The Whimsical Mama

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

Waiting on Wednesday #88: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue by Mackenzi Lee April 12, 2017

eb176-newwow

Waiting on Wednesday” is a weekly event hosted by Jill at the Breaking The Spine. It showcases upcoming releases we’re anticipating!

My pick of the week is:

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

By: Mackenzi Lee

Coming: 20 June 2017

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Summary:

When lifelong friends Monty and Percy embark on their Grand Tour of 18th-century Europe, they stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris’s glittering finery to the haunted, sinking islands of Venice–along the way fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other.

Why I’m excited:

 

Why I need you to be excited:

 

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 17 – 30 May 2015 May 30, 2015

Filed under: Books — Maura @ 11:45 pm
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More good reading weeks! We also got to spend some time with hubby’s family Memorial Day weekend. One of his cousins got married and we traveled to Knoxville to celebrate. It was an absolute blast and we wish them many years of happiness! ❤ I’m buckling down and getting caught up on blog work. I would like to get far enough ahead that I only have to sit down maybe once a week or so to work on the blog. I’m going to take it slow again this summer, but I’m also sticking to my schedule. Hoping if I can get enough work done in the next two weeks, I’ll be ready! Hubby’s military schedule is all shades of crazy this summer, so it’ll mostly be me and the kiddos on our own. Sucks, but it is what it is.

 affiliate links used below

Completed:

The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter

The Heir by Kiera Cass

A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab

Nothing but Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Currently Reading:

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick

New to My Shelf:
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
Twerp by Mark Goldblatt
Finding the Worm by Mark Goldblatt(Both Goldblatt books were sent by Cassie McGinty for a review! I haven’t decided if the reviews will go up here or on Voyages of the Backyard Explorers yet! Maybe BOTH! haha)

From Mary: (She’s the bestest best friend ever)

A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefanoARC (My TBR may just fly out the window for this one! <3)
Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth WeinARC
The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski(She surprised me with a finished copy! Also got my ARC signed <3)
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell(Take THAT USPS! I STILL HAVE IT!)

Trades: (Thanks, SO MUCH!)

Brazen by Katherine Longshore
Mortal Heart by Robin LaFeversARC
Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne BlankmanARC
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine KuderickARC
The Fall by Bethany GriffinARC
Doll Bones by Holly BlackARC
The Luxe by Anna Godbersen
All Fall Down by Ally CarterARC
The Demigod Diaries by Rick Riordan
A Cold Legacy by Megan ShepherdARC (My collection is complete now!)
Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
These Broken Stars by Aime Kaufman & Megan SpoonerARC
Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Clariel by Garth NixARC

 

Bout of Books 13 Wrap-Up May 18, 2015

affiliate links used below

I intended to participate in the last Bout of Books, but didn’t. I can’t remember what came up, but life happened. So I wrote the next date down in my planner. I had a blast this week with Bout of Books! I missed both chats, thanks to the kiddos, but it is what it is. I picked three books for my official TBR:The Fault in Our Stars,An Ember in the Ashes, and The Wrath and the Dawn. I only finished The Fault in Our Stars and The Wrath and the Dawn of these three. I did get a lot of reading done though. I read a total of 2,101 pages! True enough, 6 of the 7 books were audiobooks, but I still read! My favourite is a tie between The Wrath and the Dawn and The Fault in Our Stars. I faced a big fear when I read The Fault in Our Stars. My Gran was diagnosed with leukemia over a year ago, and I just haven’t been ready for any cancer books. Especially when I had had the ending spoiled for me. Cancer & death. I just wasn’t ready. Then talking with Lauren on the drive to see Sarah J Maas in Nashville on the 8th, we talked about a lot of things. She convinced me to go ahead and read it. I did and I’m so glad I did. Now to write ALL the reviews haha. Gotta get caught up!

Books completed:

The Fault in Our Stars

White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements)

The Goddess Test

The Goddess Hunt (Goddess Test)

Goddess Interrupted

The Goddess Inheritance (A Goddess Test Novel)

The Wrath and the Dawn

 

*ARC Review* Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White May 10, 2015

***mild spoilers may follow***

***affiliate links are used***

Rating:  5 stars
Pub date: 9 September 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal
Format: e-ARC, provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Status: standalone

Summary:

Downton Abbey meets Cassandra Clare in this lush, romantic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White.

