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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*ARC Review & Blog Tour* The Fulfillment by Erin Rhew October 22, 2015

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***I was granted permission to read this galley before publication by the author in exchange for an honest review and to participate in the author’s blog tour***

***mild spoilers may follow***


Rating:  4 stars
Pub date: 15 October 2015
Publisher: BookFish Books
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Format: ebook, eARC, provided by the author
Status: Book three of The Fulfillment Series

Summary:

Layla’s world tumbles out of control when she discovers the truth of her parentage and realizes the Prophecy—the one she upended her entire life to defend—is incomplete. When her new friends share the entire Prophecy, the revelations contained within it alter her destiny and challenge everything she and Wil believe in. Now, she must confront the Outlander queen to save the Ethereal kingdom while grappling with this new reality.

Tortured and imprisoned, Nash accepts his fate and offers the First Ones the one thing he has left to give: his life. In a desperate attempt to save the people he loves most, he surrenders himself to the Outlander queen and a destiny darker than he could have ever dreamed possible.

Wil, tormented by the consequences of his choices, realizes he may never be able to uphold his end of the Prophecy. His mistake casts a deep, foreboding shadow over his kingdom and those he loves, while its ripples threaten to shatter both the Prophecy and everything he and his family have sworn to protect.

In this epic conclusion, lives are lost, kingdoms clash, friendships are tested, and love and fate collide.

My thoughts:

Another year, another blog tour with Erin! (: It’s so hard to believe that The Fulfillment trilogy has come to an end. It has been one incredible ride and I am sorry to see these characters go! I may ramble for a bit because I just finished and I am at a loss for words. It happens almost every time I finish a series, you think I would be used to it by now! Haha.

My biggest regret with The Fulfillment was not rereading The Prophecy or The Outlanders again before jumping in. I just ran out of time. Life got crazy and cut into reading time! That being said, I KNOW it impacted my reading. There were things I couldn’t for the life of me remember. This was a (basically) one sitting read. I had to run and pick up Punk from pre-k, but I didn’t stop reading at all today. I had started, but got distracted, so I re-read today JUST IN CASE.

We pick back up right where we left off in The Outlanders. (I have to say the absolute best thing about this one was THERE COULD NOT BE A CLIFFHANGER!!! MWAHAHAHA!! Sorry… Erin drove me crazy with the first two and I have taken immense delight in the fact it couldn’t happen again). I am keeping my review major spoiler free, but a few minor ones might slip. I was so happy to be back in Erin’s world again. I’m not sure if it was everything not being 100% fresh or multiple “Mommy! I loves you!” from Bug this morning, but it took me a while to get going. Once I got settled in and things started to pop up in my memory, things just kept rolling and rolling.

I will give Erin major kudos. I had an idea of how things were going to play out (and I was right on most of it), but the way she had twists pop up are done well enough that it makes you question if your suspicions could possibly be right. There were a few, I’m gonna chuck my kindle across the room if this happens moments too. Not gonna lie.

This is so hard without going spoilery! This trilogy really has it all. Magic, romance, fighting. It’s everything you want in a fantasy series. Erin does a fantastic job answering every question that she has presented.

Where the POV were a bit chaotic for me in The Outlanders (my review), I felt in The Fulfillment, Erin was 110% on her game just like in The Prophecy (my review). This time around, each POV change, I felt connected and THERE. It’s been incredible to be able to see these characters grow.

Of the villains, I think The Fulfillment has the absolute best one. I am failing of thinking of the best way to describe how great this one is! (I’m afraid the name will be too spoilery). The next to last battle was my favourite. Even though there is another battle, I feel like that was the pinnacle. (I’m probably being dense and that IS the pinnacle haha).

It was really hard to see what happens to some of the characters. Other characters, it was all I could do to keep from bouncing up and down in the parent pickup car line. One death didn’t hit me as hard as I thought it would. In a way, it almost felt too convenient and that’s what kept it from getting a 5 star rating. I’m super sad to see these characters go. I’m so honoured that Erin allowed me the chance to be on all three tours. I do feel like a dolt because my review is late. (It’s been a week, folks. It’s been one heck of a week.)

