The Whimsical Mama

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

Non-Fiction Beach Reading Recommendations June 27, 2016

Continuing on from my original post, which was inspired by Jamie’s post about beach reading recommendations, it got me to thinking about some other genres I would like to recommend. This week, I’m talking non-fiction. Though I love my YA, I do like to dabble in adult fiction and non-fiction. I have an adult fiction post planned as well.

Despite being non-fiction, these were all quick and engaging reads.

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  1. American Wife: Love, War, Faith, and Renewal by Taya Kyle. I blew through this book over Memorial Day weekend and my review will be coming up soon for full praises. Simply, Taya Kyle is the widow of Chris Kyle, known for writing American Sniper and his murder. Taya Kyle’s writing is fresh, painful, and like speaking with a friend. As a military wife, there was so much I could relate to, but also it was a fascinating read even if not connected to the military.

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2. The Wars of the Roses by Dan Jones. I actually was approved for this back when it was an ARC. I ended up finally getting around to reading it this past spring semester for a paper. Dan Jones writes in a spectacularly engaging way. If you have a chance to watch Great British Castles, (It’s on Netflix!) he’s the host. The way he presents the history of the castles is EXACTLY like his writing style. This was a very fascinating period in English history and I blew through this in one day!

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3. The Plantagenets by Dan Jones. I can’t remember if I was approved for this as an ARC, or I just discovered it after I was approved for The Wars of the Roses. Either way, I scored a finished copy in the clearance section at BooksAMillion. I also ended up reading it for class this semester too. It was a super fast read. I ended up reading about royals I didn’t need to cause it just flowed so well through the history of England that it keeps you engaged. There were some fascinating rulers of England!

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4. The Rival Queens by Nancy Goldstone. This seems to be a recurring theme with these! I read this for another class this last semester for a paper on Marguerite de Valois. She and her mother, Catherine de Medici were two incredible Renaissance women! There was only a section of this book relevant to my paper, but I ended up reading the whole book. The relationship between mother and daughter was extremely tumultuous and shaped the future of France.

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5. Memoirs of Marguerite de Valois by Marguerite de Valois Queen of Navarre. These memoirs of Marguerite de Valois could be very stretched truth, but she gives a very detailed account of the shenanigans of French court. If you watch Reign, Princess Claude is loosely based on Marguerite and yeah… she was known for getting around! I read this for a paper, and it was an eye opening experience haha.

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6. Marley and Me by John Grogan. Excluding the ending, which I don’t recommend reading in public without a box of tissues, this hysterical read is great for the beach. My Secret Sister, Juli sent it to me last summer when our dog first got sick with degenerative myelopathy and we were afraid we’d have to put her down. This was perfectly timed and  helped me come to peace with the thought of losing our furbaby.

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7. Perepolis by Marjane Satrapi. This non-fiction graphic novel set during the religious revolution in Iran is a page turner. The writing is witty and presents such a dangerous time in an easy to follow way.

 

Do you read non-fiction? What are some of your favourites?

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Top Ten Tuesday #61: Books Santa Can Put Under the Tree December 23, 2014

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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 Books Santa Can Put Under the Tree

T’was the night before the night before Christmas and all through the house… blah blah blah. Santa, could you please leave these under the tree? 🙂

1. This Shattered World by Aime Kaufman & Megan Spooner


2. The Falconer by Elizabeth May


3. Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor


4. The King’s Curse by Philippa Gregory


5. The Young Elites by Marie Lu


6. Rites of Passage by Joy Hensley


7. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith


8. Artemis Fowl The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer


9. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch


10. Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 29 June – 5 July 2014 July 5, 2014

I’ve been quiet this week cause we’ve been on vacation and I made sure I had everything set up before we left. Staying at my hubby’s family’s beach cottage and there’s no wi-fi. Great to unplug for a bit, but also a bit inconvenient when it comes to blogging life. Hopefully everything I planned on reading gets read this week! Hope you all have a wonderful 4th of July holiday if you’re a reader from the US! Don’t forget the giveaways I have going on! My Not So Super Sweet Life ebook by Rachel Harris giveaway, Infinite ARC by Jodi Meadows giveaway, and one starts tomorrow for an ebook copy of The Prince or The Guard by Kiera Cass! (:


Planned Beach Reads/Completed:

Siege & Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Ruin & Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Accidentally Married on Purpose by Rachel Harris (ARC)

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski(ARC)

Seamonster by Amalie Howard

 


Currently Reading:

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

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare (paperback & audiobook) 

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling (audiobook)


 

Read to the Kiddos: (Didn’t really keep track and haven’t decided what books we’re taking)

Pete the Cat Too Cool for School

Ladybug Girl Says Good Night


New to my shelf:

Siege & Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (YALLFEST prep, clearance sale!)

