The Whimsical Mama

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Non-Contemporary Young Adult Beach Reads June 20, 2016

Filed under: Books — Maura @ 12:01 am
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When I read Jamie’s post about non-contemporary young adult beach reads, I knew it was the perfect post for me to share my own recommendations. I’m not the biggest fan of contemporary reads. I do recommend Emery Lord and Jennifer Echols though if you are looking for good contemporary authors.

These are all quick reads. They aren’t heavily detailed in world building (no Tolkien style writing here!) but the character development is great.

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  1. The Wrath and the Dawn is a delicious quick historical fantasy. This is a retelling of Arabian Nights and Renee Ahdieh is a brilliant story teller. Just make sure you take the sequel, The Rose and the Dagger, with you!

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2. The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a little heavier on the world building, but this trilogy is still a fantastic read. It’s always great to read about a badass girl who can take care of herself! Plus there’s a super steamy romance that’s perfect for beach reading. Don’t forget to take along The Winner’s Crime and The Winner’s Kiss.

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3. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. In my opinion, The Infernal Devices is the superior series in Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter realm. On audio or physical reading, this trilogy is a fantastic quick binge.

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4. Legend by Marie Lu. This was actually a beach read for me a few summers ago. I devoured Legend and Prodigy at the beach and it left me panting for Champion. This dystopian is a brilliant page turner.

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5. A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano is a middle grade novel, but that doesn’t take anything away from its brilliance. I devoured this read in one sitting, even though it wasn’t at the beach, but at home. I do think this would be a quick beach read though!

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6. The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter. I’m always a glutton for a good read involving Greek mythology. This series by Aimee Carter is a super quick binge that’s light, dark, and romantic all in one!

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7. Die for Me by Amy Plum. A swoony Frenchman? Yes, please! I adore Paris, so even visiting through reading is great. Throw in relaxing by the ocean and it’s PERFECTION.

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8. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. While I still need to read the last book, this is a fantastic fantasy. Plus it’ll make you want to ditch the beach and head to Prague!

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9. Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz. Yep. Melissa de la Cruz’s drama filled series with fallen angels as vampires series makes the list. The fantasy aspect is light and almost contemporary in presentation, it makes it a great, light beachy read.

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10. Waterfell by Amalie Howard. Alien mermaids? Colour me intrigued! What makes this such a great read for the beach is that it takes place at the beach! This is a light world building fantasy as it mostly takes place in San Diego. The realm of Waterfell is a super interesting idea though. Make sure you have Oceanborn to read too!

What are some of your favourite non-contemporary beach reads? Keep an eye out the next few weeks for more beach reading recommendations!

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

The Fiery Trial by Cassandra Clare

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

The Prophecy by Erin Rhew

The Outlanders by Erin Rhew

The Fulfillment by Erin Rhew

Born to Endless Night by Cassandra Clare

Angels Twice Descending by Cassandra Clare

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Cress by Marissa Meyer

Winter by Marissa Meyer

Fairest by Marissa Meyer

This Night So Dark by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner

These Broken Stars by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner

This Shattered World by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner

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

So You Want to Be a Jedi? by Adam Gidwitz

The Favourite by Kiera Cass

Beware the Power of the Dark Side by Tom Angleberger

Their Fractured Light by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner

My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins et al

The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Dream of the Rood by Cynewulf

Beowulf by Unknown

 

Coming Up in March

SEYA Festival in Murfreesboro!

Spring Break (mine)

Spring Break (Punk)

Bug’s birthday

 

Goals for March

Juggle student life, mama life, and blogging life!

Write some reviews and posts

Try to get ahead and stay ahead on blogging

 

March Releases I’m Excited For

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

The Black Knife by Jodi Meadows

The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

 

March TBR

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Mirror King by Jodi Meadows

The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

Books for class

 

2016 Reading Challenge (completed in bold)

A book based on a fairy tale

A National Book Award Winner

A YA Bestseller

A book you haven’t read since high school

A book set in your home state

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

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

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

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

A New York Times Bestseller

A book that’s becoming a movie this year

A book recommended by someone you just met

A self-improvement book

A book you can finish in a day

A book written by a celebrity

A political memoir

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

A book that’s more than 600 pages

A book from Oprah’s Book Club

A science-fiction novel

A book recommended by a family member

A graphic novel

A book that is published in 2016

A book with a protagonist who has your occupation

A book that takes place during summer

A book and its prequel

A murder mystery

A book written by a comedian

A dystopian novel

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

A book of poetry

The first book you see in a bookstore

A classic from the 20th century

A book from the library

An autobiography

A book about a road trip

A book about a culture you’re unfamiliar with

A satirical book

A book that takes place on an island

A book that’s guaranteed to bring you joy

 

