Friday, December 19, 2014

Book review: Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Add me on Goodreads!

From the moment Mary Poppins arrives at Number Seventeen Cherry-Tree Lane, everyday life at the Banks house is forever changed.

It all starts when Mary Poppins is blown by the east wind onto the doorstep of the Banks house. She becomes a most unusual nanny to Jane, Michael, and the twins. Who else but Mary Poppins can slide up banisters, pull an entire armchair out of an empty carpetbag, and make a dose of medicine taste like delicious lime-juice cordial? A day with Mary Poppins is a day of magic and make-believe come to life!

I'm not sure how I got to be 25 years old without reading Mary Poppins. But after seeing Saving Mr. Banks, I wanted to read the original story.

The original Mary Poppins is not the Mary Poppins of the classic Disney movie, that's for sure. It's hard to treat the story as the original since I've seen Mary Poppins as the movie character as long as I can remember.

But Mary Poppins the original is more stern. She's vain. She has no time for your nonsense.

Still, the story manages to be just as magical as the movie, maybe even more so since book-Mary isn't really likeable, but makes every day incredible.

Some scenes from the movie are straight from the book, but I have a feeling the movie has some invented scenes or stole scenes from books later in the books. I don't intend to read more of the series now, but maybe someday when there are small children in my life, I will read it to them.

It's not the most entertaining children's book to read as an adult, but I had fun reading it and comparing it to my memory of the movie. So, if you're curious too, it's worth a read!

Have any of you read Mary Poppins? What did you think?


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Friday, December 12, 2014

Book review: We Were Liars

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Add me on Goodreads!

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

I'm not sure there is anything new to say about this book. It's been talked and written about so much since it hit shelves last May. But, just in case you haven't heard of it yet, here are my thoughts.

I've read E. Lockhart's work before, but didn't realize it until after I read We Were Liars -- none of her other work has stuck out to me. But this book was everywhere this year, so I put my name on the list for it at the library and waited behind more than ten people.

It's a short, quick read. It focuses on the teenage children of some very well-off New Englanders and their relationships as they grow and change during summers shared on the family island (yup, family island -- I told you they were well-off). They call themselves the Liars. The narrator, Cadence, suffered an injury a couple summers before the telling of the book that caused her amnesia, and she spends her summer trying to unravel the truth behind her injury and trying to discover what her family isn't telling her.

While the circumstances of these teens' lives make them difficult to relate to (again, family island), most of the emotions in the book were familiar to me.

I shot through this book -- it's only a couple hundred pages and easy to read. And then I wanted to read it again immediately. I didn't (because I only had it for a couple more days from the library) but I will want to reread this one eventually. When Cadence finally figures out what her family isn't telling her, it leaves you wanting to go back through to see if you can pick up the clues she was missing.

The hype on this book is HUGE -- and I think this might be a case where it does the book a disservice -- hard to not be looking for the twists, and hard to live up to the hype. But it was a good book, and I recommend it! I gave it three stars.

Have any of you read We Were Liars? What did you think?


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Friday, December 5, 2014

Book review: Shiver

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Add me on Goodreads!

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without.

Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

Shiver was an experiment for me. Forever and ever ago, I tried to read Shiver on audio and hated it. I quit reading more than halfway through the book because the characters finally annoyed me so much. A while later though, I read and loved The Scorpio Races and, when I went on Goodreads, realized they were by the same author. 

Um, what? 

So I decided to give Shiver another try, but this time actually reading it rather than listening to it.

Shiver still isn't my favorite book, and I still don't love the characters, but I enjoyed it much more when I read it. Shiver is magical realism -- everything in the world is the same as our world... except the tiny little thing of the main character, Grace, falling in love with a werewolf. 

It's definitely the story line that kept me going, rather than attachment to the characters, but I'll probably finish out the series. I gave Shiver three stars.

Have any of you read (or listened to) Shiver? What did you think?


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Friday, November 28, 2014

Book review: Stardust

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Add me on Goodreads!

Hopelessly crossed in love, a boy of half-fairy parentage leaves his mundane Victorian-English village on a quest for a fallen star in the magical realm. The star proves to be an attractive woman with a hot temper, who plunges with our hero into adventures featuring witches, the lion and the unicorn, plotting elf-lords, ships that sail the sky, magical transformations, curses whose effects rebound, binding conditions with hidden loopholes and all the rest.

