The Whimsical Mama

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

Feature & Follow Friday: Featured Blogger! July 10, 2014


I am so honoured to be a featured blogger for Feature & Follow! I was featured almost a year ago, just after I started blogging. I always forget to participate, so hopefully being featured again will help me kick it back in gear! If you decide to follow me, let me know and I will follow you back! (: While you’re here, I hope you’ll check out the giveaways I have going on! I have an ebook of The Prince or The Guard both by Kiera Cass up for grabs here. (For every 100 entries another winner will be added!) An ARC of Infinite by Jodi Meadows up for grabs here. And as of now, a young adult book of your choice from Book Depository here. After 300 entries on the last giveaway, I’ll reveal another prize! Thanks for stopping by!

When did you start blogging?
I started blogging in 2011, but didn’t start book blogging until July 2013. Crazy that it’s been a year now! (I have a blogoversary celebration giveaway going on if you’d like to check it out!)

What is your favorite part of book blogging?
My favourite thing about book blogging has been building some great relationships with authors and readers from all over! I’ve made some great friends this year and look forward to making more!

What type of books do you mainly blog about?

I focus mainly on young adult books. I have featured the occasional adult or middle grade novel. I also have a feature called Tot Time Thursday where my kiddos help feature some of their current favourites.

What is your favorite book(s)?

Ack! This is still such a hard question. Harry Potter still holds a special place in my heart. Especially now that my son has asked to listen to the audiobooks/have me read them to him. Since I started blogging, I would have to say a few favourites have been Infinite by Jodi Meadows, Waterfell by Amalie Howard, and The Falconer by Elizabeth May. There are plenty of others, these are just off the top of my head. (: My kiddos’ current favourites are the Pete the Cat and Ladybug Girl books!

What has been the best thing that has happened to you because of book blogging?

I would have to say having lunch with Jodi Meadows for my birthday! Okay, it wasn’t exactly FOR my birthday, it just happened to work out that way. Haha. My in-laws live in Northern VA and I happened to have the chance to meet up with Jodi and have lunch. It was such a great experience! If it hadn’t been for book blogging, I would’ve never connected with her or had the chance to meet her!


***This week’s question is: If you had a time machine (i.e. a TARDIS) where would you go? ***


Hmmm. There are so many things that I would love to see! I am a GIANT history nerd. No, really. A GIANT history nerd. One of my smaller bookcases is nothing but history books. Mostly Elizabeth I. No shame. (: I wouldn’t dare interfere with anything in history though. I don’t think I’m going to be able to pick just one thing so here are some of the things I would love to see off the top of my head.

1. Ancient Rome when the Coliseum was in its prime.

2. The Last Supper.

3. Elizabeth I facing down the Spanish Armada.

4. Robert Kennedy give a speech.

5. Watch the Berlin Wall fall.

6. The Miracle on Ice game.

7. Annie Oakley and Calamity Jane.

8. Ancient Athens (I was SO disappointed with modern Athens)

9. Ancient Alexandria during Cleoptara’s reign. (Library, DUH)

10. Battle of Bosworth Field 1485.

Yup. Those are the top ten off the top of my head. Ask me tomorrow and my answers will probably be different! haha



Again, thanks for dropping by! (: Thanks for the opportunity to be a featured blogger again! (: However you choose to follow is great.


Blogoversary! (And giveaway!)

I am so blown away that it’s my blogoversary! Okay, it was actually yesterday. You know how in my confessions on Top Ten Tuesday mentioned either way ahead or scrambling on posts? Well, this week has been a scrambling one. I scheduled ahead for vacation, but only through the day we came home. I know, I know.  This year has been an incredible experience. Chock full of hard work and numerous rewards. I’ve said before, but I’ll say it again. This blog is older than a year old. I started blogging in 2011. Aspirations of becoming like Julie in Julie&Julia. That FAILED. Juggling a newborn and a new blog idea while hubby had a travel job just didn’t work. So this sat unused for ages. Then Mary started getting her blog off the ground. I debated jumping back in the blogging world for a long time before I actually committed. This time around, I was juggling a toddler AND a newborn, but hubby no longer traveled with work. Finally, I took the plunge and I never looked back.

The Whimsical Mama would never have been possible without all the support Mary’s given me. She is seriously my number one supporter in ALL THE THINGS. If you don’t know her, she blogs over at Mary Had a Little Book Blog. You should check it out. It’s incredible. Just like her! Mary and I go way back to my freshman year of college. Books have always been a big thing in our friendship and I love how close we are on and off the net. Still sucks that we live so far apart! Mary, you’re the best and I LOVE YOU!

This also wouldn’t be possible without you, dear reader. There are times when I feel like I’m blogging and talking to a wall, but when I see pages views and visitor numbers, it makes my heart soar. I could seriously talk to a wall about books, but knowing that someone, somewhere is checking out The Whimsical Mama, it reassures me that I’m doing the right thing. Thank you for sticking around even though I don’t get to do a lot of giveaways. I am happy that I’m going to be able to do more giveaways now. It’s killed me not to be able to share book love other than just publicity.

Thank you to all the publishers & publicists who have taken a chance on me. Especially Cassie McGinty at Disney Hyperion. She deals with my emails a lot and is always AWESOME! (: I’m so thankful for the opportunities you’ve given this lil ole blogger mama to share the book love. 

OBVIOUSLY ALL THE LOVE goes to the authors too. Let’s face it. They’re the true reason we’re here. Without their hard work, we wouldn’t have anything to gush about! I’ve had the chance to interact with one of my favourite authors (Melissa de la Cruz) and meet and build relationships with so many others. I love you all so much. Major shout out to Amalie Howard and Jodi Meadows. Last summer, many a night, there were hours long chats with Jodi, Mary, and Alex. So many fun times! Jodi took the time to drive down to meet me for lunch when I was up in the Northern VA area. She’s incredible. She’s a lovely lady and incredible author. Read her books. DO IT. Like I said yesterday, I stumbled across Amalie and I’m so happy I did. She’s super awesome and super talented. We haven’t had the chance to meet in person yet, but it will happen and it will be EPIC. I will forever more shout the recommendations about their books. Fo’ sho’.

Now, for the time we’ve all been waiting for! GIVEAWAY TIME! I have a ton of giveaways scheduled for this month and next, but this one is special for my blogoversary (plus the Infinite ARC giveaway). This is going to be a level giveaway. First up is a young adult book of choice (up to $15) from Book Depository! For every 300 entries, I’ll reveal another prize and add another winner. Prizes will be first come first serve if more than one is revealed. *** Prize #2 has been unlocked!!*** ARC of 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen! (US ONLY) If you don’t follow my giveaway guidelines, I will disqualify you. Don’t make me do it, please. I’ve had to disqualify people from every giveaway I’ve hosted thus far and it’s so disheartening.



This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL (and only open to the countries where Book Depository delivers to) Entrants must be 13 years old to enter. Those entrants under 18 MUST have parental consent. Giveaway is open July 10th 2014 (12am EST) through August 10th 2014 (12am EST). I reserve the right to disqualify entries in violation of my giveaway policies. 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! (: For every 300 entries, I’ll add another prize & winner! Prizes will be revealed at each level! (Book Depository prize ONLY IS International all other prizes are US ONLY. Sorry!)

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Don’t forget about these giveaways!


Kiera Cass Giveaway!

This giveaway is open to US only ( Entrants must be 13 years old to enter. Those entrants under 18 MUST have parental consent. Giveaway is open July 6th 2014 (12am EST) through July 20th 2014 (12am EST). I reserve the right to disqualify entries in violation of my giveaway policies. All entries WILL be verified. Good luck. May the odds be ever in your favor! (: For every 100 entries, I will add another winner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Jodi Meadows Giveaway!

This giveaway is open to US only ( Entrants must be 13 years old to enter. Those entrants under 18 MUST have parental consent. Giveaway is open July 1st 2014 (12am EST) through July 31st 2014 (12am EST). I reserve the right to disqualify entries in violation of my giveaway policies. All entries WILL be verified. Good luck. May the odds be ever in your favor! (:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Top Ten Tuesday #44: Blogging Confessions July 8, 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 Blogging Confessions

Today’s time to fess up about some things. I did this as a rewind a few months ago and you can find it here. We’ll see how many more I can come up with!

1. I can be an awful library patron. If I have fines, they’re MASSIVE fines. I paid off a $30+ fine earlier this year. Painful. Happens when you check out the 20 book max and then don’t make it back to the library on time…  after you’ve rechecked books out the max number of times.

2. As well as still having a book buying problem, I have an ARC downloading problem. *HarperTeen adds new books on EW* *I download THEM ALL* Yup. It’s bad.

3. I go on kicks of being super organised and ahead on blogging and then scrape to get a post up on time. You’d think as a SAHM, I would know how to balance my time by now. Nope. I get comfortable and lazy when I’m ahead and then it leads to being behind and scrambling. ALWAYS.

