The Whimsical Mama

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

Required Summer Reading & Giveaway July 14, 2016

Honesty moment: I HATE required readings. I despise being told what I have to read. I think the only thing in school that I actually read when I was SUPPOSED to read it was my senior year readings. And I didn’t even read all of them! haha. Most things I knew I would have to read a grade or so ahead of time and would read them early. I was big into fanfiction in junior high and high school. I read one about Lily and James during Hogwarts and they did an international magical acting competition. Hogwarts did The Crucible. Enough of it was thrown into the story that I wanted to read the whole play. Eight grade me begged my dad to take me to Barnes & Noble to go pick it up so I could read the whole thing. I did. Not sure if it was over a break or what and my eighth grade English teacher asked if we’d read anything interesting lately. I said The Crucible. She asked if I understood the historical background and all that. (Not only the Salem Witch Trials, but the communism hunt) I did. She was impressed and said a lot of high school juniors didn’t understand it. My thought? They’re idiots! Anyway. That’s one example of one I read beforehand. Others I knew enough about that I could fake my way through it.

Punk is going into kindergarten. He has a required reading list for the summer. Seriously. I was like….. wut? Anyway. While looking at it, I came up with the thought of wondering if I could match YA/MG/Adult books to his list. His are all topics so you could match children’s books to it. I have to admit, this was much easier than I expected except for one topic! Anyway. The topics are Bears, Friends, ABC, Frogs, Fairytales, Ocean Animals, Pets, and Free Choice (this one had me spazzing for a minute until I realised it was whatever book Punk wanted, not literally about free choice!)

Here’s my required summer reading list based off of Punk’s kindergarten list.

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The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Bears: This was literally the first book that popped into my head. Probably due to me having just finished it when I had this idea. A big theme throughout the book is Sammy’s bear.

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Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Friends: Again, literally the first book I thought of. Reagan and Lilah’s friendship is amazing as is this book. Emery Lord has such an incredible way with words! *sings Emery’s praises for days*

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ABC: This was the one that gave me a the most trouble. I initially thought to leave it at All Fall Down since it’s a children’s rhyme. Then I decided to do books with an A, B, and C in the title. I do have to admit, I haven’t read two of the three of these! I absolutely adore Code Name Verity though. It ripped me to shreds in all the right ways.

All Fall Down by Ally Carter

The Body Electric by Beth Revis

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Storm of Swords by George RR Martin

Frogs: Okay, admittedly harder than the others, I finally came up with this one. I remembered the bannerman’s kids who come to join Bran as being from the swamp like area. And I’m pretty sure the boy was good at catching frogs. Or their sigil is a frog. Or something. Anyway. Swamp = froggy in my mind!

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The Hunter’s Moon by OR Melling

Fairytale: Yes, it was incredibly easy to jump to the Cinder conclusion, but I opted to go for a lesser known fairytale series. Woot for Celtic mythology!

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Waterfell by Amalie Howard

Ocean Animals: Obviously I would go for Waterfell! Though it also deals with animals, it talks about the Marianas Trench and various animals in the ocean. Win.

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Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

Pets: Pandoras count as pets, right? I mean, they’re pets in a way. At least companions, and let’s face it, cats are not pets. They’re companions at best and definitely supreme overlords.

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

Free Choice:  Okay, so this one totally fits my initial thought of Free Choice. Feyre is faced with the choice of death or living in Prythian. She’s free to choose. Ha! This also fits free choice as in whatever I want to pick so I went with what I’m currently reading. Double win!

 

Thanks for making it through my post! Also, thank you for three wonderful (crazy) years of blogging. My blogging anniversary was actually on the 9th, but it snuck up on me and I forgot to write up a post. It’s definitely been a rollercoaster ride! Anyway, to celebrate my blogiversary, I have several giveaways I’m going to be hosting in the next few weeks so keep your eyes peeled! Up first is a giveaway for any book I have reviewed in the last three years. But! There’s more! I have a list of upcoming reviews that will be posted and those books will be included too. Check out my Reviews tab for a full list of books! Right now there will be one winner, but I might add more winners, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for that too.

Giveaway!

This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL (and only open to the countries where Book Depository delivers to) Entrants must be at least  13 years old to enter. Those entrants under 18 MUST have parental consent. Giveaway is open July 14th 2016 (12am EST) through August 20th 2016 (12am EST). No giveaway accounts. I reserve the right to disqualify entries in violation of my giveaway policies (Please see my Site Polices for full polices). All entries WILL be verified. Winner(s) have 48 (FORTY-EIGHT) hours to respond to email/tweet. Good luck. May the odds be ever in your favor! (:

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday #91: Mid-Late 2016 Anticipated Releases June 14, 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 Mid-Late 2016 Anticipated Releases (AKA What I currently have preordered for the rest of the year)

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  1. Catalyst: A Rogue One Story. I don’t know anything about it other than it plays into the new Star Wars movie. I preordered it on faith. Hoping it won’t disappoint!

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2. Gemina by Aime Kaufman & Jay Kristoff. Honestly, I still haven’t gotten to Illuminae, but I went ahead and preordered this on faith (plus to make the casualty list!) The idea of being written in file/report format fascinates me. I’ve just decided to wait til closer to October to binge both of the books.

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3. Iron Man: The Gauntlet by Eoin Colfer. I have to be honest again. I would MUCH rather one of my favourite authors be writing about Captain America or the Winter Soldier, but I am pretty excited for this book!

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4. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them The Original Screenplay by JK Rowling. Seriously? Have you seen my Harry Potter collection? Did you honestly think this wouldn’t make the list? I can’t wait for the movie!

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5. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling, John Tiffany, & Jack Thorne. Surrounded by controversy to be sure. I’m in #TeamCanon. I fully take this as 100% continuation of the Harry Potter story. Yes, I’m disappointed I can’t make it to London to see it this summer, but they’re releasing the screenplay AND it will most likely tour/expand. I’m excited. I would also love to see this come out on video. #KeeptheSecrets

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6. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling (Illustrated edition). Wow. In 2007, I could have only dreamed that there would be THREE new Harry Potter books in one year. YES! Chamber of Secrets was my least favourite in the series, but I’m super excited to see the illustrations!

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7. Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas. I definitely have this preordered, but since I will have to reread the whole series to be ready, I’m kinda thinking I’ll wait on reading until the final book comes out. With so many incredible things to read, re-reads get harder and harder to work in with multiple books!

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8. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. I absolutely love the Grishaverse. I haven’t read Six of Crows yet cause I decided that I would preorder and then binge the duology together. Same reasons as above with Empire of Storms! I know they’re companion series, but I like the refresher!

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9. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab. Let’s face it. She writes it, I read and buy it. (: The plot for this one sounds incredible. I only wish it would be out BEFORE I head to my first beach trip this summer. Ah, well. It’ll be a great thing to come home to though!

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10. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir. I’m actually currently reading this ARC thanks to Mary. It’s great so far and I’m pleased with my decision to preorder the first day it was up! I adored An Ember in the Ashes. It was easily a favourite of 2015! I’m excited to see where Elias an Laia’s story goes.

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday #36: If You Like X, Try These Ten Books April 29, 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 to Read if You Like Pearl Harbor/WWII Movies

Night by Elie Wiesel. This is one of the best books to read from a Holocaust survivor. I read it in high school for a class. It’s such a powerful book and I think it should be a required reading.

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman. A great read from inside Hitler’s inner circle. It has fictional characters as well as historical figures in it so tread lightly if you’re looking for a purist portrayal of history.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Another great read. I’d never read (that I recall) from the German perspective before this. It’s also in the view of an unique narrator – Death. It’s a great look in WWII poor Germany.

The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank. It’s been ages since I read this, but it was so fantastic that I have to recommend it. I’m sure almost everyone has heard of Anne Frank, but I think more people should read her diary. Such an inspirational young woman who would’ve grown to do great things if her life hadn’t been cut short.