It would be a lie to say everyone got their happily ever after, and I am perfectly okay with that. I like a little real life expectations in my reading. While everything IS tied up neatly with a bow at the end, a hint of the sadness from what the war cost can be felt and I think that’s well done and as it should be. The journey was a great one though! I don’t feel like Erin left anything unanswered. The Prophecy has been fulfilled. *ba dum shh* I totally wouldn’t say no to say, a novella or a few chapters of insight 10 years or so down the road. Just to check in. (;

I would definitely recommend The Fulfillment trilogy to fantasy and young adult fantasy readers. Just make sure you don’t have anything to do. Maybe pick a long weekend or holiday. It’s been an agonising wait between books! You’ll want to read them straight through if you’re anything like me! I’m also super stoked about Erin’s current WIP and I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll be able to be on that tour too!

About the Author

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Erin Rhew is an editor, a running coach, and the author of The Fulfillment Series. Since she picked up Morris the Moose Goes to School at age four, she has been infatuated with the written word. She went on to work as a grammar and writing tutor in college and is still teased by her family and friends for being a member of the “Grammar Police.”
A Southern girl by blood and birth, Erin now lives in a rainy pocket of the Pacific Northwest with the amazingly talented (and totally handsome) writer Deek Rhew and their “overly fluffy,” patient-as-a-saint writing assistant, a tabby cat named Trinity. She and Deek enjoy reading aloud to one another, running, lifting, boxing, eating chocolate, and writing side-by-side.

Find her online:
Twitter: @ErinRhewBooks
Facebook
Website

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Goodbye May – September, Hello October! October 1, 2015

Filed under: Books,Hello Goodbye Monthly Review — Maura @ 12:05 am
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I really can’t believe how quickly this year is flying by! It’s really kinda ridiculous. Totally meant to update May in June. That didn’t happen. Summer was HECTIC. Hoping autumn will be a bit more forgiving and laid back haha. I had a great summer and got a good amount of reading done. For a quick summer recap: In May, I did a down and back trip to Nashville with my friend Lauren to see Sarah J Maas on her ACOTAR tour. AMAZING. Talked publishing and books for hours with the incredible Lizzy Mason. One of hubby’s cousins got married and it was super awesome to get to see part of his family! In June, our English Mastiff, Maggie, was diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy. Her back left leg is limp and drags. She has good days and bad days. There’s no treatment or cure. She’s learned to compensate for the weakness. We’re enjoying her every minute that we can. We know that sooner, rather than later, that we’re going to have to put her down. She’s super excited to be an indoor dog again though! June also brought hubby’s Annual Training with the National Guard. Maggie got sick THE DAY BEFORE he had to leave. It’s always something, I’m telling ya! July brought two beach trips. The kiddos and I went to Northern VA to visit hubby’s side of the family for the Fourth of July at the family cottage on the Potomac. SO MUCH FUN! Bug kept trying to figure out a way to get the newest baby in the family home. HER BABY. Haha. I celebrated my second book blogging anniversary, without actually doing anything. Oops! We also went to the beach with my mom and step-dad. The kiddos love the beach. I am super proud that I made the 6 1/2 hour and 8 hour beach drives solo with the kiddos. We also said goodbye to my 94 year old great-grandmother in July. It was hard. August brought Hubby’s 30th birthday! We also went to the fair with my (ex)step-dad. The kids had such a blast. Bug wanted to ride the BIG rides so bad and was quite upset she was too young. She loved the carousel and the pony rides though. Punk loved the animal exhibits. Punk also started pre-k this year. It hit me hard that I now have a school age kid! He’s loving it and I love that he’s loving it. I’m really enjoying the chance to have some one on one time with Bug. There are some days that she cries and doesn’t want to take Bubby to school. There are others that she cries because she doesn’t want to go pick him up! She’s sitting in my lap now as I work on this post haha. September was a bit more relaxed. Hubby’s unit had family day and we also went to an MTSU home game. That was a looooong day! Five hour drive down and back after a full day of fun! Now it’s on to October! I love October. Autumn is in full swing. My birthday is this month and so is HALLOWE’EN! How was your summer?

