The Whimsical Mama

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

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

 

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

Top Ten Places I Want to Visit

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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*ARC Review* The Falconer by Elizabeth May May 5, 2014

***I was granted permission to read this by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Chronicle Books!***   

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

Rating:5 stars
Pub date:6 May 2014
Publisher:Chronicle Books
Genre:Young Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal
Format:ARC provided by the publisher
Status:Book one of The Falconer series

Summary:

Heiress. Debutant. Murderer. A new generation of heroines has arrived.

Edinburgh, Scotland, 1844

Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, was destined for a life carefully planned around Edinburgh’s social events – right up until a faery killed her mother.

Now it’s the 1844 winter season and Aileana slaughters faeries in secret, in between the endless round of parties, tea and balls. Armed with modified percussion pistols and explosives, she sheds her aristocratic facade every night to go hunting. She’s determined to track down the faery who murdered her mother, and to destroy any who prey on humans in the city’s many dark alleyways.

But the balance between high society and her private war is a delicate one, and as the fae infiltrate the ballroom and Aileana’s father returns home, she has decisions to make. How much is she willing to lose – and just how far will Aileana go for revenge?

My thoughts:

I can’t remember exactly how I stumbled across Elizabeth May on Twitter last summer, but I’m glad it happened. It was before The Falconer came out in the UK and ages before ARCs were due out here. I mulled over the idea of preordering a UK copy, but talked myself out of it. Boy, that was a mistake. Luckily, I scored an e-ARC on Edelweiss. Second mistake was waiting til a month before the release date to read it. At least my review is going up just a day before the release date so you don’t have to wait long to get your hands on this great book!

The Falconer is the full monty for me. Kickass heroine, historical fiction, snarkiness, swoon worthy guys, steampunk goodies, and chock full of Scottish faery lore. Plus it takes place in one of my favourite cities EVAR. Not just ever, completely favourite EVAR. I absolutely love Edinburgh. I could rant and rave about my love for Edinburgh for ages.

The Falconer opens a little over a year after our heroine Aileana’s mother was murdered in front of her by a faery. She had long believed the tales of the fae to be false, but finds herself thrust into the middle of a long struggle between the fae and humans. She also reenters society surrounded by the gossip that she is the one who murdered her mother.  A lot to handle for a prim and proper Victorian debutante.

I think Elizabeth did a fantastic job on character growth with Aileana. She shows growth on two fronts. The Falconer is in first person, so we get to see Aileana’s inner monologue comparing herself past and present. We also get to see how she grows once she realises what she was born to be – the Falconer. There is a large emphasis on character development and I absolutely love it. I love when an author takes equal care of fleshing out a character as well as having an ever deepening intriguing plot. I love human characters who drive the plot as much as the plot can move itself.

Along with a kickass main character, she is supported by strong secondary characters. Since we are limited to seeing them through Aileana’s eyes, we only get to see so much of their development, but they are fleshed out magnificently. Best friend Charlotte struggles with her beliefs as they’re surrounded by rumours and she also has everything she thinks she knows is true shattered. I can’t wait to see what her involvement will be in two. She has plenty room to grow. Kiaran is one surprise after another. My feelings for him mirrored Aileana’s (which probably results from interpreting it through her perspective). I laughed, I growled, I gasped, I teared up. I’m so excited to see where the action picks up in two!

Derrick is a bit of comic relief, or so it feels to me. I adored Derrick even when Aileana got rather annoyed with him. I’m hoping with him we will get to see more pixie action in two!

I loved the grounding effect Gavin had on Aileana. I think they are well suited together. Despite being an important character, I feel like he didn’t fully reach his potential. I think this means he will have plenty of growth in two. I have a feeling he will play a much larger role as well. I’m excited about that!

The world building was truly spectacular. Having been to Edinburgh, it was easy for me to visualise exactly where the action was going down, but the way Elizabeth paints the picture, it’s easy to see Edinburgh the way she wants you to see it. I loved the addition of steampunk. I haven’t read much steampunk, but this was easy technology to understand. It also added depth to the story.

It was fascinating and eerie to read the ending battle scene as a full moon and total eclipse was about to occur. Haha. The eclipse plays a huge role in the ending cliffhanger and I think having one happen while I read it added a lot to my experience.

I will have to admit to not knowing as much faery lore of my ancestral home as I would like (I plan on rectifying this soon thanks to The Falconer!). I really enjoyed getting to see how faeries were shown to be like humans in that not all are strictly good or bad. Don’t make the mistake of thinking they are human though! It is a struggle for Aileana to remember that. While being a faery lore novel, I feel that the interaction between the fae and Aileana is nothing to what it will be in book two after the action building and cliffhanger ending!

The action scenes were executed beautifully. I’m never a fan of cliffhangers in a new series because I hate waiting for the next installment. Let me tell you how this one hit me — I’m totally ordering the UK version of two so I don’t have to wait as long to see what happens! The action kept building through the whole book and by the end, I was squirming in my seat because I couldn’t be still because it felt like I was there. Elizabeth did such an incredible job.I definitely think she’s one of my new favourite authors! I highly recommend this fantastic debut series if you are a fan of historical fiction, steampunk fiction, or faery lore.

About the author

 

Elizabeth May currently resides in Edinburgh, Scotland, with her husband. THE FALCONER is her début novel.

For more information, follow her on Twitter @_ElizabethMay or visit her website www.elizabethmaywrites.com

 

 

Hello May, Goodbye April! May 1, 2014

Is it really already May? I mean, for real? This year is going by way too quickly. I got a lot of work done this month and I’m proud of it. I hope I can continue staying so far ahead. I’m scheduled through the end of June on reviews, so I’m ready for the few trips we may be taking. The more work I get accomplished, the happier I am that I took the plunge into the review world. I’ve always struggled with reviews, but in the almost year I’ve been doing this, I’ve learned that there is no RIGHT way to do it. Hopefully someone that sees this is feeling the way I have and this helps them! Be YOU.

Books I read in April (in order of completion)

The Constant Princess  by Philippa Gregory 

After the End by Amy Plum

Richard III by Annette Carson

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier 

The Falconer by Elizabeth May 

Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier 

Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols

Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols 

Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier

My Not So Super Sweet Life by Rachel Harris

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Love Story by Jennifer Echols

Books with the kiddos: (I mostly kept track!)

Good Night Tennessee by Adam Gamble

D is for Duck Calls by Kay Robertson

Three Little Dinosaurs by Charles Fuge

Doc McStuffins A Knight in Sticky Armor by Andrea Posner-Sanchez 

That’s Not My Fairy by Fiona Watt

Pinkaclicious The Pinkerrific Playdate by Victoria Kann

Spot Loves His Grandma by Eric Hill

Spot Loves His Mommy by Eric Hill

Cleo on the Move by Stella Blackstone

All the Ways I Love You by Dorothea DePrisco

Emergency! by Margaret Mayo

Thomas’ 123 Book by Wilbert Awdry

Even Fire Fighters Go to the Potty by Wendy Wax

Pete the Cat Big Easter Adventure by James Dean

Pete the Cat Play Ball! by James Dean

Pete the Cat Pete’s Big Lunch by James Dean

Pete the Cat Pete at the Beach by James Dean

Pete the Cat Too Cool For School by James Dean

Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses by James Dean

Coming up in May
Hubby’s military class

Biggest Flirts Blog Tour

The Mortal Instruments Series finale

One of my new features that I didn’t get started in April!

Goals for May
Work on commenting and visiting other blogs

Read more with the kiddos

Stay ahead of schedule 

May releases I’m excited for:

The Falconer by Elizabeth May 

The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes 

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare 

Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols 

May TBR:
As You Turn Away by Molli Moran

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry 

Mind Games by Kiersten White

Taken by Erin Bowman

 

Challenge Update:

I’m involved with four challenges officially.

Edelweiss & Netgalley challenge: 9/25 (After the End, Richard III, The Falconer, Biggest Flirts)

TBR Pile challenge: 25/11-20 {I can and most likely WILL be increasing my level on this. I’m also not including ARCs in this unless I complete them after the book is released} (The Constant Princess, Ruby Red, Sapphire Blue, Emerald Green, Dirty Little Secret, Delirium, Love Story, My Not So Super Sweet Life)

Series challenge: 9/4-6 {I can and most likely will increase my level on this as well} (Ruby Red, My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century)

Real” Book challenge: 15/21-30 (Ruby Red, Dirty Little Secret, Delirium)

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

 