Either at the very end of high school or the very beginning of college, I watched a movie called Stardust with two of my best friends from high school. We knew little about the movie except that it was a fairy tale for grown ups. I think we didn't love it initially, but then we watched the bloopers, and then we loved it.

Fast forward many years and I discovered Stardust the movie was based off Stardust the book, which was written by Neil Gaiman, an author I'd heard loads about but whose work I'd never read.

Gaiman does an amazing job leading you through a world where you slowly notice more and more magic. The book truly feels mystical and magical and brings you into its world.

I loved Stardust the book. The movie followed the storyline of the book pretty well, so there weren't a lot of surprises (until the end, at least -- it's a bit different), but the book was (as most books are) so much more emotional and heartfelt. I loved it. 

If you're interested in trying audio, the author narrates this one himself and it is exceptionally well done. Highly recommended! I gave it four stars.

Have any of you read (or watched) Stardust? What did you think?


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Friday, November 21, 2014

Book review: A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Add me on Goodreads!

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting. He's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming...

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.

I heard a LOT of wonderful things about this book before picking it up and it didn't disappoint. 

Conor is a young kid dealing with a really tough situation. As he's struggling to just make it through every day life, a monster starts appearing. It incites him to do some awful things and then disappears, leaving Conor both with the consequences and wondering if the monster is even real.

I don't want to say too much, because if this book hasn't been spoiled for you, I don't want to be the one who does. But it was very well written, very emotional, and something I think a lot of kids could relate to.

If you're interested in trying audio, this one is narrated by the man who played Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies and it is very well done.

Have any of you read A Monster Calls? What did you think?


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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Simone and Levi are MARRIED.

Hello friends!

This weekend was the BEST weekend I'd had in a long time.

My lovely friend Simone is now a married woman. She is someone's WIFE. It blows my mind.

Simone had a wonderful weekend planned out for us -- rehearsal dinner + hanging out Friday night, pampering and a delicious breakfast Saturday morning, WEDDING TIME, party bus, super fun reception, and brunch the next day.

And I was also a little bit extra excited because Pat came to the wedding!

The photographers from North 40 Photography were wonderful and already have some pictures up on Facebook, which they said I could share with you! Isn't Simone the most beautiful bride?

On the way to the reception, we stopped at this covered bridge for some photos. It was SUPER COLD but also really fun. And I think Simone and Levi got some beautiful shots of just the two of them.

I cried a couple times -- when Simone was getting ready, when she was walking down the aisle. I'm just so, so excited for Simone and Levi!

Hope you all had a great weekend!


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Friday, November 14, 2014

Book review: A Practical Wedding

A Practical Wedding by Meg Keene

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Add me on Goodreads!

Getting engaged is exhilarating…until it sets in that a wedding costs three times what you thought, and takes five to ten times the effort it reasonably should. And then there are the expectations: from calligraphy invitations to satin chair-covers, all those things that Must Be Done or everyone will be Horribly Offended. Or will they?

A Practical Wedding helps you create the wedding you want—without going broke or crazy in the process. After all, what really matters on your wedding day, what you’ll remember ‘til you’re old and gray, is not so much how it looked as how it felt. In this refreshing guide, expert Meg Keene shares her secrets to planning a beautiful celebration that reflects your taste and your relationship. You’ll discover:

The real purpose of engagement (hint: it’s not just about the planning) How to pinpoint what matters most to you and your partner DIY-ing your wedding: brilliant or crazy? Affording a wedding without having to cut your guest list How to communicate decisions with your family Why that color-coded spreadsheet is actually worth it Wedding Zen can be yours. Meg walks you through everything from choosing a venue to writing vows, complete with stories and advice from women who have been in the trenches, the Team Practical brides. So here’s to the joyful wedding, the sensible wedding, the unbelievably fun wedding! A Practical Wedding is your complete guide to getting married with grace.

Okay, so definitely not a typical book I'd review on my blog. BUT. A few weeks (months?) ago, Genna recommended this book, and I loved it so I thought it deserved a plug on the blog.

Guys, I haven't planned that much for my wedding yet and I've already had several stressful moments, or moments where I felt pressure about different aspects of the wedding and how they should go or what people would expect or whatever. I'm not someone who has been planning my wedding for infinity or who feels I have to stick to traditions (shmaditions). But there were still things I was thinking that probably shouldn't have been on my mind even a little bit. Like, if we have a ceremony in a different place than our reception and the ceremony is really short, people will be annoyed that we made them go all the way out there.* 

*totally not a thing I should worry about. I know. I knoooow.

