Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Generally I don't want to read a book that is surrounded by hype.  Remember, it took me YEARS to finally read Harry Potter because I was told that I should.  This month, our book club chose to read The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins which has been turned into a major motion picture.  Since book club chose it, I read it.  

The book was written from the perspective of the three female lead characters.  Each character represents some of the worst qualities or worst fears that I (and I imagine other women) feel.  Rachel Watson is an alcoholic who lost everything seemingly due to her alcoholism.  Her husband cheated and divorced her, she lost her job, she is living in her friend's spare room and even the friend is losing patience.  Rachel rides the train past her old house everyday on her commute and she has discovered another couple in a house nearby that she has imagined a whole life for in her boredom with her own life. Jess and Jason turn out to actually be Megan and Scott Hipwell, a couple with a very different life than Rachel had imagined.  Megan has disappeared and is feared dead and Rachel becomes entangled in the lives of so many involved.

Megan has a heartbreaking past that would make any mother cringe in fear of her own possible shortcomings.  Does this past have something to do with her disappearance or is there something else, something more present or sinister involved?

Anna Watson, Rachel's ex-husband's new wife, is disturbed by the fact that Rachel keeps popping up in their lives.  She can't seem to catch a break from the ex-wife and no matter how much her husband, Tom, assures her that he will take care of it, Rachel keeps showing up.  Anna was the other woman and the woman who could give Tom a child.  It's interesting how this plays into the story, too.

I was surprised by the ending of this story, I'm not really good at predicting this sort of thing, but I definitely didn't see this ending coming.  At one point, I was concerned that this story was going to take a Jodi Picoult Leaving Time or Sixth Sense kind of turn, but thankfully, I was wrong.  I liked this book as a book, but I can't imagine it'll be an amazing movie.  I think I'll either wait until the library gets a copy or maybe check it out in the Redbox, but I won't be in any hurry to get to the theater to watch it. 

Do you read the books with all the hype?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Twinkle Puffs and Reading Stuffs

Hello Blog World!  I know I've been MIA for quite some time lately, but this time I have a really great excuse.  Remember when I told you that I was pregnant?  Well, the last couple months of my pregnancy were terribly uncomfortable for me.  We were remodeling our home and that chaos was exhausting, too.  Then my little twinsies decided to surprise us all and make their appearance seven weeks early!  I didn't realize I was in labor until it was too late and ended up delivering one baby at home all by myself.  Baby two was delivered breach and was stuck for about 30 minutes.  She started her journey into this world at home, but was finally fully delivered in the back of an ambulance on the way to the hospital. Quite an eventful morning!

Hats and Bows

The first responders in my tiny town are mostly family anyway.  First on scene was my sister and shortly behind her was my mother, dad and an uncle and another first responder we are now calling Uncle Bill because of the bond he and the twins will forever have. Breach baby two, Lily, required CPR in the ambulance and a lot of help in the local hospital to get stabilized enough to be transported by helicopter to the Children's hospital in Tulsa.  Baby one, Paige, was such a trooper and didn't really need any help.  She got to ride to the local hospital in the fire truck with her Mema behind the ambulance and was transported via ambulance to the Children's hospital for good measure.  Paige was released after just 3 short weeks in the hospital.  Even the doctors were surprised that she didn't need more attention as she was so early.  Baby Lily is still in the hospital after 5 weeks, but is making a little progress every day.

Paige smiles

Newborn clothes because preemies are to small now

Lily will probably have a longer road ahead of her.  Nobody is exactly sure why, but she isn't using her mouth like we would hope.  She's not swallowing or coughing and has required oxygen.  She ended up with an E. Coli infection that landed her on 3 weeks of antibiotics.  Worst case, she will have to have a feeding port and a trach before she can come home; best case, she will start using her mouth very soon and get to come home without any extra accessories.  She will have to gain a few pounds before she can have any of that done, though, so we still have some time.

Big sister is silly

Since we have been in the hospital, you would think that I'd be doing a lot more reading.  I've done some, but probably not as much as I could have.  There is always stuff going on while sitting in a hospital room.  The first 2 weeks, there wasn't a twin room available and husband and I were taking turns between the girls rooms with guests and visitors.  Once we finally got to be in a twin room, there were still always distractions with visitors and diaper changes and etc.  I did manage to finish a couple audiobooks and reread most of HP and the Deathly Hallows.  I have started HP and the Cursed Child, but I'm not a fan of the format and that makes it hard to read.

Sister snuggles

I want to say a quick thank you to all of the friends and family that has been praying for my babies and coming to visit and bringing gifts and just keeping us in their thoughts.  All of this means so much to the hubs and I.  We are also thankful to be working for generous and understanding employers, this makes life in the NICU a little less stressful.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Lights Out: A Cyber Attack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath

Who doesn't love a good conspiracy book once in a while?  Even better, the audio is read by Ted Koppel himself and I like to hear him talk.  In this book, Koppel explores the possibility of a cyber attack on our nation's power grid and the effect that could have.  He talks about the potential players who may be interested in and have the ability to launch a cyber attack, how the government and population might respond and who might be best suited to survive.

