The Whimsical Mama

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

Goodbye October – February, Hello March! March 8, 2016

After another extended hiatus, I’ve decided I’m itching to get back to blogging. I’m not going to try to stick to a strict schedule right off the bat. Just kinda ease back into things. I am a stay at home mom and currently back in school to get my bachelor’s degree, so I’ll probably pop in and post every now and then. Try to get a few things scheduled ahead! Anyway, a quick recap of the end of 2015 and the start of 2016. October brought another birthday for me and Hallowe’en! I dressed up with the kiddos. I was Loki, Punk was Captain America, and Bug was her beloved Cinderella “Rella.” In November, my (ex)step-family lost a wonderful lady in my step-great-grandmother. She was truly a beautiful lady. Punk had a really hard time accepting that we lost my great-grandmother in July and then her in November. He wanted to know why we couldn’t go to Heaven and visit and why they couldn’t come back. It was a hard adjustment for him. We celebrated Thanksgiving in Northern Virginia with hubby’s family. It was a blast! It’s always a great time to get to go up and visit. I didn’t get to make it down to YALLFest, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to go this year. December brought a three week long military class for hubby. The kiddos had a pretty rough time with daddy gone. Poor Punk thought Daddy wouldn’t be home for Christmas. But! He was! And Christmas was fantastic. We celebrated Christmas at home this year and Santa was very good to the kiddos. Punk scored 13 different big boy Lego sets! He was in hog heaven! January brought a new chapter to my life. I (finally) started back taking classes to finish my bachelor’s degree in General Studies. All online classes, but it’s finally happening. February was rather uneventful. We’ve gotten some good snowfalls this year too! Now we’re up to March and I’m ready for spring (I think!)

 

A big thing that I want to change in getting back into blogging is that I’m not going to attempt to post every day and I’m also going to introduce a new feature. It’ll be called Friday Feasts and I’ll basically post a review of a meal we’ve done recently. We’re doing HelloFresh occasionally and I’ll definitely include those meals. AND if you’re interested, I do have a discount code if you’d like to try HelloFresh for yourself! Leave me a comment or shoot me a message on Twitter (@armywife2310)

 

Books I read October 2015 – February 2016 (In order of completion)

The Fiery Trial by Cassandra Clare

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

The Prophecy by Erin Rhew

The Outlanders by Erin Rhew

The Fulfillment by Erin Rhew

Born to Endless Night by Cassandra Clare

Angels Twice Descending by Cassandra Clare

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Cress by Marissa Meyer

Winter by Marissa Meyer

Fairest by Marissa Meyer

This Night So Dark by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner

These Broken Stars by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner

This Shattered World by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner

The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm-boy by Alexandra Bracken

So You Want to Be a Jedi? by Adam Gidwitz

The Favourite by Kiera Cass

Beware the Power of the Dark Side by Tom Angleberger

Their Fractured Light by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner

My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins et al

The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Dream of the Rood by Cynewulf

Beowulf by Unknown

 

Coming Up in March

SEYA Festival in Murfreesboro!

Spring Break (mine)

Spring Break (Punk)

Bug’s birthday

 

Goals for March

Juggle student life, mama life, and blogging life!

Write some reviews and posts

Try to get ahead and stay ahead on blogging

 

March Releases I’m Excited For

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

The Black Knife by Jodi Meadows

The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

 

March TBR

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Mirror King by Jodi Meadows

The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

Books for class

 

2016 Reading Challenge (completed in bold)

A book based on a fairy tale

A National Book Award Winner

A YA Bestseller

A book you haven’t read since high school

A book set in your home state

A book translated to English: Dream of the Rood by Cynewulf

A romance set in the future: Their Fractured Light by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner

A book set in Europe: The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory

A book that’s under 150 pages: The Hidden Prince by Jodi Meadows

A New York Times Bestseller

A book that’s becoming a movie this year

A book recommended by someone you just met

A self-improvement book

A book you can finish in a day

A book written by a celebrity

A political memoir

A book at least 100 years older than you: Beowulf by Unknown

A book that’s more than 600 pages

A book from Oprah’s Book Club

A science-fiction novel

A book recommended by a family member

A graphic novel

A book that is published in 2016

A book with a protagonist who has your occupation

A book that takes place during summer

A book and its prequel

A murder mystery

A book written by a comedian

A dystopian novel

A book with a blue cover: My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins et al

A book of poetry

The first book you see in a bookstore

A classic from the 20th century

A book from the library

An autobiography

A book about a road trip

A book about a culture you’re unfamiliar with

A satirical book

A book that takes place on an island

A book that’s guaranteed to bring you joy

 

 

 

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

IceLikeFireBanner2 - IceLikeFire_final
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

SnowLikeAshes

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

 

*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.

 

 
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