The Whimsical Mama

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

In My Beach Bag July 18, 2016

The kiddos and I are beach bound to Tybee Island this month and I’ve been thinking about what books I’m going to take with me. When we went to Virginia earlier this month, I had books planned too. I always try to have a kindle or physical book on me at all times! You never know when it’ll be needed! So I thought I would write up a post about my beach read choices! I’ve posted about my recommendations, but now I’ll share what’s actually making it in the beach bag. The kiddos have their kindles loaded up with books, games, and movies, so I’ll be able to listen to an audiobook on the drive down again this year. Or even better, I may have the car to myself if they sneak over into Grammy and Grandpa’s car! Whatever the driving arrangements, they’ll have headphones on so it will be blissfully quiet.

First up, I’ll recap what I picked as my reads for Virginia. My hubby’s family lives in Northern Virginia and it’s about a 6-7 hour drive depending on how many stops we need to make. I think it took us closer to 7-8 this year cause we kept getting caught in traffic. So many wrecks! Hubs is big into adult epic fantasy, but sometimes I get him talked into a YA audiobook. This trip, I talked him into:

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The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

I honestly thought he would enjoy it. It was easily a five star read for me when I read it last summer. I was going to continue on with The Infinite Sea, but decided to wait til The Last Star came out. Now I needed a refresher and I thought hubs would like it. He made it about halfway through before declaring there wasn’t enough action and he wanted to listen to something else. Poo on him. Anyway. I ended up finishing on my own through audio and on ebook. Since he bailed on me, he had me look through my ipod for something else to listen to. He chose:

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Aftermath by Chuck Wendig

I was so excited for this trilogy. I really was. I hated every minute of this book I listened to. I may enjoy it if I read it, but the narrator’s voice got on my ever loving nerves!

We didn’t spend as much time at hubby’s grandfather’s beach cottage as originally planned, so I didn’t do as much reading as I thought I would. I also brought along:

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir and A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

I intended on re-starting A Torch Against the Night and reading A Court of Thorns and Roses as a back up, but the mood to go ahead and start ACOTAR hit. I only read about 100 pages though.

Now that we’re Tybee bound and I’m packing our things, it’s time to decide what I’m going to take with me. It’s about a 7 hour drive, so it’ll probably be on the 8ish side with the kiddos and needing to stop for gas. Potentially stopping for my mom to stretch her back some too. She tweaked it recently and it’s still a smidge tender! The kiddos have been with me at the office some and have asked for music in the car instead of one of Mommy’s books, so I haven’t listened to anything since we got back from Virginia. Right now, my plan is either:

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey or The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

I’m really torn on this decision! I should’ve finished The Raven King when I started it, but I got distracted and now I have to start over. Thankfully I’m not too far into it! One of those will be my audiobook. I may be able to swing both of them! At least probably all of The Infinite Sea and part of The Raven King. I need to check times on them.

I also plan on taking:

Gotta have a physical book or two for beach side reading!

If you’re interested in what the kiddos have picked to take with them, you can check it out here!

 

Also! Continuing my three year blogging anniversary celebration, I have another giveaway for you! This giveaway will be international as long as Book Depository delivers to your country. Up for grabs is any 2016 young adult book! It can already be out, or you can pick one to pre-order! I have two more giveaways planned to reveal soon too. Potentially a third! I’m getting so close to 1k followers on Twitter and there will be a giveaway to celebrate that as well! (:

Giveaway!

This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL (and only open to the countries where Book Depository delivers to) Entrants must be at least 13 years old to enter. Those entrants under 18 MUST have parental consent. Giveaway is open July 18th 2016 (12am EST) through August 20th 2016 (12am EST). No giveaway accounts. I reserve the right to disqualify entries in violation of my giveaway policies (Please see my Site Polices for full polices). All entries WILL be verified. Winner(s) have 48 (FORTY-EIGHT) hours to respond to email/tweet. Good luck. May the odds be ever in your favor! (:

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*Review* Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein April 28, 2014

Rating:4 stars
Pub date:10 September2013
Publisher:Disney Hyperion
Genre:Young Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction
Format:e-book via library
Status:Book two of the Code Name Verity companion duology

Summary:

While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women’s concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that’s in store for her?