I gotta tell ya folks, if you start to really think about any of this stuff, it's pretty scary.  For years we, in my house,  have joked about a zombie apocalypse and becoming preppers, but the zombies really aren't the scariest thing that could happen.  Mostly because I don't actually think zombies will happen... But folks!  There are real threats out there!  According to Ted Koppel's research, there are holes in our system and lots of people out there who might be interested in taking advantage of those holes to our detriment.  Koppel interviewed preppers, people who didn't consider themselves preppers, and communities who were definitely more prepared than others.  It was very interesting to hear how some people live their lives in a way that is more independent than others.

I thought this book was insightful and interesting.  There were a few times when the facts got to be a little overwhelming, but you guys know me by now, if thinks get too wordy I may tune out for a minute.  I have a pretty sure attention span.  That being said, though, I listened to this book from start to finish in about a week.  I listened on my daily commute, which is my habit these days, but I also listened at the house while I was cleaning and organizing all the baby stuff.

I would definitely never say that my family is prepared for something like this, but I would like to think that we could adapt.  I have friends who are much more prepared than we are and we've talked and brainstormed and they've given me lots of good information.  While I would LOVE to be able to build a house off the grid, it's more for an economic reasoning than a prepper reasoning.

How do you think you would fair if the lights went out?  Do you have a plan? 

Meet Me at the Emotional Baggage Claim

I just finished this hysterical book by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella.  In this group of essays, the mother and daughter tell stories from their own lives and give such a great prospective to the mother-daughter relationship.  Coming from a strong matriarchal family myself, I can totally relate to so many stories.  I liked this book so much and it was so easy to listen to that I finished it in 3 days!

I laughed through nearly this whole book and have already downloaded another audio by the duo.  I love the honesty in these stories, honesty about love, life, getting older and family.  So many of the stories struck such a cord with me because of my close relationship to my own mother, daughter, grandmother and sisters.  From the proper way to pack dishes to how to deal with the oldest generation, this book was packed with insight and laugh-out-loud humor.  I suggest you get your hands on this one and just relax and enjoy.  I look forward to reading others by these authors very soon.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Time to Declutter... Again

The company I work for is getting a new building this fall.  This means we will have to decide what is being moved to the new building and auction or trash the things that are being replaced.  The General Manager came in today to let my office know that this job will go much easier if we don't wait until the last minute and if we reduce the unnecessary things now.  He stared at me a whole lot through this conversation and repeated himself to try to drive home the point.  He knows me very well...

After this meeting, I got to looking around and deciding what would need to be boxed up and what we could shred and what just needed to go in the trash.  I took this picture as a small sample of why I REALLY should get started now...

There is a plastic chicken, a glow-in-the-dark alien, a bottle of gems, three shot glasses, a cupcake topper and a bottle of bubbles stuck between some of my personal mail. I've only mentioned the unnecessary things, where do I even come up with this stuff?!?  I also have a Rolodex, a paperclip holder and many random cards that should probably be in the Rolodex.  This is just the top of my monitor stand so I'm sure you can imagine what the rest of my desk looks like!  I don't even know what lives in the drawers other than the few things I access regularly.  And all this is just my desk!  I also have a storage closet and many, many storage cabinets that will need to be cleaned out.  I should have started this in the spring when they started construction on our new building!

Now I will be cleaning and organizing the office while cleaning and organizing the house preparing for babies.  I sure hope this nesting mentality kicks in soon!  Anyone have any tips or tricks to keep me from becoming overwhelmed?  I'm happy to hear them!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Looking back at the books I've completed this year, I should dub this the year of YA.  You know I skipped YA in my teen years, but I'm making up for it in my thirties.  I've completed the Smoke and Bone series, all the Harry Potter books, and now I've started a new YA series this year.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer are fairy tale retelling in a steampunk fashion.  Now I didn't really know what steampunk meant when I started this series and I can't say that I 100% know at this point either, but if you can explain it to me, I'd love to hear it!  In this first book of the series, Cinder is a teenage cyborg mechanic who isn't well loved by her family and has few friends.  One day the prince of the land stumbles into her shop and needs his android repaired and Cinder's world is soon turned upside down.

There are lots of elements of old world mixed with futuristic aspects, which I think makes it steampunk?  Correct me if I'm wrong in this. To be honest, when finished the first chapter I had decided that this wasn't the book for me and I wasn't going to finish. It was very far out there and unrealistic to me, but then I remembered that I just finished Harry Potter and I usually read vampire books... when do I read anything realistic?  At some point I looked up and had just finished chapter 17, I guess I had committed!  This book was fast paced and keep my interest through the entire thing.  I finished in about 2 days and have requested the second book in the series on Overdrive, but there is a waiting list.

What is your favorite Steampunk novel?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Show Hole

Okay, so I guess I'm not currently in a Show Hole (remember the Amazon commercials?), but an audiobook hole.  I finally finished listening to all the Harry Potter books on Audible and now I'm stuck.  I don't really know what to start next!  I am reading a paper book and an ebook, so I have those covered for now, but I don't have an audiobook.  I'm listening to NPR on my commute, but I'd really rather have a book.  I checked out Overdrive to see if I could borrow something from my TBR list, but either there is no audio version available or they are already checked out by someone else and I have to wait.  Do you listen to audiobooks?  What have you listened to that you would recommend?  I need to know!

