The Whimsical Mama

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

Waiting on Wednesday #91: The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano May 3, 2017

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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 Glass Spare

By: Lauren DeStefano

Coming: September 2017

Publisher: Balzer+Bray

Summary:

A banished princess.
A deadly curse.
A kingdom at war.

Wil is the youngest spare and the only daughter to the world’s wealthiest king. Sharing a castle with the nation’s heir and her alchemist prodigy of a brother, Wil has honed her invisibility as her strength. That is, until the day she discovers her deadly power: she can crystallize living things–even people–with a touch. After a tragedy changes the course of her life, she must help the kingdom that’s turned its back on her, even as it descends into war.

 

Why I’m excited:

 

Why I need you to be excited:

 

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Waiting on Wednesday #88: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue by Mackenzi Lee April 12, 2017

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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 Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

By: Mackenzi Lee

Coming: 20 June 2017

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Summary:

When lifelong friends Monty and Percy embark on their Grand Tour of 18th-century Europe, they stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris’s glittering finery to the haunted, sinking islands of Venice–along the way fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other.

Why I’m excited:

 

Why I need you to be excited:

 

 

Waiting on Wednesday #85: Untitled The Cage 3 by Megan Shepherd March 22, 2017

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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:

Untitled (The Cage #3)

By: Megan Shepherd

Coming: 23 May 2017

Publisher: Balzer+Bray

Summary:

The second book in the Falconer trilogy is packed with surprises and suspense.

Aileana Kameron, the Falconer, disappeared through the portal that she was trying to close forever. Now she wakes up in the fae world, trapped and tortured by the evil Lonnrach. With the help of an unexpected ally, Aileana re-enters the human world, only to find everything irrevocably changed. Edinburgh has been destroyed, and the few human survivors are living in an uneasy truce with the fae, while both worlds are in danger of disappearing altogether. Aileana holds the key to saving both worlds, but in order to do so she must awaken her latent Falconer powers. And the price of doing that might be her life.

Rich with imaginative detail, action, fae lore, and romance, The Vanishing Throne is a thrilling sequel to The Falconer.

Why I’m excited:

I absolutely loved The Falconer when I read it. I featured it on Waiting on Wednesday and I have also posted a review. It was easily a favourite read of 2014. I was so excited about The Vanishing Throne and disappointed when the release dates were pushed back and so far apart as far as UK/US. It released back in November in the UK, but I just haven’t had a chance to get it yet. And with my lull in blogging and it coming out next week, I thought it would be the perfect feature! I can’t wait to do a reread and then read later this summer!

Why I need you to be excited:

I think this is as great under the radar fantasy. The Falconer was a quick read and though I hate them, it ended on a spectacular cliffhanger that leaves you panting for more! It’s going to be a fast paced ride of a second book!

 

Waiting on Wednesday #73: Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth December 28, 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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Carve the Mark (Untitled Duology #1)

By: Veronica Roth

Coming: 17 January 2017

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Summary:

On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not — their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world?

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power — something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is from the peace-loving nation of Thuve, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Though protected by his unusual currentgift, once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive — no matter what the cost. When Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive — or to destroy one another.

Why I’m excited:

I’m fairly excited for this new book from Veronica Roth even after the immense disappointment of Allegiant. My reviews of Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant.

Why I need you to be excited:

I’m hoping Veronica Roth can redeem herself in my eyes with a great new series after the appalling take in Allegiant.

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Waiting on Wednesday #66: Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen November 9, 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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Fate of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #3)

By: Erika Johansen

Coming: 29 November 2016

Publisher: Harper

Summary:

The thrilling conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Tearling trilogy.

In less than a year, Kelsea Glynn has transformed from a gawky teenager into a powerful monarch. As she has come into her own as the Queen of the Tearling, the headstrong, visionary leader has also transformed her realm. In her quest to end corruption and restore justice, she has made many enemies—including the evil Red Queen, her fiercest rival, who has set her armies against the Tear.

To protect her people from a devastating invasion, Kelsea did the unthinkable—she gave herself and her magical sapphires to her enemy—and named the Mace, the trusted head of her personal guards, Regent in her place. But the Mace will not rest until he and his men rescue their sovereign, imprisoned in Mortmesne.

Now, as the suspenseful endgame begins, the fate of Queen Kelsea—and the Tearling itself—will finally be revealed.

Why I’m excited:

I was already intrigued by The Queen of the Tearling, and then it was rumoured/announced that Emma Watson will be the star of the upcoming movie, I became even more interested. I have decided to wait to binge the whole trilogy this fall.

Why I need you to be excited:

A badass strong female ruler? Yes, please!

