The Whimsical Mama

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

Waiting on Wednesday #79: The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord February 8, 2017

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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:

 

The Names They Gave Us

By: Emery Lord

Coming: 7 March 2017

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s

Summary:

From acclaimed author Emery Lord comes a vibrant, compelling story of love, loss, faith, and friendship.

Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake. But when her mom’s cancer reappears, Lucy falters—in faith, in love, and in her ability to cope. When her boyfriend “pauses” their relationship and her summer job switches to a different camp—one for troubled kids—Lucy isn’t sure how much more she can handle. Attempting to accept a new normal, Lucy slowly regains footing among her vibrant, diverse coworkers, Sundays with her mom, and a crush on a fellow counselor. But when long-hidden family secrets emerge, can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?

Emotionally-charged and unforgettable, Emery Lord’s storytelling shines with the promise of new love and true friendship, even in the face of life’s biggest challenges.

Why I’m excited:

 

Why I need you to be excited:

 

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Waiting on Wednesday #55: Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz August 24, 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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Something in Between

By: Melissa de la Cruz

Coming: 4 October 2016

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Summary:

When your country doesn’t want you there, how do you know where you belong?

Jasmine de los Santos has been pushed by her Filipino immigrant parents to over-achieve, be the best she can be, work as hard as she can at school and reach for the American Dream. She’s thrilled to be named a finalist for the National Scholarship Award and prepares to go to Washington, D. C. to receive it. But when she brings home the paperwork, she learns that she and all her family are in the country illegally.

As Jasmine’s world shatters around her, she rebels, trying to make sense of herself – who is she? Is she American? Illegal? Something in between? Jasmine decides to accept the award anyway and goes to D.C., where she meets Royce Blakely, the handsome son of a Republican congressman. As she fights for her very identity, will Jasmine find help in unexpected places, and will she ever figure out where she belongs?

Why I’m excited:

I make no secret of my lack of love for contemporary works, but I adore Melissa de la Cruz’s books. (For the most part, I have read two that I wasn’t crazy over) In today’s political climate, I think this book will be a great read. I’m excited to see how she handles a delicate and controversial subject. I got the sampler at Barnes and Noble and can’t wait to give it a try!

Why I need you to be excited:

It’s in your face in the news almost every day, it was only a matter of time before it slipped into literature as well.

 

Waiting on Wednesday #54: Diplomatic Immunity August 17, 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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Diplomatic Immunity

By: Brodi Ashton

Coming: 6 September 2016

Publisher: Balzer+Bray

Summary:

Aspiring reporter Piper Baird decides to write a scathing exposé on the overprivileged students at an elite Washington, DC, school, only for her life to change when she begins to fall for the story’s main subject, in this new realistic contemporary romance from Brodi Ashton, the author of the Everneath trilogy.

Raucous parties, privileged attitudes, underage drinking, and diplomatic immunity…it’s all part of student life on Embassy Row.

Piper Baird has always dreamed of becoming a journalist. So when she scores a scholarship to exclusive Chiswick Academy in Washington, DC, she knows it’s her big opportunity. Chiswick offers the country’s most competitive prize for teen journalists—the Bennington scholarship—and winning will ensure her acceptance to one of the best schools in the country.

Piper isn’t at Chiswick for two days before she witnesses the intense competition in the journalism program—and the extreme privilege of the young and wealthy elite who attend her school. And Piper knows access to these untouchable students just might give her the edge she’ll need to blow the lid off life at the school in a scathing and unforgettable exposé worthy of the Bennington.

The key to the whole story lies with Rafael Amador, the son of the Spanish ambassador—and the boy at the center of the most explosive secrets and scandals on Embassy Row. Rafael is big trouble—and when he drops into her bedroom window one night, asking for help, it’s Piper’s chance to get the full scoop. But as they spend time together, Piper discovers that despite his dark streak, Rafael is smart, kind, funny, and gorgeous—and she might have real feelings for him. How can she break the story of a lifetime if it could destroy the boy she just might love?

Why I’m excited:

I loved Brodi Ashton’s Everneath trilogy. My reviews for Everneath, Everbound, and Evertrue. I loved her writing style, and was eagerly awaiting something new. (I’m excited to read My Lady Jane too!) I was really interested in going into Foreign Policy in high school. Either as an interpreter at the UN or working as a diplomat at the State Department. I went to a class at Georgetown and got to spend quite a lot of time around diplomats and on Embassy Row. I had a blast. I can’t wait to see Brodi’s take on it!

Why I need you to be excited:

Diplomatic intrigues are so fun! Well, in print anyway!