P.S. I have no idea why I fought reading the Harry Potter books all these years, they are amazing and I'm glad I listened too them this year.  I can't wait until the next books is out this weekend.  Jim Dale does an amazing job narrating, if you get the chance, listen to the audios.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Zoo 2 by James Patterson and some baby updates

Last year I read Zoo by James Patterson and watched the first season of the television show it inspired.  I enjoyed the version of a post-apocalyptic future and even though the book and television show were VERY different, I liked them both on their own.  The television should have recently started it's second season, but I haven't watched any yet.  I'll likely let a few episodes air and then watch them all online when I've got some time to burn.

Zoo 2 the book was written as a Book Shots version.  This is my first experience with Book Shots, but I think I liked it.  At only 160 pages, Zoo 2 was written more like an episode of a television show.  It doesn't have a ton of descriptive writing, but just enough that you can visualize what is happening and use your imagination to fill in the blanks.  It ended with enough information that you didn't feel like it wasn't finished, but also left it wide open to make this a much longer series.  I will likely continue the series if more are written in the future.

Confession:  it actually took me more than a week to finish this short book, but not for lack of desire to read it.  It has been really hectic in my world!  Who knew twins could cause so much more work before they ever even make their appearance to this world?!?  We've been remodeling to create room for the little angels by turning our bedroom into the nursery and moving our stuff to the man cave (sorry you have to lose your man cave, honey).  Princess has been begging for about a year to repaint her bedroom as it hasn't been updated since she was 2.  I thought it was a great idea to do both rooms at the same time.  I thought this because I know nothing about remodeling and renovation...  We took up the carpet to install tile flooring as these were the last two rooms with carpet remaining and I hate carpet.  Both rooms required paint.  Our bedroom was a dark chocolate brown so we had to paint on a couple layers of primer in order to paint the walls pale peach for the babies.  This is MUCH more work than I had expected and our house is still a disaster, but we should be in better shape by the end of next weekend.  I hope to be showing off some great after pictures in the next couple weeks.  In the mean time, here are some progress pics.  Roll your eyes at me, I really should have known this would be more work that I had originally thought...

MIL helping remove carpet

So. Much. Stuff.

Can't even get into Princess' room

The most patient and giving man in the world making sure things turn out the way I wanted

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A Few from the DNF List

Do you always finish a book you start?  Are you that committed?  Most of the time, I'm not.  I was pushing myself to read all the books assigned in Book Club, but I didn't finish the last couple because I'm just not in a place to read books I don't want to read.  A few of the most recent books I haven't finished:

Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey:  This was assigned in book club because we hadn't read a single western and several of my fellow library patrons are huge fans of the genre.  I don't know that I'd ever even tried to read a western, I'm not really a huge fan of the movie genre and assumed I wouldn't love the book genre either.  If this book was an accurate depiction of the genre, I was correct.  The book was VERY descriptive.  I get it, writers back then got paid by the word for their short stories.  People didn't have access to travel or the internet like we do today, so they got to "see" the Wild West through the eyes of the characters in these books.  This was exciting stuff!

I also assumed that westerns had more shoot-out scenes.  This one really didn't, at least not as far as I had gotten.  In light of how crazy this country has gotten in the last several years, you'd think I'd be thrilled that a book about a community of religious extremist didn't have more gun violence, but it just wasn't what I was expecting.  I'm not sad about it, just surprised based on the little I've seen of the movie genre.

Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien:  This is a big, fat book!  Over 1200 pages big!  I thought maybe it would be less intimidating if I downloaded the audio from the library's site, but that wasn't really the case.  I still knew that I had to finish listening to it in 2 weeks time or I would have to get back in line to listen to the rest.  That's a lot of pressure and I was not in a place in my life where I was ready to commit to over 1200 pages.  (It's really starting to sound like I have commitment issues, we'll save that for a future post...)  This book was also very descriptive.  I like to be able to visit these places in my mind, but sometimes the details put me on overload and I tune out.

The Secret Healer by Ellin Carsta:  This was an available download one month as a Kindle First on Amazon Prime and it's about midwifery in the Middle Ages.  "Free", midwifery, Middle Ages, all things I would like to read about, but alas, I didn't finish.

Now I'm no history buff, but the language of this book sounded like it could have been written for any time period, including the present.  Maybe it has something to do with being a foreign-written book and translated to English?  Maybe it wasn't well researched?  Maybe it was just poorly written?  I really don't know.  The writing was very simple and sure didn't conjure any images of 14th century Germany to me.  I know my complaint about the last two books was too much imagery, but this one sure didn't have enough.  The characters were flat and the the story wasn't well developed.  It really pressed on very basic female rights issues like sexual abuse, rights to control our own money/heath/bodies/life.  This book had potential, but I just couldn't finish it.

