The Whimsical Mama

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

Goodbye June, Hello July! July 1, 2016

June started out to be a very promising reading month, and then turned out to be a bust haha. Hubs was gone to annual training for two weeks so I ended up staying at our office the full day every day which obviously, cut into home reading time. Though I had slow days, it was much easier to get some blog work done and stop in the middle of a post than stop in the middle of a good reading part. I could’ve done audiobooks since my mom was keeping the kids, but I ended up binge rewatching Reign and Agents of SHIELD. haha. We have a few vacations coming up in July and that will lead to lots of time in the car, so I should have a much better reading amount! I hope your June went well and have lots of exciting things coming up in July. We’ll be heading north for hubby’s sister’s wedding and the kids & I are heading to the beach with my mom and step-dad this month too! Good times for sure.

Books I read June (In order of completion)

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir


Coming Up in July

My sister-in-law’s wedding

Bug being a flower girl

VA trip

Beach trip



Goals for July


Juggle mama life and blogging life!

Write some reviews and posts

Try to get ahead and stay ahead on blogging


July Releases I’m Excited For

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

DC SuperHero Girls

Magic Tree House: Night of the Ninth Dragon


July TBR

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

Lois Lane Fallout by Gwenda Bond




2016 Reading Challenge (completed in bold)

A book based on a fairy tale: The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

A National Book Award Winner

A YA Bestseller: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

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: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

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: Princes in the Tower by Alison Weir

A book written by a celebrity

A political memoir: Memoir of Marguerite de Valois by Marguerite de Valois

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: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

A book with a protagonist who has your occupation: American Wife by Taya Kyle

A book that takes place during summer

A book and its prequel: The Winner’s Curse & Bridge of Snow by Marie Rutkoski

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: Holy Sonnets by John Donne

The first book you see in a bookstore

A classic from the 20th century

A book from the library

An autobiography: The History of the Bloody Massacres of the Protestants in the Year of Our Lord, 1572 by Jacques Auguste de Thou

A book about a road trip

A book about a culture you’re unfamiliar with: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

A satirical book

A book that takes place on an island

A book that’s guaranteed to bring you joy


*Review* Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier May 26, 2014

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

Rating: 3 stars
Pub date: 30 October 2012
Publisher: Henry Holt, Macmillan
Genre: YoungAdult, Romance, Historical Fiction, Science Fiction
Format: audiobook, via library
Status: Book two of the Ruby Red series


Gwen’s life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood (gross!), she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean.

At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, offers advice on everything. Oh, yes. And of course there is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out.


My thoughts:

Sapphire Blue picks where Ruby Red left off which ended with a big cliffhanger (BOO! I HATE cliffhangers!) This book doesn’t suffer from book two syndrome straight out. I feel that Sapphire Blue and Ruby Red are on similar lines of decency. Again, I wasn’t blown away, but interested enough to see what happens next.

I’m uncertain over Gwen in Sapphire Blue. She seems to regress in maturity a bit. She becomes suspicious over everything. Some suspicion is good with not knowing what the purpose of gaining the blood of the circle will do, but there is such a thing as too much and she crosses that line by MILES.

Gideon still leaves the jury out. Being hot and cold all the time got really annoying. Flirting with Charlotte while his feelings weren’t clear is just low.

I still really didn’t care for Charlotte. She’s a mean girl to the extreme. I really don’t think she has any redeeming qualities.

I loved the addition of Xemerius. It makes me sad that more characters can’t interact with him because I think it would make it better. His quips are pretty great though and quips aren’t always meant to be heard.

The pace really seemed to slow. Maybe it was where I couldn’t read at my own pace since I was reading strictly by audiobook. I don’t feel like any questions from Ruby Red were answered. I actually think I have even more unanswered questions and a new suspicious theory. Again, I feel like something could’ve been lost in translation. I still really didn’t like the narrator. I may have missed something if I spaced a bit, but I doubt it.

Flipping between how beautiful Gideon is and how Gwen and Lesley are searching for answers (which only led to more questions for me) became vexing. I could’ve gone without the boy obsession. He treats her like crap and she goes all doe eyed. I hope there’s less of that in book 3. Possibly will happen with that ending. Still not a great read, but now that I’m 2/3 through the series, I might as well finish since I do have the audiobook already checked out.

About the author:

Kerstin Gier is the bestselling author of the Ruby Red trilogy, as well as several popular novels for adults.


*Review & Giveaway* Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier May 25, 2014

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

Rating: 3 stars
Pub date: 10 May 2011
Publisher: Henry Holt, Macmillan 
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Historical Fiction, Science Fiction
Format: paperback, personal copy &audiobook, via library
Status: Book one of the Ruby Red trilogy


Gwyneth Shepherd’s sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon–the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

My thoughts:
Oh, where do I even begin? I bought this on a whim and it’s been sitting in the TBR for a while. I’ve been on an audiobook kick lately and went through my TBR to see what books I had that the library had on audio. I got the whole trilogy in one swoop from the online library. I figured that way I would have it on hand to binge it. This was a good/bad decision

While the kiddos watched their morning shows & played and I do things around the house, I listen to audiobooks. So that’s when I listened to this on audio. If I had a moment to relax, I picked up my physical copy. I read much faster on my own than listening to an audiobook. I wish I had read it all in the physical form over the audio. I really wasn’t a fan of the narrator’s voice. It really took away from the story for me. It wasn’t enough to deter me from pushing through though.

I enjoyed Gwen’s narration as a character. I definitely related to the snarky personality. She’s smart, but you get the sense she doesn’t want to flaunt it because of her cousin, Charlotte. I didn’t care for Charlotte on any level. She’s a spoiled brat who reminds me a lot of a certain someone I know.

I’m undecided on Gideon. He has his good and bad moments, but I just can’t get a feel for him. I’m leaving judgement until later for now.

I really enjoyed the time travel aspect. I love a good time travel read and this series has some great potential. It feels a bit simplified. The characters all interact through the time travel and I feel that would be too great a risk for changing history, but if you don’t think about it too seriously, it works. The amount of time allowed to travel or the things Gwen and Gideon do don’t make much sense, but I’m hoping things will be explained in book 2.

It feels like it’s closer to the younger side of young adult than appealing to adults who read young adult. Not sure if it’s the actual written style or the translation style. More on that in a moment.

The action was decent enough. It was a fairly quick read. Some things felt a bit off, but it’s a translation, so things probably don’t move as fluidly in English as it did in the original German. I don’t speak/read German, so I can’t test that theory!

How the gene started or is passed down isn’t clear or explained either. Hopefully that’s something else that’s explained in book 2 also! 

Ruby Red wasn’t a bad read. It wasn’t terrible, but it also wasn’t that great. I highly doubt I will ever reread the series and as such, I have a copy to giveaway! It was interesting enough to intrigue me to read books two and three, but this is a one and done read for me. My copy is in basically pristine condition. Hubby says it doesn’t even look like I read it. The giveaway will run for two weeks, so make sure to get your entries in! (:

About the author:

Kerstin Gier is the bestselling author of the Ruby Red trilogy, as well as several popular novels for adults.


This giveaway is open to US only (Sorry international readers! I promise I will one day have giveaways for you too!) Entrants must be 13 years old to enter. Those entrants under 18 MUST have parental consent. Giveaway is open May 25th 2014 (12am EST) through June 8th 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! (:


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