The Whimsical Mama

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

*Random Musings* Remembering 9/11 September 11, 2014

I wasn’t going to write anything about 9/11 today. We all remember where we were that day. We all reflect on the events of the day in our own personal ways. It wasn’t until I interrupted our usual morning routine that I felt the call to write. The kiddos were watching Daniel Tiger on PBS. Our usual for a weekday morning. I looked at the time, and switched it to CNN. Punk, who was snuggled up under a blanket next to me, looked up & asked, “Why are we watching the news, Mama?” Why indeed.

Today is my niece’s birthday. She was born before the attacks, but grew up only remembering a world after the attacks. 13 years ago, I sat in a rocking chair at my brother’s house, holding my toddler niece close. The news was on TV. I just held her and cried. As a young teenager, I had no idea what was going to happen. Things at school had been so crazy. Speculations of who was behind the attack, was it the end of the world, were we going to war, etc. Looking at Kaylee, she still had her innocence intact because she was only a toddler. I wasn’t so lucky. My belief that we were safe at home had been shattered. Now she is the teenager and I have the child of innocence.

Punk doesn’t know what it’s like to have his whole world turned upside down other than going from only child to big brother. We haven’t been through a deployment as a family. He knows daddy is a soldier and is a hero in his eyes. He has only lived in a world without Bin Laden or Hussein. He is living in the time of the threat of ISIS/ISIL, but thanks to his innocence, he doesn’t understand that a threat is brewing. All he’s concerned with is watching his shows/movies, playing, & picking on his sister. I love his innocence and hope he can hold on to it for a long time.

I don’t know if/when hubby will deploy again. It’s been almost 5 years since his last deployment started and his regiment is due at any time now. I know that as soon as we receive that news, a part of Punk’s innocence will shatter. His daddy will have to go away. His daddy will most likely have to go to a conflict torn area.

It’s been 13 years. I was in seventh grade. I was sitting in woodwind concert band. Our principal came over the intercom shortly after the first tower was hit. We thought it had to be a mistake. We watched in horror as people jumped from windows. I was walking to third period algebra and had just walked through the door to see the second tower struck. There were shouts all over the school. It wasn’t a mistake. We were under attack. I grew up quickly that year. That was the first event of several that threw my childhood headlong into turmoil. My world was destroyed. Less than a week later, a family friend who was like an uncle, died. My parents’ marriage started falling apart. I was in a dark place. But the sweet innocence of my niece saved me.

My senior year on student council, we got to shadow different members of city council. I chose the fire chief. I got to see them use the jaws of life on a car cause the lady complained of neck pain. That was interesting, but not the thing that pops into my mind first around this time of year. It’s the screeching noise that blasted through the TV after the towers crashed. That high piercing siren? Remember it? Yeah, it haunts my nightmares even more since that day in high school. In 7th grade I didn’t know. In high school I found out. It’s a sensor on a firefighter’s  suit that sets off an alarm after the firefighter has been still for so long. It’s an alarm for other firefighters to be able to find them. All of those alarms were of firefighters who lost their lives trying to save others. I can hear it in my mind now. Punk is obsessed with firefighters right now and seeing pictures this time of year brings those alarms to my mind and they won’t go away.

This year, remembering 9/11 is hard. Why? Punky is at the age of asking questions about everything. Why are we watching the news? What are the firefighter heroes doing? What’s wrong, Mama? Can I watch Daniel Tiger?

How do I explain to a toddler? Why are we watching the news? Because 13 years ago, long before you were born or thought of, the world changed in a single day. Why? A lot of bad things happened that day. Yes, it’s the understatement of the century, but he’s a toddler and I want to preserve his innocence for as long as I can. I showed him a photo of three firefighters and the American flag. I asked him who the people were. He told me firefighter heroes. Yes, Punk. They were and are heroes. The first responders, the civilians, the military, all of them. Those who fought back and helped that day are heroes. We will always remember them. We will always honour them.

I close my eyes and see images I pray he never has to see. I know he will on the 9/11 anniversary if the news is on, or they watch documentaries in school, but I mean I hope he never has to LIVE it. Safe in Tennessee, miles and miles away from the field in Pennsylvania, DC, or NYC, I was still impacted. Not as much as the families of the victims, obviously, but my life has never been the same since then. I hope and pray my children never have to live through a day like 9/11.

I could write so much more, but I am changing the channel from the news back to PBS. It’s time to put back on my happy, whimsical mama face and watch Sesame Street, Dinosaur Train, Princess Sofia, and Doc McStuffins. I will continue to reflect mentally, but for my kiddos, today will go back to a normal day so that I might preserve their innocence for one more year. Children grow up too fast as it is. I can only pray that my children’s childhood is not marred by darkness as mine was.

9/11. Never forget. God bless the USA.

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*ARC Review* Rites of Passage by Joy N Hensley September 9, 2014

 

 HAPPY RELEASE DAY, JOY!!!! ❤

 



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

Rating: 5 stars
Pub date: 9 September 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Military, Realistic Fiction
Format: ARC borrowed from the author
Status: standalone

Summary:

Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she’s not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.

So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She’s even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won’t risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty…no matter how much she wants him.

As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.
At any cost.

Now time’s running short. Sam must decide who she can trust…and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.

 

My thoughts:

Oh. Wow. I have been so excited for this book. As a military wife, I’m always excited for books that support our troops at any level. On the flip side, I’m always nervous that it could give the wrong impression of military life. Rites definitely does it RIGHT. Even though I’ve been an Army wife/girlfriend for almost six years, there were things I learned. Now, just because it’s steeped in military lingo, DON’T DESPAIR CIVILIANS! It’s super easy to follow along. (:

Joy’s debut is FANTASTIC. I jumped right in even though I was having a massive book hangover from my previous read. I was immediately cured and twice as hungover when I finished. Chock full of snark, a desire to prove oneself, angst, military academy life, Rites has it ALL and MORE. I was on the edge of my seat and squirmy with excitement/anticipation the whole time!

Rites is from the perspective of Sam. Sam’s a military brat attempting to forge the way as one of DMA’s first female recruits, make her father Lieutenant Colonel father proud, fulfill her oldest brother’s date and get her elder brother & mother to accept her military decision. On top of all of that, she has to navigate training and classes, forbidden attractions, and a very anti-female group trying to force her out. She doesn’t know who to trust and she finds out her number one supporter is someone completely unexpected. Whoa. A lot for a teenager to handle, right? That’s not even the whole of it.

The minute details of military academy life are incredible. I’ve known a few people who have attended military academies so I know a smidge about academy life. As a military wife, I knew a smidge more about overall military life. Joy’s details made my slight advantage unnecessary. She paints such a vivid picture, it feels like you’re going through a smoke show right along with them. (Better them than me though! I’ve seen hubby’s video of his basic training class for even further proof that I am destined to be a military wife, not in the military myself!) It was in so much detail that it had me equal parts wanting to forbid my kids from going to saving up now for them both to go!

Obviously, military academies aren’t the path for everyone and Joy does a great job showcasing people who realise it’s not for them at every level of training through the school year. It’s a great estimate of you don’t know what you can handle in any situation until you’re there.

I could go into so much detail about why I loved every single page., but then there would be no need for you to pick it up yourself. You don’t want to miss this action packed debut. It’s great beginning to end. Do yourself a favour and order it NOW!

 

IT RELEASES TODAY!!!! GO ORDER IT NOW!!! (:

 

 

About the author:

Joy N. Hensley is a former middle school teacher. She used to spend her twenty-minute lunch breaks hosting author Skype chats for her students. Once upon a time she went to a military school on a dare. She lives in Virginia with her husband and two children, finding as many ways as she can to never do another push-up again.

 

Hello September, Goodbye July & August! September 7, 2014

Due to a goof and lapse in blogging, this month says goodbye to TWO months! Haha. I can’t believe it’s September. Wow. This year just keeps flying by. I’m happy for some cooler temperatures to be coming soon (hopefully! I live in the South and things have been super hot lately!) Life’s been changing quickly around our house and it’s taking some time to get adjusted to and a schedule worked out. Thank you SO MUCH to those who have stuck around with me through this summer and drop in blogging. I still have to announce my blogoversary winners, so keep an eye out in your inbox cause you might just be my winners! (: Still hoping I can go to YALLFEST in November and if I do, there will be signed giveaways in the future! (: I hope you’re doing well! Fill me in! How was your summer?!

 

Books I read in July & August (in order of completion)

Siege & Storm, Ruin & Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Seamonster by Amalie Howard

Perfect Couple by Jennifer Echols(eARC)

Too Clever Fox, The Little Knife by Leigh Bardugo

Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine Kuderick(eARC)

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Waterfell & Oceanborn by Amalie Howard

Rites of Passage by Joy Hensley(ARC)

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

The Queen’s Vow by CW Gortner

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

If I Stay & Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Salvage by Alexandra Duncan(ARC)

The Jewel by Amy Ewing(eARC)

 

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

all the Pete books! Other than that, I didn’t really do well keeping track! OOPS!

 

Coming up in September:

lots of family birthdays!

Hubby’s unit’s family day

 

Reviews posted

Tot Time Thursday #2: Pete the Cat Pete’s Big Lunch by James Dean

 

Flashback Friday #2: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

*Mini Review & Giveaway* The Prince & The Guard by Kiera Cass

*Review & Giveaway* The One by Kiera Cass

*Blog Tour & Review* 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen

*Review* Mind Games by Kiersten White

*ARC Review* Perfect Lies by Kiersten White

Tot Time Thursday #3: Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses

Flashback Friday #3: City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

Flashback Friday #4: City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

Most visited

 

Blogoversary! (And giveaway!)

 

Goals for August
Work on commenting and visiting other blogs

Read more with the kiddos

Get back on track and stay ahead of schedule


 

 

September releases I’m excited for:

RITES OF PASSAGE!!!!!!

The Jewel

Vampires of Manhattan

SO MANY MORE CAUSE ALL THE BOOKS COME OUT THIS MONTH

 

 

September TBR:
The Young Elites

Vampires of Manhattan

Find Me

Illusions of Fate

THE ORPHAN QUEEN (sampler BUT STILL OMG)

 

Challenge Update:

I’m involved with four challenges officially.

Edelweiss & Netgalley challenge: 19/25 (Perfect Couple, Kiss of Broken Glass, Poisoned Apples – DNF not counting in total, Rites of Passage, The Jewel)

TBR Pile challenge: 54/11-20 {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} (Siege & Storm, Ruin & Rising, Seamonster, Oceanborn, The Queen’s Vow, Open Road Summer, If I Stay, Where She Went, Salvage)

Series challenge: 14/4-6 {I can and most likely will increase my level on this as well} (Grisha, Aquarathi )

Real” Book challenge: 33/21-30 (Siege & Storm, Ruin & Rising, Waterfell, Oceanborn, Rites of Passage, Open Road Summer)

How was your July & August? What’s up for September?

 

Top Ten Tuesday #43: Summer TBR June 17, 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 Books on My Summer TBR

I’m starting to do better about my TBR lists (Winter 6/10Fall3/10)! I read 6/11 books from my Spring TBR. I’m such a mood driven reader that it sometimes proves difficult to stick to a reading plan. I think I have a good mix of books for this summer so hopefully I can get closer to actually finishing this time! (:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I think it’s time to read it. I stumbled across a spoiler, but I think I’m in a mindset to handle it.

Frozen by Erin Bowman (I actually started this yesterday so GO ME!) I received an ARC of this and a finished set of Taken and Frozen from HarperCollins. I HATE that I put it off until now. LOVE.

Panic by Lauren Oliver. Another season TBR for this… hopefully summer is the time! 

As You Turn Away by Molli Moran. Ugh. It keeps slipping through the cracks. MUST READ.

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry. I’ve been sorta in a mood for contemporaries so Katie and Jennifer Echols are on the radar.

On the Fence by Kasie West. I have an ARC and like I said above, kinda in a contemporary mood.

The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings. I KNOW. This should’ve been read age go, but ya know. 

Oceanborn by Amalie Howard. Amalie told me to check the acknowledgements, so I’m super intrigued. Plus, Lo. I neeeeeeds him.

Deception by CJ Redwine. CJ sent me a signed copy, and I’m so excited to read it and my ARC of Deliverance in one go. Mmmm Logan.

Rites of Passage by Joy Hensley. I sent this to my kindle THE DAY it went up and then haven’t read it yet. *sigh* Now would be the perfect time to read it while hubby’s at a military school himself haha! (: LOVE Joy!

Tell me, what’s on your Summer TBR? In case you’re interested, these are the reviews to the books I completed from my Spring TBR: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein, Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman, After the End by Amy Plum, Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz & Michael Johnston, and The Falconer by Elizabeth May

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 13 – 19 April 2014 April 19, 2014

Wow. Another great week! (: I knocked out three books, two of which were ARCs! (: Two of them were great, and the other wasn’t the best. Now I’m at a loss on what I want to read next, haha. I have reviews lined up all the way through the middle of June now. I’m super happy with that. Now, maybe, if I have a hit the wall moment like I did in January, it won’t completely kill my momentum. I’m really enjoying not worrying about any kind of schedule as far as reading. I also went through my eARCs this week and culled the ones I’m not interested in anymore or attempted and they weren’t as great as I was hoping. That helped A LOT. I don’t feel as stressed per se. I wasn’t stressed, but I was just worried about disappointing people for not reading ALL THE BOOKS. Now, I’m not and I’m much happier and knocking through books quicker. I have more giveaways coming up soon, so if you didn’t win the signed copy of Incarnate, never fear! (:

Completed:
The Falconer by Elizabeth May (ARC) 5 stars.

Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols (ARC) 5 stars

Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier (audiobook)3 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)

Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier (audiobook)

 

 


Read to the Kiddos:

Breathe by Scott Magoon

Pinkalicious 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


New to my shelf:

Breathe by Scott Magoon (Many thanks to Scott and SimonKids!)

Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore (Thanks Hyperion Teens!)


From the library:
Army Wives: The Unwritten Code of Military Marriage by Tanya Biank

Undaunted by Tanya Biank

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 30 March – 5 April 2014 April 5, 2014

Another good reading week. I knocked out two books quickly early this week, but didn’t get to read much later this week since my uncle died. We did get to listen to a good chunk of Harry Potter with driving around to all the family gatherings though. Punk was very happy about it! He’s really enjoying it and asks for “Ha’y Potter, please, mama!” when we get in the car. It’s precious! (: Hope your week has been a good one!

Completed:

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson. 5 unbelievable stars.

The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory. 4 stars.

Currently Reading:


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

After the End (ARC) by Amy Plum

Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone by JK Rowling

Read to the Kiddos:

We listened to Harry Potter and several Pete the Cat audiobooks


New to my shelf:


From the library:

a TON of kids audiobooks 

 

Hello April, Goodbye March! April 1, 2014

Another month already gone! This year is just flying by! March was a very productive month for me. I got a good amount of reading and blog work done. I have reviews written up and scheduled all the way through the middle of May! Things are moving along nicely. Hubby started a new job and the kids are growing like weeds. Life is really starting to look up with the start of spring. (: Keep an eye out for some more giveaways coming soon!

Books I read in March (in order of completion)

Cress by Marissa Meyer

Fifty First Times “Field Emotions” by Melissa West

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Free Four by Veronica Roth

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

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

How Do Dinosaurs Love Their Cats? by Jane Yolen

Spot Can Count by Eric Hill

The Story of Benjamin Franklin by Patricia A Pingry

You Are My I Love You by Maryann Cusimano Love (Bug’s Imagination Library Book) 

Down by the Station by Jess Stockham 

Cleo the Cat by Caroline Mockford 

Penguins Can’t Fly! by Richard Byrne 

Sesame Street: Elmo Look and Find by Publications International Ltd. 

The Story of Thomas Jefferson by Patricia A Pingry 

Thomas and the Treasure by Wilbert Awdry 

If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Joffe Numeroff 

How Do Dinosaurs Love Their Dogs? by Jane Yolen 

Digger the Dinosaur Rebecca Kai Dotlich 

Coming up in April
We actually don’t have anything big coming up this month. Hopefully that means it’ll be a low key month. I’m super excited about Easter though! (:

Goals for April
Work on commenting and visiting other blogs

Read more with the kiddos

Stay ahead of schedule 

April releases I’m excited for:

The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

April TBR:
As You Turn Away by Molli Moran

After the End by Amy Plum

The Falconer by Elizabeth May

Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols

Challenge Update:

I’m involved with four challenges officially.

Edelweiss & Netgalley challenge: 5/25 (Prisoner of Night and Fog)

TBR Pile challenge: 17/11-20 {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} (Cress, Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant, The Book Thief,Code Name Verity, Rose Under Fire, Frozen, The Impossible Knife of Memory)

Series challenge: 7/4-6 {I can and most likely will increase my level on this as well} (Cress, Divergent, Code Name Verity)

Real” Book challenge: 12/21-30 {I have to sign up for this one once I get this post up!} (Cress, Divergent, The Book Thief, Code Name Verity, Frozen, The Impossible Knife of Memory)

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

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 23-29 March 2014 March 29, 2014

Can I just say that I am really not a fan of the new update to the WordPress document formatting? I really liked being able to work in Word, Works, Open Office, etc. and paste straight in the post in the format I want. Not cool. Hubby was away at a military class this week and the kiddos took turns being piddly. Bug got shots and Punk’s allergies waged an open revolution against him. It’s been a rough week. But I still got some blog work and reading done!

Completed:

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein 4 1/2 stars

Frozen (ARC, personal copy, audiobook)by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston 3 3/4 stars.

Currently Reading:

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

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

Read to the Kiddos:

Sesame Street: Elmo Look and Find by Publications International

The Story of Thomas Jefferson by Patricia A Pingry

If You Give A Moose A Muffin by Laura Joffe Numeroff

Thomas and the Treasure by Wilbert Awdry

How Do Dinosaurs Love Their Dogs by Jane Yolen

Digger the Dinosaur by Rebecca Kai Dotlich


New to my shelf:

Asylum by Madeleine Roux (from my sis-in-law)

From the library:

Pete the Cat : Big Easter Adventure by Eric Litwin & James Dean (audiobook)

Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz & Michael Johnston (audiobook)

Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz (audiobook)

Splintered by AG Howard (audiobook)

The Great Discover (Thomas the Train) by Rev W Awdry (audiobook)

 

 
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