I'm sure there are others that I DNF lately, but these were the most memorable.  Maybe I'll revisit these at some point in the future and I'll like them for some of the very reasons I didn't like them this time.  I'm fickle like that.

What books have you started and not finished?

Friday, June 3, 2016

Never stop dating your husband

Well folks, I have been doing almost no reading lately.  I'm halfheartedly rereading Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles and I'm slowly listening to the Harry Potter books.  I'm not reading anything new or anything that hasn't been reviewed a million times on the interwebs, so I don't really want to talk much about books these days.  I'd have much more to say about Netflix than books right now, but we don't need to talk about that either...

Let's talk more about relationships.  I got some nice feedback on the last bit of relationship advice I posted for you, so maybe I'm onto something.  Please know, I am in no way an expert on anything relationship, these are always only my opinions so use your own brain and consider how what I say may fit into your own life before you take any of my advice.  I'm not always good at things like feelings and emotions, but I tend to be fairly practical and that helps and hubs and I have been married for almost 10 years and still like each other.  So here we go:

We change over time; personalities, values, priorities, etc.  What was important to you in your early twenties before kids, is probably not nearly as important in your early thirties with a few youngsters and a career.  I know I am a completely different wife at 32 than I was at 22 and I'll likely be a completely different mother to these twinsies than I was with Princess.  A few things I've learned while raising Princess and experiencing nephews:

  • Babies and toddlers aren't nearly as fragile as I had expected.
  • The house won't always be clean.
  • Accept help from people and let them do things their way.
  • Dog treats won't actually hurt your toddler.
Don't judge me, life can be crazy.

Something else I realized is how easy it can be to neglect your marriage when your kids rely on you so much.  It is especially important to spend time on that relationship when it is the easiest one to ignore.  In order to keep your relationship healthy, you must continue to get to know your husband.   Just like we must maintain our relationship with God through prayer, we have to continually have conversations with our husbands.  When we start neglecting rather than nurturing that relationship, the enemy will start to push his way into the gaps that form.

I know, I know, I hear you.  "But April, we are so busy!  Who has time for all that?"  I'm not saying devote huge chunks of time here,  I'm just saying talk to each other.  Ask each other's opinions on matters around the house.  Ask how his day was.  Ask him if there is something you should all do over the weekend. And... wait for it... this is a big one... LISTEN to what he says.  Even if you can only handle about 10 minutes before you go to bed at night, try to have some kind of adult conversation with your husband, preferably about something other than the kiddos.

  • What is going on in the news around the world?
  • Did you see that funny video so-and-so posted on Facebook today?
  • Did you see how pretty our yard is now that the flowers are blooming?
What are some topics you like to talk to your husband about?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Always Fight Fair

Today I would really like to talk about relationships.  This is something I've been thinking about adding to the blog for a while, but have only touched on the subject here and there.  Today I'd like to talk about the rocky times.  About the times when you are grinding on each other's nerves and are maybe fighting more than you should.  Something I've had to learn the hard way over the years is that even when you are fighting with your spouse, you should never take the gloves off and fight dirty.

There are things that you cannot unsay.  When you say mean or hateful things in the heat of the moment, they will linger for much, much longer.  It's a good idea to set up some ground rules in advance for the times when fights happen.  Here are a few things I've learned over the years:

1. Fight in private:  This one should go without saying, but I'm going to say it.  Don't fight and argue in front of your children, your neighbors, your families, anyone.  Table whatever the problem is, go to a private place where you can discuss the issue and don't yell for all the world to hear.  Also, don't get on social media to gripe either openly or vaguely about your issues.  (This should be a general rule in life, not just in your relationship.)  Don't vent to everyone you see.  If you must vent, you need to have that one person you can trust to be open minded and encourage you to fix the issue, not to jump on your side and tell you that you are right all the time.  

2.  Don't use the Dirty D Word:  That's right, Divorce.  God gave you your husband to be your help and companion for the rest of your life.  He didn't plan for you to get a divorce and you shouldn't use is as a threat. Ever.  If you get to a point where either of you are even considering the possibility, you should take a time out.  It you think about it regularly, you probably need to seek out some help. Ask a trusted friend who can be impartial, talk to an elder in your church, seek out a certified counselor, find someone you can talk to to help sort things out and get to a better place.

3.  Don't say things just to hurt one another:  Fights happen because you disagree with one another, this is already a rocky time in your relationship.  Don't say things to intentionally hurt each other, it only makes things worse.  The end goal of any fight should be a compromise on one or both parts, this will not be achieved if you are attacking each other.  Don't bring up old arguments, don't bring up things you consider to be character flaws, stay on point.  Only talk about the issue at hand, this is not a time to hash out everything you perceive to be wrong with your spouse.

4.  It's not about winning:  Think about this, if you always "win" when you fight, that means your husband always "loses".  Now you are married to a loser.  Is this what you really want?  Is this how you really feel about the man you pledged to love until death do you part?  Is this how you want to feel about him?  No.  I didn't think so.  Everyone has to compromise at some point.  Go into these situations looking for a real solution and trying to work together, not trying to win and get things your way all the time.