4. I don’t judge readers on what they read. I’m just happy you’re reading. Unless it’s 50 Shades. Then I hate away. That is total crap. UGH. *hates on my mom for reading AND owning it*

5. It drives me BONKERS when a series has a cover redesign halfway through a series (I’m looking at YOU Artemis Fowl).

6. I often get discouraged over blog views/followers. There are days that I feel like I put so much work into blogging for no real reason.

7. I write reviews and almost every other post in a notebook weeks in advance. It’s just a struggle to get them typed up. (Which leads to number 3)

8. I still use Amazon even with the publisher vs Amazon showdowns going on. I buy indie when I can, but in order to afford more books for personal use and giveaways, sometimes that’s a luxury I can’t afford. Sorry, not sorry.

9. I love reviewing almost all the books I read, but sometimes it is a bit overwhelming. Like now. I have at least 8 reviews that need to be written.

10. I want to have a library that rivals Belle’s. I’ve already told hubby that when we re-do downstairs, I want as many bookshelves/book cases as possible in our office.

Wow. Somehow I managed to still come up with 10 even after already doing this recently. What are your confessions?


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.


Top Ten Tuesday #27: Reasons I Love Being a Reader/Blogger February 18, 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 Reasons I Love Being a Reader/Blogger

1. I love being a reader because… I get to visit different worlds. Sometimes, real life sucks. Sometimes living in East Tennessee is a real drag. I’ve been lucky enough to have had the chance to go to Europe three times. Getting away from here is something I crave. Books are an inexpensive way to go. Being able to have a break from being in mama mode 24/7 is nice too. Reading during naps or when the kids go to bed = bliss.

2.I love being a blogger because… I get to meet people from all over the world. And when I meet these people, we’re instantaneously friends because we share a love of books and it’s AMAZING. I’ve met some pretty awesome people and I love you all!

3.I love being a blogger because… it gives me an outlet to share my love of books. If I could talk books to people all day, every day, life would be grand. Blogging gets me as close to this as possible! (:

4. I love being a blogger because… I get a chance to read ARCs and pump up the word for awesome books that are coming out. I love that I get to help get hype up before a books releases or keep it up after it’s out. It’s a great opportunity and I’m immensely thankful publishers have allowed me the chance!

5.I love being a reader because… I get a chance to have a relationship with the author through their books and in person through signings and talking on Twitter. Getting to talk with authors right after I finish their books is something I never thought I would ever have the opportunity to do. Going to signings is a great perk too!

6. I love being a reader because… It is something I can share with my children. We try to read together every day or I try to make sure they see me reading every day. I’ve read to both of my children since before they were born. Both love bringing me books so I will read to them. It makes me very happy and proud. I hope this is a love that I am fostering to continue their whole lives.

7.I love being a reader because… I am working to own Belle’s library. (Duh!) Girls wanted to be a princess when they were little. Me? I wanted Belle’s library.

8.I love being a reader because… I am always being exposed to new genres, authors, etc. I love finding new reads. I love sharing those new reads. It’s an ever evolving world and I love it.

9.I love being a reader because… I LOVE the smell of new books. I have a set of Harry Potter books from England and they still smell lovely after 14+ years. I love burying my nose in them. There’s just something soothing about the smell of new books. It’s bliss.

10.I love being a blogger because… I love getting to host giveaways. I haven’t done many yet, but I’m hoping I can start doing more soon! I love being able to share books with people.

What do you love about being a reader/blogger? Feel free to leave your links! I’d love to check out your lists. (:


Top Ten Tuesday #7: Things that Make Blogging Life Easier/Better August 20, 2013

Filed under: Books,Top Ten Tuesday — Maura @ 2:47 pm
Tags: , , ,

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 Things that Make Blogging Life Easier/Better

1. Goodreads I started using Goodreads back in the winter. It is great to help log all of the books I’ve read, want to read, own, etc. I love it!

2. Library As a stay at home mama to two kids, books don’t get purchased often. Or if they do, they’re ones I know I’ll like or I have already read them, but don’t own them. The library is great because I can get up to 20 items at a time for free. The downer of this is I have to share my 20 items with my kids til they turn 6 and can get their own card. They love being read to, so we’re at the library frequently to rotate books for them. (I’m actually working from our library now! Our children’s library is huge and great to work in with the kids. Bug sits with me and Punk plays – today he has everything to himself, yay school being back in session!)

2. WordPress Let’s face it, without wordpress, there would be no Whimsical Mama!

3. Spotify/Pandora/Amazon Video I don’t work well with silence. I’m too ADD to sit in complete silence. If I don’t have some noise going on in the background, my mind goes crazy jumping all over the place. I discovered Pandora in HS and started with Spotify a year or so ago. I love music. Music is a huge part of my life and has been since day one. It’s always on in the house. I love Amazon Video, because I can throw on a show I’ve seen and have that as background noise too. Currently rewatching The Tudors. I love me some Jonathan Rhys Meyers! (TMI TOMORROW!!!)

