The Whimsical Mama

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

Non-Contemporary Young Adult Beach Reads June 20, 2016

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When I read Jamie’s post about non-contemporary young adult beach reads, I knew it was the perfect post for me to share my own recommendations. I’m not the biggest fan of contemporary reads. I do recommend Emery Lord and Jennifer Echols though if you are looking for good contemporary authors.

These are all quick reads. They aren’t heavily detailed in world building (no Tolkien style writing here!) but the character development is great.

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  1. The Wrath and the Dawn is a delicious quick historical fantasy. This is a retelling of Arabian Nights and Renee Ahdieh is a brilliant story teller. Just make sure you take the sequel, The Rose and the Dagger, with you!

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2. The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a little heavier on the world building, but this trilogy is still a fantastic read. It’s always great to read about a badass girl who can take care of herself! Plus there’s a super steamy romance that’s perfect for beach reading. Don’t forget to take along The Winner’s Crime and The Winner’s Kiss.

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3. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. In my opinion, The Infernal Devices is the superior series in Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter realm. On audio or physical reading, this trilogy is a fantastic quick binge.

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4. Legend by Marie Lu. This was actually a beach read for me a few summers ago. I devoured Legend and Prodigy at the beach and it left me panting for Champion. This dystopian is a brilliant page turner.

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5. A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano is a middle grade novel, but that doesn’t take anything away from its brilliance. I devoured this read in one sitting, even though it wasn’t at the beach, but at home. I do think this would be a quick beach read though!

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6. The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter. I’m always a glutton for a good read involving Greek mythology. This series by Aimee Carter is a super quick binge that’s light, dark, and romantic all in one!

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7. Die for Me by Amy Plum. A swoony Frenchman? Yes, please! I adore Paris, so even visiting through reading is great. Throw in relaxing by the ocean and it’s PERFECTION.

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8. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. While I still need to read the last book, this is a fantastic fantasy. Plus it’ll make you want to ditch the beach and head to Prague!

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9. Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz. Yep. Melissa de la Cruz’s drama filled series with fallen angels as vampires series makes the list. The fantasy aspect is light and almost contemporary in presentation, it makes it a great, light beachy read.

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10. Waterfell by Amalie Howard. Alien mermaids? Colour me intrigued! What makes this such a great read for the beach is that it takes place at the beach! This is a light world building fantasy as it mostly takes place in San Diego. The realm of Waterfell is a super interesting idea though. Make sure you have Oceanborn to read too!

What are some of your favourite non-contemporary beach reads? Keep an eye out the next few weeks for more beach reading recommendations!

 

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*Blog Tour & Giveaway* Spotlight Feature: Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch October 9, 2015

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About the Book:
Title: ICE LIKE FIRE
Author: Sara Raasch
Release Date: October 13, 2015
Pages: 479
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks
It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.
Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?
Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?
As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world.

~*~ ALSO BY SARA RAASCH~*~ See my review of Snow Like Ashes

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About the Book:
Title: SNOW LIKE ASHES
Author: Sara Raasch
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Pages: 432
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Audiobook
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks
A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.
Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.
Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.
So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

Sara
About Sara:
Sara Raasch has known she was destined for bookish things since the age of five, when her friends had a lemonade stand and she tagged along to sell her hand-drawn picture books too. Not much has changed since then — her friends still cock concerned eyebrows when she attempts to draw things and her enthusiasm for the written word still drives her to extreme measures. Her debut YA fantasy, SNOW LIKE ASHES, came out October 14, 2014 from Balzer + Bray, and the sequel, ICE LIKE FIRE, comes out October 13, 2015. Neither features her hand-drawn pictures.

Website | Twitter |Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest | | | Amazon | Reedsy | Wattpad

Giveaway Details:

2 winners will receive sets of ICE LIKE FIRE Trading Cards/Miniature Bookmarks. International.