5.  Encourage each other in the off season:  You can be proactive about fights and arguments.  If you always try to find things you appreciate about each other and you encourage each other in your everyday life, you will be less likely to get to the point of having actual fights.  I'm not saying they will never happen, but if you are constantly trying to see the positive in each other, you are more likely to come to a solution before fights even start.

Remember, your husband is NOT your enemy.  You have to stand united, even when you are in a fight.  If you don't follow the rules and you start disrespecting each other, you open the door up wide for the actual enemy to get his claws into your marriage.  My marriage and my life are definitely not perfect, but I have come a long way.  I have had to learn some of these things the hard way and I hope you can use some of these tips to save yourself some pain and heartache.

What is the best marriage advice you ever received?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Mornings aren't my thing

Hub's alarm went off at 3:45am like so many other Monday mornings.  Difference this week was that I couldn't go back to sleep!  I tossed and turned for an hour and a half before I finally gave up and got up to start my day.  I made breakfast, I moved some laundry around and I even did a couple workout videos!  Very productive morning!
Smoothie and eggs

Smoothie ingredients

I should be eating this healthy and working out everyday anyway, but today I have to tell you about an even more important reason for me to get and stay healthy!



Crazy, huh?  

What is the worst pregnancy advice you have ever heard?

Friday, May 6, 2016

Harry Potter and the Major Procrastinator

Remember how I skipped YA when I was young?  Not only did I skip it, but I rolled my eyes at adult who were reading it.  How little did I know when I was a YA!  (This is true is SO many ways, but that is another post.)  My mother has been a fan of Harry Potter since the 90s.  She has been telling me for YEARS that I'm missing out by not reading them and I have been ignoring her or rolling my eyes for years.  She found a way to make me read the first book.  She started the book club.

Mom knows that if she assigns a book to the book club, I will read it.  I forced myself through Eat, Pray, Love even though it took me 3 months to finally finish it.  To date, I have only skipped one book in book club and that was because I was too busy listening to Harry Potter.  That's right folks, I've been won over.  Princess and I are both listening to the books on Audible.  We're both on the 4th book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and looking forward to getting through the whole series.  I likely won't review each book as there are already millions of fans and reviews out there and I'm a little late at this point, but so far I really enjoy the stories.

Since starting this book blog and joining a book club I've gotten way out of my comfort zone with reading and I'm happy to say that it is okay.  I've read LOTS of stuff that I would never have read.  While I didn't enjoy everything out of my comfort zone, I have found lots of gems.  If you are stuck on one genre or in a rut, take a suggestion from someone and actually read the suggestion.  This blog has lots of reviews of things you should read, your local librarian would LOVE to help you find something new and there are book clubs all over the place.  Check out a list on GoodReads or just ask friend.  Read something different, it's good for you!

What book would you recommend I read?  Be patient, I'm only half way through HP!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Because I haven't run away forever

Hello Dear Friends!

Great news!  I have NOT fallen off the earth or been attacked by zombies or gotten lost in the woods.  Sadly, I didn't get my letter to Hogwarts, haven't been to visit Eretz, or been on holiday in Wonderland.  Life has been happening.  You know how it can go sometimes; kids, work, reading books, watching Netflix, life can be busy!  Have no fear, though, I will talk about the things I'm reading and maybe some shows I've been watching and lots of other stuff from life soon.  In the mean time, how about some photos!
Super nephew

Dog treats

Crafty stuff

Silly Princess

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Giver by Lois Lowery

Banned books!  There is probably no surer way of boosting book sales than to get your book banned!  Communities have been trying to ban books for as long as authors have been writing books, and this is very sad to me.  I love all books, even the books that I don't really love.  This year's reading challenge included reading a book that had previously been banned.  Check that one right off my list!

I recently read The Giver by Lois Lowery.  I didn't even realize that I had never read this book or that I should have read it 20 years ago.  My sister read this book, but I must have been too involved with Lestat and Louie to worry myself with this little gem.  My favorite Librarian and I were talking about the public school system and our ideas on how to improve it when she assumed I'd already read this book.  Since I hadn't, I checked it out right away.  Wow!  I really enjoyed this book!  I know it's dark and sad, but it's also smart and hopeful.

Jonas lives in a world where instead of birthdays, each year there is a ceremony for the children more like a graduation.  Each year comes with milestones like receiving their first bicycle and their first coat that buttons in the front.  Each year's promotion is supposed to help bring the children closer to being independent.  At the Ceremony of Twelves children receive their vocation and start career training.  The Elders spend several years observing the children's behavior, temperament and skills so that just the right occupation will be assigned to them.  It's rare that a career path is chosen incorrectly, but there is an appeal process if that happens.

Jonas is given the task of Receiver.  Once his training is complete, he will hold all the memories and emotions for generations of his people.  He will be the wisest member of the community!  Once his eyes are opened, though, Jonas is changed.  Will knowing this past, change Jonas' future?  Maybe the future of the whole community?