affiliate links used

Books I read in May-September (in order of completion)
The Whitechapel Fiend by Cassandra Clare
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
White Hot Kiss by Jennifer Armentrout
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
The Goddess Hunt (Goddess Test) by Aimee Carter
Goddess Interrupted (Goddess Test Book 2) by Aimee Carter
The Goddess Inheritance (A Goddess Test Novel) by Aimee Carter
The Goddess Legacy (The Goddess Queen / The Lovestruck Goddess / Goddess of the Underworld / God of Thieves / God of Darkness (Goddess Test) by Aimee Carter
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
The Heir (The Selection) by Kiera Cass
A Darker Shade of Magic: A Novel by VE Schwab
Nothing but Shadows (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy Book 4) by Cassandra Clare
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano
The Hidden Prince (Orphan Queen Novella 1) by Jodi Meadows
The Queen: A Novella by Kiera Cass
The Evil We Love (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy Book 5) by Cassandra Clare
The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
Vicious by VE Schwab
Most Likely to Succeed (The Superlatives) by Jennifer Echols
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog
The Isle of the Lost: A Descendants Novel by Melissa de la Cruz
Pale Kings and Princes (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy Book 6) by Cassandra Clare
The Assassin and the Pirate Lord: A Throne of Glass Novella by Sarah J Maas
Pete the Cat’s Groovy Guide to Life by James Dean
The Assassin’s Blade: The Throne of Glass Novellas by Sarah J Maas
Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass series Book 1) by Sarah J Maas
Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass series Book 2) by Sarah J Maas
Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass series Book 3) by Sarah J Maas
Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass series) by Sarah J Maas
Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes Series) by Sara Raasch
Bitter of Tongue (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy Book 7) by Cassandra Clare
Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo
Siege and Storm (The Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo
Ruin and Rising (The Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo
The Demon in the Wood: A Darkling Prequel Story (The Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo
The Glowing Knight (Orphan Queen Book 2) by Jodi Meadows

Coming up in October:

My birthday!

Punk’s class’s field trip to the corn maze

Hallowe’en!

Punk’s school’s fall festival

Goals for October

Stay ahead of schedule

Learn to successfully juggle two blogs

Spend time focused on the kiddos

Catch up on review writing

BALANCE

October releases I’m excited for:
Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes Series) by Sara Raasch
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: The Illustrated Edition (Harry Potter, Book 1) by JK Rowling
The White Rose (Jewel) by Amy Ewing
The Rose Society (A Young Elites Novel) by Marie Lu

October TBR:
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes Series) by Sara Raasch
The White Rose (Jewel) by Amy Ewing
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: The Illustrated Edition (Harry Potter, Book 1) by JK Rowling
Fairest: The Lunar Chronicles: Levana’s Story by Marissa Meyer
The Fulfillment (The Fulfillment Series) by Erin Rhew

Challenge Update:

