Monday, April 28, 2014

Huge memory fail

I am so embarassed. 
When I wrote my recently read book list last night I forgot to add the most recent book that I have finished.  And now I feel really bad, like I've disappointed the book and its characters. Because the truth is that it is one of the best books I have ever read.  It's currently ranking right up there in my top, mmmmm, maybe seven.  Heck, it might even be in my top five. 
The Fault in Our Stars is another "Young Adult" book, although I hate the "YA" label, because it makes books seem dumber and like they can't be enjoyed by intelligent adults. 
The story is narrated by a sixteen-year-old cancer patient named Hazel, who is forced by her parents to attend a support group, where she meets and falls in love with seventeen-year-old Augustus, an ex-basketball player, osteosarcoma survivor and amputee.
Perhaps I forgot to add it to my list because I have been emotionally traumatized by reading it.  Be forwarned, it's a real punch in the gut.  I read it in two days.  On night number two (the night I finished it at 1:00 am) I was laying in bed reading on my kindle and crying like a baby.  Like wiping tears and gasping for breath crying. 
I think one of the things that I found to be interesting about the book is how I was able to relate to both the teens and their parents, simultaneously and equally.  I remember, like it was yesterday, being a 16-year-old girl and liking a boy.  And I know what it is like to be a parent and to love a child so much you feel like your chest will rip open and your heart will explode if anything (like cancer) happens to them.
The characters in this book are well written and the plot is fully formed.  I loved every page and every word of it.  Do not take my leaving it off my list as my not being completely enamored by it.  We will just blame it on being tired after an exceptionally busy weekend.
Oh, and this book is also being turned into a movie.  It comes out in early June.  I saw a trailer for it today and as I was wiping tears from my face remembered that I had left it off my list.  Then I told Michael that we're packing 14 boxes of kleenex and going on its opening day.

Sunday, April 27, 2014


I like to read.  I've pretty much always liked to read.  My mother would disagree with that statement and bring up the fact that I hated reading when I was in 3rd grade.  That is true, but we won't go into those details because they aren't important.
I go through spurts with reading.  I will read a after book after book.  Then I won't read for months at a time.  Also, with each one of my kids it took me a full two years after they were born to start reading books again.
Last December, right when Elliott was turning two, I decided that it was time to start  the Hunger Games Trilogy.  I had bought it when he was 3 months old, knowing full well it would be more than a year before I could attempt it. 
The second movie came out in December though, and I wanted to see it in the theatre.  So, right after Elliott's birthday on the 16th I read the first book in two days, then we watched the first movie and then the next day I started the second book which I finished in three days.  Then about a week later we watched the second movie.  Then I waited about a week and read the third book.
They were all moving plot, good writing and totally engaging.

Book three follows a very different format from the first two books, but I still enjoyed it very much.

