The Whimsical Mama

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

*Review* Defiance by CJ Redwine March 24, 2014

Rating: 4 stars
Pub date:
28 August 2012
HarperCollins, Balzer+Bray
Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Dystopian
paperback, personal copy, signed
Book one of the Defiance trilogy




Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city’s brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses, host dinner parties, and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father’s apprentice, Logan–the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same boy who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.


At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city’s top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor’s impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can’t be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.


My thoughts:


I’ve been mulling around how to write this review for a while. Even now as I’m writing, I’m not sure where to go with it. From the cover, it looks like it would be historical fiction/fantasy. You start reading and you would think steampunk learning technology. It’s such a thrilling mix and the mix actually turns out to be dystopian and fantasy. That’s right. You read it correctly. How awesome is that mix?!


I was so excited to read Defiance. I’m a bit upset with myself for how I did read it. I charged through it before I met CJ back in January. I think by rushing through it, it lost a bit on me and it reflected in my rating. This is fully capable of five stars and it may change with a future re-read.


CJ did a fantastic job in her world building. The danger and intrigue kept me pulled in the whole time. In a futuristic, war destroyed, tyrannical ruled United States, things are not even remotely recognisable. Female freedoms have been stripped. Their situation very much brings to mind the Taliban treatment of women and just like our leading lady, Rachel, it left me bristling at the injustice the entire time. As much as I love history and culture, I would NOT do well in a culture that demands females to essentially be seen and not heard. Nope. Nope. Nope.


Again, there has been an exception to my multi point of view hating rule. Meeting Rachel step for step is the incredible Logan. They do so well together and CJ does such a great job with their development. The story flows easily back and forth between them. Their stories are woven together and have their own separate threads. They are very similar but also very distinct in their personalities. Along their journey is a splash of romance. Not enough to make it a complete romance, but enough to make things interesting. It will be nice to see where their relationship goes in Deception and Deliverance.


I think with this mix of genres, Defiance is a good pick for fans of fantasy, post-apocalyptic, or dystopian novels. It may even intrigue romance lovers, but since it’s not overwrought with romance, it may not satisfy them. It is not a quick read, but it is a good read. It’s a story that commands to be told, but not a story that demands to be devoured in one setting.


I’m looking forward to continuing with this series and I do recommend you check it out. Deception is out now and Deliverance comes out in August and is the conclusion to this trilogy.


About the author


C.J. Redwine loves fairy tales, Harry Potter, and any movie starring Johnny Depp. She is the author of the Defiance trilogy, a post-apocalyptic fantasy from Balzer + Bray. C.J. lives in Nashville with her husband and children. If the novel writing gig ever falls through, she’ll join the Avengers and wear a cape to work every day. To learn more about C.J., visit her website at






*ARC Review* These Broken Stars by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner March 10, 2014

Rating: 4 stars
Pub date:
10 December2013
Disney Hyperion
Young Adult Fiction, Sci-Fi, Romance
ARC borrowed from Mary, audiobook via library
Book one of the Starbound series



It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

A timeless love story, THESE BROKEN STARS sets into motion a sweeping science fiction series of companion novels. The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

My thoughts:

Though part of my reading was done by reading an ARC, it was a borrowed copy from the lovely Mary (Mary Had a Little Book Blog) and not directly from Disney Hyperion. I also did part of my reading listening to the spectacularly done audiobook.

I had wanted to read TBS since I first heard about it last summer when I started blogging, but as a newbie blogger, I didn’t stand a chance. I resigned myself to wait and snag a copy from the library. Lovely Mary to the rescue! She surprised me by shipping her copy to me (I have the best friends ever!) After finishing Under the Never Sky in a binge series read, I was at a loss on what to read next. Mary appealed to the Army wife, military loving part of me and suggested I fall in love with soldier Tarver. I’m glad she did.

I really enjoyed the dual first person point of view. It really fit for this novel. In a survival situation, it was nice to be able to see what was going on in both Lilac’s and Tarver’s minds. I used to be very against multiple points of view, but after reading several well done multi views, I’ve been persuaded to at least give them a chance. On paper, the voices are wonderful and seamless transitions. The audio? Even. Better. It was so great. ********I think I enjoyed the audiobook better than reading the physical book. That NEVER happens!*********

Now, while I enjoyed this novel, it didn’t blow me out of the water like I was hoping. Don’t get me wrong, it was still a fantastic read. I just wasn’t completely overwhelmed by the amazingness. Maybe if I’d listened to the whole thing it might’ve hit the mark. Maybe not. There were a few spots that were very predictable and that always docks points in my book.