 

Waiting on Wednesday #56: Three Dark Crowns August 31, 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 Dark Crowns

By: Kendare Blake

Coming: 20 September 2016

Publisher: HarperTeen

Summary:

Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.

Why I’m excited:

This kinda has a feel of Hunger Games with the royalty. I think this sounds incredibly intriguing and I can’t wait to check it out.

Why I need you to be excited:

It’s a new series and it sounds interesting!

 

Waiting on Wednesday #54: Diplomatic Immunity August 17, 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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Diplomatic Immunity

By: Brodi Ashton

Coming: 6 September 2016

Publisher: Balzer+Bray

Summary:

Aspiring reporter Piper Baird decides to write a scathing exposé on the overprivileged students at an elite Washington, DC, school, only for her life to change when she begins to fall for the story’s main subject, in this new realistic contemporary romance from Brodi Ashton, the author of the Everneath trilogy.

Raucous parties, privileged attitudes, underage drinking, and diplomatic immunity…it’s all part of student life on Embassy Row.

Piper Baird has always dreamed of becoming a journalist. So when she scores a scholarship to exclusive Chiswick Academy in Washington, DC, she knows it’s her big opportunity. Chiswick offers the country’s most competitive prize for teen journalists—the Bennington scholarship—and winning will ensure her acceptance to one of the best schools in the country.

Piper isn’t at Chiswick for two days before she witnesses the intense competition in the journalism program—and the extreme privilege of the young and wealthy elite who attend her school. And Piper knows access to these untouchable students just might give her the edge she’ll need to blow the lid off life at the school in a scathing and unforgettable exposé worthy of the Bennington.

The key to the whole story lies with Rafael Amador, the son of the Spanish ambassador—and the boy at the center of the most explosive secrets and scandals on Embassy Row. Rafael is big trouble—and when he drops into her bedroom window one night, asking for help, it’s Piper’s chance to get the full scoop. But as they spend time together, Piper discovers that despite his dark streak, Rafael is smart, kind, funny, and gorgeous—and she might have real feelings for him. How can she break the story of a lifetime if it could destroy the boy she just might love?

Why I’m excited:

I loved Brodi Ashton’s Everneath trilogy. My reviews for Everneath, Everbound, and Evertrue. I loved her writing style, and was eagerly awaiting something new. (I’m excited to read My Lady Jane too!) I was really interested in going into Foreign Policy in high school. Either as an interpreter at the UN or working as a diplomat at the State Department. I went to a class at Georgetown and got to spend quite a lot of time around diplomats and on Embassy Row. I had a blast. I can’t wait to see Brodi’s take on it!

Why I need you to be excited:

Diplomatic intrigues are so fun! Well, in print anyway!

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Top Ten Tuesday #98: Ten Books You’d Buy Right This Second If Someone Handed You A Fully Loaded Gift Card August 2, 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:

Ten Books You’d Buy Right This Second If Someone Handed You A Fully Loaded Gift Card

  1. Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory

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2. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

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3. Lament by Maggie Stiefvater

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4. Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater

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5. Antigoddess by Kendare Blake

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6. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

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7. A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard

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8. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

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9. Kiss Me Deadly by Trisha Telep

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10. Slasher Girls & Monster Boys by April Genevieve Tucholke

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What would you buy? I need all of these except Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory for YALLFest in November! haha.

 

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?

 

 

 

Review: American Wife by Taya Kyle July 4, 2016

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***mild spoilers may follow***

Rating:  4 stars
Pub date: 4 May 2015
Publisher: William Morrow, HarperColins
Genre: Adult, Non-Fiction, Autobiography, Memoir
Format: ebook, purchased
Status: Standalone/Companion to American Sniper

Summary:

The widow of American Sniper Chris Kyle shares their private story: an unforgettable testament to the power of love and faith in the face of war and unimaginable loss—and a moving tribute to a man whose true heroism ran even deeper than the legend.

In early 2013, Taya Kyle and her husband, Chris, were the happiest they ever had been. Their decade-long marriage had survived years of war that took Chris, a U.S. Navy SEAL, away from Taya and their two children for agonizingly long stretches while he put his life on the line in many major battles of the Iraq War. After struggling to readjust to life out of the military, Chris had found new purpose in redirecting his lifelong dedication to service toward supporting veterans and their families. Their love had deepened, and their family was whole, finally.

Then, the unthinkable. On February 2, 2013, Chris and his friend Chad Littlefield were killed while attempting to help a troubled vet. The life Chris and Taya fought so hard to build was shattered. In an instant, Taya became a single parent of two. A widow. A young woman facing the rest of her life without the man she loved.

