The Whimsical Mama

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

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 20-26 July 2014 July 26, 2014

Well… my streak of posting every day this month went bust this week. Ah well. I’ll try again in August! I fell behind in posting and have struggled to get caught back up. The office is almost completely cleaned up and organised. I’ll post some pictures once I’m completely done in there. The den is organised now too. Kids have bins for their toys and they’re easily accessible instead of all dumped in a giant tote. As a result of lots of working in the office, I finished Clockwork Prince and listened to all of Clockwork Princess this week. Now I have to figure out what to listen to next! Punk’s very belated birthday party is today and we’re super excited. It’s a pirate party! (Jake and the Neverland Pirates)


Completed:

Oceanborn by Amalie Howard

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare (paperback & audiobook) 

Rites of Passage by Joy Hensley (ARC)

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare (paperback & audiobook)

 

Currently Reading:

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

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

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

 

 

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

Peanuts by Charles Schultz (Punk picked this out at the B&N Pop Cultured event!)


New to my shelf:

Atlantia by Ally Condie (sampler, B&N, extra copies to giveaway)

The Young Elites by Marie Lu (sampler, B&N, extra copies to giveaway)

The Way of Kings & Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (for hubby, sampler, B&N, extra copy to giveaway)

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (sampler, B&N, extra copy to giveaway)

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige (sampler, B&N)

Peanuts by Charles Schultz (Punk picked this out! sampler, B&N)

The Punkydoos Take the Stage by Jennifer Jackson (The kiddos don’t know they’ve won this yet! They’re getting it at Punk’s party today! Thanks Book Rock Betty and Disney-Hyperion!)

 

From the library:

as usual, more audiobooks! (:

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*Review* The Selection by Kiera Cass June 29, 2014

***As always mild spoilers may follow***

Rating: 4 stars
Pub date: 24 April 2012 
Publisher: HarperCollins, HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance
Format: hardcover via library
Status: Book one of The Selection trilogy

Summary:
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

 

My thoughts:

Okay. Let me start this off by saying I went into The Selection with virtually no expectations and an open mind. I know The Selection is a very polarising book. It’s very divided on if you like it or not. It’s very divided between the two boys vying for America’s affection. That’s virtually all I knew going in. The Selection was recommended to me by Mary. (As usual, right? haha) I decided to wait until The One came out so I could binge the whole series. As I do. We didn’t really discuss it more than that. We have a good spoiler free relationship. She tells me I should read and eventually I do. Usually much later than I should haha. I didn’t read any reviews beforehand. I didn’t want to be swayed in anyway. Okay. Now I have that off my chest. (:

I really enjoyed The Selection. My first impression was similarity to The Hunger Games due to the eligible girls putting their names in to be drawn mixed with The Bachelor. (I’ve never actually seen an episode, but I get the gist.) The Selection came out first, but I also felt a pull to Pawn by Aimee Carter with the caste system.

I foundhow Kiera revealed info slowly was well done. In first person through America, we learn things as she does and through her musings. The dystopian world could’ve allowed for a massive info dump, but Kiera does a great job revealing as you go. I still have unanswered questions, but there are two more books and two novellas, so I’m not concerned by that yet. I much rather have things revealed slowly than info dumps.

I was surprised by how quick of a read The Selection was. I picked it up Saturday morning and was done by Sunday afternoon. Part of that was a few glorious hours of uninterrupted reading time on Mother’s Day. My hubby is the best for that! ❤

I very quickly related to America which is always a biggie for me. If I don’t like a character, it’s hard to get into the story. I could see a lot of myself in America so that made reading all the more enjoyable. She’s stubborn, independent, and musical. She starts off strong and continues to grow. She realises assumptions based on rank don’t always hold true. She’s also realising friendship can develop into romantic feelings, which to me, is the best kind of love. Her determination to help her family is inspiring.

As far as the other Selected girls go, I only really liked Marlee. She seems like such a kind and loyal friend. I absolutely hated Celeste. That list on reasons why could go on forever.

On the boy front, I can say I’m still Team Undecided. Both boys have impressed me and made me want to smack him upside the head. I do think I am leaning a smidge toward Maxon over Aspen though. That freaking ego issue. UGH. No. JUST NO.

I have to say my favourite parts of The Selection were the scenes with Maxon and America. I think they make the best of friends and I can see that blossoming into romance. I still feel on the fence about Maxon though. He did win major points with that first kiss scene though. ADORABLE.

I’m very excited to continue with my binge of this series. I recommend this to dystopian lovers. It’s not as dark on any level (so far) as The Hunger Games, Divergent or Chemical Garden, but it’s a great read. Even if you don’t love it, I believe it’s still an entertaining read.