“I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have.”

Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.

Kiersten White captured readers’ hearts with her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy and its effortless mix of magic and real-world teenage humor. She returns to that winning combination of wit, charm, and enchantment in Illusions of Fate, a sparkling and romantic new novel perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, The Madman’s Daughter, and Libba Bray..

My thoughts:
I was ecstatic when Illusions of Fate popped up on Edelweiss! I mean, LOOK AT THAT COVER! It’s GORGEOUS! Plus the description having Downton Abbey and Cassandra Clare in it definitely piqued my interest. Usually comparisons and perfect for fans of turn me away, but sometimes curiosity gets me. Especially when a gorgeous cover is involved! I love Downton Abbey and The Infernal Devices, so a book with elements of both? YES, PLEASE!

I have only read Kiersten’s Mind Games duology, (review) so I was familiar with her writing, but Illusions of Fate is an entirely different beast. It’s definitely, hands down, my favourite of the three I’ve read. Mind Games was okay/good, but Illusions of Fate knocked it out of the park.

Leading lady Jessamin left her island home to further her education. She is faced with racial discrimination. She is darker skinned than her classmates and is poor. Wealth and privilege are the ways of the land. (Sounds familiar, right?) Her estranged father is a professor at her school, but ignores her existence. She doesn’t let that get her down though. She is determined to fulfill her dreams. I related to Jessamin through her use of sarcasm. Sarcasm FTW! (: The most refreshing thing about this delightful fantasy (besides being a standalone!) is that Jessamin isn’t a damsel in distress. She has the brains and courage to take care of herself in troublesome situations. Her fatal flaw is her stubbornness though. She doesn’t seek help even when she truly needs it. (Ouch, that sounds familiar…)

It was also fascinating to see how Kiersten handled racism/discrimination in Illusions of Fate. Jessamin is a person of colour and discriminated as such, but she also discriminates against those unlike herself. I believe Kiersten takes a delicate and very important subject and spins it into her world beautifully.

The world of Illusions of Fate is complex and thoroughly fleshed out. It would’ve been so easy to keep things drawn out and spin into a duology or even a trilogy, but Kiersten does a fantastic job of keeping the story concise while putting layer upon layer of complexity to her characters and the world.

The storyline is neatly wrapped up in the end, but I feel it leaves just enough of a void for a new story to take off if so desired. I absolutely love that Illusions of Fate is a standalone. No long commitments of waiting for a new book each year, but I also wouldn’t be opposed to a companion novel sometime.

Kiersten creates a beautiful and addicting world, and you’ll find yourself wanting to devour it in one sitting. I loved it so much I had to have a physical copy for my shelves!

About the Author
Hi! I’m the New York Times best-selling author of Paranormalcy and Supernaturally. I also give the most awkward hugs in the world. You should probably opt for one of my books over one of my hugs, but then again, maybe you like awkward hugs.

As for me, I like writing flirting scenes, and fighting scenes, and sometimes I write scenes that fall somewhere in between the two, but only if I can’t avoid it.

I don’t check my GR inbox, but feel free to get in touch via ways listed on my website!
http://www.emerylord.com/p/site-qs.html

 

Hello May, Goodbye April, 2015! May 1, 2015

Filed under: Books,Hello Goodbye Monthly Review — Maura @ 12:05 am
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I thought about including the months since my last Hello, Goodbye post, but then I thought about how many books I’ve read and shuddered lol. So! I decided to just start back with the current month. Crazy to think we’re almost halfway through 2015 already! Summer is quickly approaching and I’m super happy. My kiddos love to play outside and super cold days are no fun being cooped up in the house with them. I do love the snow, and so do they, but we much prefer to not be on top of each other all day long. A lot happened in April! My dad got remarried. My aunt and uncle are in from New Mexico! YAY! I’m trying to figure out if I can sneak back to New Mexico in one of their suitcases haha.

affiliate links used

Books I read in April (in order of completion)

This Shattered World: A Starbound Novel by Aime Kaufman & Megan Spooner
The Heir Apparent by Lauren DeStefano
This Night So Dark (The Starbound Trilogy) by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner
Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy Book 1) by Cassandra Clare
The Lost Herondale (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy Book 2) by Cassandra Clare
Frozen (Taken) by Erin Bowman
Forged (Taken) by Erin Bowman
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
The Artemis Fowl #2: Arctic Incident Graphic Novel 1st (first) Edition by Colfer, Eoin (2009)
Artemis Fowl The Eternity Code Graphic Novel by Eoin Colfer
Artemis Fowl The Opal Deception Graphic Novel by Eoin Colfer

 

Coming up in May:

Sarah J Maas signing in Nashville

My dad’s birthday!

Mother’s Day! (:

Memorial Day

 

Reviews posted

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

Most visited
Secret Sister March Unwrapped
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Have You Seen This?
Please Be Kind, Rewind 12-18 April 2015
Top Ten Tuesday #71 Characters I’d Like to Check In With
Waiting on Wednesday #41: The Heir by Kiera Cass

 

Goals for May

Stay ahead of schedule

Learn to successfully juggle two blogs

Spend time focused on the kiddos

 

May releases I’m excited for:
The Cage by Megan Shepherd
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
The Heir (The Selection Stories) by Kiera Cass
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

 

May TBR:
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
The Heir (The Selection Stories) by Kiera Cass
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
The Cage by Megan Shepherd

 

Challenge Update:

2015 PopSugar Reading Challenge books completed:

A book with more than 500 pages: Brazen by Katherine Longshore

A book published in 2015: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

A book with a number in the title: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

A book with non-human characters: This Shattered World: A Starbound Novel by Aime Kaufman & Megan Spooner

A book with a one – word title:Forged (Taken) by Erin Bowman

A book set in a different country: The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

A popular author’s first book: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

A book set somewhere you want to visit: (Scotland) A Cold Legacy (Madman’s Daughter) by Megan Shepherd

A trilogy: The Hunger Games Trilogy Box Set by Suzanne Collins

A book set in high school: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

A book with a colour in the title: The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

A graphic novel: Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel

A book based on/turned into TV:Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

How was your April? What’s up for May?

 

End of the Year Survey 2014 January 3, 2015

Filed under: Books,End of Year Survey — Maura @ 12:00 am
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2014 End Of Year Book Survey

Last year was my first full year (partially) of blogging. I hit my one year of blogging in July. I didn’t post as much in the summer because I was enjoying as much time with my kiddos as possible. When I was ready to jump back in, the KH incident happened and honestly, it scared me a bit. So, I continued my step back from blogging. The safety of my family comes first and it always will. I’m ready to start blogging again though. I’ve missed it more than I thought I would. It was great to look back on my 2013 End of the Year Survey and then reflect on 2014. Once again, all the graphics are from Jamie.

***Affiliate links used below***

reading-stats-2014

Number Of Books You Read: 210 total, 122 personal reads
Number of Re-Reads: 20 (I really thought it was more!)
Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy (duh)

 best-YA-books-2014

1. Best Book You Read In 2014?

Contemporary:
Find Me


This book. Oh. Wow.

Dystopian:
Defiance (Defiance Trilogy)

I didn’t spend the time on this that it deserved, but it is a beautiful dystopian/fantasy that I can’t wait to re-read and finish the trilogy!

Historical Fiction:
The Ring and the Crown

I’m a glutton for historical fiction AND Melissa de la Cruz books. This book was superb. I absolutely adored the alternate historical timeline that Melissa created. I am DYING for book two. *crosses fingers and toes for an ARC*

Paranormal:
Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone)

Once again, I owe another great new book discovery to Mary. She’s been on my case to read these forever. I still have to finish book three, but these are such a great read!

Science Fiction:
Cress (The Lunar Chronicles)

Not my favourite of the series, but it was still great! I’m looking forward to Fairest: The Lunar Chronicles: Levana’s Story
and Winter this year.

