The Whimsical Mama

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

Goodbye May – September, Hello October! October 1, 2015

Filed under: Books,Hello Goodbye Monthly Review — Maura @ 12:05 am
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I really can’t believe how quickly this year is flying by! It’s really kinda ridiculous. Totally meant to update May in June. That didn’t happen. Summer was HECTIC. Hoping autumn will be a bit more forgiving and laid back haha. I had a great summer and got a good amount of reading done. For a quick summer recap: In May, I did a down and back trip to Nashville with my friend Lauren to see Sarah J Maas on her ACOTAR tour. AMAZING. Talked publishing and books for hours with the incredible Lizzy Mason. One of hubby’s cousins got married and it was super awesome to get to see part of his family! In June, our English Mastiff, Maggie, was diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy. Her back left leg is limp and drags. She has good days and bad days. There’s no treatment or cure. She’s learned to compensate for the weakness. We’re enjoying her every minute that we can. We know that sooner, rather than later, that we’re going to have to put her down. She’s super excited to be an indoor dog again though! June also brought hubby’s Annual Training with the National Guard. Maggie got sick THE DAY BEFORE he had to leave. It’s always something, I’m telling ya! July brought two beach trips. The kiddos and I went to Northern VA to visit hubby’s side of the family for the Fourth of July at the family cottage on the Potomac. SO MUCH FUN! Bug kept trying to figure out a way to get the newest baby in the family home. HER BABY. Haha. I celebrated my second book blogging anniversary, without actually doing anything. Oops! We also went to the beach with my mom and step-dad. The kiddos love the beach. I am super proud that I made the 6 1/2 hour and 8 hour beach drives solo with the kiddos. We also said goodbye to my 94 year old great-grandmother in July. It was hard. August brought Hubby’s 30th birthday! We also went to the fair with my (ex)step-dad. The kids had such a blast. Bug wanted to ride the BIG rides so bad and was quite upset she was too young. She loved the carousel and the pony rides though. Punk loved the animal exhibits. Punk also started pre-k this year. It hit me hard that I now have a school age kid! He’s loving it and I love that he’s loving it. I’m really enjoying the chance to have some one on one time with Bug. There are some days that she cries and doesn’t want to take Bubby to school. There are others that she cries because she doesn’t want to go pick him up! She’s sitting in my lap now as I work on this post haha. September was a bit more relaxed. Hubby’s unit had family day and we also went to an MTSU home game. That was a looooong day! Five hour drive down and back after a full day of fun! Now it’s on to October! I love October. Autumn is in full swing. My birthday is this month and so is HALLOWE’EN! How was your summer?

affiliate links used

Books I read in May-September (in order of completion)
The Whitechapel Fiend by Cassandra Clare
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
White Hot Kiss by Jennifer Armentrout
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
The Goddess Hunt (Goddess Test) by Aimee Carter
Goddess Interrupted (Goddess Test Book 2) by Aimee Carter
The Goddess Inheritance (A Goddess Test Novel) by Aimee Carter
The Goddess Legacy (The Goddess Queen / The Lovestruck Goddess / Goddess of the Underworld / God of Thieves / God of Darkness (Goddess Test) by Aimee Carter
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
The Heir (The Selection) by Kiera Cass
A Darker Shade of Magic: A Novel by VE Schwab
Nothing but Shadows (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy Book 4) by Cassandra Clare
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
A Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano
The Hidden Prince (Orphan Queen Novella 1) by Jodi Meadows
The Queen: A Novella by Kiera Cass
The Evil We Love (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy Book 5) by Cassandra Clare
The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
Vicious by VE Schwab
Most Likely to Succeed (The Superlatives) by Jennifer Echols
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog
The Isle of the Lost: A Descendants Novel by Melissa de la Cruz
Pale Kings and Princes (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy Book 6) by Cassandra Clare
The Assassin and the Pirate Lord: A Throne of Glass Novella by Sarah J Maas
Pete the Cat’s Groovy Guide to Life by James Dean
The Assassin’s Blade: The Throne of Glass Novellas by Sarah J Maas
Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass series Book 1) by Sarah J Maas
Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass series Book 2) by Sarah J Maas
Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass series Book 3) by Sarah J Maas
Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass series) by Sarah J Maas
Snow Like Ashes (Snow Like Ashes Series) by Sara Raasch
Bitter of Tongue (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy Book 7) by Cassandra Clare
Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo
Siege and Storm (The Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo
Ruin and Rising (The Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo
The Demon in the Wood: A Darkling Prequel Story (The Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo
The Glowing Knight (Orphan Queen Book 2) by Jodi Meadows

Coming up in October:

My birthday!

Punk’s class’s field trip to the corn maze

Hallowe’en!

Punk’s school’s fall festival

Goals for October

Stay ahead of schedule

Learn to successfully juggle two blogs

Spend time focused on the kiddos

Catch up on review writing

BALANCE

October releases I’m excited for:
Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes Series) by Sara Raasch
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: The Illustrated Edition (Harry Potter, Book 1) by JK Rowling
The White Rose (Jewel) by Amy Ewing
The Rose Society (A Young Elites Novel) by Marie Lu

October TBR:
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes Series) by Sara Raasch
The White Rose (Jewel) by Amy Ewing
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: The Illustrated Edition (Harry Potter, Book 1) by JK Rowling
Fairest: The Lunar Chronicles: Levana’s Story by Marissa Meyer
The Fulfillment (The Fulfillment Series) by Erin Rhew

Challenge Update:

2015 PopSugar Reading Challenge books completed:
A book with 500+ pages: Brazen by Katherine Longshore
A book turned into a movie: Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, Book 1)
A book published in 2015: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
A book with a number in the title: The 5th Wave: The First Book of the 5th Wave Series
An author under thirty: Vicious by VE Schwab
A book with non-human characters: This Shattered World: A Starbound Novel
A funny book: Most Likely to Succeed (The Superlatives) by Jennifer Echols
A book by a female author: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
A book with a one word title: Forged (Taken) by Erin Bowman
A book of short stories: The Assassin’s Blade: The Throne of Glass Novellas
A book set in a different country: The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross
A popular author’s first book: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
A book a friend recommended: The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
A Pulitzer Prize book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
A book based on a true story: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
A book that scares you: The Fault in Our Stars
A memoir: Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog
A book read in one day: A Curious Tale of the In-Between
A book set somewhere you want to visit: A Cold Legacy (Madman’s Daughter) by Megan Shepherd
A book with bad reviews: (either love or hate this one!) The Heir (The Selection) by Kiera Cass
A trilogy: The Hunger Games Trilogy
A book from your childhood: Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
A book with a love triangle: White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements)
A book set in high school: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
A book with a colour in the title: The Red Tent: A Novel
A book that made you cry: The Assassin and the Empire: A Throne of Glass Novella (Throne of Glass series Book 1)
A book with magic: A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab
A graphic novel: Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel
A book by an author you’ve never read: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
A book set in your (college’s) hometown: Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
A banned book: The Giver by Lois Lowry
A book turned into a TV show: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

How was your summer? What’s up for October?

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Top Ten Tuesday #59: New to Me Authors in 2014 December 9, 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 New to Me Authors in 2014

Some of these are debut authors and are new to everyone, but these are some of my favourite new authors!

1. Joy Hensley


2. Sara Raasch


3. Amy Ewing


4. Sarah J Maas


5. Leigh Bardugo


6. Jennifer Echols


7. Laini Taylor


8. Emery Lord


9. Romily Bernard


10. Erin Bowman

 

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! (:

 

Top Ten Tuesday #42: Books I’ve Read So Far in 2014 June 10, 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-ish Books I’ve Read So Far in 2014 

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols

Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson 

The Falconer by Elizabeth May 

17 First Kisses by Rachael Allen 

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare 

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch 

Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd 

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein 

Evertrue by Brodi Ashton 

Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

 

*Review* Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols June 9, 2014

***I was given a signed copy to celebrate the paperback release in exchange for an honest review. Thanks, Jennifer!***   

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

Rating: 5 stars
Pub date: 16 July 2013
Publisher: MTV books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Format: paperback, personal copy, signed & provided by the author
Status: standalone

Summary:
From the author of the “real page-turner” (Seventeen) Such a Rush comes an unforgettable new drama that follows friends-turned-lovers as they navigate the passions, heartbreaks, and intrigue of country music fame.