But this book? Totally down to earth and calming. Reassuring. Reminded me that as long as our wedding is what me and Pat want, it will be a perfect wedding.

If you're engaged, or if you're planning a wedding or reception, or if you have a friend who is and is stressed out, I highly recommend this book.

Thanks for the tip, Genna!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

[Less depressing] Life lately

Hey friends!

So I think I may have made myself sound a little TOO pitiful last week when I posted about life in Colorado. Sorry if I worried anyone!

While it is hard to be in a new place, I'm doing ok. Here's some of the things I've been up to lately...

Watching movies and Netflix
After years and years, I am finally FINALLY almost caught up on Grey's Anatomy. I've been rewatching Gilmore Girls and I went on a campaign to watch all of the Twilight movies (and am now rereading the books). Though this also sounds a little pathetic, these are things I probably would not do if Pat was around. Pat was never behind on Greys. He hates Gilmore Girls. And he has only seen the first Twilight movie, if you count passing out in my dorm room while I watched it.

Knitting hats!
My little sister and I have started an Etsy store, and I've been busy making hats for it! We are trying to raise money for a trip with her school to Costa Rica next summer :) Anna makes scarves (modeled by my lovely friend Simone, who is getting MARRIED this weekend!) and so far, I've made hats -- though I want to make more things!

It's been a perfect habit because I can knit them while I watch Netflix :) I messed up the very first one I made, so obviously I kept it, and the weather finally got cold today, so I can definitely attest to its warmth. You can check out our shop by clicking below, if you'd like.

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Learning to commute by public transit
When Emily and I were really little, we wanted to ride a bus. A real city bus. So my mom drove us into the nearby city and we parked at the hospital and waited for a bus that would take us to the mall... that never came.

I've never had a great relationship with public transit.

But, here in Colorado, I have been taking the bus to work. It was not an easy transition and it took a few days of a really rough commute -- waiting at the wrong bus stop, taking the bus in the wrong direction... But I've pretty much gotten it figured out and I'm actually really proud of that!

Commuting by bus gives me a ton of time to read. Not to brag too much, but I long ago passed my goal of reading 50 books this year. Actually, as of yesterday, I'm up to 66 books completed! Which makes the highest total since I've been on Goodreads!

You can see all the books I've read this year by adding me on Goodreads.

What have you all been up to lately?

Friday, November 7, 2014

Happy birthday Anna!

My little sister is 16 today.

I can still tell you all the statistics from when she was born. 9:25 am on her due date. 8 pounds, 8 ounces, 21 inches long.

Do you know how crazy it is to look at a teenager and know that you held her on her birthday -- her original birthday, her day of birth.

And now she's 16. In Missouri, where Anna lives, you can get your driver's licence when you're 16. In a weak attempt to think of a theme for this birthday blog post, I started thinking of memories with Anna that took place in cars.

And I am a little surprised -- as far as a theme for a post goes, it's not a stellar one, but I can remember Anna growing up through these memories.

When she was an infant, we took a three-day family road trip through Canada to Maine. Emily passes the eff out on road trips when she's not driving, so I was left feeding infant Anna from jars of baby food for most of the trip.

When Anna was three or so? toddler ish, not sure exactly how old, we were on a road trip. In my memory, we were in Arkansas, though there's only about a 3% chance that's right. It was dark, we were driving and this song came on the radio:

(There's also a something percent chance it wasn't that song. But. Regardless. It was a song that sounded like that.)

And we look at Anna and she is ROCKING OUT. Full on air guitar, headbanging, singing along. And none of us can figure out how she knows about air guitar, headbanging, or the words to the song, but girl had it going on.

When I was an RA, there was a tradition in the hall I worked in to make a staff CD. Every RA picked a song that represented themselves and one person burned CDs for all of us. The summer after my first year as an RA, I was OBSESSED with the CD. For some reason I was driving Anna around a lot that summer. We listened to the CD so much that, by the end of the summer, Anna could tell me which of the 18 songs belonged to which RA. She hadn't ever met any of them -- but she paid attention and memorized them all. That's how much time we were in the car together that summer.

That same summer, Anna and I went on a road trip to a part of Arkansas that was only an hour and a half or so away. I will probably always remember that trip because, for the first time ever, Anna was allowed to sit in the front seat of my car. She was finally old enough. And it was a bigger moment than I realized. Anna started as a tiny little thing, and then she was always my baby sister. Suddenly, on that road trip, she was more like a friend. She sat next to me and DJed the whole drive. She picked music and we talked like friends talk and she wasn't a baby anymore, or even a kid really. All of a sudden, she was grown up.


