The Whimsical Mama

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

*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! (:

Advertisements
 

Armchair BEA: Day 1 Introductions May 26, 2014

Today marks the start of Armchair BEA week which runs along side BEA in New York City. Last year, I hadn’t started blogging yet so I had no idea what BEA was until the end of the year. Then the excitement started building as authors started announcing they were coming. There was just no way for me to be able to attend this year, and I was so happy when I stumbled across Armchair BEA on Twitter. A way to connect with other bloggers and still get a small amount of the BEA experience?! Count me in!

 

Introductions

1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging? Where in the world are you blogging from? 

I am Maura. I’m blogging from Northeast TN. I’m a stay at home mama to my two kiddos: Punk (3 years old) and Ladybug (1 year old). I’ve been blogging since 2010 off and on, but the book oriented side of The Whimsical Mama launched officially in July 2013. I originally wanted to do a cooking blog like Julie/Julia, but that didn’t stick. Newborn baby and not cooking new things consistently killed that one! After helping Mary (Mary Had a Little Book Blog) get her blog some recognition, I decided I ought to give blogging a try again. Books and writing have always been my favourite outlets!

 

2. What genre do you read the most? I love to read because ___________________ . 

I generally read fantasy the most. Harry Potter got me addicted to reading and I’ve never turned my back on my fantasy beginnings. I love to read because I love to escape daily life. I always have. Growing up in a small town in the foothills of the Appalachians, I loved to go anywhere but home. I’ve always loved to travel and reading helped those adventures and were much cheaper than actual trips!  Because I love to escape in books, I tend not to turn to contemporaries because they are too close to real life for me. I am learning to appreciate them though!

 

3. Describe your blog in just one sentence. Then, list your social details — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. — so we can connect more online. 

The Whimsical Mama is just that – whimsical – I mainly read young adult, but read a lot of children’s books and life is pretty whimsical with two toddlers running around! The Whimsical Mama, I hope, reflects a lot of my daily life. You can find me as @armywife2310 on Twitter. Maura T on Goodreads, armywife2310 on Pinterest. Yes, as you can see, I’m very proud of being an Army wife! (:

 

4. What was your favorite book read last year? What’s your favorite book so far this year?

Hmmm this is a hard one that’s required a good bit of thought. Since I started blogging in the latter half of 2013, I don’t have reviews for all the great things I read. Pre-blogging, my favourite 2013 read would probably be Clockwork Princess or Legend or Die for Me. I really can’t pick! Once I started blogging, my favourite 2013 read was Infinite by the oh so incredibly wonderfully talented Jodi Meadows. Yup. Yup. Yup. Now, let’s see. My favourite read so far of 2014. By far it has been The Impossible Knife of Memory. Again, Army pride is showing through with that pick! (:

 

5. What book would you love to see as a movie? 

I have three off the top of my head that as long as they were done correctly, I would love to see on the big screen. If they’re going to be mangled, I can live without them being turned to movies. The Legend trilogy, the Incarnate/Newsoul trilogy, and the Revenants trilogy. Those were three incredible trilogies that, I feel, would be great on screen.

 

(Late) Weekly Reading Review #3 July 29, 2013

So, this week’s review is late. This weekend got busy and escaped me and I realised last night as I was falling asleep that I forgot my review! I did a bit of reading for me, but I haven’t finished any of my books yet. The bulk of the reading was for the kiddos. I don’t mind though. It makes me extremely happy that they are already showing an immense love for books!

Our library has story time three times a week. At the main branch it’s on Monday and Tuesday and at the smaller branch on Wednesdays. I had meant to get in the habit of going this summer, but with our kitchen flooding and taking all summer to be remodeled, it hasn’t happened. I’m determined to get in the habit though! Last Monday, I saw on Facebook that the main branch was having a train enthusiast come and speak about trains. I immediately knew that I must take the kiddos with the way my son loves trains. I was shocked that out of the about 20 kids who were there, my son was the only one who knew who Thomas the Train is. Wow. The speaker was a bit dull for kids, in my opinion, but my son seemed to enjoy it a teeny bit. I think he enjoyed the colouring page and our usual routine of him playing at the train table while I pick out books more, though. At our library, kids cannot get their own library card until their sixth birthday. So, that means the kids and I share my card. (I really need to get hubby to get a card for when Ladybug starts wanting books of her own too!) Each card is allowed to get 20 items at a time. You can see how this can be a potential problem when a mama has to share her items with two kids. Kids’ books aren’t terribly long and we read several a day for the most part. This results in a usual 10 books for the kiddos per trip and we have been going twice a week to rotate books. Sometimes they get more if I’m waiting on books to come in or am slowing down for a bit of a break after a reading marathon.

