The Whimsical Mama

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

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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Please Be Kind, Rewind: 19 October – 15 November 2014 November 15, 2014

It’s been a long while and I apologise. Just when I was ready to get back in the thick of things after taking a bit of time away from blogging to focus on a summer of fun with my kiddos, the news breaks of a certain author stalking a fellow blogger. Well, needless to say it left a bitter taste in my mouth and killed my returning enthusiasm to jump back in the blogging life. My first priority is the safety of my family. We like our privacy which is why I don’t post pictures of my kiddos or use their real names around here or on Twitter. My Instagram is private and I even use their nicknames their. An author showing up on a blogger’s doorstep is a terrifying thought. It really made me think about giving it up. I was out of the habit and it would be easy to walk away. I don’t post negative reviews, but there was part of me that thought better safe than sorry. You know? But after much consideration, I’ve decided to stick with it. Cautiously, mind you, but stick with it.

I didn’t get everything read that I wanted before YALLFest, but I got the main things read. There’s time for the rest! As for YALLFest, I had a BLAST and hope I get to go again next year. I have some books by YALLFest authors that I’m planning to giveaway. The downside is, they aren’t signed, but HEY! Free books! I haven’t decided when I’m going to have the giveaway, but keep an eye out!

I’ve also taken up crocheting. I’ve wanted to learn for quite a while, and as a birthday treat to myself, I bought some hooks & yarn and set to it! If you check out Whimsical Mama Designs on Facebook, you can see a few things I’ve made so far that are for sale! I have several more things to add to the album. I’ve fallen quite in love with it. A nice way to relax and be productive at the same time! (: The kiddos love picking out new hats on Pinterest for mommy to make. Santa’s elf is quite busy! (; If you check it out and you see something you’d like, let me know! I’d be happy to work with you. (:

Since I went to YALLFest, I didn’t do NaNo this year. I also have lots of research to do for my next WIP. If you see my list of library books at the end, it’s not hard to guess the setting! I’m very excited about it as it’s an idea I’ve held dear for a quite a while and want to sit down and write. Other than that, I’m staying mum!

Punk & Bug are getting super excited about the holidays and it’s making me excited too. I love seeing their excitement! We watch the reindeer on ReindeerCam.com. Punk wants to know all the things about reindeer now.

Thank you to all the readers who have been checking back diligently to see if a new post has come up! You are a huge part of why I have decided to stick with it. I’ve also decided to post the backdated things I have typed up but took down from the schedule. Reviews and such have been adjusted so they’ll be going up starting tomorrow. (Hopefully, if I don’t get caught up working on the scarf I’m crocheting!)

***affiliate links are used below***

 

Completed:
Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass) by Sarah J Maas

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass) by Sarah J Maas

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone) by Laini Taylor

Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone) by Laini Taylor

Night of Cake & Puppets (Kindle Single) (Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy) by Laini Taylor

 

 

Currently Reading:

Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone) by Laini Taylor

Perfect Ruin (The Internment Chronicles) by Lauren DeStefano

 

Read with the Kiddos:
The Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry by Peter Sis

Pete the Cat and the Bad Banana (My First I Can Read)  by James Dean

 

New to My Shelf:
Perfect Ruin (The Internment Chronicles) by Lauren DeStefano

The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Trilogy)by Marie Rutkoski

In the Shadows by Kiersten White & Jim di Bartolo

White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements) by Jennifer Armentrout

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass)by Sarah J Maas

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass) by Sarah J Maas

The Maze Runner Series (Maze Runner)by James Dashner

Prodigy: A Legend Novel by Marie Lu

Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor & Jim di Bartolo

 

From the Library:
The Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry by Peter Sis

The Night Trilogy: Night, Dawn, Day by Elie Wiesel

The Box from Braunau: In Search of My Father’s War

Ladybug Girl and the Dress-up Dilemma by Jacky Davis & David Soman

Meet the Adelies (Happy Feet)

Biscuit Loves the Library (My First I Can Read)

The Greedy Python (The World of Eric Carle) by Eric Carle

The Pigeon Needs a Bath!

Splat the Cat: Good Night, Sleep Tight (I Can Read Book 1)

1, 2, 3 to the Zoo by Eric Carle

Big Bear, Little Bear (Disney/Pixar Brave) (Step into Reading)

When the War Never Ends: The Voices of Military Members with PTSD and Their Families

Binding Their Wounds: America’s Assault on Its Veterans

The Buchenwald Report

My Father’s Secret War

Flight of the Reindeer: The True Story of Santa Claus and His Christmas Mission

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to World War II

 

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 7-13 September 2014 September 13, 2014

Finally a good reading week! (: It’s great to be back in the reading swing of things. I still have a ton of blogging work to get caught up on though. But, progress is better than nothing! (:

 

Completed:

The Young Elites by Marie Lu (ARC)

 Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White (eARC)

Find Me by Romily Bernard

 

Currently Reading:

Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz

Remember Me by Romily Bernard (eARC)

 

 

 

Read to the Kiddos:
Chick Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. 

