The Whimsical Mama

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

A Bookish Tour June 13, 2016

Filed under: Books — Maura @ 12:01 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Not sure if I have ever done a bookshelf tour post before, but I thought I would do one today. My bookcases are currently stuffed to the gills and will probably be redone or added to in the coming year, but I thought I would give you a glimpse into my organisation. Keep in mind this is strictly my YA books. My children’s, middle grade, and adult bookcases are super hot messes. We recently attempted to reorganise my children’s bookcase, but there are so many that it is still super stuffed and messy haha. The kiddos also need a new bookcase, but hubby isn’t wanting to budge on more bookcases until we remodel downstairs. *sigh* Anyway! Welcome to my shelves!

The first two bookcases are actually small bookcases in my bedroom at the foot of my bed. They were empty for a while until I reorganised my books back in early spring. I decided to move favourite series and oversized books to these bookcases to free up some space on my main YA bookcase. It helped, for like a week until I reorganised that bookcase! haha. Left picture: Top shelf: JK Rowling/Robert Galbraith’s books and Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter books. Bottom shelf: Sarah J Maas, Melissa de la Cruz, and two of the Eragon books that wouldn’t fit anywhere else. Right picture: Top shelf: the rest of  my Harry Potter collection. Companion guides and more foreign editions (German, Spanish, and French). Also Jodi Meadows collection. Still on the hunt for an Incarnate ARC if you can help a girl out! (This shelf is also precarious now. I went to put Mirror King on the bookshelf and it collapsed. I couldn’t find all of the pins to put the shelf back up! Not that the bookcase is in the best of shape anyway haha) Middle shelf (which is laying on the books on the bottom shelf!) is full of oversized books. I just kinda have them shoved on here for this picture because The 5th Wave trilogy is in my June TBR. Bottom shelf: A combo of oversized books and my Maggie Stiefvater collection. Ballad is also in th stack, but I just realised from this angle you can’t see it. Oops!

Now my main YA bookcase in our office/den. We have three big bookcases in our office/den. The first is my Adult/School books. The second is overflow adult with my middle grade collection. The third, above, is my YA. The fourth is the kiddos’ bookcase stuffed full with picture books. If you notice, there are books with flags on them. Those are all unread books. I finally gave up on keeping my TBR books from my read books separate, but wanted a system to ID unread books. This system is not completely foolproof. The kiddos like stealing my flags on books they can reach, like the Ruta Sepetys books in the last picture. Everything easily fit on my bookcase for maybe a month. I’ve been promised floor to ceiling bookcases in my office when we remodel, but I need more space now! I’m thinking I might pick up another bookcase soon. Not sure where I’ll put it yet though! haha. Most of these, excluding the majority of my Melissa de la Cruz, JK Rowling, and Stephenie Meyer books have been accrued in the last four or so years. The bulk coming in since right around when I started blogging. Pretty sure Hubs thinks I have a book hoarding problem. I do not think so!

Anyway, that’s my organisational system. All books on the YA case are alphabetical except a few that have been displaced, but I didn’t feel like completely overhauling my bookcase for one or two books. How do you organise your books? I love the idea of by colour, but I HAVE to have all of my books together by author haha. It bothers me if they’re not!

Advertisements
 

*Blog Tour & Review* Perfect Couple by Jennifer Echols January 11, 2015

 

PERFECT COUPLE

 

***I was granted permission to read this by the publisher in exchange for an honest review as a part of the blog tour hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club. Many thanks to Simon Pulse!***   

 

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

 

***Affiliate links below***

 

Perfect Couple (The Superlatives)

Rating:5 stars
Pub date: 13 January 2015
Publisher:Simon Pulse
Genre:Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Format: eARC provided by the publisher
Status: Book two of The Superlatives series

10979013

Summary:

Perfect Couple is #2 in the Superlatives series about seniors at a Florida high school who are selected for their class’s superlative categories in the yearbook, and how the labels change the way they view themselves and alter the course of their lives.

 Can your heart be put to a popular vote?

 As yearbook photographer, Harper is responsible for capturing those candid moments that make high school memorable. But her own life is anything but picture perfect. Her parents’ bitter divorce has left her wondering what a loving relationship would look like. And ever since the senior class voted her and star quarterback Brody the “Perfect Couple That Never Was,” her friends have been on her case to ask Brody out.

Brody doesn’t lack in female admirers, but Harper can’t see herself with him. He seems confused about why they were matched together, too. They’re total opposites—the last people in the world who would ever be compatible, let alone the “perfect couple.” Yet ever since the class paired the two of them, they’ve found themselves drawn together–first by curiosity, then by an undeniable bond.

 The trouble is, though they’re very attracted to each other and both of them admit this, they have a hard time getting along or even communicating clearly. If they’re the perfect couple, this shouldn’t be so difficult! Soon it becomes clear their class was wrong, and they throw in the towel. But after they walk away, both of them feel so changed from making the effort that they can’t forget each other. What if that means this match made in hell is the perfect couple after all?

 

BOOK LINKS:

 

277872cd3f50d8d0c592b8ccc445b67d

 

Buy Links:
Goodreads
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iTunes
Bookdepository
Kobo

 

OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES


2574dd3c017f7b34834ad71076b82e9a Biggest Flirts (The Superlatives)

(affiliate link)

 

Be sure to check out my review here!