There have been more awesome memories in cars. The two years we've driven around our hometown to look at Christmas lights. Driving to plays together, and driving to see Brian Regan live. And the time our Uncle Mark picked us up from the airport and drove like a mad man to the beach house (although the summer before, when Anna went to New Jersey with Emily, they missed their flight home. So that, I'm sure, was a crazier drive).

Last November, I was home for Thanksgiving and Anna had just gotten her driving permit. We were off to visit my grandma, who lives only a few blocks away, and Anna asked me if she could drive.

I about had a panic attack. I had only gotten my car in May (and had only lived 24 years... I wanted a few more!)

But either that same trip home or when I was home for winter break, I let Anna drive me to grandma's in my car.

I remember telling her to slow waaaaaay earlier than she felt like she had to -- just for my sanity, because I get nervous with experienced drivers who don't brake till the last second, let alone my fifteen year old sister.

And Anna did great.

When I got home, I told my mom and she remarked that it was incredible that Anna was able to even make that adjustment -- to not only realize when she should brake, but also to brake earlier than that.

Sometime soon, she'll get her very own driver's license. She'll take her first trip somewhere by herself. (Do you remember your first drive alone? I went to get milk. My dad, on his way home, saw me, turned around and followed me. Rude.)

And she's about to make that memory.

I'm rambling now, I know it. Probably no one I'm not related to will read this far anyway. But all of this is to say, happy birthday Anna. I'm so proud of who you are, so excited for all that's ahead of you, and so grateful that you've turned into such a good friend.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Life lately

Hello friends!

Once upon a time, I was inspired to post because my friend Layne pointed out it had been weeks since I'd posted anything but book reviews.

Now, again, it's been a while since I posted anything but book reviews and birthday posts.

Really, though, I haven't had much to post! A few weeks ago, I hosted a bachelorette party for my Simone, but I failed to take many pictures, and since then, I have had literally no plans.

Zip. Nada.

Truth is, moving has been hard. I miss Pat. I haven't seen him since mid-September and won't see him until Simone's wedding on the 15th. I haven't really met anyone here, although I have joined a ton of groups on -- now I just have to get up the courage to go.

I know I am lucky to have this job and I am lucky to have a roof over my head and things to eat and all of that. I know.

But it's still been really hard.

So I apologize for the silence. I hope to write more. And I hope to be more cheerful. Just keeping it real for all of you. :)

How are you all doing? I'd love to hear what's happening in your lives!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Book review: The Host

The Host by Stephanie Meyer

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Add me on Goodreads!

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, didn't expect to find its former tenant refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

As Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of Jared, a human who still lives in hiding, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she's never met. Reluctant allies, Wanderer and Melanie set off to search for the man they both love.

Featuring one of the most unusual love triangles in literature,The Host is a riveting and unforgettable novel about the persistence of love and the essence of what it means to be human.

I am not afraid to admit that I read the entire Twilight series. It and its author, Stephanie Meyer, have gotten a bad rap. (Not saying it’s deserved or undeserved.) But I heard great things about Meyer’s other book, The Host, from many people, including my little sister, so I had to give it a shot.


The Host is set in the future, several years after an alien society has taken over earth. The aliens use human bodies as Hosts -- they do not live on their own on earth outside of the human bodies they take. When they take a body, the person inside essentially just goes away…

For most people.
The Host is the story of Wanderer, an alien, and Melanie, the person whose body Wanderer takes -- a person who doesn’t disappear.

It’s hard to say much without giving anything away. The interactions between Melanie and Wanderer are awesome -- Laugh out loud funny occasionally and heartbreaking at other moments. There’s tension and romance and life-or-death suspense. I found myself crying in public as I finished this book on the bus.

It is maybe a liiiiittle long… in the same way as when you leave a movie and think, well that lasted longer than it needed to but still love it. I gave it five stars.

Have any of you read The Host? What did you think?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Book review: Landline

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Add me on Goodreads!

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems beside the point now.

Maybe that was always beside the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

I love Rainbow Rowell because I LOVE Fangirl. So I decided to read all her books. Obviously.

Landline was… ok. I enjoyed it while I was reading it, but I never quite got sucked into it. I didn’t super relate to Georgie, the main character. A huge issue in this book is that Georgie’s husband, Neal, has slowly become more and more unhappy in their marriage. And while I know that happens and I know that it’s not always something fixable or avoidable, there were so many ways Georgie could have been there for Neal and she wasn’t. So when she was suffering through this book because of his unhappiness, I was unsympathetic.

There were pieces of this book I really enjoyed, though. I loved the flashbacks to how Neal and Georgie first got together -- they blended in well with the present-day action and were totally sweet. I also loved Georgie’s relationship with her mom, her mom’s husband, her sister, and their pugs.

In the end, def. not my favorite of Rowell’s, but still enjoyable. I gave it three stars. Now I just need to get my hands on Attachments!

Have any of you read Landline? What did you think?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Happy birthday, Mom!

Over last winter break, I spent some time going through our family recipes. I had just gotten a recipe book for Christmas, and wanted to make sure I got all our family's classics down -- the crumb cake we eat every Christmas, the cold Mexican dip that made me and Emily super popular with all the other camp counselors, and others that have led to many special memories.

My mom was so present in the overflowing box of recipes -- her handwriting on the recipe cards and the recipes she copied from friends, saved from newspapers or cream cheese packages, hoping to make someday -- did we ever make them?

Going through the recipes, I felt so much love for my wonderful mom -- my mom who had made all these recipes on so many occasions, working hard in the kitchen while the rest of us slept or lazed or fought. My mom who had created holiday traditions for us out of nothing, since we were so far from family and the traditions she had always known.

My mom who had purchased a million vegetarian cookbooks and saved a million veggie lasagna and veggie chilli and everything-veggie-recipes to try when I up and decided as a freshman in high school that I wasn't going to eat meat any more. My mom who patiently tried recipe after recipe that I turned down because I hadn't learned to like beans yet and because I am famously bad at trying new foods.

My mom who likes mushrooms and eggplant and has all but given up mushrooms and eggplant because she lives in a family that doesn't really like them.

I love my mom for these reasons and so many more. She is the most giving, self-sacrificing, amazing woman I know, and I'm so lucky to be her daughter.

Happy birthday, Mom. I hope it's wonderful!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Happy birthday future husband!

It has recently come to my attention that my favorite human reads my blog.  And today is his birthday!

My poor future husband has two midterms tomorrow and a girlfriend who failed to get him anything for his birthday. And he's also 23948723042398 miles away. Or so it feels. But maybe he'll see this and know I'm thinking of him.

There's lots of mushy things I could say here, but I'll save you and just say them straight to him. :)

Happy birthday, Pat! Miss you lots.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Book review: January First

January First by Michael Schofield

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Add me on Goodreads!

A brilliant and harrowingly honest memoir, January First is the extraordinary story of a father's fight to save his child from an extremely severe case of mental illness in the face of overwhelming adversity.

At six years old, Michael Schofield's daughter, January, was diagnosed with one of the most severe cases of child-onset schizophrenia that doctors had ever seen. In January's case, she is hallucinating 95 percent of the time that she is awake. Potent psychiatric drugs that would level most adults barely faze her. January, "Jani" to her family, has literally hundreds of imaginary friends. They go by names like 400-the-Cat, 100 Degrees, and 24 Hours and live on an island called "Calalini," which she describes as existing "on the border of my world and your world." Some of these friends are good, and some of them, such as 400, are very bad. They tell her to jump off buildings, attack her brother, and scream at strangers.

In the middle of these never-ending delusions, hallucinations, and paroxysms of rage are Jani's parents, who have gone to the ends of the earth to keep both of their children alive and unharmed. They live in separate one-bedroom apartments in order to keep her little brother, Bohdi, safe from his big sister--and wage a daily war against a social system that has all but completely failed them. January First is the story of the daily struggles and challenges they face as they do everything they can to help their daughter while trying to keep their family together. It is the inspiring tale of their resolute determination and faith.

I have been intrigued by this book for a long time, but my old library didn’t have it. But my new one does!

January First is the story of the author’s struggles to figure out what is happening in his daughter’s mental health. January, his daughter, is anti social, shows violent tendencies, and is incredibly intelligent. She also has imaginary friends she insists are very real and changes her name daily. After the birth of Schofield’s second child, January’s behavior becomes exponentially worse.

This book was terrifying and fascinating. Schofield catalogs experiences with many mental health professionals, January’s reactions to the various drugs they prescribe, and their inability to find anything that works. It’s so scary to imagine someone you love behaving and suffering the way January does. I definitely got invested in this story, hoping for a happy ending for Schofield and his family.

One complaint/caution I have about this book is that it is only one man’s perspective. He has awful interactions with health professionals and I had to remind myself regularly that the way a person views a situation is not always the whole story. Schofield has a tendency to paint the health professionals as the bad guys. I like to hope they were acting in what they thought was January’s best interests.

Overall, I thought the book was terribly interesting and gave it four stars.

Have any of you read January First? What did you think?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Book review: Roomies

Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Add me on Goodreads!

It's time to meet your new roomie.

When East Coast native Elizabeth receives her freshman-year roommate assignment, she shoots off an e-mail to coordinate the basics: television, microwave, mini-fridge. That first note to San Franciscan Lauren sparks a series of e-mails that alters the landscape of each girl's summer -- and raises questions about how two girls who are so different will ever share a dorm room.

As the countdown to college begins, life at home becomes increasingly complex. With family relationships and childhood friendships strained by change, it suddenly seems that the only people Elizabeth and Lauren can rely on are the complicated new boys in their lives . . . and each other. Even though they've never met.

National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr and acclaimed author Tara Altebrando join forces for a novel about growing up, leaving home, and getting that one fateful e-mail that assigns your college roommate.

If any of you lived in a residence hall in college -- do you remember the terror of meeting your roommate?

When I first went to college, Facebook was not a big thing yet. My roommate and I talked on the phone once before moving in together -- the night before I moved, actually -- and emailed a bit about fridges and microwaves. The emotions of walking into that room for the first time are still fresh in my mind, and living with my roommate was a huge factor in how I experienced my first year of college.

Roomies is about that -- about that first contact with your future college roommate, about figuring out if you’ll still be who you are once you move across the country or state or county and live on your own. Figuring out if you can live with this other person who you may not have a choice about living with.

There’s a lot more going on in Roomies too -- each of the girls are dealing with family issues and figuring out what it means to leave the people in their lives behind. There’s romance and friendship troubles and all the wonders of being a teenager.

I enjoyed Roomies! It was a fun story and a story I’d never read before. Full disclosure: I won this book fo free in a contest, but I honestly truly enjoyed it. Four stars!

Have any of you read Roomies? What did you think?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The family came to visit!

Hello friends!

How is it Wednesday already?

My family came to visit me this weekend and I wanted to share a few pictures. :) They were such troopers. Mom, Dad and Anna drove from Springfield to Emily's in the Kansas City area Thursday night, then they all loaded into Em's SUV Friday morning and drove another NINE hours to come to Colorado.

Friday night we walked around the campus. My mom took pictures of EVERYTHING. This was my, "are you serious?" face.

Then we just hung out in my apartment.

Saturday morning, we went to a bridal shop and I tried on some wedding dresses :) No pictures to share yet. I found a dress I really liked, but thought I would look more to be sure before ordering anything. I'm hoping to look again over Thanksgiving break -- the next time I'll be with my family.

Later on Saturday, we drove up to Estes Park and checked out the Stanley hotel -- the hotel from The Shining. Although the movie wasn't filmed there, the story was set there. Several scenes from Dumb and Dumber were filmed there.

I hope to go back around this time next year for a ghost tour! The Stanley is supposed to be haunted, including a nursery. I'll have to wait till I'm not living alone for that :)

Saturday night we hung out in my apartment again and played Catchphrase. Then they left super early Sunday morning to spend another entire day in the car.

How lucky am I to have a family that would go through two solid days driving just to see me for a day and a half?

Very lucky is the answer.

Hope you're all having a wonderful Wednesday!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Book review: Anna and the French Kiss

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Add me on Goodreads!

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets √Čtienne St. Clair. Smart, charming,beautiful, √Čtienne has it all...including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

This book has SO MUCH HYPE around it. I’ve seen its picture about a million times on Tumblr. I knew going in that it would be fluffy and romantic and I was not disappointed!

The characters are really fun and the blooming romance made my stomach jump when it was supposed to. The characters are a little shallow -- not too much background or depth -- except for the two main characters, Anna and St. Clair. Their histories are present (while maybe simplified a bit). All in all, I thought the relationships were realistically portrayed -- romanticized a little bit, but still totally believable -- and I got invested in the story.

The book and storyline are simple -- if you’re looking for a story with Life Lessons and Depth, this isn’t for you. But if you want something fun to read on the bus to work, totally a great choice. I gave it three stars!

Have any of you read Anna and the French Kiss? What did you think?


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