Friday, September 5, 2014

Top 10 Books that Inspire Me

I was nominated on Facebook to list the 10 books that inspire me.  I thought this would be a good blog post for the end of the week.
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1. Book of Mormon from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
       This book needs to be number one--because it is the most important book in my life.

2. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
      This is my favorite novel when I have to pick.  I actually used this with my students in our five things about you in a bag assignment and one thing had to be something that inspired you. The quote that I love from this is about how if you can stand to be in someone's company for more than 30 minutes you can be best friends for life--and it works!

3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    An amazing story of courage, determination, and it is just so well written.

4. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
    I love this story! I love the romance, the history, the sacrifice--my favorite Dickens book

5. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
    This is the first book that I threw against the wall...I was so mad about Laurie and Jo--but that really influenced me in what it meant to write about your life.

6. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
    I loved this story---it was so well written and beautiful story. It reminds us to take every moment and just live!

7. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
    Quite the ethical dilemma--and it really makes you think!

8. The Chamber by John Grisham
    It was one of the first moments in which you really start to think about the death penalty....along with a book I just finished by him called Confession

9. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
   As someone who finds the negative in a lot of things...this book spoke to me as a young child and it still does--it is great to commiserate with Alexander once in a while!

10. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
  My favorite book in high school, and it really influenced what I viewed was a friendship prior to a dating relationship.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Crazy Week that Has Been Bout of Books

Bout of Books
Bout of Books
So....I mentioned that I was going to do Bout of Books.  But to really participate....I would needed to have posted goals, posted progress from day to day, and do lots of reading.  However, if you remember I told you that school started this week.  And holy crap busy!!!! I came home late every night and was so tired that there were a couple of days where I didn't even open my home computer never mind a book.

So today I thought that I would mention that it isn't that I forgot about the challenge--it is just that life got in the way. I have been able to listen to my audio book a lot more because of the increased commute and I have gotten a lot farther.  I am currently listening to The Confession by John Grisham.  On Monday, I was on disc 4.  Today I am on disc 10 out of 12.  I really want to finish it in the next few days so that I can get a new book in the car not that it isn't good--but that I have lots to read.  And I really want to know how it ends! So I will let you know in the review.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Bout of Books!

It is time again for Bout of Books! I am excited for the new week to try to get some reading done.  As I mentioned in my last post--I have a lot of books that need to be gotten through!
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
 The first day of school is that Wednesday so I hope that my reading ends up being more than just the audio book in the car on the way back and forth. I will post goals later in the week, I hope to have a better idea of what next week brings before I set those.

Bout of Books

Monday, August 11, 2014

Right Now I Am....

So as update time.  As I was thinking about how I wanted to do this I thought of how one of my favorite bloggers Trish does it (Check her out at Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity).  I messed with the order a little so that the two things people really need/want to hear about are at the top, but the headings are all her.

Feeling: Better. This is the most often question that I'm getting from people right now which is why I put it first. I had surgery last week of July to hopefully deal with the pain I have been dealing with since April last year. We haven't had a diagnosis really until now--possibly endometriosis.  I have taken a while to heal but I am pushing through thanks to pain killers.  The nice thing about still healing is that the pills work better and I am in less pain longer.

Yep coming home with boxes was not in the plan
This is only half of them too
Loving: The time in part of my life update I must update everyone that I no longer work at Cedar Ridge Academy. I will be starting at Vernal Middle School teaching 7th grade English in just a few days--first day of school is about a week away. I really needed the time off....though not as early as CRA wanted me to be. They decided to lay me off a month ahead of time. Prompted me to have to pack up my room late at night and not having closure with the students. Just liked to remind me why I was leaving--I was done not being treated like a professional or a person.

Listening To: Almost done with City of Bones--two discs left.  Will probably put it in when I get done with this. Also listening to The Confession by John Grisham and enjoying it.  It has been awhile since I've read a Grisham novel.

Reading: I have a lot of books juggling right now.  The Classics Club spin book was #17---so for me Fahrenheit 451. I also want to get in on Austen in August--so I'm going to read Lady Susan because it is also on my TBR Pile List....though I really need to start it!  Still reading Fablehaven #5--current really wanting to get through it so I can move on.  Just been busy with other things and not in too much of a reading mood.  And I need to start Gone Girl for book club.

Main Image

Watching: Lots since I have been in bed or on the couch for about a week and a half. I got through two seasons of How I Met Your Mother.  I have loved seeing how well they really set us up for the series finale....and the connections to Friends.  Maybe one of these days I will devote a blog post to it....since I did when the series finale came up.

Eating: Anything that sounds good....I was cooking more in July because I was home and then I lost my appetite and I bet a couple of pounds after surgery.  Appetite back to normal so that's good.  Hopefully going to do some freezer meals in the next few days for the school year.

Making: I am knitting a great purple blanket....can't wait to show it to you. I finished a yellow one earlier this summer that will be featured in a new blog post to come.

My awesome planner :)
Planning: Mentally constantly writing to-do lists and then writing them down--I have my planner that I bought at the beginning of the year and I am using it more now than I did at my job--more time to write again.  I am re-evaluating what I want...plans for the blog, plans for writing more, planning ideas for school...I think my brain is more active now that I'm not at school but easier to shut it off when I go to sleep.

Hope that fills everyone always I am a pretty much open book so ask away :)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Classics Club Spin Challenge

The Classics ClubSo I haven't blogged in awhile and I seriously owe my readers a life update--and that was the plan for today. But it is late, I'm tired and the update part is just going to have to wait.  I will update tomorrow--I hope! :) But I want to hop on this challenge because I haven't done this before. This challenge is done by the Classics Club . So I go through my Classics Club Reading List to pick 20 books that I will put in a numbered list.  They will tell everyone a number tomorrow--and then we read the book that goes with that number in about a month and a half.  Sounds great to me, especially since I haven't looked at this list since I wrote it! (And I seriously should update with what I have read)

So here are my 20--here goes nothing.

Ones that would be really hard to do by October--because they are really long or I have given up on them before:
1. The Pickwick Papers
2 Mansfield Park
3. Les Miserables
4. We the Living
5. Anna Karenina

Ones that I want to read:
6. Lady Susan
7. Things Fall Apart
8. The Secret Garden
9. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
10. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Wouldn't Be too Hard to Do:
11. Little Men
12. The Cask of Amontillado
13. Emma
14. Pride and Prejudice
15. Oliver Twist

Miscellaneous because I need 5 more:
16. Wuthering Heights
17. Fahrenheit 451
18. Gulliver's Travels
19. Their Eyes were Watching God
20. The Three Musketeers

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Templar Legacy (Book Review)

The Templar Legacy (Cotton Malone, #1)Title: The Templar Legacy
Author: Steve Berry
Genre: Drama
Rating: 2 out of 5

Why Did I Read? I read Jefferson Key awhile back, which was the first exposure I had to the author and his character Cotton Malone.  I had been wanting to read the first book he wrote with the character for awhile now.  And so I put this book on my TBR Pile Challenge List and finally got around to reading it.

Summary: Cotton Malone use to be a Justice Department agent--on an exclusive version of the CIA--trying to protect our security.  After getting tired of playing the game, he retired to Copenhagen, Denmark.  His old boss, Stephanie Nelle, is coming to the area to visit and when they meet for coffee, a man commits suicide. This starts a whirlwind journey as Stephanie tries to discover the treasure hunt her deceased husband was on. But she isn't the only one, and these people are willing to kill for it.  But what are they looking for?

What Did I Love:
  • It was a kind of interesting story....but really I didn't love it.
  • I did like how at the end he had a note about what was true in the book and what wasn't--a must with all historical fiction books
What Did I Hate:
  • Boring!! 
  • Hard to follow! 
  • Do not do on audio book--you will want to be able to remind yourself who characters are by flipping back in the book.  The narrator was fine--I've actually listened to something of his before, and I like him--it is just too hard to follow.
Another note about this book: it does bring into question Christian beliefs of resurrection.  If you are not into having your beliefs separate from a book--do not read!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Book Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Ocean at the End of the LaneTitle: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 3 out of 5

Why Did I Read? We chose it for book club in June.

SummarySussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what. (From was nice because I'm not sure how I would start to summarize this!)

What Did I Love:
  • It is a quick read--though it does take a minute to get going
  • Analyzing the symbols
What Did I Hate: A bit boring and strange. I started with a 2 rating because it was really just okay...but I came to like it a bit more when discussing it with the book club. It has a lot of symbolism and enjoyment that comes from analyzing it.  I probably won't read it again, but if you like Neil Gaiman I highly recommend it. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July!!!

This 4th of July I thought I would share a few quotes that really seem to mean a lot on a day like this:

"Let us dare to read, think, speak and write." -John Adams | 4th of July Quotes about Freedom #quotes #4thofjuly
Patriotic 4th of July quotes
Patriotic 4th of July quotes

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Thirteen Reasons Why (Book Review)

Thirteen Reasons WhyTitle: Thirteen Reasons Why 
Author: Jay Asher
Genre: YA/Drama
Rating: 4 out of 5

Why Did I Read? I had it on my TBR Pile Challenge List, because it was one that my students read a lot and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. And it often ends up on banned lists.

Summary: Clay is just your regular high school kid, until this set of cassette tapes show up at his door.  They were made by his friend Hannah, who had committed suicide recently.  On the first tape, we learn that she is going to go through the 13 people that she holds responsible for letting her down and contributing to the reasons why she decided to end her life.  These thirteen people will then receive these tapes, which means that Clay is one of the 13. What did he do to not help Hannah when she needed him the most?

What Did I Love:
  • I liked predicting what people did to her
  • Having empathy for Clay--I really connected to him as a character
  • Shows that suicide really can come from anywhere
  • I listened to it on audio...which was great for this type of book--I thoroughly enjoyed this
What Did I Hate:
  • By the end, I really felt like Hannah was a brat by the end of the whole book.
  • It almost seemed like she wanted help to not end her life...but she never tried--that bugged me.  

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our StarsTitle: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Genre: Drama/Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5

Why Did I Read? On my TBR Pile Challenge List--and I wanted to read it before the movie came out.  Which I really want to see!

Summary: Hazel has been living with cancer for a couple of years now.  She is trying to keep her lungs pumping--despite the awkwardness of her oxygen tank. Her mom tries to get her to be social--so she goes to a support group.  She meets Augustus Waters at support group, which starts a great friendship that blossoms into more than just a friendship.  But there is still in the back of Hazel's mind....I am a ticking time bomb.  

What Did I Love:
  • The realness of the way it dealt with the disease and living in a hospital.  Personally, I haven't had cancer, but I feel like I understood it a lot more because of this book
  • The writing is PHENOMENAL! The number of one liners in this book was amazing. 
  • When you are in the right mood, a book that can make you cry is great--this is one of those books. 
  • The characters are great and well-written. 

  • What Did I Hate: I loved the whole thing!

    Tuesday, July 1, 2014

    Matched Book Review

    Matched (Matched, #1)Title: Matched
    Author: Ally Condie
    Genre: YA/Dystopian
    Rating: 4.5 out of 5

    Why Did I Read? So I stuck this book on my TBR Pile Challenge List because of all the buzz that was surrounding it when it first came out.  I wanted to see what all the hub-bub was about.

    Summary: Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate... until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow. (From Goodreads)

    What Did I Love:
    • The realistic world that Condie created--I loved this because sometimes these worlds seem a little bit strange
    • The details of the world that were needed were given and a whole bunch of extra stuff wasn't--which is great
    • The characters were lovable--I really like Cassia.
    • The audio book I got had a great narrator and was really well done
    What Did I Hate:
    • Can't really think of just wasn't 5 worthy.  

    Monday, June 30, 2014

    Split Second Book Review

    Split Second (Sean King & Michelle Maxwell, #1)Title: Split Second
    Author: David Baldacci
    Genre: Drama/Fiction/Action
    Rating: 4 out of 5

    Why Did I Read? So this is the first book in the King and Maxwell series.  I had been wanting to read a book by Baldacci and they sounded like a great series but then I accidentally got the 3rd book....went back in time of the books to start with the real 1st one. 

    Summary: After Michelle Maxwell messes up her job with the Secret Service, she needs to fix it. Sean King can totally relate--except the whole fixing part since his guy died. They start on a journey to solve the weird turn of events that are happening around King while Maxwell tries to fix her job, they realize that the cases are related. 

    What Did I Love:
    • I liked how the plot just seemed to twist and turn the whole time.  I would think I had it figured out and then something else would happen.  
    • The characters seem to have this likability.
    • It was very well written 
    What Did I Hate: So while I liked the plot twists, it almost had too many plot was almost like--just be done already! I think that things could have been wrapped up a bit quicker so that it didn't seem to drag on.

    Sunday, June 29, 2014

    The Book Thief Book Review

    The Book ThiefTitle: The Book Thief
    Author: Markus Zusak
    Genre:  YA/Historical Fiction
    Rating: 5 out of 5

    Why Did I Read? We decided to read it for book club and it was on my TBR Pile Challenge List.