About the author:

100 Things I Love:

Being married. Cake. The smell of Autumn. Motherhood. Books. Elephants. Back rubs. On demand movies. Actually going out to movies. Faith. Cinnamon rolls. My family. Butterflies. When my kitchen is clean. Crayons. Pink. Tote bags. Dancing. Organizing via color coordination. That my wedding dress was tea length, not floor. Baking. My house. Writing utensils. Paper. India. The sound of water. Making videos. Buttons. The word Episcopalian. Making people laugh. Layering clothes. British accents. Pinterest. Animation. Fireworks. The smell of the Ocean. My wedding rings. Aprons. Reasons to get dressed up. Sex. Pop music. Stars. Taking walks. Daydreaming. Stickers. School Spirit. My friends. Living in a small town. Japan. Singing. Painting my toenails. Pranks/ practical jokes. Painting. Stretch canvas. Costumes. Dipping my fingers in melted wax. Style. Soda. Spending an hour typing at a coffee shop. Musicals. Back to school season. Mopeds. Good hair days. Naps. Not walking up but looking at a beautiful staircase. Driving alone. My ankles. Playlists. Spending entire days in pajamas. Holidays. Telling stories. Spontaneity. Theme parks. Bookshelves. The word copacetic. Boxes. Empty journals. Surprises. Doing things in groups. Doing things alone. Getting real mail. Decorating. Small forks. A good hug. Gift cards. New Years Goals. Going out to dinner. When someone else remembers some great story about me/us that I’ve forgotten. Toy stores. Fireplaces. Breakfast foods. Journaling. Crying for a good reason. Doorbells. Pointless adventures. Voting. My birthday. Reasons to make wishes. Recycling

http://www.kieracass.com/

 

Top Ten Tuesday #41: Beach Bag Reads June 3, 2014

 

b301e-toptentuesdayEach 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 That Will Be in My Beach Bag/Should Be in Your Beach Bag

While I’m not entirely sure we’ll be making it to the beach this year, these are the books that I’ve selected to be in my beach bag or I think would be great beach reads to include in your beach bag! (: And of course, Punk and Bug wanted to include their two beach reads!

1. Taste the Heat by Rachel Harris. I read Seven Day Fiance last year at the beach, and it left me almost needing to run into the ocean to chill out. So, obviously, a book in the same series deserves the same treatment!

2. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. Mary actually recommended this to me for a beach read last year, but I didn’t get to it, so it’s added back for this year! (:

3. 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen. This is a super fast contemporary read that I knocked out in an afternoon. I think it would be a perfect beach read!

4. Oceanborn by Amalie Howard. C’mon. It has OCEAN in the name. Of course it’s gonna make the beach reads list! I absolutely loved Waterfell and recommend you read it as a beach read if you haven’t read it. If you have, I recommend Oceanborn! I NEED MOAR LO!

5. The Selection by Kiera Cass. Despite being a dystopian, I think this is a great light read for the beach. I knocked out the whole trilogy in less than a week so I think it’s a perfect beach bag add! 

6. Uninvited by Sophie Jordan. Definitely not light in the dystopian/futuristic setting, but it’s so action packed, it’s a super quick read that makes it a perfect beach bag read.

7. Seven Day Fiance by Rachel Harris. Like I mentioned above, I did read this at the beach and think it’s a good beach read. It’s set in the winter, so with the hot beach reading conditions and the swoony Cane, it’s a perfect beach bag read!

8. Die for Me by Amy Plum. Another quick read with two super swoony guys. I plan on listening to the audiobook at some point this summer, and the drive to the beach may be the perfect time!

9. Pete the Cat: Pete at the Beach by James Dean. This is Punk’s must pack read for the beach! He wants to learn to surf like Pete!

10. Ladybug Girl Goes at the Beach by David Soman & Jacky Davis. Bug wants to be like Ladybug Girl and have a blast at the beach!

Tell us, what are your favourite beach reads? What books will you be taking with you on vacation? It doesn’t have to be to the beach!

 

*Blog Tour, Review, & Giveaway* Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols May 12, 2014

biggestflirtsblogtour

***I was granted permission to read this by the publisher in exchange for an honest review as a part of the blog tour hosted by Itching For Books. Many thanks to Simon Pulse!***   

***As always mild spoilers may follow***

biggestflirtscover

 

Rating:5 stars
Pub date:20 May 2014
Publisher:Simon Pulse
Genre:Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Format:eARC provided by the publisher
Status:Book one of The Superlatives series

Summary:

Tia and Will’s lives get flipped upside down when they’re voted Yearbook’s Biggest Flirts in this sassy novel from the author of Endless Summer and The One That I Want.

Tia just wants to have fun. She’s worked hard to earn her reputation as the life of the party, and she’s ready for a carefree senior year of hanging out with friends and hooking up with cute boys. And her first order of business? New guy Will. She can’t get enough of his Midwestern accent and laidback swagger.

As the sparks start to fly, Will wants to get serious. Tia’s seen how caring too much has left her sisters heartbroken, and she isn’t interested in commitment. But pushing Will away drives him into the arms of another girl. Tia tells herself it’s no big deal…until the yearbook elections are announced. Getting voted Biggest Flirts with Will is, well, awkward. They may just be friends, but their chemistry is beginning to jeopardize Will’s new relationship—and causing Tia to reconsider her true feelings. What started as a lighthearted fling is about to get very complicated…

My thoughts:

I am so happy to be a part of the blog tour for Biggest Flirts today! I applied not thinking I would get it and was so happy when I did. I was a bit nervous though. I’m not the biggest fan of contemporary and while I had several Jennifer Echols books on my TBR (thanks to Mary) I had never read anything by her yet. Boy, have I been missing out!

Biggest Flirts really felt a lot like my senior year. I wasn’t a party girl or as big of a flirt as Tia, but goodness, the band memories!

Yes, Iam a marching band alum and that added SO much to my reading experience and brought back so many great memories. SO many memories. The early mornings, hot and humid days, long nights – I was back in the last week of July in East Tennessee all over again. I’m sure the heat and humidity is much worse in Florida though! As a former band kid, each practice scene felt so real. I was instantly transported through time and readers who weren’t in band will still be able to easily imagine the scenes before them. Jennifer does a fantastic job setting the scene in a realistic fashion.

Tia was easy to relate to because she felt so real and vulnerable. There were also girls like Tia in band, so I could relate on that level, too. I related more to her on the academic side than the relationship side. I was smart, but I really hated showing it, because I didn’t want to get hit with tons of responsibility. Also? Music. I stopped practicing flute on purpose so I could be middle of the road and not saddled with any section leader responsibilities. I loved the upperclass leadership responsibilities though!

Will was relatable for me, because I’d had my whole world ripped a part and flipped upside down before, too. I didn’t have to move across the country before my senior year like him, though. My parents got divorced. They ‘hid’ their fighting the summer before eighth grade. They said they didn’t want to ruin my summer or upcoming school year. I remember screaming at them that they were ruining my life, not just my summer. It’s definitely not a fun thing to have your whole world destroyed and my heart went out to Will.

I really enjoyed the banter between Will and Tia. It reminded me so much of me and my best guy friend in high school. There were times when we argued for the sake of arguing. It was definitely realistic cause I’ve been there! haha. I’m sure it would’ve been much worse and much more like Tia and Will had we been in the same section. He was a drummer so that made the connection even better. Goofy drummers! (I can trash on drummers since I married one! haha) 

As well as two strong main characters, they are surrounded by a great cast of secondary characters. I can’t wait to read some of their stories in the future books. It was great to see an interesting mix of personalities in Tia’s circle. Again, I was reminded of my time in high school. Believe it or not, band kids aren’t complete nerds and isolationists! (: We DO have friends outside of the inner circle of band. Not all band kids are friends either. 

Biggest Flirts was a fast and enjoyable read. As a fan of leaving the real world when I read, I loved this contemporary and definitely plan on checking out more of Jennifer’s books (including the rest of this series as they release!). I’m definitely becoming a Jennifer Echols fan! Many thanks to Mary for introducing me to her books, Shane for letting me be a part of the tour, and Jennifer for writing such an enjoyable story!

**Favourite Quotes**

Drum corps were basically marching bands with super powers. I have always admired drum corps! I love watching their competitions and have known a few people to march in the corps. Badass. All hail the drum corps.

“You get your energy from being by yourself,” I guessed. This was Harper’s description of the strange phenomenon I did not understand. “Having to talk to a bunch of people at once, especially people you don’t know, makes you feel drained.” Oh, man. Tia is describing Will, but this totally fits for me too. 

“I’m the king of the world,” he murmured. In a sexy satisfied tone that most chicks would use to reaffirm their love, I said, “You are the king of the dorks.” LOVE IT! (;

“Mr. Matthews, get off Ms. Cruz. I’m starting to sound like a broken record.” 

About the author

JenniferEcholsStanding

Jennifer Echols was born in Atlanta and grew up in a small town on a beautiful lake in Alabama—a setting that has inspired many of her books. She has written nine romantic novels for young adults, including the comedy MAJOR CRUSH, which won the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the drama GOING TOO FAR, which was a finalist in the RITA, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the Book Buyer’s Best, and was nominated by the American Library Association as a Best Book for Young Adults. Simon & Schuster will debut her adult romance novels in 2013, with many more teen novels scheduled for the next few years. She lives in Birmingham with her husband and her son.
http://www.jennifer-echols.com | http://twitter.com/jenniferechols

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