Top Ten Tuesday #31: Spring TBR March 18, 2014

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

Top Ten Books on My Spring TBR

I didn’t do well at all with my Fall TBR. I did MUCH better with my Winter TBR, but still not the best. December was packed with family things. January was infected with sinus ilk for all four of us. February I did better. The beginning of March has been great. I hope my Spring TBR will go well! I’m still a big mood driven reader and right now I want to read all the WWII books. Good thing I have a few! I also need to get back into my ARC reading. Fantastic thing that I have an ARC that fits both of those bills. (;

Code Name Verity/Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

As You Turn Away by Molli Moran

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry (yes, this is STILL on my TBR. I’m DETERMINED this spring it WILL be read!)

The Almost Girl by Amalie Howard

After the End by Amy Plum (I can’t wait anymore. I have to read it NOW)

Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz (My trusty fall back if a reading funk happens. I love Melissa!)

The Falconer by Elizabeth May (I can’t wait much longer. I’ve wanted to read this for so long and I’ve waited long enough!)

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (NO SPOILERS! )

What’s on your TBR for this spring? Any good recommendations based on these?

 

Top Ten Tuesday #29: Popular Authors I’ve Never Read March 4, 2014

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

Top Ten Popular Authors I’ve Never Read

Veronica Roth (Divergent trilogy) – I started Divergent yesterday, but I’ve never COMPLETED anything by Veronica (yet).

Victoria Schwab (The Archived series, Vicious) – I won a copy of The Archived a few weeks ago and all of her books have been on my TBR for ages, I just haven’t gotten to them yet!

Neil Gaiman (whoa… too many to list) I’ve meant to start so many of his books it’s kinda ridiculous.

Orson Scott Card (Ender’s series and others) Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m one of THOSE book nerds who has never touched Ender’s Game other than ordering a copy when the movie was in theatres.

Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me trilogy) I KNOW, I KNOW. Shatter Me has been promoted to my immediate TBR pile so… SOON.

Julie Kagawa (Iron Fey books) – I started one and was too intrigued by Jodi Meadow’s book at the time. I started both by reading a few chapters to see which I would read first. Jodi’s won out and I never made it back to Julie. I will remedy this!

Elizabeth Wein (Code Name Verity & Rose Under Fire, others) I ordered Code Name Verity at the end of last summer, but still haven’t read it. I know, shame on me.

John Green (ALL the feels apparently) I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever pick up any of his works. Just not something I normally read, but maybe.

Cynthia Hand (Unearthly trilogy) I have the entire trilogy (signed) on my shelves and I still haven’t touched them. I really need to though!

Gayle Forman (If I Stay, etc) I’ve heard so many great things about her books, but I just haven’t gotten to them. Hopefully one day!

What popular authors have slipped your list so far? Feel free to leave your link, I’d love to read your lists! (: Happy Tuesday!

 

*Cover Reveal* Faery Marked by Mary Waibel February 17, 2014

Filed under: Books,Cover reveal — Maura @ 10:28 am
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Today I am thrilled to be a part of the cover reveal for FAERY MARKED, a YA Paranormal Romance by Mary Waibel releasing this summer from BookFish Books. The cover was designed by the amazingly talented Anita B. Carroll from Race-Point.com. Learn more about the behind the scenes of this cover, as well as about Anita herself, at Waibel’s World


Book Blurb:
 
No one ever warned her magic came with a price.
 
When Callie Rycroft wakes to purple flames on the ceiling, she discovers that not only does the Faery realm exist, but she is the human who must save it. Chosen as Champion by the Faery Queen, Callie is tasked with finding the Cordial, a magical elixir to strengthen the portal between the Human and Faery realms.
 
The upside? Reece Michaels, the boy she’s been crushing on for years, is assigned as her Guardian. Callie hopes by spending time together, he’ll start to see her as more than just his best friend’s sister.
The downside? She’s in a race not only against time, but another Champion and Guardian-a Guardian who stands to threaten her developing relationship with Reece.
Magic, mistaken identities, and hidden agendas are the least of Callie’s worries when she learns the Cordial requires a sacrifice. Will Callie be willing to risk all, even Reece, to complete her task as Champion, or will she let the portal fall, destroying both realms?
 



And now, the cover for FAERY MARKED.

And here’ the entire cover:
Isn’t it just gorgeous?? 
 

 
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