    Summary: It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement. (Summary from

    What Did I Love: EVERYTHING! Seriously though, this was a great book.
    • My favorite part of the whole thing was the fact that the author puts in all of these great history moments throughout the book.  It can be a great help to history and/or English teachers that need a resource to teach about the Holocaust and/or foreshadowing.  A great companion book to Number the Stars, Diary of Anne Frank, etc. 
    • The idea of having Death be the narrator
    • The way that it told a story with little stories inside of it
    What Did I Hate: NOTHING! It got the coveted 5 out of 5.  Though I do not recommend listening to it on audio....I tried that back in the day---it gets a bit confusing with the definitions and interjections if you haven't read the book before.

    Sunday, June 15, 2014

    TBR Pile Challenge June Update

    It is sad to RoofBeam Reader taking a step back from his blog...but I get it.  I haven't updated this blog as much because of the craziness in my life.  I am hoping that the craziness is dying down in the next few weeks.  **Keep your fingers crossed for me**  But I should at least do my once a month update.

    So this is my list from last month:
    My list was:

    1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett (2009)
    2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2006)
    3. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (2010) 
    4. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (2007) FINISHED!
    5. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (2012) FINISHED!
    6. The Perks of Being a Wildflower by Stephen Chbosky (1999)
    7. Matched by Ally Condie (2010)FINISHED!
    8. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (2011)
    9. The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry (2007) CURRENTLY READING!
    10. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (1817) 
    11. Lady Susan by Jane Austen (1791)
    12. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (2004)
    Feeling really good about having five left to start.  I feel like I can really do it :) So excited to keep reading.  Hopefully have some more book reviews soon!

    Monday, June 2, 2014

    Before I Fall Book Review

    Title: Before I Fall
    Author: Lauren Oliver
    Genre: YA
    Rating: 3 out of 5

    Why Did I Read? This seemed to be a popular YA book that my students were drawn to. I wanted to know what the hub-bub was about.  I stuck it on my TBR list as part of the RoofBeam Reader Challenge (Happy 5 years this past Saturday!)

    Before I FallSummary: Our main character, Samantha/Sam, starts her day with the big high school moment of "Cupid Day" the Friday before Valentine's Day.  We quickly learn how popular Sam is and how her clique of friends seem to be the ones that serve as the "royalty" of the school.  After a party that night, they are in a car crash--except Sam doesn't die she just lives that day over and over.  She tries to figure out how to end the repeat, and fix the world around her in the process.

    What Did I Love:
    • Read by Sarah Drew--I was so excited to hear her voice on the audio recording.  She is currently one of the doctors on the Grey's Anatomy and the character really fit her voice and she did a great job reading it.
    • The romance that starts to develop in the story between Sam and a friend was really sweet...It made me really wish that she didn't die at the end for his sake
    What Did I Hate:
    • The drinking and drug use and sex that just seemed okay for teenagers--it really drove me crazy!
    • The necessity to repeat certain things word for word like 5x....I get twice...maybe 3....but seriously we get that the day is starting over yet again

    Sunday, June 1, 2014

    Love the One You're With (book review)

    Love the One You're WithTitle: Love the One You're With
    Author: Emily Griffin
    Genre: Fiction/Chick Lit
    Rating: 3 out of 5

    Why Did I Read? I liked the movie Something Borrowed when I caught it on TV. I have wanted to read an Emily Griffin book ever since because I really enjoyed the story line.  I found this audio book on OverDrive as well narrated by Katharine McInerney. 

    Summary: Ellen and Andy have been married for a year now, and everything has been going great.  Marrying her best friend's brother was the greatest thing that had happened to Ellen-or so she thought.  She runs into her old boyfriend Leo--and all of those old feelings came back. Ellen then starts to flirt with that line of do I cheat or do I not cheat? 

    What Did I Love:
    • The narrator did a really nice job
    • I liked the what if storyline overall but..
    • It was nice for a chick lit--mindless goodness :)
    What Did I Hate:
    • I didn't really like the cheating aspect

    Saturday, May 31, 2014

    Dune Road Book Review

    I need to do some serious catching up on book reviews--so like I seem to do on this blog--there will be a lot of consecutive posts so that I can get these all out of the way. Here comes one of 6 :)

    Title: Dune Road
    Dune RoadAuthor: Jane Green
    Genre: Fiction/Chick Lit
    Rating: 3 out of 5

    Why Did I Read? I started using OverDrive Media Console to borrow books from the library--and this was the first one that I tried out. I don't know for sure why I picked this one...because really it was the first book I stumbled on that looked halfway decent. This audio was nice to have on my Kindle and in my car. The audio was by Cassandra Campbell

    Summary: Kit Hargrove has divorced her Wall Street rich husband for the simpler life. She has gotten a lot less stress, but now must provide for herself.  She has gained a new job with bestselling author Robert McClore. We learn about her friends and their lives as they all try to start over after dealing with unexpected events.  Romance comes to Kit--but is it real?

    What Did I Love:

    • The was very entertaining
    • There were moments of amazing wisdom tidbits that were very profound and really made me think about my own life
    What Did I Hate:

    • The language got bad toward the was really weird that it kind of came out of nowhere
    • The story seemed to kind of drag a bit toward the end--I feel like things could have been wrapped up a lot quicker and cleaner--hence the 3 

    Friday, May 30, 2014

    “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” -Maya Angelou

    As my frequent readers know, I am a big fan of quotes.  In honor of the passing of Maya Angelou this week, I have collected my favorite quotes from the week. Enjoy and we will miss your wisdom Maya!

    Monday, May 19, 2014

    Bout of Books Sum-Up

    I haven't been great to do the daily check-ins over the weekend...I didn't feel like I was reading a lot.  But today, I thought that I would put up my goals and just tell you now how I did.

    Goal #1: Finish The Book Thief---Success!

    Goal #2: Finish Split Second--Success! Finished yesterday :)

    Goal #3: Make progress on my two audio books Matched and Thirteen Reasons Why....I finished the fourth disc today while I was almost done with disc two. Thirteen Reasons Why--I was just barely started with this book and I am now almost done with the second part.

    Not too bad with the reading this time...I think this is the Bout of Books where I finished the most books.

    Bout of Books
    Thank to the hosts!

    Friday, May 16, 2014

    Day 5 Bout of Books

    Update for Yesterday--I didn't get a lot of reading done.  I spent about 45 minutes or so cleaning listening to Thirteen Reasons Why. I spent some time working on other things....wish I could have read more. By the end of the week, I get so tired. I'm worried I won't read much today either.  But hopefully Saturday goes better.  I will check in tomorrow about today :)

    Thursday, May 15, 2014

    Bout of Books Day 4 and TBR Checkpoint #5

    Yesterday was a great day because I got to hang out with the book club.  We talked about The Book Thief and picked a book by Neil Gaiman called The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I am excited to read it and see what I think.

    Bout of Books

    In terms of my reading--I didn't get much done since I spent my evening there.  I listened to both audio books a bit...but not a whole lot to really shock anyone. I am now on the next disc of Matched and I finished the first of five parts of Thirteen Reasons Why. I am a few more chapters into Split Second but I haven't made great progress yet.

    With it being the 15th it is also TBR Pile Check-in Day.  I feel pretty accomplished with my list this month.
    My list was:
    1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett (2009)
    2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2006) just finished on Tuesday
    3. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (2010) just finished last Wednesday
    4. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (2007) CURRENTLY READING!
    5. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (2012)
    6. The Perks of Being a Wildflower by Stephen Chbosky (1999)
    7. Matched by Ally Condie (2010) CURRENTLY READING!
    8. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (2011)
    9. The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry (2007) JUST GOT FROM THE LIBRARY
    10. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (1817) Finished in March 
    11. Lady Susan by Jane Austen (1791)
    12. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (2004)
    Considering my slower start...having three completed, two in progress, and at least one on deck I am feeling really good about it :)

    How are you doing so far this week/year with your reading?

    Wednesday, May 14, 2014

    Bout of Books Day 3

    Uh oh...almost forgetting to post again. So bad at this!

    Day 2 Update:

    I finished The Book Thief so that was like 136 pages. It was really nice to spend a couple hours in bed yesterday morning reading.  Giving me the taste of what it would be like to not work :)

    I also listened more to Matched on my drive--annoyed that the cds are a bit scratched but I am getting through it.

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

    Day 2 Bout of Books

    I need to update everyone on the progress I made on Monday before Day 2 is over.

    I read The Book Thief and got through about 70 pages

    I listened to Matched finished the second disc and got through a bit of the third.

    Monday, May 12, 2014

    Bout of Books Goals

    This is the start of the week of Bout of Books.  So excited to commit to reading more this week and see if I can't wrap up some books.  I haven't been talking much about what I've been reading recently, so here's what I've got on the TBR/currently reading list.

    Bout of BooksSo first number one goal is to finish The Book Thief. A few ladies in the neighborhood and I have started a book club and we have our meeting to discuss it on Wednesday.  I have like 100 pages that is a must the next two days Bout of Books or not.

    I am listening to two audio books at the same time right now--Matched and Thirteen Reasons Why and it would be good to make good progress in those books.

    I also want to finish Split Second by David Baldacci.  I got one of his books from the library--and realized that it was in fact the third in the series.  Split Second is the first and I have been drawing it out a bit more. With the detective work and mystery aspect I'm starting to loose track of the little stuff. So it would be good to finish that one.

    In other news---I want to start the second Baldacci, read the 5th Fablehaven which I haven't done yet, and read The Fault in our Stars because I don't want the previews to ruin the characters too much.  See what I mean about the TBR list being too long!!

    So time for realistic goals:

    1. Finish The Book Thief (at the start of today I was on page 359)
    2. Finish Split Second (at the start of today I was on page 315)
    3. Make progress on audio books--Matched was towards the end of the second disc this morning and Thirteen Reasons Why....I'm not sure but I'm not super far in yet

    Saturday, May 10, 2014

    Bout of Books Start-up!

    It is that time again!!! Bout of Books starts Monday.  I am excited to get involved in this Bout of Books. It's not too late to sign up yourself.
    The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 12th and runs through Sunday, May 18th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 10 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
    On Monday I will be posting my goals--though I hope this weekend to finish The Book Thief so I can get some other books done during Bout of Books. 

    Bout of Books

    Thursday, May 8, 2014

    A to Z Reflection

    Been meaning to write this one all week...time to look back at April and see how I did.  Not as well as I had envisioned.  It was great to go and see people's blogs with my students--but I wish I had been able to comment as me. That was the biggest involvement with A to Z that I had--was with my students.  And honestly I probably shouldn't cut myself short with that. It was A LOT of work.  I ended up writing a few of the blog posts with student writings pushed together, and just full out writing one myself.  And then I had to hound students for FOREVER to get their posts.  Sometimes not getting them until the day the letter went up.

    I had envisioned A to Z having everything scheduled and being able to go visit on this blog. But March got away from me and it took me FOREVER to come up with a theme. I really wanted to do a theme this year--and I did pretty well until the end of the alphabet.  I had pretty much caught up on everything by the time we got to like U. So the end of my alphabet wasn't great.

    I have also gotten out of the habit of publicizing this thing. I have gotten so lazy with it after #365...I felt like everyone was done seeing me constantly post this on Facebook or Twitter.  But seriously--if you want the views you have to do it! That is one thing that I learned with this year's A to Z.

    Goals for next time are to try again with scheduling and writing ahead of time.  At least having each letter planned so that I'm not doing the...ugh what do I write about today that starts with......

    Those of you that have stuck around as Inspirefly spits and starts thank you---and hopefully see you soon with more posts :) And I hope to come around and see new people as I hop on the Road Trip!


    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

    Z is for Zoom

    April has been a busy busy month.  This whole blogging adventure has just zipped past but on the other hand it has gone really slow. I have successfully done three blogs on this challenge and I am EXHAUSTED from all the today's is a quick lame post.  I will blog again next week for the reflection and a couple of book reviews that came up with no way to fit them into letters.  So on to the next thing :)

    Tuesday, April 29, 2014

    Y is for Yesterday

    We often spend time thinking about what happened in the past.  As part of my job, I do that a lot--as a history teacher and talking to students about what they did in their past.  Your past still affects you but it is what you do with it that decides how much. The history that we have as a country still affects us today, and that is one of the reasons why I study history.  We understand the way things are now because of the history that has happened.  The same thing happens with us.  One of my students wrote a great example of this on our blog yesterday  check it out.

    Sometimes dwelling on the past can get us in trouble---there is nothing that you can do to change it now. You just have to move forward!

    Monday, April 28, 2014

    X is for X-tra Time

    Yeah so....I'm doing whatever one else does with this suddenly becomes an adjective :) But seriously...I was thinking about this today.  Everybody always wants extra time to do things that they want, get what they want done, etc.  Sometimes big projects require extra time each day.  With being sick for what feels like forever (we have officially past the year mark) and having that drain a lot of my energy...I have had to be more careful with my time.  I thought for the post today I would talk about some of the things I have learned with my time management this year.

    So first things first is I make a list of what I need to get done everyday.  Because of my religious beliefs, this is very focused around that.  I need to read my scriptures and say my prayers each day. I also added time to read/listen to something that brings me closer to the Savior in addition to the scriptures--like conference talks or an Ensign article. Then I added what I wanted to do everyday that was a big project that I felt like could use some TLC. It was important that they be fun and enjoyable like: read and knit.  I also added watching lectures from Coursera and working on my portfolio.  I also have those "have-tos" like laundry or cleaning...though I'm not as good with those as I want to be.

    Then I need to find time for everything.  With scriptures and my spiritual time, I like doing that while I'm getting ready in the morning--then it is done for the day.  A lot of my x-tra time tips have to do with multi-tasking---while I'm already doing something else.  I always thought that my fifteen to twenty minute commute everyday wasn't enough to get through a book at a decent pace.  And if that is all I'm doing it's right...but it is also thirty minutes of reading everyday.  I do try to get a physical book in too....but that's another tip with x-tra time--cut yourself a break! If I've done audio listening today and not a physical book I still check it off.

    That's my other tip...figure out a way to keep track of what you've done each day.  I downloaded an app on my phone that is a to-do list thing that lets me have daily tasks that I can check off everyday and they reappear for the next day.  Then I know what I've accomplished, and I know the last time I checked it off. So if I haven't knitted in a while and I am trying to figure out something to do, maybe I go do that.

    Best of luck trying to find those extra minutes in what seems to be a never ending cycle of trying to get things done! What ideas have you tried to find extra time?

    Saturday, April 26, 2014

    W is for When

    When is one of those annoying words.  When will everything get better? When will you feel better physically? When will life slow down? When will you get this done or that done? It seems like we are always asking for when we get this to change.

    One of my favorite quotes this year from President Uchtdorf:

    “Patience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can—working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well!”

    Yep patience is needed!

    Friday, April 25, 2014

    V is for Vacation

    The past few months we have been able to get away from for many different weekends.  Some weekends we are spending time with family and friends.  Sometimes we are attending an event out in the big city or shopping for important needed items. Other times we are just getting away from the stress here.  It is so great to be able to drive two hours or so and just get away! It makes the stress just float away.

    Vacation can come in other ways with movies, books, and TV shows for me. I have been trying this year to do some essential things each day:
    • Knit
    • Read a book
    • Read Scriptures
    • Pray
    • Read something spiritually related

    This helps me to be able to unwind and refocus my attention on what is needed and important in my life.What do you do to give yourself a vacation and remind yourself about what is important?

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

    U is for Unproductive

    As apart of my catch-up theme for the A to Z Challenge.....I was having a struggle coming up with something to use with U.  I was thinking over the past year with my blog....and I really feel unproductive with it--hence the post today :)

    It is tricky to keep up with the blog...I have had lots of trouble getting motivated to even go around and comment on people in the challenge.  I think part of that is the burn out from doing the challenge at work too. But at the beginning of the year, I wanted to give myself a little bit of time off and then hop on some year long reading challenges.  Do some seriously needed updating and revamping.  Get around to blogs to give feedback and spread that comment love!

    Blogging can be super hard work--but it can also be easy if you just spend a little bit everyday like we have this month.  So there's my little ramble for today--and really wanting to refocus my efforts on making my blog better.

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

    T is for Tulip

    I haven't updated you guys on my house recently.  We are still trying to get settled and find places to put everything.  Brian has been working on finishing up the basement.  He has just about finished a sanctuary for himself to put his exercise equipment and hangout (it is affectionately known as the man cave). He is currently working on the bathroom for down there.  And as it is getting warm we are going to start sprucing up the backyard.

    Put there was something that popped up that I didn't have any idea we had!

    These were the first ones that bloomed.

    These ones started first...the green shoots came up first

    Then these orange touched ones bloomed and they were beautiful!

    See how pretty they are!

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014

    S is for Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary (Book Review)

    Final catch up on this series :) 

    Title: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary (Fablehaven #4)
    Author: Brandon Mull
    Genre: Fantasy/YA
    Rating: 4 out of 5
    Why Did I Read? Continuing with the series! 

    Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary (Fablehaven, #4)Summary: (from Goodreads) Two hidden artifacts have been found. Three more remain unrecovered. More preserves face destruction as the Society of the Evening Star relentlessly pursues new talismans. Reading in Patton’s Journal of Secrets, Kendra learns the location of the key to a vault housing one of the artifacts. In order to retrieve it, the Knights of the Dawn must enter a death trap — a dragon sanctuary called Wyrmroost. The mission cannot proceed without stealing a sacred object zealously guarded by the centaurs. Anybody seen Seth?

    The race is on to acquire all five of the artifact keys to the great demon prison. Will the Knights of the Dawn conquer Wyrmroost? Who can stop the Sphinx? Can Vanessa be trusted to help? What artifact will be found next?

    What Did I Love: He sucked me in again with Kendra and her stuff!!! And then he took it away again.  I yelled at it---but in a good way :) Excited to read the 5th one. 

    What Did I Hate: I think I'm still bitter about the way things turned out :)

    Monday, April 21, 2014

    R is for Rise of the Evening Star (Book Review)

    Continuing to catch up on the Fablehaven series book reviews. 

    Title: Rise of the Evening Star (Fablehaven #2)
    Author: Brandon Mull
    Genre: Fantasy/YA
    Rating: 4 out of 5
    Rise of the Evening Star (Fablehaven, #2) 
    Why Did I Read? I really enjoyed the first book--especially the audio, so I really wanted to get the second one. 

    Summary: (I finished this book back in December so I am stealing this summary so that it is just book 2 from Goodreads). At the end of the school year, Kendra and her brother, Seth, find themselves racing back to Fablehaven, a refuge for mythical and magical creatures. Grandpa Sorenson, the caretaker, invites three specialists--a potion master, a magical relics collector, and a mystical creature trapper--to help protect the property from the Society of the Evening Star, an ancient organization determined to infiltrate the preserve and steal a hidden artifact of great power. Time is running out. The Evening Star is storming the gates. If the artifact falls into the wrong hands, it could mean the downfall of other preserves and possibly the end of the world. Will Kendra learn to use her fairy gifts in time? Will Seth stay out of trouble? Can they overcome paralyzing fear?

    What Did I Love: I loved the introduction of the new characters.  They really helped the story to evolve and get better. 

    What Did I Hate: Umm...honestly can't think of anything.  I really enjoyed the book. I think the reason I gave it a 4 out of 5 was the fact that it is hard to get a 5 :)

    Sunday, April 20, 2014

    Q is for Quotes

    I completely forgot to post last night!! I suppose this is what I get for not having everything scheduled ahead of time :(  But my catch-up post for yesterday was going to be about quotes---still great for a Sunday today.

    President Uchtdorf said this in one of my favorite talks from this past conference.  And I loved this little handout someone made.
    Lds quotes    #LDSTemple #LDSBaptism #LDS
    I thought that these two quotes were very appropriate on this Easter Sunday
    "It is a fundamental truth that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can be cleansed." –Elder Richard G. Scott
    "The miracle of the Atonement can make up for imperfections in our performance." #ldsconf #BishopStevenson
    And a great reminder at any hard time!!!

    I'll need to remember this

    Friday, April 18, 2014

    P is for Plague Legacy: Acquisitions (Book Review)

    I have been wanting to do a book review on this book forever.  This is one of the few books that I have read in which I know the author.

    Title: The Plague Legacy: Acquisitions
    Author: Christine Haggerty
    Genre: YA/Dystopian
    Rating:  3 out of 5 stars

    Why Did I Read? I love this woman! I have loved her short stories and I was excited to see the novel form.

    Acquisitions: The Plague Legacy Book 1Summary: Cameron Landry lives in a world that was practically killed off by a plague.  The world is separated between the mutants (living with the plague) and the immunes (people who can't get the plague). The immunes seem to hold all the power, especially in the area called Salvation, but Cameron isn't apart of that world so he has to figure out where he fits in.  This first installment of the trilogy has Cameron being becoming an acquisition of the "government" and headed to Salvation and the speed bumps along the way.

    What Did I Love: The character development is superb.  I really am attached to the characters and want to know what happens next. 

    What Did I Hate: Hate is a strong word because she is my friend :) But I marked it down on my rating because it seemed to drag a bit.  I felt like we could have/should have made it to Salvation before the book ends. It seems like a lot of set up and I'm hoping that the next two books help give the first one more perspective.  But seriously check it out if you are in to the dystopian world.