We didn’t make it to story time today, hopefully we’ll be up and ready to go tomorrow. May be a bit more difficult since story time is earlier on Tuesday than Monday! It’s not a complete loss though, Punk spent the weekend with my step-dad and we didn’t read any of the library books, so they aren’t ready to return anyway!

Another big day in our house is when the kids’ books arrive from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. If you’re in TN and have kids under the age of five, PLEASE enroll them in this wonderful program. If you aren’t in TN, you can still check it out and see if it is in your area. She’s slowly expanding it. My children have both been enrolled since birth. I’ve made a big deal about Book Day from the get-go. We always sit down and unwrap the book and look through it when it arrives. Then we read it that night for our bedtime story. Right now, the kids are on separate mailing dates, so the books arrive at different times throughout the month. I hope it stays this way so it stays a bit more exciting!

I guess to blame for the lack of a Friday post could be blamed on an over hour long Twitter conversation with Mary, Alex, and author Jodi Meadows. We had so much fun! #EvilAuthorsAreEvil! I’m so excited for the chance to meet her in person one day! Our conversations are always hysterical!

Completed:

Read to the kiddos:
Stop, Train, Stop! by Wilbert Awdry. 3 stars.
Dancing with Degas by Julie Merberg. 4 stars. I LOVED the use of the Degas paintings. Of course I’m biased because I loved Degas going into this. Yes, I’m hoping my kiddos love his work as much as I do!
From Head to Toe by Eric Carle. 4 stars. C’mon, it’s Eric Carle. I love him, too!
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don Wood. 3 stars. It would be 4 or 5 stars if my son was rating this. He giggled the whole way through!
Dinosaur Opposites by Paul Strickland. 3 stars.
Duck to the Rescue by Jez Alborough. 3 stars.
The Little Red Caboose by Marian Potter. 3 stars. My son would also rate this one a 4 or 5. We read this one several times this week! He is gaga for trains!
Misty Island Rescue by Wilbert Awdry. 3 stars.
Bones, Bones, Dinosaur Bones by Bryon Barton. 3 stars.
Dot the Fire Dog by Lisa Desimini. 3 stars.
Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss. 4 stars. (read at our church’s preschool playgroup)
Winnie the Pooh’s Opposites by AA Milne. 3 stars. (Bug’s Dolly book)
Peekaboo Morning by Rachel Isadora. 3 stars. (Bug’s Dolly book)
Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasan. 3 stars. (Punk’s Dolly book)

Currently reading:
Reached by Ally Condie. I will admit that I’ve had to take a step back from this book at the moment. It’s just slow reading for me.

A Million Suns by Beth Revis. I guess technically I’m not still reading it as I haven’t read anymore in over a week. I’ll probably re-start it once I finish a few other books.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Oh, wow. I’m breezing through this book. I LOVE it. I’m planning on doing a review when I finish, so hopefully that will be out later this week!

New to my shelf:
Stardust by Neil Gaiman, via library. I loved the movie and have wanted to read the book ever since!
Shades of Earth by Beth Revis, via library. I guess a reason I’ve been at a standstill on A Million Suns was because Mary told me to have 2 and 3 in my hands for immediate read through.
The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa. This was given to me by the wonderful Mary (: She’s the best!
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. I decided to treat myself to two books and this was one of them!
Grave Mercy by RL LaFevers. This was the second book I ordered.

I guess I should also include my new Kindle reads each week too! They are new to my virtual shelf!
Hollowland by Amanda Hawking
Entangled by Nikki Jefford
The Light Tamer by Devyn Dawson

For now, I’m going to pass on listing the new to the kids’ shelf unless it’s one we buy. I may change my mind later, but for now, I’ll just list them as we read them.

Have any of you heard of Thomas the Train before? I thought he was still much more popular than he seems to be… or maybe the kids were just shy and not wanting to show off. I know how that is!

 

 
%d bloggers like this: