The Whimsical Mama

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

Waiting on Wednesday #70: Windwitch by Susan Dennard December 7, 2016

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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:

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Windwitch (The Witchlands #2)

By: Susan Dennard

Coming: 3 January 2017

Publisher: Tor Teen

Summary:

The follow-up to New York Times bestselling Truthwitch, next in a breathtaking YA fantasy series hailed by Alexandra Bracken as “a world you will want to inhabit forever.”

On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery,” a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In this follow-up to New York Times bestselling Truthwitch, a shadow man haunts the Nubrevnan streets, leaving corpses in his wake—and then raising those corpses from the dead. Windwitch continues the tale of Merik—cunning privateer, prince, and windwitch.

Why I’m excited:

I’m really intrigued by this new series by Susan Dennard. I haven’t read anything by her yet, but I think the first two books of The Witchlands series will be amazing.

Why I need you to be excited:

I’ve heard great things about Truthwitch and can’t wait to read it and the sequel!

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*ARC Review* Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White May 10, 2015

***mild spoilers may follow***

***affiliate links are used***

Rating:  5 stars
Pub date: 9 September 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal
Format: e-ARC, provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Status: standalone

Summary:

Downton Abbey meets Cassandra Clare in this lush, romantic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White.

“I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have.”

Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.

Kiersten White captured readers’ hearts with her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy and its effortless mix of magic and real-world teenage humor. She returns to that winning combination of wit, charm, and enchantment in Illusions of Fate, a sparkling and romantic new novel perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, The Madman’s Daughter, and Libba Bray..

My thoughts:
I was ecstatic when Illusions of Fate popped up on Edelweiss! I mean, LOOK AT THAT COVER! It’s GORGEOUS! Plus the description having Downton Abbey and Cassandra Clare in it definitely piqued my interest. Usually comparisons and perfect for fans of turn me away, but sometimes curiosity gets me. Especially when a gorgeous cover is involved! I love Downton Abbey and The Infernal Devices, so a book with elements of both? YES, PLEASE!

I have only read Kiersten’s Mind Games duology, (review) so I was familiar with her writing, but Illusions of Fate is an entirely different beast. It’s definitely, hands down, my favourite of the three I’ve read. Mind Games was okay/good, but Illusions of Fate knocked it out of the park.

Leading lady Jessamin left her island home to further her education. She is faced with racial discrimination. She is darker skinned than her classmates and is poor. Wealth and privilege are the ways of the land. (Sounds familiar, right?) Her estranged father is a professor at her school, but ignores her existence. She doesn’t let that get her down though. She is determined to fulfill her dreams. I related to Jessamin through her use of sarcasm. Sarcasm FTW! (: The most refreshing thing about this delightful fantasy (besides being a standalone!) is that Jessamin isn’t a damsel in distress. She has the brains and courage to take care of herself in troublesome situations. Her fatal flaw is her stubbornness though. She doesn’t seek help even when she truly needs it. (Ouch, that sounds familiar…)

It was also fascinating to see how Kiersten handled racism/discrimination in Illusions of Fate. Jessamin is a person of colour and discriminated as such, but she also discriminates against those unlike herself. I believe Kiersten takes a delicate and very important subject and spins it into her world beautifully.

The world of Illusions of Fate is complex and thoroughly fleshed out. It would’ve been so easy to keep things drawn out and spin into a duology or even a trilogy, but Kiersten does a fantastic job of keeping the story concise while putting layer upon layer of complexity to her characters and the world.

The storyline is neatly wrapped up in the end, but I feel it leaves just enough of a void for a new story to take off if so desired. I absolutely love that Illusions of Fate is a standalone. No long commitments of waiting for a new book each year, but I also wouldn’t be opposed to a companion novel sometime.

Kiersten creates a beautiful and addicting world, and you’ll find yourself wanting to devour it in one sitting. I loved it so much I had to have a physical copy for my shelves!

About the Author
Hi! I’m the New York Times best-selling author of Paranormalcy and Supernaturally. I also give the most awkward hugs in the world. You should probably opt for one of my books over one of my hugs, but then again, maybe you like awkward hugs.

As for me, I like writing flirting scenes, and fighting scenes, and sometimes I write scenes that fall somewhere in between the two, but only if I can’t avoid it.