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Giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:
10/5/2015- A Dream Within A Dream– Review
10/6/2015- Mundie Moms– Interview
10/7/2015- Such a Novel Idea– Review
10/8/2015- Dark Faerie Tales– Guest Post
10/9/2015- The Whimsical Mama– Spotlight

Week Two:
10/12/2015- Two Chicks on Books– Interview
10/13/2015- Bookish Lifestyle– Review
10/14/2015- Supernatural Snark– Guest Post
10/15/2015- Fiktshun– Review
10/16/2015- Once Upon a Twilight– Interview

 

Goodbye May – September, Hello October! October 1, 2015

Filed under: Books,Hello Goodbye Monthly Review — Maura @ 12:05 am
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I really can’t believe how quickly this year is flying by! It’s really kinda ridiculous. Totally meant to update May in June. That didn’t happen. Summer was HECTIC. Hoping autumn will be a bit more forgiving and laid back haha. I had a great summer and got a good amount of reading done. For a quick summer recap: In May, I did a down and back trip to Nashville with my friend Lauren to see Sarah J Maas on her ACOTAR tour. AMAZING. Talked publishing and books for hours with the incredible Lizzy Mason. One of hubby’s cousins got married and it was super awesome to get to see part of his family! In June, our English Mastiff, Maggie, was diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy. Her back left leg is limp and drags. She has good days and bad days. There’s no treatment or cure. She’s learned to compensate for the weakness. We’re enjoying her every minute that we can. We know that sooner, rather than later, that we’re going to have to put her down. She’s super excited to be an indoor dog again though! June also brought hubby’s Annual Training with the National Guard. Maggie got sick THE DAY BEFORE he had to leave. It’s always something, I’m telling ya! July brought two beach trips. The kiddos and I went to Northern VA to visit hubby’s side of the family for the Fourth of July at the family cottage on the Potomac. SO MUCH FUN! Bug kept trying to figure out a way to get the newest baby in the family home. HER BABY. Haha. I celebrated my second book blogging anniversary, without actually doing anything. Oops! We also went to the beach with my mom and step-dad. The kiddos love the beach. I am super proud that I made the 6 1/2 hour and 8 hour beach drives solo with the kiddos. We also said goodbye to my 94 year old great-grandmother in July. It was hard. August brought Hubby’s 30th birthday! We also went to the fair with my (ex)step-dad. The kids had such a blast. Bug wanted to ride the BIG rides so bad and was quite upset she was too young. She loved the carousel and the pony rides though. Punk loved the animal exhibits. Punk also started pre-k this year. It hit me hard that I now have a school age kid! He’s loving it and I love that he’s loving it. I’m really enjoying the chance to have some one on one time with Bug. There are some days that she cries and doesn’t want to take Bubby to school. There are others that she cries because she doesn’t want to go pick him up! She’s sitting in my lap now as I work on this post haha. September was a bit more relaxed. Hubby’s unit had family day and we also went to an MTSU home game. That was a looooong day! Five hour drive down and back after a full day of fun! Now it’s on to October! I love October. Autumn is in full swing. My birthday is this month and so is HALLOWE’EN! How was your summer?

affiliate links used

Books I read in May-September (in order of completion)
The Whitechapel Fiend by Cassandra Clare
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
White Hot Kiss by Jennifer Armentrout
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
The Goddess Hunt (Goddess Test) by Aimee Carter
Goddess Interrupted (Goddess Test Book 2) by Aimee Carter
The Goddess Inheritance (A Goddess Test Novel) by Aimee Carter
The Goddess Legacy (The Goddess Queen / The Lovestruck Goddess / Goddess of the Underworld / God of Thieves / God of Darkness (Goddess Test) by Aimee Carter
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
The Heir (The Selection) by Kiera Cass
A Darker Shade of Magic: A Novel by VE Schwab
Nothing but Shadows (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy Book 4) by Cassandra Clare
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano
The Hidden Prince (Orphan Queen Novella 1) by Jodi Meadows
The Queen: A Novella by Kiera Cass
The Evil We Love (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy Book 5) by Cassandra Clare
The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
Vicious by VE Schwab
Most Likely to Succeed (The Superlatives) by Jennifer Echols
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog
The Isle of the Lost: A Descendants Novel by Melissa de la Cruz
Pale Kings and Princes (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy Book 6) by Cassandra Clare
The Assassin and the Pirate Lord: A Throne of Glass Novella by Sarah J Maas
Pete the Cat’s Groovy Guide to Life by James Dean
The Assassin’s Blade: The Throne of Glass Novellas by Sarah J Maas
Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass series Book 1) by Sarah J Maas
Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass series Book 2) by Sarah J Maas
Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass series Book 3) by Sarah J Maas
Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass series) by Sarah J Maas
Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes Series) by Sara Raasch
Bitter of Tongue (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy Book 7) by Cassandra Clare
Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo
Siege and Storm (The Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo
Ruin and Rising (The Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo
The Demon in the Wood: A Darkling Prequel Story (The Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo
The Glowing Knight (Orphan Queen Book 2) by Jodi Meadows

Coming up in October:

My birthday!

