The Whimsical Mama

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

Top Ten Tuesday #52: Places I Want to Visit October 14, 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 Places I Want to Visit

affiliate links used

I have been to lots of places. Literally and metaphorically. I have been blessed with chances to travel the world. These are places (real & fictional) that I would love to visit/visit again!

1. Scotland. I’ve been to Scotland. I would go back in a hot minute. The Falconer by Elizabeth May DOES NOT HELP THIS DESIRE. OH MAN. I can haz Edinburgh plz?

2. Hogwarts. Um. DUH. I’m STILL convinced my Hogwarts letter got lost in the mail. Definitely being carried by an owl as unreliable as Errol.

3. Russia. The Grishaverse isn’t *technically* Russia, but c’mon. As heavy as the Russian theme is, I want to go. *FYI, Russia has loooooong been on my to travel to list, but now I have a series to say influenced it too!*

4. Cinque Terre & Florence, Italy. I’ve been to Italy. It’s awesome. Every time I read Blue Bloods though, I want to go back to Europe. Especially Cinque Terre & Florence. Yes.

5. Manhattan. Again, I’ve been to NYC, but after every Blue Bloods reread, I want to go and thoroughly explore NYC/Manhattan.

 

6. Cair Paravel. Seriously. What kid doesn’t want to go to Narnia?

7. Rivendell. Hubby would agree with me on this one. (: He does judge me for liking the movies over the books though. Read them once. Never again!

8. Tara. I’ve been to Ireland, really don’t remember it cause I got sick. /: However, I ADORE Artemis Fowl and want to go back to Ireland and see Artemis & Holly’s stomping grounds.

9. Prague. Honesty moment. I haven’t read Daughter of Smoke and Bone yet. It’s on the immediate TBR. I know it takes place in Prague, and I’ve always wanted to go… SO. It’s a legit want to go cause of a book. (;

10. La Jolla/San Diego/Waterfell. Yes, please. Thank you, Waterfell! A major plus would be if Lo is there too. (; Amirite, Amalie?

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*Review* Oceanborn & Seamonster by Amalie Howard October 9, 2014

Oceanborn (The Aquarathi) (English Edition) (affiliate link)

Waterfell (The Aquarathi)

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

***I received a finished paperback from Harlequin Teen, Amalie Howard, & Jennifer Abbotts, I decided to review on my own. Being provided with a copy in no way swayed my opinion.***
Rating: 5 stars
Pub date: 29 July 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Format: paperback provided by Harlequin Teen
Status: book two of the Aquarathi series

Summary:
The coronation is over.
But the battle has just begun.
Nerissa Marin has won her crown. But can she keep it? Already, her ties to the human realm are driving a wedge between Nerissa and her people. When word arrives that her part-human prince consort, Lo, has been poisoned, she makes the difficult choice to leave Waterfell and return landside. As the royal courts debate her decision, even more disturbing rumors surface: a plot is rising against her, led by someone she least expects.
On land, Nerissa learns another shocking truth: Lo does not remember who she is. As her choice to try to save him threatens her hold on her crown, changing loyalties and uncertainty test her courage in ways she could never have imagined. Nerissa will have one last chance to prove herself as a queen …and save the undersea kingdom she loves

My thoughts:
Oh, wow. Once again, Amalie blew me away with her incredible underwater world of Waterfell. Even better that I revisited it in a two book and one novella binge read. The ocean fascinates me and Amalie takes a brilliant idea and runs with it. FANTASTIC.
The action and drama had perfect flow and ebbs. Everything builds until the wave breaks. Okay, I’ll stop with the puns and be serious (well as serious as I can be while utterly fangirling!)
Right off, Amalie hits you right in the feels. Or at least she destroyed mine! Lo’s in danger?! OH NO SHE DIDN’T! I really admire Rissa’s courage to face her royal duties as well as her land troubles. All while pulling time in high school.
Rissa, again, really grew as a character. She still has a strong stubborn and impulsive streak, but she’s also more grounded due to her bond with Lo. She’s also learned that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness.
I was blown away with the transformation in Lo. Not cool, Amalie. Not cool. It was difficult to watch Rissa watch Lo become an entirely different person. I was chewing my nails like crazy waiting for the outcome. EEP!

Once again Amalie’s snark was spot on and it seemed like everyone had a chance to shine with snarky brilliance. The quips between Rissa and Jenna were my favourite. Jenna’s a tough one. Not easily cracked and constantly on her toes. Some of her ideas were a bit harebrained and brilliant all at once.

It was hard for me to come to terms with how long it took me to read. I managed to re-read Waterfell in a few days. The cards were stacked against me and it took me a week to complete. Much like blogging recently, the kiddos have been a bit demanding and taking up more of my time. Normally, that would impact my rating and reading experience, but not this time. It constantly had me thinking about it even when I couldn’t read. I mulled over what I’d read and contemplated which direction Amalie would take.

For a hot minute, I feared Amalie would leave this as a duology. Then the twist I was hoping for happened! It resulted in a massive cliffhanger, but YAY MORE WATERFELL!