I don’t check my GR inbox, but feel free to get in touch via ways listed on my website!
http://www.emerylord.com/p/site-qs.html

 

Hello May, Goodbye April, 2015! May 1, 2015

Filed under: Books,Hello Goodbye Monthly Review — Maura @ 12:05 am
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I thought about including the months since my last Hello, Goodbye post, but then I thought about how many books I’ve read and shuddered lol. So! I decided to just start back with the current month. Crazy to think we’re almost halfway through 2015 already! Summer is quickly approaching and I’m super happy. My kiddos love to play outside and super cold days are no fun being cooped up in the house with them. I do love the snow, and so do they, but we much prefer to not be on top of each other all day long. A lot happened in April! My dad got remarried. My aunt and uncle are in from New Mexico! YAY! I’m trying to figure out if I can sneak back to New Mexico in one of their suitcases haha.

affiliate links used

Books I read in April (in order of completion)

This Shattered World: A Starbound Novel by Aime Kaufman & Megan Spooner
The Heir Apparent by Lauren DeStefano
This Night So Dark (The Starbound Trilogy) by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner
Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy Book 1) by Cassandra Clare
The Lost Herondale (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy Book 2) by Cassandra Clare
Frozen (Taken) by Erin Bowman
Forged (Taken) by Erin Bowman
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
The Artemis Fowl #2: Arctic Incident Graphic Novel 1st (first) Edition by Colfer, Eoin (2009)
Artemis Fowl The Eternity Code Graphic Novel by Eoin Colfer
Artemis Fowl The Opal Deception Graphic Novel by Eoin Colfer

 

Coming up in May:

Sarah J Maas signing in Nashville

My dad’s birthday!

Mother’s Day! (:

Memorial Day

 

Reviews posted

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

Most visited
Secret Sister March Unwrapped
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Have You Seen This?
Please Be Kind, Rewind 12-18 April 2015
Top Ten Tuesday #71 Characters I’d Like to Check In With
Waiting on Wednesday #41: The Heir by Kiera Cass

 

Goals for May

Stay ahead of schedule

Learn to successfully juggle two blogs

Spend time focused on the kiddos

 

May releases I’m excited for:
The Cage by Megan Shepherd
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
The Heir (The Selection Stories) by Kiera Cass
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

 

May TBR:
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
The Heir (The Selection Stories) by Kiera Cass
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
The Cage by Megan Shepherd

 

Challenge Update:

2015 PopSugar Reading Challenge books completed:

A book with more than 500 pages: Brazen by Katherine Longshore

A book published in 2015: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

A book with a number in the title: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

A book with non-human characters: This Shattered World: A Starbound Novel by Aime Kaufman & Megan Spooner

A book with a one – word title:Forged (Taken) by Erin Bowman

A book set in a different country: The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

A popular author’s first book: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

A book set somewhere you want to visit: (Scotland) A Cold Legacy (Madman’s Daughter) by Megan Shepherd

A trilogy: The Hunger Games Trilogy Box Set by Suzanne Collins

A book set in high school: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

A book with a colour in the title: The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

A graphic novel: Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel

A book based on/turned into TV:Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

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

 

End of the Year Survey 2014 January 3, 2015

Filed under: Books,End of Year Survey — Maura @ 12:00 am
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2014 End Of Year Book Survey

Last year was my first full year (partially) of blogging. I hit my one year of blogging in July. I didn’t post as much in the summer because I was enjoying as much time with my kiddos as possible. When I was ready to jump back in, the KH incident happened and honestly, it scared me a bit. So, I continued my step back from blogging. The safety of my family comes first and it always will. I’m ready to start blogging again though. I’ve missed it more than I thought I would. It was great to look back on my 2013 End of the Year Survey and then reflect on 2014. Once again, all the graphics are from Jamie.

***Affiliate links used below***

reading-stats-2014

Number Of Books You Read: 210 total, 122 personal reads
Number of Re-Reads: 20 (I really thought it was more!)
Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy (duh)

 best-YA-books-2014

1. Best Book You Read In 2014?

Contemporary:
Find Me


This book. Oh. Wow.

Dystopian:
Defiance (Defiance Trilogy)

I didn’t spend the time on this that it deserved, but it is a beautiful dystopian/fantasy that I can’t wait to re-read and finish the trilogy!

Historical Fiction:
The Ring and the Crown

I’m a glutton for historical fiction AND Melissa de la Cruz books. This book was superb. I absolutely adored the alternate historical timeline that Melissa created. I am DYING for book two. *crosses fingers and toes for an ARC*

Paranormal:
Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone)

Once again, I owe another great new book discovery to Mary. She’s been on my case to read these forever. I still have to finish book three, but these are such a great read!

Science Fiction:
Cress (The Lunar Chronicles)

Not my favourite of the series, but it was still great! I’m looking forward to Fairest: The Lunar Chronicles: Levana’s Story
and Winter this year.

Fantasy:
Illusions of Fate

I have a love-hate relationship with this one. Holy wow that Kiersten created this to be a standalone. Fantasy is not an easy thing to do that way. And GRRRR for this being a standalone! I would love to explore this world more! And look at that cover. BAM!

 

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

After the End


*RAGES FOR DAYS*

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014? 

17 First Kisses


If you know me at all, you know contemporary is NOT my thing. That’s why I was completely shocked by how much I adored this standalone debut!

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?