 

b11ee40d580b2a3359715253fbfd9610 Most Likely to Succeed (The Superlatives)
(affiliate link) – coming August 2015!

 

My thoughts:
I must admit, I read this THE DAY I was approved by Simon & Schuster back in the summer. I wrote a RAVING review for it. Somehow, between being a scatterbrained mama of a preschooler and toddler and finishing/starting a review notebook, I have misplaced said review and now get to re-write it! Oh, joyous day! Haha.

If you’ve been around the blog for any amount of reviews, you know I am not the biggest fan of contemporary. Never have been. I am, however, a HUGE Jennifer Echols fan! Many thanks (again) to Mary. I am so honoured to be a part of the second book tour for The Superlatives. I was also a part of the tour for Biggest Flirts.

I am SO in love with these characters. It’s like reliving my group of friends from high school and it’s so great. (: My group of friends was the best. We had a mix of everything just like in Jennifer’s Superlatives. Of the two leading ladies so far, I have always been an equal mix of both. Tia has a giant could give a crap attitude and Harper cares A LOT. There are things I could give a flying rat’s rear in space about, but others, I worry insanely what people will think about it. Thus, equal mix of the two and the ability to relate to them on a deeper level. (I’m not used to this with contemporaries SO!)

I was in marching band like Tia, and I was also head photographer on the yearbook staff much like Harper. (: Thankfully, I didn’t have an a-hole boyfriend as my editor. I did deal with a lot of crap at times, but unlike Harper, I stood my ground. Kennedy is a whole different can of worms that I could relate to, but that is neither here nor there.

Watching Harper’s transformation from shy wallflower, to full blown confident young woman is inspiring. Portrayals of strong girls who can stand up for themselves are very needed in today’s world. Perfect Couple is definitely a book I hope both my son and daughter read as young adults. The way Jennifer showed that a couple can be close without having to have sex was very well done. I may be showing my mama side here, but the casual way of sex in our society is a bit much. (Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the sexy times in Biggest Flirts! But I also enjoyed the steamy makeouts in Perfect Couple too)

Unlike Harper, I didn’t draw the attention of the gorgeous football player. *sigh* I really loved Brody. He’s a guy’s guy and a super sweet guy all at the same time. He helps Harper break out of her shell and understand that she can be who SHE wants to be, not who Kennedy wants her to be, not what she thinks the world wants her to be. *swoons* You can only get the full appreciation of this by reading it to experience just how big of a pain Kennedy is and how awesome Brody is.

A BIG defining force in Harper’s life that I could relate to on the deepest level was her parents’ impending divorce. I often wonder how different my high school experience would be if my parents hadn’t gotten divorced. It’s something that completely changes EVERYTHING. It also contributed to a lot of my relationship insecurities much like Harper. It’s difficult to explain if you haven’t been through it.

This series is spectacular. It tackles a lot of important topics that teens face today. As a mom, I hope that Ladybug has the confidence she can turn to me for anything like Harper turns to her mom. I also hope Punk knows he can come to me too. Once again, Jennifer has hit it out of the park with Perfect Couple! ❤ It makes me even more excited for Most Likely to Succeed because SAWYER! FINALLY IT IS TIME FOR SAWYER. *ahem* Sorry. Do yourself a solid and check out this fabulous series. Please.

 

About the author

JenniferEcholsStanding

Jennifer Echols was born in Atlanta and grew up in a small town on a beautiful lake in Alabama—a setting that has inspired many of her books. She has written nine romantic novels for young adults, including the comedy MAJOR CRUSH, which won the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the drama GOING TOO FAR, which was a finalist in the RITA, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the Book Buyer’s Best, and was nominated by the American Library Association as a Best Book for Young Adults. Simon & Schuster will debut her adult romance novels in 2013, with many more teen novels scheduled for the next few years. She lives in Birmingham with her husband and her son.
http://www.jennifer-echols.com | http://twitter.com/jenniferechols

followthetour

GIVEAWAY

Details: Win (1) of (5) books in the Superlatives series: BIGGEST FLIRTS (Superlatives #1) or PERFECT COUPLE Superlatives #2) by Jennifer Echols (US Only)

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

***affiliate disclaimer: If you purchase through my links on Amazon, the money I receive comes back to benefit the blog! I would appreciate it if you considered to purchase from my links!***

Biggest Flirts (The Superlatives)
Perfect Couple (The Superlatives)
Most Likely to Succeed (The Superlatives)

 

End of the Year Survey 2014 January 3, 2015

Filed under: Books,End of Year Survey — Maura @ 12:00 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2014 End Of Year Book Survey

Last year was my first full year (partially) of blogging. I hit my one year of blogging in July. I didn’t post as much in the summer because I was enjoying as much time with my kiddos as possible. When I was ready to jump back in, the KH incident happened and honestly, it scared me a bit. So, I continued my step back from blogging. The safety of my family comes first and it always will. I’m ready to start blogging again though. I’ve missed it more than I thought I would. It was great to look back on my 2013 End of the Year Survey and then reflect on 2014. Once again, all the graphics are from Jamie.

***Affiliate links used below***

reading-stats-2014

Number Of Books You Read: 210 total, 122 personal reads
Number of Re-Reads: 20 (I really thought it was more!)
Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy (duh)

 best-YA-books-2014

1. Best Book You Read In 2014?

Contemporary:
Find Me


This book. Oh. Wow.

Dystopian:
Defiance (Defiance Trilogy)

I didn’t spend the time on this that it deserved, but it is a beautiful dystopian/fantasy that I can’t wait to re-read and finish the trilogy!

Historical Fiction:
The Ring and the Crown

I’m a glutton for historical fiction AND Melissa de la Cruz books. This book was superb. I absolutely adored the alternate historical timeline that Melissa created. I am DYING for book two. *crosses fingers and toes for an ARC*

Paranormal:
Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone)

Once again, I owe another great new book discovery to Mary. She’s been on my case to read these forever. I still have to finish book three, but these are such a great read!

Science Fiction:
Cress (The Lunar Chronicles)

Not my favourite of the series, but it was still great! I’m looking forward to Fairest: The Lunar Chronicles: Levana’s Story
and Winter this year.

Fantasy:
Illusions of Fate

I have a love-hate relationship with this one. Holy wow that Kiersten created this to be a standalone. Fantasy is not an easy thing to do that way. And GRRRR for this being a standalone! I would love to explore this world more! And look at that cover. BAM!

 

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

After the End


*RAGES FOR DAYS*

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014? 

17 First Kisses


If you know me at all, you know contemporary is NOT my thing. That’s why I was completely shocked by how much I adored this standalone debut!

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?

Oceanborn (The Aquarathi) (English Edition)


I LOVE Amalie and her books. I will push Waterfell (The Aquarathi) and Oceanborn forever! PLEASE HarlequinTeen, I NEED MORE!!!! I definitely pushed it the most, not sure how many people read what I suggest!

 5. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?

These Broken Stars (Starbound)


Though this is technically a standalone, it’s also part of a trilogy and it’s INCREDIBLE. Oh wow. This audiobook. *swoons*

Frozen (Taken)


This definitely does NOT suffer a sophomore slump. So man feels. So much love. Book three noooooooow.

Evertrue: An Everneath Novel


*iz dead* So incredible. So happy I got to meet Brodi and gush over this beautiful series.

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?

Dirty Little Secret


Again, still not a contemporary fan, but (thanks to Mary, duh) I am a HUGE Jennifer Echols fan now!

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Open Road Summer

I seem to owe, Mary a lot for book recommendations! She asked me if I would be interested in reading and reviewing this for Bloomsbury. I said yes! She’s usually good on recommending books I’ll love, so I try to give them a shot. Emery’s debut is spectacular!

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

The One (The Selection)

I don’t know what it was about this trilogy. I could NOT put it down! It was like crack!

 9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

The Jewel

 This debut was fantabulous and I can’t wait for book two!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?

Her Dark Curiosity (Madman’s Daughter)

 

I can’t wait til A Cold Legacy is out and I can have the pretties on my shelf! These covers are gorgeous!

11. Most memorable character of 2014?

Rose Under Fire

 Code Name Verity was rough, but oh, man, Rose Under Fire ripped my heart out and stomped all over it. Rose is just a powerful character!

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?

Kiss of Broken Glass

Being written in verse was a huge switch up for the year and I loved how this flowed. It spoke to me on a deep level and I finished it super quickly.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014?

The Impossible Knife of Memory

Army wife. PTSD. Who I am and what I fear most. Laurie Halse Anderson took a topic supremely close to my heart and showcased it beautifully. I bawled, I laughed, I loved it wholeheartedly. Read it.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read? 

Throne of Glass

I know, I know! Honestly, if I hadn’t had the chance to meet Sarah J Maas at YALLFest, I probably would still be waiting to read it! The wait between Harry Potter books was excruciating. Committing to another long series was just a tough decision. I definitely will love rereading them though!

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?

“You get your energy from being by yourself,” I guessed. This was Harper’s description of the strange phenomenon I did not understand. “Having to talk to a bunch of people at once, especially people you don’t know, makes you feel drained.” Biggest Flirts
Biggest Flirts (The Superlatives)

1. Um. Hello description of me! I swear, Jenn followed me in HS to create her characters in The Superlatives! I see so much of HS me in all of them! ❤

“We don’t choose who we love, her mother had once said. Love sweeps you off your feet like a riptide, and leaves you blind by the time you find your footing on the shore.” Stolen
Stolen: A Novella (Taken)

2. This is so me falling in love with the hubby! I wasn’t expecting it, and I was swept up quickly. So beautiful.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

Little Knife: A Tor.Com Original (THE GRISHA)

Shortest! Oh, this trilogy and its novellas.

What to Expect the First Year

Actual longest, but I didn’t read all of it (again) in 2014.

City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments)

Actual longest completed. Bittersweet feeling.

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

Frozen: Heart of Dread, Book One

I so did NOT think it was possible for MDLC to write something I disliked so much. Guess there always has to be something, right? I was just SO let down with this. UGH!

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

Night of Cake & Puppets (Kindle Single) (Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy)

Zuzana and Mik FOREVS! ❤

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Blue Bloods 3-Book Boxed Set

So, they’re from a re-read like last year’s favourite pair, but OH MAN do I love Oliver & Schuyler’s relationship!

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

The Orphan Queen

Hands down my favourite from a previously read author. HOLY WOW. I’m dying for the Black Knife novellas!

21. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy)

Mary, stop glaring at me through the computer for taking so long to read this! I am so in love with this series! I plan to read it over and over through the years!

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?

The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy)

Oh, Ronan. I loved you so much in The Winner’s Curse. Then reasons.

23. Best 2014 debut you read?

Rites of Passage

This. Book. Read it. Now. Do it. Love it. Tell Joy how much you love it. Kthnxbai

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Snow Like Ashes

Holy wow. This world building. I was THERE. Sara is INCREDIBLE. I can haz book two?

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

The Selection

Stupid grinned through this. The Selection = Twilight for me. I don’t know WHY I love them so much, but I just DO. #TeamMaxon

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?

The Book Thief

Bawled like a freaking baby through physical copy/audiobook and then bawled even harder watching the movie.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

The Falconer: Book 1

So much love for this gem! I’m impatiently waiting to see if the UK will be out in print before ARCs are out here for book 2 to see how I get my hands on it! I need to know THINGS.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

If I Stay

My feels. Dead. Dead, dead, dead. Sobbed so hard.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?

Dark Metropolis

Definitely some unexpected twists in this gem that made it so much better! Definitely an underdog that needs more love!

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Allegiant (Divergent Series)


REASONS. *RAGES FOR YEARS* This is a duology, man. Allegiant does not exist. >.< DEAD TO ME.

.

book-blogging

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014? 

I made friends with a lot of new bloggers on Twitter, but I dropped the ball on checking out their blogs. /: I plan to remedy that in 2015!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014? 

EESH! I can’t pick just one!

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

My Tot Time Thursday feature I started seemed to be getting a lot of hits! I’m excited to see if it will still do well when I start it up again! (:

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

See below! But also, the Brodi/Jodi signing at the beginning of 2014! I love their books so much and it was great to get to meet Brodi Ashton, CJ Redwine, and Myra McEntire in person. And of course, it’s always awesome to get to see Jodi!

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014?

YALLFEST. Hands down, going to YALLFest. Because THESE happened

IMG_4303

Me with Leigh Bardugo *fangirls for days*

IMG_4319

Brendan Reichs!

IMG_4320

SO FLIPPING AWESTRUCK. KATHY FREAKING REICHS.

IMG_4324

Scott Westerfeld!

IMG_4328

LOVED meeting this fantabulous husband-wife duo! ❤

IMG_4334

SUCH a trooper! Her line was ridiculous AND she was sick.

IMG_4340

So happy I got to meet half of the lovely TeaTime ladies! ❤ Aubry!

IMG_4349

*iz dead* So my book didn’t get personalised for timing reasons, BUT I still got to meet her and talk to her! She is SUCH a sweetheart! ❤

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

My Blogoversary post!

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

A lot of them, but I am so thankful for the views of people who have been checking in every day to see if I’ve come back to blogging yet. You guys are AWESOME and I AM BACK because of YOU! ❤

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Bookoutlet and Book Depository!

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I did, I did! I wanted to read 100 for me books and I surpassed it! I also set a Goodreads goal of 200 and I passed it as well. I was involved with a few challenges, but I stopped keeping track of them about halfway through the year. I think I completed most of them though!

 

looking-ahead-books-2015

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015?

Captive (The Blackcoat Rebellion)

I am so excited to see where the action goes next!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?

The Cage

I have adored Megan’s Madman’s Daughter trilogy and I can’t wait to see where her new series goes!

3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Red Queen

This cover. I am so excited! I’ve been seeing some mixed things on it, so I hope I come out loving it!

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2015?

A Cold Legacy (Madman’s Daughter)

I’m so not ready to say goodbye yet!

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2015?

I hope to make sure I read to my children every single day. Doesn’t matter if it’s just a passage from what I’m reading and Punk asks or a children’s book. Just make time for them and read to them.

6. A 2015 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

Burning Kingdoms (The Internment Chronicles)

Pre-order this and read it and Perfect Ruin (The Internment Chronicles)
. Do it. Do it for the kitties. (;

 

Flashback Friday #5: City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare September 12, 2014

Flashback Friday is a feature I started here on The Whimsical Mama featuring books I read before I started blogging. Most reviews will come after rereading the book again. This is a biweekly feature. This week’s selection is:

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

Rating: 5 stars
Pub date: 8 May 2012
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry Books, Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Format: hardcover, personal copy ,audiobook, via library
Status: Book five of The Mortal Instruments series

Summary:
The New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments continues—and so do the thrills and danger for Jace, Clary, and Simon.

What price is too high to pay, even for love? When Jace and Clary meet again, Clary is horrified to discover that the demon Lilith’s magic has bound her beloved Jace together with her evil brother Sebastian, and that Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is out to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. As Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle wheedle and bargain with Seelies, demons, and the merciless Iron Sisters to try to save Jace, Clary plays a dangerous game of her own. The price of losing is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost?