Now I don't really want to live in a socialist community were every decision is made for us, whether we like it or not.  I do like the idea of training children in a vocation that fits them rather than using each year to teach a study guide for the end of year test and teaching very little else.  Think!  Maybe some Elder somewhere would have seen that my calling was to be a librarian and not an accountant!  I sure didn't see it, at least not until I was in my 30s and it's sure hard to change career paths at this point.  Meh, it makes me who I am, I guess.  I always have this blog as an outlet to tell everyone about the books I'm reading and I am thankful for all my readers who keep listening to me ramble.

Tell me what you think!  About this book, about life, about all my spelling errors.
I just want to hear from you!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Kind of Kin by Rilla Askew

The Eastern Oklahoma District Library System is hosting an annual event called "Read On Eastern Oklahoma" to encourage and celebrate reading for fun and education.  The book chosen for this year's read is Kind of Kin by Rilla Askew, an Oklahoma author writing about people in Oklahoma.  You know this is one of my favorite kinds of books!

There will be a photo contest themed What I Love About My Community and patrons are invited to submit recipes for  a cookbook titled Kin Cookin'.  Each library has posted a map for patrons to mark where their own kin lives or originates from.  The deadline for the photo contest and recipes is April 1 so if you live in Eastern Oklahoma, I suggest you hurry down to your local library and get involved today!

Whew!  Now that I got all that awesome information out there for you, let's talk about the book!  Our adult book club got some of the first copies so that we could read it and get our friends excited about it, too.  So, friends, I must tell you that I really enjoyed reading this book!  I wasn't sure at first, but then I'm always a little skeptical of book club books for some reason.  Maybe because I didn't enjoy our very first book?  I'm not sure, I've liked everything since then, I should stop being so skeptical.

Inspired by new laws in Oklahoma and Alabama, Kind of Kin is about an Oklahoma family that is impacted very strongly and unexpectedly by immigration and the changing laws that surround it.  Bob Brown is a God-fearing Christian man who is raising his late daughter's son Dustin.  One night he gets a call from a preacher friend asking if a trailer load of illegal Mexican immigrants can stay in his barn just long enough to get the broke-down trailer back on the road.  Since Jesus instructs His people to take care of each other and help those in need, Bob agrees.  When Bob Brown is busted and goes to jail, his other daughter, Sweet, ends up with Dustin and the real trouble starts!

As this story unfolds, Askew reveals the point of view of self-serving lawmakers, a community of people who think they are doing the right thing, and families that are torn apart by this very real issue.  The story is both heart-breaking and hopeful while showing how big political issues effect everyday people in earth-shaking ways.

My final thoughts:  Read it!  It may open your eyes to something new.  It may impact your opinions on major issues in our country.  It may just entertain you for a while.  No matter, I say read it!

Friday, February 19, 2016

BBAW Day 5: Avoiding Burnout

The theme of today's BBAW post is how to avoid burnout in blogging.  Ha!  I'd like to know how to avoid burnout in life in general so I'm looking forward to seeing some tips and tricks from my fellow book bloggers.  Between a busy week at the office and 5 whole posts this week, I'm already on overload!  Hopefully I'll get some reviews done this weekend so you guys know what I've been reading.  I have a few things in the works in my personal life, too, but I've been to busy doing stuff and haven't had time to blog about it.  I guess this is a good problem to have!

In other news, my hair looks fantastic today!
And I have the coolest pirate giraffe riding a shark phone case!

How do you keep from being burned out of life?

Do you follow me on GoodReads?  You should!  I'd love to see what books we have in common.  We could be soul mates.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

BBAW Day 4: Staying Connected

Welcome back!  Are you enjoying BBAW?  I know I am!  Today is:

Day 4 Tell us about your favorite ways to stay connected to the community!

In 2015 I finally got connected on Instagram.  I was a skeptic, but Leah loved it, so I gave it a try.  I love it more than Facebook!  I don't have to read all the junk!  I can just see the cool pictures and follow cool people without feeling like I HAVE to follow every family member and classmate from elementary school.  I have connected to fellow bloggers on Instagram, when I don't have time to read every post, I feel like I'm still connected when I see all the fun pictures.

I must admit that I don't always comment on blog posts even when I want to comment.  I follow so many great blogs that I just don't have the time!  I will try harder to do this in the future.  I always make time to read all of your comments, though!  Tell me about fun people you follow on Instagram!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

BBAW Day 3

Day 3 What have you read and loved because of a fellow blogger?

I read Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult because Mom practically forced me too, but it turned out to be a really good story!  It took a little bit of a Sixth Sense turn that I wasn't expecting and the ending blew my mind.  I'm so glad that I read it.  I'm not forcing everyone I see to read it like she did, but I would suggest it to all of you!

While she doesn't blog as much as I would like, I'm glad to see her branching out and trying the blog.  Send her some encouragement.  She always has great suggestions for me and for all the patrons at the library.

What new blogger have you discovered thanks to BBAW?

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

BBAW Day 2: Interview Day!

Okay, I totally dropped the ball on this one.  For BBAW we were supposed to interview a fellow book blogger.  I didn't sign up to be put in the mix with other book bloggers because my interview skills are lacking.  I thought I may interview Lori or my runner/blogger friend, but then I actually forgot about doing this for a while.  I'm much better at talking about myself and to myself.  I'd welcome all of your questions though!  Ask me anything!  I'll answer to the best of my ability or make something up!  Go!

Monday, February 15, 2016

BBAW Day 1: Introduction

Welcome!  I stumbled on a group of bloggers who celebrate Book Bloggers Appreciation Week and guess what, it starts today!  I jumped right on that bandwagon!  I LOVE to talk about books!

Be sure to check out other bloggers who love books.  Who knows, maybe we'll all add some new friends to our blog rolls!

Day 1 Introduce yourself by telling us about five books that represent you as a person or your interests/lifestyle.

(1)  Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice was the book started my obsession with reading as an adult.  I was about 13 or 14 and I skipped YA altogether and went from Goosebumps and Babysitters Club to Adult novels.  Through my teen years and early 20s I read most of Rice's vampire series and all of the Mayfair witches.

Only in my thirties did I learn that YA is actually an impressive genre and suddenly I wasn't too old to read those books.  Last year I found (2) Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke & Bone series and it  became one of my most favorite series ever.  I recommended this series to all readers.

Confession time:  I'm a total zombiephile.  I look forward to Walking Dead each week, Zombieland is my favorite movie and I have an ebook of Max Brooks' Zombie Survival Guide on my phone and Kindle, just in case.  After watching the movie, I had to check out (3)  Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion.  While it's very different from the movie (as they almost always are), I loved the book and movie equally. I loved the prequel, The New Hunger, just as much and I'm very excited about the new installment coming later this year.  I'm hoping I can score an advanced copy somewhere, if you see one, snatch it up for me.  I don't keep many books because it's rare that I will reread them, but I own copies of both these books.

Being an Oklahoma girl and a fan of vampires, I naturally gravitated to PC Cast.  I must confess that I haven't actually read her House of Night series, which is what drew me to her in the first place, but I did read and love (4) Divine by Mistake.  I started the next in the series but got overwhelmed with my TBR pile and it got lost in the shuffle.  I've been told that I will love her Goddess series even more than this series and I hope to have a month or so of just PC Cast later this year.  We'll see how it goes...

A book that I have loved for years is (5) Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.  I've read this short book at various stages of my life and always see something different than the last time.  If you haven't read it as an adult, I strongly suggest it.  Read it to your kids, read it to your parents, read it to your grandparents.  Everyone read Alice!

Be sure to come back later this week and check out what's going on in BBAW and check out all the other wonderful book bloggers who are celebrating this week.  I would love to read your comments!  Let me know what's on your mind!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Until We Meet Again by Michael Korenblit

Remember that I signed up for the book club at the local library so that I could broaden my reading horizons, right?  Sometimes I have to remind myself of this.  Almost all the books we have read so far have been books I never would have read if left to my own devices and January is no exception.  This book had three things working against it:

1. Non-fiction
2. World History
3. Sad story

Just like with a few others we have read in book club, I'm so glad that I have read this book!  This is the true story of Manya and Meyer Korenblit's experience during the holocaust.  The book is written by Michael Korenblit, son of the survivors, and co-author Kathleen Janger.

I won't lie, there were times when this book got so sad that I almost walked away, but I knew it was written by the son of the main characters and he wasn't alive yet at that point in the story.  That hope made me press on and finish the book.  The young couple and their families go from successful citizens to people in hiding and worse in such a short time period.  The holocaust was only able to happen because liberties were stripped away a little at a time.  Jews couldn't own a business, could work in certain professions, couldn't own certain properties, etc, until even the Jews weren't sure if they were second rate citizens.  This is how Hitler was able to do such horrific things with little push back from the people he was persecuting.  This is something we need to remember as American citizens, world citizens and members of the human race.  With faith, perseverance, and respect, we can endure anything.  Stand up for what is right or someone else will take everything.

You can check out Michael Korenblit's foundation and mission at RespectDiversity and I highly recommend you check out the tab about his parent's vision.  My mother heard Michael speak at a library conference and was so inspired she purchased his book and has recommended it to everyone she talks to ever since.  I hope to catch Mr. Korenblit speaking somewhere soon myself.

Get this book.  Check out the website. Seriously.  I hate to use the term  'life-changing' but it will definitely make you think a little deeper about the world.

What books have you read that opened your eyes about the world we live in? 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Books Pile Up Fast

Remember the pile of books on the nightstand that was threatening to crush me in my sleep?  I have great news!  I've read several of those books.  Yet, the pile isn't getting shorter.  I keep adding books!  Physical paper books, ebooks on my Kindle, audiobooks from Overdrive.  The pile is growing!  You other avid readers know my pain here.
I'll review the top book soon. Spoiler:  I loved it.

I'm getting better at prioritizing what I want to read, I just need to learn to read faster.  I did cheat a little and find an audio for one of the books in the pile.  Funny thing is, Princess listened to a little of it with me in the car and now she has the paper book in her TBR pile!  I'm glad she's as nerdy as I am.

Have you read Kind of Kin or Sound of Gravel yet?  What should I expect?

Friday, January 29, 2016

Finally Friday

Hey folks!  It's Friday!   I'm so excited to get past this work week and get the weekend started!

