The Whimsical Mama

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

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 11 – 30 August 2014 August 30, 2014

After a super long break that was completely unintended, I’m back and ready to go! Despite having a schedule on paper, it just didn’t translate from paper to web. Sorry to all of those who have had to see my incomplete Hello, Goodbye post. Life just happened and I haven’t been up to staying on top of my blog. After a break, I’m ready to get going again. I’ll be contacting the winners of a few giveaways in the next few days. Sorry that it’s taken so long! On top of failing as a blogger, I’ve also failed as a reader. I’ve been in a MAJOR reading slump. It’s been baaaaaaaad. I just recently got The Young Elites in the mail and I’m hoping that will bail me out of the slump! Especially after an awful DNF encounter! I’d been so excited about it, but ugh, I just couldn’t do it. Nope. Nope. Nope. I’m also in the mood for some fairytales/fairy tale retellings. I recently started binge watching Once Upon a Time and I’m hooked. OH MAN. So. I’m thinking I’ll read some retellings and read the originals with the kiddos. Bug was particularly interested in the princesses in a few episodes of OUAT. Any retelling suggestions? I’ve already read The Lunar Chronicles and Cruel Beauty.

Completed:

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

Don’t Touch by Rachel Wilson (DNF 19%)

 

Currently Reading:

The Everything Mother Goose Book by June Rifkin (yes, we’re still working on it!)

The Young Elites by Marie Lu (ARC)

 

 

 

Read to the Kiddos:
Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons, Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes, Pete the Cat: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, and Pete the Cat: Pete at the Beach by James Dean & Eric Litwin

The Octonauts and the Great Ghost Reef by Meomi

The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper

 
New to my shelf:

 

From the library:

as usual, more audiobooks! (:

Talon by Julie Kagawa

The Diviners by Libba Bray

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (ARC from Mary AND a finished copy from my AWESOME OTSP Secret Sister!)

The Young Elites by Marie Lu (One of my mom’s friends went to ComicCon and scored an ARC for me AND got it signed! HE’S THE BEST!)

 

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Please Be Kind, Rewind: 1-7 June 2014 June 7, 2014

Posting this early today since we’ll be busy all day and I know I won’t get my book finished! Spending all day with the kiddos celebrating Punky’s birthday! I am really struggling with hubby gone! Eesh! I was ahead then just squeaking by. The kiddos really miss their daddy and are acting out. It makes every day interesting, let me tell ya. I live for naptimes right now! I’m going a bit crazy! It feels like all I do is say, “Don’t hit your sister. Don’t jump on the couch. Stop climbing. Don’t throw your toys. Don’t sit on your sister. Leave her alone, she doesn’t want to play.” Poor things think if they act up, daddy will come home. /: Sorry, kids, doesn’t work that way!


Completed:

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling (audiobook)

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

Cinderella’s Dress by Shonna Slayton (eARC)


Currently Reading:

The Everything Mother Goose Book by June Rifkin (yes, we’re still working on it!)

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (paperback & audiobook) 

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling (audiobook) 

Mind Games by Kiersten White



Read to the Kiddos:

I was bad and didn’t keep track. ):
I know a Wee Piggy by Kim Norman


New to my shelf:

I know a Wee Piggy by Kim Norman (Thanks, Imagination Library!)

17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen (finished copy, Thanks HarperTeen & Alison Linsow!)

From the lovely Book Rock Betty:

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

Salvage by Alexandra Duncan

Half Bad by Sally Green

Just Like the Movies by Kelly Fiore

Ask Me by Kimberly Pauley

Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell

The Ring & the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz

No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

 

Top Ten Tuesday #38: Books I Almost Put Down May 13, 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 I Almost Put Down

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling. Let’s face it. When I got this book, I wasn’t big into reading for me and I wanted to give up after the first chapter. Thankfully, my Gran wouldn’t let me! 

Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz. I just wasn’t as into this book as I have been with her other books. /: My love of her kept me in til the end though!

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier Honestly, I wish I had given up on this book. It kept getting worse with each book. I kinda feel cheated cause I stayed in til the end. 

Allegiant by Veronica Roth. I wish I hadn’t even read this one, but I did. Ugh. 

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge I stuck it out even though I had to take a break. It wasn’t all that I was hoping it would be, but it was decent. 

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown That moment when you realise your favourite series is nothing but a formulaic book. I’ll still read the Robert Langdon series though. It kinda sucks that it’s a bit predictable now. 

The Host by Stephenie Meyer I actually did put this one down. I bought it the day it released, read about 100 pages and put it down. I was still hoping for a bit of Twilight style and this was so much better that it threw me off and I couldn’t handle it. When I did come back to it a year later I couldn’t put it down!