Chris and Taya’s remarkable story has captivated millions through Clint Eastwood’s blockbuster Academy Award-winning film American Sniper, starring Bradley Cooper as Chris and Sienna Miller as Taya, and because of Chris’s bestselling memoir, in which Taya contributed passages that formed the book’s emotional core. Now, with trusted collaborator Jim DeFelice, Taya writes in never-before-told detail about the hours, days, and months after Chris’s shocking death when grief threatened to overwhelm her.

And yet throughout, friendship, family, and a deepening faith were lifelines that sustained her and the kids when the sorrow became too much. Two years after her husband’s tragic death, Taya has found renewed meaning and connection to Chris by advancing their shared mission of “serving those who serve others,” particularly military and first-responder families. She and the children are now embracing a new future, one that honors the past but also looks forward with hope, gratitude, and joy.

American Wife is one of the most remarkable memoirs of the year—a universal chronicle of love and heartbreak, service and sacrifice, faith and purpose that will inspire every reader.

My thoughts:

This Memorial Day Weekend, I was watching The Pacific on Amazon with my husband. We usually watch Band of Brothers, but I still hadn’t seen The Pacific, so we decided to switch things up this year. While watching, I decided I was in the mood for a Memorial Day type read after I finished The Star-Touched Queen. My first thought was to read American Sniper, which I received from my On The Same Page Secret Sister, Juli, last summer. Then I thought about Taya. I remembered I had snagged American Wife when it was a Kindle Daily Deal. It was decided. Though the events of American Sniper happen first, I opted to read American Wife first. I had seen American Sniper, so I figured I would be safe. I know, I know, the movie is always different than the book, but I still went with Taya’s book.

Through the tragic loss of her husband, Taya Kyle has become a household name. Chris Kyle had already risen to a sort of fame prior to his murder in 2013. Reading American Wife was one of the best and hardest choices I have ever made. As I’ve said numerous times, and as shown with my web address, I am an Army wife. Taya tells the entire story of her relationship with Chris. From beginning, until the end of the book. She says there is no end of their relationship, and I admire that. In the tale of how they met through marriage and deployments, I could relate on a ridiculous level. Though I’m not a Special Forces/SEAL wife, there are many similarities in the feelings Taya and I share concerning deployments. The underlying fear that at any moment there could be a knock on the door saying my husband was dead. The paralysing fear when you mistakenly watch the news and see coverage of an attack and days go by without a phone call or email.  I have LIVED that and I felt an immediate bond with Taya Kyle.

I guess this is going to sort of be a review and a spilling of how I related haha. Taya’s writing style is raw in a way. It’s obvious she isn’t in it to become a best selling novelist of numerous  publications. She writes in a way that she has to tell her story of Chris  and honour their love and his memory. It’s brutally honest. I laughed. I cried. It was as if I walked through each event with her. And in a way, I have lived through some of the events. I have lived through a deployment. I have lived through giving birth twice. I live the stay at home mom life. I live with wondering when the next deployment will come. If my husband will be safe.

I have to say, even though this was one of the hardest books I’ve ever read, I couldn’t put it down. I wanted to stay up until I finished it. I made myself go to sleep. I stole every opportunity I had to finish it the next morning.

You might think, since this was written to honour her husband, Taya Kyle would embellish and fluff up their relationship. She didn’t. She wrote about their hard times just as much, if not more, than the good times. Their marriage wasn’t perfect by any means. She even states at one point that the divorce rate for SEAL marriages are 90%+. Military marriages fail at like an 80%ish rate. Military marriages are HARD. Your family is not always the number one priority.  Most of the time, a military career takes that spot. It’s a difficult pill to swallow. Personally, the military was in hubby’s life before me.  It’s part of who he is and I love him for it. Even now with kids, I cannot imagine demanding he leave the National Guard. I am so proud of him and his service. I do understand where Taya was coming from when she gave the non-ultimatum ultimatum for him to get out of the SEALs. I sorta gave one when hubs had a travel job and was gone ALL THE TIME. With a new baby, it was difficult. I felt he was missing everything.

American Wife really made me think while I was reading. What would I do in the situation I lost my husband? I honestly can’t answer. It’s something that’s a very real possibility being a military wife, but it’s also something you can’t really imagine and prepare for at the same time. Of course we have arrangements planned, life insurance policies in place, and the standard deployment things like that, but it’s different having a plan and then actually going through it.

While I don’t agree with everything she talks about in her book, I really enjoyed reading it. It really was the hardest emotional book I have ever read. I do highly recommend it, especially to those in the military community.

About the Author

Taya Kyle is the widow of Chris Kyle, famous Navy SEAL sniper who wrote American Sniper and who was murdered in 2013.

 

 
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