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.

My thoughts:

The reread binge has come to an end for The Mortal Instruments. I ended up forcing myself to take my time with City of Lost Souls because I ended up reading through the series faster than I anticipated. I would’ve started with The Infernal Devices if I had known I’d be able to breeze through soquickly. I still have to say I don’t like Sebastian as an adversary. I still prefer Valentine. Sebastian feels too evil to be believable. The action surrounding him in City of Lost Souls is better than in City of Fallen Angels. The first read, I had a sense of maybe things could’ve changed just like Clary. My second read, I could see that he’s too evil to be redeemed. This time around, I feel like the quest to save Jace is too drawn out. Some of the adventures of Jace, Clary, and Sebastian are too much of page fillers. Also the change in Jace is so drastic, he becomes unlikable for me. A brave move by Clare, but one I wish hadn’t happened. I also feel that Isabelle is abit out of character. I think it works nicely though because she’s never felt the way she does about Simon. That first rush of love is always unsettling even for someone as sure and confident as Izzy. I love that Jordan and Maia are working through their issues. They are easily my favourite couple in this book. I wish we’d gotten to see more of Luke and Jocelyn’s romance. Not delving into it makes me fear for their safety in City of Heavenly Fire. Why put so much work into something you’re going to destroy? The relationship between Clary and Sebastian truly makes my skin crawl. He is definitely one character I absolutely despise. Not just dislike, but outright hatred. I still feel the first trilogy half is the stronger of the two trilogies in this series. City of Lost Souls is stronger than City of Fallen Angels, but I still feel like it’s filler to set up for the epic showdown in City of Heavenly Fire. I have a feeling Jace has a larger role with the heavenly fire part. There is definitely action and unexpected twists which were incredible the first read, but not as thrilling the second time around. I can understand the beating a dead horse feel with more and more books being cranked out in this universe. I’ve already ordered City of Heavenly Fire. I think I will  borrow the next series before deciding to buy it. Hopefully, it will be more on the level of The Infernal Devices and first half of The Mortal Instruments. The more I think about it, the more I feel the second trilogy hasn’t been as well executed.

About the author:

“Cassandra Clare was born overseas and spent her early years traveling around the world with her family and several trunks of fantasy books. Cassandra worked for several years as an entertainment journalist for the Hollywood Reporter before turning her attention to fiction. She is the author of City of Bones, the first book in the Mortal Instruments trilogy and a New York Times bestseller. Cassandra lives with her fiance and their two cats in Massachusetts.”

You can find me online at

http://www.cassandraclare.com

I have a blog:

http://cassandraclare.livejournal.com/

and a Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/Cassandraclare

and a Twitter:

http://www.twitter.com/cassieclare

 

Blogoversary! (And giveaway!) July 10, 2014

I am so blown away that it’s my blogoversary! Okay, it was actually yesterday. You know how in my confessions on Top Ten Tuesday mentioned either way ahead or scrambling on posts? Well, this week has been a scrambling one. I scheduled ahead for vacation, but only through the day we came home. I know, I know.  This year has been an incredible experience. Chock full of hard work and numerous rewards. I’ve said before, but I’ll say it again. This blog is older than a year old. I started blogging in 2011. Aspirations of becoming like Julie in Julie&Julia. That FAILED. Juggling a newborn and a new blog idea while hubby had a travel job just didn’t work. So this sat unused for ages. Then Mary started getting her blog off the ground. I debated jumping back in the blogging world for a long time before I actually committed. This time around, I was juggling a toddler AND a newborn, but hubby no longer traveled with work. Finally, I took the plunge and I never looked back.

The Whimsical Mama would never have been possible without all the support Mary’s given me. She is seriously my number one supporter in ALL THE THINGS. If you don’t know her, she blogs over at Mary Had a Little Book Blog. You should check it out. It’s incredible. Just like her! Mary and I go way back to my freshman year of college. Books have always been a big thing in our friendship and I love how close we are on and off the net. Still sucks that we live so far apart! Mary, you’re the best and I LOVE YOU!

This also wouldn’t be possible without you, dear reader. There are times when I feel like I’m blogging and talking to a wall, but when I see pages views and visitor numbers, it makes my heart soar. I could seriously talk to a wall about books, but knowing that someone, somewhere is checking out The Whimsical Mama, it reassures me that I’m doing the right thing. Thank you for sticking around even though I don’t get to do a lot of giveaways. I am happy that I’m going to be able to do more giveaways now. It’s killed me not to be able to share book love other than just publicity.

Thank you to all the publishers & publicists who have taken a chance on me. Especially Cassie McGinty at Disney Hyperion. She deals with my emails a lot and is always AWESOME! (: I’m so thankful for the opportunities you’ve given this lil ole blogger mama to share the book love. 

OBVIOUSLY ALL THE LOVE goes to the authors too. Let’s face it. They’re the true reason we’re here. Without their hard work, we wouldn’t have anything to gush about! I’ve had the chance to interact with one of my favourite authors (Melissa de la Cruz) and meet and build relationships with so many others. I love you all so much. Major shout out to Amalie Howard and Jodi Meadows. Last summer, many a night, there were hours long chats with Jodi, Mary, and Alex. So many fun times! Jodi took the time to drive down to meet me for lunch when I was up in the Northern VA area. She’s incredible. She’s a lovely lady and incredible author. Read her books. DO IT. Like I said yesterday, I stumbled across Amalie and I’m so happy I did. She’s super awesome and super talented. We haven’t had the chance to meet in person yet, but it will happen and it will be EPIC. I will forever more shout the recommendations about their books. Fo’ sho’.

Now, for the time we’ve all been waiting for! GIVEAWAY TIME! I have a ton of giveaways scheduled for this month and next, but this one is special for my blogoversary (plus the Infinite ARC giveaway). This is going to be a level giveaway. First up is a young adult book of choice (up to $15) from Book Depository! For every 300 entries, I’ll reveal another prize and add another winner. Prizes will be first come first serve if more than one is revealed. *** Prize #2 has been unlocked!!*** ARC of 17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen! (US ONLY) If you don’t follow my giveaway guidelines, I will disqualify you. Don’t make me do it, please. I’ve had to disqualify people from every giveaway I’ve hosted thus far and it’s so disheartening.

 

Giveaway!

This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL (and only open to the countries where Book Depository delivers to) Entrants must be 13 years old to enter. Those entrants under 18 MUST have parental consent. Giveaway is open July 10th 2014 (12am EST) through August 10th 2014 (12am EST). I reserve the right to disqualify entries in violation of my giveaway policies. 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! (: For every 300 entries, I’ll add another prize & winner! Prizes will be revealed at each level! (Book Depository prize ONLY IS International all other prizes are US ONLY. Sorry!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Don’t forget about these giveaways!

 

Kiera Cass Giveaway!

This giveaway is open to US only ( Entrants must be 13 years old to enter. Those entrants under 18 MUST have parental consent. Giveaway is open July 6th 2014 (12am EST) through July 20th 2014 (12am EST). I reserve the right to disqualify entries in violation of my giveaway policies. All entries WILL be verified. Good luck. May the odds be ever in your favor! (: For every 100 entries, I will add another winner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Jodi Meadows Giveaway!

This giveaway is open to US only ( Entrants must be 13 years old to enter. Those entrants under 18 MUST have parental consent. Giveaway is open July 1st 2014 (12am EST) through July 31st 2014 (12am EST). I reserve the right to disqualify entries in violation of my giveaway policies. All entries WILL be verified. Good luck. May the odds be ever in your favor! (:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Flashback Friday #1: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare June 6, 2014

Flashback Friday is a feature I started here on The Whimsical Mama featuring books I read before I started blogging. Most reviews will come after rereading the book again. This is a biweekly feature. This week’s selection is:

 

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

Rating: 5 stars
Pub date: 27 March 2007
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry Books, Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Format: paperback, personal copy,audiobook, via library
Status: Book one of The Mortal Instruments series

Summary:
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.

 

My thoughts:

I think it’s fitting that my first review for Flashback Friday is starting with a binge reread of The Mortal Instruments in preparation for City of Heavenly Fire coming out. I picked up an ebook of City of Bones on sale from Amazon. Mary had recommended it to me in passing, so I decided to get it. Then I saw the announcement that Jamie Campbell Bower had been cast in the upcoming movie. I liked him in Sweeney Todd, Twilight, and Harry Potter, so I decided to read this series. I asked Mary about it again and she said to read it. I devoured the whole series and then The Infernal Devices. The Infernal Devices was read while snuggling my very clingy newborn. She’s Team Jem like her mommy. (;

Anyway. Focus.

Once again, I was immediately sucked back into Cassie’s incredible Shadow World. I’ve been to New York City once, but between The Mortal Instruments and Melissa de la Cruz’s Blue Bloods, I feel that I know it much more than I learned in that single visit. I love that both star in a club scene. I’m much like Simon in not caring for clubs. I’ve only been a handful of times.

I think that Clary is a very strong and magnetic leading lady. She is thrown into a horrific situation and is able to relatively together. I’m sure it’s part of her Shadowhunter legacy over her strengths as a 15/16 year old.

I absolutely love Simon. I think he’s the true scene stealer of City of Bones. As a whole, I consistently love him. Yes, he irks me occasionally, but not as much as others. He’s the best best friend Clary could ever want and most definitely needs. He has a lot thrown at him, but he remains calm and stays by Clary’s side. A true friend for sure, sticking with her through thick and thin.

Jace is a strong personality to swallow. He’s so full of himself that during a first read, it’s easy to dislike him and wonder what the crap Clary is thinking. Multiple reads and it’s still irritating, but you’re more sympathetic to his issues.

Isabelle and Alec are introduced and set up to become excellent secondary characters. Isabelle is so sassy and I love it. Alec is well, Alec. Like Jace, he’s on the rough side to handle in the first read and then he becomes so endearing.

On my list of villains, Valentine is definitely one of the better ones. Much like Voldemort in Harry Potter, he’s a shadowy and feared name an dno one knows if he’s alive or dead. I think not knowing is worse than Valentine himself in City of Bones. I find him a much more intimidating figure in City of Bones the book than the movie. As much as I love Johnathon Rhys-Meyers, I thought he was horribly miscast for Valentine.

For a debut novel, I think City of Bones is a well put together story. The world building and characters are incredible. It’s full of actions and twists and turns. Every time I’ve read it, I’ve breezed through it. I highly recommend it and the series. I think it’s worth the hype. Will all of the future spin off series set in the Shadowhunter universe be as great? I can’t say. I do think this is a good paranormal series that can be enjoyed by young adult readers of all ages.

About the author:

“Cassandra Clare was born overseas and spent her early years traveling around the world with her family and several trunks of fantasy books. Cassandra worked for several years as an entertainment journalist for the Hollywood Reporter before turning her attention to fiction. She is the author of City of Bones, the first book in the Mortal Instruments trilogy and a New York Times bestseller. Cassandra lives with her fiance and their two cats in Massachusetts.”

You can find me online at

www.cassandraclare.com

I have a blog:

http://cassandraclare.livejournal.com/

and a Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/Cassandraclare

and a Twitter:

www.twitter.com/cassieclare

 

Hello June, Goodbye May! June 1, 2014

I am really struggling with how quickly this year is flying by! I got a ridiculous amount of reading done last month. It kinda amazes me just how much I got accomplished. I’m not sure I will be that lucky this month with hubby at a class and me pulling single mama duty. My mom & stepdad are both on summer vacation now from school so I know the kiddos will be pleading to spend more time at Grammy’s & Skipper’s! We’re also planning on spending some time with at my in-laws’ while hubby is gone. My sis-in-law and nephews are coming in from Germany for the summer so cousin time is a must! Some of my best memories growing up are with my cousins and I hope my kiddos are the same.

Books I read in May (in order of completion)

Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore (ARC)

17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen (ARC)

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (audiobook)

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch (ARC)

The Selection, The Prince, The Elite, The Guard, and The One by Kiera Cass

The Bane Chronicles: The Midnight Heir, Rise of the Hotel of Dumort, Saving Raphael Santiago, Fall of the Hotel Dumort, What to But the Shadowhunter Who Has Everything, Last Stand of the New York Institute, The Course of True Love by Cassandra Clare

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls, by Cassandra Clare

 

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

Doc McStuffins A Knight in Sticky Armor by Andrea Posner-Sanchez 

All the Ways I Love You by Dorothea DePrisco

Pete the Cat Play Ball! by James Dean

Pete the Cat Pete’s Big Lunch by James Dean

Pete the Cat Pete at the Beach by James Dean

Pete the Cat Too Cool For School by James Dean

Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses by James Dean

 

Coming up in June
Hubby’s military class

Dark Metropolis Blog Tour

Punk’s birthday

My mom’s birthday

Sis-in-law & nephews coming in from Germany

Trip to VA

 

Goals for June
Work on commenting and visiting other blogs

Read more with the kiddos

Stay ahead of schedule 

 

 

June releases I’m excited for:

Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore

17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen

June TBR:
As You Turn Away by Molli Moran

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry 

Mind Games by Kiersten White

Taken by Erin Bowman

 

Challenge Update:

I’m involved with four challenges officially.

Edelweiss & Netgalley challenge: 12/25 (Dark Metropolis, 17 First Kisses, Snow Like Ashes)

TBR Pile challenge: 38/11-20 {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} (Pandemonium,The Selection, The Prince, The Elite, The Guard, The One, The Bane Chronicles)

Series challenge: 11/4-6 {I can and most likely will increase my level on this as well} (The Selection, The Bane Chronicles)

Real” Book challenge: 26/21-30 (Dark Metropolis, 17 First Kisses, The Selection, The Elite, The One, The Selection Stories – The Prince & The Guard, City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls)

How was your May? What’s up for June?

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 18-24 May 2014 May 24, 2014

Ack! I’m not as ahead as I was on my schedule. I’m still getting a ton read and written, I just have to get it up on here to post. Sheesh. Time is flying by and we’re getting things ready for the summer. Hopefully this week will be a tame one so I can get caught back up on things! (:


Completed:

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (physical copy & audiobook)

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (physical copy & audiobook)

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare (physical copy & audiobook)

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare (physical copy & audiobook)




Currently Reading:

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

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

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare (physical copy & audiobook)



Read to the Kiddos:

I was bad and didn’t keep track. ):


New to my shelf:


From the library:

Narnia audiobooks! (:

 

Top Ten Tuesday #39: Books About Friendship May 20, 2014

b301e-toptentuesday

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 About Friendship

Punk & Ladybug wanted to include two of their favourites about friends. Of course they’re Pete books!

What books made your list this week? These aren’t strictly about friendships, but the friendships in them are some of my favourites.

 

*Blog Tour, Review, & Giveaway* Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols May 12, 2014

biggestflirtsblogtour

***I was granted permission to read this by the publisher in exchange for an honest review as a part of the blog tour hosted by Itching For Books. Many thanks to Simon Pulse!***   

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

biggestflirtscover

 

Rating:5 stars
Pub date:20 May 2014
Publisher:Simon Pulse
Genre:Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Format:eARC provided by the publisher
Status:Book one of The Superlatives series

Summary:

Tia and Will’s lives get flipped upside down when they’re voted Yearbook’s Biggest Flirts in this sassy novel from the author of Endless Summer and The One That I Want.

Tia just wants to have fun. She’s worked hard to earn her reputation as the life of the party, and she’s ready for a carefree senior year of hanging out with friends and hooking up with cute boys. And her first order of business? New guy Will. She can’t get enough of his Midwestern accent and laidback swagger.

As the sparks start to fly, Will wants to get serious. Tia’s seen how caring too much has left her sisters heartbroken, and she isn’t interested in commitment. But pushing Will away drives him into the arms of another girl. Tia tells herself it’s no big deal…until the yearbook elections are announced. Getting voted Biggest Flirts with Will is, well, awkward. They may just be friends, but their chemistry is beginning to jeopardize Will’s new relationship—and causing Tia to reconsider her true feelings. What started as a lighthearted fling is about to get very complicated…

My thoughts:

I am so happy to be a part of the blog tour for Biggest Flirts today! I applied not thinking I would get it and was so happy when I did. I was a bit nervous though. I’m not the biggest fan of contemporary and while I had several Jennifer Echols books on my TBR (thanks to Mary) I had never read anything by her yet. Boy, have I been missing out!

Biggest Flirts really felt a lot like my senior year. I wasn’t a party girl or as big of a flirt as Tia, but goodness, the band memories!

Yes, Iam a marching band alum and that added SO much to my reading experience and brought back so many great memories. SO many memories. The early mornings, hot and humid days, long nights – I was back in the last week of July in East Tennessee all over again. I’m sure the heat and humidity is much worse in Florida though! As a former band kid, each practice scene felt so real. I was instantly transported through time and readers who weren’t in band will still be able to easily imagine the scenes before them. Jennifer does a fantastic job setting the scene in a realistic fashion.

Tia was easy to relate to because she felt so real and vulnerable. There were also girls like Tia in band, so I could relate on that level, too. I related more to her on the academic side than the relationship side. I was smart, but I really hated showing it, because I didn’t want to get hit with tons of responsibility. Also? Music. I stopped practicing flute on purpose so I could be middle of the road and not saddled with any section leader responsibilities. I loved the upperclass leadership responsibilities though!

Will was relatable for me, because I’d had my whole world ripped a part and flipped upside down before, too. I didn’t have to move across the country before my senior year like him, though. My parents got divorced. They ‘hid’ their fighting the summer before eighth grade. They said they didn’t want to ruin my summer or upcoming school year. I remember screaming at them that they were ruining my life, not just my summer. It’s definitely not a fun thing to have your whole world destroyed and my heart went out to Will.

I really enjoyed the banter between Will and Tia. It reminded me so much of me and my best guy friend in high school. There were times when we argued for the sake of arguing. It was definitely realistic cause I’ve been there! haha. I’m sure it would’ve been much worse and much more like Tia and Will had we been in the same section. He was a drummer so that made the connection even better. Goofy drummers! (I can trash on drummers since I married one! haha) 

As well as two strong main characters, they are surrounded by a great cast of secondary characters. I can’t wait to read some of their stories in the future books. It was great to see an interesting mix of personalities in Tia’s circle. Again, I was reminded of my time in high school. Believe it or not, band kids aren’t complete nerds and isolationists! (: We DO have friends outside of the inner circle of band. Not all band kids are friends either. 

Biggest Flirts was a fast and enjoyable read. As a fan of leaving the real world when I read, I loved this contemporary and definitely plan on checking out more of Jennifer’s books (including the rest of this series as they release!). I’m definitely becoming a Jennifer Echols fan! Many thanks to Mary for introducing me to her books, Shane for letting me be a part of the tour, and Jennifer for writing such an enjoyable story!

**Favourite Quotes**

Drum corps were basically marching bands with super powers. I have always admired drum corps! I love watching their competitions and have known a few people to march in the corps. Badass. All hail the drum corps.

“You get your energy from being by yourself,” I guessed. This was Harper’s description of the strange phenomenon I did not understand. “Having to talk to a bunch of people at once, especially people you don’t know, makes you feel drained.” Oh, man. Tia is describing Will, but this totally fits for me too. 

“I’m the king of the world,” he murmured. In a sexy satisfied tone that most chicks would use to reaffirm their love, I said, “You are the king of the dorks.” LOVE IT! (;

“Mr. Matthews, get off Ms. Cruz. I’m starting to sound like a broken record.” 

About the author

JenniferEcholsStanding

Jennifer Echols was born in Atlanta and grew up in a small town on a beautiful lake in Alabama—a setting that has inspired many of her books. She has written nine romantic novels for young adults, including the comedy MAJOR CRUSH, which won the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the drama GOING TOO FAR, which was a finalist in the RITA, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the Book Buyer’s Best, and was nominated by the American Library Association as a Best Book for Young Adults. Simon & Schuster will debut her adult romance novels in 2013, with many more teen novels scheduled for the next few years. She lives in Birmingham with her husband and her son.
http://www.jennifer-echols.com | http://twitter.com/jenniferechols

GIVEAWAY

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 
%d bloggers like this: