The Whimsical Mama

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

Top Ten Tuesday #100: Top Ten Books With X Setting (Settings I Want to Visit) August 16, 2016

b301e-toptentuesday

Each week, the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish think up a fun theme for the week and participating bloggers around the net join in. The theme for this week is:

Top Ten Books With X Setting (Settings I Want to Visit)

1.Russia – Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

10194157

2. Edinburgh – The Falconer by Elizabeth May

15791085

3. Ireland – Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

249747

4. London – Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

71716371

5. Paris – Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz

872333

6. Prague – Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

8490112

7. Romania – And I Darken by Kiersten White

271906131

8. Middle East – The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

18798983

9. San Diego – Waterfell by Amalie Howard

173977601

10. China – Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

11235712

Advertisements
 

Review: American Wife by Taya Kyle July 4, 2016

23462662

***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

Summary:

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 #52: Places I Want to Visit October 14, 2014

 

b301e-toptentuesday

Each week, the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish think up a fun theme for the week and participating bloggers around the net join in. The theme for this week is:

Top Ten Places I Want to Visit

affiliate links used

I have been to lots of places. Literally and metaphorically. I have been blessed with chances to travel the world. These are places (real & fictional) that I would love to visit/visit again!

1. Scotland. I’ve been to Scotland. I would go back in a hot minute. The Falconer by Elizabeth May DOES NOT HELP THIS DESIRE. OH MAN. I can haz Edinburgh plz?

2. Hogwarts. Um. DUH. I’m STILL convinced my Hogwarts letter got lost in the mail. Definitely being carried by an owl as unreliable as Errol.

3. Russia. The Grishaverse isn’t *technically* Russia, but c’mon. As heavy as the Russian theme is, I want to go. *FYI, Russia has loooooong been on my to travel to list, but now I have a series to say influenced it too!*

4. Cinque Terre & Florence, Italy. I’ve been to Italy. It’s awesome. Every time I read Blue Bloods though, I want to go back to Europe. Especially Cinque Terre & Florence. Yes.

5. Manhattan. Again, I’ve been to NYC, but after every Blue Bloods reread, I want to go and thoroughly explore NYC/Manhattan.

 

6. Cair Paravel. Seriously. What kid doesn’t want to go to Narnia?

7. Rivendell. Hubby would agree with me on this one. (: He does judge me for liking the movies over the books though. Read them once. Never again!

8. Tara. I’ve been to Ireland, really don’t remember it cause I got sick. /: However, I ADORE Artemis Fowl and want to go back to Ireland and see Artemis & Holly’s stomping grounds.

9. Prague. Honesty moment. I haven’t read Daughter of Smoke and Bone yet. It’s on the immediate TBR. I know it takes place in Prague, and I’ve always wanted to go… SO. It’s a legit want to go cause of a book. (;

10. La Jolla/San Diego/Waterfell. Yes, please. Thank you, Waterfell! A major plus would be if Lo is there too. (; Amirite, Amalie?

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind 13-19 July 2014 July 19, 2014

Wow. This week crawled by, but at the same time, I blinked and it was over. Bug’s teething, so it’s been a rough week. I went from being almost a week ahead of schedule to scrambling again. Go figure. I’m behind on my reading. Or at least the rate I was reading and wanting to get through books. Life happens. I’ve also been working in our office trying to get it together. Again. Seems like every time I’m close, something comes up and it becomes a dumping ground again.


Completed:

Waterfell by Amalie Howard

 


Currently Reading:

The Everything Mother Goose Book by June Rifkin (yes, we’re still working on it!)

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare (paperback & audiobook) 

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling (audiobook)

Accidentally Married on Purpose by Rachel Harris (ARC)

Oceanborn by Amalie Howard

 

Read to the Kiddos:
Read to Tiger by S.J. Fore

Pete the Cat Too Cool for School by James Dean

Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses by James Dean


New to my shelf:

Rites of Passage by Joy Hensley (ARC, borrowed from Joy. Thanks, Joy!) 