2015 PopSugar Reading Challenge books completed:
A book with 500+ pages: Brazen by Katherine Longshore
A book turned into a movie: Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, Book 1)
A book published in 2015: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
A book with a number in the title: The 5th Wave: The First Book of the 5th Wave Series
An author under thirty: Vicious by VE Schwab
A book with non-human characters: This Shattered World: A Starbound Novel
A funny book: Most Likely to Succeed (The Superlatives) by Jennifer Echols
A book by a female author: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
A book with a one word title: Forged (Taken) by Erin Bowman
A book of short stories: The Assassin’s Blade: The Throne of Glass Novellas
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 a friend recommended: The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
A Pulitzer Prize book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
A book based on a true story: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
A book that scares you: The Fault in Our Stars
A memoir: Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog
A book read in one day: A Curious Tale of the In-Between
A book set somewhere you want to visit: A Cold Legacy (Madman’s Daughter) by Megan Shepherd
A book with bad reviews: (either love or hate this one!) The Heir (The Selection) by Kiera Cass
A trilogy: The Hunger Games Trilogy
A book from your childhood: Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
A book with a love triangle: White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements)
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: A Novel
A book that made you cry: The Assassin and the Empire: A Throne of Glass Novella (Throne of Glass series Book 1)
A book with magic: A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab
A graphic novel: Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel
A book by an author you’ve never read: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
A book set in your (college’s) hometown: Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
A banned book: The Giver by Lois Lowry
A book turned into a TV show: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

How was your summer? What’s up for October?

 

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

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 16 November 2014 – 4 April 2015 April 4, 2015

Filed under: Book Review,Books,Weekly Reading Review — Maura @ 11:57 pm
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It feels good to be back! After a break for summer, then drama stirring every time I was ready to jump back in, I was afraid I might just hang up my blogger hat. The idea to start a blog for some of the adventures with the kiddos has sparked the desire to fully jump back in the YA blogging world too. I can’t let drama get me down from about what I’m passionate!

Instead of trying to do a FULL recap from NOVEMBER until now, I’ll just let my reading speak for itself and start back with recaps next week. I will recount as best as I can remember on books I’ve gotten. No hope on library books except for what I have on hand now though. I will still include books I get/read with the kiddos, but there will no longer be Tot Time Thursday reviews/posts. All things children’s lit, homeschooling, etc will be over on our new blog Voyages of the Backyard Explorers!

affiliate links used below

Completed: (Starting in November til today)

Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano
Burning Kingdoms by Lauren DeStefano
No Intention of Dying by Lauren DeStefano
The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
The Strange Case of Finley Jayne by Kady Cross
The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross
The Dark Discovery of Jack Dandy by Kady Cross
Die Once More by Amy Plum
The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd
Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd
A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd
The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer
Gilt by Katherine Longshore
The Eternity Code by Eoin Colfer
Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception by Eoin Colfer
Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony by Eoin Colfer
The Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer
Tarnish by Katherine Longshore
Brazen by Katherine Longshore
Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel

Read with the Kiddos
Ladybug Girl and the Dress-up Dilemma
City Adventures #1: Help Is On The Way! (Lego Reader)
Ten Rules of Being a Superhero (Christy Ottaviano Books)
Ninja!
Bitty Baby and Me
What Is a Princess? (Disney Princess) (Step into Reading)
Scuffy the Tugboat and His Adventures Down the River
Tiny Toons Adventure: Happy Birthday, Babs!
Luke Goes to Bat
The Gingerbread Kid Goes to School (Penguin Young Readers, L2)
Potty (Leslie Patricelli board books)
Dinosaurs Before Dark (Magic Tree House, No. 1)
On the Night You Were Born
The Knight at Dawn (Magic Tree House, No. 2)
A Perfectly Messed-Up Story
Murray’s First Book of Words (Sesame Street First Board Books)

Currently Reading:
Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan
Mummies in the Morning (Magic Tree House, No. 3)
Pirates Past Noon (Magic Tree House, No. 4)

New to Our Shelves:
From My OTSP Secret Sisters (last round and current round)
Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
The Archived by Victoria Schwab
The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter
The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter
Twisted Fate
The Last Apprentice (Revenge of the Witch)
The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory
The Lady of the Rivers: A Novel (The Cousins’ War)
The White Queen (The Cousins’ War)
The Red Queen (The Cousin’s War)
This Shattered World: A Starbound Novel

From Mary:
Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, Book 1)
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