Fantasy:
Illusions of Fate

I have a love-hate relationship with this one. Holy wow that Kiersten created this to be a standalone. Fantasy is not an easy thing to do that way. And GRRRR for this being a standalone! I would love to explore this world more! And look at that cover. BAM!

 

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

After the End


*RAGES FOR DAYS*

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014? 

17 First Kisses


If you know me at all, you know contemporary is NOT my thing. That’s why I was completely shocked by how much I adored this standalone debut!

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?

Oceanborn (The Aquarathi) (English Edition)


I LOVE Amalie and her books. I will push Waterfell (The Aquarathi) and Oceanborn forever! PLEASE HarlequinTeen, I NEED MORE!!!! I definitely pushed it the most, not sure how many people read what I suggest!

 5. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?

These Broken Stars (Starbound)


Though this is technically a standalone, it’s also part of a trilogy and it’s INCREDIBLE. Oh wow. This audiobook. *swoons*

Frozen (Taken)


This definitely does NOT suffer a sophomore slump. So man feels. So much love. Book three noooooooow.

Evertrue: An Everneath Novel


*iz dead* So incredible. So happy I got to meet Brodi and gush over this beautiful series.

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?

Dirty Little Secret


Again, still not a contemporary fan, but (thanks to Mary, duh) I am a HUGE Jennifer Echols fan now!

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Open Road Summer

I seem to owe, Mary a lot for book recommendations! She asked me if I would be interested in reading and reviewing this for Bloomsbury. I said yes! She’s usually good on recommending books I’ll love, so I try to give them a shot. Emery’s debut is spectacular!

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

The One (The Selection)

I don’t know what it was about this trilogy. I could NOT put it down! It was like crack!

 9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

The Jewel

 This debut was fantabulous and I can’t wait for book two!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?

Her Dark Curiosity (Madman’s Daughter)

 

I can’t wait til A Cold Legacy is out and I can have the pretties on my shelf! These covers are gorgeous!

11. Most memorable character of 2014?

Rose Under Fire

 Code Name Verity was rough, but oh, man, Rose Under Fire ripped my heart out and stomped all over it. Rose is just a powerful character!

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?

Kiss of Broken Glass

Being written in verse was a huge switch up for the year and I loved how this flowed. It spoke to me on a deep level and I finished it super quickly.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014?

The Impossible Knife of Memory

Army wife. PTSD. Who I am and what I fear most. Laurie Halse Anderson took a topic supremely close to my heart and showcased it beautifully. I bawled, I laughed, I loved it wholeheartedly. Read it.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read? 

Throne of Glass

I know, I know! Honestly, if I hadn’t had the chance to meet Sarah J Maas at YALLFest, I probably would still be waiting to read it! The wait between Harry Potter books was excruciating. Committing to another long series was just a tough decision. I definitely will love rereading them though!

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?

“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.” Biggest Flirts
Biggest Flirts (The Superlatives)

1. Um. Hello description of me! I swear, Jenn followed me in HS to create her characters in The Superlatives! I see so much of HS me in all of them! ❤

“We don’t choose who we love, her mother had once said. Love sweeps you off your feet like a riptide, and leaves you blind by the time you find your footing on the shore.” Stolen
Stolen: A Novella (Taken)

2. This is so me falling in love with the hubby! I wasn’t expecting it, and I was swept up quickly. So beautiful.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

Little Knife: A Tor.Com Original (THE GRISHA)

Shortest! Oh, this trilogy and its novellas.

What to Expect the First Year

Actual longest, but I didn’t read all of it (again) in 2014.

City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments)

Actual longest completed. Bittersweet feeling.

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

Frozen: Heart of Dread, Book One

I so did NOT think it was possible for MDLC to write something I disliked so much. Guess there always has to be something, right? I was just SO let down with this. UGH!

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

Night of Cake & Puppets (Kindle Single) (Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy)

Zuzana and Mik FOREVS! ❤

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Blue Bloods 3-Book Boxed Set

So, they’re from a re-read like last year’s favourite pair, but OH MAN do I love Oliver & Schuyler’s relationship!

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

The Orphan Queen

Hands down my favourite from a previously read author. HOLY WOW. I’m dying for the Black Knife novellas!

21. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy)

Mary, stop glaring at me through the computer for taking so long to read this! I am so in love with this series! I plan to read it over and over through the years!

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?

The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy)

Oh, Ronan. I loved you so much in The Winner’s Curse. Then reasons.

23. Best 2014 debut you read?

Rites of Passage

This. Book. Read it. Now. Do it. Love it. Tell Joy how much you love it. Kthnxbai

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Snow Like Ashes

Holy wow. This world building. I was THERE. Sara is INCREDIBLE. I can haz book two?

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

The Selection

Stupid grinned through this. The Selection = Twilight for me. I don’t know WHY I love them so much, but I just DO. #TeamMaxon

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?

The Book Thief

Bawled like a freaking baby through physical copy/audiobook and then bawled even harder watching the movie.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

The Falconer: Book 1

So much love for this gem! I’m impatiently waiting to see if the UK will be out in print before ARCs are out here for book 2 to see how I get my hands on it! I need to know THINGS.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

If I Stay

My feels. Dead. Dead, dead, dead. Sobbed so hard.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?

Dark Metropolis

Definitely some unexpected twists in this gem that made it so much better! Definitely an underdog that needs more love!

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Allegiant (Divergent Series)


REASONS. *RAGES FOR YEARS* This is a duology, man. Allegiant does not exist. >.< DEAD TO ME.

.

book-blogging

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014? 

I made friends with a lot of new bloggers on Twitter, but I dropped the ball on checking out their blogs. /: I plan to remedy that in 2015!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014? 

EESH! I can’t pick just one!

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

My Tot Time Thursday feature I started seemed to be getting a lot of hits! I’m excited to see if it will still do well when I start it up again! (:

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

See below! But also, the Brodi/Jodi signing at the beginning of 2014! I love their books so much and it was great to get to meet Brodi Ashton, CJ Redwine, and Myra McEntire in person. And of course, it’s always awesome to get to see Jodi!

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014?

YALLFEST. Hands down, going to YALLFest. Because THESE happened

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Me with Leigh Bardugo *fangirls for days*

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Brendan Reichs!

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SO FLIPPING AWESTRUCK. KATHY FREAKING REICHS.

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Scott Westerfeld!

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LOVED meeting this fantabulous husband-wife duo! ❤

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SUCH a trooper! Her line was ridiculous AND she was sick.

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So happy I got to meet half of the lovely TeaTime ladies! ❤ Aubry!

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*iz dead* So my book didn’t get personalised for timing reasons, BUT I still got to meet her and talk to her! She is SUCH a sweetheart! ❤

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

My Blogoversary post!

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

A lot of them, but I am so thankful for the views of people who have been checking in every day to see if I’ve come back to blogging yet. You guys are AWESOME and I AM BACK because of YOU! ❤

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Bookoutlet and Book Depository!

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I did, I did! I wanted to read 100 for me books and I surpassed it! I also set a Goodreads goal of 200 and I passed it as well. I was involved with a few challenges, but I stopped keeping track of them about halfway through the year. I think I completed most of them though!

 

looking-ahead-books-2015

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015?

Captive (The Blackcoat Rebellion)

I am so excited to see where the action goes next!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?

The Cage

I have adored Megan’s Madman’s Daughter trilogy and I can’t wait to see where her new series goes!

3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Red Queen

This cover. I am so excited! I’ve been seeing some mixed things on it, so I hope I come out loving it!

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2015?

A Cold Legacy (Madman’s Daughter)

I’m so not ready to say goodbye yet!

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2015?

I hope to make sure I read to my children every single day. Doesn’t matter if it’s just a passage from what I’m reading and Punk asks or a children’s book. Just make time for them and read to them.

6. A 2015 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

Burning Kingdoms (The Internment Chronicles)

Pre-order this and read it and Perfect Ruin (The Internment Chronicles)
. Do it. Do it for the kitties. (;

 

Flashback Friday #5: City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare September 12, 2014

Flashback Friday is a feature I started here on The Whimsical Mama featuring books I read before I started blogging. Most reviews will come after rereading the book again. This is a biweekly feature. This week’s selection is:

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

Rating: 5 stars
Pub date: 8 May 2012
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry Books, Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Format: hardcover, personal copy ,audiobook, via library
Status: Book five of The Mortal Instruments series

Summary:
The New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments continues—and so do the thrills and danger for Jace, Clary, and Simon.

