The Whimsical Mama

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

A Cold Legacy Release Day Blitz! January 27, 2015

 

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I am BEYOND excited that the finale of The Madman’s Daughter series, A COLD LEGACY
is releasing today! I love this series and I’m so excited to see how Megan has ended things! Keep reading for more details about the book AND a giveaway at the end! If you haven’t started the series, the first two books are: The Madman’s Daughter and Her Dark Curiosity (Madman’s Daughter). These are fantastic pseudo retellings of some great classics! Hoping I have time to squeeze in a reading of the classics this year after binging the series. (: I’m listening to the audio for the first time and it’s fabulous! If you’re an audiobook person, check these out.
 

 

 
 
Title: A COLD LEGACY
Author: Megan Shepherd
Pub. Date: January 27, 2015
Publisher: Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins
Pages: 400
 
After killing the men who tried to steal her father’s research, Juliet—along with Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward—has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors. Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passages, and fortune-tellers who seem to know Juliet’s secrets. Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present within the manor’s own walls.
Then Juliet uncovers the truth about the manor’s long history of scientific
experimentation—and her own intended role in it—forcing her to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets. And she must decide if she’ll follow her father’s dark footsteps or her mother’s tragic ones, or whether she’ll make her own.
With inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this breathless conclusion to the Madman’s Daughter trilogy is about the things we’ll sacrifice to save those we love—even our own humanity. 

A COLD LEGACY excerpt
p.21-24
Montgomery stopped the horses outside a tavern. He came to the carriage door, opening it just a crack to keep the rain from drenching us. “I’m going to ask directions. We can’t be far now.”
 
We watched him saunter over the muddy street as though he didn’t even feel the bite of freezing rain. A face appeared in the tavern window. The door opened and he spoke to a woman in a wool dress for a few moments, then stomped back through the mud. “This village is called Quick,” he told us. “The manor’s only five
miles from here.”
 
“Did you hear that?” Lucy murmured to Edward, still stroking his hair. “We’re almost there. Just hold on. Everything will be all right once we arrive.”
 
Montgomery’s eyes shifted to me. Neither of us wanted to remind Lucy that the prospect of Edward’s fever breaking—and the Beast’s reappearance—was almost more frightening than the fever itself. Delirious, he was less of a threat.
 
“Let’s go then,” I whispered to Montgomery. “And quickly.”
 
He closed the door and in another moment we were moving again, passing through the rest of Quick. Then all too soon the village was nothing but fading lights. The storm grew and the road became rougher, and all the while Edward’s eyes rolled back and forth beneath shuttered lids.
 
Thunder struck close by, and Lucy shrieked. Montgomery whipped the horses harder, pulling us along the uneven road impossibly fast, trying to outrun the storm. I twisted in the seat to look out the back window at the pelting rain. A stone fence ran alongside us.
 
“We must be getting close,” I said.
 
“Not soon enough,” Lucy breathed. “We’re going to crash if he keeps driving like this!”
 
The road widened, straightening, letting us travel even faster. Lightning struck close by, blinding me. The horses bolted. Lucy screamed and covered her eyes, but I couldn’t tear mine away. The lightning had struck an enormous oak tree, twisted from centuries of wind. The oak took flame, blazing despite the rain. A smoking gash ran down the trunk—the lightning’s death mark. I watched until the rain put out most of the flames, but it still smoldered, billowing hot ash into the night.
 
The horses pawed the earth, and I grabbed the window to steady myself. At this wild speed, just hitting a single rock at the wrong angle would send the carriage shattering to the ground. It was madness to go so fast. Couldn’t Montgomery calm the horses?
 
Just when I feared the carriage would careen out of control, it stopped short, throwing me against the opposite wall. I tangled in Lucy’s limbs as the chains around Edward’s body clinked. Balthazar grunted, jerking awake at last. We scrambled in the bottom of the carriage until the door flew open.Montgomery stood in the pelting rain. I feared he’d say we’d broken another strut or the horses had gone lame or we’d have to spend the night in the harsh storm.
 
But then I saw the lights behind him, and the night took shape into a turreted stone manor with bright lamps blazing and gargoyles on the roof vomiting rain into a stone courtyard.
 
Montgomery’s eyes met mine beneath the low brim of his hat.
 
“We’ve arrived,” he said.
 
 
 
 
 
About Megan:
 
Hello! 
 
I’ve been many things, like a professional exchange student, park ranger in Montana, and LOST enthusiast, but what I am now is a writer.
 
I think it’s fair to say I was born into it. I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina, raised behind the counter of my parents’ independent bookstore, Highland Books in Brevard. Ah, so many free books. But I never thought being a writer could be a real career. After college I thought I’d end up as a foreign service officer
somewhere dashing and exotic, like Canada. I studied French, Spanish, German,
and Russian and still speak a few of those. Then I joined the Peace Corps and
spent two years in Senegal, where I learned a few more languages I’ll never
speak again and lived in a mud hut with no electricity or running water. You
can probably imagine how that experience went, but if you’re curious, 
here are the dirty
details
 
It wasn’t until a chance aquaintance read something I wrote and said, “have you ever
considered being a writer?” that something clicked and I realized it was
possible. My husband encouraged me, and I quickly fell head-over-heels in love
with writing and children’s literature in particular. I started out writing
articles, which have appeared in Faces, Appleseeds, and Calliope magazines, and
stories for younger children. I soon realized I wasn’t sweet enough to write fiction
for that age and found myself writing young adult literature instead, which
doesn’t require nearly as many tender moments and includes a lot more cursing.
 
When I’m not writing, I can usually be found horseback riding, day dreaming at coffee shops,
or hiking in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. I love to hear
from readers, so please drop me a line!
 
I am represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary.
Author Photo by Kristi Hedberg Photography
Giveaway Details:
1 winner
will receive a signed copy of A COLD LEGACY and swag! US Only.
Ends on
February 6th at Midnight EST!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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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

 

Top Ten Tuesday #39: Books About Friendship May 20, 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 Books About Friendship

Punk & Ladybug wanted to include two of their favourites about friends. Of course they’re Pete books!

What books made your list this week? These aren’t strictly about friendships, but the friendships in them are some of my favourites.

 

*ARC Review* The Falconer by Elizabeth May May 5, 2014

***I was granted permission to read this by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Chronicle Books!***   

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

Rating:5 stars
Pub date:6 May 2014
Publisher:Chronicle Books
Genre:Young Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal
Format:ARC provided by the publisher
Status:Book one of The Falconer series

Summary:

Heiress. Debutant. Murderer. A new generation of heroines has arrived.

Edinburgh, Scotland, 1844

Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, was destined for a life carefully planned around Edinburgh’s social events – right up until a faery killed her mother.

Now it’s the 1844 winter season and Aileana slaughters faeries in secret, in between the endless round of parties, tea and balls. Armed with modified percussion pistols and explosives, she sheds her aristocratic facade every night to go hunting. She’s determined to track down the faery who murdered her mother, and to destroy any who prey on humans in the city’s many dark alleyways.

But the balance between high society and her private war is a delicate one, and as the fae infiltrate the ballroom and Aileana’s father returns home, she has decisions to make. How much is she willing to lose – and just how far will Aileana go for revenge?

My thoughts:

I can’t remember exactly how I stumbled across Elizabeth May on Twitter last summer, but I’m glad it happened. It was before The Falconer came out in the UK and ages before ARCs were due out here. I mulled over the idea of preordering a UK copy, but talked myself out of it. Boy, that was a mistake. Luckily, I scored an e-ARC on Edelweiss. Second mistake was waiting til a month before the release date to read it. At least my review is going up just a day before the release date so you don’t have to wait long to get your hands on this great book!

The Falconer is the full monty for me. Kickass heroine, historical fiction, snarkiness, swoon worthy guys, steampunk goodies, and chock full of Scottish faery lore. Plus it takes place in one of my favourite cities EVAR. Not just ever, completely favourite EVAR. I absolutely love Edinburgh. I could rant and rave about my love for Edinburgh for ages.

The Falconer opens a little over a year after our heroine Aileana’s mother was murdered in front of her by a faery. She had long believed the tales of the fae to be false, but finds herself thrust into the middle of a long struggle between the fae and humans. She also reenters society surrounded by the gossip that she is the one who murdered her mother.  A lot to handle for a prim and proper Victorian debutante.