Giveaways/Book Swaps/ARCs
Maid of Wonder by Jennifer McGowan
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
Let the Sky Fall
Fairest: The Lunar Chronicles: Levana’s Story
Rebel Angels (The Gemma Doyle Trilogy Book #2)
Extraction by Stephanie Diaz
Rebellion by Stephanie Diaz

Library:
Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel
The Artemis Fowl #2: Arctic Incident Graphic Novel 1st (first) Edition by Colfer, Eoin (2009)
Artemis Fowl The Eternity Code Graphic Novel
Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception Graphic Novel (Artemis Fowl (Graphic Novels))
Captive (The Blackcoat Rebellion)
Maid of Secrets (Maids of Honor)
Tarnish by Katherine Longshore
Brazen by Katherine Longshore
Gilt by Katherine Longshore

Purchased:
Gilt by Katherine Longshore
The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
Maid of Secrets (Maids of Honor)
Maid of Deception (Maids of Honor)
Origin by Jessica Khoury
Juliet Immortal
Venom (Secrets of the Eternal Rose)
The Scorpio Races
Red Riding Hood
Playing Dirty by Jennifer Echols
Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion)
The Girl of Fire and Thorns

How’ve you been lately? Read anything good recently? Have you checked out our new blog extension yet? Tot Time Thursday now has its own blog at Voyages of the Backyard Explorers!

 

*Blog Tour & Review* Perfect Couple by Jennifer Echols January 11, 2015

 

PERFECT COUPLE

 

***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 The Fantastic Flying Book Club. Many thanks to Simon Pulse!***   

 

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

 

***Affiliate links below***

 

Perfect Couple (The Superlatives)

Rating:5 stars
Pub date: 13 January 2015
Publisher:Simon Pulse
Genre:Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Format: eARC provided by the publisher
Status: Book two of The Superlatives series

10979013

Summary:

Perfect Couple is #2 in the Superlatives series about seniors at a Florida high school who are selected for their class’s superlative categories in the yearbook, and how the labels change the way they view themselves and alter the course of their lives.

 Can your heart be put to a popular vote?

 As yearbook photographer, Harper is responsible for capturing those candid moments that make high school memorable. But her own life is anything but picture perfect. Her parents’ bitter divorce has left her wondering what a loving relationship would look like. And ever since the senior class voted her and star quarterback Brody the “Perfect Couple That Never Was,” her friends have been on her case to ask Brody out.

Brody doesn’t lack in female admirers, but Harper can’t see herself with him. He seems confused about why they were matched together, too. They’re total opposites—the last people in the world who would ever be compatible, let alone the “perfect couple.” Yet ever since the class paired the two of them, they’ve found themselves drawn together–first by curiosity, then by an undeniable bond.

 The trouble is, though they’re very attracted to each other and both of them admit this, they have a hard time getting along or even communicating clearly. If they’re the perfect couple, this shouldn’t be so difficult! Soon it becomes clear their class was wrong, and they throw in the towel. But after they walk away, both of them feel so changed from making the effort that they can’t forget each other. What if that means this match made in hell is the perfect couple after all?

 

BOOK LINKS:

 

277872cd3f50d8d0c592b8ccc445b67d

 

Buy Links:
Goodreads
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iTunes
Bookdepository
Kobo

 

OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES


2574dd3c017f7b34834ad71076b82e9a Biggest Flirts (The Superlatives)

(affiliate link)

 

Be sure to check out my review here!

 

b11ee40d580b2a3359715253fbfd9610 Most Likely to Succeed (The Superlatives)
(affiliate link) – coming August 2015!

 

My thoughts:
I must admit, I read this THE DAY I was approved by Simon & Schuster back in the summer. I wrote a RAVING review for it. Somehow, between being a scatterbrained mama of a preschooler and toddler and finishing/starting a review notebook, I have misplaced said review and now get to re-write it! Oh, joyous day! Haha.