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. I remember reading this when I did a paper on Lois Lowry in junior high. I should reread it soon because it was a good short read. Annemarie is such a strong young woman who shows great courage in a greatly troubled time.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. Um. Wow. This book is great. The first half can be a bit of an info dump, but it’s what the character is supposed to do.The second half is beyond incredible. Both narrators are extremely courageous and it’s beautifully written. I laughed, I cried, I hugged my copy close.


Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein. The companion to Code Name Verity, it’s even more powerful than the first. It’s an inside view of the Ravensbruck women’s work camp. It’s hauntingly beautiful. Another one I think should be a required reading! (:

A Separate Peace by John Knowles. Another high school read. I don’t remember much, but it was a good read.

American Girls Molly & Kit by Valerie Tripp. These might appeal to the younger crowd. I read the Molly books as a young girl and have read a few of the Kit books as I got older once they came out. I plan on sharing them with my kiddos!

Dear America there are a couple of good ones in the series. A few that I’ve read are One Eye Laughing, the Other Eye Weeping, My Secret War. Christmas After All, and Early Sunday Morning. These are also good for the younger side.


Those are my top WWII/Pearl Harbor (movie) era books! So some of them are series and the other books aren’t listed.  (: Tell me, what are your favourite WWII era books that you’ve read? What did you pick for your topic this week? Feel free to leave a link to your page and I’ll come visit!

 

*Review* Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein April 28, 2014

Rating:4 stars
Pub date:10 September2013
Publisher:Disney Hyperion
Genre:Young Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction
Format:e-book via library
Status:Book two of the Code Name Verity companion duology

Summary:

While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women’s concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that’s in store for her?

Elizabeth Wein, author of the critically-acclaimed and best-selling Code Name Verity, delivers another stunning WWII thriller. The unforgettable story of Rose Justice is forged from heart-wrenching courage, resolve, and the slim, bright chance of survival.

My thoughts:

The last book in my World War II binge is Rose Under Fire. I couldn’t wait to jump in after finishing Code Name Verity. I knew as a companion novel, it wouldn’t be a true sequel, but I was excited to see the next part.

The ending of Code Name Verity ripped my heart to shreds, but it warmed to see Maddie coping relatively well several months later. Though Maddie returns in Rose Under Fire, our leading lady of the story is American pilot, Rose Justice. Rose and Maddie do become fast friends though! Elizabeth Wein does a fantastic job again, creating such genuine feeling characters.

Rose is a young woman determined to prove female pilots are just as good and just as important to the war effort as male pilots. Though the US is involved with World War II and has been since the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Rose is surprised to find just how different life is in the US vs Europe. The depression is raging in the US as well as in Europe and there are vast shortages, but in the US, Rose didn’t have to worry about being bombed like Maddie has dealt with in the UK.

Rose is courted by Maddie and Jamie’s friend, Nick. Before he’s transferred to the front, he proposes and Rose thinks he’s joking. She remarks that she doesn’t understand why so many people rush into marriage during war. This comment struck a chord with me. As I’ve said before, my hubby and I got married 72 hours before he had to report back for duty before he flew out for Iraq. We had had the marriage before battle talk several times before we got married. Unlike Rose and Nick, , we’d known each other and dated for almost a year and a half. It wasn’t a rushed thing like Rose believed hers would be. In a way, she comes to regret her decision.

During a mission, she’s intercepted by two Nazi war planes which force her to follow them to Germany. They are surprised to see that she is a female pilot, but still turn her over to authorities. She is sent to Ravensbruck, the same camp Julie was sentenced to go to.

Once at Ravensbruck, we meet several other incredible women. First, we meet Elodie who was part of the French Resistance. After this brief encounter, she and Rose never encounter each other face to face again, but Elodie still plays a major role as a supplier.

She later meets the Rabbits and a few other political prisoners. The tales of what these women endure is very difficult to stomach. Even though this is a historical fiction novel, it is based on true evens that did occur at the prison camp.

It is incredibly relieving to know Rose survives Ravensbruck. I don’t think I’m spoiling this the way the book is laid out and if you look at the chapter lists. Still, reading the things that happens in Rose’s six month tenure is heartbreaking. All of this happens after D-Day, which was the turning point in the war, but not the end by any means. The time frame Rose recounts her time in Ravensbruck is the same time the 89th Infantry Division liberated Ohrdruf Concentration Camp. Reading Rose’s story and having researched the things my Grandaddy saw had me in tears off and on the entire latter part of the book. My Grandaddy could never speak of the horrors he saw.

Roza, one of the Rabbits, was operated on five times at Ravensbruck and was almost permanently crippled. The doctors did horrific experiments to “simulate” situations at the front. In reality, it was for the sheer pleasure of torture.

Karolina only endured one operation but spent eight months terribly ill and close to death before she finally recovered. She escaped with only a minor limp.

Lisette was a political prisoner from Poland, but she was originally from France. She was the adopted mother of the group. I absolutely adored Lisette. She reminds me of my Gran with her love of learning and being incredibly loving and caring.

Irina was a Soviet combat pilot who had been shot down and captured. I also admired Irina. Though she was staunchly against the Fascists, she also wasn’t thrilled with the Soviets.

The story comes to a close during the Nuremberg trials. In a way, the conviction of the captured Nazis doesn’t seem like enough justice for the terrible things they did. There never could be large enough Earthly cost for them to pay for their crimes.

I really liked that most of the book was written as a journal recounting. I have never been through anything traumatic and I’ve often kept a journal because like Rose, I find writing therapeutic. I did enjoy her poetry. I would like to know more about what happened to Rose down the road. Did she become a doctor? Did she get married, etc.? Minus that disappointment, I highly recommend Rose Under Fire. A difficult topic to stomach, but a lesson to be remembered so as to not be repeated.

About the author


Elizabeth Wein has lived in Scotland for over ten years and wrote nearly all her novels there.  Her first five books for young adults are set in Arthurian Britain and sixth century Ethiopia.  The most recent of these form the sequence The Mark of Solomon, published in two parts as The Lion Hunter (2007) and The Empty Kingdom (2008).  The Lion Hunter was short-listed for the Andre Norton Award for Best Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction in 2008.  Elizabeth also writes short stories.


Elizabeth’s latest novel for teens is a departure in a totally new direction.  Code Name Verity, published by Egmont UK, Disney-Hyperion and Doubleday Canada in 2012, is a World War II thriller in which two young girls, one a Resistance spy and the other a transport pilot, become unlikely best friends.  Code Name Verity has received widespread critical acclaim. Among its many laurels it is shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal; it is a Michael Printz Award Honor Book, a Boston Globe/Horn Book Awards Honor Book, and an SCBWI Golden Kite Honor Book. It is also a New York Times Bestseller in young adult fiction.

 

*Review* Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein April 27, 2014

Rating:5 stars
Pub date:7 May 2013
Publisher:Disney Hyperion
Genre:Young Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction
Format:paperback, personal copy
Status:Book one of the Code Name Verity companion duology

Summary:

Oct. 11th, 1943-A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

A Michael L. Printz Award Honor book that was called “a fiendishly-plotted mind game of a novel” in The New York Times, Code Name Verity is a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other.

My thoughts:

The next book in my World War II binge is back in the Allied perspective. In a way, it was comforting to return to it. Code Name Verity is the harrowing tale of British (not English, mind you) best friends, Julie and Maddie. One is a pilot, the other is a spy and this two part book covers the beginning of their friendship through an operation in France in 1943. Remember, this is classified. Careless talk costs lives. (World War II OPSEC – operation security – for Britain) This MilSo LOVED that reference throughout. I think I’ll encourage anyone who asks details about hubby’s future deployments to look up World War II propaganda.

The first narrator of Code Name Verity refers to herself as ‘Queenie’ through her tale. She has been captured by the Gestapo in France. She agrees to tell them information about the British airfields in exchange of ending torture. In the way she gives the information is through the story of how she and Maddie became best friends.