Oceanborn (The Aquarathi) (English Edition)


I LOVE Amalie and her books. I will push Waterfell (The Aquarathi) and Oceanborn forever! PLEASE HarlequinTeen, I NEED MORE!!!! I definitely pushed it the most, not sure how many people read what I suggest!

 5. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?

These Broken Stars (Starbound)


Though this is technically a standalone, it’s also part of a trilogy and it’s INCREDIBLE. Oh wow. This audiobook. *swoons*

Frozen (Taken)


This definitely does NOT suffer a sophomore slump. So man feels. So much love. Book three noooooooow.

Evertrue: An Everneath Novel


*iz dead* So incredible. So happy I got to meet Brodi and gush over this beautiful series.

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?

Dirty Little Secret


Again, still not a contemporary fan, but (thanks to Mary, duh) I am a HUGE Jennifer Echols fan now!

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Open Road Summer

I seem to owe, Mary a lot for book recommendations! She asked me if I would be interested in reading and reviewing this for Bloomsbury. I said yes! She’s usually good on recommending books I’ll love, so I try to give them a shot. Emery’s debut is spectacular!

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

The One (The Selection)

I don’t know what it was about this trilogy. I could NOT put it down! It was like crack!

 9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

The Jewel

 This debut was fantabulous and I can’t wait for book two!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?

Her Dark Curiosity (Madman’s Daughter)

 

I can’t wait til A Cold Legacy is out and I can have the pretties on my shelf! These covers are gorgeous!

11. Most memorable character of 2014?

Rose Under Fire

 Code Name Verity was rough, but oh, man, Rose Under Fire ripped my heart out and stomped all over it. Rose is just a powerful character!

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?

Kiss of Broken Glass

Being written in verse was a huge switch up for the year and I loved how this flowed. It spoke to me on a deep level and I finished it super quickly.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014?

The Impossible Knife of Memory

Army wife. PTSD. Who I am and what I fear most. Laurie Halse Anderson took a topic supremely close to my heart and showcased it beautifully. I bawled, I laughed, I loved it wholeheartedly. Read it.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read? 

Throne of Glass

I know, I know! Honestly, if I hadn’t had the chance to meet Sarah J Maas at YALLFest, I probably would still be waiting to read it! The wait between Harry Potter books was excruciating. Committing to another long series was just a tough decision. I definitely will love rereading them though!

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?

“You get your energy from being by yourself,” I guessed. This was Harper’s description of the strange phenomenon I did not understand. “Having to talk to a bunch of people at once, especially people you don’t know, makes you feel drained.” Biggest Flirts
Biggest Flirts (The Superlatives)

1. Um. Hello description of me! I swear, Jenn followed me in HS to create her characters in The Superlatives! I see so much of HS me in all of them! ❤

“We don’t choose who we love, her mother had once said. Love sweeps you off your feet like a riptide, and leaves you blind by the time you find your footing on the shore.” Stolen
Stolen: A Novella (Taken)

2. This is so me falling in love with the hubby! I wasn’t expecting it, and I was swept up quickly. So beautiful.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

Little Knife: A Tor.Com Original (THE GRISHA)

Shortest! Oh, this trilogy and its novellas.

What to Expect the First Year

Actual longest, but I didn’t read all of it (again) in 2014.

City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments)

Actual longest completed. Bittersweet feeling.

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

Frozen: Heart of Dread, Book One

I so did NOT think it was possible for MDLC to write something I disliked so much. Guess there always has to be something, right? I was just SO let down with this. UGH!

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

Night of Cake & Puppets (Kindle Single) (Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy)

Zuzana and Mik FOREVS! ❤

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Blue Bloods 3-Book Boxed Set

So, they’re from a re-read like last year’s favourite pair, but OH MAN do I love Oliver & Schuyler’s relationship!

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

The Orphan Queen

Hands down my favourite from a previously read author. HOLY WOW. I’m dying for the Black Knife novellas!

21. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy)

Mary, stop glaring at me through the computer for taking so long to read this! I am so in love with this series! I plan to read it over and over through the years!

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?

The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy)

Oh, Ronan. I loved you so much in The Winner’s Curse. Then reasons.

23. Best 2014 debut you read?

Rites of Passage

This. Book. Read it. Now. Do it. Love it. Tell Joy how much you love it. Kthnxbai

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Snow Like Ashes

Holy wow. This world building. I was THERE. Sara is INCREDIBLE. I can haz book two?

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

The Selection

Stupid grinned through this. The Selection = Twilight for me. I don’t know WHY I love them so much, but I just DO. #TeamMaxon

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?

The Book Thief

Bawled like a freaking baby through physical copy/audiobook and then bawled even harder watching the movie.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

The Falconer: Book 1

So much love for this gem! I’m impatiently waiting to see if the UK will be out in print before ARCs are out here for book 2 to see how I get my hands on it! I need to know THINGS.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

If I Stay

My feels. Dead. Dead, dead, dead. Sobbed so hard.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?