There was one character that genuinely surprised me and it brought tears to my eyes. I was happy forthe closure, even if it was a painful moment.

After the pain of Speio’s betrayal in Waterfell, I was happy to see him redeemed in Oceanborn. Events at the end have me super surprised though!

Ultimately, Oceanborn was all I wanted and more. I’m so distressed with the cliffhanger. AHHHH!!!! I could sing this series’s praises all day long. I highly recommend it. Fantastic characters and an incredible parallel world. Brava Amalie! Book three please? (:

SEAMONSTER: An Aquarathi Novella (The Aquarathi)(affiliate link)

 

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

Rating: 5 stars
Pub date: 17 June 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Format: ebook, personal copy
Status: novella of the Aquarathi series

Summary:
They say that love is the death of duty …
Speio Marin is land-bound, tied to the side of the Waterfell queen-to-be, Nerissa. There’s only one problem–she wants nothing to do with any of the Aquarathi or her undersea kingdom, preferring instead the freedom of pretending to be human. Torn between his own desires and his duty to serve his future queen, he spirals into an abyss of malcontent. Speio’s mistrust of humans is no secret, and he sees them only as a threat to the existence of his people.
Until he meets Anya Delmonico–a mysterious and enigmatic girl, teetering on the edge of survival. Anya is sedate and secretive, yet reckless enough to brave a hundred-foot cliff jump. Caught between a dark past and an ex-boyfriend who refuses to let her go, Anya knows that getting involved with anyone new is the last thing she should do. But when her past catches up to her, Speio turns out to be the only one she can trust, refusing to let her face her demons alone.
When Anya discovers the truth about Speio, putting her life in mortal danger from the Aquarathi as well as her own sinister pursuers, will he risk everything to protect her? Or will he choose duty above all?

My thoughts:
Oh, Spey. I love you so much now. After hating him SO hard at the end of Waterfell, Amalie does an incredible job giving some a glimpse into his mind. My heart melted and warmed to him. It was a great way to whet my appetite while waiting for Oceanborn. Can’t wait to see how he continues to redeem himself! Just read it! It’s so great!

About the author:

AMALIE HOWARD grew up on a small Caribbean island where she spent most of her childhood with her nose buried in a book or being a tomboy running around barefoot, shimmying up mango trees and dreaming of adventure. 22 countries, surfing with sharks and several tattoos later, she has traded in bungee jumping in China for writing the adventures she imagines instead. She isn’t entirely convinced which takes more guts. She is the author of several young adult novels critically acclaimed by Kirkus, PW and Booklist, including Waterfell, The Almost Girl, and Alpha Goddess, a Spring 2014 Kid’s INDIE NEXT title. Her debut novel, Bloodspell, was an Amazon best seller and a Seventeen Magazine Summer Read. She currently resides in New York with her husband and three children. Visit her at amaliehoward.com.

 

Hello September, Goodbye July & August! September 7, 2014

Due to a goof and lapse in blogging, this month says goodbye to TWO months! Haha. I can’t believe it’s September. Wow. This year just keeps flying by. I’m happy for some cooler temperatures to be coming soon (hopefully! I live in the South and things have been super hot lately!) Life’s been changing quickly around our house and it’s taking some time to get adjusted to and a schedule worked out. Thank you SO MUCH to those who have stuck around with me through this summer and drop in blogging. I still have to announce my blogoversary winners, so keep an eye out in your inbox cause you might just be my winners! (: Still hoping I can go to YALLFEST in November and if I do, there will be signed giveaways in the future! (: I hope you’re doing well! Fill me in! How was your summer?!

 

Books I read in July & August (in order of completion)

Siege & Storm, Ruin & Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Seamonster by Amalie Howard

Perfect Couple by Jennifer Echols(eARC)

Too Clever Fox, The Little Knife by Leigh Bardugo

Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine Kuderick(eARC)

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Waterfell & Oceanborn by Amalie Howard

Rites of Passage by Joy Hensley(ARC)

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

The Queen’s Vow by CW Gortner

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

If I Stay & Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Salvage by Alexandra Duncan(ARC)

The Jewel by Amy Ewing(eARC)

 

Books with the kiddos: (I mostly kept track!)

all the Pete books! Other than that, I didn’t really do well keeping track! OOPS!

 

Coming up in September:

lots of family birthdays!

Hubby’s unit’s family day

 

Reviews posted

Tot Time Thursday #2: Pete the Cat Pete’s Big Lunch by James Dean

 

Flashback Friday #2: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

*Mini Review & Giveaway* The Prince & The Guard by Kiera Cass

*Review & Giveaway* The One by Kiera Cass

*Blog Tour & Review* 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen

*Review* Mind Games by Kiersten White

*ARC Review* Perfect Lies by Kiersten White

Tot Time Thursday #3: Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses

Flashback Friday #3: City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

Flashback Friday #4: City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

Most visited

 

Blogoversary! (And giveaway!)

 

Goals for August
Work on commenting and visiting other blogs

Read more with the kiddos

Get back on track and stay ahead of schedule


 

 

September releases I’m excited for:

RITES OF PASSAGE!!!!!!

The Jewel

Vampires of Manhattan

SO MANY MORE CAUSE ALL THE BOOKS COME OUT THIS MONTH

 

 

September TBR:
The Young Elites

Vampires of Manhattan

Find Me

Illusions of Fate

THE ORPHAN QUEEN (sampler BUT STILL OMG)

 

Challenge Update:

I’m involved with four challenges officially.

Edelweiss & Netgalley challenge: 19/25 (Perfect Couple, Kiss of Broken Glass, Poisoned Apples – DNF not counting in total, Rites of Passage, The Jewel)

TBR Pile challenge: 54/11-20 {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} (Siege & Storm, Ruin & Rising, Seamonster, Oceanborn, The Queen’s Vow, Open Road Summer, If I Stay, Where She Went, Salvage)

Series challenge: 14/4-6 {I can and most likely will increase my level on this as well} (Grisha, Aquarathi )

Real” Book challenge: 33/21-30 (Siege & Storm, Ruin & Rising, Waterfell, Oceanborn, Rites of Passage, Open Road Summer)

How was your July & August? What’s up for September?

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 20-26 July 2014 July 26, 2014

Well… my streak of posting every day this month went bust this week. Ah well. I’ll try again in August! I fell behind in posting and have struggled to get caught back up. The office is almost completely cleaned up and organised. I’ll post some pictures once I’m completely done in there. The den is organised now too. Kids have bins for their toys and they’re easily accessible instead of all dumped in a giant tote. As a result of lots of working in the office, I finished Clockwork Prince and listened to all of Clockwork Princess this week. Now I have to figure out what to listen to next! Punk’s very belated birthday party is today and we’re super excited. It’s a pirate party! (Jake and the Neverland Pirates)


Completed:

Oceanborn by Amalie Howard

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare (paperback & audiobook) 

Rites of Passage by Joy Hensley (ARC)

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare (paperback & audiobook)

 

Currently Reading:

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

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

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

 

 

Read to the Kiddos:
Read to Tiger by S.J. Fore

Peanuts by Charles Schultz (Punk picked this out at the B&N Pop Cultured event!)


New to my shelf:

Atlantia by Ally Condie (sampler, B&N, extra copies to giveaway)

The Young Elites by Marie Lu (sampler, B&N, extra copies to giveaway)

The Way of Kings & Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (for hubby, sampler, B&N, extra copy to giveaway)

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (sampler, B&N, extra copy to giveaway)

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige (sampler, B&N)

Peanuts by Charles Schultz (Punk picked this out! sampler, B&N)

The Punkydoos Take the Stage by Jennifer Jackson (The kiddos don’t know they’ve won this yet! They’re getting it at Punk’s party today! Thanks Book Rock Betty and Disney-Hyperion!)

 

From the library:

as usual, more audiobooks! (:

 

Waiting on Wednesday #38: Oceanborn by Amalie Howard July 9, 2014

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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:

Oceanborn (The Aquarathi #2)

 By: Amalie Howard

 Coming: 29 July 2014

 Publisher: Harlequin Teen

 

 Summary:
The coronation is over.

But the battle has just begun.

Nerissa Marin has won her crown. But can she keep it? Already, her ties to the human realm are driving a wedge between Nerissa and her people. When word arrives that her part-human prince consort, Lo, has been poisoned, she makes the difficult choice to leave Waterfell and return landside. As the royal courts debate her decision, even more disturbing rumors surface: a plot is rising against her, led by someone she least expects.

On land, Nerissa learns another shocking truth: Lo does not remember who she is. As her choice to try to save him threatens her hold on her crown, changing loyalties and uncertainty test her courage in ways she could never have imagined. Nerissa will have one last chance to prove herself as a queen …and save the undersea kingdom she loves.

 

Why I’m excited:

 OMG I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS BOOK!!!!!! I absolutely adore Amalie. She’s so sweet and wonderful. I discovered her during the 2013 Fall YASH and I’ve never looked back. I won her giveaway for a signed ARC of Waterfell. I read it. I LOVED IT! I raved about it. I still rave about it. OH MAN. Rissa is a great character and don’t even get me started on Lo. BTW. Dibs. DIBS DIBS DIBS. Lo is MINE. *glares* Anyway. I’m so excited to see where the action picks up. OMG I NEED IT NOOOOOOOOW. It’s even worse knowing I have a copy heading my way from Amalie. The wait is excruciating. I just read Seamonster over the holiday weekend and adored it as well. Keep an eye out for my review and a giveaway coming up in the next few weeks. (: Reading it only made it worse. I MUST KNOW MORE!!!

 

Why I need you to be excited:

 Sea aliens. Drama. HOT GUYS. Yes. Guys. Well. Guy cause Lo is off limits cause he is MINE. IT’S GONNA BE AWESOME! I could go on and on about why you need to read this book. But I won’t. Just do yourself a favour and order Waterfell and Oceanborn. Just do it. DO IT. I NEED YOU TO GET PUMPED UP FOR THE AWESOMENESS!!!! *flails everywhere* THREE MORE WEEEEEEEEKS!!!

 

 
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