The Whimsical Mama

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

*ARC Review* Perfect Lies by Kiersten White July 14, 2014

***I was given an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to HarperTeen!***   

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

Rating: 3 1/2 stars
Pub date: 18 February 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Paranormal
Format: ARC provided by the publisher
Status: Book two of the Mind Games duology

Summary:
Annie and Fia are ready to fight back.

The sisters have been manipulated and controlled by the Keane Foundation for years, trapped in a never ending battle for survival. Now they have found allies who can help them truly escape. After faking her own death, Annie has joined a group that is plotting to destroy the Foundation. And Fia is working with James Keane to bring his father down from the inside.

But Annie’s visions of the future can’t show her who to trust in the present. And though James is Fia’s first love, Fia knows he’s hiding something. The sisters can rely only on each other – but that may not be enough to save them.

 

My thoughts:
I received an ARC of Perfect Lies with an ARC of Taken from HarperCollins. I was excited because it sounded like a great read, plus it was a short book. 

Right off, I liked Perfect Lies more than Mind Games. Not sure why, it just felt a little more put together even though it also felt more chaotic. I will say I don’t feel like things were wrapped up at the end.

Annie really blossomed in Perfect Lies and I loved it. I loved watching her realise she didn’t have to rely on Fia to function. I enjoyed her interaction with Cole. Their development in Perfect Lies was the best of the characters.

Fia really frustrated me. Her stream of consciousness was a whole bunch of crazy. It felt like the closer we got to THE event, the more unhinged she became. Her interactions with James were just off. With perfect instincts, I think she failed on that one. Ugh. I did love her interactions with Pixie, but much like Pixie, I found Fia to be very overwhelming. 

The action and pace felt much more intense than Mind Games and one detail really kept you wondering until about 3/4 through the book. I was relieved how that played out, which really kinda surprised me.

The world building  continued to be nonexistent and it actually did bother me a bit this time around because the actions that were taken made no sense to me because we never saw what the world was like.

 The snark was just as good, if not better though. I love me some snark! It just wasn’t enough to boost over the things that were lacking.

 I did enjoy reading this duology, and Kiersten’s style has intrigued me enough  to check out some of her other works. I still recommend this duology because it’s a quick read and provides enough enjoyment to be worth the time. I’m undecided if I’ll reread this in the future. Maybe if I need quick reads to fill the time.

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.

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*Mini Review & Giveaway* The Prince & The Guard by Kiera Cass July 6, 2014

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

Rating: 4 stars
Pub date: 4 February 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins, HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance
Format: paperback via library
Status: Companion novellas to The Selection trilogy

Summary:
Before thirty-five girls were chosen to compete in the Selection…

Before Aspen broke America’s heart…

There was another girl in Prince Maxon’s life…

Don’t miss this thrilling 64-page original novella set in the world of the New York Times bestselling novel The Selection. Also features a teaser to The Elite, Kiera Cass’s hotly anticipated sequel to The Selection.

 

My thoughts:
After reading The Selection and now The Prince, I think I may be leaning closer to being Team Maxon. I don’t review a lot of novellas, but since I’m so torn between Maxon and Aspen, I thought I would do a combined review of The Prince and The Guard. Plus have a giveaway for one of the e-novellas!

Maxon feels so real and vulnerable reading from his perspective. He comes across that way to me in The Selection, but I still had a lingering feeling that it could be an act. That was put to rest by the end of The Prince. He really seems to care for America – especially since in the events of The Prince, it shows her being truly herself and not trying to win a crown.

Summary:
Before America Singer met Prince Maxon . . .
Before she entered the Selection . . .
She was in love with a boy named Aspen Leger.

Don’t miss this digital original novella set in the captivating world of Kiera Cass’s #1 New York Times bestselling Selection trilogy. This brand new 64-page story begins just after the group of Selected girls is narrowed down to the Elite and is told from Aspen’s point of view. The Guard also features a teaser to The One, the thrilling conclusion to The Selection trilogy.