Since it was a shipwreck on a seemlingly abandoned, unoccupied planet, it gave Aime and Megan PLENTY of leg room to develop Lilac and Tarver individually, as a survival pair, and as a couple. It also gave them plenty of room for world building. In the vast expanse of the universe, anything is possible. I was really impressed with the dynamic levels that were cultivated and expanded on characters and world building.

As with a favourite couple of mine – Lizzie Bennet and Mr. Darcy, first impressions aren’t necessarily true. Tarver likes to come off as a simple soldier from a simple background who was thrust into greatness. Only part of that is the case. Lilac, as the only child of the richest man of the universe comes off as a spoiled little rich girl. Though she is pampered and very rich, Lilac is so much more than that.

Through their time on the not so abandoned planet, they learn that there is a deeper level to each person. First comes friendship, then comes love. I let out a huge sigh of relief that there was no insta-love in this situation. I may have bailed if that had been the case. I really enjoyed their relationship development and I’m looking forward to seeing more in the rest of the series. Now, the following books are companions, so it’s not guaranteed that they’ll be in them much, but if they are, it will be good to see them!

While this was an entertaining story, it wasn’t one that demanded to be read in one sitting. It’s very much a story that CAN be read in one sitting. Don’t think I’m knocking it any. It just wasn’t a heart racing, MUST READ THIS NOW type of flow. It was one that is able to be devoured but also savoured. It gives you a lot to think about. Not being a time demanding read was nice. With two young kids, it’s hard to read demanding books. This one worked nicely with the demands of mamahood and reviewer life. I recommend this to sci-fi and romance lovers. I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel. Again, the sequel is a companion, not a true story continuing sequel. Many thanks to Disney Hyperion for giving the ARC to Mary so she was able to share it with me!

About the authors

Amie Kaufman is the co-author of These Broken Stars, the first in the Starbound trilogy, and Illuminae, the first in a new series starting in 2015. She writes science fiction and fantasy for teens, and her favourite procrastination techniques involve chocolate, baking, sailing, excellent books and TV, plotting and executing overseas travel, and napping.


She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, their rescue dog, and her considerable library. She is represented by Tracey Adams of Adams Literary.


Meagan Spooner grew up reading and writing every spare moment of the day, while dreaming about life as an archaeologist, a marine biologist, an astronaut. She graduated from Hamilton College in New York with a degree in playwriting, and has spent several years since then living in Australia. She’s traveled with her family all over the world to places like Egypt, South Africa, the Arctic, Greece, Antarctica, and the Galapagos, and there’s a bit of every trip in every story she writes.

She currently lives and writes in Northern Virginia, but the siren call of travel is hard to resist, and there’s no telling how long she’ll stay there.



In her spare time she plays guitar, plays video games, plays with her cat, and reads.



Top Ten Tuesday #28: Rewind: Bookish Confessions February 25, 2014


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

Rewind: Top Ten Bookish Confessions

I wasn’t blogging the first time this one came up, so I decided I wanted to have a little confession time.

1. I own Harry Potter books in 5 (yes, FIVE) languages. I own the whole series in American English, books 1-4 in a boxed set in British English (they’re the books I talked about last week in why I love reading because of their SMELL), 1-3 in French, 3 in Spanish (my mom’s failed attempt at getting my favourite series in Spanish to tempt me to take Spanish in high school. I took French haha), and 6 in German (German exchange student junior year in HS I became good friends with gave it to me before she flew home. I can’t read any of it, but I treasure it immensely!) I want to get a copy in Italien and Greek because I’ve been to both countries and that’s my thing. I want to collect Harry Potter in every language of countries I’ve visited. I’m good on them except for those two languages. (Another perk on having the German copy!)

2. I have a bad book buying problem. My TBR pile is ridiculous. I keep buying books. Not like I used to, broke college student, broke newlywed, and now broke parent keep that leash short. Now, I try to order my favourite ARCs or most anticipated reads and stagger purchases. I still hope to have a library like Belle’s one day! (:

3. I used to be a binge reader. Now, let me explain. I still binge read. I love binge reading a series. What I mean though is that I used to go on reading binges and then spans of time of not reading. I would knock out a bunch of books then go weeks and sometimes even months without reading. I’m trying to do better about it, now I usually go a few days without reading at most.