 

 

 

Goodbye May – September, Hello October! October 1, 2015

Filed under: Books,Hello Goodbye Monthly Review — Maura @ 12:05 am
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I really can’t believe how quickly this year is flying by! It’s really kinda ridiculous. Totally meant to update May in June. That didn’t happen. Summer was HECTIC. Hoping autumn will be a bit more forgiving and laid back haha. I had a great summer and got a good amount of reading done. For a quick summer recap: In May, I did a down and back trip to Nashville with my friend Lauren to see Sarah J Maas on her ACOTAR tour. AMAZING. Talked publishing and books for hours with the incredible Lizzy Mason. One of hubby’s cousins got married and it was super awesome to get to see part of his family! In June, our English Mastiff, Maggie, was diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy. Her back left leg is limp and drags. She has good days and bad days. There’s no treatment or cure. She’s learned to compensate for the weakness. We’re enjoying her every minute that we can. We know that sooner, rather than later, that we’re going to have to put her down. She’s super excited to be an indoor dog again though! June also brought hubby’s Annual Training with the National Guard. Maggie got sick THE DAY BEFORE he had to leave. It’s always something, I’m telling ya! July brought two beach trips. The kiddos and I went to Northern VA to visit hubby’s side of the family for the Fourth of July at the family cottage on the Potomac. SO MUCH FUN! Bug kept trying to figure out a way to get the newest baby in the family home. HER BABY. Haha. I celebrated my second book blogging anniversary, without actually doing anything. Oops! We also went to the beach with my mom and step-dad. The kiddos love the beach. I am super proud that I made the 6 1/2 hour and 8 hour beach drives solo with the kiddos. We also said goodbye to my 94 year old great-grandmother in July. It was hard. August brought Hubby’s 30th birthday! We also went to the fair with my (ex)step-dad. The kids had such a blast. Bug wanted to ride the BIG rides so bad and was quite upset she was too young. She loved the carousel and the pony rides though. Punk loved the animal exhibits. Punk also started pre-k this year. It hit me hard that I now have a school age kid! He’s loving it and I love that he’s loving it. I’m really enjoying the chance to have some one on one time with Bug. There are some days that she cries and doesn’t want to take Bubby to school. There are others that she cries because she doesn’t want to go pick him up! She’s sitting in my lap now as I work on this post haha. September was a bit more relaxed. Hubby’s unit had family day and we also went to an MTSU home game. That was a looooong day! Five hour drive down and back after a full day of fun! Now it’s on to October! I love October. Autumn is in full swing. My birthday is this month and so is HALLOWE’EN! How was your summer?

affiliate links used

Books I read in May-September (in order of completion)
The Whitechapel Fiend by Cassandra Clare
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
White Hot Kiss by Jennifer Armentrout
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
The Goddess Hunt (Goddess Test) by Aimee Carter
Goddess Interrupted (Goddess Test Book 2) by Aimee Carter
The Goddess Inheritance (A Goddess Test Novel) by Aimee Carter
The Goddess Legacy (The Goddess Queen / The Lovestruck Goddess / Goddess of the Underworld / God of Thieves / God of Darkness (Goddess Test) by Aimee Carter
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
The Heir (The Selection) by Kiera Cass
A Darker Shade of Magic: A Novel by VE Schwab
Nothing but Shadows (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy Book 4) by Cassandra Clare
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano
The Hidden Prince (Orphan Queen Novella 1) by Jodi Meadows
The Queen: A Novella by Kiera Cass
The Evil We Love (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy Book 5) by Cassandra Clare
The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
Vicious by VE Schwab
Most Likely to Succeed (The Superlatives) by Jennifer Echols
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog
The Isle of the Lost: A Descendants Novel by Melissa de la Cruz
Pale Kings and Princes (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy Book 6) by Cassandra Clare
The Assassin and the Pirate Lord: A Throne of Glass Novella by Sarah J Maas
Pete the Cat’s Groovy Guide to Life by James Dean
The Assassin’s Blade: The Throne of Glass Novellas by Sarah J Maas
Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass series Book 1) by Sarah J Maas
Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass series Book 2) by Sarah J Maas
Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass series Book 3) by Sarah J Maas
Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass series) by Sarah J Maas
Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes Series) by Sara Raasch
Bitter of Tongue (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy Book 7) by Cassandra Clare
Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo
Siege and Storm (The Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo
Ruin and Rising (The Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo
The Demon in the Wood: A Darkling Prequel Story (The Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo
The Glowing Knight (Orphan Queen Book 2) by Jodi Meadows

Coming up in October:

My birthday!

