The Whimsical Mama

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

Waiting on Wednesday #72: RoseBlood by A.G. Howard December 21, 2016

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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:

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RoseBlood

By: A.G. Howard

Coming: 10 January 2017

Publisher: Amulet Books

Summary:

In this modern day spinoff of Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera.

At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

A. G. Howard brings the romantic storytelling that Splintered fans adore to France—and an entirely new world filled with lavish romance and intrigue—in a retelling inspired by a story that has captivated generations. Fans of both the Phantom of the Opera musical and novel, as well as YA retellings such as Marissa Meyer’s Cinder, will devour RoseBlood.

Why I’m excited:

I have long loved The Phantom of the Opera. I saw it on Broadway in 2005 and fell even deeper in love. When I heard that there was a new retelling coming out, I knew I would have to get my hands on it!

Why I need you to be excited:

I’ve heard great things about A.G. Howard’s Alice in Wonderland series, Splintered. If she has done great things with Alice in Wonderland, I can’t wait to see what she can do with The Phantom of the Opera!

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Top Ten Tuesday #100: Top Ten Books With X Setting (Settings I Want to Visit) August 16, 2016

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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 With X Setting (Settings I Want to Visit)

1.Russia – Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

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2. Edinburgh – The Falconer by Elizabeth May

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3. Ireland – Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

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4. London – Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

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5. Paris – Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz

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6. Prague – Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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7. Romania – And I Darken by Kiersten White

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8. Middle East – The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

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9. San Diego – Waterfell by Amalie Howard

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10. China – Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

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Waiting on Wednesday #51: Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory July 27, 2016

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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:

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Three Sisters, Three Queens (The Tudor Court #2)

By: Philippa Gregory

Coming: 9 August 2016

Publisher: Touchstone

Summary:

As sisters they share an everlasting bond; As queens they can break each other’s hearts.

“There is only one bond that I trust: between a woman and her sisters. We never take our eyes off each other. In love and in rivalry, we always think of each other.”

When Katherine of Aragon is brought to the Tudor court as a young bride, the oldest princess, Margaret, takes her measure. With one look, each knows the other for a rival, an ally, a pawn, destined—with Margaret’s younger sister Mary—to a sisterhood unique in all the world. The three sisters will become the queens of England, Scotland, and France.

United by family loyalties and affections, the three queens find themselves set against each other. Katherine commands an army against Margaret and kills her husband James IV of Scotland. But Margaret’s boy becomes heir to the Tudor throne when Katherine loses her son. Mary steals the widowed Margaret’s proposed husband, but when Mary is widowed it is her secret marriage for love that is the envy of the others. As they experience betrayals, dangers, loss, and passion, the three sisters find that the only constant in their perilous lives is their special bond, more powerful than any man, even a king.

Why I’m excited:

I love Philippa Gregory’s books. The Cousin’s War series is one of my favourites. I have also enjoyed The Tudor Court series too. I’m very excited to see more of Katherine of Aragon. She’s a fascinating ruler. I’m interested in seeing Margaret Tudor come into play. I recently binge rewatched Reign and I always miss my beloved Scotland.

Why I need you to be excited:

Reign is hugely popular right now, but Philippa Gregory presents a better historical look at the time period. Reign is a guilty pleasure of mine. It kills me how inaccurate it is, but I can’t quit it. I love to jump into the Tudor era and Philippa Gregory is a fantastic author.

 

Top Ten Tuesday #97: Top Ten Things Books Have Made Me Want To Do or Learn About After Reading Them July 26, 2016

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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 Top Ten Things Books Have Made Me Want To Do or Learn About After Reading Them

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  1. Archery. Now, I won archery in high school gym class, but I would love to learn and practice the skill to rival Katniss. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

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2. Quidditch. True Harry Potter Quidditch. While the Muggle Quidditch looks entertaining, I would much rather play real Quidditch! Harry Potter by JK Rowling

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3. Epic Road Trip with Friends. I’ve gone on tons of road trips and tons of band trips, but I would love to go on a road trip with friends that doesn’t involve a school bus! Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

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4. Help a soldier/servicemember with PTSD. My step-dad has PTSD and my husband is in the service. PTSD is close to my heart and I think more awareness needs to be raised. The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

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5. Explore Prague. I would absolutely love to go to Prague! Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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6. Travel to different Londons. I love our London (Grey London). It would be fascinating to explore the other Londons too. Even if they are fantasy! A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab.

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7. Find Glendower. Not with the intention of obtaining a wish, but just to find him. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater.

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8. Explore Paris. I would love to go back to Paris. I would get on a plane in a heartbeat. Die for Me by Amy Plum

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9. Learn the violin. Well, this made me want to learn more. I’ve wanted to learn how to play the violin for ages. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare.

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10. Do marching band again. Oh, heavens do I miss marching band! Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols.

What are some things books have left you wanting to learn or do?

 

Top Ten Tuesday #96: Top Ten Books Set Outside the US July 19, 2016

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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 Set Outside the US

I decided to go with actual locations other than fantastical realms for this week.

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  1. Die for Me by Amy Plum. Oh, Paris. I love you.

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2. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. This book only strengthened by desire to visit Prague!

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3. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. Historical (fantasy) England, but England nonetheless!

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4. Blue Bloods series by Melissa de la Cruz. Various locations around Europe, South America, and even Tartarus.

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5. The Falconer trilogy by Elizabeth May. Victorian Scotland!

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6. Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. England and Scotland (with visitors from other nations too)

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7. Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer. Ireland, England, Russia, and some other locations too!

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8. Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Scotland and France!

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9. His Fair Assassin trilogy by Robin LaFevers. Duchy of Brittany and France.

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10. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. Beijing, France, Africa, the Moon.

 

Where have books taken you?

 

 

 

Required Summer Reading & Giveaway July 14, 2016

Honesty moment: I HATE required readings. I despise being told what I have to read. I think the only thing in school that I actually read when I was SUPPOSED to read it was my senior year readings. And I didn’t even read all of them! haha. Most things I knew I would have to read a grade or so ahead of time and would read them early. I was big into fanfiction in junior high and high school. I read one about Lily and James during Hogwarts and they did an international magical acting competition. Hogwarts did The Crucible. Enough of it was thrown into the story that I wanted to read the whole play. Eight grade me begged my dad to take me to Barnes & Noble to go pick it up so I could read the whole thing. I did. Not sure if it was over a break or what and my eighth grade English teacher asked if we’d read anything interesting lately. I said The Crucible. She asked if I understood the historical background and all that. (Not only the Salem Witch Trials, but the communism hunt) I did. She was impressed and said a lot of high school juniors didn’t understand it. My thought? They’re idiots! Anyway. That’s one example of one I read beforehand. Others I knew enough about that I could fake my way through it.

Punk is going into kindergarten. He has a required reading list for the summer. Seriously. I was like….. wut? Anyway. While looking at it, I came up with the thought of wondering if I could match YA/MG/Adult books to his list. His are all topics so you could match children’s books to it. I have to admit, this was much easier than I expected except for one topic! Anyway. The topics are Bears, Friends, ABC, Frogs, Fairytales, Ocean Animals, Pets, and Free Choice (this one had me spazzing for a minute until I realised it was whatever book Punk wanted, not literally about free choice!)

Here’s my required summer reading list based off of Punk’s kindergarten list.

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The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Bears: This was literally the first book that popped into my head. Probably due to me having just finished it when I had this idea. A big theme throughout the book is Sammy’s bear.

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Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Friends: Again, literally the first book I thought of. Reagan and Lilah’s friendship is amazing as is this book. Emery Lord has such an incredible way with words! *sings Emery’s praises for days*

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ABC: This was the one that gave me a the most trouble. I initially thought to leave it at All Fall Down since it’s a children’s rhyme. Then I decided to do books with an A, B, and C in the title. I do have to admit, I haven’t read two of the three of these! I absolutely adore Code Name Verity though. It ripped me to shreds in all the right ways.

All Fall Down by Ally Carter

The Body Electric by Beth Revis

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Storm of Swords by George RR Martin

Frogs: Okay, admittedly harder than the others, I finally came up with this one. I remembered the bannerman’s kids who come to join Bran as being from the swamp like area. And I’m pretty sure the boy was good at catching frogs. Or their sigil is a frog. Or something. Anyway. Swamp = froggy in my mind!

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The Hunter’s Moon by OR Melling

Fairytale: Yes, it was incredibly easy to jump to the Cinder conclusion, but I opted to go for a lesser known fairytale series. Woot for Celtic mythology!

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Waterfell by Amalie Howard

Ocean Animals: Obviously I would go for Waterfell! Though it also deals with animals, it talks about the Marianas Trench and various animals in the ocean. Win.

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Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

Pets: Pandoras count as pets, right? I mean, they’re pets in a way. At least companions, and let’s face it, cats are not pets. They’re companions at best and definitely supreme overlords.

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

Free Choice:  Okay, so this one totally fits my initial thought of Free Choice. Feyre is faced with the choice of death or living in Prythian. She’s free to choose. Ha! This also fits free choice as in whatever I want to pick so I went with what I’m currently reading. Double win!

 

Thanks for making it through my post! Also, thank you for three wonderful (crazy) years of blogging. My blogging anniversary was actually on the 9th, but it snuck up on me and I forgot to write up a post. It’s definitely been a rollercoaster ride! Anyway, to celebrate my blogiversary, I have several giveaways I’m going to be hosting in the next few weeks so keep your eyes peeled! Up first is a giveaway for any book I have reviewed in the last three years. But! There’s more! I have a list of upcoming reviews that will be posted and those books will be included too. Check out my Reviews tab for a full list of books! Right now there will be one winner, but I might add more winners, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for that too.

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 14th 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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Adult Fiction Beach Reading Recommendations July 7, 2016

Jamie’s post about beach reads really made me think about some reads I’ve loved while I read at the beach, or during a long car ride. Hubs and I really enjoy listening to audiobooks instead of trying to surf radio channels. I’ve already featured non-contemporary young adult reads, non-fiction adult reads, and contemporary young adult reads. Now for the adult fiction reads we’ve enjoyed!

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  1. World War Z by Max Brooks. Hubs and I listened to the audiobook of this. It was FANTASTIC. Multi-person performance. MUCH better than the movie too.

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2. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown. I read this while I was traveling in Italy & Greece in 2007. It was so neat to travel almost identically along to places Robert Langdon explored in Italy!

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3. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. I read this in France in 2006. It was an experience exploring Paris and reading this at the same time!

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4. The White Queen by Philippa Gregory. Anything by Philippa Gregory is a great read! (excluding The Red Queen, but that’s a different story lol).

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5. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. So much better than the movie!

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6. In Defense of the Queen by Michelle Diener. Technically the third book in the series, Michelle Diener wrote these books to be read as standalones. Minimal advantage comes from reading the previous books. Review here.

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7. The Host by Stephenie Meyer. I didn’t finish the first time I attempted to read, I read it between Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. I think I was expecting too much of Twilight influence and it was anything but. My second attempt was actually at the beach and I flew through it. I enjoyed it much better than the Twilight series.

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8. Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B Jenkins. I’m not big on Christian lit, but I have loved the Left Behind series for years. I still really need to finish it! haha.

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9. Lamb The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore. A hysterical historical fiction. I should actually do a re-read soon.

I don’t really read much adult fiction! Haha. There’s also a whole slew of Star Wars novels that I love too.

 

 

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday #94: Top Ten Books I Enjoyed That Have Under 2000 Ratings On Goodreads July 5, 2016

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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 Top Ten Books I Enjoyed That Have Under 2000 Ratings On Goodreads

This isn’t a pure list as I skipped books from the same series.

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  1. The Prophecy by Erin Rhew (all the books in this trilogy are under a dollar on Amazon!) My reviews for The Prophecy, The Outlanders, and The Fulfillment.

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2. Waterfell by Amalie Howard (This duology is a great quick beachy read!) My reviews for Waterfell and Oceanborn.

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3. Napoleon & Josephine The Sword and The Hummingbird by Gerald & Loretta Hausman. I read this back in high school and fell in love with it!

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4. Burning Kingdoms by Lauren DeStefano. The other series I started with book one, but it has over 2k views. Books two and three don’t. This series is fantastic!

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5. Rite of Conquest by Judith Tarr. I stumbled across this at our used bookstore in high school. I absolutely loved it! I should do a reread soon!

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6. In Defense of the Queen by Michelle Diener. While this is the third book, it can easily be read as a standalone. My review of In Defense of the Queen.

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7. The Hidden Prince by Jodi Meadows. Plus the other Black Knife novellas! I would suggest reading The Orphan Queen first though. SPOILERS and all that. (;

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8. Artemis Fowl The Arctic Incident: The Graphic Novel by Eoin Colfer. My love for Artemis Fowl goes deep and I finally read the graphic novels last summer.

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9. Wolf Pact by Melissa de la Cruz. Companion to the Blue Bloods series. My review for Blue Bloods

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10. A Tale of Two Centuries by Rachel Harris. I adore Rachel and her books. The My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century series is so cute and a quick read. My reviews for My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century, A Tale of Two Centuries, and My Not So Super Sweet Life.

 

What are some of your under 2k rating reads?

 

Goodbye June, Hello July! July 1, 2016

June started out to be a very promising reading month, and then turned out to be a bust haha. Hubs was gone to annual training for two weeks so I ended up staying at our office the full day every day which obviously, cut into home reading time. Though I had slow days, it was much easier to get some blog work done and stop in the middle of a post than stop in the middle of a good reading part. I could’ve done audiobooks since my mom was keeping the kids, but I ended up binge rewatching Reign and Agents of SHIELD. haha. We have a few vacations coming up in July and that will lead to lots of time in the car, so I should have a much better reading amount! I hope your June went well and have lots of exciting things coming up in July. We’ll be heading north for hubby’s sister’s wedding and the kids & I are heading to the beach with my mom and step-dad this month too! Good times for sure.

Books I read June (In order of completion)

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

 

Coming Up in July

My sister-in-law’s wedding

Bug being a flower girl

VA trip

Beach trip

 

 

Goals for July

RELAX

Juggle mama life and blogging life!

Write some reviews and posts

Try to get ahead and stay ahead on blogging

 

July Releases I’m Excited For

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

DC SuperHero Girls

Magic Tree House: Night of the Ninth Dragon

 

July TBR

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

Lois Lane Fallout by Gwenda Bond

 

 

 

2016 Reading Challenge (completed in bold)

A book based on a fairy tale: The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

A National Book Award Winner

A YA Bestseller: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

A book you haven’t read since high school

A book set in your home state

A book translated to English: Dream of the Rood by Cynewulf

A romance set in the future: Their Fractured Light by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner

A book set in Europe: The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory

A book that’s under 150 pages: The Hidden Prince by Jodi Meadows

A New York Times Bestseller: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

A book that’s becoming a movie this year

A book recommended by someone you just met

A self-improvement book

A book you can finish in a day: Princes in the Tower by Alison Weir

A book written by a celebrity

A political memoir: Memoir of Marguerite de Valois by Marguerite de Valois

A book at least 100 years older than you: Beowulf by Unknown

A book that’s more than 600 pages

A book from Oprah’s Book Club

A science-fiction novel

A book recommended by a family member

A graphic novel

A book that is published in 2016: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

A book with a protagonist who has your occupation: American Wife by Taya Kyle

A book that takes place during summer

A book and its prequel: The Winner’s Curse & Bridge of Snow by Marie Rutkoski

A murder mystery

A book written by a comedian

A dystopian novel

A book with a blue cover: My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins et al

A book of poetry: Holy Sonnets by John Donne

The first book you see in a bookstore

A classic from the 20th century

A book from the library

An autobiography: The History of the Bloody Massacres of the Protestants in the Year of Our Lord, 1572 by Jacques Auguste de Thou

A book about a road trip

A book about a culture you’re unfamiliar with: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

A satirical book

A book that takes place on an island

A book that’s guaranteed to bring you joy

 

Non-Fiction Beach Reading Recommendations June 27, 2016

Continuing on from my original post, which was inspired by Jamie’s post about beach reading recommendations, it got me to thinking about some other genres I would like to recommend. This week, I’m talking non-fiction. Though I love my YA, I do like to dabble in adult fiction and non-fiction. I have an adult fiction post planned as well.

Despite being non-fiction, these were all quick and engaging reads.

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  1. American Wife: Love, War, Faith, and Renewal by Taya Kyle. I blew through this book over Memorial Day weekend and my review will be coming up soon for full praises. Simply, Taya Kyle is the widow of Chris Kyle, known for writing American Sniper and his murder. Taya Kyle’s writing is fresh, painful, and like speaking with a friend. As a military wife, there was so much I could relate to, but also it was a fascinating read even if not connected to the military.

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2. The Wars of the Roses by Dan Jones. I actually was approved for this back when it was an ARC. I ended up finally getting around to reading it this past spring semester for a paper. Dan Jones writes in a spectacularly engaging way. If you have a chance to watch Great British Castles, (It’s on Netflix!) he’s the host. The way he presents the history of the castles is EXACTLY like his writing style. This was a very fascinating period in English history and I blew through this in one day!

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3. The Plantagenets by Dan Jones. I can’t remember if I was approved for this as an ARC, or I just discovered it after I was approved for The Wars of the Roses. Either way, I scored a finished copy in the clearance section at BooksAMillion. I also ended up reading it for class this semester too. It was a super fast read. I ended up reading about royals I didn’t need to cause it just flowed so well through the history of England that it keeps you engaged. There were some fascinating rulers of England!

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4. The Rival Queens by Nancy Goldstone. This seems to be a recurring theme with these! I read this for another class this last semester for a paper on Marguerite de Valois. She and her mother, Catherine de Medici were two incredible Renaissance women! There was only a section of this book relevant to my paper, but I ended up reading the whole book. The relationship between mother and daughter was extremely tumultuous and shaped the future of France.

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5. Memoirs of Marguerite de Valois by Marguerite de Valois Queen of Navarre. These memoirs of Marguerite de Valois could be very stretched truth, but she gives a very detailed account of the shenanigans of French court. If you watch Reign, Princess Claude is loosely based on Marguerite and yeah… she was known for getting around! I read this for a paper, and it was an eye opening experience haha.

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6. Marley and Me by John Grogan. Excluding the ending, which I don’t recommend reading in public without a box of tissues, this hysterical read is great for the beach. My Secret Sister, Juli sent it to me last summer when our dog first got sick with degenerative myelopathy and we were afraid we’d have to put her down. This was perfectly timed and  helped me come to peace with the thought of losing our furbaby.

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7. Perepolis by Marjane Satrapi. This non-fiction graphic novel set during the religious revolution in Iran is a page turner. The writing is witty and presents such a dangerous time in an easy to follow way.

 

Do you read non-fiction? What are some of your favourites?

 

 
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