Save

 

Top Ten Tuesday #97: Top Ten Things Books Have Made Me Want To Do or Learn About After Reading Them July 26, 2016

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Each week, the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish think up a fun theme for the week and participating bloggers around the net join in. The theme for this week is:

Top Ten Top Ten Things Books Have Made Me Want To Do or Learn About After Reading Them

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  1. Archery. Now, I won archery in high school gym class, but I would love to learn and practice the skill to rival Katniss. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

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2. Quidditch. True Harry Potter Quidditch. While the Muggle Quidditch looks entertaining, I would much rather play real Quidditch! Harry Potter by JK Rowling

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3. Epic Road Trip with Friends. I’ve gone on tons of road trips and tons of band trips, but I would love to go on a road trip with friends that doesn’t involve a school bus! Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

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4. Help a soldier/servicemember with PTSD. My step-dad has PTSD and my husband is in the service. PTSD is close to my heart and I think more awareness needs to be raised. The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

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5. Explore Prague. I would absolutely love to go to Prague! Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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6. Travel to different Londons. I love our London (Grey London). It would be fascinating to explore the other Londons too. Even if they are fantasy! A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab.

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7. Find Glendower. Not with the intention of obtaining a wish, but just to find him. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater.

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8. Explore Paris. I would love to go back to Paris. I would get on a plane in a heartbeat. Die for Me by Amy Plum

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9. Learn the violin. Well, this made me want to learn more. I’ve wanted to learn how to play the violin for ages. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare.

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10. Do marching band again. Oh, heavens do I miss marching band! Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols.

What are some things books have left you wanting to learn or do?

 

Top Ten Tuesday #92: Favourite 2016 Releases June 21, 2016

Filed under: Books,Top Ten Tuesday — Maura @ 12:01 am
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Each week, the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish think up a fun theme for the week and participating bloggers around the net join in. The theme for this week is:

Top Ten (More like six so far) Favourite 2016 Releases

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  1. The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh. Sequel to The Wrath and the Dawn.

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2. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi. Standalone fantasy!

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3. The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski. Finale of The Winner’s Curse trilogy.

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4. When We Collided by Emery Lord. Contemporary standalone.

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5. The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows. Finale of The Orphan Queen duology.

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6. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir. Finale of An Ember in the Ashes duology. Currently reading or recently finished.

I haven’t read them yet, but I know I will enjoy these 2016 releases!

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7. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas. Sequel to A Court of Thorns and Roses.

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8. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows. I’m SO excited about this one! I know it’s gonna be great!

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9. The Last Star by Rick Yancey. The final book in The 5th Wave trilogy. I adored The 5th Wave, and I can’t wait to read the other two books! I think this will be what I take to the beach this year!

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10. A Gathering of Shadows by VE Schwab. Sequel to A Darker Shade of Magic. I’ve heard through the grapevine that this ends on an EPIC cliffhanger, so I’m currently waiting until A Conjuring of Light comes out to read books two and three at the same time! I HATE cliffhangers!

What have been your favourite 2016 reads so far this year? What are you looking forward to for the rest of the year?

 

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?

 

Top Ten Tuesday #71: Characters I’d like to Check-in With April 7, 2015

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Each week, the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish think up a fun theme for the week and participating bloggers around the net join in. The theme for this week is:

Top Ten Characters I Want to Check-In With

 

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1. Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter Paperback Box Set (Books 1-7)
Of course, I would like to know how EVERYONE is doing, but specifically everyone’s favourite Transfiguration professor. (:

2. Jemima Emerson from Time Enough for Drums
This is one of my favourite books of all time. I read it in Junior High and reread it ALL THE TIME. I need MORE. I want to know how Jem and John are. LOVE THEM!

3. Sturmhond from Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy)
Oh, Sturmhond. I am so excited for Six of Crows this fall cause I am totally rereading the Grisha trilogy for full world LOVE! I was disappointed with the lack of Sturmhond in Ruin and Rising and I need to know how he’s doing.

4. Reagan, Lilah, and Matt from Open Road Summer.

C’mon, Emery. I need to know THINGS. I need more Reagan and Matt. I need more BFF time with Reagan and Lilah. PLEASE.

5. Alice Cullen from Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1).

Judge me not for Twilight. I freaking love Alice and I need to know how she and Jasper are doing. Love me some Jasper. Mmhmm.

6. Jean Louise “Scout” Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird.

Now, before you point out Go Set a Watchman will give us a catch up with the adult Scout, I want to know how she’s doing between them. Despite the controversy around the publication of Go Set a Watchman, I am excited for more Scout. I adore TKM and will be reading it this summer to prep for Go Set a Watchman!

7. Rhine and company from Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy Book 1).

I want to know how things are with everyone. How’s Cecily’s baby doing? How are things in the world after the cure? I just need to know all the things!

8. Jack and Schuyler from Blue Bloods (Blue Bloods, Book 1).

I need to know how my favourite fallen angel couple is. (: I hope there is more of them in the second Vampires of Manhattan: The New Blue Bloods Coven book! I neeeeeeeed more Jack and Sky in my life!

9. Ana and Sam from Incarnate Trilogy.

You really didn’t think I would have characters to check in on and NOT have this trilogy included, did you? For shame! I want to know how things are after Infinite. A Cris novella still would be nice. Just sayin’, Jodi.

10. June and Day from Legend Trilogy.

Do they get back together after that chance spotting at the end of Champion?! I need to know! I need them to at least be FRIENDS.

BONUS: Hayley Kincain from The Impossible Knife of Memory.

How is her dad doing with his PTSD? How is she doing? How’s her love life going? Is her dad still happy? So many questions I need to know!

What characters would you like to check in with? Any good ones I need to get to know? Hope you have a great Tuesday!

Add the books on Goodreads:

 

Top Ten Tuesday #67: Spring 2015 TBR March 17, 2015

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Each week, the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish think up a fun theme for the week and participating bloggers around the net join in. The theme for this week is:

Top Ten Books on My 2015 Spring TBR

 Previous TBR posts (Winter 2013 6/10 Fall2013 3/10 Spring TBR 2014 6/11 Summer 2014 3/10  Fall 2014 2/10) After not doing well at all with my Fall 2014 TBR, I did much better with my Winter 2014. I read 6/10. True enough, I did have an extra month! Now for the books I plan to read this spring!

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1. Gilt by Katherine Longshore

2. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

3. Artemis Fowl The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer

4. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

5. The Archived by Victoria Schwab

6. Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel

7. Forged by Erin Bowman

8. Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

9. The Body Electric by Beth Revis

10. Chronicles of Faerie: The Hunter’s Moon by O.R. Melling

What are you planning to read this Spring? Anything I should take note of for this summer?

HAPPY SAINT PATRICK’S DAY!! (:

 

*Review* The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson May 18, 2014

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

Rating: 5stars
Pub date: 7 January 2014
Publisher:Viking Juvenile
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Realistic
Format: personal copy, hardcover, signed
Status: standalone

Summary:

For the past five years, Hayley Kincain and her father, Andy, have been on the road, never staying long in one place as he struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since his return from Iraq. Now they are back in the town where he grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps, for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her own painful memories, even have a relationship with Finn, the hot guy who obviously likes her but is hiding secrets of his own.

Will being back home help Andy’s PTSD, or will his terrible memories drag him to the edge of hell, and drugs push him over? The Impossible Knife of Memory is Laurie Halse Anderson at her finest: compelling, surprising, and impossible to put down.

My thoughts:

I was very nervous the first time I read the synopsis of The Impossible Knife of Memory. As a military spouse, I live in a precarious world. I am fiercely loyal to our troops. I will call out military BS and that is a frequent subject of conversation between my husband and I. I don’t mind when civilians call out military BS. Some families do mind. One thing that I will get up in arms about is trash talking or poorly representing our veterans. I could rage forever on that, but I won’t because I don’t need to with The Impossible Knife of Memory.

PTSD. It’s a great fear of mine and probably a fear of a lot of military families. PTSD is also known as shell shock. When my Grandaddy came home with it at the end of WWII, he was simply told to suck it up and be a man. Today, we know it’s not just something you can wish or will away. If only it were that simple.

I was cautiously optimistic with The Impossible Knife of Memory. I’ve loved everything I’ve ever read by Laurie Halse Anderson, but as a military wife and it covering a topic close to my hear, I was concerned. I hoped she wouldn’t take the situation of a PTSD family lightly. I had no need to be concerned!

Right from the beginning Laurie had me hooked. Hayley was such a relatable character for me on so many different levels and I absolutely loved it. I could relate to teenager Hayley because she reminded me so much of myself in high school. I didn’t blow off homework or land in detention, but her snarky personality is what screamed at me.

In chapter one, she’s in detention for telling off a teacher for calling her ‘missy.’ Oh, hello, freshman year biology! I had a teacher who ALWAYS called the girls ‘girly-girl.’ One day, I’d had enough and much like Hayley, gave him a piece of my mind. I told him he could call me by my name or not address me in such a sexist and demeaning way. (No, I didn’t get put in detention. Yes, he went out of his way not to address me the rest of the year unless he HAD to address me. No, he didn’t use any ‘nicknames’ for the boys. Yes, that’s what pissed me off enough to speak up.) Wow. I’m still disgusted by this memory years later. UGH.

By page three, I was reminded all over again just how much I love Laurie Halse Anderson’s writing. It really makes me sad/jealous of Mary for getting to meet her at TLA. It also makes me sad that I can’t jump into a re-read of Speak or Fever 1793 either! (Two of my favs and currently with Mary cause she got them SIGNED for me!!)

