Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I heard about this book pre-publication and was completely intrigued. It takes the concept of werewolves, but instead of them changing with a full moon, they change seasonally when the weather gets cold. So the element of curiosity is heightened because during the summer, the people meet others but then just disappear for many months at a time.

This is the story of Sam, a teen werewolf who develops a crush on a girl he sees during the summer. Grace has a deep fascination with a wolf who saved her when she was a child - a wolf with penetrating yellow eyes. She sees him in the woods during the winter and knows he is watching her. Then she meets a boy who has those same eyes, knows it's her wolf and the story begins.

I don't know about you, but there have been very few reading experiences that were like those that I had with Twilight. True, it isn't the most intellectual reading, it requires a little imagination and the possibility of this kind of relationship ever happening is far fetched and preposterous. I didn't care. I LOVED this book - and I'm an Edward fan. The plots had twists, suspense and intrigue - the writing is tight even if it is at times fluff. I really want to read this again to slow down and just enjoy it. I read it very fast the first time because I HAD to know what would happen. If you have been looking for a book to enjoy (especially if you enjoyed Twilight) I really don't think you can go wrong with this one.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Boy Who Dared

This was another one of those books that kept popping up on Amazons recommendations for me and it is by a Utah author who I like to try to keep tabs on what they write, how I feel about them etc. Along with my great intrigue with Greek societies, one of the other societies that I am a little too obsessed with is WWII Germany, especially when it is someone who didn't experience the concentration camps. I wonder if they really were aware of what was going on, if they were too intimidated to do much about it or if they were the people who were secretly trying to help others even at the cost of their lives.

This is the story of a young LDS German boy who, as the power in Germany is shifting and people are just following, has a conflict with what is happening in the world around him and what he is taught in his faith. Helmuth reluctantly joins the groups as he is required and tries to do what is necessary to not cause any harm. Then his brother comes home for a short leave and brings a radio. Helmuth sneaks the radio out each night and becomes astonished at the truthfulness of the BBC and realizes very quickly how many facts are being distorted by his government. He receives his call to action after he sees a classmate beaten for his faith.

Somehow I expected this book to draw me in more, but it didn't. I spent some time trying to figure out why it didn't and I think it is because this is really a book for middle school children who haven't had much WWII information - a book that would introduce them to some of the things that happened in WWII Germany without being too harsh or gruesome. Taking that into consideration, I really feel comfortable recommending this book. Just know that the language and pacing may not compare to other books of this genre that you may have read. But for a 10-13ish aged child, it is the perfect book to introduce this part of history.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sea of Monsters

This is the second book in the Percy Jackson series. I knew I had to read the next one after finishing The Lightning Thief, and really, the title and cover are just intriguing.

This book finds Percy once again trying to find success in a school only to have things once again go terribly wrong. He has his dodgeball game interrupted by a gang of cannibalistic giants and found out that the usually safe Half-Blood Hill is no longer safe and that he must help find a way to restore the safety.

There are parts of me that enjoyed this story more - it has many parallels with Homer's Odyssey, interacting with some of the creatures that are familiar to those who have read it (which I have about seven times). I like that Percy is still on a personal quest to discover who he really is, what all these events that keep forcing him to react really have to do with who he is as a person/demigod/kid. I thought the plot was well thought out, the commitment Riordan has to staying true to the ancient stories is admirable, and I was delighted with this reading experience. I'm hoping to get to the third very soon.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Lightning Thief

I picked up this book because it was popping up on lists everywhere. The readers who I have come to be able to trust were ranting and raving about it and when I realized it had a Greek gods in with the story, it was just a draw that was too powerful to resist.*

This is the story of Percy Jackson, a troubled kid who has ADHD, dyslexia, a hot temper and the inability to stay in any school for more than a year. He fails every class, is currently at a boarding school, has a disgusting step-dad, a saint of a mother, no connection with his real father and he keeps encountering what he thought were ancient mythological creatures but they are in his life. Zeus thinks Percy stole his lightning bolt and even though he has no idea why such accusations could be thrown at him, he has to find the lightning bolt and get it to Mt Olympus in ten days or western civilization could be completely destroyed.

I LOVED this book. I loved it so much that I was willing to take a risk and read it out loud to all of my junior English classes. I am reading the whole book four more times, one chapter at a time. The writing is hilarious, the chapter headings make my day, the mythology is accurate. It is kindof like the movie National Treasure in that each validation of the gods influence on our society does have a decent enough premise that you could make a case for it. I laughed out loud several time the first time through, and still laugh, even my fifth time reading a section. It is an absolutely delightful book.

*(I have this thing with the Greek society - I LOVE it! The gods, the philosophers...it is always in my top five of other time periods I would visit if I ever found myself in a time machine)

Monday, September 21, 2009

My Juggling Act...and how YOU can help

Still busy, still working like crazy, but trying to be more on top of things. So I need your help.

I have just added two new blog lists - food and all things LDS. I'm over cub scouts as the member of the Primary Presidency, so that's not too bad, but I also need sharing time ideas quite often, ideas on how to make FHE more effective and be a better mom and visiting teacher. I like to do fun things but they need to be cheap and quick. If you have some favorite sites/blogs, etc. I would LOVE to have you tell me about them in the comments section.

Second, our favorite thing - FOOD!!! Because of the economy, rises in my health insurance, furloughed days, and everything costing lots, I'm also looking for recipe blogs from REAL people who don't have to go shopping for ridiculous ingredients that they use in a fancy restaurants and take forever to cook. I'm looking to utilize my crockpots (yup, I have three) more and spend the least amount possible. I have a food blog list going, but if you have a site that you just LOVE - please, make a lovely comment.

Those book reviews are coming - stay tuned for the reviews of The Lightning Thief, Sea of Monsters, The Boy Who Dared, Shiver and Catching Fire... :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Worth It!!!

Remember when I said I was rethinking my educational plan as a teacher? Guess what??


I have had students who have told me that they haven't read a book all the way through since elementary, but they found this one book, and they can't stop reading.

I'm beside myself with giddiness.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I did it again

I have myself maxed-out. I have many, many things going on, each on their own not something very difficult, but combined, pure ridiculous craziness.

Especially on Tuesdays.

School started - teacher again.
New calling - 2nd Counselor in Primary Presidency
Three kids in soccer
Dad coaching all three
Mom coaching when games overlap
Ellie in dance
Sophomore class advisor
Homecoming in two weeks - in charge of two halls
Sadie's six weeks after homecoming - Freshmen and Sophomores in charge
Ping pong club advisor - not a huge deal but a little paperwork
Two graduate classes
Implementation of a new curriculum that everyone is observing as the possible new model for English classes at CHS.

Yup - no stress.

Most of the time, it's okay, because with a carefully planned schedule, I can make everything work. But then there are those hormonal times when everything is a disaster, tragedy, inescapable devastation. Unfortunately, the burden of these times is Enoch, who is a saint and absolutely wonderful. I think he knows when it isn't personal - just estrogen, because he just walks away and doesn't say anything.

Those of you who know him know this isn't common for him.

So I just have to breathe, have a piece of chocolate (Have you tried the new coconut M&M's??? Or the dark chocolate mini Reese's cups?), a cold Diet Coke and remember that the stress is more in my head than in reality.

How's that for my bit of craziness for the day??