You can tell through her mannerisms and speech that ‘Queenie’ comes from a privileged background. At times she seems flippant, which may be how she protects and isolates herself from her situation, but it was a bit grating. Not enough to deter me from finishing. I was far to interested to see the outcome to let a bit of snarkiness get me down! I can be quite snarky myself.

Queenie’s tale is also very heavy with technical details. It can be a bit overwhelming, but you have to remember she is doing her job. She agreed to give details on Britain’s air front war movements and that’s what she does.

There are some very tedious parts through her tale as well as some heartbreaking ones. She has little interaction with the other prisoners, but what she does is hard to stomach. She has to witness torture and an execution. She also has to deal with them hurling insults at her because she has agreed to work with and help the Germans in order to save her own skin – if only temporarily. Spies don’t survive capture and she understands that. She doesn’t sit and dwell on rescue. She remains realistic and determined to carryout her mission.

“It’s like being in love, discovering your best friend.”

The second half is narrated by ATA pilot, Maddie Brodatt. You already feel a connection with Maddie because you watched how her friendship with Julie unfolded in the first half.

Maddie survives the crash in France, but is in more danger than ever because she is a Jew. Obviously, German occupied France is not the best place to be a Jew. From Maddie, we get some missing pieces of time that Julie didn’t know what happened. She visits Julie’s home and sparks start smouldering between Maddie and Jamie, Julie’s beloved brother who survived an aeroplane crash in the North Sea.

Once Maddie knows Julie has been captured, she wants to do something to help free her. While she’s stuck underground, waiting to be extracted from France, she gets to experience life with a French Resistance family. (So, now I’ve had poor German, Hitler’s inner circle German, German Jews, British pilot, British spy, and now French Resistance family – just making my rounds through all involved parties!)

I enjoyed Maddie’s part a lot more than I enjoyed Julie’s. Despite Julie’s situation which should’ve been rife with emotion, it keeps you a bit at arm’s length. It wasn’t a bad thing by any means. I’m a very emotional reader, so I connected to the emotion driven Maddie more than I did with the cool and calculating, Julie. I loved both characters dearly, I just happened to connect with Maddie more.

In reading a few blurbs, I saw one mentioned that mentioned a ‘tear stained copy.’ I was concerned that Code Name Verity wasn’t striking me as deeply as it had others until the end. I was very glad that I was outside alone and the kiddos were down for naps so I could week in peace. Elizabeth Wein did such an incredible job creating two incredibly inspiring heroines. She did an amazing job of thrusting me smack dab in the middle of war torn Britain and France. I will say that ever since I saw Pearl Harbor, I’ve wanted to read more about the RAF/Allied pilots and just never have. I’m glad I went on impulse to order this after hearing great things about it. I’m always on the lookout for strong female leads and Elizabeth Wein delivers two in Code Name Verity. This is a book I gladly recommend to historical fiction fans, those looking for a good copy tale, and those who are plane enthusiasts. Looking down the road to when my kiddos are older, I plan on encouraging them to read Code Name Verity. It’s THAT good! Now, “Kiss me Hardy! Kiss me quick!”

About the author


Elizabeth Wein has lived in Scotland for over ten years and wrote nearly all her novels there.  Her first five books for young adults are set in Arthurian Britain and sixth century Ethiopia.  The most recent of these form the sequence The Mark of Solomon, published in two parts as The Lion Hunter (2007) and The Empty Kingdom (2008).  The Lion Hunter was short-listed for the Andre Norton Award for Best Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction in 2008.  Elizabeth also writes short stories.


Elizabeth’s latest novel for teens is a departure in a totally new direction.  Code Name Verity, published by Egmont UK, Disney-Hyperion and Doubleday Canada in 2012, is a World War II thriller in which two young girls, one a Resistance spy and the other a transport pilot, become unlikely best friends.  Code Name Verity has received widespread critical acclaim. Among its many laurels it is shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal; it is a Michael Printz Award Honor Book, a Boston Globe/Horn Book Awards Honor Book, and an SCBWI Golden Kite Honor Book. It is also a New York Times Bestseller in young adult fiction.

 

 

 
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