Bailey wasn’t always a wild child and the black sheep of her family. She used to play fiddle and tour the music circuit with her sister, Julie, who sang and played guitar. That ended when country music execs swooped in and signed Julie to a solo deal. Never mind that Julie and Bailey were a duet, or that Bailey was their songwriter. The music scouts wanted only Julie, and their parents were content to sit by and let her fulfill her dreams while Bailey’s were hushed away.

Bailey has tried to numb the pain and disappointment over what could have been. And as Julie’s debut album is set to hit the charts, her parents get fed up with Bailey’s antics and ship her off to granddad’s house in Nashville. Playing fiddle in washed-up tribute groups at the mall, Bailey meets Sam, a handsome and oh-so-persuasive guitarist with his own band. He knows Bailey’s fiddle playing is just the thing his band needs to break into the industry. But this life has broken Bailey’s heart once before. She isn’t sure she’s ready to let Sam take her there again…

 

My thoughts:

To celebrate the release of the paperback edition, Jennifer gave away a few signed copies in exchange for honest reviews. I was lucky enough to get a copy. Luck would have it that it arrived right after I finished Biggest Flirts. In the mood for some more contemporary, I jumped right in. Take not that back to back contemporaries is extremely uncommon and should speak VOLUMES about Jennifer’s talent.

I was immediately sucked into the wonderfulness that is Nashvegas (Nashville to all those uncool cats). I LOVE Nashville. Love, love, LOVE. You don’t even understand how much I love Nashville. Jennifer made me so freaking homesick for Middle Tennessee. Every page made my heartache for Nashville. I also enjoyed every page. Just remember that. By the way, I spent the first 18 years of my life in East Tennessee. I only spent 3 1/2 ish years in Middle Tennessee. I. Love. Middle. Tennessee. I BLEED MTSU blue. I freaking LOVE the Nashville Predators. LOVE NASHVILLE. (Have I gotten my love of Middle Tennessee across yet? lol)

Ah, music. I love books with musicians. Like I said in my Biggest Flirts review, I’m a musician and I married a musician. I could easily relate to Bailey on that level. I wasn’t forced into the business or forced to give it up like her though. I could never imagine doing that to my children. Even though as a parent, I wasn’t thirlled with the sneaking into bars/going behind her parents’ back, but my hear sang for joy when she played. And the non parent part supported her in her ventures to do whatever it took to find herself.

I can totally relate to Bailey’s punk style rebellion. That was my freshman year of college. Punk style clothes, dorm room, and music. I did it to push a few boundaries and to see if I could get away with it. I did. Haha.

I was blown away by Sam. Of course, I was into the musician side of him. I just – wow. I felt like he could walk off the page at any moment. The commitment issues because of his parents? I get that. His passion to go after what he wants? Yes, please! He did have his moments when I could’ve choked him, but that made him more realistic for me. It made him human. His flaws made him believable.

They are supported by a great cast of secondary characters. I really liked Bailey’s grandpa. Pulling the parental card on the parentals was great. I loved Ace. He was the perfect addition to the dynamic of the group. Everyone needs that friend that keeps everyone grounded. I didn’t like Charlotte, but I believe that’s the point.

Just like Biggest Flirts, I fell in love with the world Jennifer created. It was great to be back in Nashville even if it was only in my imagination. I still won’t say I’m a contemporary fan, but I will say I’m quickly becoming a Jennifer Echols fan! I totally recommend this to contemporary and non contemporary fans alike! This was such a quick and enjoyable read! I’m so glad Jennifer gave me a chance to read and review it.

Playlist: (I couldn’t get these songs out of my head while I read!)

Dirty Little Secret” – All American Rejects

I Knew You Were Trouble” – Taylor Swift

Remember When” – Alan Jackson

Whiskey Lullaby” – Alison Krauss & Brad Paisley

My Best Friend’s Girl“- The Cars

Pompeii” – Bastille

Light Up the Sky” – The Afters

Somewhere I Belong” – Linkin Park

Overprotected” – Britney Spears

Five Feet High & Rising“- Johnny Cash

Done” – The Band Perry

Broken” – Lifehouse

Best Day of My Life” – American Authors

Somewhere Only We Know” – Keane

Dancing Away with My Heart” – Lady Antebellum

Cocaine Blues” – Johnny Cash

About the author:

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.

