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

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***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.

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Goodbye June, Hello July! July 1, 2016

June started out to be a very promising reading month, and then turned out to be a bust haha. Hubs was gone to annual training for two weeks so I ended up staying at our office the full day every day which obviously, cut into home reading time. Though I had slow days, it was much easier to get some blog work done and stop in the middle of a post than stop in the middle of a good reading part. I could’ve done audiobooks since my mom was keeping the kids, but I ended up binge rewatching Reign and Agents of SHIELD. haha. We have a few vacations coming up in July and that will lead to lots of time in the car, so I should have a much better reading amount! I hope your June went well and have lots of exciting things coming up in July. We’ll be heading north for hubby’s sister’s wedding and the kids & I are heading to the beach with my mom and step-dad this month too! Good times for sure.

Books I read June (In order of completion)

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

 

Coming Up in July

My sister-in-law’s wedding

Bug being a flower girl

VA trip

Beach trip

 

 

Goals for July

RELAX

Juggle mama life and blogging life!

Write some reviews and posts

Try to get ahead and stay ahead on blogging

 

July Releases I’m Excited For

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

DC SuperHero Girls

Magic Tree House: Night of the Ninth Dragon

 

July TBR

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

Lois Lane Fallout by Gwenda Bond

 

 

 

2016 Reading Challenge (completed in bold)

A book based on a fairy tale: The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

A National Book Award Winner

A YA Bestseller: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

A book you haven’t read since high school

A book set in your home state

A book translated to English: Dream of the Rood by Cynewulf

A romance set in the future: Their Fractured Light by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner

A book set in Europe: The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory

A book that’s under 150 pages: The Hidden Prince by Jodi Meadows

A New York Times Bestseller: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

A book that’s becoming a movie this year

A book recommended by someone you just met

A self-improvement book

A book you can finish in a day: Princes in the Tower by Alison Weir

A book written by a celebrity

A political memoir: Memoir of Marguerite de Valois by Marguerite de Valois

A book at least 100 years older than you: Beowulf by Unknown

A book that’s more than 600 pages

A book from Oprah’s Book Club

A science-fiction novel

A book recommended by a family member

A graphic novel

A book that is published in 2016: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

A book with a protagonist who has your occupation: American Wife by Taya Kyle

A book that takes place during summer

A book and its prequel: The Winner’s Curse & Bridge of Snow by Marie Rutkoski

A murder mystery

A book written by a comedian

A dystopian novel

A book with a blue cover: My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins et al

A book of poetry: Holy Sonnets by John Donne

The first book you see in a bookstore

A classic from the 20th century

A book from the library

An autobiography: The History of the Bloody Massacres of the Protestants in the Year of Our Lord, 1572 by Jacques Auguste de Thou

A book about a road trip

A book about a culture you’re unfamiliar with: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

A satirical book

A book that takes place on an island

A book that’s guaranteed to bring you joy

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 23 February – 9 March 2014 March 9, 2014

I’m not exactly on track as I was hoping I would be. But that’s okay. On paper I’m still well ahead. I just have to get it from paper to computer. That’s what I’m working on today while the kiddos are napping. The last two weeks have been busy for my family. Birthdays and drill. Good times! Now it’s back to the grind. I really want to be solidly ahead before my hubby goes to a military class this month. I know thinks will probably get a bit crazy. Kiddos miss their daddy when he’s away for work. We’ll make do! Hope your last few weeks have been going well!

Completed:

A Tale of Two Centuries by Rachel Harris. 4 stars

Cress by Marissa Meyer. 4 stars

Divergent by Veronica Roth. 4 stars

Insurgent by Veronica Roth. 4 stars

Currently Reading:

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Read to the Kiddos:

Again, I’ve been bad about keeping track. However! I have an idea mulling around in my head involving the kiddos and books, so I will have to get better about keeping track!

New to my shelf:

From the library: (audiobooks)

Pete the Cat Valentine’s Day is Cool by James Dean

Pete the Cat Saves Christmas by James Dean

Pete the Cat Too Cool for School by James Dean

How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon? By Jane Yolen

Pete the Cat The Wheels on the Bus by James Dean

Pete the Cat Pete at the Beach by James Dean

Pete the Cat Pete’s Big Lunch by James Dean

How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? By Jane Yolen

My Farm Friends by Wendell Minor

Pete the Cat Old MacDonald Had a Farm by James Dean

Purchased:

Cress by Marissa Meyer

Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz

The Atlantis Complex by Eoin Colfer

100 Days and 99 Nights by Alan Madison (saving this for the kiddos for when deployment rolls around)

That’s Not My Meerkat by Fiona Watt (for the birthday girl!)

 

Hello August, Goodbye July! August 1, 2013

Hello, Goodbye

Hello, August! I still can’t believe it’s already August. I feel like July just started and we were at the beach! We’ve been back in our house for almost a full month, but the kitchen still isn’t 100% finished. It’s functional, though, so we’re dealing. July was a very busy month in our house, and August is looking to be just as busy. I was hoping to start some preschool things this month, but with the kitchen remodel, the office has been neglected. I now aim to start the first week of September! (If I start before that, great, September is the ultimate start date goal!)

We had a pretty busy reading month. The kiddos and I are starting to get back in our routine of going to the library twice a week. Since Punk spent this past weekend with my step-dad, we didn’t read our weekend books, so we’ll just be going once this week. Which is okay, no need to go to the library when we have a full checkout list and none of them have been finished! For me, I read some great books and I read some mediocre books. With the kids, we read some good books. I’ve greatly enjoyed getting into blogging, and hope that each month gets better. I currently have two reviews planned to be coming soon, one was already planned, one got added today. I’m thinking of adding a few more, depends on how reading this month goes. I may even randomly decide to do one of the kids’ books!

Books I read in July (in order of completion):
Beth Revis – Across the Universe
Marie Lu – Prodigy
Philippa Gregory – The Red Queen see my review here
Ally Condie – Matched
Ally Condie – Crossed
Marissa Meyer – Cinder see my review here

The kids and I read twenty new books this month. If you are interested in our list, feel free to check out my 2013 Challenge list on Goodreads! We read so many books a week, it’s too many to post a giant list each month. I will keep posting our weekly reads in my wrap ups though! You can also see them there.

I finished a few quiet book pages this month, and I’m very pleased with that. I hope that I can finish a few more this month. I would like to get all of the ones I’ve started completed because I have a list a mile long on new ones I want to do as well. A few of the completed ones I think I may redo.

July, you were a good month, with a great vacation getaway with the hubby’s family, full of reading great new books, and as always, time with my wonderful family. Thanks for the memories, and here’s to a wonderful August!

Coming in August

  • Hubby’s annual training with the Army National Guard
  • Hubby’s birthday
  • One of my best friends’ birthdays
  • The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie release
  • Prepping for my first 5k in September!
  • One of my nephews’ birthdays

 

Just realised that tomorrow, our first deployment ended three years ago! How time flies! Some days it feels like deployment ended yesterday, and here we are two kids and a house purchase later!

What were your favourite things in July? What are you looking forward to in August?

 

 
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