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl Ugh…. this book made the South look sooooo bad. The movie made it worse. I was so disappointed.

After the End by Amy Plum This book. I just can’t even. I was expecting brilliance. I got disappointment and predictability. /:

The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory Oh, this book. Definitely my least favourite of The Cousin’s War series. I stuck it out til the end though.

Crossed by Ally Condie This was another that I had to take a step away from and read something else and come back to it. I finished it though!

 

*ARC Review* Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge March 16, 2014

***I was granted permission to read this by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to HarperCollins!***

Rating:3 stars
Pub date:28 January 2014
Publisher:HarperCollins, Balzer+Bray
Genre:Young Adult Fiction, Romance, Fairytale, Mythology, Retelling
Format:eARC provided by the publisher
Status:Cruel Beauty Universe

Summary:

Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.


Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.


Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.


With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.


But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.


As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

My thoughts:

This review has been extremely difficult to write. The premise is a great one. The execution was fine. I cannot explain why I didn’t care for Cruel Beauty. I really can’t. I was very excited when I received autoapproval for Harper, because I really wanted to read this intriguing Beauty and the Beast retelling and now I had my chance.

I plowed through the first quarter or so and then it felt like I hit a brick wall. I was still interested. Each chapter kept me interested in the next part, but it wasn’t one of those I have to devour every single page immediately deals. It was so imaginative. Alternate history England? Yes, please! Demon who makes twisted deals? Yes, more, please! Mystery and intrigue? Yes! I seriously don’t know what went wrong for me.

Honestly, I really don’t know what kept me reading. I hit a lull for a few days and ended up doing something I very rarely do. I took a break and jumped into another book. I finished it and came back, hoping it had given me the boost I needed to get out of my funk Cruel Beauty got me in. Rosamund is a great writer. She has such a strong imagination and is a good wordsmith. The world she creates is incredible.

Maybe it’s the romance that killed it for me. I really had issues with the romance. We have a pretty twisted love triangle going on and I can’t stand love triangles. I liked Ignifex in a way. He’s witty even if sadistic. He proclaims that he hates what he has to do, but every time we see him in action, he revels in it. Nyx fixates on her hatred of him and then all of a sudden loves him. That… bothers me. It may not entirely be an insta-love type situation, but the sudden switch from hatred to love just doesn’t do it for me. I really didn’t get the romance with Shade. That really baffled me. Now as I’m writing and mulling it over, I guess it is the romance that killed it for me. It is my biggest issue with the book by far. The romance just didn’t seem genuine from any of the involved parties. Until the very end, but I have other issues with THAT.  


Or maybe it was how Nyx could be at times. She had such potential to be a great character, but her moodiness really got tiresome. She runs hot and cold constantly. She loves or hates wholeheartedly and with no room in between when she’s in a mood. It was a little hard to relate to her because of it. It was really irritating where her family was involved. She loved them. She hated and raved against them. Nyx was very smart and naive at the same time. She ranted against her sister’s naivety, but in reality, their educations made up two halves of a whole. Both girls received half the education they deserved.

Cruel Beauty is VERY heavy with Greek mythology. That might be a huge turn off for some readers. At times it got to be too much for me and I absolutely adore Greek mythology. If you’re not familiar with some of the myths, you’ll be lost, and I’m sure that can be very frustrating. Rosamund does a great job weaving in the mythology though, don’t let it being heavy on the mythology make you think it’s done poorly. Again. She does a fantastic job with the mythology.

A certain part about ¾ through would’ve been a perfect spot to end. It wasn’t a Happily Ever After, but it felt like a good spot to end. The last ¼ just didn’t fit in my opinion. THAT Happily Ever After really didn’t do it for me. I know Beauty and the Beast have a Happily Ever After, but after being so dark and gothic, I would’ve loved a more Grimm like ending.

In the end, I probably won’t invest in a finished copy unless it’s a killer deal. I’m fairly certain I won’t read it again. It may be a bit disappointing, but it’s an okay read. I do still plan on checking out the novella set in the same universe that comes out later this year. I do recommend Cruel Beauty! Just because I had some issues with it doesn’t mean that others won’t adore it. There are wide spread feelings on it according to reviews, so it’s really up to the reader to make a decision on making the plunge. 

About the author

I love mythology, Hello Kitty, and T. S. Eliot. My debut novel, CRUEL BEAUTY (a YA fairytale fantasy, where Greek mythology meets Beauty and the Beast), is due out from Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins in Winter 2014.

