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
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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!

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Goodbye October – February, Hello March! March 8, 2016

After another extended hiatus, I’ve decided I’m itching to get back to blogging. I’m not going to try to stick to a strict schedule right off the bat. Just kinda ease back into things. I am a stay at home mom and currently back in school to get my bachelor’s degree, so I’ll probably pop in and post every now and then. Try to get a few things scheduled ahead! Anyway, a quick recap of the end of 2015 and the start of 2016. October brought another birthday for me and Hallowe’en! I dressed up with the kiddos. I was Loki, Punk was Captain America, and Bug was her beloved Cinderella “Rella.” In November, my (ex)step-family lost a wonderful lady in my step-great-grandmother. She was truly a beautiful lady. Punk had a really hard time accepting that we lost my great-grandmother in July and then her in November. He wanted to know why we couldn’t go to Heaven and visit and why they couldn’t come back. It was a hard adjustment for him. We celebrated Thanksgiving in Northern Virginia with hubby’s family. It was a blast! It’s always a great time to get to go up and visit. I didn’t get to make it down to YALLFest, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to go this year. December brought a three week long military class for hubby. The kiddos had a pretty rough time with daddy gone. Poor Punk thought Daddy wouldn’t be home for Christmas. But! He was! And Christmas was fantastic. We celebrated Christmas at home this year and Santa was very good to the kiddos. Punk scored 13 different big boy Lego sets! He was in hog heaven! January brought a new chapter to my life. I (finally) started back taking classes to finish my bachelor’s degree in General Studies. All online classes, but it’s finally happening. February was rather uneventful. We’ve gotten some good snowfalls this year too! Now we’re up to March and I’m ready for spring (I think!)

 

A big thing that I want to change in getting back into blogging is that I’m not going to attempt to post every day and I’m also going to introduce a new feature. It’ll be called Friday Feasts and I’ll basically post a review of a meal we’ve done recently. We’re doing HelloFresh occasionally and I’ll definitely include those meals. AND if you’re interested, I do have a discount code if you’d like to try HelloFresh for yourself! Leave me a comment or shoot me a message on Twitter (@armywife2310)

 

Books I read October 2015 – February 2016 (In order of completion)

The Fiery Trial by Cassandra Clare

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

The Prophecy by Erin Rhew

The Outlanders by Erin Rhew

The Fulfillment by Erin Rhew

Born to Endless Night by Cassandra Clare

Angels Twice Descending by Cassandra Clare

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Cress by Marissa Meyer

Winter by Marissa Meyer

Fairest by Marissa Meyer

This Night So Dark by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner

These Broken Stars by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner

This Shattered World by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner

The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm-boy by Alexandra Bracken

So You Want to Be a Jedi? by Adam Gidwitz

The Favourite by Kiera Cass

Beware the Power of the Dark Side by Tom Angleberger

Their Fractured Light by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner

My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins et al

The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Dream of the Rood by Cynewulf

Beowulf by Unknown

 

Coming Up in March

SEYA Festival in Murfreesboro!

Spring Break (mine)

Spring Break (Punk)

Bug’s birthday

 

Goals for March

Juggle student life, mama life, and blogging life!

Write some reviews and posts

Try to get ahead and stay ahead on blogging

 

March Releases I’m Excited For

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

The Black Knife by Jodi Meadows

The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

 

March TBR

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Mirror King by Jodi Meadows

The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

Books for class

 

2016 Reading Challenge (completed in bold)

A book based on a fairy tale

A National Book Award Winner

A YA Bestseller

A book you haven’t read since high school

A book set in your home state

A book translated to English: Dream of the Rood by Cynewulf

A romance set in the future: Their Fractured Light by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner

A book set in Europe: The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory

A book that’s under 150 pages: The Hidden Prince by Jodi Meadows

A New York Times Bestseller

A book that’s becoming a movie this year

A book recommended by someone you just met

A self-improvement book

A book you can finish in a day

A book written by a celebrity

A political memoir

A book at least 100 years older than you: Beowulf by Unknown

A book that’s more than 600 pages

A book from Oprah’s Book Club

A science-fiction novel

A book recommended by a family member

A graphic novel

A book that is published in 2016

A book with a protagonist who has your occupation

A book that takes place during summer

A book and its prequel

A murder mystery

A book written by a comedian

A dystopian novel

A book with a blue cover: My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins et al

A book of poetry

The first book you see in a bookstore

A classic from the 20th century

A book from the library

An autobiography

A book about a road trip

A book about a culture you’re unfamiliar with

A satirical book

A book that takes place on an island

A book that’s guaranteed to bring you joy

 

 

 

 

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

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

Top Ten Characters I Want to Check-In With

 

affiliate links used

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9. Ana and Sam from Incarnate Trilogy.

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

10. June and Day from Legend Trilogy.

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

BONUS: Hayley Kincain from The Impossible Knife of Memory.

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

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

Add the books on Goodreads:

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 16 November 2014 – 4 April 2015 April 4, 2015

Filed under: Book Review,Books,Weekly Reading Review — Maura @ 11:57 pm
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It feels good to be back! After a break for summer, then drama stirring every time I was ready to jump back in, I was afraid I might just hang up my blogger hat. The idea to start a blog for some of the adventures with the kiddos has sparked the desire to fully jump back in the YA blogging world too. I can’t let drama get me down from about what I’m passionate!

Instead of trying to do a FULL recap from NOVEMBER until now, I’ll just let my reading speak for itself and start back with recaps next week. I will recount as best as I can remember on books I’ve gotten. No hope on library books except for what I have on hand now though. I will still include books I get/read with the kiddos, but there will no longer be Tot Time Thursday reviews/posts. All things children’s lit, homeschooling, etc will be over on our new blog Voyages of the Backyard Explorers!

affiliate links used below

Completed: (Starting in November til today)

Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano
Burning Kingdoms by Lauren DeStefano
No Intention of Dying by Lauren DeStefano
The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
The Strange Case of Finley Jayne by Kady Cross
The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross
The Dark Discovery of Jack Dandy by Kady Cross
Die Once More by Amy Plum
The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd
Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd
A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd
The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer
Gilt by Katherine Longshore
The Eternity Code by Eoin Colfer
Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception by Eoin Colfer
Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony by Eoin Colfer
The Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer
Tarnish by Katherine Longshore
Brazen by Katherine Longshore
Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel

Read with the Kiddos
Ladybug Girl and the Dress-up Dilemma
City Adventures #1: Help Is On The Way! (Lego Reader)
Ten Rules of Being a Superhero (Christy Ottaviano Books)
Ninja!
Bitty Baby and Me
What Is a Princess? (Disney Princess) (Step into Reading)
Scuffy the Tugboat and His Adventures Down the River
Tiny Toons Adventure: Happy Birthday, Babs!
Luke Goes to Bat
The Gingerbread Kid Goes to School (Penguin Young Readers, L2)
Potty (Leslie Patricelli board books)
Dinosaurs Before Dark (Magic Tree House, No. 1)
On the Night You Were Born
The Knight at Dawn (Magic Tree House, No. 2)
A Perfectly Messed-Up Story
Murray’s First Book of Words (Sesame Street First Board Books)

Currently Reading:
Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan
Mummies in the Morning (Magic Tree House, No. 3)
Pirates Past Noon (Magic Tree House, No. 4)

New to Our Shelves:
From My OTSP Secret Sisters (last round and current round)
Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
The Archived by Victoria Schwab
The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter
The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter
Twisted Fate
The Last Apprentice (Revenge of the Witch)
The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory
The Lady of the Rivers: A Novel (The Cousins’ War)
The White Queen (The Cousins’ War)
The Red Queen (The Cousin’s War)
This Shattered World: A Starbound Novel

From Mary:
Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, Book 1)
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

Giveaways/Book Swaps/ARCs
Maid of Wonder by Jennifer McGowan
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
Let the Sky Fall
Fairest: The Lunar Chronicles: Levana’s Story
Rebel Angels (The Gemma Doyle Trilogy Book #2)
Extraction by Stephanie Diaz
Rebellion by Stephanie Diaz

