The Whimsical Mama

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

Top Ten Tuesday #41: Beach Bag Reads June 3, 2014


b301e-toptentuesdayEach 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 That Will Be in My Beach Bag/Should Be in Your Beach Bag

While I’m not entirely sure we’ll be making it to the beach this year, these are the books that I’ve selected to be in my beach bag or I think would be great beach reads to include in your beach bag! (: And of course, Punk and Bug wanted to include their two beach reads!

1. Taste the Heat by Rachel Harris. I read Seven Day Fiance last year at the beach, and it left me almost needing to run into the ocean to chill out. So, obviously, a book in the same series deserves the same treatment!

2. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. Mary actually recommended this to me for a beach read last year, but I didn’t get to it, so it’s added back for this year! (:

3. 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen. This is a super fast contemporary read that I knocked out in an afternoon. I think it would be a perfect beach read!

4. Oceanborn by Amalie Howard. C’mon. It has OCEAN in the name. Of course it’s gonna make the beach reads list! I absolutely loved Waterfell and recommend you read it as a beach read if you haven’t read it. If you have, I recommend Oceanborn! I NEED MOAR LO!

5. The Selection by Kiera Cass. Despite being a dystopian, I think this is a great light read for the beach. I knocked out the whole trilogy in less than a week so I think it’s a perfect beach bag add! 

6. Uninvited by Sophie Jordan. Definitely not light in the dystopian/futuristic setting, but it’s so action packed, it’s a super quick read that makes it a perfect beach bag read.

7. Seven Day Fiance by Rachel Harris. Like I mentioned above, I did read this at the beach and think it’s a good beach read. It’s set in the winter, so with the hot beach reading conditions and the swoony Cane, it’s a perfect beach bag read!

8. Die for Me by Amy Plum. Another quick read with two super swoony guys. I plan on listening to the audiobook at some point this summer, and the drive to the beach may be the perfect time!

9. Pete the Cat: Pete at the Beach by James Dean. This is Punk’s must pack read for the beach! He wants to learn to surf like Pete!

10. Ladybug Girl Goes at the Beach by David Soman & Jacky Davis. Bug wants to be like Ladybug Girl and have a blast at the beach!

Tell us, what are your favourite beach reads? What books will you be taking with you on vacation? It doesn’t have to be to the beach!


*Review* Fifty First Times Anthology “Field Emotions” by Melissa West April 6, 2014

***I was granted permission to read this by one of the authors, Melissa West, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Melissa!***

Rating:4 stars
Pub date:25 February 2014
Publisher:Avon Impulse
Genre:New Adult Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Format:ebook provided by the author, Melissa West


You always remember your first time…

Whether it’s the couple who decides not to go through with it, the two boys who finally aren’t ashamed, the newlyweds whose wedding night could very well be their last night together, the deaf pair who have no choice but to take body language to a new level–or, of course, the two young lovers fumbling and laughing, getting everything wrong. These are the memories that will never fade.

Join nineteen fantastic authors as they pull back the curtain and give you a peek inside that one intense moment in their characters’ lives when everything changes and nothing will ever be the same again.

Featuring stories from some of the hottest names in New Adult, Young Adult, and Romance including New York Times Bestselling authors J.Lynn/Jennifer Armentrout, Molly McAdams, Sophie Jordan, and Carrie Ryan.

NOTE: These stories are works of fiction. If you want to know about our first times, you’ll have to buy us a pet monkey first.


My thoughts:

I really enjoyed “Field Emotions.” Melissa’s books have been on my TBR for a while and this was the first time I’ve read her works. She does a great job of introducing a stereotypical college athlete who is actually more than he seems.

Blake Banks is the fictional “next Johnny Football” but in a much better way. Sorry, this closet football fan can NOT stand Johnny Football. The reason Blake chose to stay in Georgia and play for the Dawgs is so sweet. He and his (female) best friend, Summer, grew up in a poor Georgia town. Blake could’ve gone anywhere he wanted on a football scholarship. He stays because Summer couldn’t afford out of state tuition. BRB *swoons* Sorry. It’s just… Whoa.