4. I used to be really REALLY bad about dog-earing and highlighting in my books. Well, highlighting in Harry Potter. I would dog-ear my place in anything and everything. I’ve thankfully outgrown that.

5. I DESPISE hardcover library books. I have a love-hate relationship with jacket covers as it is. I love looking at them, but I hate reading with them on. I REALLY hate reading hardcover library books because of it. They bother me so much. It might be a complex haha.

6. I love-hate paperbacks. I love their price. I really love that they are cheaper on the wallet. I can buy more books if I buy in paperback. I hate them. They don’t last as long as hardcovers. The spines get all funky looking after they’ve been read a few times. You can spot my favourite or used books a mile away on my shelves. I try to be careful with them, but it just sucks.

7. I’ve always wanted to be a writer. For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to write. For as long as I can remember I have written, or at least made up stories even if no one was around to hear them. It seemed like destiny spoke the first time I heard “Paperback Writer” by The Beatles. It WILL happen one day!

8. When I went to Scotland back in 2007, I HAD to go to Balmoral Hotel. I had to stand in front of the building where Harry Potter was finished. Lyndsay and I didn’t go in, but we both kinda just had a moment. We were both huge Harry Potter fans it just seemed like a perfect way to have closure. A few short weeks later, she called me, bragging, when she had Deathly Hallows in her hands and I still had hours to wait. MEAN.

9. I am (figuratively) DYING to finish The Royal Diaries series. I loved this series as a kid and I still want to finish the books. I have nine pretties sitting on my shelf and I can’t wait to share them with my kiddos! (And complete my collection! Haha)

10. I am SUPER thankful for my mom instilling a love of reading in me. I also am thankful to my Gran for encouraging me to give Harry Potter a chance when I got it for Christmas. I hope that I can pass on my love of reading to my children. They already bring me books all the time to read to them, I hope that this never changes!

Tell me, what are your bookish confessions? Or let me know what you picked for this week’s rewind! Leave me your links, and I’ll drop by! (:


Top Ten Tuesday #27: Reasons I Love Being a Reader/Blogger February 18, 2014


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 Reasons I Love Being a Reader/Blogger

1. I love being a reader because… I get to visit different worlds. Sometimes, real life sucks. Sometimes living in East Tennessee is a real drag. I’ve been lucky enough to have had the chance to go to Europe three times. Getting away from here is something I crave. Books are an inexpensive way to go. Being able to have a break from being in mama mode 24/7 is nice too. Reading during naps or when the kids go to bed = bliss.

2.I love being a blogger because… I get to meet people from all over the world. And when I meet these people, we’re instantaneously friends because we share a love of books and it’s AMAZING. I’ve met some pretty awesome people and I love you all!

3.I love being a blogger because… it gives me an outlet to share my love of books. If I could talk books to people all day, every day, life would be grand. Blogging gets me as close to this as possible! (:

4. I love being a blogger because… I get a chance to read ARCs and pump up the word for awesome books that are coming out. I love that I get to help get hype up before a books releases or keep it up after it’s out. It’s a great opportunity and I’m immensely thankful publishers have allowed me the chance!

5.I love being a reader because… I get a chance to have a relationship with the author through their books and in person through signings and talking on Twitter. Getting to talk with authors right after I finish their books is something I never thought I would ever have the opportunity to do. Going to signings is a great perk too!

6. I love being a reader because… It is something I can share with my children. We try to read together every day or I try to make sure they see me reading every day. I’ve read to both of my children since before they were born. Both love bringing me books so I will read to them. It makes me very happy and proud. I hope this is a love that I am fostering to continue their whole lives.

7.I love being a reader because… I am working to own Belle’s library. (Duh!) Girls wanted to be a princess when they were little. Me? I wanted Belle’s library.

8.I love being a reader because… I am always being exposed to new genres, authors, etc. I love finding new reads. I love sharing those new reads. It’s an ever evolving world and I love it.

9.I love being a reader because… I LOVE the smell of new books. I have a set of Harry Potter books from England and they still smell lovely after 14+ years. I love burying my nose in them. There’s just something soothing about the smell of new books. It’s bliss.

10.I love being a blogger because… I love getting to host giveaways. I haven’t done many yet, but I’m hoping I can start doing more soon! I love being able to share books with people.

What do you love about being a reader/blogger? Feel free to leave your links! I’d love to check out your lists. (:


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