Dark Metropolis

Definitely some unexpected twists in this gem that made it so much better! Definitely an underdog that needs more love!

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Allegiant (Divergent Series)


REASONS. *RAGES FOR YEARS* This is a duology, man. Allegiant does not exist. >.< DEAD TO ME.

.

book-blogging

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014? 

I made friends with a lot of new bloggers on Twitter, but I dropped the ball on checking out their blogs. /: I plan to remedy that in 2015!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014? 

EESH! I can’t pick just one!

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

My Tot Time Thursday feature I started seemed to be getting a lot of hits! I’m excited to see if it will still do well when I start it up again! (:

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

See below! But also, the Brodi/Jodi signing at the beginning of 2014! I love their books so much and it was great to get to meet Brodi Ashton, CJ Redwine, and Myra McEntire in person. And of course, it’s always awesome to get to see Jodi!

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014?

YALLFEST. Hands down, going to YALLFest. Because THESE happened

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Me with Leigh Bardugo *fangirls for days*

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Brendan Reichs!

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SO FLIPPING AWESTRUCK. KATHY FREAKING REICHS.

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Scott Westerfeld!

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LOVED meeting this fantabulous husband-wife duo! ❤

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SUCH a trooper! Her line was ridiculous AND she was sick.

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So happy I got to meet half of the lovely TeaTime ladies! ❤ Aubry!

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*iz dead* So my book didn’t get personalised for timing reasons, BUT I still got to meet her and talk to her! She is SUCH a sweetheart! ❤

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

My Blogoversary post!

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

A lot of them, but I am so thankful for the views of people who have been checking in every day to see if I’ve come back to blogging yet. You guys are AWESOME and I AM BACK because of YOU! ❤

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Bookoutlet and Book Depository!

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I did, I did! I wanted to read 100 for me books and I surpassed it! I also set a Goodreads goal of 200 and I passed it as well. I was involved with a few challenges, but I stopped keeping track of them about halfway through the year. I think I completed most of them though!

 

looking-ahead-books-2015

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015?

Captive (The Blackcoat Rebellion)

I am so excited to see where the action goes next!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?

The Cage

I have adored Megan’s Madman’s Daughter trilogy and I can’t wait to see where her new series goes!

3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Red Queen

This cover. I am so excited! I’ve been seeing some mixed things on it, so I hope I come out loving it!

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2015?

A Cold Legacy (Madman’s Daughter)

I’m so not ready to say goodbye yet!

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2015?

I hope to make sure I read to my children every single day. Doesn’t matter if it’s just a passage from what I’m reading and Punk asks or a children’s book. Just make time for them and read to them.

6. A 2015 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

Burning Kingdoms (The Internment Chronicles)

Pre-order this and read it and Perfect Ruin (The Internment Chronicles)
. Do it. Do it for the kitties. (;

 

Flashback Friday #5: City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare September 12, 2014

Flashback Friday is a feature I started here on The Whimsical Mama featuring books I read before I started blogging. Most reviews will come after rereading the book again. This is a biweekly feature. This week’s selection is:

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

Rating: 5 stars
Pub date: 8 May 2012
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry Books, Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Format: hardcover, personal copy ,audiobook, via library
Status: Book five of The Mortal Instruments series

Summary:
The New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments continues—and so do the thrills and danger for Jace, Clary, and Simon.

What price is too high to pay, even for love? When Jace and Clary meet again, Clary is horrified to discover that the demon Lilith’s magic has bound her beloved Jace together with her evil brother Sebastian, and that Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is out to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. As Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle wheedle and bargain with Seelies, demons, and the merciless Iron Sisters to try to save Jace, Clary plays a dangerous game of her own. The price of losing is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost?

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.

My thoughts:

The reread binge has come to an end for The Mortal Instruments. I ended up forcing myself to take my time with City of Lost Souls because I ended up reading through the series faster than I anticipated. I would’ve started with The Infernal Devices if I had known I’d be able to breeze through soquickly. I still have to say I don’t like Sebastian as an adversary. I still prefer Valentine. Sebastian feels too evil to be believable. The action surrounding him in City of Lost Souls is better than in City of Fallen Angels. The first read, I had a sense of maybe things could’ve changed just like Clary. My second read, I could see that he’s too evil to be redeemed. This time around, I feel like the quest to save Jace is too drawn out. Some of the adventures of Jace, Clary, and Sebastian are too much of page fillers. Also the change in Jace is so drastic, he becomes unlikable for me. A brave move by Clare, but one I wish hadn’t happened. I also feel that Isabelle is abit out of character. I think it works nicely though because she’s never felt the way she does about Simon. That first rush of love is always unsettling even for someone as sure and confident as Izzy. I love that Jordan and Maia are working through their issues. They are easily my favourite couple in this book. I wish we’d gotten to see more of Luke and Jocelyn’s romance. Not delving into it makes me fear for their safety in City of Heavenly Fire. Why put so much work into something you’re going to destroy? The relationship between Clary and Sebastian truly makes my skin crawl. He is definitely one character I absolutely despise. Not just dislike, but outright hatred. I still feel the first trilogy half is the stronger of the two trilogies in this series. City of Lost Souls is stronger than City of Fallen Angels, but I still feel like it’s filler to set up for the epic showdown in City of Heavenly Fire. I have a feeling Jace has a larger role with the heavenly fire part. There is definitely action and unexpected twists which were incredible the first read, but not as thrilling the second time around. I can understand the beating a dead horse feel with more and more books being cranked out in this universe. I’ve already ordered City of Heavenly Fire. I think I will  borrow the next series before deciding to buy it. Hopefully, it will be more on the level of The Infernal Devices and first half of The Mortal Instruments. The more I think about it, the more I feel the second trilogy hasn’t been as well executed.

