Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Books of 2013

I love to read. It's my escape from reality without actually having to leave my house. Miss Emma stopped napping during the summer, so the past six months have involved less reading than I'd like, but such is life.

Here's what I read in 2013. (The * denotes books read for my book group.)

Reached - Ally Condie
This fictional trilogy is about a young woman in a dystopian society who comes of age and has to figure out what to do with her life. It sucked me in right away and was a very enjoyable read. It's sort of Hunger Games meets Twilight. I liked it.

* A Girl Named Zippy - Haven Kimmel
A memoir of a girl growing up in a small town in Indiana. I confess, I didn't finish reading it, partly because I couldn't get through it fast enough before it was due back at the library. Some of the stories she shared were hilarious, though.

* Princess - Jean Sasson
Wow. This book was an amazing, horrifying eye-opener. It's a true story of a Saudi Arabian princess in modern times. Her stories of wealth and extravagances contrasted with stories of horrific female oppression had me riveted. I couldn't put it down. I was hooked and disgusted at the same time. You should read it.

* Star Girl - Jerry Spinelli
A young adult novel about a unique girl who shows up out of nowhere and turns a clique-filled, judgmental high school upside down.  It's awesome. You should probably read this, too.

Heaven Is Here - Stephanie Nielson
A true story about a mother, not much older than me, who survived a plane crash which burned 80% of her body. This woman nearly lost it all, but held tight to her love for her family and her faith. It's a great story of hope, faith, and survival.

* Ruby Red
Sapphire Blue
Emerald Green - Kerstin Geir
I LOVED these books! Another fictional, young adult series that sucked me in with the first page. The story is about a girl who inherited a rare time traveling gene. These books are full of humor, adventure, young love, and mystery. I can't wait to read them again!

The Maze Runner
The Scorch Trials
The Death Cure - James Dashner
Yet another fictional, young adult series (I'm sensing a theme, here.) that I enjoyed. The first book was my favorite. It's a very mysterious, adventure-filled page turner. I was hooked and had to know how it would all end. By the second book, I started to tire of the bad luck the characters face over and over, but it was still a fun read. I'm thinking of reading the prequel, The Kill Order.

* A Wrinkle In Time - Madeleine L'Engle
I chose this one for book group because I loved these stories as a kid and like any opportunity to reread them. It's a sci-fi adventure where the kids save the day.

The Host - Stephanie Meyer
I saw the movie first and decided I needed to read the book. This story of aliens who have taken over humans' bodies and conquered the Earth was fun, with great characters and creative experiences. I really enjoyed it.

* Pope Joan - Donna Woolfolk Cross
I absolutely could not put this one down. I recommend it to everyone. Pope Joan may or may not have existed, but this historical fiction novel tells the story of her life as she was educated, disguised herself as a man, and rose through the ranks of the Catholic church. The characters are well developed, and the author did a fantastic job of displaying what life was like during the Dark Ages. Read it!

* Stumbling On Happiness - Daniel Gilbert
I confess, I didn't get very far into this one, but I liked what I read. (After Pope Joan, I just wanted to get sucked into another novel.) The author is witty and explains how our minds work and that we only think we know what makes us happy. I'd like to come back to this sometime and try it again.

* Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
This is a favorite of mine. I enjoy Austen's novels, because of her characters, their dialogue, and the wit of her heroines. Plus, reading the book gave me an excuse to re-watch the movies, which I did with Emma this time around! Yay!

* The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey - Susan Wojciechowski
This is a great picture book about a wood carver who is befriended by a young boy and reminded of the spirit of Christmas. It made me cry a little. You should read it.

Seventeen completed books. Not too bad.

I'm currently reading To Kill A Mockingbird, but am about to put that on hold to read The Little Prince for book group. I'm planning on reading The Book Thief and Wool in the near future too, along with a book a month with my group! Here's to another year of great reading!!!! Cheers!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy 2014!

It's a new year! Again!
Didn't we just do this?

A quick snapshot of Liam at 17 months old...
LIKES: His family, cars, turning on the vacuum, eating, tackling his sister and pretending she is a horse to ride, playing with toys, petting the cats, being outside, baths, reading books, climbing, putting food on his head and calling it a hat, and sleeping.
DISLIKES: Being told "no", growing his upper molars, the hair clippers, his sister taking objects away from him, being made to come inside, the mornings when I tell him that Daddy is not home today.

Welcome, welcome 2014!
My thyroid levels appear to be in a happy place, my family is healthy, my year is wide open for all kinds of fun and adventures.
Let's do this!

How many tries does it take to get a family photo? Apparently, just one more...