Punk’s class’s field trip to the corn maze

Hallowe’en!

Punk’s school’s fall festival

Goals for October

Stay ahead of schedule

Learn to successfully juggle two blogs

Spend time focused on the kiddos

Catch up on review writing

BALANCE

October releases I’m excited for:
Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes Series) by Sara Raasch
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: The Illustrated Edition (Harry Potter, Book 1) by JK Rowling
The White Rose (Jewel) by Amy Ewing
The Rose Society (A Young Elites Novel) by Marie Lu

October TBR:
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes Series) by Sara Raasch
The White Rose (Jewel) by Amy Ewing
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: The Illustrated Edition (Harry Potter, Book 1) by JK Rowling
Fairest: The Lunar Chronicles: Levana’s Story by Marissa Meyer
The Fulfillment (The Fulfillment Series) by Erin Rhew

Challenge Update:

2015 PopSugar Reading Challenge books completed:
A book with 500+ pages: Brazen by Katherine Longshore
A book turned into a movie: Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, Book 1)
A book published in 2015: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
A book with a number in the title: The 5th Wave: The First Book of the 5th Wave Series
An author under thirty: Vicious by VE Schwab
A book with non-human characters: This Shattered World: A Starbound Novel
A funny book: Most Likely to Succeed (The Superlatives) by Jennifer Echols
A book by a female author: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
A book with a one word title: Forged (Taken) by Erin Bowman
A book of short stories: The Assassin’s Blade: The Throne of Glass Novellas
A book set in a different country: The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
A popular author’s first book: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
A book a friend recommended: The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
A Pulitzer Prize book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
A book based on a true story: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
A book that scares you: The Fault in Our Stars
A memoir: Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog
A book read in one day: A Curious Tale of the In-Between
A book set somewhere you want to visit: A Cold Legacy (Madman’s Daughter) by Megan Shepherd
A book with bad reviews: (either love or hate this one!) The Heir (The Selection) by Kiera Cass
A trilogy: The Hunger Games Trilogy
A book from your childhood: Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
A book with a love triangle: White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements)
A book set in high school: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
A book with a colour in the title: The Red Tent: A Novel
A book that made you cry: The Assassin and the Empire: A Throne of Glass Novella (Throne of Glass series Book 1)
A book with magic: A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab
A graphic novel: Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel
A book by an author you’ve never read: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
A book set in your (college’s) hometown: Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
A banned book: The Giver by Lois Lowry
A book turned into a TV show: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

How was your summer? What’s up for October?

 

*ARC Review* Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch May 11, 2015

***mild spoilers may follow***

***affiliate links are used***

Rating:  5 stars
Pub date: 14 October 2014
Publisher: Balzer+Bray, HarperCollins
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Format: e-ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Status: Book 1 of the Snow Like Ashes trilogy

Summary:

A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

My thoughts:
I was SO excited for Snow Like Ashes. Before it was posted on Edelweiss, I told hubby I HAD TO HAVE it in my life. When HarperCollins posted the Fall 2014 books, I downloaded it and threw my TBR out the window.

I am normally not thrilled with the “for the fans of,” “if you loved ____, you’ll love ____” type lead ins. They’re actually usually a big turn off. This time, seeing Snow Like Ashes and A Game of Thrones together made me give it a look. I am so glad I did. I’m also glad I ignored the hype that was building way before ARCs came out. Hype is another thing that usually makes me run from a book!

I immediately fell in love with the world Sara created. An epic fantasy with a bit of a medieval feel to it. Sara starts strong and builds an incredible, tangible world.

The main group and leading lady, Meira, are from the fallen kingdom of Winter. Sara gives enough historical background to the fall of Winter in bits and pieces through the story, so there’s no fear of overwhelming info dump.

The big plot twist, I easily predicted, but the way it was presented is done in a way that it doesn’t come off as lame. It’s also done that if you aren’t paying SUPER close attention, it could easily sneak up on you!

The eight kingdoms are a fascinating approach. I love the use of seasons for four of the kingdoms. I also really loved the use of conduits and magic!

It could be easy to think there is a love triangle that develops, but I believe it is two very different types of love towards the two guys. I’m Team Theron anyway. 🙂

There is so much that happens in this fantasy debut. It’s incredibly action packed. You would think with SO much happening, it could become bogged down. Sara manages to go into Martin and Tolkien detail without the massively flowery language. A Game of Thrones is brilliantly done and I can’t wait to read Ice Like Fire. Keep an eye out for my review closer to October! 🙂

About the Author

Sara Raasch has known she was destined for bookish things since the age of five, when her friends had a lemonade stand and she tagged along to sell her hand-drawn picture books too. Not much has changed since then — her friends still cock concerned eyebrows when she attempts to draw things and her enthusiasm for the written word still drives her to extreme measures. Her debut YA fantasy, Sara Raasch has known she was destined for bookish things since the age of five, when her friends had a lemonade stand and she tagged along to sell her hand-drawn picture books too. Not much has changed since then — her friends still cock concerned eyebrows when she attempts to draw things and her enthusiasm for the written word still drives her to extreme measures. Her debut YA fantasy, SNOW LIKE ASHES, the first in a trilogy, came out October 14, 2014 from Balzer + Bray. It does not feature her hand-drawn pictures., the first in a trilogy, came out October 14, 2014 from Balzer + Bray. It does not feature her hand-drawn pictures.

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 20-26 July 2014 July 26, 2014

Well… my streak of posting every day this month went bust this week. Ah well. I’ll try again in August! I fell behind in posting and have struggled to get caught back up. The office is almost completely cleaned up and organised. I’ll post some pictures once I’m completely done in there. The den is organised now too. Kids have bins for their toys and they’re easily accessible instead of all dumped in a giant tote. As a result of lots of working in the office, I finished Clockwork Prince and listened to all of Clockwork Princess this week. Now I have to figure out what to listen to next! Punk’s very belated birthday party is today and we’re super excited. It’s a pirate party! (Jake and the Neverland Pirates)


Completed:

Oceanborn by Amalie Howard

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare (paperback & audiobook) 

Rites of Passage by Joy Hensley (ARC)

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare (paperback & audiobook)

 

Currently Reading:

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

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling (audiobook)

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

 

 

Read to the Kiddos:
Read to Tiger by S.J. Fore

Peanuts by Charles Schultz (Punk picked this out at the B&N Pop Cultured event!)


New to my shelf:

Atlantia by Ally Condie (sampler, B&N, extra copies to giveaway)

The Young Elites by Marie Lu (sampler, B&N, extra copies to giveaway)

The Way of Kings & Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (for hubby, sampler, B&N, extra copy to giveaway)

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (sampler, B&N, extra copy to giveaway)

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige (sampler, B&N)

Peanuts by Charles Schultz (Punk picked this out! sampler, B&N)

The Punkydoos Take the Stage by Jennifer Jackson (The kiddos don’t know they’ve won this yet! They’re getting it at Punk’s party today! Thanks Book Rock Betty and Disney-Hyperion!)

 

From the library:

as usual, more audiobooks! (:

 

*Review* The Selection by Kiera Cass June 29, 2014

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

Rating: 4 stars
Pub date: 24 April 2012 
Publisher: HarperCollins, HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance
Format: hardcover via library
Status: Book one of The Selection trilogy

Summary:
For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

 

My thoughts:

Okay. Let me start this off by saying I went into The Selection with virtually no expectations and an open mind. I know The Selection is a very polarising book. It’s very divided on if you like it or not. It’s very divided between the two boys vying for America’s affection. That’s virtually all I knew going in. The Selection was recommended to me by Mary. (As usual, right? haha) I decided to wait until The One came out so I could binge the whole series. As I do. We didn’t really discuss it more than that. We have a good spoiler free relationship. She tells me I should read and eventually I do. Usually much later than I should haha. I didn’t read any reviews beforehand. I didn’t want to be swayed in anyway. Okay. Now I have that off my chest. (:

I really enjoyed The Selection. My first impression was similarity to The Hunger Games due to the eligible girls putting their names in to be drawn mixed with The Bachelor. (I’ve never actually seen an episode, but I get the gist.) The Selection came out first, but I also felt a pull to Pawn by Aimee Carter with the caste system.