A flashback in chapter five had me in tears. Her dad reflects on a situation when he feared he wouldn’t come hme to her. Obviously,that is another big fear of mine as a military wife. (Hubby and I have been through one deployment together and that was before/right after we were married in 2010. Then, he would’ve left behind me and our dog. Now, if something happens in a future deployment, it would impact our two children as well.) Hayley’s dad remarks that he would leave her behind and that she was only a little girl. Hubby’s worst fear is leaving us behind and the kids not knowing their daddy or forgetting him while he’s deployed. It’s obvious to see how this scene ripped me to shreds.

As bad as the struggle against PTSD is, Hayley finds solace in friends. Gracie remembers when Hayley lived in town when they were little. Hayley has blocked things out and refuses to remember happy times, but she’s grateful to have Gracie . Gracie goes from having a perfect family to it being destroyed by parental issues. She doesn’t choose the best things in how to cope with the situation. She and Hayley really lean on each other a lot for support and are great friends to each other.

Hayley also finds Finn. I absolutely loved Finn. I think Laurie Halse Anderson did a fantastic job with him. He has some family issues of his own, but still manages to mellow Hayley out. I really swooned over a certain stargazing scene, because that was mine and hubby’s first not a date, but really a date,date. Then snarky  comments and pseudo fights made them feel even more realistic.

While it was hard to stomach some of the flashbacks Hayley’s dad had, it was amazing to see how well Laurie Halse Anderson did with adding every layer to this broken soldier. More often than not, I wept with him near the end.

I also loved the conflict and eventual acceptance of the runoff stepmom who returns. It added a level of showing just how difficult things can be for veteran families, but also shows that there is help out there for those who need it.

I was very happy to see not a single hint of a soldier is weak if he seeks help in The Impossible Knife of Memory. I passionately believe it takes a great deal of courage to seek help. I appreciated that she also showed how difficult the VA system can be. It definitely could have lengthened the book if more than a glimpse was shown. That’s another can of worms though. I believe that will eventually be taken care of. It has to be. Our veterans DESERVE better treatment than the VA is currently doing. *huffs*

I’m still so blownaway by the magnificence of The Impossible Knife of Memory. Hayley’s voice is strong and so beautifully done. Gracie shows that even a normal teen from a normal family can have everything fall apart. Finn shows that passion and determination are a huge help in achieving your goals.

Laurie Halse Anderson does an incredible job with such an important topic. PTSD and military family suicide is something that needs more focus on it. Hubby may disagree because of all the suicide prevention death by power point briefs he has to go through after a suicide in their regiment, but I think with more help, it wouldn’t be such a pressing issue.

I’m so thankful Laurie Halse Anderson wrote The Impossible Knife of Memory. It portrays a subject close to my heart so well. The Impossible Knife of Memory is a book civilian or military can appreciate. I highly, HIGHLY recommend it. It’s definitely taken its place as my favourite 2014 publication read and will be hard to unseat.

About the author:

 Laurie Halse Anderson is the New York Times-bestselling author who writes for kids of all ages. Known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity, her work has earned numerous ALA and state awards. Two of her books, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists.

Mother of four and wife of one, Laurie lives in Northern New York, where she likes to watch the snow fall as she writes. You can follow her adventures on Twitter, http://twitter.com/halseanderson and on her tumblr http://lauriehalseanderson.tumblr.com/

Check out Laurie’s website, http://madwomanintheforest.com/

 

Top Ten Tuesday #31: Spring TBR March 18, 2014

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Each week, the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish think up a fun theme for the week and participating bloggers around the net join in. The theme for this week is:

Top Ten Books on My Spring TBR

I didn’t do well at all with my Fall TBR. I did MUCH better with my Winter TBR, but still not the best. December was packed with family things. January was infected with sinus ilk for all four of us. February I did better. The beginning of March has been great. I hope my Spring TBR will go well! I’m still a big mood driven reader and right now I want to read all the WWII books. Good thing I have a few! I also need to get back into my ARC reading. Fantastic thing that I have an ARC that fits both of those bills. (;

Code Name Verity/Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

As You Turn Away by Molli Moran

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry (yes, this is STILL on my TBR. I’m DETERMINED this spring it WILL be read!)

The Almost Girl by Amalie Howard

After the End by Amy Plum (I can’t wait anymore. I have to read it NOW)

Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz (My trusty fall back if a reading funk happens. I love Melissa!)

The Falconer by Elizabeth May (I can’t wait much longer. I’ve wanted to read this for so long and I’ve waited long enough!)

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (NO SPOILERS! )

What’s on your TBR for this spring? Any good recommendations based on these?

 

 
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