If you’ve been around the blog for any amount of reviews, you know I am not the biggest fan of contemporary. Never have been. I am, however, a HUGE Jennifer Echols fan! Many thanks (again) to Mary. I am so honoured to be a part of the second book tour for The Superlatives. I was also a part of the tour for Biggest Flirts.

I am SO in love with these characters. It’s like reliving my group of friends from high school and it’s so great. (: My group of friends was the best. We had a mix of everything just like in Jennifer’s Superlatives. Of the two leading ladies so far, I have always been an equal mix of both. Tia has a giant could give a crap attitude and Harper cares A LOT. There are things I could give a flying rat’s rear in space about, but others, I worry insanely what people will think about it. Thus, equal mix of the two and the ability to relate to them on a deeper level. (I’m not used to this with contemporaries SO!)

I was in marching band like Tia, and I was also head photographer on the yearbook staff much like Harper. (: Thankfully, I didn’t have an a-hole boyfriend as my editor. I did deal with a lot of crap at times, but unlike Harper, I stood my ground. Kennedy is a whole different can of worms that I could relate to, but that is neither here nor there.

Watching Harper’s transformation from shy wallflower, to full blown confident young woman is inspiring. Portrayals of strong girls who can stand up for themselves are very needed in today’s world. Perfect Couple is definitely a book I hope both my son and daughter read as young adults. The way Jennifer showed that a couple can be close without having to have sex was very well done. I may be showing my mama side here, but the casual way of sex in our society is a bit much. (Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the sexy times in Biggest Flirts! But I also enjoyed the steamy makeouts in Perfect Couple too)

Unlike Harper, I didn’t draw the attention of the gorgeous football player. *sigh* I really loved Brody. He’s a guy’s guy and a super sweet guy all at the same time. He helps Harper break out of her shell and understand that she can be who SHE wants to be, not who Kennedy wants her to be, not what she thinks the world wants her to be. *swoons* You can only get the full appreciation of this by reading it to experience just how big of a pain Kennedy is and how awesome Brody is.

A BIG defining force in Harper’s life that I could relate to on the deepest level was her parents’ impending divorce. I often wonder how different my high school experience would be if my parents hadn’t gotten divorced. It’s something that completely changes EVERYTHING. It also contributed to a lot of my relationship insecurities much like Harper. It’s difficult to explain if you haven’t been through it.

This series is spectacular. It tackles a lot of important topics that teens face today. As a mom, I hope that Ladybug has the confidence she can turn to me for anything like Harper turns to her mom. I also hope Punk knows he can come to me too. Once again, Jennifer has hit it out of the park with Perfect Couple! ❤ It makes me even more excited for Most Likely to Succeed because SAWYER! FINALLY IT IS TIME FOR SAWYER. *ahem* Sorry. Do yourself a solid and check out this fabulous series. Please.

 

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

followthetour

GIVEAWAY

Details: Win (1) of (5) books in the Superlatives series: BIGGEST FLIRTS (Superlatives #1) or PERFECT COUPLE Superlatives #2) by Jennifer Echols (US Only)

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

***affiliate disclaimer: If you purchase through my links on Amazon, the money I receive comes back to benefit the blog! I would appreciate it if you considered to purchase from my links!***

Biggest Flirts (The Superlatives)
Perfect Couple (The Superlatives)
Most Likely to Succeed (The Superlatives)

 

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

IMG_4303

Me with Leigh Bardugo *fangirls for days*

IMG_4319

Brendan Reichs!

IMG_4320

SO FLIPPING AWESTRUCK. KATHY FREAKING REICHS.

IMG_4324

Scott Westerfeld!

IMG_4328

LOVED meeting this fantabulous husband-wife duo! ❤

IMG_4334

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

IMG_4340

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

IMG_4349

*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. (;

 

*ARC Review & Blog Tour* The Outlanders by Erin Rhew October 19, 2014



Goodreads

 

 The Outlanders (The Fulfillment Series Book 2)


***I was granted permission to read this galley before publication by the author in exchange for an honest review and to participate in the author’s blog tour***

***mild spoilers may follow***

***affiliate links are used***

Rating:  4 stars
Pub date: 21 October 2014
Publisher: BookFish Books
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Format: ebook, eARC, provided by the author
Status: Book two of The Fulfillment Series

Summary:

With King Jesper dead and Prince Wilhelm mortally wounded, Halfling prince, Nash, and the Fulfilment, Layla, assume the throne of Etherea. They must contend with a new Prophecy Candidate who asserts her position, and Layla is surprised to find her fate intertwined with this challenger. Facing a myriad of choices, Nash and Layla’s decisions affect not only their own futures but that of two kingdoms.

Unbeknownst to the Ethereals or the Vanguards, a slumbering menace stirs in the south, awakened after centuries of slumber. The mysterious Outlanders, a force shadowed in mystery, sit poised to tip the balance of power, sending ripples of fear throughout both warring kingdoms.

Elder Werrick proved a formidable foe, but Layla may yet meet her match in the monstrous Outlander queen. This mistress of the dark’s plans, rooted in revenge and ancient lore, now threaten the livelihood of all three kingdoms.

Racing against time, Layla travels to the Borderlands—home of the Voltons and Ecclesiastics—to discover as much as she can about the war, the First Ones, and the prophecy itself. Lives teeter in the balance, kingdoms sit on the cusp of ruin, and a beast, greater than any she’s ever faced before, plots a catastrophic attack.

 

Sneak Peek:

Everything about Mia felt wrong. The girl, who looked so much like Layla, just happened to be where Samson could find her and came with him to the home of her enemy without any resistance? Whole generations of Ecclesiastics searched for entire lifetimes and never found the Fulfillment, yet Samson encountered two potentials in short succession. She couldn’t pinpoint the reason for her unease, but something tickled the back of her mind, inching toward the surface with painstaking sluggishness.
“I don’t understand why she would just come with you to Etherea.” Layla struggled to keep her voice level and calm to avoid raising Samson’s hackles.
“She didn’t have anywhere else to go. Vance killed her family in Vanguard.”
Layla made a mental note to confirm Samson’s version of the story with the information Nash managed to extract from Mia. “If she’s a Vanguard, why would she come with you to Etherea?”
“You came here,” Samson shot back, his inexplicable protectiveness for the mystery girl heightening her concern.
She treaded with care. “Well, some insane man in a black and purple robe stole my brother, so I didn’t really have a choice.”

 

 

 

My thoughts:

I was offered the chance to be a part of the blog tour for The Outlanders by Erin because I was a part of the blog tour last year for The Prophecy. I was very excited for the chance to review book two!

I reread The Prophecy right before I read The Outlanders so all the events from book one were fresh in my mind. I am very glad I was able to do that because I had forgotten more than I thought!

I was very happy to be back in the wonderful world Erin has created. I was very concerned for a certain prince’s life at the end of The Prophecy and very anxious to see his outcome! Of course, I was also concerned about the kingdoms as a war was on the verge of completely blowing up!

I really enjoyed seeing ALMOST the entire cast back for more adventures. (I won’t reveal who made it and who didn’t in case you haven’t read The Prophecy – go read it! – or in case you don’t remember! Perfect time to get it for 99 cents and refresh!) One of my few complaints is though there were more POV chances, I feel like more depth could’ve been added in some of the scenes. While the action is there and keeps you turning the pages, I kept a sense of things being rushed and not enough time was spent fleshing things out like Erin did in The Prophecy. Because of that feeling, I gave 4 stars compared to The Prophecy’s 5 stars last year.

With a bit more length {C’mon Erin! (; You dind’t HAVE to end on ANOTHER cliffhanger ya know!} and fleshing out, this definitely would’ve been another 5 star read. Both of those are PERSONAL issues, nothing to do with Erin’s characters/world building. I hate cliffhangers. I really do. Erin also knows that. (;

Even though there were many POVs, I still felt short changed (depth & length issue again). After the deep connection with the characters in The Prophecy, I felt like I was on the outside looking in this time. I also REALLY detested one of the new characters. Ugh. I was completely with Layla on that one.