Chicka Chicka ABC by Bill Martin Jr (Bug’s current favourite!)

T is for Touchdown by Brad Herzog

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss

On the Moon by Anna Milbourne

There’s No Place Like Space by Tish Rabe

I Spy Little Letters by Jean Marzollo

Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert

Planes by Byron Barton

If You Give a Cat a Cupcake by Laura Joffe Numeroffe 

That’s Not My Meerkat by Fiona Watt

Pete the Cat Rocking in My School Shoes by Eric Litwin & James Dean

 


New to my shelf:
The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare & Holly Black (ARC from my super amazing OTSPSecreSister!)

 

From the library:

as usual, more audiobooks! (:

 

 

Feature & Follow Friday: Featured Blogger! July 10, 2014

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I am so honoured to be a featured blogger for Feature & Follow! I was featured almost a year ago, just after I started blogging. I always forget to participate, so hopefully being featured again will help me kick it back in gear! If you decide to follow me, let me know and I will follow you back! (: While you’re here, I hope you’ll check out the giveaways I have going on! I have an ebook of The Prince or The Guard both by Kiera Cass up for grabs here. (For every 100 entries another winner will be added!) An ARC of Infinite by Jodi Meadows up for grabs here. And as of now, a young adult book of your choice from Book Depository here. After 300 entries on the last giveaway, I’ll reveal another prize! Thanks for stopping by!

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When did you start blogging?
I started blogging in 2011, but didn’t start book blogging until July 2013. Crazy that it’s been a year now! (I have a blogoversary celebration giveaway going on if you’d like to check it out!)

What is your favorite part of book blogging?
My favourite thing about book blogging has been building some great relationships with authors and readers from all over! I’ve made some great friends this year and look forward to making more!

What type of books do you mainly blog about?

I focus mainly on young adult books. I have featured the occasional adult or middle grade novel. I also have a feature called Tot Time Thursday where my kiddos help feature some of their current favourites.

What is your favorite book(s)?

Ack! This is still such a hard question. Harry Potter still holds a special place in my heart. Especially now that my son has asked to listen to the audiobooks/have me read them to him. Since I started blogging, I would have to say a few favourites have been Infinite by Jodi Meadows, Waterfell by Amalie Howard, and The Falconer by Elizabeth May. There are plenty of others, these are just off the top of my head. (: My kiddos’ current favourites are the Pete the Cat and Ladybug Girl books!

What has been the best thing that has happened to you because of book blogging?

I would have to say having lunch with Jodi Meadows for my birthday! Okay, it wasn’t exactly FOR my birthday, it just happened to work out that way. Haha. My in-laws live in Northern VA and I happened to have the chance to meet up with Jodi and have lunch. It was such a great experience! If it hadn’t been for book blogging, I would’ve never connected with her or had the chance to meet her!

 

***This week’s question is: If you had a time machine (i.e. a TARDIS) where would you go? ***

 

Hmmm. There are so many things that I would love to see! I am a GIANT history nerd. No, really. A GIANT history nerd. One of my smaller bookcases is nothing but history books. Mostly Elizabeth I. No shame. (: I wouldn’t dare interfere with anything in history though. I don’t think I’m going to be able to pick just one thing so here are some of the things I would love to see off the top of my head.

1. Ancient Rome when the Coliseum was in its prime.

2. The Last Supper.

3. Elizabeth I facing down the Spanish Armada.

4. Robert Kennedy give a speech.

5. Watch the Berlin Wall fall.

6. The Miracle on Ice game.

7. Annie Oakley and Calamity Jane.

8. Ancient Athens (I was SO disappointed with modern Athens)

9. Ancient Alexandria during Cleoptara’s reign. (Library, DUH)

10. Battle of Bosworth Field 1485.

Yup. Those are the top ten off the top of my head. Ask me tomorrow and my answers will probably be different! haha

 

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Again, thanks for dropping by! (: Thanks for the opportunity to be a featured blogger again! (: However you choose to follow is great.

 

Top Ten Tuesday #33: Gateway Books/Authors in My Reading Journey April 1, 2014

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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 Gateway Books/Authors in My Reading Journey

JK Rowling– JKR is one of the authors responsible for making me fall in love with reading on my own. As a kid, I loved being read to, but HATED reading on my own. JKR changed all of that with a little boy named Harry. (: 

Rachel Harris – Rachel has gotten me to venture into the world of New Adult. I loved Seven Day Fiance. New Adult is on my genre list of venturing into more. 

