long as they were done correctly, I would love to see on the big screen. If they’re going to be mangled, I can live without them being turned to movies. The Legend trilogy, the Incarnate/Newsoul trilogy, and the Revenants trilogy. Those were three incredible trilogies that, I feel, would be great on screen.


Please Be Kind, Rewind: 8-14 December 2013 December 15, 2013

I am posting this late because I forgot to format it completely before we left for the weekend. It was that time of year again. Hubby’s Guard unit’s family Christmas dinner. Completely boring, but you know, I’m a good Army wife so we go! We also got to hang with the Parks family and THAT my friends is ALWAYS great! (: Especially when I kick some butt at Rummy. Just sayin’.

Soooo.. It’s up a day late. Oops! Another week down. This year has gone by so quickly!


City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (audiobook) Story 5 stars. Narrator 2-3 stars. I really didn’t like her narration. Her voice was a bit grating on my nerves.

The Runaway Queen by Cassandra Clare. 3 stars. I love revolutionary France, but this just felt lacking

Pawn by Aimee Carter. 4 ½ – 5 stars. It was incredible! Review to come.

Roar & Liv (UTNS 0.5) by Veronica Rossi

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (audiobook) Already a million times better than the other narrator!

Currently Reading:

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare (audiobook) I’m happy the narrator for City of Ashes returned for this one too! (:

Read to the Kiddos:

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

Fun Time Baby Punk “read” this to Bug

New to my shelf:

From the library:

Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer (audiobooks)

A stack of Christmas themed books for the kiddos! Getting ready for the season!

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Fierce Reads giveaway, this is only momentarily mine. It’s going to my niece for Christmas!)

These Broken Stars by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner (from the lovely Mary! Punk grabbed this from my hands when I opened it and said “Book! Read me!” I think he has a new book crush. Ana will be sad!)


Veteran’s Day Thoughts November 11, 2013

Filed under: Musings — Maura @ 11:00 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Instead of my scheduled review, I decided to take a moment and post about Veteran’s Day. As some of you know, I am an Army National Guard wife. My husband has served our country since December 2004. He served overseas in Iraq in 2010. I come from a very military heavy family background like him. Both of our grandfathers served. His in the Navy and Air Force. Both of mine in the Army. One grandfather and great-grandfather of mine served in World War II. We’re very proud of our military heritage.

In today’s world, a lot of people criticise our military and that bothers me to no end. “Bullet catchers” is one of my least favourite things to see. You may not agree with where our military goes, Lord knows I don’t always agree, but after they sign on the dotted line, they go where they are TOLD not where they CHOOSE. Please remember that.

Not all wounds our veterans suffer from are visible. Think before you criticise. PTSD and TBI are things that are still only in the infancy of being understood and treated. My great-grandfather had “shell shock” when he came home from WWII. He was haunted by nightmares of the things he saw for the rest of his life. He once dreamed he was back in the trenches fighting with a German soldier and grabbed my Granny in a choke hold. She talked to him quietly until the nightmare passed. Any sudden moves and he could’ve snapped her neck. He was part of the 89th Infantry Division which helped liberate Ohrdruf Concentration Camp. Look it up sometime. It’s horrifying. Shortly before my Grandaddy died, I had on my husband’s Army sweatshirt when I was over to visit. He almost cried and begged me to tell Tim to get out when he could. He kept saying no one should see the horrors he saw. And no one should. I miss him everyday. We named our son after him.

Then, we told our veterans to man up and deal with it. Today, we know it’s much deeper than just being able to cope with things. Our veterans need help. They need our support. Our military families need support. Regardless of your politics, you should stand by our military and their families. Their sacrifices are what enable you to say, think, do the things you want. Our military’s sacrifices won our freedom and help maintain that freedom.

Sorry, not sorry for this post. I know it has nothing to do with what my blog is for. I read and review YA with the occasional adult book. Supporting the military is something that has ALWAYS been close to my heart and I just needed to talk about that today on here. Our country will be so much stronger when we put politics for personal gain aside. That’s a whole other can of worms that I don’t wish to get into. Our country will be so much stronger when we stand with our military. People were terrible to Vietnam vets and are now realising how huge of a mistake that was. I only hope we continue to learn from that mistake. Our military needs support. Thank a veteran. Smile at a military kid. Offer to help the military spouse juggling everything while his/her spouse is deployed. There is so much you can do. Any help and support is appreciated.

Thank you to all of our veterans. No matter their service. Never served overseas? Who cares. They still signed on the dotted line, willing to give their all. Former and current members of our military, this military loves and supports you.

*steps off soap box*



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