About the author:

“Cassandra Clare was born overseas and spent her early years traveling around the world with her family and several trunks of fantasy books. Cassandra worked for several years as an entertainment journalist for the Hollywood Reporter before turning her attention to fiction. She is the author of City of Bones, the first book in the Mortal Instruments trilogy and a New York Times bestseller. Cassandra lives with her fiance and their two cats in Massachusetts.”

You can find me online at

http://www.cassandraclare.com

I have a blog:

http://cassandraclare.livejournal.com/

and a Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/Cassandraclare

and a Twitter:

http://www.twitter.com/cassieclare

 

*ARC Review* Perfect Lies by Kiersten White July 14, 2014

***I was given an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to HarperTeen!***   

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

Rating: 3 1/2 stars
Pub date: 18 February 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Paranormal
Format: ARC provided by the publisher
Status: Book two of the Mind Games duology

Summary:
Annie and Fia are ready to fight back.

The sisters have been manipulated and controlled by the Keane Foundation for years, trapped in a never ending battle for survival. Now they have found allies who can help them truly escape. After faking her own death, Annie has joined a group that is plotting to destroy the Foundation. And Fia is working with James Keane to bring his father down from the inside.

But Annie’s visions of the future can’t show her who to trust in the present. And though James is Fia’s first love, Fia knows he’s hiding something. The sisters can rely only on each other – but that may not be enough to save them.

 

My thoughts:
I received an ARC of Perfect Lies with an ARC of Taken from HarperCollins. I was excited because it sounded like a great read, plus it was a short book. 

Right off, I liked Perfect Lies more than Mind Games. Not sure why, it just felt a little more put together even though it also felt more chaotic. I will say I don’t feel like things were wrapped up at the end.

Annie really blossomed in Perfect Lies and I loved it. I loved watching her realise she didn’t have to rely on Fia to function. I enjoyed her interaction with Cole. Their development in Perfect Lies was the best of the characters.

Fia really frustrated me. Her stream of consciousness was a whole bunch of crazy. It felt like the closer we got to THE event, the more unhinged she became. Her interactions with James were just off. With perfect instincts, I think she failed on that one. Ugh. I did love her interactions with Pixie, but much like Pixie, I found Fia to be very overwhelming. 

The action and pace felt much more intense than Mind Games and one detail really kept you wondering until about 3/4 through the book. I was relieved how that played out, which really kinda surprised me.

The world building  continued to be nonexistent and it actually did bother me a bit this time around because the actions that were taken made no sense to me because we never saw what the world was like.

 The snark was just as good, if not better though. I love me some snark! It just wasn’t enough to boost over the things that were lacking.

 I did enjoy reading this duology, and Kiersten’s style has intrigued me enough  to check out some of her other works. I still recommend this duology because it’s a quick read and provides enough enjoyment to be worth the time. I’m undecided if I’ll reread this in the future. Maybe if I need quick reads to fill the time.

About the author:

Hi! I’m the New York Times best-selling author of Paranormalcy and Supernaturally. I also give the most awkward hugs in the world. You should probably opt for one of my books over one of my hugs, but then again, maybe you like awkward hugs.

As for me, I like writing flirting scenes, and fighting scenes, and sometimes I write scenes that fall somewhere in between the two, but only if I can’t avoid it.

 

*Review* Mind Games by Kiersten White July 13, 2014

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

Rating: 3 1/4 stars
Pub date: 19 February 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins, HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Paranormal
Format: hardcover, personal copy, signed
Status: Book one of the Mind Games duology

Summary:
Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future.

Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose over and over between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways…or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey.

In a stunning departure from her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy, Kiersten White delivers a slick, edgy, heartstoppingly intense psychological thriller about two sisters determined to protect each other—no matter the cost.