The Shadowhunter’s Codex by Cassandra Clare (clearance sale!)

Pete the Cat Too Cool For School by James Dean (trip bribery!)

Ladybug Girl Says Good Night by David Soman & Jacky Davis (trip bribery!)

Bloodspell by Amalie Howard


From the library:

as usual, more audiobooks! (:

Tarnish by Katherine Longshore

 

From Angie’s giveaway (Thank you soooo much!):

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski (ARC) 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky 

Percy Jackson & the Olympians 1-5 by Rick Riordan

I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak 

Witch & Wizard by James Patterson 

It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini 

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Of Triton by Anna Banks (signed!)

 

Waiting on Wednesday #34: Brazen by Katherine Longshore June 11, 2014

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“Waiting on Wednesday” is a weekly event hosted by Jill at the Breaking The Spine. It showcases upcoming releases we’re anticipating!

 

 

My pick of the week is:

Brazen

 

By: Katherine Longshore

 

Coming: 12 June 2014

 

Publisher: Penguin Viking

 

Summary:
Mary Howard has always lived in the shadow of her powerful family. But when she’s married off to Henry Fitzroy, King Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, she rockets into the Tudor court’s inner circle. Mary and “Fitz” join a tight clique of rebels who test the boundaries of court’s strict rules with their games, dares, and flirtations. The more Mary gets to know Fitz, the harder she falls for him, but is forbidden from seeing him alone. The rules of court were made to be pushed…but pushing them too far means certain death. Is true love worth dying for?

Why I’m excited:

If you know me pretty well, you know how obsessed I am with all things Tudors/Cousin’s War era England. OF COURSE I’m going to be excited about a YA Tudor novel! I’m also excited to read about a Howard. If it’s the branch I think, she’s a relation to Anne Boleyn! I’m so excited!

Why I need you to be excited:

Tudor history, duh! It’s a wonderful time of England to study and it’s chock full of drama, murder, mystery, intrigue, etc. A novel set in this time period is obviously gonna rock! (: 

 

Hello May, Goodbye April! May 1, 2014

Is it really already May? I mean, for real? This year is going by way too quickly. I got a lot of work done this month and I’m proud of it. I hope I can continue staying so far ahead. I’m scheduled through the end of June on reviews, so I’m ready for the few trips we may be taking. The more work I get accomplished, the happier I am that I took the plunge into the review world. I’ve always struggled with reviews, but in the almost year I’ve been doing this, I’ve learned that there is no RIGHT way to do it. Hopefully someone that sees this is feeling the way I have and this helps them! Be YOU.

Books I read in April (in order of completion)

The Constant Princess  by Philippa Gregory 

After the End by Amy Plum

Richard III by Annette Carson

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier 

The Falconer by Elizabeth May 

Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier 

Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols

Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols 

Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier

My Not So Super Sweet Life by Rachel Harris

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Love Story by Jennifer Echols

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

Good Night Tennessee by Adam Gamble

D is for Duck Calls by Kay Robertson

Three Little Dinosaurs by Charles Fuge

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

That’s Not My Fairy by Fiona Watt

Pinkaclicious The Pinkerrific Playdate by Victoria Kann

Spot Loves His Grandma by Eric Hill

Spot Loves His Mommy by Eric Hill

Cleo on the Move by Stella Blackstone

All the Ways I Love You by Dorothea DePrisco

Emergency! by Margaret Mayo

Thomas’ 123 Book by Wilbert Awdry

Even Fire Fighters Go to the Potty by Wendy Wax

Pete the Cat Big Easter Adventure by James Dean

Pete the Cat Play Ball! by James Dean

Pete the Cat Pete’s Big Lunch by James Dean

Pete the Cat Pete at the Beach by James Dean

Pete the Cat Too Cool For School by James Dean

Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses by James Dean

Coming up in May
Hubby’s military class

Biggest Flirts Blog Tour

The Mortal Instruments Series finale

One of my new features that I didn’t get started in April!

Goals for May
Work on commenting and visiting other blogs

Read more with the kiddos

Stay ahead of schedule 

May releases I’m excited for:

The Falconer by Elizabeth May 

The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes 

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare 

Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols 

May TBR:
As You Turn Away by Molli Moran

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry 

Mind Games by Kiersten White

Taken by Erin Bowman

 

Challenge Update:

I’m involved with four challenges officially.

Edelweiss & Netgalley challenge: 9/25 (After the End, Richard III, The Falconer, Biggest Flirts)

TBR Pile challenge: 25/11-20 {I can and most likely WILL be increasing my level on this. I’m also not including ARCs in this unless I complete them after the book is released} (The Constant Princess, Ruby Red, Sapphire Blue, Emerald Green, Dirty Little Secret, Delirium, Love Story, My Not So Super Sweet Life)

Series challenge: 9/4-6 {I can and most likely will increase my level on this as well} (Ruby Red, My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century)

“Real” Book challenge: 15/21-30 (Ruby Red, Dirty Little Secret, Delirium)

How was your April? What’s up for May?

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 30 March – 5 April 2014 April 5, 2014

Another good reading week. I knocked out two books quickly early this week, but didn’t get to read much later this week since my uncle died. We did get to listen to a good chunk of Harry Potter with driving around to all the family gatherings though. Punk was very happy about it! He’s really enjoying it and asks for “Ha’y Potter, please, mama!” when we get in the car. It’s precious! (: Hope your week has been a good one!

Completed:

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson. 5 unbelievable stars.

The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory. 4 stars.

Currently Reading:


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

After the End (ARC) by Amy Plum

Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone by JK Rowling

Read to the Kiddos:

We listened to Harry Potter and several Pete the Cat audiobooks


New to my shelf:


From the library:

a TON of kids audiobooks 

 

*Review* The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory July 14, 2013

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The Red Queen (The Cousin’s War)

Rating: 2 stars
Pub date: 3 Aug 2010
Publisher: Touchstone
Genre: Historical fiction, Romance, Adult Fiction
Format: Hardback, obtained from the Public Library

Book 2 of The Cousins’ War series

Summary
The second book in Philippa’s stunning new trilogy, The Cousins War, brings to life the story of Margaret Beaufort, a shadowy and mysterious character in the first book of the series – The White Queen – but who now takes centre stage in the bitter struggle of The War of the Roses. The Red Queen tells the story of the child-bride of Edmund Tudor, who, although widowed in her early teens, uses her determination of character and wily plotting to infiltrate the house of York under the guise of loyal friend and servant, undermine the support for Richard III and ultimately ensure that her only son, Henry Tudor, triumphs as King of England. Through collaboration with the dowager Queen Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret agrees a betrothal between Henry and Elizabeth’s daughter, thereby uniting the families and resolving the Cousins War once and for all by founding of the Tudor dynasty.

In all honesty, I was tempted to give up on this book. The magical and captivating character of Elizabeth Woodville made The White Queen a joy to read. I devoured each section and could hardly put it down. The opposite is true with The Red Queen . I really struggled. The sanctimonious, whiny, selfish, and narcissistic Margaret Beaufort is just a giant put off. If it weren’t for the worry of missing something in this book that might be referenced in the future series books, I would’ve probably abandoned it. That takes a lot from me. I don’t bail on books easily or lightly. Strictly based on the main character, I would’ve bailed. The historical time frame helped redeem it. I’m obsessed with all things Tudors and this is their matriarch.

It opens just before her first marriage to Edmund Tudor. All she cares about is her blasted “saint’s knees” from praying so much. It’s all she goes on about is how she has saints’ knees and she wants to be a Mother Superior of her own order. She’s obsessed with Joan of Arc, and honestly, I think she blows Joan of Arc’s position out of proportion. She wants people to comment on her piety and she goes to great lengths to advertise how pious she is. She flaunts it and baits people to comment. In this ambitious time of England, no one cares about how much you pray. Everyone cares about which house you support: York or Lancaster. Margaret is from the Lancaster house and is the heir apparent to it. This doesn’t jive in this male dominated world. She laments at not being well-educated though she is much more educated than most girls of the time. This is a world that a woman is only good for the sons she will bare.