 

My thoughts:
More than ever, I believe I am leaning to Team Maxon. Aspen is a great guy, I just think he and America aren’t a right fit for each other. He was the love of her childhood. They’ve both grown and changed immensely. The biggest turn off for me is still Aspen’s ego. He’s so obsessed with taking care of America that he’s blind to the fact that America is quite capable of taking care of herself. She’s not the damsel in distress Aspen thinks she is. She definitely doesn’t need to be protected from Maxon. She’s great with that on her own! He also trashes on Maxon any chance he gets. If he’s truly leaving the choice up to America, he should keep his mouth shut about a guy he knows nothing about. After seeing what happens to Marlee, you would think he would want to keep America safe and back off. I think it’s incredibly selfish of him to continue to try to see her in secret. Yes, America could say no, but she’s too afraid of hurting him the way he hurt her. Still reserving final judgement, but after two books and two novellas, Maxon is in the lead!

About the author:

100 Things I Love:

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

http://www.kieracass.com/

Giveaway!

This giveaway is open to US only ( Entrants must be 13 years old to enter. Those entrants under 18 MUST have parental consent. Giveaway is open July 6th 2014 (12am EST) through July 20th 2014 (12am EST). I reserve the right to disqualify entries in violation of my giveaway policies. All entries WILL be verified. Good luck. May the odds be ever in your favor! (: For every 100 entries, I will add another winner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

*Review* Cress by Marissa Meyer March 30, 2014



Rating: 4 stars
Pub Date: 4 February 2014
Publisher: Macmillan, Feiwel & Friends
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Dystopian, Fairy Tale Retelling
Format: hardcover, signed, personal copy
Status: Book three of The Lunar Chronicles series


Summary:
In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.


Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

My Thoughts:
After much lusting over Cress, I finally got my hands on a copy. I was supposed to be a part of an ARC tour, but the ARC was lost in the mail mid-tour. Very devastating and disappointing! My wonderful hubby and incredible BFF Mary (Mary Had A Little Book Blog) concocted a surprise for a fourth wedding anniversary gift. I love Marissa Meyer. She did a signing in Texas. Mary lives in Texas. I got signed books for my present! I did have to wait til I got to hang out with Mary when she came in to visit family and go on her epic book events tour, but it was worth the wait. Plus I got to see my Mary! (:

I absolutely love the retelling/remaining Marissa has done. I love the Disney princess movies, as does my toddler daughter, but I adore that Marissa is taking these timeless classics and turning them into pretty kickass heroines. As a mama, I want heroines my kiddos can look up to and Marissa has delivered on that three times now.

Of the heroines so far, Rapunzel is probably my least favourite in origin. Cress, however, is perfect. She’s more than slightly off her rocker, but 1.) that’s to be expected after essentially growing up in solitary confinement and 2.) it adds depth to her character and gives her tons of room to grow. I loved seeing her relationship develop with Thorne after being a bit obsessed with him. It was nice to see a portrayal of how a one sided infatuation can develop into a budding friendship.
I was very happy to see everyone back from Scarlet. Cinder seems to be adjusting slowly to the idea of her identity and is striving to learn all she can about her gifts. Scarlet is still spunky as ever and I can’t wait to see how things go between her and Princess Winter. After seeing the vicious side of Wolf, it was a great relief to see a tenderness fully develop between him and Scarlet. I love how devoted he is to her and how determined he is to save her. Queen Levana is as wickedly evil as ever and I get a sick enjoyment out of her wickedness. Haha. And Emperor Kai. Oh, I love Kai. The events that transpire at the end had me in a fit of giggles. I really, really, REALLY hope things work out for him and Cinder. REALLY.

What kept this from being a 5 star review is jumping around from the points of view. It’s a necessary evil for the story, and Marissa does a great job, but it just felt a bi disruptive to me this time around. I’m not sure why. Probably because I have two toddlers running around who live to keep mama on her toes.

Cress definitely moves the action and story along as well as sets up for the series finale, Winter. It’s going to suck waiting for a year, but I’m sure Marissa will make it worth it! From the teasers she’s been putting up on Twitter, it definitely feels like it will be! Weaving together four fairy tales is a Herculean task, but Marissa Meyer is making it look easy. I highly recommend Cress and the rest of The Lunar Chronicles without a single bit of hesitation.

About the author:
I live in Tacoma, Washington, with my fiancé and our two cats. In addition to my slight obsession with books and writing, I’m big on road-tripping, wine-tasting, and hunting for antiques. I’m represented by Jill Grinberg.

 

*ARC Review* Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott February 24, 2014

***I was granted permission to read Fire & Flood by the publisher (Scholastic Press) in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Scholastic Press!***

Rating:4 stars
Pub date:25 February 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre:Young Adult Fiction
Format: ARC via publisher
Status:Book one of Fire & Flood series

Summary:

A modern day thrill ride, where a teen girl and her animal companion must participate in a breathtaking race to save her brother’s life—and her own.

Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can’t determine what’s wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She’s lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying — and she’s helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It’s an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother’s illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there’s no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can’t trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?

My thoughts:

I was very excited when I first heard about this title. Victoria had a request form up on her page that she passed along to Scholastic. I immediately filled it out and pushed it from my thoughts. I didn’t want to dwell on it in case I didn’t get approval. My hubby brought in a package one day and held it out to me. It was from Scholastic. I was ecstatic. I wanted to dive in first thing, but I had some other things I had to read first. Mary over at Mary Had A Little Book Blog and I decided to read it at the same time. This was my first book by Victoria Scott and I do plan on continuing this series in the future and checking out her Dante Walker series.

The pacing felt a little slow to me in the beginning. After an initial lull, the pacing rapidly picks up and became a page turner until I finished. I felt a very strong similarity to The Hunger Games if the stakes were even higher. Instead of competing for themselves, the Contenders are competing for a loved one. At a first glance, you would think this was a dystopian, but it is very much a modern day thriller (confirmed by Victoria).

Tella’s world was rocked when her parents uprooted their family from Boston to Montana after her brother fell ill. It’s not clear what is wrong with her brother, just that he’s sick and seems to be fading rather quickly. Tella receives an invitation to the Brimestone Bleed, but her parents try to play it off like a joke and attempt to destroy the evidence of the invitation. She manages to get a hold of the device and listens to the full invitation. Her mom catches her before she leaves and they have a quick talk. Tella leaves to pursue the cure.

The first challenge in the jungle felt a little disappointing. There were a few dangers, but nothing out of the ordinary of if she had gotten lost in the jungle. The biggest question that remained in my mind is what happens if you lose the race? One person gets the cure, but what happens to the other Contenders?

I was not really able to connect with Tella for the better part of the book. She came off as spoiled and selfish even though she was there for her brother. Her internal dialogue was very immature and bratty. I know not all 17 year olds are not all created equal. I was often told I was mature for my age and sometimes I forget that not all teenagers think like I did. Once she hooked up with a group, I started to connect with her more because she started to grow as a person.She still has her moments of wishing she hadn’t come, but who wouldn’t? It’s not an easy thought potentially risking your life for someone. It’s human nature to prefer preserving yourself than others.

I really enjoyed the other characters (Guy, Ransom, Levi, etc) and I can’t wait to see if more of their backstories are included in the future. I’m also excited to see where their budding friendships take them. It’s an every man for himself situation and new friendships will only last for so long… right?

With the first race behind, things really began to pick up and it made me very happy. Right at the end of the jungle race is when it really became a page turner for me. The twists were very well done and I really enjoyed the desert race. The desert race was definitely a five star section. My toddler kept asking me to read to him before his nap and there were sections that I had to skim as I read because they were totally not suited for a toddler’s ears. Once he was asleep, I devoured the last 100 pages.The action and danger shot through the roof and it was amazing.

I loved the idea of Pandoras. They were simply incredible and it was a very well done idea. In a way they felt like the daemons from the His Dark Materials series, but DEFINITELY more badass.Maddox is incredible. His power – whoa. I really hope we get to learn more about how the Pandoras are created in the next installment!

The ending will definitely leave you wanting more. Keep in mind that this race is in four destinations and Fire & Flood only covers two of them. So much more excitement and challenges away in the Brimestone Bleed.

I’m proud to recommend this as a great read! It does not disappoint and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

About the author:

Victoria Scott is a teen fiction writer represented by Sara Crowe. She’s the author of the FIRE & FLOOD series published by Scholastic, and the DANTE WALKER trilogy published by Entangled Teen. Her books have been bought and translated in eleven foreign markets including the UK, Turkey, China, Poland, Germany, Australia, Israel, Taiwan, Brazil, New Zealand, and the Netherlands.


Victoria lives in Dallas with her husband and hearts cotton candy something fierce.

 

 
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