I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I was able to read The Outlanders. Both are interesting and quick reads, but my kiddos were not cooperative in my reading of The Prophecy last year and was anticipating a similar case again this year. I always tend to have a hard time with tour books cause the kiddos seem to have this sixth sense about tour books. They KNOW mama needs to read this book by a certain time so they go as bonkers as they possibly can. If I hadn’t started The Outlanders so close to bedtime and I didn’t have mama duties, this EASILY would’ve been a one sitting read. Even with my personal preferences, Erin did a fantastic job keeping up the pace and action to keep you wanting more.

I absolutely loved getting to learn more about the history of the kingdoms and Prophecy. I love how Erin laid out more world building in Etherea and introduced the Outlands.I wish she’d been able to reveal the history earlier or have more laid out after it in the book. Not happy with another year long wait with THAT cliffhanger. You’re killing me, Erin!

Overall, Erin has written another great book! She did a great job answering questions from The Prophecy while presenting more questions to keep a reader interested. I was left wanting more as a result of the way Erin presented the story and due to that AWFUL cliffhanger. UGH. STAAAAAAAAHP. I will again say that the length left me a little disappointed. I still recommend giving Erin’s series a look! Both books are quick reads set in an interesting world. Now, let’s have a look at the NEW cover for The Prophecy while I sneak to Erin’s and get her computer so I can see how things are gonna go down in book three! (;

NEW COVER!!! (print copies are in the works!)

About the author:

TheOutlanders_ErinAlbert_AuthorPhoto

Erin Rhew is an author and fitness trainer. Since she picked up Morris the Moose Goes to School at age four, she has been infatuated with the written word. She went on to work as a grammar and writing tutor in college and is still teased by her family and friends for being a member of the “Grammar Police.” In her free time, Erin enjoys acting, running, kickboxing, and, of course, reading and writing.

 

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Please Be Kind, Rewind: 12-18 October 2014 October 18, 2014

I am on a roll on reading this week! MAYBE at this rate I can read all the books I’m wanting to read before YALLFest. MAYBE. If the kids keep cooperating. All the reading means not a lot of working on the blog. Everything I read this week was a physical/ebook except for Crown of Midnight. It’s my audiobook read. I am definitely going to reread this series ASAP cause I know I’m not getting the full experience on audio! I’m working hard to get back on track, but I probably won’t be completely back to 100% until after YALLFest. I have about 20 books I need/want to read, Hubby has drill, Bug has a doctor’s appointment, Hallowe’en festivities, AND my birthday are all between now and then. SO. Needless to say. It’s a hopping time! I wouldn’t have it any other way though. I love this time of year!

***I am now an Amazon affiliate. I would appreciate it if you’d consider buying the books through my links if they’re available. (: Helping me helps YOU! October Featured Books or you can click on the book covers.  THANK YOU!!***

 

Completed:

Misguided Angel by Melissa de la Cruz


The Prophecy by Erin Albert Rhew


The Outlanders by Erin Albert Rhew (Go ahead and pre-order! Only $2.99!)


Bloody Valentine by Melissa de la Cruz


Lost in Time by Melissa de la Cruz


Gates of Paradise by Melissa de la Cruz

Vampires of Manhattan by Melissa de la Cruz

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Currently Reading:


Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas

 

 


Lips Touch Three Times by Laini Taylor

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Read to the Kiddos:


Pete the Cat: Pete’s Big Lunch by James Dean

New to my shelf:


The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf (Punk’s Imagination Library book, got it last week and forgot to add it!)



From the library:


Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas


Lips Touch Three Times by Laini Taylor

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

Rebel Angels by Libba Bray

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

We Were Liars by E Lockhart

Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L Armentrout

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

as usual, more audiobooks! (:

 

 
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