 

My thoughts:

I was nervous going into Mind Games. I ordered it to go along with my ARC of Perfect Lies that came as a surprise from Harper. I’d been excited about Mind Games and Perfect Lies and took a leap of faith when I asked Mary to get them personalised during the Dark Days tour. I was supposed to go, but things fell through and I wasn’t able to go.

I didn’t enjoy Mind Games as much as I’d hoped, but enough to be happy I got it personalised.

It was nice to have a relatively short read. It took me longer than expected to read because life interfered and it almost forced me to put it down because a super stressful week did not jive with such a dark book. Thankfully, I woke up in a better mindset the night after I had decided to put Mind Games down and I knocked it out during the kids’ naptime.

I enjoyed Annie’s POV much more than Fia’s. Both as a stream of consciousness felt rather chaotic, especially with jumping between past and present as well as between sisters. Close attention HAD to be paid to chapter endings/beginnings. I got confused a few times when I got careless with reading.

Orphaned and taken in to an elite school, the girls are already a bit unstable. Annie is blind, plus sees visions. Fia has been in charge of watching out for her older sister since the accident that stole Annie’s sight. The school continues to destroy Fia. To make matters worse, James enters the scene.

From the beginning, things go from bad to worse for the girls. Fia is forced to commit murder and Annie is held hostage to ensure Fia cooperates.

For being under 240 pages, a lot of action goes down and the ending does leave you curious for more. The writing style is not one I cared for. The stream of consciousness of a lot of mental ramblings was overwhelming at times. Too much crazy from Fia. WAY TOO MUCH CRAZY.

While a lot happens in a short amount of time, there is minimal world building. We don’t know anything about the outside world or even really anything about the school where they live. Not too thrilled with that, but this is so character driven that I’ll let it slide. If this was more than a duology, it would be a major issue.

As such a short book, I can recommend it. It’s a fast read (don’t take my logged time as a testament to that since I went days without reading). I’m interested enough to continue on to book two. If it was more than a duology, I don’t know if I would commit, but two short books, I can get behind this story.

About the author:

Hi! I’m the New York Times best-selling author of Paranormalcy and Supernaturally. I also give the most awkward hugs in the world. You should probably opt for one of my books over one of my hugs, but then again, maybe you like awkward hugs.

As for me, I like writing flirting scenes, and fighting scenes, and sometimes I write scenes that fall somewhere in between the two, but only if I can’t avoid it

 

Flashback Friday #2: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare July 4, 2014

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!!! Hope you have a wonderful 4th of July!!

Flashback Friday is a feature I started here on The Whimsical Mama featuring books I read before I started blogging. Most reviews will come after rereading the book again. This is a biweekly feature. This week’s selection is:

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

Rating: 5 stars
Pub date: 25 March 2008
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry Books, Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Format: paperback, personal copy ,audiobook, via library
Status: Book two of The Mortal Instruments series

Summary:
Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City’s Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation

 

My thoughts:

Picking up close to where City of Bones left off, City of Ashes quickly kicks up the action and snark. City of Bones introduced us to the Shadow World and City of Ashes drives us deeper and deeper into the drama. City of Bones also mainly focused on Clary and we get the chance to see other characters have a chance to shine. We also are introduced to a wide variety of characters – Downworlders and Shadowhunters.

While the main focus is thwarting Valentine’s next move, there is a large focus on the realisation that Jace and Clary are siblings – or are they? Clary tries a relationship with Simon. Jace refuses to visit Jocelyn. They’re still attracted to each other. Emotional drama to the extreme and vague hints dropped that you have to be on the look out for or you’ll miss them!

Clary struggles with learning Valentine is her father. She clings to Luck, adamantly proclaiming that he’s always been a father to her. Not that I blame her. Luke did help raise her. He’s always been there for her. Valentine is still – well – a creepy psycho. Luke is also there for her to help her navigate the Shadow World.

Jace is forced to come to terms of the fallout from discovering Valentine, not Michael Wayland is his father. Maryse Lightwood turns against him. The Inquisitor has it out for him. Clary’s his sister. Alec’s hiding something. Simon gets turned into a vampire. All in all, it’s the pits for Jace. He keeps his snarkiness top notch though. Never fear for the snark!

Now in possession of two of the Mortal Instruments, Valentine sinks to a new low raising even more demons and slaughters children. His ego and power know no bounds. An epic battle breaks out between the Shadowhunters of New York and Valentine’s demons. Losses are heavy on both sides, but some good does come out of it.

Valentine disappears, but no one truly believes he’s dead. (The obvious mystery is well done!) The quest to prevent him from getting the third Instrument begins!

The last bomb is dropped as Clary learns there is only one person who knows how to save her mother. Just another piece in the growing puzzle.

Again, I highly recommend City of Ashes and the whole Mortal Instruments series. Onto City of Glass!

About the author:

“Cassandra Clare was born overseas and spent her early years traveling around the world with her family and several trunks of fantasy books. Cassandra worked for several years as an entertainment journalist for the Hollywood Reporter before turning her attention to fiction. She is the author of City of Bones, the first book in the Mortal Instruments trilogy and a New York Times bestseller. Cassandra lives with her fiance and their two cats in Massachusetts.”

You can find me online at

www.cassandraclare.com

I have a blog:

http://cassandraclare.livejournal.com/

and a Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/Cassandraclare

and a Twitter:

www.twitter.com/cassieclare

 

*Blog Tour, Review, & Giveaway* Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore June 13, 2014

DarkMetropolisBlogTour

 

***I was granted permission to read this by the publisher in exchange for an honest review as a part of the blog tour hosted by Itching For Books. Many thanks to Disney-Hyperion!***   

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

Dark Metropolis - Cover Image - High Res

Rating:5 stars
Pub date:17 June 2014
Publisher:Disney Hyperion
Genre:Young Adult Fiction, Horror, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Romance
Format: eARC/ARC provided by the publisher
Status:Book one of the Dark Metropolis duology

Summary:
Cabaret meets Cassandra Clare-a haunting magical thriller set in a riveting 1930s-esque world.

Sixteen-year-old Thea Holder’s mother is cursed with a spell that’s driving her mad, and whenever they touch, Thea is chilled by the magic, too. With no one else to contribute, Thea must make a living for both of them in a sinister city, where danger lurks and greed rules.
Thea spends her nights waitressing at the decadent Telephone Club attending to the glitzy clientele. But when her best friend, Nan, vanishes, Thea is compelled to find her. She meets Freddy, a young, magnetic patron at the club, and he agrees to help her uncover the city’s secrets-even while he hides secrets of his own.

Together, they find a whole new side of the city. Unrest is brewing behind closed doors as whispers of a gruesome magic spread. And if they’re not careful, the heartless masterminds behind the growing disappearances will be after them, too.

Perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, this is a chilling thriller with a touch of magic where the dead don’t always seem to stay that way.

My thoughts:

I am so happy to be a part of the blog tour for Dark Metropolis today! The first time I saw the cover, I knew I had to get my hands on it. Plus it was recommended for fans of Cassie Clare. Throw in some historical fiction action and I WAS SOLD.(Seriously, book hang over from City of Heavenly Fire? Give Dark Metropolis a look!)

I greatly enjoyed Dark Metropolis from the get go. It was clear that it was post WWI, but I wasn’t certain which country it was until I stumbled across some random facts Jaclyn posted on Goodreads. I was figuring US or UK, I wasn’t expecting Germany. (Yes, I realised my goof after remembering the references to the Chancellor. I know, I KNOW. )

I really enjoyed the world building Jaclyn did. I loved getting a view inside the club world and seeing the distinct class differences. It was great to see how the characters navigated the perilous world of mixing classes. In my life, that’s not something that happens everyday and isn’t frowned upon when it does. I guess the closest I come is mixing ranks at hubby’s military parties. It’s always a little intimidating when I speak with the higher ranks’ spouses. For the characters, everyone is pushed out of their comfort zone at one point or another.

I loved the reanimation. I’m not big into zombies. My mom tries all the time to get me into The Walking Dead, but it just hasn’t happened. These aren’t your typical zombies and I think that’s what I love about it so much. They have flashes of memories from before their deaths and are completely capable of communicating and functioning as long as they continue to take a mysterious serum. If doses are missed… well… let’s just say things get bad. As a Disney title, there was a completely unexpected twist between characters. I was not expecting the beginnings of a lesbian relationship. I do, however, believe that it fits perfectly and wasn’t something that was forced. I can’t wait to see how things continue. Yes, I’m purposefully leaving out names because I don’t want to give the game away! I feel that’s a major spoiler and I want (hope) your feelings develop for this relationship the way mine did.I have mixed feelings about ANOTHER relationship though. I think I’m for it. There are just so many things up in the air! EEP!

There were a lot of unanswered questions that you have quickly. Where’s Thea’s dad, if he’s alive like her mother maintains Why is magic being suppressed, but the government is trying to harness it? Why are people disappearing? How does reanimation work? That’s only from the immediate beginning. Thankfully, Jaclyn does a FANTASTIC job of giving you answers to numerous questions without having a single info dump. She does leave enough answered questions to leave you wanting more and for me, it’s going to be an impatient wait for book 2! The ending was SO emotional. I cried. Not ugly crying, but I cried. As usual hubby gave me the I’m judging you for crying over a book look. HEART WRENCHING. *sobs*

Dark Metropolis is a great alternate history read and I recommend it highly. It may not be for everyone, but not every book is. Dark Metropolis is full of great characters, mystery, and fantastic world building. Jaclyn weaves it in such a way it’s hard not to spoil things! Which is why I didn’t delve too much into characters. That was incredibly hard not to delve into the wonderful characters she creates. They are so wonderful!

 

*Excerpt*

“All right,” he said. “It’s just this: ever since the war, when people die from suicide, and sometimes murders and executions, the government has been reviving them. The city has been in need of manpower since the war, and suicide is no good way to die, so it benefits everyone.”

“Reviving them? After death?”

“Yes. So they can have a second chance. And do some good work for the city. That’s where I saw Nan. At the-the rehabilitation centre. Gerik has a hand in it, but I can’t breathe a word to anyone.” 

 

About the author

Jaclyn Dolamore

Jaclyn Dolamore was homeschooled in a hippie sort of way and spent her childhood reading as many books as her skinny nerd-body could lug from the library and playing elaborate pretend games with her sister Kate. She skipped college and spent eight years drudging through retail jobs, developing her thrifty cooking skills and pursuing a lifelong writing dream. She has a passion for history, thrift stores, vintage dresses, David Bowie, drawing, and organic food. She lives with her partner and plot-sounding-board, Dade, and two black tabbies who have ruined her carpeting.

 www.jaclyndolamore.com | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

GIVEAWAY:

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Flashback Friday #1: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare June 6, 2014

Flashback Friday is a feature I started here on The Whimsical Mama featuring books I read before I started blogging. Most reviews will come after rereading the book again. This is a biweekly feature. This week’s selection is:

 

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

Rating: 5 stars
Pub date: 27 March 2007
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry Books, Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Format: paperback, personal copy,audiobook, via library
Status: Book one of The Mortal Instruments series

Summary:
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.

 

My thoughts:

I think it’s fitting that my first review for Flashback Friday is starting with a binge reread of The Mortal Instruments in preparation for City of Heavenly Fire coming out. I picked up an ebook of City of Bones on sale from Amazon. Mary had recommended it to me in passing, so I decided to get it. Then I saw the announcement that Jamie Campbell Bower had been cast in the upcoming movie. I liked him in Sweeney Todd, Twilight, and Harry Potter, so I decided to read this series. I asked Mary about it again and she said to read it. I devoured the whole series and then The Infernal Devices. The Infernal Devices was read while snuggling my very clingy newborn. She’s Team Jem like her mommy. (;

Anyway. Focus.

Once again, I was immediately sucked back into Cassie’s incredible Shadow World. I’ve been to New York City once, but between The Mortal Instruments and Melissa de la Cruz’s Blue Bloods, I feel that I know it much more than I learned in that single visit. I love that both star in a club scene. I’m much like Simon in not caring for clubs. I’ve only been a handful of times.

I think that Clary is a very strong and magnetic leading lady. She is thrown into a horrific situation and is able to relatively together. I’m sure it’s part of her Shadowhunter legacy over her strengths as a 15/16 year old.

I absolutely love Simon. I think he’s the true scene stealer of City of Bones. As a whole, I consistently love him. Yes, he irks me occasionally, but not as much as others. He’s the best best friend Clary could ever want and most definitely needs. He has a lot thrown at him, but he remains calm and stays by Clary’s side. A true friend for sure, sticking with her through thick and thin.

Jace is a strong personality to swallow. He’s so full of himself that during a first read, it’s easy to dislike him and wonder what the crap Clary is thinking. Multiple reads and it’s still irritating, but you’re more sympathetic to his issues.

Isabelle and Alec are introduced and set up to become excellent secondary characters. Isabelle is so sassy and I love it. Alec is well, Alec. Like Jace, he’s on the rough side to handle in the first read and then he becomes so endearing.

On my list of villains, Valentine is definitely one of the better ones. Much like Voldemort in Harry Potter, he’s a shadowy and feared name an dno one knows if he’s alive or dead. I think not knowing is worse than Valentine himself in City of Bones. I find him a much more intimidating figure in City of Bones the book than the movie. As much as I love Johnathon Rhys-Meyers, I thought he was horribly miscast for Valentine.

For a debut novel, I think City of Bones is a well put together story. The world building and characters are incredible. It’s full of actions and twists and turns. Every time I’ve read it, I’ve breezed through it. I highly recommend it and the series. I think it’s worth the hype. Will all of the future spin off series set in the Shadowhunter universe be as great? I can’t say. I do think this is a good paranormal series that can be enjoyed by young adult readers of all ages.

About the author:

“Cassandra Clare was born overseas and spent her early years traveling around the world with her family and several trunks of fantasy books. Cassandra worked for several years as an entertainment journalist for the Hollywood Reporter before turning her attention to fiction. She is the author of City of Bones, the first book in the Mortal Instruments trilogy and a New York Times bestseller. Cassandra lives with her fiance and their two cats in Massachusetts.”

You can find me online at

www.cassandraclare.com

I have a blog:

http://cassandraclare.livejournal.com/

and a Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/Cassandraclare

and a Twitter:

www.twitter.com/cassieclare

 

 
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