What price is too high to pay, even for love? When Jace and Clary meet again, Clary is horrified to discover that the demon Lilith’s magic has bound her beloved Jace together with her evil brother Sebastian, and that Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is out to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. As Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle wheedle and bargain with Seelies, demons, and the merciless Iron Sisters to try to save Jace, Clary plays a dangerous game of her own. The price of losing is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost?

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.

My thoughts:

The reread binge has come to an end for The Mortal Instruments. I ended up forcing myself to take my time with City of Lost Souls because I ended up reading through the series faster than I anticipated. I would’ve started with The Infernal Devices if I had known I’d be able to breeze through soquickly. I still have to say I don’t like Sebastian as an adversary. I still prefer Valentine. Sebastian feels too evil to be believable. The action surrounding him in City of Lost Souls is better than in City of Fallen Angels. The first read, I had a sense of maybe things could’ve changed just like Clary. My second read, I could see that he’s too evil to be redeemed. This time around, I feel like the quest to save Jace is too drawn out. Some of the adventures of Jace, Clary, and Sebastian are too much of page fillers. Also the change in Jace is so drastic, he becomes unlikable for me. A brave move by Clare, but one I wish hadn’t happened. I also feel that Isabelle is abit out of character. I think it works nicely though because she’s never felt the way she does about Simon. That first rush of love is always unsettling even for someone as sure and confident as Izzy. I love that Jordan and Maia are working through their issues. They are easily my favourite couple in this book. I wish we’d gotten to see more of Luke and Jocelyn’s romance. Not delving into it makes me fear for their safety in City of Heavenly Fire. Why put so much work into something you’re going to destroy? The relationship between Clary and Sebastian truly makes my skin crawl. He is definitely one character I absolutely despise. Not just dislike, but outright hatred. I still feel the first trilogy half is the stronger of the two trilogies in this series. City of Lost Souls is stronger than City of Fallen Angels, but I still feel like it’s filler to set up for the epic showdown in City of Heavenly Fire. I have a feeling Jace has a larger role with the heavenly fire part. There is definitely action and unexpected twists which were incredible the first read, but not as thrilling the second time around. I can understand the beating a dead horse feel with more and more books being cranked out in this universe. I’ve already ordered City of Heavenly Fire. I think I will  borrow the next series before deciding to buy it. Hopefully, it will be more on the level of The Infernal Devices and first half of The Mortal Instruments. The more I think about it, the more I feel the second trilogy hasn’t been as well executed.

About the author:

“Cassandra Clare was born overseas and spent her early years traveling around the world with her family and several trunks of fantasy books. Cassandra worked for several years as an entertainment journalist for the Hollywood Reporter before turning her attention to fiction. She is the author of City of Bones, the first book in the Mortal Instruments trilogy and a New York Times bestseller. Cassandra lives with her fiance and their two cats in Massachusetts.”

You can find me online at

http://www.cassandraclare.com

I have a blog:

http://cassandraclare.livejournal.com/

and a Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/Cassandraclare

and a Twitter:

http://www.twitter.com/cassieclare

 

*Blog Tour* The Jewel by Amy Ewing August 31, 2014

 

The Jewel (The Lone City #1)

by Amy Ewing

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: September 2nd 2014

Rate: 4 stars

Synopsis:
The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.
Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.
Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence… and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for. 

The first thing that caught my attention for The Jewel, was the cover. It’s GORGEOUS! I threw the don’t judge a book by its cover rule right out the window on this one. Not even knowing the summary, I knew I wanted to give this book a read. Once I knew it was a dystopian? It became a MUST read.

Violet was a fantastic main character. She was instantly intriguing and I would love to know more how these mysterious powers are passed along through families. Especially why only the females have the gene. I understand why the royalty brought in surrogates for a while, but after a while, I don’t understand why the practice wasn’t thrown out. But if it had been, there wouldn’t be a story!
The main thing I loved about Violet was that she’s a musician. As a fellow musician, I loved the emphasis on her talents. I contemplated digging through my classical cds to add them to my ipod to listen to while I read. I never did because that would’ve cut into reading time. I blew through it quickly as it was, so I didn’t want any distractions from reading! The Jewel screams to have music added to the audiobook in the style of If I Stay/Where She Went (IMHO!)
Other than the unexpected romance twist, the BIGGEST problem I had was the lack of historical explanation. I wanted to know what happened to create this government. In most cases it’s been war, but nothing is said. It’s kind of explained how this government formed, but not the situations that made it necessary. As this is a trilogy, I’m hoping it will be explained in the future!
This was totally capable of being a full 5 star rating, but I didn’t care for the eventual romance. In a way, I was hoping it wouldn’t be a factor in the book at all (I am firmly in the a book doesn’t HAVE to have romance to be a good book camp). I was also figuring the romance would be with someone else. Since I was expecting it to be with an entirely different character, I was a bit disappointed with how things panned out.
Along side Violet, there is an incredible cast of characters that gives such depth to The Jewel. I had a love-hate relationship with the Duchess. I want to know what’s happening to Raven. Lucian is totally a new Cinna and I love it. I’m most intrigued by Garnet. I want him front and centre in book 2!
Just when you think you have things figured out, Amy takes things in another direction. I’m so interested and excited to see where things go from here. The cliffhanger at the end is BRUTAL. That’s one of the downfalls of reading ARCs or starting a new series that isn’t completed. The wait is going to be a tough one! I need book 2 NOW.
I definitely recommend The Jewel to dystopian fantasy readers. It’s an intriguing and quick read. It definitely keeps you on your toes and guessing what could be coming next. I plan on continuing this trilogy and definitely plan on purchasing a finished copy! The cover is beautiful and will make a gorgeous addition to my shelves.

 

 










 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg
Follow the FFBC The Jewel Blog Tour and don’t miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.
Amy Ewing is the young adult author of THE JEWEL, the first in a trilogy from HarperTeen, coming out September 2014.
She grew up in a small town outside Boston, where her librarian mother instilled a deep love of reading at a young age. Amy moved to New York City in 2000 to study theater at New York University. Unfortunately, her acting career didn’t quite pan out. She worked in restaurants, as an administrative assistant, a nanny, and a sales representative for a wine distributor before the lack of creativity in her life drove her to begin writing.
Amy received her MFA in Creative Writing for Children from The New School, where she was lucky enough to meet a fabulous community of YA writers who keep her sane on a daily basis. She lives in Harlem, where she spends her days writing, eating cheese, and occasionally binge watching The Vampire Diaries.
Win (1) of (3) copies of The Jewel (Us Only)

 

 

Flashback Friday #4: City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare August 29, 2014

Flashback Friday is a feature I started here on The Whimsical Mama featuring books I read before I started blogging. Most reviews will come after rereading the book again. This is a biweekly feature. This week’s selection is:

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

Rating: 4 stars
Pub date: 5 April 2011
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry Books, Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Format: paperback, personal copy ,audiobook, via library
Status: Book four of The Mortal Instruments series

Summary:

The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And—most importantly of all—she can finally call Jace her boyfriend.

But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering Shadowhunters, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her—his mother just found out that he’s a vampire, and now he’s homeless. When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: she herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.

The stakes are higher than ever in the #1 New York Times bestselling fourth installment of the Mortal Instruments series.

My thoughts:

The first book of the second trilogy of The Mortal Instruments series feels a bit off par to the first three books. It picks up shortly after the events of City of Glass. Jace and Clary are happily together though Jace is having some issues. Simon is struggling dating Isabelle and Maia and fails to see how that’s a bad idea.

The plot is exciting and the twist at the end is mind blowing. I honestly don’t know why this feels lacking compared to the others. Maybe because things felt like they were pretty neatly tied up and now a new series of events are stirring up. I also like Valentine as a villain much better than Sebastian – or Lilith.

I did like that we have a bit of perspective toss up. It’s a progressive adjustment from the beginning of the series and I think it works nicely. I especially love the Malec scenes. They’re my favourite couple.

My favourite non couple pairing for scenes was Simon and Jace. I love the bickering. It’s the best. It’s even better when Kyle is thrown in.

I liked getting to see the background between Jordan Kyle and Maia. It’s a very tragic story but great that they’re going to have a chance to work through things.

My first read of The Mortal Instruments after reading The Infernal Devices, I was super excited to see Brother Zachariah. I wish there’d been more of him in it.

I still recommend this series, I just recommend the first trilogy half more strongly than I recommend the second set. This could change once I read City of Heavenly Fire. I do love City of Lost Souls as well. I’m just less than thrilled with City of Fallen Angels. As great as the first three are, I feel all this one does is set up the next trilogy.

About the author:

“Cassandra Clare was born overseas and spent her early years traveling around the world with her family and several trunks of fantasy books. Cassandra worked for several years as an entertainment journalist for the Hollywood Reporter before turning her attention to fiction. She is the author of City of Bones, the first book in the Mortal Instruments trilogy and a New York Times bestseller. Cassandra lives with her fiance and their two cats in Massachusetts.”

You can find me online at

www.cassandraclare.com

I have a blog:

http://cassandraclare.livejournal.com/

and a Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/Cassandraclare

and a Twitter:

www.twitter.com/cassieclare

 

Flashback Friday #3: City of Glass by Cassandra Clare July 18, 2014

Flashback Friday is a feature I started here on The Whimsical Mama featuring books I read before I started blogging. Most reviews will come after rereading the book again. This is a biweekly feature. This week’s selection is:

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

Rating: 5 stars
Pub date: 24 March 2009
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry Books, Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Format: paperback, personal copy ,audiobook, via library
Status: Book three of The Mortal Instruments series

Summary:
To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters – never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City – whatever the cost?

Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the third installment of the New York Times bestselling series The Mortal Instruments.

 

My thoughts:

Re-reading binge continues with City of Glass. The action picks up shortly after the events of City of Ashes. Preparations are being made to travel to Alicante in Idris. Clary is on a mission to save her mother. Jace tries to leave Clary behind, but the determined Clary makes it anyway.

Along the way, the group comes across several new characters – all of which have an impact on the story. The most important being Sebastian – who isn’t all he seems.

They’re hurtling toward a battle with Valentine and his demon army. He’s certain his hidden followers in the Clave will ensure loyalty to him. He never expected the Clave to align with the Downworlders.

It’s clear that this was originally intended as a trilogy, but enough things are left open for the second trilogy to take place. The battle with Valentine is over, but the battle against Sebastian has only begun.

I really enjoyed getting to see even more perspective in City of Glass than City of Bones or City of Ashes. I really loved having more interaction between Alec and Magnus. I also enjoyed a closer look at Isabelle. She’s a tough warrior, but she also has her own insecurities. I found myself torn over Aline again. I like getting to see other Shadowhunters, but she also feels like an annoying character. She feels like she’s one that has to grow on you.

I will say that the length got to me this time around. Not sure why, but it felt like I was reading two books in one. It might be because I’m excited to see where everything ends up or it might be because I’m trying to remember what happens in each book.

Obviously being longer, there is much more chance for action. City of Glass definitely has highs and lows in action and slowly reveals everything that was alluded to in City of Bones and City of Ashes.

I do believe that you can read the first three books as a trilogy and not feel you have to commit to a six book series. However, I do think the events in the first three are necessary to the story for the next three. I do not see the second trilogy as standalone in their arc. They are reliant on the first three books.

About the author:

“Cassandra Clare was born overseas and spent her early years traveling around the world with her family and several trunks of fantasy books. Cassandra worked for several years as an entertainment journalist for the Hollywood Reporter before turning her attention to fiction. She is the author of City of Bones, the first book in the Mortal Instruments trilogy and a New York Times bestseller. Cassandra lives with her fiance and their two cats in Massachusetts.”

You can find me online at

www.cassandraclare.com

I have a blog:

http://cassandraclare.livejournal.com/

and a Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/Cassandraclare

and a Twitter:

www.twitter.com/cassieclare

 

 
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