The Whimsical Mama

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

Top Ten Tuesday #49: Authors I’ve Only Read One Book by and Want to Read More September 16, 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 Authors I’ve Only Read One Book By

1. CJ Redwine (Defiance)

2. Aimee Carter (Pawn)

3. Rainbow Rowell (Fangirl)

4. & 5. Aime Kaufman & Megan Spooner (These Broken Stars)

6. OR Melling (The Summer King)

7. Sophie Jordan (Uninvited)

8. Joy Hensley (Rites of Passage)

9. Michelle Diener (In Defense of the Queen)

10. Victoria Scott (Fire & Flood)

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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?

 

*ARC Review* After the End by Amy Plum May 4, 2014

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

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

Rating:3 stars
Pub date:6 May 2014
Publisher:HarperCollins
Genre:Young Adult Fiction, Science-Fiction
Format:ARC provided by the publisher
Status:Book one of the After the End series

Summary:

She’s searching for answers to her past. They’re hunting her to save their future.

World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation. A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness. They’ve survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there.

At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life.

When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them. Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war. Cities were never destroyed. The world is intact. Everything was a lie.

Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed. But while she’s trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.

My thoughts:

This has been another review that has been difficult to write. I absolutely adored Amy’s Revenants series and I was so excited when After the End was announced. This was an ARC I wanted hardcore. When it went up on Edelweiss, I requested it THAT DAY. I hoped and prayed for it. Approval for it and autoapproval from Harper came. There were other books I wanted to read now that I had approval and I wanted to wait until a bit closer to publication date to read. April rolled around and I was read to read. 

Going into it, I knew there had been a few bloggers who didn’t care for it, but I didn’t pay it any mind. A new series from Amy Plum had to be spectacular, right?! How wrong I was. There wasn’t anything wrong with the writing itself. Amy’s writing style was as superb as it had been in Revenants. I just couldn’t get behind the story. They idea sounded fantastic. The execution – though filled with several predictable and cliche moments was well done. Some of the characters were fantastic. Some…. were not. 

Juneau had such great potential, but I really didn’t like her. She’s very ignorant of the modern world, but that’s to be expected.She just didn’t come off as I was hoping. I really wasn’t expecting the creepy cult magic that was thrown in. I couldn’t get into the “Yara” stuff at all. It weirded me out more than it intrigued me. I think she’s supposed to come off as naive, but it doesn’t come across like that for me. 

I did enjoy reading in the point of view of Miles. I connected with him and liked him more than I liked Juneau. I could understand some of his actions, especially after how Juneau treated him most of the time. I didn’t like how she ordered him around and expected him to do things for her.

I was so confused by what was supposed to be happening. I understand that there’s a sequel, but I feel like I’m as in the dark about what caused the group to be in the wilderness as I was when I started reading. 

Things are proven to be false, but still used to find answers. Um. No. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. That really got on my nerves after that revelation happened, but the practice was still kept in place. I understand she felt comfortable doing it, but if it doesn’t work, IT DOESN’T WORK. 

All in all, I’m more confused than anything. It was an interesting story, but I wouldn’t say to go out of your way to read it. It obviously does nothing but set up for a sequel. The ending is beyond cliche. There are some actions that didn’t make sense and there’s a lot of info not told. I’ll probably check out the sequel just to know what the hell is going on. I didn’t hate it, but I certainly didn’t love it like I was hoping. A big let down after being excited for months for sure. In book two, I would like more ACTION action, and not filler action. Without the filler, this totally could’ve been a standalone and it would’ve gone a much higher rating from me for it. 

About the author

Amy Plum is the author of the International Bestsellers DIE FOR ME (Indie Next List pick, Romance Times top pick, and recipient of a starred review from School Library Journal), UNTIL I DIE, and IF I SHOULD DIE. The books have been translated into eleven foreign languages. The trilogy is accompanied by an eNovella entitled DIE FOR HER.

Amy grew up in Birmingham, Alabama before venturing further afield to Chicago, Paris, London and New York. An art historian by training, she can be found on most days either daydreaming or writing (or both) in a Parisian café. Visit her at http://www.amyplumbooks.com and check out http://www.youtube.com/user/revenantc… for videos and extras.

After being raised in Birmingham, Alabama, in a rather restrictive environment, AMY PLUM escaped to Chicago to an even more restrictive environment at a university that expelled people for dancing. (And where she was called to the dean’s office for “wearing too much black”.) After all of that restrictiveness, she was forced to run far far away, specifically to Paris, France, where she only wore black and danced all she wanted.

After five years in Paris, she ventured to London, where she got an M.A. in Medieval Art History, specializing in Early Sienese Painting (1260-1348) mainly because it promised almost no hope of finding a paying job afterward.