GIVEAWAY!!! Check out my twitter account @armywife2310 for a swag giveaway! (:

 

*Review* Hourglass by Myra McEntire October 13, 2013

Rating:  5 stars
Pub date: 14 June 2011
Publisher: Egmont USA
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Format:e-book, via library
Status: Book one of the Hourglass series

Summary:

One hour to rewrite the past . . .

For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.

So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may also change her past.

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should’ve happened?

This was recommended to me by the lovely Jodi Meadows on Twitter. I’ve been itching to get my hands on it ever since. I decided I wanted some for fun books to read at the library and checked this out from my library’s e-book loaning system. This book was so addicting! I loved it! I also loved that it takes place down in middle Tennessee. That area holds a special place in my heart just like east Tennessee. I’ve been toying around with a time travel idea for a novel for ages, but haven’t had any experience with published ones to see how it could go. After reading Hourglass, I fully intend on fleshing out that idea!

I absolutely loved Em. Right from the beginning I admired her. She has a quiet strength that makes her frequently underestimated. She’s also extremely determined. Love that in a strong female protagonist! A girl who isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty to figure out things is a good friend of mine! And the sass! Oh she’s got that sassy Southern girl down pat!

“Aren’t you just a knight in shining armor? … Wherever do you keep your horse? And who scoops up the crap it leaves behind?”

Michael. I was uncertain of Michael the whole time. He seemed too perfect. I kept feeling like he had something up his sleeve to make him skeevy. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case! How he was so willing to – AH! Can’t spoil it. *swoon*

I mean how can you not love this?:

“I love you – broken in pieces, whole, however. No matter what the future brings, no matter what was in the past.”

Kaleb. Oh. Kaleb. I love him. He’s so adorable and lost. He just needs a good cuddle!

Love this part!: “Hey, bro, do you think you can put Shorty back on her chain?”
I stepped forward with my hands on my hips, only slightly intimidated to find Kaleb almost eye level with me when he was seated and I was standing.
“First of all, no one is the boss of me but me. Secondly, if you ever reference my ‘chain’ again, I will kick your ass.” I jabbed him hard in the chest with my finger. Possibly breaking it. “And thirdly, don’t call me Shorty.”
Kaleb sat silently for a second, his eyes wide as he looked at Michael. “Where did you get her? Can you get me one?”
I blew out a loud, frustrated sigh and dropped down beside Michael, who didn’t even try to hide his smile. “You should probably apologize to Emerson.”
“I am sorry.” Kaleb grinned at me. “Sorry I didn’t meet you first.”

Time travel. This aspect was so beautifully done! Seeing rips was fantastic. I’ve had dreams through the years similar to this and with all the traveling I’ve done this is something that can work beautifully or disastrously! Myra did a perfect job! I love how they cautiously deal with time travel and that the characters are very aware of the consequences that could come from screwing with the time continuum. I’m one of those strange people who would NOT go back and change anything in my past given the chance. Nope. I’m a firm believer in the past happens for a reason to shape your future and if that’s screwed up, duh! It would screw up your future. Yes, I still ponder the what ifs, but I wouldn’t actually act on them. I really admire Em’s ability to throw that to the wind when necessary thought!

Oh the romance. The feels! The kissing. *swoon*

“No matter what your reality looks like, you’re the girl I’m in love with today, and the same girl I’ll be in love with tomorrow and all the days after that. Not just because of who you are, but because of who you were.
It’s all part of your story, Em. And I want to be a part of your story, too.” *instant butterflies!*

Did I mention cold shower worthy?

“He bent down burying his face in my neck. I reached back to grab onto the iron bars behind me to hold myself up. My jacket slipped off my shoulders. I was pretty sure I was on fire and at that moment I would have sworn that bursting into flame was a glorious way to go.”

I mean, whoa. This book is the full package. Action, intrigue, romance? What more do you need? Go get this NOW! Or… you know… my birthday is at the end of the month. You can get it for me!

Recommended for: Time travel enthusiasts, those who love swoon worthy boys and a kickass heroine!

Not recommended for: Mushy romance haters, those who dislike time travel.

 

 
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