Melissa does a fantastic job spinning a foreseeable situation and takes it from leaning toward cliche to stealing your heart. She writes two adorable characters you can’t help but root for. Having read “Field Emotions,” I can’t wait to check out the other stories. Melissa did a great job and the others have a lot to live up to. I definitely recommend you check this anthology out. I plan on reading more of Melissa’s works ASAP. I’m so thankful she gave me the opportunity to read and review her short story. GO Dawgs!**

**Disclaimer** I’m very much a closet football fan. When it comes to college football, I don’t cheer for the Georgia Dawgs, but for MTSU’s Blue Raiders. Whoo! Blue Raiders ride on to vict’ry! MTSU is hot! Let’s go Blue! Let’s go Blue! (Can ya tell I was in the marching band?) Those two cheers were just for you Mary! (:

About the author

Melissa West writes young adult and new adult novels for Entangled Teen and Embrace and Penguin/InterMix. She lives outside of Atlanta, GA with her husband and two daughters and spends most of her time writing, reading, or fueling her coffee addiction.

She holds a B.A. in Communication Studies and a M.S. in Graphic Communication, both from Clemson University. Yeah, her blood runs orange.

Connect with Melissa at or on Twitter @MB_West


Top Ten Tuesday #33: Gateway Books/Authors in My Reading Journey April 1, 2014


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 Gateway Books/Authors in My Reading Journey

JK Rowling– JKR is one of the authors responsible for making me fall in love with reading on my own. As a kid, I loved being read to, but HATED reading on my own. JKR changed all of that with a little boy named Harry. (: 

Rachel Harris – Rachel has gotten me to venture into the world of New Adult. I loved Seven Day Fiance. New Adult is on my genre list of venturing into more. 

Lois Lowry – Opening my reading up to dystopian societies. It’s kinda funny, really. Tea Time talked about this on 26 March when discussing The Giver trailer. I already had this list sketched out on paper and had her down for dystopian. I love her other works too, but she really got me into dystopian before it was cool to be dystopian. 

The Royal Diaries series – This middle grade series is what got me hooked on history. I devoured these books like they were going out of style! I still need to finish the series and I hope my kiddos love them as much as I did/do!

Philippa Gregory – It started with Royal Diaries and matured when I discovered Philippa Gregory’s Tudor era writings. She only increased my obsession with mid15th-early17th century England! 

Carolyn Meyer – Another middle grade obsession. I love her Tudor era books!

Stephenie Meyer – Yes, she’s on my list. I will admit, Twilight launched me back into reading YA in college. I haven’t looked back on reading since then! 

Ann Rinaldi – There’s a real middle grade theme going on today! Rinaldi is another middle grade author who flamed my obsession with history.

Anne Frank – Dear Anne really sparked the flame on my love of reading about World War II. It was really a combination of her writing and wanting to know what my Grandaddy went through. 

American Girl series– This is THE series that really was the bridge between picture books and middle grade for me. I loved having people read these to me and I would occasionally sit and read them myself. I have four of the dolls that will be passed down to Bug and I have a bunch of the books! 

That’s it for Top Ten Tuesday today! What are your gateway books/authors? Feel free to comment and leave your link! (: 


Top Ten Tuesday #26: Swoon Worthy Books/Characters February 11, 2014


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 Swoon Worthy Books/Characters

Seven Day Fiance by Rachel Harris. The oh so incredible Cane. Whoa. He’s yummy AND smart. Win in my book!

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Seriously? Mr. Darcy is the best. The end.

Roar & Liv by Veronica Rossi. Oh, Roar. I love you so much. You and Liv are so adorable together!

The Kingmakers’ Daughter by Philippa Gregory. Prince/King Richard? Oh. My. He’s just. Wow. *swoons*

Infinite by Jodi Meadows. Sam. Bathroom. Yes! Oh, Sam. Love him.

Everbound by Brodi Ashton. Sneaky, sneaky Cole. Why do you make me love you so? SHAME ON YOU!

Waterfell by Amalie Howard. Oh, Lo. *drools* He’s just so… MINE. (:

The Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. JEM OH MY! I love me some Jem. I need more Jem and Tessa action now. Kthnx

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Levi. Oh, so adorable and cuddly Levi. Love it.

Champion by Marie Lu. That epilogue? OH MY I CANNOT HANDLE THIS. Heart wrenching and swoon worthy fo’ sho!


What are your swoon worthy reads/characters this week? I’m always up for more swoon worthy reads in my life! (: Feel free to link up so I can check yours out too!