4. Notebook I’ve kept a journal for as long as I can remember. Now, I keep book notes as well. I have a full size journal on my nightstand and several small journals stashed in various places around the house and in my purse and diaper bag.

5. Kindles Understand one thing. I am a physical copy girl over digital copy any day, but let’s face it. I have two small children. A diaper bag will be in my future for several more years. All their crap plus carrying around a giant book just isn’t gonna cut it. I SWORE I would NEVER buy a kindle. I lasted for that for a good long while. I got my Kindle Fire for Christmas almost two years ago. I instantly fell in love. I could carry around as many books as I wanted and it took up almost zero space! Then came summertime. I love to sit out in the sun and read. With the Kindle Fire’s LCD screen, you can’t really see. I toughed it out by doing my best and reading physical books. Then I played around with my mom’s Kindle Touch. I loved it and decided to get one for myself. Luckily I still had some money left on a gift card from Christmas (: I love that I have digital copies of some of my favourite books, and can easily carry around the DRCs I’m approved for.

7. PBS, bouncer, swing, toys I have a toddler. He loves PBS. We have a morning routine of watching several shows while he plays. This gives me a great chance to do a lot of my blog work. So do naps and bedtime. I have a baby. She loves her bouncer and swing. When she’s content to be in those and not cuddling close, she plays happily in them. Toys are pretty self explanatory. They’re good at occupying themselves and each other while playing.

8. Friends Real life and virtual world friends. If it weren’t for Mary @ Mary Had a Little Book Blog, I probably would’ve never found my niche for blogging. She and Alex @ Peace, Love, and Fangirl are definitely my two best blogging friends.

9. Twitter Twitter has definitely opened a doorway to make blogging easier. It’s enabled me to chat with Mary and Alex on an almost daily basis, and has allowed me to interact with authors I’ve grown to love!

10. NetGalley & Edelweiss If it weren’t for these two great companies, I wouldn’t be able to have access to so many wonderful DRCs. I know book printing is expensive, and the internet has given publishers a way to bypass that expense. I never thought when I started this journey earlier this summer that I would’ve been approved for as many books as I have. Lesson learned. Do not underestimate my power as a reader. I requested like 40 something books and have been approved for most of them so far… eep!

Now, on the flip side. Things that make my blogging life more difficult.

1. Kids I love them. I really, really do. My kids make my reading and blogging life super difficult. My son wants to be read to if he’s not sleeping or playing. My daughter wants to snuggle all the time. Great and bad things all at the same time. I’m still learning on how to balance all of this. Naptime is quickly becoming my best friend for uninterrupted reading. Morning PBS routine is good for blogging because it’s not that hard to stop and help them. I generally keep notes so I don’t lose my train of thought. Book derailing is a bit more difficult to recover from – at least for me.

2. Family Right now since I’m just getting started in this whole big review world, they aren’t too sure about it. This is a side of the reader world they’ve never ventured into. Other than one of my aunts who worked at Borders in Albuquerque, I don’t think anyone knew what an ARC/DRC is. So far they have been supportive and that’s all I can ask of them.

3. Internet Like I said earlier, bad ADD if there is silence. Well, I have bad ADD on the internet too. My hubby can tell you that I usually have a slew of windows open. Facebook, Amazon, Pinterest, email, etc. I read about an interesting app that keeps you limited to certain things during certain times and I think I’m gonna give it a look.

4. TBR list Now that seems weird, right? How can my to be read list harm my blogging life? Easy. When I started this earlier this summer, I had a few books planned to review to give me a start. I have some giveaway books to read as well as a few I’ve recently gotten either from the library or Amazon. I never anticipated that I would be approved for as many ARCs as I have been. My first day on NetGalley, I requested like 20 books and requested more that week and also on Edelweiss. Now I’m swamped in books. I have a rough reading schedule sketched out for the next few months. I’m trying really hard to mix ARCs with for fun books.

5. Housework I’m a stay at home mama. I have two kids. Our kitchen is (almost) remodeled. There’s stuff everywhere in our house. Two kids = never ending supply of laundry. I actually had to take throw some laundry in after lunch before I got to jump back into this after we got home from the library. I have dishes that need washed. I have sheets that need changed. Housework really cuts into reading time, which cuts into blogging time. Vicious cycle haha.

What helps you in the reading and blogging world? Do you participate in TTT? Feel free to post your link! I’d love to read it!


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