The Perfect Stranger by Wendy Corsi Staub (finished copy, provided by Lauren Jackson. Thanks, Lauren!)

 

From the library:

as usual, more audiobooks! (:

 

 

 

 

*Review* A Tale of Two Centuries by Rachel Harris March 23, 2014

Rating: 4 stars
Pub date:
6 August2013
Publisher:
Entangled Teen
Genre:
Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, Historical Fiction
Format:
ebook, won in giveaway
Status:
Book two My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century companion series

Summary:

Alessandra D’Angeli is in need of an adventure. Tired of her sixteenth-century life in Italy and homesick for her time-traveling cousin, Cat, who visited her for a magical week and dazzled her with tales of the future, Alessandra is lost. Until the stars hear her plea.

One mystical spell later, Alessandra appears on Cat’s Beverly Hills doorstep five hundred years in the future. Surrounded by confusing gadgets, scary transportation, and scandalous clothing, Less is hesitant to live the life of a twenty-first century teen…until she meets the infuriating—and infuriatingly handsome—surfer Austin Michaels. Austin challenges everything she believes in…and introduces her to a world filled with possibility.


With the clock ticking, Less knows she must live every moment of her modern life while she still can. But how will she return to the drab life of her past when the future is what holds everything she’s come to love?

My thoughts:

I’ve been dying to get my hands on this ever since I finished My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century in the fall. My library didn’t have a copy and we’ve been on a tight budget, so I’ve been waiting impatiently. The book gods then smiled down on me and I won an e-book copy. YAY! Commence reading, flailing, and fangirling!

I love Rachel. She’s such a sweetheart and an incredible writer. She’s firmly on my read everything she ever writes list. For reals.

Rachel does a fantastic job with characters. She creates such believable and loveable characters. I haven’t had trouble relating to a single character yet!

After the spunky Cat returns from Italy, she leaves behind her 16th century ancestor, Alessandra in a world she feels even more disconnected from. She’s everything her time calls for – polite, demure, proper, etc. She’s also everything her time isn’t ready for in a young woman – equality driven, passionate, and outspoken (even if only in her mind). She wants more than her time can offer – a loveless marriage. She misses her cousin and wants more adventure in her life.

As luck would have it, once again, fate intervenes in the Angeli family, and Alessandra is thrust into the 21st century. Talk about a culture shock! Alessandra is at an utter loss and it’s hysterical watching prim and proper Alessandra navigate our world that is chock full of impropriety.

Alessandra has two wonderful people to come to her rescue. Dear cousin Cat schools her on the 21st century world at home and yummy Austin makes it a challenge to bring her out of her shell.

First impressions prove to be wrong between Alessandra and Austin and it was fun to read their banter and watch their relationship blossom. Things also blossom between heartbroken Cat and new guy Lucas. I can’t wait to see how things continue to develop in My Not So Super Sweet Life!

Alessandra gets her wish to act on stage and she does a fantastic job at it. She gets the star role of Juliet in an acting showcase. Time is running out, but she asks for more time so she can have her chance to shine on stage. After she completes her stellar performance, she realises she doesn’t want to go back to a joyless boring life. Alessandra is faced with a choice. Leave her 16th century family behind or leave Cat, Austin, and the 21st century behind. Whichever she chooses, she will never see the other again.

The ending is superb. I really don’t know how Rachel continues to deliver so completely time and time again. I’ve never been a big romance/contemporary reader, but if it comes from Rachel, I’ll read it AND recommend it like crazy! I really can’t wait to get my hands on the third companion of this series, My Not So Super Sweet Life! I need it NOW!

About the author

Author of fun & flirty romance about sassy girls-next-door and the hot guys that make them swoon. Vibrant settings and strong families are a staple of all my books…and kissing. Lots of kissing.


I homeschool my two beautiful girls and watch countless hours of reality television with my amazing husband. I write YA, NA, and Adult romance and LOVE talking with readers!

 

 
%d bloggers like this: