The Whimsical Mama

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

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

 

PERFECT COUPLE

 

***I was granted permission to read this by the publisher in exchange for an honest review as a part of the blog tour hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club. Many thanks to Simon Pulse!***   

 

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

 

***Affiliate links below***

 

Perfect Couple (The Superlatives)

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

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Summary:

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

 Can your heart be put to a popular vote?

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

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

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

 

BOOK LINKS:

 

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Buy Links:
Goodreads
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iTunes
Bookdepository
Kobo

 

OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES


2574dd3c017f7b34834ad71076b82e9a Biggest Flirts (The Superlatives)

(affiliate link)

 

Be sure to check out my review here!

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

About the author

JenniferEcholsStanding

Jennifer Echols was born in Atlanta and grew up in a small town on a beautiful lake in Alabama—a setting that has inspired many of her books. She has written nine romantic novels for young adults, including the comedy MAJOR CRUSH, which won the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the drama GOING TOO FAR, which was a finalist in the RITA, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the Book Buyer’s Best, and was nominated by the American Library Association as a Best Book for Young Adults. Simon & Schuster will debut her adult romance novels in 2013, with many more teen novels scheduled for the next few years. She lives in Birmingham with her husband and her son.
http://www.jennifer-echols.com | http://twitter.com/jenniferechols

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GIVEAWAY

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

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

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

 

Blogoversary! (And giveaway!) July 10, 2014

I am so blown away that it’s my blogoversary! Okay, it was actually yesterday. You know how in my confessions on Top Ten Tuesday mentioned either way ahead or scrambling on posts? Well, this week has been a scrambling one. I scheduled ahead for vacation, but only through the day we came home. I know, I know.  This year has been an incredible experience. Chock full of hard work and numerous rewards. I’ve said before, but I’ll say it again. This blog is older than a year old. I started blogging in 2011. Aspirations of becoming like Julie in Julie&Julia. That FAILED. Juggling a newborn and a new blog idea while hubby had a travel job just didn’t work. So this sat unused for ages. Then Mary started getting her blog off the ground. I debated jumping back in the blogging world for a long time before I actually committed. This time around, I was juggling a toddler AND a newborn, but hubby no longer traveled with work. Finally, I took the plunge and I never looked back.

The Whimsical Mama would never have been possible without all the support Mary’s given me. She is seriously my number one supporter in ALL THE THINGS. If you don’t know her, she blogs over at Mary Had a Little Book Blog. You should check it out. It’s incredible. Just like her! Mary and I go way back to my freshman year of college. Books have always been a big thing in our friendship and I love how close we are on and off the net. Still sucks that we live so far apart! Mary, you’re the best and I LOVE YOU!

This also wouldn’t be possible without you, dear reader. There are times when I feel like I’m blogging and talking to a wall, but when I see pages views and visitor numbers, it makes my heart soar. I could seriously talk to a wall about books, but knowing that someone, somewhere is checking out The Whimsical Mama, it reassures me that I’m doing the right thing. Thank you for sticking around even though I don’t get to do a lot of giveaways. I am happy that I’m going to be able to do more giveaways now. It’s killed me not to be able to share book love other than just publicity.

Thank you to all the publishers & publicists who have taken a chance on me. Especially Cassie McGinty at Disney Hyperion. She deals with my emails a lot and is always AWESOME! (: I’m so thankful for the opportunities you’ve given this lil ole blogger mama to share the book love. 

OBVIOUSLY ALL THE LOVE goes to the authors too. Let’s face it. They’re the true reason we’re here. Without their hard work, we wouldn’t have anything to gush about! I’ve had the chance to interact with one of my favourite authors (Melissa de la Cruz) and meet and build relationships with so many others. I love you all so much. Major shout out to Amalie Howard and Jodi Meadows. Last summer, many a night, there were hours long chats with Jodi, Mary, and Alex. So many fun times! Jodi took the time to drive down to meet me for lunch when I was up in the Northern VA area. She’s incredible. She’s a lovely lady and incredible author. Read her books. DO IT. Like I said yesterday, I stumbled across Amalie and I’m so happy I did. She’s super awesome and super talented. We haven’t had the chance to meet in person yet, but it will happen and it will be EPIC. I will forever more shout the recommendations about their books. Fo’ sho’.

Now, for the time we’ve all been waiting for! GIVEAWAY TIME! I have a ton of giveaways scheduled for this month and next, but this one is special for my blogoversary (plus the Infinite ARC giveaway). This is going to be a level giveaway. First up is a young adult book of choice (up to $15) from Book Depository! For every 300 entries, I’ll reveal another prize and add another winner. Prizes will be first come first serve if more than one is revealed. *** Prize #2 has been unlocked!!*** ARC of 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen! (US ONLY) If you don’t follow my giveaway guidelines, I will disqualify you. Don’t make me do it, please. I’ve had to disqualify people from every giveaway I’ve hosted thus far and it’s so disheartening.

 

Giveaway!

This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL (and only open to the countries where Book Depository delivers to) Entrants must be 13 years old to enter. Those entrants under 18 MUST have parental consent. Giveaway is open July 10th 2014 (12am EST) through August 10th 2014 (12am EST). I reserve the right to disqualify entries in violation of my giveaway policies. 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! (: For every 300 entries, I’ll add another prize & winner! Prizes will be revealed at each level! (Book Depository prize ONLY IS International all other prizes are US ONLY. Sorry!)

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Don’t forget about these giveaways!

 

Kiera Cass 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!

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Jodi Meadows 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 1st 2014 (12am EST) through July 31st 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! (:

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*Blog Tour, Review, & Giveaway* Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols May 12, 2014

biggestflirtsblogtour

***I was granted permission to read this by the publisher in exchange for an honest review as a part of the blog tour hosted by Itching For Books. Many thanks to Simon Pulse!***   

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

biggestflirtscover

 

Rating:5 stars
Pub date:20 May 2014
Publisher:Simon Pulse
Genre:Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Format:eARC provided by the publisher
Status:Book one of The Superlatives series

Summary:

Tia and Will’s lives get flipped upside down when they’re voted Yearbook’s Biggest Flirts in this sassy novel from the author of Endless Summer and The One That I Want.

Tia just wants to have fun. She’s worked hard to earn her reputation as the life of the party, and she’s ready for a carefree senior year of hanging out with friends and hooking up with cute boys. And her first order of business? New guy Will. She can’t get enough of his Midwestern accent and laidback swagger.

As the sparks start to fly, Will wants to get serious. Tia’s seen how caring too much has left her sisters heartbroken, and she isn’t interested in commitment. But pushing Will away drives him into the arms of another girl. Tia tells herself it’s no big deal…until the yearbook elections are announced. Getting voted Biggest Flirts with Will is, well, awkward. They may just be friends, but their chemistry is beginning to jeopardize Will’s new relationship—and causing Tia to reconsider her true feelings. What started as a lighthearted fling is about to get very complicated…

My thoughts:

I am so happy to be a part of the blog tour for Biggest Flirts today! I applied not thinking I would get it and was so happy when I did. I was a bit nervous though. I’m not the biggest fan of contemporary and while I had several Jennifer Echols books on my TBR (thanks to Mary) I had never read anything by her yet. Boy, have I been missing out!

Biggest Flirts really felt a lot like my senior year. I wasn’t a party girl or as big of a flirt as Tia, but goodness, the band memories!

Yes, Iam a marching band alum and that added SO much to my reading experience and brought back so many great memories. SO many memories. The early mornings, hot and humid days, long nights – I was back in the last week of July in East Tennessee all over again. I’m sure the heat and humidity is much worse in Florida though! As a former band kid, each practice scene felt so real. I was instantly transported through time and readers who weren’t in band will still be able to easily imagine the scenes before them. Jennifer does a fantastic job setting the scene in a realistic fashion.

Tia was easy to relate to because she felt so real and vulnerable. There were also girls like Tia in band, so I could relate on that level, too. I related more to her on the academic side than the relationship side. I was smart, but I really hated showing it, because I didn’t want to get hit with tons of responsibility. Also? Music. I stopped practicing flute on purpose so I could be middle of the road and not saddled with any section leader responsibilities. I loved the upperclass leadership responsibilities though!

Will was relatable for me, because I’d had my whole world ripped a part and flipped upside down before, too. I didn’t have to move across the country before my senior year like him, though. My parents got divorced. They ‘hid’ their fighting the summer before eighth grade. They said they didn’t want to ruin my summer or upcoming school year. I remember screaming at them that they were ruining my life, not just my summer. It’s definitely not a fun thing to have your whole world destroyed and my heart went out to Will.

I really enjoyed the banter between Will and Tia. It reminded me so much of me and my best guy friend in high school. There were times when we argued for the sake of arguing. It was definitely realistic cause I’ve been there! haha. I’m sure it would’ve been much worse and much more like Tia and Will had we been in the same section. He was a drummer so that made the connection even better. Goofy drummers! (I can trash on drummers since I married one! haha) 

As well as two strong main characters, they are surrounded by a great cast of secondary characters. I can’t wait to read some of their stories in the future books. It was great to see an interesting mix of personalities in Tia’s circle. Again, I was reminded of my time in high school. Believe it or not, band kids aren’t complete nerds and isolationists! (: We DO have friends outside of the inner circle of band. Not all band kids are friends either. 

Biggest Flirts was a fast and enjoyable read. As a fan of leaving the real world when I read, I loved this contemporary and definitely plan on checking out more of Jennifer’s books (including the rest of this series as they release!). I’m definitely becoming a Jennifer Echols fan! Many thanks to Mary for introducing me to her books, Shane for letting me be a part of the tour, and Jennifer for writing such an enjoyable story!

**Favourite Quotes**

Drum corps were basically marching bands with super powers. I have always admired drum corps! I love watching their competitions and have known a few people to march in the corps. Badass. All hail the drum corps.

“You get your energy from being by yourself,” I guessed. This was Harper’s description of the strange phenomenon I did not understand. “Having to talk to a bunch of people at once, especially people you don’t know, makes you feel drained.” Oh, man. Tia is describing Will, but this totally fits for me too. 

“I’m the king of the world,” he murmured. In a sexy satisfied tone that most chicks would use to reaffirm their love, I said, “You are the king of the dorks.” LOVE IT! (;

“Mr. Matthews, get off Ms. Cruz. I’m starting to sound like a broken record.” 

About the author

JenniferEcholsStanding

Jennifer Echols was born in Atlanta and grew up in a small town on a beautiful lake in Alabama—a setting that has inspired many of her books. She has written nine romantic novels for young adults, including the comedy MAJOR CRUSH, which won the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the drama GOING TOO FAR, which was a finalist in the RITA, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the Book Buyer’s Best, and was nominated by the American Library Association as a Best Book for Young Adults. Simon & Schuster will debut her adult romance novels in 2013, with many more teen novels scheduled for the next few years. She lives in Birmingham with her husband and her son.
http://www.jennifer-echols.com | http://twitter.com/jenniferechols

GIVEAWAY

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*ARC Review* The Ring & the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz March 31, 2014

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

Rating:4 stars
Pub date:1 April 2014
Publisher:Disney Hyperion
Genre:Young Adult Fiction, Romance, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Format:ARC provided by the publisher
Status:Book one of The Ring and the Crown series

Summary:

Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the Lily Throne, and Aelwyn Myrddn, bastard daughter of the Mage of England, grew up together. But who will rule, and who will serve?


Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second, Supreme Ruler of the Franco-British Empire. With the help of her Head Merlin, Emrys, Eleanor has maintained her stranglehold on the world’s only source of magic. She rules the most powerful empire the world has ever seen.


But even with the aid of Emrys’ magic, Eleanor’s extended lifespan is nearing its end. The princess must marry and produce an heir or the Empire will be vulnerable to its greatest enemy, Prussia. The two kingdoms must unite to end the war, and the only solution is a match between Marie and Prince Leopold VII, heir to the Prussian throne. But Marie has always loved Gill, her childhood friend and soldier of the Queen’s Guard.


Together, Marie and Aelwyn, a powerful magician in her own right, come up with a plan. Aelwyn will take on Marie’s face, allowing the princess to escape with Gill and live the quiet life she’s always wanted. And Aelwyn will get what she’s always dreamed of–the chance to rule. But the court intrigue and hunger for power in Lenoran England run deeper than anyone could imagine. In the end, there is only rule that matters in Eleanor’s court: trust no one.

My thoughts:

 While I as eagerly awaiting news of Melissa de la Cruz’s spin off from Blue Bloods, she first announced another new series – The Ring and the Crown. When I first saw the title, I thought it as the new Blue Bloods until I read the rest of the announcement. An alternate history with magic?! Count me in! I as so excited. I finally got up the guts to email a request about an ARC. I was so excited, I didn’t know how I would deal with a rejection. The wait for April would be a long and excruciating one. Thank my lucky stars, Disney Hyperion granted me an ARC. That was a glorious mail day! I tried to put it off until a bit closer to pub date to read it, but I just couldn’t wait anymore.


Once again, Melissa does a great job of drawing you in at once with interesting characters who aren’t all that they seem. She also does a great job of creating an alternate reality of London and New York. New York doesn’t feature much, but you do get a small taste. It’s set in what would be late Victorian/early Edwardian time for us, but being an alternate history, there are different rulers due to different outcomes.


The turning point to alter reality from our own occurred during the 100 years war between England and France. France never succeeded driving out the English – thanks to more powerful magic on the English side. Joan of Arc (Jeanne of Arkk) was still burned at the stake for witchcraft (only it was true this time) and Charles VII was never crowned King of France. As a result echoing through the ages: the British Empire comes to existence but it never crumbles. War of Independence? Nope. A minor uprising that is squashed. The United States of America is part of the America Provinces.


As a huge history nerd, I was very excited to see how Melissa was going to spin this alternate reality and I think she killed it. I often think of different history scenarios and wonder how things would be different if the outcome had been reversed. Pulling in Merlin and Avalon was perfection. I love myths involving Merlin, Avalon, Arthur, Camelot, etc.


I don’t know if it was an intentional homage or not, but I really felt a Prince and the Pauper pull between the two leading ladies – Princess Marie-Victoria and acolyte Aelwyn. Both long for lives that differ from their own. Who can’t relate to that? As a teenager, I often thought of what it would be like to be a princess. Not in an obsessive, I WANT to be a princess, just pondering how life would be different. Now, as an adult, I thank my stars that I am who I am. I like not having my every move watched and scrutinised. I definitely enjoy not having my every move as a mother watched and rumours flying if I’m pregnant again or not. Poor Princess Catherine!


I also loved the addition of the American Ronan. She has very heavy obligations thrust on her young shoulders and she has to decide how she wants her future to go.  That is the main theme of the book – do what is expected and accept responsibility for decisions/actions, discover yourself and be true to that self. These three lovely ladies as well as Isabelle of Orleans (descendant of the fallen French family) struggle to do just that.


Along the road of self discovery, the ladies are joined by the charming Prince Wolf (I call dibs NOW). I fell in love with Wolf in his first scene and he grows immensely from there. And what story wouldn’t be complete without a few villains? I’ll remain mum on their identities because there’s a scene at the end that is a doozie!


Melissa does a great job with character growth and world development once again. (Honestly, I’m NOT surprised.) She does a fantastic job of taking a simplistic style and making it so fabulous that you’re swamped with imagery without being up to your eyeballs in page long descriptions. I’ve seen a few complaints about straying from historical accuracies, but let’s be honest for a minute. It’s an ALTERNATE history therefore the world will be different. I’m a big history purist in historical fiction novels. Since this is an alternate history, Melissa gets some room to work with in it. It doesn’t have to be 100% accurate because it’s her alternate history. I really enjoyed The Ring and the Crown and can’t wait for more. As usual with Melissa’s writing, I was addicted from the beginning. Melissa’s writing is just a drug to me and I can never get enough! I highly recommend The Ring and the Crown to historical fiction and fantasy readers. Even if those aren’t your usual cups of tea, I still suggest you give it a shot! You never know when you’ll stumble across a new series you’ll enjoy! And the best news of all?! It comes out TOMORROW! 

About the author

Melissa de la Cruz is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens including The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard series and the semi-autobiographical novel Fresh off the Boat.


Her books for adults include the novel Cat’s Meow, the anthology Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys and the tongue-in-chic handbooks How to Become Famous in Two Weeks or Less and The Fashionista Files: Adventures in Four-inch heels and Faux-Pas.


She has worked as a fashion and beauty editor and has written for many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Allure, The San Francisco Chronicle, McSweeney’s, Teen Vogue, CosmoGirl! and Seventeen. She has also appeared as an expert on fashion, trends and fame for CNN, E! and FoxNews.


Melissa grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart. She majored in art history and English at Columbia University (and minored in nightclubs and shopping!).


She now divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, where she lives in the Hollywood Hills with her husband and daughter.

 

*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.

 

Waiting on Wednesday #21: The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz March 12, 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:

The Ring and the Crown (The Ring and the Crown #1)

 

by Melissa de la Cruz

 

Coming: 1 April 2014

 

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

 

Summary:

 

Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the Lily Throne, and Aelwyn Myrddn, bastard daughter of the Mage of England, grew up together. But who will rule, and who will serve?


Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second, Supreme Ruler of the Franco-British Empire. With the help of her Head Merlin, Emrys, Eleanor has maintained her stranglehold on the world’s only source of magic. She rules the most powerful empire the world has ever seen.


But even with the aid of Emrys’ magic, Eleanor’s extended lifespan is nearing its end. The princess must marry and produce an heir or the Empire will be vulnerable to its greatest enemy, Prussia. The two kingdoms must unite to end the war, and the only solution is a match between Marie and Prince Leopold VII, heir to the Prussian throne. But Marie has always loved Gill, her childhood friend and soldier of the Queen’s Guard.


Together, Marie and Aelwyn, a powerful magician in her own right, come up with a plan. Aelwyn will take on Marie’s face, allowing the princess to escape with Gill and live the quiet life she’s always wanted. And Aelwyn will get what she’s always dreamed of–the chance to rule. But the court intrigue and hunger for power in Lenoran England run deeper than anyone could imagine. In the end, there is only rule that matters in Eleanor’s court: trust no one.

 

Why I’m excited:

 

I ADORE Melissa de la Cruz. I really do. I have loved her since 2007. I was sad when her Blue Bloods series ended. I was excited when she announced she had TWO new series coming in 2014. TWO. YES! One, was a new spinoff from Blue Bloods. The other, a an alternate history historical fiction. OH MY. YES! I love history. I’m the type of nerd that likes to think “what if?” on various history scenarios. Now, the lovely Melissa has created one for this bookish history loving nerd. And not only is it alternate history, it has MAGIC. YES YES YES! Many wonderful thanks to Disney Hyperion for the ARC approval!

 

 

Why I need you to be excited:

 

Royals and magic. C’mon! It’s gonna be brilliant. Melissa is amazing and she will NOT disappoint with this. I’ve actually already read it, so I know it’s a great read. It’s very exciting and I knocked it out in about 24 hours. Assassination attempts, runaway romance, a Prince and the Pauper switch, it’s incredible. This is a series you can’t miss! What’s even better? You don’t have to wait long to read it! It comes out on April 1st. Go ahead and preorder. You know you want to! (;

 

 

 
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