Elizabeth Wein, author of the critically-acclaimed and best-selling Code Name Verity, delivers another stunning WWII thriller. The unforgettable story of Rose Justice is forged from heart-wrenching courage, resolve, and the slim, bright chance of survival.

My thoughts:

The last book in my World War II binge is Rose Under Fire. I couldn’t wait to jump in after finishing Code Name Verity. I knew as a companion novel, it wouldn’t be a true sequel, but I was excited to see the next part.

The ending of Code Name Verity ripped my heart to shreds, but it warmed to see Maddie coping relatively well several months later. Though Maddie returns in Rose Under Fire, our leading lady of the story is American pilot, Rose Justice. Rose and Maddie do become fast friends though! Elizabeth Wein does a fantastic job again, creating such genuine feeling characters.

Rose is a young woman determined to prove female pilots are just as good and just as important to the war effort as male pilots. Though the US is involved with World War II and has been since the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Rose is surprised to find just how different life is in the US vs Europe. The depression is raging in the US as well as in Europe and there are vast shortages, but in the US, Rose didn’t have to worry about being bombed like Maddie has dealt with in the UK.

Rose is courted by Maddie and Jamie’s friend, Nick. Before he’s transferred to the front, he proposes and Rose thinks he’s joking. She remarks that she doesn’t understand why so many people rush into marriage during war. This comment struck a chord with me. As I’ve said before, my hubby and I got married 72 hours before he had to report back for duty before he flew out for Iraq. We had had the marriage before battle talk several times before we got married. Unlike Rose and Nick, , we’d known each other and dated for almost a year and a half. It wasn’t a rushed thing like Rose believed hers would be. In a way, she comes to regret her decision.

During a mission, she’s intercepted by two Nazi war planes which force her to follow them to Germany. They are surprised to see that she is a female pilot, but still turn her over to authorities. She is sent to Ravensbruck, the same camp Julie was sentenced to go to.

Once at Ravensbruck, we meet several other incredible women. First, we meet Elodie who was part of the French Resistance. After this brief encounter, she and Rose never encounter each other face to face again, but Elodie still plays a major role as a supplier.

She later meets the Rabbits and a few other political prisoners. The tales of what these women endure is very difficult to stomach. Even though this is a historical fiction novel, it is based on true evens that did occur at the prison camp.

It is incredibly relieving to know Rose survives Ravensbruck. I don’t think I’m spoiling this the way the book is laid out and if you look at the chapter lists. Still, reading the things that happens in Rose’s six month tenure is heartbreaking. All of this happens after D-Day, which was the turning point in the war, but not the end by any means. The time frame Rose recounts her time in Ravensbruck is the same time the 89th Infantry Division liberated Ohrdruf Concentration Camp. Reading Rose’s story and having researched the things my Grandaddy saw had me in tears off and on the entire latter part of the book. My Grandaddy could never speak of the horrors he saw.

Roza, one of the Rabbits, was operated on five times at Ravensbruck and was almost permanently crippled. The doctors did horrific experiments to “simulate” situations at the front. In reality, it was for the sheer pleasure of torture.

Karolina only endured one operation but spent eight months terribly ill and close to death before she finally recovered. She escaped with only a minor limp.

Lisette was a political prisoner from Poland, but she was originally from France. She was the adopted mother of the group. I absolutely adored Lisette. She reminds me of my Gran with her love of learning and being incredibly loving and caring.

Irina was a Soviet combat pilot who had been shot down and captured. I also admired Irina. Though she was staunchly against the Fascists, she also wasn’t thrilled with the Soviets.

The story comes to a close during the Nuremberg trials. In a way, the conviction of the captured Nazis doesn’t seem like enough justice for the terrible things they did. There never could be large enough Earthly cost for them to pay for their crimes.

I really liked that most of the book was written as a journal recounting. I have never been through anything traumatic and I’ve often kept a journal because like Rose, I find writing therapeutic. I did enjoy her poetry. I would like to know more about what happened to Rose down the road. Did she become a doctor? Did she get married, etc.? Minus that disappointment, I highly recommend Rose Under Fire. A difficult topic to stomach, but a lesson to be remembered so as to not be repeated.

About the author


Elizabeth Wein has lived in Scotland for over ten years and wrote nearly all her novels there.  Her first five books for young adults are set in Arthurian Britain and sixth century Ethiopia.  The most recent of these form the sequence The Mark of Solomon, published in two parts as The Lion Hunter (2007) and The Empty Kingdom (2008).  The Lion Hunter was short-listed for the Andre Norton Award for Best Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction in 2008.  Elizabeth also writes short stories.


Elizabeth’s latest novel for teens is a departure in a totally new direction.  Code Name Verity, published by Egmont UK, Disney-Hyperion and Doubleday Canada in 2012, is a World War II thriller in which two young girls, one a Resistance spy and the other a transport pilot, become unlikely best friends.  Code Name Verity has received widespread critical acclaim. Among its many laurels it is shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal; it is a Michael Printz Award Honor Book, a Boston Globe/Horn Book Awards Honor Book, and an SCBWI Golden Kite Honor Book. It is also a New York Times Bestseller in young adult fiction.

 

*Review* Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein April 27, 2014

Rating:5 stars
Pub date:7 May 2013
Publisher:Disney Hyperion
Genre:Young Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction
Format:paperback, personal copy
Status:Book one of the Code Name Verity companion duology

Summary:

Oct. 11th, 1943-A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

A Michael L. Printz Award Honor book that was called “a fiendishly-plotted mind game of a novel” in The New York Times, Code Name Verity is a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other.

My thoughts:

The next book in my World War II binge is back in the Allied perspective. In a way, it was comforting to return to it. Code Name Verity is the harrowing tale of British (not English, mind you) best friends, Julie and Maddie. One is a pilot, the other is a spy and this two part book covers the beginning of their friendship through an operation in France in 1943. Remember, this is classified. Careless talk costs lives. (World War II OPSEC – operation security – for Britain) This MilSo LOVED that reference throughout. I think I’ll encourage anyone who asks details about hubby’s future deployments to look up World War II propaganda.

The first narrator of Code Name Verity refers to herself as ‘Queenie’ through her tale. She has been captured by the Gestapo in France. She agrees to tell them information about the British airfields in exchange of ending torture. In the way she gives the information is through the story of how she and Maddie became best friends.

You can tell through her mannerisms and speech that ‘Queenie’ comes from a privileged background. At times she seems flippant, which may be how she protects and isolates herself from her situation, but it was a bit grating. Not enough to deter me from finishing. I was far to interested to see the outcome to let a bit of snarkiness get me down! I can be quite snarky myself.

Queenie’s tale is also very heavy with technical details. It can be a bit overwhelming, but you have to remember she is doing her job. She agreed to give details on Britain’s air front war movements and that’s what she does.

There are some very tedious parts through her tale as well as some heartbreaking ones. She has little interaction with the other prisoners, but what she does is hard to stomach. She has to witness torture and an execution. She also has to deal with them hurling insults at her because she has agreed to work with and help the Germans in order to save her own skin – if only temporarily. Spies don’t survive capture and she understands that. She doesn’t sit and dwell on rescue. She remains realistic and determined to carryout her mission.

“It’s like being in love, discovering your best friend.”

The second half is narrated by ATA pilot, Maddie Brodatt. You already feel a connection with Maddie because you watched how her friendship with Julie unfolded in the first half.

Maddie survives the crash in France, but is in more danger than ever because she is a Jew. Obviously, German occupied France is not the best place to be a Jew. From Maddie, we get some missing pieces of time that Julie didn’t know what happened. She visits Julie’s home and sparks start smouldering between Maddie and Jamie, Julie’s beloved brother who survived an aeroplane crash in the North Sea.

Once Maddie knows Julie has been captured, she wants to do something to help free her. While she’s stuck underground, waiting to be extracted from France, she gets to experience life with a French Resistance family. (So, now I’ve had poor German, Hitler’s inner circle German, German Jews, British pilot, British spy, and now French Resistance family – just making my rounds through all involved parties!)

I enjoyed Maddie’s part a lot more than I enjoyed Julie’s. Despite Julie’s situation which should’ve been rife with emotion, it keeps you a bit at arm’s length. It wasn’t a bad thing by any means. I’m a very emotional reader, so I connected to the emotion driven Maddie more than I did with the cool and calculating, Julie. I loved both characters dearly, I just happened to connect with Maddie more.

In reading a few blurbs, I saw one mentioned that mentioned a ‘tear stained copy.’ I was concerned that Code Name Verity wasn’t striking me as deeply as it had others until the end. I was very glad that I was outside alone and the kiddos were down for naps so I could week in peace. Elizabeth Wein did such an incredible job creating two incredibly inspiring heroines. She did an amazing job of thrusting me smack dab in the middle of war torn Britain and France. I will say that ever since I saw Pearl Harbor, I’ve wanted to read more about the RAF/Allied pilots and just never have. I’m glad I went on impulse to order this after hearing great things about it. I’m always on the lookout for strong female leads and Elizabeth Wein delivers two in Code Name Verity. This is a book I gladly recommend to historical fiction fans, those looking for a good copy tale, and those who are plane enthusiasts. Looking down the road to when my kiddos are older, I plan on encouraging them to read Code Name Verity. It’s THAT good! Now, “Kiss me Hardy! Kiss me quick!”

About the author


Elizabeth Wein has lived in Scotland for over ten years and wrote nearly all her novels there.  Her first five books for young adults are set in Arthurian Britain and sixth century Ethiopia.  The most recent of these form the sequence The Mark of Solomon, published in two parts as The Lion Hunter (2007) and The Empty Kingdom (2008).  The Lion Hunter was short-listed for the Andre Norton Award for Best Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction in 2008.  Elizabeth also writes short stories.


Elizabeth’s latest novel for teens is a departure in a totally new direction.  Code Name Verity, published by Egmont UK, Disney-Hyperion and Doubleday Canada in 2012, is a World War II thriller in which two young girls, one a Resistance spy and the other a transport pilot, become unlikely best friends.  Code Name Verity has received widespread critical acclaim. Among its many laurels it is shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal; it is a Michael Printz Award Honor Book, a Boston Globe/Horn Book Awards Honor Book, and an SCBWI Golden Kite Honor Book. It is also a New York Times Bestseller in young adult fiction.

 

 

*ARC Review* Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman April 21, 2014

Rating:4 stars
Pub date:22 April 2014
Publisher:HarperCollins, Balzer+Bray
Genre:Young Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance
Format:eARC provided by the publisher
Status:Book one of the Prisoner of Night and Fog series

Summary:

In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her “uncle” Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf’s, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.

Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler.

And Gretchen follows his every command.

Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can’t stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can’t help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she’s been taught to believe about Jews.

As Gretchen investigates the very people she’s always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?

From debut author Anne Blankman comes this harrowing and evocative story about an ordinary girl faced with the extraordinary decision to give up everything she’s ever believed . . . and to trust her own heart instead.

My thoughts:

Continuing my World War II reading kick, I selected an ARC I’ve been looking forward to for several months. When I first saw the cover, I was intrigued and then I read the summary. I immediately added it to my TBR. I was super excited when I got autoapproval with Harper. Prisoner of Night and Fog was one of the first books I downloaded.

After I finished The Book Thief, I knew I wanted to continue my World War II binge and start knocking out some more ARCs. Fantastic luck that Prisoner of Night and Fog fit that bill perfectly!

Again, I was back in World War II era Germany. The events of Prisoner of Night and Fog take place at the beginning of Hitler’s rise to power. Where The Book Thief is about poor Germany, Prisoner of Night and Fog is about a young girl on the fringe of Hitler’s inner circle. It was a very difficult in the beginning, being in the mind of a National Socialist party supporter. Like I said in my review of The Book Thief, my great-grandfather (and also one of my grandfathers) fought for the Allies, so it’s hard to swallow Hitler’s propaganda through Gretchen’s eyes.

Gretchen was well done. She’s smart and driven. She’s very observant and thoughtful about what she sees/hears. As she learns the truth about Hitler and her world falls apart, my heart broke for her. The things she goes through and deals with are enough to shatter anyone, but she remains strong. It’s easy to root for her and hope she continues to succeed.

Her adversary turned romantic interest, Daniel Cohen, is a Jew. I loved him from their first encounters. It was obvious he came from a different background than Gretchen, but it helps make his character. He challenges Gretchen to really look at the things Hitler has taught her to believe. He tells her to look between the lies of the things Hitler is trying to get the people of Munich, and eventually all of Germany, to do. He serves as a wonderful friend and guide as Gretchen’s world crumbles. I can’t wait to see where things take them in the next installment.

The character that really struck me the most was Reinhard. For me, he was what you can’t help but assume all enemy combatants are – especially Nazis. To follow Hitler, you would assume they were all unhinged. Obviously, that’s not true for all Germans or even all members of the Nazi party, but for Reinhard, it is completely true. He is a complete psychopath. He made my skin crawl. He was definitely a perfect villain.

The biggest surprise for me was how Hitler was portrayed. I’ve always thought he was a complete psychopath with absolutely no redeeming qualities. Anne did an impressive job weaving in moments that made him seem vulnerable and human. There were even moments I felt sorry for him. But when he showed his insanity, it was all out. Anne did a great job again and again. I can’t wait to see the next evolution of Hitler in the next phase of Nazi Germany. She created a great view inside prewar Germany.

Prisoner of Night and Fog was a beautifully done historical fiction. Anne did a great job taking real people and weaving them in a fictional murder mystery. She created relatable characters to interact with real historical figures. I recommend Prisoner of Night and Fog for those who enjoy World War II historical fiction, especially for a look into Hitler’s inner circle at the beginning of his rise to power. The best thing? Prisoner of Night and Fog releases TOMORROW! (: 

 

 

About the author

Anne Blankman may have been meant to be a writer because her parents named her for Anne of Green Gables. She grew up in an old house with gables (gray, unfortunately) in upstate New York. When she wasn’t writing or reading, she was rowing on the crew team, taking ballet lessons, fencing and swimming. She graduated from Union College with degrees in English and history, which comes in handy when she writes historical fiction.

After earning a master’s degree in information science, Anne began working as a youth services librarian. Currently, she lives in southeastern Virginia with her family. When she’s not writing young adult fiction, she’s playing with her daughter, training for races with her husband, working at her amazing library branch, learning to knit (badly), and reading.

Anne Blankman is the author of PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG, the first in a three-book deal slated for publication in spring 2014 from Balzer + Bray | HarperCollins. She is represented by Tracey Adams of Adams Literary.

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 6 – 12 April 2014 April 12, 2014

I got a lot of work done this week and it was great. I love listening to audiobooks while I work so that’s why I’ve been loading the iPod up lately. It helps me knock out books that have been published and are on my TBR pile and leaves down time for ARCs. (: The kiddos and I are very happy that springtime has finally arrived. We’ve had the windows open all day the past few days and have gone outside to enjoy the sunshine. I surprised them by pulling out their water table the other day. They had a blast! I foresee a lot of reading outside while they play this summer! I’m looking forward to actually enjoying summer for the first time in the last few years. Newborn, pregnant, and then newborn the last three summers!  Maybe we’ll even be adventurous and try to walk to the library this year. MAYBE. haha. Hope your week’s been great! (:

Completed:
After the End (ARC) by Amy Plum

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier (paperback and audiobook)



Currently Reading:

The Everything Mother Goose Book by June Rifkin (yes, we’re still working on it!)

Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone by JK Rowling (audiobook)

The Falconer by Elizabeth May (ARC)


Read to the Kiddos:

Good Night Tennessee by Adam Gamble

D is for Duck Calls (eARC) by Kay Robertson

Three Little Dinosaurs by Charles Fuge

That’s Not My Fairy by Fiona Watt

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


New to my shelf:


From the library:

The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory (audiobook) 

The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory (audiobook)

The Help by Kathryn Stockett (audiobook)

Ruby Red, Sapphire Blue, Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier (audiobooks)

Cress by Marissa Meyer (audiobook)

Delirium by Lauren Oliver (audiobook)

The Elite by Kiera Cass (audiobook)

A bunch of other audiobooks. Our online library selection is great!

 

Hello April, Goodbye March! April 1, 2014

Another month already gone! This year is just flying by! March was a very productive month for me. I got a good amount of reading and blog work done. I have reviews written up and scheduled all the way through the middle of May! Things are moving along nicely. Hubby started a new job and the kids are growing like weeds. Life is really starting to look up with the start of spring. (: Keep an eye out for some more giveaways coming soon!

Books I read in March (in order of completion)

Cress by Marissa Meyer

Fifty First Times “Field Emotions” by Melissa West

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Free Four by Veronica Roth

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

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

How Do Dinosaurs Love Their Cats? by Jane Yolen

Spot Can Count by Eric Hill

The Story of Benjamin Franklin by Patricia A Pingry

You Are My I Love You by Maryann Cusimano Love (Bug’s Imagination Library Book) 

Down by the Station by Jess Stockham 

Cleo the Cat by Caroline Mockford 

Penguins Can’t Fly! by Richard Byrne 

Sesame Street: Elmo Look and Find by Publications International Ltd. 

The Story of Thomas Jefferson by Patricia A Pingry 

Thomas and the Treasure by Wilbert Awdry 

If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Joffe Numeroff 

How Do Dinosaurs Love Their Dogs? by Jane Yolen 

Digger the Dinosaur Rebecca Kai Dotlich 

Coming up in April
We actually don’t have anything big coming up this month. Hopefully that means it’ll be a low key month. I’m super excited about Easter though! (:

Goals for April
Work on commenting and visiting other blogs

Read more with the kiddos

Stay ahead of schedule 

April releases I’m excited for:

The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

April TBR:
As You Turn Away by Molli Moran

After the End by Amy Plum

The Falconer by Elizabeth May

Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols

Challenge Update:

I’m involved with four challenges officially.

Edelweiss & Netgalley challenge: 5/25 (Prisoner of Night and Fog)

TBR Pile challenge: 17/11-20 {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} (Cress, Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant, The Book Thief,Code Name Verity, Rose Under Fire, Frozen, The Impossible Knife of Memory)

Series challenge: 7/4-6 {I can and most likely will increase my level on this as well} (Cress, Divergent, Code Name Verity)

Real” Book challenge: 12/21-30 {I have to sign up for this one once I get this post up!} (Cress, Divergent, The Book Thief, Code Name Verity, Frozen, The Impossible Knife of Memory)

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

 

Waiting on Wednesday #23: Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman March 26, 2014

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

 

 

My pick of the week is:

Prisoner of Night and Fog

 

By: Anne Blankman

 

Coming: 22 April 2014

 

Publisher: HarperCollins, Balzer+Bray

 

Summary:

 

In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her “uncle” Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf’s, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.


Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler.


And Gretchen follows his every command.


Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can’t stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can’t help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she’s been taught to believe about Jews.


As Gretchen investigates the very people she’s always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?


From debut author Anne Blankman comes this harrowing and evocative story about an ordinary girl faced with the extraordinary decision to give up everything she’s ever believed . . . and to trust her own heart instead.

 

Why I’m excited:

The first time I saw the cover of Prisoner of Night and Fog, I knew that I wanted to see what it was all about. The title and the striking cover intrigued me. When I read the summary, I immediately put it on my TBR. I requested it on Edelweiss and I waited. When I received auto approval from HarperCollins, I was ecstatic. This was one of the first eARCs I downloaded. I decided to wait a bit closer to publication to read it. It was a long wait. The mood struck to finally read The Book Thief when it came time for the DVD to come out. It put me in a mood to devour all the World War II novels I had. I wanted to save this for last so it would be a bit closer to pub date, but I couldn’t wait any longer after I finished The Book Thief. The inner circle of Hitler? I thought it would be fascinating to see inside the mind of a madman.

Why I need you to be excited:

A fascinating point of view for pre-World War II Germany, a forbidden romance, questioning everything you’ve ever believed? What’s not to be desired?! It’s a fantastic ride and completely intriguing. It’s an unexpected view into pre-war Germany as Hitler starts to grasp for power.

 

 

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 16 – 22 March 2014 March 22, 2014

Another great week of blogging work and reading. I am well ahead on my schedule and that makes life much easier with two kiddos. Especially now that it is spring time and warming up. We plan on playing outside as much as possible after being cooped up all winter! I’ve already been enjoying some time in the sun while they nap. Curled up in the hammock reading. It’s great!

Completed:

The Path to Allegiant by Veronica Roth. 1 star.

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman. 4 stars.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. 4 ½ stars.

Currently Reading:

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein 

The Everything Mother Goose Book by June Rifkin (yes, we’re still working on it!)

Read to the Kiddos:

Penguins Can’t Fly by Richard Byrne.

Cleo the Cat by Caroline Mockford

Down by the Station by Jess Stockham

You Are My I Love You by Maryann Cusimano Love (Bug’s Imagination Library book)

New to my shelf:

The Riverman by Aaron Sarmer (ARC, won from Macmillan Kids)

From the library:

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi (audiobook)

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 9 – 15 March 2014 March 15, 2014

I have ACCOMPLISHED it! I am back on track and well ahead. YAY! So happy that I’m not scrambling each day to check if I have a post to go up and if it has gone up. I also am working on our new feature. I’m thinking it will start in April. It may start a bit earlier, but I haven’t decided yet. April is the goal.

Completed:

Allegiant by Veronica Roth. 3 stars.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. 4 stars.

Currently Reading:

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

Read to the Kiddos:

How Do Dinosaurs Love Their Cats? by Jane Yolen

Spot Can Count by Eric Hill

The Story of Benjamin Franklin by Patricia A Pingry

New to my shelf:

From the library:

Pete the Catand His Magic Sunglasses by James Dean (audiobook)

 

*Review* Champion by Marie Lu December 15, 2013

Rating:  5 stars
Pub date: 5 November 2013
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Format: hardcover, library copy
Status: Book 3 of the Legend series

Summary:

He is a Legend.
She is a Prodigy.
Who will be Champion?

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high level military position. But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them once again. Just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has. With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.

My thoughts:

Champion picks back up several months after the end of Prodigy. Day and June haven’t seen each other and Day is keeping a HUGE secret. They occasionally talk, but it’s not very frequent. Day is enjoying his time with Eden, who is recovering from the experiments that have been done on him. Day is undergoing treatment and suffering from violent headaches. June is training as Princeps-Elect under Anden with two others.

Things hit the fan (as should be expected) and things keep building and building. I thought it was well done. The action building was enough to keep you reading, but wasn’t so over the top that it was unrealistic for the Republic. One thing is for certain. It’s certainly full of all sorts of feels.

Day’s condition is slaying. The last few years of my great-grandfather’s life, I watched as the tall, strong, invincible man wither away to nothing. All I could do was watch. I really feel for June having to do the same as Day weakens. Watching someone wither is not a fun thing at all.

June continued to amaze me. She’s wicked smart and logical, but is also emotional and able to connect with people. She remains strong every step of the way even though she has ample opportunity to crumple under stress, grief, guilt, etc. She keeps it together and realises her true purpose along the way. She’s definitely a great role model for guys and girls alike. The ultimate choice she makes is one of the bravest things I have ever seen. I don’t even want to contemplate what I would do in the same situation.

Anden really grows as a character and it makes me happy. He has such responsibility thrown on him and he handles it with grace. The Senate thinks he’s incapable due to his youth, and he strives to prove them wrong. His country is under threat and he weighs every option carefully.

Ollie. Oh, Ollie. I love that dog. Ollie is the perfect companion. (:

As sad as I am that this wonderful trilogy is over, I am happy with the ending. Things were summed up nicely and even though somethings are left up to the reader to read between the lines, I am content. The epilogue was great. I think great things are in store for those who survive (no spoilers, I promise!). The fallout from June’s big choice is nicely done. One thing I wish there had been more of was Antarctica. That was definitely a nice and interesting glimpse into somewhere other than the Republic and Colonies.

On another note, Punk loved the few chapters I read to him. Naptime starts curled up in mama and daddy’s bed, curled up with mama, and asking mama to read to him. (: He’s been bringing me a book I’ve been reading or my kindle as his selection. You would think a 2 year old would bring bright and flashy kids’ books, but nope – he’s bringing mama HER books. Making a point to read in front of the kiddos is really making an impact. (:

 

 
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