*e-ARC review* Seven Day Fiance by Rachel Harris October 14, 2013

I was granted a digital review copy of Seven Day Fiancé by the publisher (Entangled: Bliss) and author (Rachel Harris) in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5 stars
Pub Date: 14 October 2013
Publisher: Entangled: Bliss
Genre: New Adult, Romance
Format: e-ARC
Type: Book 2 of the Love and Games series

Angelle Prejean is in a pickle. Her family is expecting her to come home with a fiancé—a fiancé who doesn’t exist. Well, he exists, but he definitely has no idea Angelle told her mama they were engaged. Tattooed, muscled, and hotter than sin, Cane can reduce Angelle to a hot mess with one look—and leave her heart a mess if she falls for him. But when she ends up winning Cane at a charity bachelor auction, she knows just how to solve her fiancé problem.

Cane Robicheaux is no one’s prince. He doesn’t do relationships and he doesn’t fall in love. When sweet, sultry-voiced Angelle propositions him, he hopes their little game can finally get her out of his head. He doesn’t expect her to break through all his barriers. But even as Angelle burrows deeper into his heart, he knows once their seven days are up, so is their ruse.

My thoughts:
I loved every single page of SDF. I would recommend it to anyone who loves a good romance. Especially these movies: The Proposal, The Wedding Date, or Sweet Home Alabama. I swear this is a good mix of all of them! I also loved being in the Cajun world for a while. I love New Orleans (it’s where I got married) and being in this area for a while was a nice escape. (Even if I did read this while sitting on the beach in South Carolina which was already an escape!) There’s ONE scene (you’ll know it when you get to it!) that made me feel like I needed a dunk in the ocean AND a freezing shower. Shew! Extra steamy! And the ending! It was perfection! It was extremely swoon worthy. The epilogue is nice, too. (: All five stars were well deserved. Rachel takes an “old story” (fake fiancé) and takes it places it could never have imagined!

Angelle was a very relatable character for me. I come from a small town, though not as small as Angelle. The reaction she gets when she returns home could be compared to when Jason Witten comes home. (He went to my high school and hosts a massive football camp every year and is a HUGE hometown hero.) I never could imagine being in her situation as far as making up a fiancé. On the flip side though, that’s about how long my engagement to my hubby was. I actually teased Rachel on Twitter when she first started tweeting about SDF if she was writing about mine and hubby’s relationship. As I was reading, I kept imagining Angelle sounded like Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama.

Cane. Oh wow. Where do I even begin with this deliciousness? He’s such an incredible guy and it was so nice to learn about him as he carefully let Angelle see each level of himself. I could relate to him on his parental situation. My parents divorced when I was in junior high and I built walls around my heart. I was very against marriage for the long haul. I didn’t want to be destroyed the way my parents were. The way Cane was. The way Angelle walks right through all of his barriers was like reliving when my hubby and I first started dating. I fell in love with Cane right from the beginning. Who wouldn’t love a man who goes out of his way to help out the women in his life? I feel even more in love with him when he was so great with Angelle’s little niece. Major points.  See excerpt:

“Cane pushed to his feet. ‘Actually, if you don’t mind, I was thinking I’d run to the store up the road and cook dinner.’ He glanced down and said, ‘That is, if I can find me a chef’s helper.’
Sadie climbed to a standing position on the sofa and thrust her had in the air. ‘Me! Me, Mr. Cane! Mama says I’m a great cheff-er, don’t ya, Mama?’
Eva nodded with a smile. ‘She’s the best.’
‘Is that right?’ Cane sunk to his knees so they were eyelevel. ‘Must be my lucky day. Do you know I happen to own a restaurant? Maybe one day you can come and work for me. What do you think about that?’
Sadie shook her head solemnly. ‘Thanks, but I’m gonna be a fairy princess and live in Disney World.’
Cane grinned. ‘That does sound like more fun.’”

I mean, really? What woman doesn’t love a man who is great with kids?!

And of course. My favourite line from the whole book by Cane: “’Is today an anniversary of a first of something I’m forgetting? If so, I’m sorry darlin’. Men have crap for brains when it comes to that kind of stuff.’”

Isn’t that quote just the truth, ladies? Five years later and my hubby STILL has trouble remembering what year I was born. He gets the day mixed up every now and then, too. Of course, this is when asked. If he ever actually forgets it, he better be prepared to cough up lots of chocolate, wine, and books! (: Same goes for our anniversary!


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