I foundhow Kiera revealed info slowly was well done. In first person through America, we learn things as she does and through her musings. The dystopian world could’ve allowed for a massive info dump, but Kiera does a great job revealing as you go. I still have unanswered questions, but there are two more books and two novellas, so I’m not concerned by that yet. I much rather have things revealed slowly than info dumps.

I was surprised by how quick of a read The Selection was. I picked it up Saturday morning and was done by Sunday afternoon. Part of that was a few glorious hours of uninterrupted reading time on Mother’s Day. My hubby is the best for that! ❤

I very quickly related to America which is always a biggie for me. If I don’t like a character, it’s hard to get into the story. I could see a lot of myself in America so that made reading all the more enjoyable. She’s stubborn, independent, and musical. She starts off strong and continues to grow. She realises assumptions based on rank don’t always hold true. She’s also realising friendship can develop into romantic feelings, which to me, is the best kind of love. Her determination to help her family is inspiring.

As far as the other Selected girls go, I only really liked Marlee. She seems like such a kind and loyal friend. I absolutely hated Celeste. That list on reasons why could go on forever.

On the boy front, I can say I’m still Team Undecided. Both boys have impressed me and made me want to smack him upside the head. I do think I am leaning a smidge toward Maxon over Aspen though. That freaking ego issue. UGH. No. JUST NO.

I have to say my favourite parts of The Selection were the scenes with Maxon and America. I think they make the best of friends and I can see that blossoming into romance. I still feel on the fence about Maxon though. He did win major points with that first kiss scene though. ADORABLE.

I’m very excited to continue with my binge of this series. I recommend this to dystopian lovers. It’s not as dark on any level (so far) as The Hunger Games, Divergent or Chemical Garden, but it’s a great read. Even if you don’t love it, I believe it’s still an entertaining read.

About the author:

100 Things I Love:

Being married. Cake. The smell of Autumn. Motherhood. Books. Elephants. Back rubs. On demand movies. Actually going out to movies. Faith. Cinnamon rolls. My family. Butterflies. When my kitchen is clean. Crayons. Pink. Tote bags. Dancing. Organizing via color coordination. That my wedding dress was tea length, not floor. Baking. My house. Writing utensils. Paper. India. The sound of water. Making videos. Buttons. The word Episcopalian. Making people laugh. Layering clothes. British accents. Pinterest. Animation. Fireworks. The smell of the Ocean. My wedding rings. Aprons. Reasons to get dressed up. Sex. Pop music. Stars. Taking walks. Daydreaming. Stickers. School Spirit. My friends. Living in a small town. Japan. Singing. Painting my toenails. Pranks/ practical jokes. Painting. Stretch canvas. Costumes. Dipping my fingers in melted wax. Style. Soda. Spending an hour typing at a coffee shop. Musicals. Back to school season. Mopeds. Good hair days. Naps. Not walking up but looking at a beautiful staircase. Driving alone. My ankles. Playlists. Spending entire days in pajamas. Holidays. Telling stories. Spontaneity. Theme parks. Bookshelves. The word copacetic. Boxes. Empty journals. Surprises. Doing things in groups. Doing things alone. Getting real mail. Decorating. Small forks. A good hug. Gift cards. New Years Goals. Going out to dinner. When someone else remembers some great story about me/us that I’ve forgotten. Toy stores. Fireplaces. Breakfast foods. Journaling. Crying for a good reason. Doorbells. Pointless adventures. Voting. My birthday. Reasons to make wishes. Recycling

http://www.kieracass.com/

 

Hello June, Goodbye May! June 1, 2014

I am really struggling with how quickly this year is flying by! I got a ridiculous amount of reading done last month. It kinda amazes me just how much I got accomplished. I’m not sure I will be that lucky this month with hubby at a class and me pulling single mama duty. My mom & stepdad are both on summer vacation now from school so I know the kiddos will be pleading to spend more time at Grammy’s & Skipper’s! We’re also planning on spending some time with at my in-laws’ while hubby is gone. My sis-in-law and nephews are coming in from Germany for the summer so cousin time is a must! Some of my best memories growing up are with my cousins and I hope my kiddos are the same.

Books I read in May (in order of completion)

Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore (ARC)

17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen (ARC)

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (audiobook)

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch (ARC)

The Selection, The Prince, The Elite, The Guard, and The One by Kiera Cass

The Bane Chronicles: The Midnight Heir, Rise of the Hotel of Dumort, Saving Raphael Santiago, Fall of the Hotel Dumort, What to But the Shadowhunter Who Has Everything, Last Stand of the New York Institute, The Course of True Love by Cassandra Clare

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls, by Cassandra Clare

 

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

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

All the Ways I Love You by Dorothea DePrisco

Pete the Cat Play Ball! by James Dean

Pete the Cat Pete’s Big Lunch by James Dean

Pete the Cat Pete at the Beach by James Dean

Pete the Cat Too Cool For School by James Dean

Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses by James Dean

 

Coming up in June
Hubby’s military class

Dark Metropolis Blog Tour

Punk’s birthday

My mom’s birthday

Sis-in-law & nephews coming in from Germany

Trip to VA

 

Goals for June
Work on commenting and visiting other blogs

Read more with the kiddos

Stay ahead of schedule 

 

 

June releases I’m excited for:

Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore

17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen

June TBR:
As You Turn Away by Molli Moran

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry 

Mind Games by Kiersten White

Taken by Erin Bowman

 

Challenge Update:

I’m involved with four challenges officially.

Edelweiss & Netgalley challenge: 12/25 (Dark Metropolis, 17 First Kisses, Snow Like Ashes)

TBR Pile challenge: 38/11-20 {I can and most likely WILL be increasing my level on this. I’m also not including ARCs in this unless I complete them after the book is released} (Pandemonium,The Selection, The Prince, The Elite, The Guard, The One, The Bane Chronicles)

Series challenge: 11/4-6 {I can and most likely will increase my level on this as well} (The Selection, The Bane Chronicles)

Real” Book challenge: 26/21-30 (Dark Metropolis, 17 First Kisses, The Selection, The Elite, The One, The Selection Stories – The Prince & The Guard, City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls)

How was your May? What’s up for June?

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 4-17 May 2014 May 17, 2014

I’m such a goof. I had last week’s post scheduled and never worked on it so it posted in part. oops! So I combined two weeks. I have gotten a ton of reading done which has been NICE! For reviews, I’m now scheduled through the middle of July. Whoa. Since I’ve read so much, I took a few days this week to get ahead on here and not just on paper. Thanks to City of Heavenly Fire coming out in two weeks, I’m re-reading The Mortal Instruments so it should give me enough to get ahead so I can launch another new feature soon! (: Well, it’s a rework of a feature I started and abandoned cause I wasn’t as prepared as I wanted to be. New name, same idea. I have to get The Selection books soon because Bug keeps trying to steal the library books. She grabs them, points to America, and says, “pitty! (pretty)” I’m not complaining, because I really enjoyed them! Hopefully she’ll read them and like them when she gets bigger!


Completed:

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (audiobook)

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch (ARC)

The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Prince by Kiera Cass

The Elite by Kiera Cass

The Guard by Kiera Cass

The One by Kiera Cass 

The Midnight Heir by Cassandra Clare

The Rise of the Hotel Dumort by Cassandra Clare

Saving Raphael Santiago by Cassandra Clare

The Fall of the Hotel Dumort by Cassandra Clare

What to But the Shadowhunter Who Has Everything by Cassandra Clare

The Last Stand of the New York Institute by Cassandra Clare

The Course of True Love (and First Dates) by Cassandra Clare




Currently Reading:

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

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

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare



Read to the Kiddos:

Ladybug Girl Feels Happy by David Soman and Jacky Davis

Pete the Cat: Pete’s Big Lunch by James Dean

Ladybug Girl by David Soman and Jacky Davis

Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anne Dewdney


New to my shelf:

Find Me by Romily Bernard (Thanks Mary for hosting the giveaway and for HarperTeen for supplying copies!)

Gone by Michael Grant (two copies, future giveaway!)

Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols

Altered by Gennifer Albin (future giveaway)

Until I Die by Amy Plum (two copies, future giveaway!)


From the library:
The Selection trilogy & novellas by Kiera Cass 

Delirium novellas by Lauren Oliver

a bunch of audiobooks!

 

*ARC Review* Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge March 16, 2014

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

Rating:3 stars
Pub date:28 January 2014
Publisher:HarperCollins, Balzer+Bray
Genre:Young Adult Fiction, Romance, Fairytale, Mythology, Retelling
Format:eARC provided by the publisher
Status:Cruel Beauty Universe

Summary:

Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.


Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.


Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.


With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.


But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.


As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

My thoughts:

This review has been extremely difficult to write. The premise is a great one. The execution was fine. I cannot explain why I didn’t care for Cruel Beauty. I really can’t. I was very excited when I received autoapproval for Harper, because I really wanted to read this intriguing Beauty and the Beast retelling and now I had my chance.

I plowed through the first quarter or so and then it felt like I hit a brick wall. I was still interested. Each chapter kept me interested in the next part, but it wasn’t one of those I have to devour every single page immediately deals. It was so imaginative. Alternate history England? Yes, please! Demon who makes twisted deals? Yes, more, please! Mystery and intrigue? Yes! I seriously don’t know what went wrong for me.

Honestly, I really don’t know what kept me reading. I hit a lull for a few days and ended up doing something I very rarely do. I took a break and jumped into another book. I finished it and came back, hoping it had given me the boost I needed to get out of my funk Cruel Beauty got me in. Rosamund is a great writer. She has such a strong imagination and is a good wordsmith. The world she creates is incredible.

Maybe it’s the romance that killed it for me. I really had issues with the romance. We have a pretty twisted love triangle going on and I can’t stand love triangles. I liked Ignifex in a way. He’s witty even if sadistic. He proclaims that he hates what he has to do, but every time we see him in action, he revels in it. Nyx fixates on her hatred of him and then all of a sudden loves him. That… bothers me. It may not entirely be an insta-love type situation, but the sudden switch from hatred to love just doesn’t do it for me. I really didn’t get the romance with Shade. That really baffled me. Now as I’m writing and mulling it over, I guess it is the romance that killed it for me. It is my biggest issue with the book by far. The romance just didn’t seem genuine from any of the involved parties. Until the very end, but I have other issues with THAT.  


Or maybe it was how Nyx could be at times. She had such potential to be a great character, but her moodiness really got tiresome. She runs hot and cold constantly. She loves or hates wholeheartedly and with no room in between when she’s in a mood. It was a little hard to relate to her because of it. It was really irritating where her family was involved. She loved them. She hated and raved against them. Nyx was very smart and naive at the same time. She ranted against her sister’s naivety, but in reality, their educations made up two halves of a whole. Both girls received half the education they deserved.

Cruel Beauty is VERY heavy with Greek mythology. That might be a huge turn off for some readers. At times it got to be too much for me and I absolutely adore Greek mythology. If you’re not familiar with some of the myths, you’ll be lost, and I’m sure that can be very frustrating. Rosamund does a great job weaving in the mythology though, don’t let it being heavy on the mythology make you think it’s done poorly. Again. She does a fantastic job with the mythology.

A certain part about ¾ through would’ve been a perfect spot to end. It wasn’t a Happily Ever After, but it felt like a good spot to end. The last ¼ just didn’t fit in my opinion. THAT Happily Ever After really didn’t do it for me. I know Beauty and the Beast have a Happily Ever After, but after being so dark and gothic, I would’ve loved a more Grimm like ending.

In the end, I probably won’t invest in a finished copy unless it’s a killer deal. I’m fairly certain I won’t read it again. It may be a bit disappointing, but it’s an okay read. I do still plan on checking out the novella set in the same universe that comes out later this year. I do recommend Cruel Beauty! Just because I had some issues with it doesn’t mean that others won’t adore it. There are wide spread feelings on it according to reviews, so it’s really up to the reader to make a decision on making the plunge. 

About the author

I love mythology, Hello Kitty, and T. S. Eliot. My debut novel, CRUEL BEAUTY (a YA fairytale fantasy, where Greek mythology meets Beauty and the Beast), is due out from Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins in Winter 2014.

 

 
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