Amy managed to find work in the world of art and antiques in New York. But after almost a decade of high-pressure lifestyle in the Big Apple, she swapped her American city for a French village of 1300 inhabitants.

After signing with HarperCollins for the DIE FOR ME series, Amy left her job as an English professor at Tours University to write full-time. She now lives in Paris with her two kids and big red dog Ella.

She is a huge fan of Edward Gorey and Maira Kalman (and collects both of their books/art), as well as David Sedaris, Amadeo Modigliani, and Ira Glass.

Check out videos and extras from Amy at Revenant Central.

 

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! (:

 

*ARC Review* Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott February 24, 2014

***I was granted permission to read Fire & Flood by the publisher (Scholastic Press) in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Scholastic Press!***

Rating:4 stars
Pub date:25 February 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre:Young Adult Fiction
Format: ARC via publisher
Status:Book one of Fire & Flood series

Summary:

A modern day thrill ride, where a teen girl and her animal companion must participate in a breathtaking race to save her brother’s life—and her own.

Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can’t determine what’s wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She’s lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying — and she’s helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It’s an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother’s illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there’s no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can’t trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?

My thoughts:

I was very excited when I first heard about this title. Victoria had a request form up on her page that she passed along to Scholastic. I immediately filled it out and pushed it from my thoughts. I didn’t want to dwell on it in case I didn’t get approval. My hubby brought in a package one day and held it out to me. It was from Scholastic. I was ecstatic. I wanted to dive in first thing, but I had some other things I had to read first. Mary over at Mary Had A Little Book Blog and I decided to read it at the same time. This was my first book by Victoria Scott and I do plan on continuing this series in the future and checking out her Dante Walker series.

The pacing felt a little slow to me in the beginning. After an initial lull, the pacing rapidly picks up and became a page turner until I finished. I felt a very strong similarity to The Hunger Games if the stakes were even higher. Instead of competing for themselves, the Contenders are competing for a loved one. At a first glance, you would think this was a dystopian, but it is very much a modern day thriller (confirmed by Victoria).

Tella’s world was rocked when her parents uprooted their family from Boston to Montana after her brother fell ill. It’s not clear what is wrong with her brother, just that he’s sick and seems to be fading rather quickly. Tella receives an invitation to the Brimestone Bleed, but her parents try to play it off like a joke and attempt to destroy the evidence of the invitation. She manages to get a hold of the device and listens to the full invitation. Her mom catches her before she leaves and they have a quick talk. Tella leaves to pursue the cure.

The first challenge in the jungle felt a little disappointing. There were a few dangers, but nothing out of the ordinary of if she had gotten lost in the jungle. The biggest question that remained in my mind is what happens if you lose the race? One person gets the cure, but what happens to the other Contenders?

I was not really able to connect with Tella for the better part of the book. She came off as spoiled and selfish even though she was there for her brother. Her internal dialogue was very immature and bratty. I know not all 17 year olds are not all created equal. I was often told I was mature for my age and sometimes I forget that not all teenagers think like I did. Once she hooked up with a group, I started to connect with her more because she started to grow as a person.She still has her moments of wishing she hadn’t come, but who wouldn’t? It’s not an easy thought potentially risking your life for someone. It’s human nature to prefer preserving yourself than others.

I really enjoyed the other characters (Guy, Ransom, Levi, etc) and I can’t wait to see if more of their backstories are included in the future. I’m also excited to see where their budding friendships take them. It’s an every man for himself situation and new friendships will only last for so long… right?

With the first race behind, things really began to pick up and it made me very happy. Right at the end of the jungle race is when it really became a page turner for me. The twists were very well done and I really enjoyed the desert race. The desert race was definitely a five star section. My toddler kept asking me to read to him before his nap and there were sections that I had to skim as I read because they were totally not suited for a toddler’s ears. Once he was asleep, I devoured the last 100 pages.The action and danger shot through the roof and it was amazing.

I loved the idea of Pandoras. They were simply incredible and it was a very well done idea. In a way they felt like the daemons from the His Dark Materials series, but DEFINITELY more badass.Maddox is incredible. His power – whoa. I really hope we get to learn more about how the Pandoras are created in the next installment!

The ending will definitely leave you wanting more. Keep in mind that this race is in four destinations and Fire & Flood only covers two of them. So much more excitement and challenges away in the Brimestone Bleed.

I’m proud to recommend this as a great read! It does not disappoint and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

About the author:

Victoria Scott is a teen fiction writer represented by Sara Crowe. She’s the author of the FIRE & FLOOD series published by Scholastic, and the DANTE WALKER trilogy published by Entangled Teen. Her books have been bought and translated in eleven foreign markets including the UK, Turkey, China, Poland, Germany, Australia, Israel, Taiwan, Brazil, New Zealand, and the Netherlands.


Victoria lives in Dallas with her husband and hearts cotton candy something fierce.

 

Waiting on Wednesday #20: Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott February 19, 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:

Fire & Flood (Fire & Flood #1)

by Victoria Scott

Coming: 25 February 2014

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Summary:

A modern day thrill ride, where a teen girl and her animal companion must participate in a breathtaking race to save her brother’s life—and her own.

Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can’t determine what’s wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She’s lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying — and she’s helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It’s an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother’s illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there’s no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can’t trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?


Why I’m excited:

When I first heard about Fire & Flood back in the fall, I instantly became excited. I adored The Hunger Games and the similarity really intrigued me. I was lucky enough to be granted an ARC by Scholastic and I’ve already read it. (It’s fantabulous, btw, and my review will be up next week) It definitely lived up to the excitement like I was hoping it would. I would love to gush on and on for this, but I do enough of that in my review so you’ll have to come back and see how great it is! (; I can’t wait to get my hands on a finished copy! (:

Why I need you to be excited:

I don’t know if you’ve read anything by Victoria Scott, I haven’t, and definitely plan on checking out her other works, but you really should check out this great book! A race in uncertain conditions (we know the arena set ups beforehand, but not what to expect in them), people desperate to help a loved one, kickass created sidekicks, and a killer mystery. It’s full of action and intrigue. It’s chock full of interesting characters with loads of character growth. Each character has a deep background that’s just waiting to be explored. I really recommend this book and can’t wait for it to come out for everyone to have a chance to read it!

What do you think about Fire & Flood? Is it TBR worthy for you?

 

*e-ARC review, Tour* I, Saul by Jerry B Jenkins and James MacDonald October 21, 2013

I was granted a digital review copy of I, Saul by the publisher (Worthy Publishing) in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3 stars
Pub date: 27 August 2013
Publisher: Worthy Publishing
Genre: Christian Lit, Adult, Fiction
Format: Digital Review Copy, hardcover provided by the publisher

Links:
I, Saul on Goodreads

Summary:
Told from the point of view of the disciple Luke, the apostle Paul and “Auggie,” a modern-day scholar, I, Saul, is a fast-paced story of intrigue and mystery. Readers will be reminded of Indiana Jones and the DiVinci code as they become absorbed in this page-turner by a master storyteller. Along the way they will learn of the fictionalized but plausible story of the life of Saul who relentlessly persecuted Christ’s followers prior to his conversion when he became known as Paul.

My thoughts:

When I first joined Netgalley in August, I went on a book requesting spree. As a new blogger, I didn’t expect to be approved for many books let alone a New York Times bestselling author. Jerry B Jenkins is one of two authors of the Left Behind series. Seeing his name and reading the book description, I decided to give it a try and request it. I was very surprised when my request was granted. Before I got started reading, I was invited to do a blog tour.

As was expected, given my experience of reading part of the Left Behind series, the writing was excellent and it had a great premise. It was truly fascinating to learn more about Paul.

I have stood in front of the prison where Paul was kept. It was an experience that words cannot describe. We did not get to go in, so I have not seen the actual dungeon, but I can only imagine what it was like.

I was disappointed with the pace of the action, though. All of the praises spoke volumes about how it was fast paced. I found it lacking. the action didn’t really pick up until around chapter twenty and then slowed back down. The story line always remained interesting, it just seemed a bit bogged down in the details.

The description comparing this to Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon was spot on. Auggie was very well versed in his field and his moral high ground helped keep things interesting. Despite numerous opportunities, he stuck firmly to his beliefs. A lot of Christians today would take the opportunities that Auggie was offered. It’s disheartening.

I really liked following Luke’s reading of Paul’s memoir manuscript. I don’t know a lot about the Jewish faith or the role it played in Saul’s early life, and it was interesting to learn more about his life prior to his conversion.

It wasn’t clear if this was a standalone or the first of a series until the end. I look forward to reading the rest of the story in I, Paul, due out next year in 2014.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jerry B. Jenkins’s novels have sold more than 70 million copies, including the phenomenal mega-best-selling Left Behind series. Twenty of his books have reached the New York Times best-seller list, including seven that debuted at number one, as well as the USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Wall Street Journal best-seller lists. Jenkins has been featured on the cover of Newsweek magazine. Jerry and his wife, Dianna, live in Colorado.

Worthy Publishing Group (www.worthypublishing.com) is a privately held, independent voice in Christian and inspirational publishing, based in Nashville, Tennessee, comprised of three divisions. Worthy Books publishes a boutique list of trade titles across a broad spectrum of genres, including current events, biography, fiction, devotionals, spiritual and personal growth, and specialized Bibles. Ellie Claire is a line of gift and paper expressions, and Freeman-Smith is a value-priced, impulse book imprint.

 

 
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