 

Hello March, Goodbye February! (A bit late!) March 9, 2014

Wow. March. And the start of the second week too! February blew by and I didn’t get as much accomplished as I had hoped. I was busy working on things for my family and for my daughter’s birthday. I had meant to get more done in the last two weeks, but I took time and focused on my kiddos. I have everything written up, I just have to type it out and get it scheduled to come up soon. I have some giveaways planned so keep an eye out! (:

Books I read in February (in order of completion)

The Little Android by Marissa Meyer

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

What to Expect the First Year by Heidi Murkoff

The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz

A Tale of Two Centuries by Rachel Harris

Books with the kiddos:

We read a lot, as usual. And as usual, I was terrible about keeping a good list. I do have an idea mulling around for the blog concerning the kiddos and books. It may start up in April if I do decide to go through with it!

Coming up in March

Bug’s birthday!

Girls Gone Sci Fi tour!

Hubby’s military class

Goals for March (same as last month, need to work better!0

Balance mama & wifey things with blogging life.

Work on commenting and visiting other blogs

Stay ahead of schedule

Read more with the kiddos

March releases I’m excited for:

Alpha Goddess by Amalie Howard

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

March TBR:

Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth

Alpha Goddess by Amalie Howard

I haven’t decided what else I want to get to this month. We’ll see where the reading spirit takes me!

Challenge Update:

I’m involved with three challenges officially; I still need to sign up for a fourth.

Edelweiss & Netgalley challenge: 4/25 (Uninvited and Cruel Beauty)

TBR Pile challenge: 8/11-20 {I can and most likely WILL be increasing my level on this. I’m also not including ARCs in this unless I complete them after the book is released} (The Little Android and A Tale of Two Centuries)

Series challenge: 4/4-6 {I can and most likely will increase my level on this as well} (A Tale of Two Centuries)

Real” Book challenge: 7/21-30 {I have to sign up for this one once I get this post up!} (What to Expect When You’re Expecting and The Ring & the Crown)

How was your February? What’s up for March?

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 2 – 15 February 2014 February 15, 2014

I didn’t do as well the last two weeks as I was hoping, but I’ve gotten a good amount of work done this week to get things back on track! I think I’m well enough ahead now. I got a lot of reading done this week, but virtually none done last week. It happens. I have two kiddos who like to keep life unpredictable at times. Like now, as I’m writing this, my toddler is emptying the toy bin searching for something. Joy! Haha

Completed:

The Little Androidby Marissa Meyer. 3 stars.

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan. 5 stars.

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. 3 stars.

Currently Reading:

The Everything Mother Goose Book by June Rifkin (with the kiddos)

Read to the Kiddos:

The Everything Mother Goose Book by June Rifkin

New to my shelf:

The Ring & the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz (Thanks, Disney Hyperion for the unexpected surprise!!)

Alpha Goddess by Amalie Howard (read now on Netgalley, YAY!)

Many thanks to HarperCollins for these new reads:

Push by Eve Silver

Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard

On the Fence by Kasie West

Sweet Reckoning by Wendy Higgins

The Eye of God by James Rollins (finished copy, unsolicited from William Morrow imprint)

From the library:

Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins (audiobook)

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi (audiobook)

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi (ebook)

 Won:

The Archived by Victoria Schwab (Thanks, @disquietus!)

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 26 January – 2 February 2014 February 2, 2014

So last week didn’t go exactly as planned on getting back on track. I did get posts up so that’s great! (: I am now ready to take on February. I meant to get a bit more done this weekend, but I had a great overnight getaway to Nashville with the hubby for our four year wedding anniversary that’s tomorrow. (: He took me to the Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows, CJ Redwine, and Myra McEntire signing. These ladies are SO much fun! If you ever have the chance to go see any of them, GO! Keep an eye out for some giveaways coming soon. I got some signed goodies for you! I’ll have an event recap up soon. (: How has your week been? Read anything good recently?

Completed:

Defiance by CJ Redwine. 4 stars.

Currently Reading:

The Everything Mother Goose Book by June Rifkin (with the kiddos)

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Read to the Kiddos:

We read bits and pieces of different things. I was bad again and didn’t keep track!

New to my shelf:

The Ring & the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz (ARC from the lovely Jen at Jenuine Cupcakes)

From the library:

The Midnight Heir by Cassandra Clare (audiobook)

 Purchased: 

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows (for giveaway)

Asunder by Jodi Meadows (for Alex!)

Infinite by Jodi Meadows

Everneath by Brodi Ashton (personal & giveaway copies)

Defy the Dark edited by Saundra Mitchell

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Unremembered by Jessica Brody

Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz (for giveaway)

Mind Games by Kiersten White

Parallel by Lauren Miller

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson (signed)

 

 
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