This is exactly how I felt after I finished the triology.
and this too.
I was so sad to be finished with something that I had looked forward to for so long, because reading a book for the second time is NEVER the same as reading it the first time.
After moping around for a while I felt like I needed to read something totally different, so in January I ordered Gone Girl on my kindle.  It was my first kindle book.
I knew that there was some sort of twist to the plot, but I did not figure it out until it was revealed.  It's sneaky, sneaky. 
I did enjoy this book (especially the first two-thirds of it) and do recommend it.  There are many layers to it and it's fun to peel all of them back and be shocked at what is revealed.  I will admit, though, that the last one-third and the ending left me feeling pissed off and empty.  I walked around a little dazed going, "what just happened?  what the hell was that?" for a couple of days.
Right after I finished Gone Girl I took the kids to the library and saw The 5th Wave sitting on a shelf.  I had read wonderful things about it so I got it.
Oh. My. God.  It is freaking fantastic.  I could not put it down.  I would read while walking down the hallway because I just couldn't wait to find out what happened next.  And it's 500 pages. There was a lot of "what happens next" moments.  The book is about an alien invasion and the chapters bounce around and are told from a variety of different people's points of views.  It is going to be a trilogy eventually.  The second book comes out in September and I cannot wait.  It's also being turned into a movie.  It is seriously an awesome read.
After the 5th wave I took a little reading break.  I think it was just a few weeks.  Then I decided that I would read the Divergent trilogy.  I was on the fence about reading it because so many people flat out hated the last book.  I read so many reviews that said that the third book is so awful that it ruined the entire trilogy for them.  It worried me that I was setting myself up for disappointment by even starting, but eventually my curiosity got the best of me and I wanted to make up my own mind.
I downloaded he first book on my kindle and a week before Michael and I planned on seeing the movie, I started.  It was incredibly good.  So good that I finished it in two nights and stayed up until 4:45 am the second night because I couldn't wait until the next day to find out the ending.
Michael and I saw the movie a few days later and then I waited about a week to start the second book.  It was also very good, but felt a little forced.  There were a lot of parts where I just shook my head a little, suspended my belief system and plowed my way through.  The magic from the first book just isn't there.
So, once I was done with the second book I decided I was going to put emotion aside and read the third book.  I debated waiting until next year after the second movie comes out so I could see it first, but I knew that story in the third book starts within days of the end of the second book and I just didn't want to wait. 
I didn't HATE the third book, but I was pretty disappointed by it.  It's just such a departure from how awesome the first book is.  Allegiant didn't ruin the first book for me, but it did take away from its magic a wee bit.  The third book is written from a dual perspective: one chapter told by Tris and the next told by Four.  The biggest problem is that their narratives are exactly the same and that is just wrong.  I would, often, have to flip back to the beginning of the chapter to see whose words I was reading.  And that is a damn shame, because those two characters' narratives should have never been similar or confused. The whole book and plot feel flimsy and it's about 200 pages too long because the author had to keep adding more and more unimportant details to cover up for the fact that the story was undeveloped and had huge holes. 
So basically, I won't say not to read it, especially if you have read the first two, but you have been warned that you will not be happy when it's done. 
After I finished the Divergent trilogy I decided that I would continue on with my long-going theme of "young adult literature about dystopian futures" (which all these books except Gone Girl are) and start Red Rising.  It is about a dystopian future on Mars where there is a caste system based on colors and the Reds revolt.  I am having a really hard time with it because it takes place in the future, on Mars and about 50% of the vocabulary is made-up words relevant to a future Mars.  The reviews that I read said you just have to push through the beginning chapters to get to the good stuff.  I hope so.
So that's it.  Those are my random thoughts about all of the books I have read in the last 4 months.   Now, enjoy some hilarious book and reading humor, compliments of pinterest.
I may or may not feel this way about somebody or somebodies in one or more of the above books.
I do not want to live in ANY of the worlds of the books I have read in the last four months.  None of them.  Ever.  Especially not The 5th Wave.
This is me, every time I read.

April 28th edit: so I totally forgot to add one of the best books from my list to this list.  I wrote an entire post about it, as an apology and love letter to the book. 
You can read it HERE.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


Happy Easter five days late!
We had a great Easter this year.  We spent the weekend in Tucson and the only part that was terrible was that we had to pack up and come home on Sunday.  Spencer got Good Friday off, but not the day after Easter, which makes 100% more sense and would be 100% more helpful.
Anyway.  We started the day with Easter baskets.

Then it was time for the candy and egg hunt.  This was the first year that Elliott cared (and was able to walk) which made the whole thing much more fun.
We had a surprise visit from Winston.  He brought chocolate bunnies from Santa.

Can I just interrupt myself to do the world's most awesome and totally accidental/not planned comparison flashback?  And I mean it.  I did not plan this at all.
First look at the above picture again. 
Now look at this:
Spencer on Easter in 2010. Age 2 years 7 months. 
I think I just found an entry for the next comparison Shutterfly book!
Comparison flashback over.  We're back to present day.



After the hunt we let them eat a piece of candy.  OK.  Maybe we let them have two. 

Then I prepared my part of the Easter feast.
I made hot buttered pecan biscuits,
and chocolate sugar cookies.  I also made carrot cake cheesecake bars, but I didn't take a picture and I also didn't eat one which I am regretting now.
Elliott went down for a nap and while he slept we all got ready.  Then he woke up screaming shortly after all of our company arrived.  I think he had a nightmare (daymare?).
It took him a long time to recover and really wake up. 
Grandma's lap helped. 

Then we took family pictures before we got all smeared with lamb, ham and asparagus.
Michael and I could get contracts with a modeling agency based on this picture, but of course neither child is really cooperating.
Better, but not quite there.
Ehhh.  We'll take it,
because it's better than this.
My camera took a break after this because I was too busy eating and drinking wine.  It was quite lovely.
Then we had to stop all the partying and pack up to go home.  We were almost ready when my mother, in a fit of mental illness, grabbed Winston off the shelf and asked where he was going to go.  I really wish we had gotten a picture of Spencer's face in that exact moment.  It was an amusing mixture of horror, fear and shock.
Not to worry.  I googled what to do if someone touches the elf and based on several posts we healed Winston and got his magic back right away. 

It was really quite simple.  We just took turns dropping a little bit of baking soda (because we didn't have silver glitter readily available) on him, spraying him with water and saying "be well, Winston."  And then my mom touched him during the healing ceremony.  She's going to get a 74 page manual on proper Elf care for Mother's Day.
After that we dragged our depressed selves to the car and forced ourselves to drive home.  
Up next: a whole post about books.  It's going to be awesome.  If you're into books.  It's going to be tedious and sucky if you're not.