Lois Lowry – Opening my reading up to dystopian societies. It’s kinda funny, really. Tea Time talked about this on 26 March when discussing The Giver trailer. I already had this list sketched out on paper and had her down for dystopian. I love her other works too, but she really got me into dystopian before it was cool to be dystopian. 

The Royal Diaries series – This middle grade series is what got me hooked on history. I devoured these books like they were going out of style! I still need to finish the series and I hope my kiddos love them as much as I did/do!

Philippa Gregory – It started with Royal Diaries and matured when I discovered Philippa Gregory’s Tudor era writings. She only increased my obsession with mid15th-early17th century England! 

Carolyn Meyer – Another middle grade obsession. I love her Tudor era books!

Stephenie Meyer – Yes, she’s on my list. I will admit, Twilight launched me back into reading YA in college. I haven’t looked back on reading since then! 

Ann Rinaldi – There’s a real middle grade theme going on today! Rinaldi is another middle grade author who flamed my obsession with history.

Anne Frank – Dear Anne really sparked the flame on my love of reading about World War II. It was really a combination of her writing and wanting to know what my Grandaddy went through. 

American Girl series– This is THE series that really was the bridge between picture books and middle grade for me. I loved having people read these to me and I would occasionally sit and read them myself. I have four of the dolls that will be passed down to Bug and I have a bunch of the books! 

That’s it for Top Ten Tuesday today! What are your gateway books/authors? Feel free to comment and leave your link! (: 

 

Top Ten Tuesday #30: Favourite Children’s Books (Punk & Bug strike again!) March 11, 2014

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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 Favourite Children’s Books (Punk and Bug style!)

Punk and Bug decided today would be a good day to take over on The Whimsical Mama and tell you about their favourite books! They also have decided to tell you about a new feature they’ve been helping mama create. Coming soon is an exciting feature we’re currently calling Tot Time Thursday. We’ll be doing little reviews of books that we read. We already have a few ARCs lined up as well as some of our favourites! We hope you will enjoy it! We haven’t decided how frequently this feature will pop up, but probably every other week or so. And now for our favourite books!

 

Pete the Cat (ALL of them) by James Dean

 

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

 

Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? by Eric Carle and Bill Martin, Jr

 

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr

 

Spot Goes to the Library by Eric Hill

 

Ladybug Girl (ALL of them, Bug’s favourite!) by David Soman and Jacky Davis

 

Llama Llama Nighty Night by Anna Dewdney

 

How Do Dinosaurs… ? (ALL of them!) by Jane Yolen

 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

 

Go, Dog. Go! by PD Eastman

What are your favourite children’s books? Are any of ours on your lists? Leave your link and mama will come visit your page! What do you think of our new feature idea?

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 23 February – 9 March 2014 March 9, 2014

I’m not exactly on track as I was hoping I would be. But that’s okay. On paper I’m still well ahead. I just have to get it from paper to computer. That’s what I’m working on today while the kiddos are napping. The last two weeks have been busy for my family. Birthdays and drill. Good times! Now it’s back to the grind. I really want to be solidly ahead before my hubby goes to a military class this month. I know thinks will probably get a bit crazy. Kiddos miss their daddy when he’s away for work. We’ll make do! Hope your last few weeks have been going well!

Completed:

A Tale of Two Centuries by Rachel Harris. 4 stars

Cress by Marissa Meyer. 4 stars

Divergent by Veronica Roth. 4 stars

Insurgent by Veronica Roth. 4 stars

Currently Reading:

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Read to the Kiddos:

Again, I’ve been bad about keeping track. However! I have an idea mulling around in my head involving the kiddos and books, so I will have to get better about keeping track!

New to my shelf:

From the library: (audiobooks)

Pete the Cat Valentine’s Day is Cool by James Dean

Pete the Cat Saves Christmas by James Dean

Pete the Cat Too Cool for School by James Dean

How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon? By Jane Yolen

Pete the Cat The Wheels on the Bus by James Dean

Pete the Cat Pete at the Beach by James Dean

Pete the Cat Pete’s Big Lunch by James Dean

How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? By Jane Yolen

My Farm Friends by Wendell Minor

Pete the Cat Old MacDonald Had a Farm by James Dean

Purchased:

Cress by Marissa Meyer

Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz

The Atlantis Complex by Eoin Colfer

100 Days and 99 Nights by Alan Madison (saving this for the kiddos for when deployment rolls around)

That’s Not My Meerkat by Fiona Watt (for the birthday girl!)

 

 
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