I think Elizabeth did a fantastic job on character growth with Aileana. She shows growth on two fronts. The Falconer is in first person, so we get to see Aileana’s inner monologue comparing herself past and present. We also get to see how she grows once she realises what she was born to be – the Falconer. There is a large emphasis on character development and I absolutely love it. I love when an author takes equal care of fleshing out a character as well as having an ever deepening intriguing plot. I love human characters who drive the plot as much as the plot can move itself.

Along with a kickass main character, she is supported by strong secondary characters. Since we are limited to seeing them through Aileana’s eyes, we only get to see so much of their development, but they are fleshed out magnificently. Best friend Charlotte struggles with her beliefs as they’re surrounded by rumours and she also has everything she thinks she knows is true shattered. I can’t wait to see what her involvement will be in two. She has plenty room to grow. Kiaran is one surprise after another. My feelings for him mirrored Aileana’s (which probably results from interpreting it through her perspective). I laughed, I growled, I gasped, I teared up. I’m so excited to see where the action picks up in two!

Derrick is a bit of comic relief, or so it feels to me. I adored Derrick even when Aileana got rather annoyed with him. I’m hoping with him we will get to see more pixie action in two!

I loved the grounding effect Gavin had on Aileana. I think they are well suited together. Despite being an important character, I feel like he didn’t fully reach his potential. I think this means he will have plenty of growth in two. I have a feeling he will play a much larger role as well. I’m excited about that!

The world building was truly spectacular. Having been to Edinburgh, it was easy for me to visualise exactly where the action was going down, but the way Elizabeth paints the picture, it’s easy to see Edinburgh the way she wants you to see it. I loved the addition of steampunk. I haven’t read much steampunk, but this was easy technology to understand. It also added depth to the story.

It was fascinating and eerie to read the ending battle scene as a full moon and total eclipse was about to occur. Haha. The eclipse plays a huge role in the ending cliffhanger and I think having one happen while I read it added a lot to my experience.

I will have to admit to not knowing as much faery lore of my ancestral home as I would like (I plan on rectifying this soon thanks to The Falconer!). I really enjoyed getting to see how faeries were shown to be like humans in that not all are strictly good or bad. Don’t make the mistake of thinking they are human though! It is a struggle for Aileana to remember that. While being a faery lore novel, I feel that the interaction between the fae and Aileana is nothing to what it will be in book two after the action building and cliffhanger ending!

The action scenes were executed beautifully. I’m never a fan of cliffhangers in a new series because I hate waiting for the next installment. Let me tell you how this one hit me — I’m totally ordering the UK version of two so I don’t have to wait as long to see what happens! The action kept building through the whole book and by the end, I was squirming in my seat because I couldn’t be still because it felt like I was there. Elizabeth did such an incredible job.I definitely think she’s one of my new favourite authors! I highly recommend this fantastic debut series if you are a fan of historical fiction, steampunk fiction, or faery lore.

About the author

 

Elizabeth May currently resides in Edinburgh, Scotland, with her husband. THE FALCONER is her début novel.

For more information, follow her on Twitter @_ElizabethMay or visit her website www.elizabethmaywrites.com

 

 

*Review* The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd September 30, 2013

Rating:  5 stars
Pub date: 29 January 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction
Format: hardback, personal copy, signed

Summary:

In the darkest places, even love is deadly.

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father’s handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father’s madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father’s dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it’s too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Inspired by H. G. Wells’s classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman’s Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we’ll do anything to know and the truths we’ll go to any lengths to protect.

Wow. Just wow. I don’t even know where to begin this review. I came across this book on the suggestion of Mary. (Mary Had a Little Book Blog) She reviewed this title earlier this year and also recommended it to me. I am so glad she did!

I haven’t read The Island of Dr. Moreau, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from this gothic thriller. Let me just say, from the get go I was HOOKED. I started reading in the car on the way to our family beach getaway last week. I wanted to wait til as close as I could to the signing event so it was still fresh in my mind. Now, I’m dying with impatience waiting for Her Dark Curiosity! I also want to dive into The Island of Dr. Moreau to see the inspiration behind the insanity!

We are introduced to our leading lady, Juliet Moreau right away and the book is from her point of view. She is a fallen from the top of society young lady living and working in Victorian (I’m assuming) London, England. I was sold already. I love England, and I love historical fiction. A forbidden friendship made it even more intriguing. She’s surrounded by a scandal. It’s not quite clear what scandal surrounds her which has driven her from the heights of society, but we immediately know it’s as bad as bad can get.

After a series of a turn of events from flirtatious med school students and an attempted sexual assault, Juliet learns her disgraced and assumed dead father is really alive and living on an island off of Australia. She flees with her former servant to reunite with her father. Montgomery pleads with her not to come, but she is relentless in her desire to find out if the rumours surrounding her father are true.

After an interesting sea voyage involving discovering a castaway, Juliet and company arrive at the island. She quickly learns not only are the rumours true, things are worse than she thought. The question arises what does humanity really mean? Do we have humanity because we were born human? Or is it possible for a creature to be created and mutated to have humanity? Are all humans filled with humanity and are all created science experiments truly monsters? Some of the creations show more humanity and compassion than some of the truly human characters.

A giant plot twist and gotacha moment at the end brings it to an incredible cliff hanger. Can I just say the gotcha moment was in the back of my mind as a possibility and when it became obvious I was BLOWN that I was right. And I called how the cliff hanger ending would go. I so can’t wait to see how Her Dark Curiosity will be!

From the beginning, I felt a great connection with Juliet. Despite the usual stereotype of her age, (women and girls are delicate and pretty incapable of being intellectual) Juliet is incredibly intelligent and resilient. Her resiliency is really tested when she finds her father. Even though she had believed she was an orphan, she desperately wanted things to work out in her relationship with her father. He’d abandoned her, but she hoped he had a good reason. She struggles with his work and knowing it isn’t right. She uses her intelligence and resilience to try to get off the island with Montgomery and Edward and when events don’t go as planned, she rolls with the punches and adapts.

Montgomery is definitely a fallen angel to me. He still has an innocence despite everything he has done. He knows he’s done evil, but also shows a great wish to redeem himself. His choices at the end of The Madman’s Daughter show what he thinks will be his redemption. I’m looking forward to see how this redemption goes in the sequel.

Edward is confusing in a way. Nothing ever makes sense about him and he always seems a bit dark even when he doesn’t seem like it. Confusing, right? Despite his obvious affections toward Juliet, and urging from her father, I never wanted to see things work out for them. They just didn’t seem to completely fit together. I’m completely Team Montgomery for relationships!

Dr, Moreau is just an a-hole. Completely self absorbed and oblivious to his faults. His genius is what cripples him. In discovering this mysterious island and continuing his research, he essentially loses his humanity in trying to create the perfect specimen of humanity. He thinks himself like a god. He comes up with his own commandments that he teaches to his creations. It’s truly appalling.

Balthazar. Oh, I love his innocence. I wish he had appeared more and hope he makes at least a small appearance in the sequel.

This was a fantastic novel and was also Megan’s debut. I can’t wait to get my hands on Her Dark Curiosity!

***Signing event***

Megan was with two other authors at the JC Public Library on the 28th. I didn’t stay long, we had just driven 6 hours back from the beach and the kiddos were exhausted and tired of being in their carseats. Punk wanted to go inside with me and he was greatly entertaining to everyone while I stood and talked with Megan and Chris for a few minutes. He decided to dance and chatter for everyone. Megan asked him if he had fun at the beach and he said “YES!” then proceeded to chatter. I’m guessing he was telling her all about it. I did catch swim and papaw while he was going on and on. I got to see Her Dark Curiosity. I was going to ask to hold it and skim through it, but I was too nervous that once I had it in my hands I’d never be able to let it go until I devoured it. Still crossing my fingers for an ARC of my own!

I’m hoping to go to an event next month that she’ll be at in NC. It’s about publication and writing. I think it might just be what I need to take the plunge on writing. (:

It was such a great honour to get to meet her! She’s super awesome and nice. It was neat to meet her after tweeting back and forth for a while.

I apologise that my first event recap is so short! I did get a few extra bookmarks signed. If there’s any interest I’ll do a giveaway for them. Or I may just wait and see if I can go to the event next month and get a copy of The Madman’s Daughter signed and give both away then. Make sure you leave your thoughts on the giveaway! (: Just bookmarks now or wait and get bookmarks and book later?

Recommended for: Sci-fi and historical fiction lovers

Not recommended for: Those who have a weak stomach where guts and blood are concerned or dislike sci-fi or historical fiction

 

 
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