Punk’s class’s field trip to the corn maze

Hallowe’en!

Punk’s school’s fall festival

Goals for October

Stay ahead of schedule

Learn to successfully juggle two blogs

Spend time focused on the kiddos

Catch up on review writing

BALANCE

October releases I’m excited for:
Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes Series) by Sara Raasch
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: The Illustrated Edition (Harry Potter, Book 1) by JK Rowling
The White Rose (Jewel) by Amy Ewing
The Rose Society (A Young Elites Novel) by Marie Lu

October TBR:
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes Series) by Sara Raasch
The White Rose (Jewel) by Amy Ewing
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: The Illustrated Edition (Harry Potter, Book 1) by JK Rowling
Fairest: The Lunar Chronicles: Levana’s Story by Marissa Meyer
The Fulfillment (The Fulfillment Series) by Erin Rhew

Challenge Update:

2015 PopSugar Reading Challenge books completed:
A book with 500+ pages: Brazen by Katherine Longshore
A book turned into a movie: Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, Book 1)
A book published in 2015: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
A book with a number in the title: The 5th Wave: The First Book of the 5th Wave Series
An author under thirty: Vicious by VE Schwab
A book with non-human characters: This Shattered World: A Starbound Novel
A funny book: Most Likely to Succeed (The Superlatives) by Jennifer Echols
A book by a female author: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
A book with a one word title: Forged (Taken) by Erin Bowman
A book of short stories: The Assassin’s Blade: The Throne of Glass Novellas
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 a friend recommended: The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
A Pulitzer Prize book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
A book based on a true story: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
A book that scares you: The Fault in Our Stars
A memoir: Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog
A book read in one day: A Curious Tale of the In-Between
A book set somewhere you want to visit: A Cold Legacy (Madman’s Daughter) by Megan Shepherd
A book with bad reviews: (either love or hate this one!) The Heir (The Selection) by Kiera Cass
A trilogy: The Hunger Games Trilogy
A book from your childhood: Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
A book with a love triangle: White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements)
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: A Novel
A book that made you cry: The Assassin and the Empire: A Throne of Glass Novella (Throne of Glass series Book 1)
A book with magic: A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab
A graphic novel: Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel
A book by an author you’ve never read: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
A book set in your (college’s) hometown: Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
A banned book: The Giver by Lois Lowry
A book turned into a TV show: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

How was your summer? What’s up for October?

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 17 – 30 May 2015 May 30, 2015

Filed under: Books — Maura @ 11:45 pm
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More good reading weeks! We also got to spend some time with hubby’s family Memorial Day weekend. One of his cousins got married and we traveled to Knoxville to celebrate. It was an absolute blast and we wish them many years of happiness! ❤ I’m buckling down and getting caught up on blog work. I would like to get far enough ahead that I only have to sit down maybe once a week or so to work on the blog. I’m going to take it slow again this summer, but I’m also sticking to my schedule. Hoping if I can get enough work done in the next two weeks, I’ll be ready! Hubby’s military schedule is all shades of crazy this summer, so it’ll mostly be me and the kiddos on our own. Sucks, but it is what it is.

 affiliate links used below

Completed:

The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter

The Heir by Kiera Cass

A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab

Nothing but Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Currently Reading:

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick

New to My Shelf:
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
Twerp by Mark Goldblatt
Finding the Worm by Mark Goldblatt(Both Goldblatt books were sent by Cassie McGinty for a review! I haven’t decided if the reviews will go up here or on Voyages of the Backyard Explorers yet! Maybe BOTH! haha)

From Mary: (She’s the bestest best friend ever)

A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefanoARC (My TBR may just fly out the window for this one! <3)
Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth WeinARC
The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski(She surprised me with a finished copy! Also got my ARC signed <3)
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell(Take THAT USPS! I STILL HAVE IT!)

Trades: (Thanks, SO MUCH!)

Brazen by Katherine Longshore
Mortal Heart by Robin LaFeversARC
Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne BlankmanARC
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine KuderickARC
The Fall by Bethany GriffinARC
Doll Bones by Holly BlackARC
The Luxe by Anna Godbersen
All Fall Down by Ally CarterARC
The Demigod Diaries by Rick Riordan
A Cold Legacy by Megan ShepherdARC (My collection is complete now!)
Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
These Broken Stars by Aime Kaufman & Megan SpoonerARC
Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Clariel by Garth NixARC

 

*Review & Mini Review* Taken & Stolen by Erin Boman September 21, 2014

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

***I received a finished paperback from HarperTeen & Alison Linsow, I decided to review on my own. Being provided with a copy in no way swayed my opinion.***

Rating: 5 stars
Pub date: 16 April 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, SciFi, Futuristic, Mystery (MALE NARRATOR)
Format: paperback provided by HarperTeen & Alison Linsow
Status: book one of the Taken trilogy

Summary:

There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends…and he’s gone.

They call it the Heist.

Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive.

Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?

 

 

My thoughts:

I’m pretty sure that I have Jodi Meadows to thank for Taken getting on my to read radar. She’s recommended some great ones to me. How it didn’t get read until now is a mystery. SO. GOOD. The cover is gorgeous. I would love to have prints in my office. When i was surprised by a paperback of Taken and a finished hardcover of Frozen after receiving an ARC, I knew it was time to read. I finally found time to fit it in.

I was instantly intrigued because the narrator is male. Definitely nice to read in a different perspecive than normal. I was also excited because I was jumping into another dystopian setting. I love dystopians! I know, I know. You’re thinking, ugh, just another dystopian. No. NOT just another dystopian.

Though it’s only in for a short while, I loved the relationship between Gray and Blaine. Orphaned young, they’ve only had each other and have an easy relationship. I developed a theory quickly about the Heist and I was right. Some people may be turned off from the seeming predictability, but I think Erin wrote it that way intentionally. Even though it’s in Gray’s perspective, I felt it was set up for the reader to figure things out a step ahead of Gray so it was easier to see how his choices were made by his personality.

I also liked watching the relationship develop between Emma and Gray. Emma is a strong female character to keep Gray on his toes and grounded at the same time. I’m undecided on the romance side of their relationship. It kinda feels like she has the hots for Blaine and Gray has the hots for Emma. We’ll see though.

I loved Erin’s world building. She gives enough detail and background without it being overwhelming. There is still enough left unexplained to keep you guessing and interested in continuing reading to see how everything is going to end up.

Gray is followed over the Wall by Emma. Gray is determined to find the answers to his questions. And answers he finds. Everything he thought he had an idea of being the truth is no where remotely close.

Along his journey, he meets a host of other great characters. No one is who they really seem to be and it’s hard to know who to trust. I liked Emma, but I came to like Bree too. I’m interested in learning her back story in Stolen.

I’m excited to be able to dive right into Frozen. Yes, this is another dystopian. However, that shouldn’t take away from the appeal. It’s a fantastic and quick read that will leave you wanting more. Give it a shot!

 

Rating: 4 stars
Pub date: 4 February 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, SciFi, Futuristic, Mystery
Format:
ebook, personal copy
Status: novella companion of the Taken trilogy (Bree’s POV)

Summary:

Before Gray Weathersby uncovered the truth about Claysoot and the Laicos Project, a girl named Bree came of age in the coastal settlement of Saltwater—and made her own surprising journey to the world beyond its borders. In Stolen, discover the story of Bree’s life before she was Snatched from her home, before she joined the rebellion, and before she met a boy named Gray…

 

 

My thoughts:

It feels like I’m reviewing novellas more frequently and that’s not my intention. I was on the fence about reviewing Stolen, but decided to do a mini review because it’s from a different perspective than the rest of the trilogy.

I was drawn to Bree for her fierce bravery and determination. She definitely gives Gray a run for his money in cockiness and snark. Oh, the snark that they exchange! Superb!

I liked being able to see inside another walled city. Chronologically, Stolen takes place before Taken, but I recommend reading it after. It was interesting to see a community where the boys are taken plus some of the girls.

The events of Stolen really make Bree’s behaviour in Taken clearer. It’s really heartbreaking and made me far more sympathetic towards her.

Again, Erin sets the scene beautifully and this is a super quick read. It makes me look forward to seeing Bree’s character blossom even more in Frozen and Forged.

About the author:

Erin Bowman used to tell stories visually as a web designer. Now a full-time writer, she relies solely on words. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and when not writing she can often be found hiking, commenting on good typography, and obsessing over all things Harry Potter.