I have been so busy with crafty stuff lately that I haven't finished a single book this week.  I'm very close to finishing a few, hopefully this weekend.  We have the grand opening of our booth on Monday so we'll finish getting set up tomorrow.  After we finish, I may do some traveling and visiting, but I really hope to do some reading.

Here's some random terrible attempts at selfies from me and the Princess to get your weekend started.

Do you have big plans for the weekend?

Monday, January 25, 2016

More Crafting?

I have some very exciting crafting news!  I have committed to a place to sell my wares!  The downside, I guess is that I better get to crafting!  I already had a few things tucked away in a gift closet, but I'll break those out and get them set up.  I spent most of my crafting time making displays, so I didn't do much crafting for sale.
Just this pic and one other I didn't get a shot of.

In other news, I got to see my friend for a short time over the weekend and cheer her on while she ran her race.  For some reason, we didn't take any selfies this weekend, weird.

I did almost no reading this weekend save for a little of my audiobook on a short road trip for supplies on Sunday, but I'm sure I'll make up for that very soon.

What did you do this weekend?  What are you reading?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Weekend Recap

Welcome to Monday, friends!  (well, friend, I'm pretty sure only one person reads this...)

Anyway,  did you do anything interesting this weekend?  I did!  Saturday was Granny's 75th birthday.  A bunch of us got together to give her home a face lift.  Wall texture, paint, scrubbing and polishing.  Looks like a whole new house!  Happy Birthday Granny!

 <Very preggo sister got some light duty

Hubs was actually happier than he looks He got to use his mad remodel skills. to help.>

We mostly had a great time and the look on Granny and Papa's faces at the end of the day was priceless.  It's always good to put your own stuff aside and do things for others.

Sunday was a SUPER lazy day after all that work on Saturday.  I finished Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor and will probably wait to review the last two books together after I finish Dreams of Gods & Monsters.  I finally cracked the spine on this month's book club book, more on that later.  Then I watched a lot of Lost.  A lot... seriously.

What fun did you have this weekend?  What are you reading?

Friday, January 15, 2016

R.I.P. Goblin King

After 30 years, I had still held out hope that there may be a Labyrinth sequel, but alas, that dream has died.  By now you all know that David Bowie passed away on Sunday after losing his 18-month battle with cancer.  While I was very upset by this news, I hadn't planned to post on this blog about it until today.  Someone posted a list of his top 100 books on the internet and since it's on the internet it must be true, right?  How cool is that!  Of course someone has created a GoodReads list for it too!  Use the list to track the books as you read them.  I already had a few of the books on my TBR list and there are a ton of classics that I probably should have read by now anyway.  It's a pretty eclectic list because he was a pretty eclectic guy, I may attempt a few.

R.I.P. Jareth, Ziggy Stardust, the Great Mr. Bowie.  You will be missed.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

All the Wisdom is Gone, Yet the Crafting Remains

I promised to do more life updates, so here we go:

On Tuesday I had my wisdom teeth out.  Super fun, right?

They left me alone while the lidocaine did it's thing, so I took a super hot selfie.  Doesn't everyone do this? Maybe just bloggers and narcissists, which does that make me?

All four wisdom teeth out, does that mean I'll never be wise?  I hope not!
Sad gauze face selfie.

I felt pretty good right after the procedure.  I didn't want to have to go under since it wasn't necessary but I think I nearly ripped the armrests off the chair when the dentist broke those teeth loose.  I'm glad it's over now!

I've also been trying my hand at jewelry making lately and crafty stuff lately.  Mom has been doing so much bead work lately that she is going to set up a booth at a couple shows.  I decided to throw a few things together and join her.  What do you think so far?  I need to improve my photography skills, but the jewelry looks nice in person.
 A rabbit with a waistcoat?

 I was commissioned to make several of these resin map charm necklaces at Christmas time, they are very fun to make.

Paper crafting is like therapy for me.  So relaxing and I get to tear stuff up and put it back together in a different way.

What have you been up to lately?  

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Resolutions? What resolutions?

Well folks, I'm a couple days behind on the challenges my tiny trainer is pushing me to do, but only because she wasn't home this weekend.  She expects me to make up for it though and get caught back up, so I'm sore today.  Plank doesn't look that hard when you watch someone else, but trust me, it's brutal!

I hope to update you on the meal plan thing I mentioned last week, but I never remember to take pictures of what I'm cooking.  I promise to get better at that.  I am really loving this plan and I really want to tell you about it!

I also decided that 2016 would be the year of the blog.  I'd like to get more organized and post more regular updates about things other than book reviews.  While I do read a whole lot, there are other things in my life too!  I should tell you more and take more pictures.

Speaking of pictures, I'm sure you have all seen the selfie stick, right?  I have laughed at people for owning these things because it seems very silly to me.  Well, someone got me one for Christmas and I gotta say, I kinda like it.  Now I don't carry it around with me, although I could, it fits in my purse, but I have played with it some and posted a few pics on Instagram.  I wouldn't have purchased this on my own, but I'm glad I got one as a gift.  It's kinda fun!

Note the pile of books

What's in your phone's photo gallery?