Library:
Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel
The Artemis Fowl #2: Arctic Incident Graphic Novel 1st (first) Edition by Colfer, Eoin (2009)
Artemis Fowl The Eternity Code Graphic Novel
Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception Graphic Novel (Artemis Fowl (Graphic Novels))
Captive (The Blackcoat Rebellion)
Maid of Secrets (Maids of Honor)
Tarnish by Katherine Longshore
Brazen by Katherine Longshore
Gilt by Katherine Longshore

Purchased:
Gilt by Katherine Longshore
The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
Maid of Secrets (Maids of Honor)
Maid of Deception (Maids of Honor)
Origin by Jessica Khoury
Juliet Immortal
Venom (Secrets of the Eternal Rose)
The Scorpio Races
Red Riding Hood
Playing Dirty by Jennifer Echols
Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion)
The Girl of Fire and Thorns

How’ve you been lately? Read anything good recently? Have you checked out our new blog extension yet? Tot Time Thursday now has its own blog at Voyages of the Backyard Explorers!

 

*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

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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

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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
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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

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Me with Leigh Bardugo *fangirls for days*

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Brendan Reichs!

IMG_4320

SO FLIPPING AWESTRUCK. KATHY FREAKING REICHS.

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Scott Westerfeld!

IMG_4328

LOVED meeting this fantabulous husband-wife duo! ❤

IMG_4334

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

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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. (;

 

Top Ten Tuesday #57: Winter 2014 TBR November 25, 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 on My Winter TBR

 

I was doing better with my TBR lists! (Winter 2013 6/10 Fall2013 3/10 Spring TBR 2014 6/11  Summer 2014 3/10 ) I read 2/10 for Fall 2014 I’m a huge mood reader, what can I say? I do plan on reading a bunch of published books for a while excluding a few ARCs I just can’t wait to read.

affiliate links used

1.Burning Kingdoms (The Internment Chronicles)

2. The Orphan Queen

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

4. Red Queen

5. The 5th Wave

6. Deception (Defiance Trilogy)

7. Something Strange and Deadly

8. In the Shadows

9. Bloodspell

10. Captive (The Blackcoat Rebellion)

Tell me, what’s on YOUR TBR for this winter? Anything good I should add to my ever growing pile? (: Thanks for stopping by!

 

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

 

Flashback Friday #4: City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare August 29, 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: 4 stars
Pub date: 5 April 2011
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry Books, Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Format: paperback, personal copy ,audiobook, via library
Status: Book four of The Mortal Instruments series

Summary:

The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And—most importantly of all—she can finally call Jace her boyfriend.

But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering Shadowhunters, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her—his mother just found out that he’s a vampire, and now he’s homeless. When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: she herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.

The stakes are higher than ever in the #1 New York Times bestselling fourth installment of the Mortal Instruments series.

My thoughts:

The first book of the second trilogy of The Mortal Instruments series feels a bit off par to the first three books. It picks up shortly after the events of City of Glass. Jace and Clary are happily together though Jace is having some issues. Simon is struggling dating Isabelle and Maia and fails to see how that’s a bad idea.

The plot is exciting and the twist at the end is mind blowing. I honestly don’t know why this feels lacking compared to the others. Maybe because things felt like they were pretty neatly tied up and now a new series of events are stirring up. I also like Valentine as a villain much better than Sebastian – or Lilith.

I did like that we have a bit of perspective toss up. It’s a progressive adjustment from the beginning of the series and I think it works nicely. I especially love the Malec scenes. They’re my favourite couple.

My favourite non couple pairing for scenes was Simon and Jace. I love the bickering. It’s the best. It’s even better when Kyle is thrown in.

I liked getting to see the background between Jordan Kyle and Maia. It’s a very tragic story but great that they’re going to have a chance to work through things.

My first read of The Mortal Instruments after reading The Infernal Devices, I was super excited to see Brother Zachariah. I wish there’d been more of him in it.

I still recommend this series, I just recommend the first trilogy half more strongly than I recommend the second set. This could change once I read City of Heavenly Fire. I do love City of Lost Souls as well. I’m just less than thrilled with City of Fallen Angels. As great as the first three are, I feel all this one does is set up the next trilogy.

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

 

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! (:

 

 
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