Erin is represented by Sara Crowe of Harvey Klinger. She is the author of TAKEN, FROZEN, and FORGED (4/14/15) from HarperTeen. VENGEANCE ROAD is forthcoming from HMH in fall 2015.

 

*Review & Giveaway* Phoenix Overture by Jodi Meadows November 25, 2013

Rating:  5 stars
Pub date: 3 September 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Format: e-book, personal copy
Status: Novella from the Incarnate series

Summary:

This breathtaking and lyrical novella captures a thrilling and momentous decision for a young man and the people he loves. Told from the perspective of Sam, the sensitive musician from Jodi Meadows’s Incarnate series, lifetimes before he meets Ana, Phoenix Overture is a story of love and loss, strength and courage, and facing the consequences of the hardest of decisions.

Phoenix Overture offers existing fans a deeper insight into a favorite character and the intriguing history of Heart, while new readers will find a stunning introduction to this rich world and the romantic, captivating fantasy of the Incarnate series.

In the wilds around the Community where Sam and his family have taken shelter, life is dangerous. Dragons, trolls, centaurs, and other monsters fill the world. The word comes from the council that everyone must leave and journey to rescue their leader, Janan, who has been abducted by a mysterious new enemy in the north. Faced with overwhelming threats that bring death and destruction, Sam and the others reach the northern Range and, reunited with Janan, are given an unimaginable opportunity. Although it would give them the privilege to live and learn and love without fear, the choice is not without its own dire consequences. And lives—though not theirs—are sure to be lost. Just how much are they willing to give up to save themselves?

HarperTeen Impulse is a digital imprint focused on young adult short stories and novellas, with new releases the first Tuesday of each month.

My thoughts:

***SPOILERS FOR ASUNDER!!!! This is a prequel, but has MAJOR spoilers for the second series book***

Oh, Dossam. I don’t think it’s possible to love him any more.

After Ana sees the skeletons chained together in the tower, I HAD to know what led Sam and the others to agree to their reincarnation while Janan devoured newsouls. What could be so important to let them sacrifice so many others for their own immortality?

I let out lots of fangirl squeals when Jodi announced that she was working on a novella from Sam’s point of view. No, I’m not ashamed to admit it. When I finally got my hands on the novella, I was so ecstatic. You know who was more excited? My toddler. He asked me numerous times while I was reading to “Read, mama, please.”

Let me put a quick summary on this. Bad things happen. Evil authors are evil. Yup. That can tell you everything you need to know. Not enough? Okay.

Sam’s mother has just recently died. His father blames him and is abusive already. Sam’s brother is torn. He blames Sam, but tries to protect him. His father believes he’s useless. Music is good for nothing. He tells him to go enlist with Janan or never set foot in the house again. On the way, Sam comes across Stef.

Oh, Stef. Mischievous, wonderful Stef. He is the first to start calling Dossam, Sam. Much to Sam’s chagrin and after much protesting, he lets it slide. Stef almost kills Sam. On accident, but still. Stef and his inventions. He’s such a mess!

Now that we know the origins of friendship for the dynamic duo, you know bad things go down, cause well, Jodi cannot NOT be mean to Sam. Don’t believe me? Go ask her. She’ll tell you she has to be mean.

The blissful world of Range and Heart are nonexistent in the novella. It’s chaotic and terrifying. Everyone is in fear for their lives. Janan and his warriors are captured and it is decided the entire population will move to rescue him. Millions of people are forced to uproot and travel for months.

Attack after attack occur. I’m telling you, Jodi can be very cruel. Mean and EVIL. The ultimate death and next attack occur quickly and then you understand WHY they make the choice they do. It really makes you question what you would do in their place.

I loved every single word of this novella. I would totally be okay if Jodi wanted to write the similar back story for say, Cris? Just an idea. (: I loved that even though this is essentially the same world, the tone and flow of the story are entirely their own. It completely belongs to Sam. Just like the glorious music.

Now, what you’ve been waiting for! I’m hosting my FIRST giveaway. I’ve helped with others in my reviews and such, but this is the first of my own choosing. One lucky winner will receive their own ebook copy of Phoenix Overture.

 

GIVEAWAY LINK!!!

Open to US only. Sorry international readers, hopefully I will be able to do one for you soon! Entrants must be 13+ and those under 18 must have parental consent. Giveaway is open until 12AM December 16th, 2013. (NOTE THE EXTENDED DATE!) I reserve the right to disqualify entries in violation of my giveaway policies. Good luck. May the odds be ever in your favor! (:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 
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