At twelve, she is married off to Edmund Tudor, half-brother of the current King of England, Henry VI. She constantly complains that he does his husbandly duty and doesn’t allow her to pray 24/7. She complains that he’s constantly away with his brother Jasper. She complains that she’s in the middle of nowhere in Wales. She complains about the language, the staff of the household, the food, anything and everything to anyone and everyone within earshot.

She finds herself pregnant and is little more than a child herself. War is brewing in the land as the Yorks are unhappy with their lot of being a minor royal house and think themselves better than the Lancaster rulers. Doesn’t help things that Henry VI is slowly losing his touch with reality. Margaret relates this to herself and says they are both chosen by God to do His will and the king is just seeing visions. Things keep getting worse and her husband is captured and dies before her baby is born. Jasper returns to her just before she delivers. Her mother has given orders to the ladies in waiting to order the midwives that if it comes to choosing between the mother and the baby to save the baby. Save the baby above all costs ESPECIALLY if it is a boy. Margaret realises she is worthless as a girl. She has a long and difficult delivery, but finally gives birth to a boy. Jasper wants to name the child after his father, but Margaret claiming divine intervention and the usual that she’s been directed to name the child Henry and he shall be a King of England.

She finds out that she is to be married off again. This time to a man much older than she is. Her first husband was already more than 10 years older and now this husband is even older than the first. He is the second son of the Duke of Buckingham. She comes to see that her new husband is much kinder than Tudor, but she thinks him a coward because he does not wish to get involved in the chaos that is consuming England. She constantly nags him about joining the cause and fighting for her, her son who is the heir of the Lancasters, and for his king. He politely points out that he is keeping them sage by staying out of the fighting. She keeps believing he’s a coward. She is so naive about her views of the world and how “wronged” she has been. Her son was third from the throne while Henry VI was king, and is now completely disinherited while Edward of York sits on the throne. *Her* throne. She fails to remember that throne passes to the males. She begins to obsess over Edward of York and his wife, Elizabeth Woodville. She deems Elizabeth to be sub par and of inferior birth and a waste of space. She obsesses over the fact it should be her by Edward’s side if things had played out better. She switches from calling Elizabeth a whore and a witch and celebrates that she is more holy and educated. She has been touched by the hand of God, but that harlot sits on the throne and pops out babies every time you turn around! She constantly prays for their deaths and the deaths of their children. Not something a saint should be concerned with, in my opinion.

Her husband dies and she then obsesses about wedding Edward instead of him being married to that witch. But he’ll want to have all sorts of sex and expect her to get pregnant and have babies, and she’s a saint and shouldn’t do that stuff. Seriously, this is her thought process. I want this, but I’m a saint. My son should be king, because I’m a saint. I have saints’ knees and should sign my name as Margaret R.

She decides to break the year of mourning and approaches husband number three. He’s a lord in his own right and she petitions marriage, with no sex, and she keeps her lands. Lord Stanley accepts because he’s in it for himself too. His family’s motto is Sans Changer and they do anything but STOP changing. Where Stafford (husband 2) didn’t want to fight at all, Stanley waits to see who the winning side will be THEN charge into battle.

Edward dies, and the Queen flees into sanctuary with the royal children, except the Prince of Wales who is escorted to the royal apartments at the Tower so the Lord Protector, Richard of Gloucester, can make coronation preparations. Then he has the royal children declared illegitimate and seizes the throne for himself. Cue more sainthood claiming and throne loss lamenting. There’s a failed uprising, disgrace – resulting in losing her lands and wealth to her husband and is sent into exile. The new Queen dies and to save his royal niece/lover from scandal she is sent to live with Margaret. A battle for supreme childish bitch starts.

Finally, it boils down to Henry Tudor versus King Richard III on the battleground. England is torn apart again. Back the Lancaster claimant who grew up in exile or back the usurper who stole the throne from his brother’s son and most likely had his two nephews executed? Battle ensues and at the last moment, the Stanley armies swoop in to aid Tudor. Richard is executed and his body just dumped (cue best game of hide and seek EVER!). His crown is stripped from his head and given to Tudor who becomes Henry VII and the first of the Tudor dynasty. Word makes it back to Margaret that her son won and all she cares about is that she gets to sign her name as Margaret R.

That’s about it. Despite a huge war-torn time period, this book really lacks in action until the last bit. That’s about it in the redeeming aspect. Will I read it again? Possibly. Anytime soon? Not a chance. I am looking forward to the next book though. It HAS to be better than this!

 

 
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