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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Non-Fiction Beach Reading Recommendations June 27, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Waiting on Wednesday #38: Oceanborn by Amalie Howard July 9, 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:

Oceanborn (The Aquarathi #2)

 By: Amalie Howard

 Coming: 29 July 2014

 Publisher: Harlequin Teen

 

 Summary:
The coronation is over.

But the battle has just begun.

Nerissa Marin has won her crown. But can she keep it? Already, her ties to the human realm are driving a wedge between Nerissa and her people. When word arrives that her part-human prince consort, Lo, has been poisoned, she makes the difficult choice to leave Waterfell and return landside. As the royal courts debate her decision, even more disturbing rumors surface: a plot is rising against her, led by someone she least expects.

On land, Nerissa learns another shocking truth: Lo does not remember who she is. As her choice to try to save him threatens her hold on her crown, changing loyalties and uncertainty test her courage in ways she could never have imagined. Nerissa will have one last chance to prove herself as a queen …and save the undersea kingdom she loves.

 

Why I’m excited:

 OMG I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS BOOK!!!!!! I absolutely adore Amalie. She’s so sweet and wonderful. I discovered her during the 2013 Fall YASH and I’ve never looked back. I won her giveaway for a signed ARC of Waterfell. I read it. I LOVED IT! I raved about it. I still rave about it. OH MAN. Rissa is a great character and don’t even get me started on Lo. BTW. Dibs. DIBS DIBS DIBS. Lo is MINE. *glares* Anyway. I’m so excited to see where the action picks up. OMG I NEED IT NOOOOOOOOW. It’s even worse knowing I have a copy heading my way from Amalie. The wait is excruciating. I just read Seamonster over the holiday weekend and adored it as well. Keep an eye out for my review and a giveaway coming up in the next few weeks. (: Reading it only made it worse. I MUST KNOW MORE!!!

 

Why I need you to be excited:

 Sea aliens. Drama. HOT GUYS. Yes. Guys. Well. Guy cause Lo is off limits cause he is MINE. IT’S GONNA BE AWESOME! I could go on and on about why you need to read this book. But I won’t. Just do yourself a favour and order Waterfell and Oceanborn. Just do it. DO IT. I NEED YOU TO GET PUMPED UP FOR THE AWESOMENESS!!!! *flails everywhere* THREE MORE WEEEEEEEEKS!!!

 

Hello May, Goodbye April! May 1, 2014

Is it really already May? I mean, for real? This year is going by way too quickly. I got a lot of work done this month and I’m proud of it. I hope I can continue staying so far ahead. I’m scheduled through the end of June on reviews, so I’m ready for the few trips we may be taking. The more work I get accomplished, the happier I am that I took the plunge into the review world. I’ve always struggled with reviews, but in the almost year I’ve been doing this, I’ve learned that there is no RIGHT way to do it. Hopefully someone that sees this is feeling the way I have and this helps them! Be YOU.

Books I read in April (in order of completion)

The Constant Princess  by Philippa Gregory 

After the End by Amy Plum

Richard III by Annette Carson

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier 

The Falconer by Elizabeth May 

Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier 

Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols

Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols 

Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier

My Not So Super Sweet Life by Rachel Harris

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Love Story by Jennifer Echols

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

Good Night Tennessee by Adam Gamble

D is for Duck Calls by Kay Robertson

Three Little Dinosaurs by Charles Fuge

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

That’s Not My Fairy by Fiona Watt

Pinkaclicious The Pinkerrific Playdate by Victoria Kann

Spot Loves His Grandma by Eric Hill

Spot Loves His Mommy by Eric Hill

Cleo on the Move by Stella Blackstone

All the Ways I Love You by Dorothea DePrisco

Emergency! by Margaret Mayo

Thomas’ 123 Book by Wilbert Awdry

Even Fire Fighters Go to the Potty by Wendy Wax

Pete the Cat Big Easter Adventure by James Dean

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 May
Hubby’s military class

Biggest Flirts Blog Tour

The Mortal Instruments Series finale

One of my new features that I didn’t get started in April!

Goals for May
Work on commenting and visiting other blogs

Read more with the kiddos

Stay ahead of schedule 

May releases I’m excited for:

The Falconer by Elizabeth May 

The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes 

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare 

Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols 

May 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: 9/25 (After the End, Richard III, The Falconer, Biggest Flirts)

TBR Pile challenge: 25/11-20 {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} (The Constant Princess, Ruby Red, Sapphire Blue, Emerald Green, Dirty Little Secret, Delirium, Love Story, My Not So Super Sweet Life)

Series challenge: 9/4-6 {I can and most likely will increase my level on this as well} (Ruby Red, My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century)

Real” Book challenge: 15/21-30 (Ruby Red, Dirty Little Secret, Delirium)

How was your April? What’s up for May?

 

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

I’m a killing it with reading lately! (: I have reviews scheduled all the way through the middle of June now. I’m starting to work on plans for my 1 year blogoversary. It’s so nice to be ahead of the game right now. It gives me time to work on the blog as needed and to spend quality time with my kiddos. My family still is and always will be my number one priority. I’m just glad that I’m able to share my love of books with them and it not be a detriment to our relationship. It’s great when we get in the car that Punk asks for books. He’ll listen to just about anything, but Pete the Cat is his favourite. (: 

Completed:

Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols. 5 stars.

Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier (audiobook) 1 star.

My Not So Super Sweet Life by Rachel Harris. 4 stars.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver (paperback & audiobook) 4 stars




Currently Reading:

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

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

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (audiobook)

Love Story by Jennifer Echols

 

 


Read to the Kiddos:

Even Fire Fighters Go to thePotty  by Wendy Wax

Pete the Cat Big Easter Adventureby James Dean

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



New to my shelf:

Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols (Thanks, Jennifer!) 

My Not So Super Sweet Life by Rachel Harris (Thanks, Rachel!)


From the library:
audiobooks, lots of them! (:

 

 
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